Blog Tour, Book Birthday, Debut Author, Giveaway, Middle Grade Literature, Rockstar Book Tours

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Love Like Sky by Leslie Youngblood

LOVE LIKE SKY

Beagles and Books wishes a Happy Book Birthday to author Leslie Youngblood and her debut middle grade novel Love Like Sky! I am excited to be part of the blog tour organized by Rockstar Book Tours.

About the Book:
Title:
 LOVE LIKE SKY
Author: Leslie C. Youngblood
Pub. Date: November 6, 2018
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Pages: 304

Find it: GoodreadsAmazonB&NiBooksTBD

Summary:

“Brims with charm and compassion.”
–Vashti Harrison, New York Times best-selling author of Little Leaders 

“Love ain’t like that.”
“How is it then?” Peaches asked, turning on her stomach to face me.
“It’s like sky. If you keep driving and driving, gas will run out, right?”
“That’s why we gotta go to the gas station.”
“Yep. But have you ever seen the sky run out? No matter how far we go?”
“No, when we look up, there it is.”
“Well that’s the kind of love Daddy and Mama got for us, Peaches–love like sky.”
“It never ends?”
“Never.”

G-baby and her younger sister, Peaches, are still getting used to their “blended-up” family. They live with Mama and Frank out in the suburbs, and they haven’t seen their real daddy much since he married Millicent. G-baby misses her best friend back in Atlanta, and is crushed that her glamorous new stepsister, Tangie, wants nothing to do with her.

G-baby is so preoccupied with earning Tangie’s approval that she isn’t there for her own little sister when she needs her most. Peaches gets sick-really sick. Suddenly, Mama and Daddy are arguing like they did before the divorce, and even the doctors at the hospital don’t know how to help Peaches get better.

It’s up to G-baby to put things right. She knows Peaches can be strong again if she can only see that their family’s love for her really is like sky.

Review:
Told from the point of view of 11-year-old Georgie, Love Like Sky is an honest and heartwarming story about family and friendship.  Georgie is experiencing a lot of change in her life with both of her parents remarrying, gaining a reluctant stepsister, and moving away from her best friend Nikki.  When her little sister Peaches gets sick, Georgie initially blames herself.  Peaches’ illness actually brings Georgie and her stepsister Tangie closer, for Tangie can empathize with Georgie’s grief.  Tangie’s own sister died as a result of injuries sustained from a car accident.   While Georgie welcomes Tangie’s attention, Nikki feels threatened and becomes more friendly with Lucinda, a mean girl, which causes a rift between the best friends.

What I love about Love Like Sky is Georgie’s voice is so authentic.  Young readers will  easily be able to relate to Georgie’s struggles but they will also see her strength.  While still a child, she is getting older and wants to be treated more like a grown up.  Like other kids her age, Georgie’s choices can be selfish at times but she is self-reflective and learns from her mistakes.  Georgie also shows maturity when Nikki is unable to stand up to Lucinda and seeks to help rather than abandon her best friend.

While her family dynamics has definitely changed with her parents’ divorce and remarriages, it is clear that Georgie is blessed with both parents and stepparents who love and support her.  One of my favorite quotes is when Georgie says “Grown-ups are human too.  It takes time to figure stuff out.”  That is true Georgie but never-ending love of family will help you get through those tough times.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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About Leslie:
Leslie C. Youngblood received an MFA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. A former assistant professor of creative writing at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, she has lectured at Mississippi State University, UNC-Greensboro, and the University of Ghana at Legon. She began her undergraduate degree at Morris Brown College and completed her bachelor’s at Georgia State University. After graduation, she served as a columnist and assistant editor for Atlanta Tribune: The Magazine.

She’s been awarded a host of writing honors including a 2014 Yaddo’s Elizabeth Ames Residency, the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Prize, a Hurston Wright Fellowship, and the Room of Her Own Foundation’s 2009 Orlando Short Story Prize. She received funding to attend the Norman Mailer Writers’ Colony in 2011. Her short story, “Poor Girls’ Palace,” was published in the winter 2009 edition of the Indiana Review, as well as Kwelijournal, 2014.

