Monday, February 18, 2019

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday - The Candy Shop War

The  Candy Shop War
by Brandon Mull

Goodreads Blurb:
What if there were a place where you could get magical candy? Moon rocks that made you feel weightless. Jawbreakers that made you unbreakable. Or candy that gave animals temporary human intelligence and communication skills. (Imagine what your pet would say!) Four young friends, Nate, Summer, Trevor, and Pigeon, are befriended by Belinda White, the owner of a new candy shop on Main Street. However, the gray-haired, grandmotherly Mrs. White is not an ordinary candy maker. Her confections have magical side effects. Purposefully, she invites the kids on a special mission to retrieve a hidden talisman under Mt. Diablo Elementary School. However, Mrs. White is not the only magician in town in search of the ancient artifact rumored to be a fountain of youth. She is aware that Mr. Stott, the not-so-ordinary ice cream truck driver, has a few tricks of his own. 

Brandon Mull is one of my favorite authors.  He is best known for his Fablehaven series, but this one is another winner. Several years ago, shortly after the release of Candy Shop War, Brandon visited my son's school and did a signing at our local Borders.  The line looped through the store.  It was a big thing for us, because not a lot of authors visit Montana. He was wonderful - friendly and generous and truly patient with a store full of kiddos all clamoring for his attention.

Both my boys have read and loved this book - me, too!  

Happy Monday! 

Friday, February 1, 2019

No-Fail Boy Books

Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.

Maya Angelou

Chris Crutcher is an author truly beloved by most boys. I can't tell you how many non-readers I have watched become avid readers because of his books. He aims to hit boys where they live - to write about issues important to them in language they both use and understand.

Sadly, his books are often challenged for the very reasons boys love them - violence, language, real-life issues. As a teacher, I am bothered by that. As a writer, I am offended. We've talked a lot about where the line is drawn in terms of what is appropriate and inappropriate for YA literature. I can tell you, I have never considered Mr. Crutcher's books to be over the line. But I have watched in wonder as boys who won't even read Sports-Illustrated work their way through every single title and ask for more.

If you are looking for good books for high school aged boy readers (not for younger readers), I enthusiastically recommend any title by Chris Crutcher.

Click here to visit the Chris Crutcher author home page.
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