Monday, October 31, 2016

MMGM - Word of Mouse

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

by James Patterson & Chris Grabenstein
Release date: December 12, 2016

James Patterson's newest illustrated middle grade story follows the illuminating journey of a very special mouse, and the unexpected friendships that he makes along the way.

What makes Isaiah so unique? First, his fur is as blue as the sky--which until recently was something he'd never seen, but had read all about. That's right--Isaiah can read, and write. He can also talk to humans...if any of them are willing to listen! After a dramatic escape from a mysterious laboratory, Isaiah is separated from his "mischief" (which is the word for a mouse family), and has to use his special skills to survive in the dangerous outdoors, and hopefully find his missing family. But in a world of cruel cats, hungry owls, and terrified people, it's hard for a young, lone mouse to make it alone. When he meets an equally unusual and lonely human girl named Hailey, the two soon learn that true friendship can transcend all barriers.

As soon as my ARC arrived, it was snatched up by my daughter, who read it in a day. She thought it was "super fun" and asked if she could share it with her friends before I read it. Of course, I said yes. As we all know, there is no such thing as a dud James Patterson book, regardless of genre or reading level. This is another sure-fire winner for MG readers.

Shannon Whitney Messenger decided it was time to give middle grade stories the attention they deserve, and "Marvelous Middle Grade Mondays" was born. For a full selection of MMGM posts, visit her website HERE.


Monday, October 24, 2016

MMGM - Sailor Moon

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday


One of the most-beloved of all Japanese manga titles, Naoko Takeuchi's Sailor Moon has enthralled millions of readers worldwide since its debut in book form in early 1992.
When Usagi Tsukino adopts a stray cat, she gets more than she bargains for. The talking cat, Luna, informs Usagi that she is actually Sailor Moon, a magical princess from the future and protector of the Solar System. With the help of her new friends, the Sailor Scouts, and the mysterious Tuxedo Mask, Sailor Moon embarks on a quest to save us all from the evil powers of the Negaverse.

My daughter is twelve and in 7th grade.  For the past few years, she's been voraciously reading MG & YA Manga books.  As I posted recently, her VERY favorite series is Black ButlerHowever, she's read dozens of other series including Sailor Moon, which is a good one for younger manga readers.  The fan-base for these novels is exploding right now.  Our local and school libraries can't keep up with the demand. If you know of young readers interested in giving manga a try, this is a good series.

Shannon Whitney Messenger decided it was time to give middle grade stories the attention they deserve, and "Marvelous Middle Grade Mondays" was born. For a full selection of MMGM posts, visit her website HERE.

Monday, October 17, 2016

MMGM - Insignia

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday


by S.J. Kincaid

The earth is in the middle of WWIII in Insignia, the first entry in S. J. Kincaid's fast-paced sci-fi adventure trilogy perfect for fans of Ender's Game.

The planet's natural resources are almost gone, and war is being fought to control the assets of the solar system. The enemy is winning. The salvation may be Tom Raines. Tom doesn't seem like a hero. He's a short fourteen-year-old with bad skin. But he has the virtual-reality gaming skills that make him a phenom behind the controls of the battle drones.

As a new member of the Intrasolar Forces, Tom's life completely changes. Suddenly, he's someone important. He has new opportunities, friends, and a shot at having a girlfriend. But there's a price to pay. . . .

Insignia is one of the best boy books ever! My son has read it a dozen times, and even did a creative writing classroom assignment based on its plot. Of all the standard MG fare--including Rick Riordan, John Flanagan, and Jeff Kinney--this is hands down his favorite book. 

He tried for quite a while to get me to read it, but my workload and TBR pile were too much. Then I got sick, and he saw that as a perfect opportunity. Determined that I read "the best book ever," he sat next to my bed and read to me . . . for hours. Needless to say, the book did not leave the room with him. I was hooked.

If you have not read this series yet, you need to. I highly recommend it!

Shannon Whitney Messenger decided it was time to give middle grade stories the attention they deserve, and "Marvelous Middle Grade Mondays" was born. For a full selection of MMGM posts, visit her website HERE.

