Thursday, February 26, 2009

March Book Selections: Nancy Drew & Hardy Boys

We are doing things a little bit differently this March. Instead of one book, we're reading two! Our March books are both graphic novels (a first for us!) and both are mysteries featuring characters we all know and love. They are: Nancy Drew Girl Detective: The Demon of River Heights and Hardy Boys Undercover Brothers: The Ocean of Osyria. We will meet to discuss these books on Monday, March 23rd at 3:30pm in the Children's Program Room. You don't have to read both books but you need to have read at least one for the meeting. Our discussion will focus on mysteries and graphic novels as well as Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys as longtime detectives.

The Demon of River Heights by Stefan Petrucha

Nancy Drew, along with Bess and George, must search for missing student filmmakers and discover the deadly secret behind the local urban myth known as "The Demon of River Heights."

The Ocean of Osyria by Scott Lobdell

Frank and Joe Hardy, with Callie and Lola, search for a stoeln Mid-Eastern art treasure, the Ocean of Osyria, to free their best friend, Chet Morton.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

February Meeting Wrap-Up

The Book Buddies Book Club met this past Monday, February 23rd to discuss the book Alvin Ho Allergic to Girls, School and Other Scary Things by Lenore Look. It was a wonderful meeting with our biggest group yet - 10 kids!!! Everyone *loved* the book and we had a great discussion. We also had a special snack straight from the book - brownies!

We began by talking about Alvin and why he was so afraid to speak in school and what he could do to get over his fear. Some felt he was really shy, that he had stage fright and that he was scared because he is smaller than the other kids. To overcome his fear, some thought he could put more useful things in his PDK (personal disaster kit), take deep breathes before speaking or possibily look into homeschooling. We went over the items he carries in his PDK and discussed how useful we thought they were. Everyone felt that the bandaids, the magnifying glass and the mirror were very useful and others thought the garlic and scary mask were good to have as well. Then people volunteered what they would have in their personal PDKs. Items mentioned included rope, food and drink, flashlights, lighters, cough drops, glue and paper towels.

We talked about why Alvin didn't want to be friends with Flea, why he took his dad's Johnny Astro and whether or not he should have taken it without asking (No!). We talked about what it means to be a gentleman, whether or not cheating is a good way to make friends (again, no) and why Flea stood up for Alvin when the other boys cheated off him in math class. We all agree that Alvin will eventually overcome his fears and be able to talk in school.

We discussed Alvin's idea that "crying is really great. Everything is better afterward." Some felt that this was true but other did not agree. Everyone agreed that it's not a good idea to cry at school around friends because people would think you are a crybaby. One member said that sometimes crying will make you feel better but that the situation isn't always better after (for example if you broke your leg, you might feel better if you cry but your leg will still be broken.)

Overall, everyone really liked Alvin and would recommend the book to their friends. We decided to give the book 5 stars!

Following our discussion we made our very own PDKs. Everyone decorated their box differently and they all came out great!

It was a wonderful meeting and thank to everyone who attended!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Meeting Reminder

Just a reminder that the Book Buddies Book Club will meet this Monday, February 23rd at 3:30pm in the Children's Program Room to discuss the book Alvin Ho Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things by Lenore Look. We will have snacks and talk about the book. Can't wait to see you then!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Superhero Fiction

Alvin Ho is a big fan of superheroes including Plastic Man, Wonder Woman, the Green Lantern and Aquaman. He also has a superhero alterego called Firecracker Man! He's only Firecracker Man on weekends and holidays because he says, "there's just no time for it." Here's what it means to be Firecracker Man: "I ran around our house, full speed ahead, screaming at the top of my lungs while beating on a garbage can lid. I was as noisy as a firecracker on Chinese New Year!"

Here are a few other books with main characters who have secret superhero identities...

The Hero Revealed by William Boniface (Extraorindary Adventures of Ordinary Boy, bk 1)

Ordinary Boy, the only resident of Superopolis without a superpower, uncovers and foils a sinister plot to destroy the town.

Horace Splattly, The Cupcaked Crusader by Lawrence David (bk 1)

When his little sister's magic cookies transform him into a flying, fire-breathing superhero, ten-year-old Horace Splattly has adventures which include confronting the monster at the school playground.

Secret Identity by Wendelin Van Draanen (Shredderman, bk 1)
Fifth-grader Nolan Byrd, tired of being called names by the class bully, has a secret identity--Shredderman!

The Great Cape Rescue by Phyllis Shalant (The Society of Secret Heroes)
Upon entering fourth grade, Fin and his friends think they must stop playing superheroes, until they discover that their game might become real through a magical cape, and the Society of Secret Superheroes is born.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Catching Up with Some of Our Favorite Authors...