In 2010 she won the Go On Girl! Book Club Aspiring Writer Award. In 2016 she landed a two-book publishing deal with Disney-Hyperion for her Middle-Grade novel, LOVE LIKE SKY (Nov.6). She often teaches creative writing classes at Rochester, New York’s literary center, Writers & Books.

Born in Bogalusa, Louisiana, and raised in Rochester, New York, she’s fortunate to have a family of natural storytellers and a circle of supportive and family and friends.

Giveaway Details:
3 winners will win a finished copy of LOVE LIKE SKY, US Only.  Click the link below to enter.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e2389ba2837/?

Tour Schedule:
Join us on the other stops of this tour for more giveaway chances and to read more about author Leslie Youngblood and her debut novel LOVE LIKE SKY.

Week One:
11/5/2018- BookHounds YA– Excerpt
11/6/2018- Beagles & Books– Review
11/7/2018- YA Books CentralExcerpt
11/8/2018- Do You Dog-ear?– Review
11/9/2018- Here’s to Happy Endings– Review

Week Two:
11/12/2018- Adventures Thru Wonderland– Review
11/13/2018- Texan Holly Reads– Review
11/14/2018- Utopia State of Mind– Review
11/15/2018- Novel Novice– Excerpt
11/16/2018- Such a Novel Idea– Review

 

#Bookexcursion, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 10/29/18

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Beagles and Books is excited to share another edition of It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR is a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading. Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give it a #kidlit focus and encourage everyone who participates to visit at least 3 of the other #kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

Unfortunately, Bella has become quite camera shy especially a book is nearby.  Imagine that!  Thankfully Etta is willing to pose as long as treats are part of the deal.

Our Reads This Week:

Property of the Rebel Librarian by Allison Varnes

12 year old June Harper has always been a rule follower, but after her parents confiscate her library book, The Makings of a Witch, the librarian Ms. Bradshaw is put on indefinite leave, and the school board passes a resolution banning all books which contain profanity, drugs, violence, rock/rap music, witchcraft, drinking, smoking or rebellion of any kind, June has no choice but to rebel for the first time in her life.  Recalling Ms. Bradshaw’s words that one book can change everything, June secretly starts a banned book library in an abandoned locker stocking it with books borrowed from a Little Free Library located in her neighborhood.  Word begins to spread about June’s library but fear of getting caught is growing. Can she keep her underground library hidden or will it be discovered?

I love books about books and most especially I love characters who are voracious readers. June is a proud library groupie who understands the true power of books.  As I read Property of the Rebel Librarian, I’ll admit I was so angered by all the adults in the novel (except of course for Ms. Bradshaw who is awesome) who firmly believed in censoring books.  While it may have seemed far fetched, all I have to do is scroll my Twitter feed to be reminded that censorship is happening when parents and teachers think graphic novels are not real reading or students can’t choose books outside of their reading levels.  I greatly admired June for taking a stand choosing books over a boy and fighting for the freedom to read and most importantly, for the freedom of choice.

While The Makings of a Witch is not a real novel, all other titles mentioned in the novel are real and it was so cool to see familiar and loved titles such as EngiNerds, Pax, A Snicker of Magic, and Because of Winn Dixie. A full list of all titles mentioned appears at the end of the book.  Special thanks to author Allison Varnes for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group.  Property of the Rebel Librarian recently published in September 2018.

Bone Soup: A Spooky and Tasty Tale by Alyssa Satin Capucilli Illustrated by Tom Knight

Bone Soup is a fun Halloween retelling of the classic tale Stone Soup that I can’t wait to read aloud to students this week!  On Halloween morning, three hungry witches have nothing in their cupboards except a bone.  “Let’s make bone soup!” said Naggy Witch.  Carrying their cauldron with the lone bone from house to house, the witches trick or treat for more ingredients to make bone soup.  An assortment of ghoulish characters contribute to the soup by adding a bit of water, a savory morsel, a crunchy treat, and some tasty tidbits.   But wait!  Soup from a bone?  Is this a trick instead of a treat?