Friday, October 14, 2016

From the Master

You can approach the act of writing with nervousness, excitement, hopefulness, or even despair - the sense that you can never completely put on the page what's in your mind and heart. You can come to the act with your fists clenched and your eyes narrowed, ready to kick ass and take down names. You can come to it because you want a girl to marry you or you want to change the world. Come to it any way but lightly. Let me say it again: you must not come lightly to the blank page.
~Stephen King (from On Writing)

Is that brilliant or what?! Don't you just love Stephen King? We aren't asked to be reverent or politically correct or funny or anything else - he just asks us to be serious about our craft. I think most of us are already serious - painfully serious, even.

We are serious about our craft, about learning and growing in order to better our skills. I'm proud of us. I'm proud of our sharing of information. I'm proud of our questions and answers and problem solving for one another. I'm proud of the way we cheer for those successes while we wait (not-always-so-patiently) for our own.

Stephen King tells us,
This isn't a popularity contest, it's not the moral Olympics, and it's not church. But it's writing, damn it, not washing the car or putting on eyeliner. If you can take it seriously, we can do business. If you can't or won't, it's time for you to close the book and do something else. Wash the car, maybe.

 You gotta love it! 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Happy Book Birthday! - Motley Education

Happy Book Birthday, S. A. Larsen!


One of my long-time blog friends, Sheri Larsen, celebrated her first book birthday yesterday! I am so excited and happy for her, and I know this MG is a read you don't want to miss. I am purchasing a copy for my classroom and one for myself.

Forget having a lively after school social life, Ebony Charmed is fighting to keep the entire afterlife alive.

Ebony’s less-than-average spirit tracking abilities are ruining more than sixth grade at Motley Junior High: School for the Psychically and Celestially Gifted. Her parents argue so much her dad's moved out. And, even though he’s scared of his own shadow and insists on bringing his slimy, legless lizard everywhere they go, Ebony wouldn’t survive without her best friend, Fleishman.

When Ebony’s Deadly Creatures & Relics’ project goes missing she learns her missing project is one of the keys to saving the spirit world.

Now Ebony and Fleishman must battle beasts from Norse mythology to retrieve her project before spirits are lost, the Well of Urd dries up, and Ebony loses all hope of reuniting her family. But someone lies in wait, and he has other plans…including creating a new world of spirits without them in it.

S.A. LARSEN is the author of Motley Education, the first book in a middle grade fantasy-adventure series. Her work has appeared in numerous local publications and young adult anthologies, Gears of Brass and Under A Brass Moon by Curiosity Quills Press. Look for her debut young adult novel, Marked Beauty, set for release in 2017. Find her in the land of lobsters, snowy winters, and the occasional Eh’ya with her husband of over twenty years, four children, a playful pooch, and two kittens. 
You can visit her online at

If you love middle grade or know someone who does, 
hop on over to Sheri's blog HERE  
for a chance to win your very own copy of Motley Education  
a super cool set of Motley Mulisha Playing Cards

Monday, October 10, 2016

MMGM - Girls Got Game

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Shannon Whitney Messenger decided it was time to give middle grade stories the attention they deserve, and "Marvelous Middle Grade Mondays" was born.  

Girls Got Game
Edited by Sue Macy

Goodreads Blurb:
Millions of girls are now running, swinging bats and shooting hoops. Here's the first young readers' anthology of new fiction that tells their stories.

"Girls Got Game features a new breed of heroines who are not afraid to sweat. Young athletes will see themselves in these stories; their mothers will wish they'd had books like this when they were growing up."
--Sue Macy

Sue Macy, author of three popular nonfiction books on women in sports, has gathered the best fiction writers and poets to describe the in-the-moment experiences of the millions of girls who are now competing. Here's the first anthology to describe being on the field the way girls are enjoying it today -- as a regular part of their lives that is allowing them to compete, to excel, to feel their own power and potential, and to face defeat and emerge stronger for the next contest. From basketball to soccer, tetherball to swimming to horseback riding, Girls Got Game breaks new ground. This all-star lineup of authors and poets includes Virginia Euwer Wolff, Jacqueline Woodson, and Sue Macy herself in her fictional debut, creating a book that is a great read, as well as an affirmation of what girls are doing every day.