I thought it might be fun to find out what some of our favorite authors are up to these days. So I went online to do some digging and here's what I've discovered...

Ellen Potter

Ms. Potter is promoting a new short story contest for young writers. The contest is open to all children in the U.S. who are between the ages of 9 and 13. Details are available on her website and all entries must be received by 6/15/09. In addition, the paperback edition of her third Olivia Kidney book, Olivia Kidney and the Secret Beneath the City, was just released on January 8, 2009 and she has a new book coming out on May 14th called Slob:

Twelve-year-old Owen Birnbaum is the fattest kid in school. But he’s also a genius who invents cool contraptions— like a TV that shows the past. Something happened two years ago that he needs to see. But genius or not, there is much Owen can’t outthink. Like his gym coach, who’s on a mission to humiliate him. Or the way his Oreos keep disappearing from his lunch. He’s sure that if he can only get the TV to work, things will start to make sense. But it will take a revelation for Owen, not science, to see the answer’s not in the past, but the present. That no matter how large he is on the outside, he doesn’t have to feel small on the inside.

Grace Lin

In June 2009, Ms. Lin's beautiful new book, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon will be released.

In the valley of Fruitless mountain, a young girl named Minli lives in a ramshackle hut with her parents. In the evenings, her father regales her with old folktales of the Jade Dragon and the Old Man on the Moon, who knows the answers to all of life's questions. Inspired by these stories, Minli sets off on an extraordinary journey to find the Old Man on the Moon to ask him how she can change her family's fortune. She encounters an assorted cast of characters and magical creatures along the way, including a dragon who accompanies her on her quest for the ultimate answer.

Marlane Kennedy

Ms. Kennedy's new book, The Dog Days of Charlotte Hayes, will be released on March 17, 2009.

It's not that Charlotte hates dogs. Or that she wants all of them to disappear off the face of the planet. It's just that she doesn't see why everyone loves them so much.
So how did she get stuck taking care of a big, drooling Saint Bernard puppy? Rain or shine, hot or cold, poor Beauregard is left chained in the backyard. No one ever plays with him or checks his food and water bowls, and Charlotte can tell he's sad. So she makes sure he has water, gives him belly rubs—blech!—and feeds him every single day. But it's kind of a pain, and she knows Beauregard deserves better. There's a new girl at school who lives in a huge house—plenty of room there for a big dog.
Charlotte has an idea. Now all she needs is a plan. Maybe a lot of plans.
How do you rescue your own dog?

Nancy Springer

Ms. Springer's 5th Enola Holmes mystery, The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline, is due out on May 14, 2009. No details on what Enola's next case will be but I'm sure it will be a thrilling ride!

Hilary McKay
The paperback edition of Forever Rose, the last installment in the Casson Family series) will be released on April 7, 2009. She also has a new book coming out September 3, 2009 called Wish For Tomorrow: The Sequel to The Little Princess.

Hilary McKay revisits Miss Minchins' Select Seminary for Young Ladies after the events of The Little Princess and Sara Crew's happily ever after. But Sara is much missed - and most acutely by best friend Ermengarde, who laments that 'nothing is the same as it was before'. But life must go on at Miss Minchins' as new friendships are made, rivalries continued, lessons learned and, most importantly, fairytale endings are had.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Love is in the Air...

It's almost Valentine's Day and to ward off that winter chill, here are some reading recommendations that will warm your heart...

Durinda's Dangers by Lauren Baratz-Logsted (Sister 8; book 2)

One month after their parents' disappearance, the third-grade Huit octuplets deal with a malfunctioning refrigerator and try to win the love of the only boy in their class at Valentine's Day, while Dorinda discovers her special power and gift.

Love is a Good Thing to Feel by Barbara Joosse

Harriet talks about love, how one can love someone but still be angry, and some of the ways to show love.

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Katie DiCamillo

Edward Tulane, a cold-hearted and proud toy rabbit, loves only himself until he is separated from the little girl who adores him and travels across the country, acquiring new owners and listening to their hopes, dreams, and histories.

Romeo & Juliet: Crushing on a Capulet by Tony Abbott (Cracked Classics; book 6)

Frankie and Devin never expected to become Shakespeare experts until they are launched into the romantic tragedy Romeo and Juliet. But this time, instead of just acing their book report, they learn a hard lesson about love and sacrifice.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Author Lenore Look

Lenore Look is the wonderful author of our February book Alvin Ho Allergic to Girls, School and Other Scary Things. She has written five other books for children including Ruby Lu, Brave and True and Ruby Lu, Empress of Everything. She also has a second Alvin Ho book coming out this June called Alvin Ho Allergic to Camping, Hiking, and Other Natural Disasters.

Check out her profile at the Random House website. She was also chosen as a "Rising Star" by the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books.

Lenore Look lives in Randolph, New Jersey.