Kids will not only enjoy this spooky plot of this remake but also the entertaining and not too scary illustrations.  At the end of the book, there is a recipe to make bone soup which would be a great family activity.  As a teacher, I love author Alyssa Satin Capucilli’s word choice exposing children to rich vocabulary (gleefully, beguiling, boomed) and her use of puns (“I won’t hang around much longer,” sneered the bat.)  Another bonus is under the recipe, she includes a note which reminds readers that the theme of both Bone Soup and the original folktale is that of collaboration and sharing.  That makes Bone Soup a treat for adults to read to kids!

Special thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending Bone Soup to Beagles and Books.  It released in July 2018.

Sanity & Tallulah

Sanity & Tallulah by Molly Brooks

With engaging artwork using a limited color palette, a fast paced plot, strong and diverse characters and of course, an adorable three-headed kitty,  I hope that Sanity and Tallulah is the first of many space adventures with this charming, intelligent, and plucky duo. To read my full review, click here.

Etta’s and Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week:

Wanting to spread the dog love, Beagles and Books has a weekly feature of highlighting a literary selection with a canine main character.

Blue by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

Blue is a tender and poignant story chronicling the relationship between a boy and his dog.  The first double page spread is a beautiful water color illustration of a puppy and boy sleeping head to head both touching a blue blanket with only two words, baby blue.  Each subsequent spread sweetly captures a moment in time that the boy and his dog share as they grow up together.  The blue blanket is now a kerchief which the boy and the dog take turns wearing.  Just two words, one being blue, describe each scene.  The bonded pair chase butterflies, run in the ocean waves, sleep together, read in a tent, and walk in the rain and snow.  Inevitably, the dog ages and the boy copes with his grief and the loss of his best friend.  As a dog mom, I too have experienced this sorrow and especially with Etta getting older, this story hits very close to home. Blue though reminds me that I can cherish my precious memories and open my heart once again.

Etta, Bella, and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books.  Have a great week!

#Bookexcursion, Giveaway, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? & Enter 2 Giveaways! 10/15/18

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Beagles and Books is excited to share another edition of It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR is a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading. Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give it a #kidlit focus and encourage everyone who participates to visit at least 3 of the other #kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

Our Reads This Week:

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Revenge of the Enginerds by Jarrett Lerner

Snow in May? A satellite falling out of the sky? But wait….it gets worse. An alien obsessed girl with nifty gadgets wants to join the EngiNerds. Ken is at his wit’s end and his fellow EngiNerds are not stepping up. The highly anticipated follow up to EngiNerds exceeds expectations with a hilarious action packed plot and a glimpse into Ken’s struggles to accept that friendships change and grow.

The novel takes place one week after Ken, Dan, Jerry, and John Henry Knox defeated sixteen of the robots. Told from Ken’s point of view, readers quickly discover that there is still one robot on the loose, and strange things are occurring in town. Ken is determined to find this rogue robot and is fueled by a quote from his grandpa.  “Finish what you start or down the road, it’ll bite you in the backside.” His fellow EngiNerds are not only discouraged but also distracted by Mikaela Harrington, a girl who believes aliens are to blame for all the strange occurrences and is eager to share all her handmade fancy gizmos.

Ken cannot understand why his friends actually are taking Mikaela seriously especially his best friend Dan.  Readers will easily identify with Ken’s jealousy and his growing concern that he and Dan are drifting apart.   Thanks to his dog Kitty and Mikaela’s data eater, Ken finally finds the lone robot Klaus working at Things and Stuff.  Will Ken be able to defeat Klaus alone or with the help of the EngiNerds?  Can Ken accept and become friends with Mikaela?  Is Klaus or aliens to blame for all the mysterious happenings?  Only one way to find out.  Pre-order Revenge of the Enginerds now so you can have it delivered promptly on February 19, 2019.

Special thanks to author Jarrett Lerner for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group to read and share.

Remarkably You by Pat Zielow Miller Illustrated by Patrice Barton

What makes you remarkable?  In Remarkably You, Pat Zielow Miller’s inspirational text affirms that no matter your volume, age or size, we all have the power to make a difference in world with our own individual gifts.   Written in rhyme, she speaks directly to readers encouraging us to uncover our talents, follow our passions, solve problems, and most importantly, be ourselves and believe in ourselves.  Patrice Barton’s warm and expressive illustrations depict children of all sizes and ethnicities who exude confidence.  An added bonus are the endpapers which is a sea of verbs and adjectives to positively describe and celebrate us as the unique individuals we are!  Can’t wait to share Remarkably You with teachers and students!