In the spirit of Guys Write for Guys Read, GIRLS GOT GAME is a popular collection of writing about girls in sports--18 stories and poems by a variety of 
authors. I have a copy of this in my classroom, and it is always a popular read with the girls in my class. I highly recommend for young girls who are interested in athletics.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Voraciously Obsessed

If you read good books, when you write, good books will come out of you.
~ Natalie Goldberg

For people who love to write, I think reading is a natural obsession. So many times I've seen us refer to ourselves as "voracious" readers, and I don't think it's hyperbole - we really are voraciously obsessed! Each time we review titles or share a favorite, we gush our enthusiasm or choke on our disappointment. Books are at the core of who we are and who we hope to become. Personally, I can think of nothing I'd rather have at my core than words!

What are some of your all-time favorite reads?

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Blog Blast - Rice & Rocks

Rice & Rocks

by Sandra L. Richards

Tradition takes flight in Rice & Rocks, a picture book celebrating culture and diversity.

Giovanni’s friends are coming over for Sunday dinner, and his grandmother is serving rice and beans. Giovanni is embarrassed—he does not like “rice and rocks” and worries his friends will think the traditional Jamaican dish is weird. But his favorite Auntie comes to the rescue. She and Giovanni’s pet parrot, Jasper, take him on a magical journey across the globe, visiting places where people eat rice and rocks. This exciting story celebrates the varied traditions of every culture while also highlighting the delicious similarities that bring us all together.

“I feel as if Rice & Rocks was written for the 7 year old me stuck in a foreign country. I wish I could have read it when I was a kid since it would have really helped me to feel a lot more comfortable with my roots, my traditions, in a foreign place with people of other colors & customs.”
– Melissa Robles, The Reader and the Chef

“Rice & Rocks is a beautifully illustrated, culturally diverse children’s book centered around my favorite topic…food!…Parents will enjoy reading it with/to their little ones because the illustrations compliment the story perfectly. This book will also work as a good conversation starter for acceptance of self and others for school age children.”
– D.S. White, Divine Perspective

Author Sandra L. Richards
Sandra L. Richards is the debut picture book author of Rice & Rocks. With Rice & Rocks, Sandra brings a unique contribution to the world of children’s books. An American-born daughter of Jamaican immigrant parents, she hopes the book will serve as an educational resource for families seeking to teach their children the value of their heritage and the importance of cultural diversity.

Blast Giveaway:
 $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 10/28/16 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

   a Rafflecopter giveaway
Stop by and visit I Am a Reader HERE

Monday, October 3, 2016

MMGM - Elliot and the Goblin Wars

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

by Jennifer Nielsen

WARNING! As of today, there are only 7 CHILDREN who have ever read this book and lived to tell about it. 95 CHILDREN successfully read the first chapter, but upon beginning chapter 2, they started BLABBERING in some language known only as "flibberish." 38 CHILDREN made it halfway through this wretched book before they began SUCKING THEIR THUMBS THROUGH THEIR NOSES.

If you're VERY BRAVE, perhaps you are willing to TAKE YOUR CHANCES. Be sure that you have told your family who gets your favorite toys if you DO NOT SURVIVE this book. Read it now, IF YOU DARE. But don't say you haven't been warned, for this is the story that unfolds the MYSTERIES OF THE UNDERWORLD.

Jennifer Nielsen is so well known for her other titles, especially The False Prince series, that this middle grade gem gets overlooked. This series is HILARIOUS and oh-so-fun! My daughter and I did this as a read aloud, because it is too funny not to share with someone. I kept calling her in to read her parts, and we finally just read all three of them together.

If you know any struggling readers, this series may be just the one to help them over the hump. I keep it in my classroom, and it never fails. I can't recommend this series highly enough!

Shannon Whitney Messenger decided it was time to give middle grade stories the attention they deserve, and "Marvelous Middle Grade Mondays" was born. For a full selection of MMGM posts, visit her website HERE.

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