Special thanks to author Pat Zietlow Miller for sending a F & G copy to my #bookexcursion group to read and share.  Remarkably You publishes in February 2019.

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Eduardo Guadardo, Elite Sheep by Anthony Pearson Illustrated by Jennifer E. Morris

Eduardo Guadardo, Elite Sheep is a laugh out loud story which reinforces the benefits of cooperation and teamwork! To read my full review and enter a giveaway for your own copy, please click here.

Have You Heard About Lady Bird? Poems About First Ladies by Marilyn Singer Illustrated by Nancy Carpenter

When I lived in Washington, DC, one of my favorite places to go was the Smithsonian Museum of American History to see the First Ladies exhibit.  I could spend hours looking at the First Ladies gowns and reading about their lives and the causes they championed.  Have You Heard About Lady Bird? is an opportunity to meet all the women who have served in this public role through Marilyn Singer’s lyrical and rhyming poetry.

What did I learn? Here are a few facts.

  • Martha Dandridge Custis Washington was a wealthy widow with two children before marrying our nation’s first president.
  • Martha Wayless Skeleton Jefferson, wife of Thomas Jefferson died before he became president.
  • Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams became closer to her husband, John Quincy Adams after his presidency when they both fought for abolition.
  • Abigail Powers Fillmore was the first to add a sizeable collection of books at the White House.
  • Margaret “Peggy” Mackell Smith Taylor, wife of Zachary Taylor refused to participate in White House social functions and relinquished the role of hostess to her daughter Betty Bliss.
  • Lou Henry Hoover spoke four languages and studied geology at Stanford University.

Nancy Carpenter’s artwork has a vintage feel with ink and wash illustrations that complement the poetry well.  The back matter includes a narrative about the history of the role of First Lady, brief profiles of each woman with a quote and recommended books and websites.  This anthology of poetry reminds us how each First Lady embraced or surprisingly rejected their role as partner of the Commander in Chief.

Special thanks to Disney Hyperion Books and Rockstar Book Tours for sending a copy to Beagles and Books.  Have You Heard About Lady Bird? celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on October 16, 2018!  To enter a giveaway sponsored by the publisher to win a copy of your own, please click here.

Etta’s and Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week:

Wanting to spread the dog love, Beagles and Books has a weekly feature of highlighting a literary selection with a canine main character.

Douglas, You’re a Genius! by Ged Adamson

Douglas and his glasses are back in a new story which promotes innovation, creativity, and persistence! While playing with Nancy, their ball disappears into a hole at the bottom of the fence.  To their surprise, the ball came back but how? Douglas hatches a plan to find out who is on the other side of the fence by sending a toy train through the hole.  After what seems like a long wait, the train returns with the following messages: “Hola” and “Queremos Conocerte.”  Nancy shares plan after plan with Douglas in hopes of getting over the fence but much to Douglas’ chagrin, every idea involves him doing something dangerous.  Finally, Douglas speaks up for himself and takes charge which truly shows he is a genius!  After discovering the mystery neighbors, I am hopeful for a third installment.

Etta, Bella, and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books.  Have a great week!

#Bookexcursion, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 10/8/18

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Beagles and Books is excited to share another edition of It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR is a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading. Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give it a #kidlit focus and encourage everyone who participates to visit at least 3 of the other #kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

Our Reads This Week:

Del Toro Moon by Darby Karchut

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While the Del Toro family business of combating wolf like monsters known as skinners may have initially convinced me to read Del Toro Moon, it is the importance of sticking together as a family that will remain with me long after I have read.   To read my full review, click here.

Porcupine’s Pie by Laura Renauld Illustrated by Jennie Pon

Porcupine is bursting with excitement to make her Famous Cranberry Pie for Fall Feast Day.  As she heads to the river to wash her cranberries, she encounters her forest friends who all are missing an ingredient to make their signature dish.  Ever helpful, Porcupine offers provisions in her pantry to her friends.  When she finally reaches the river, she realizes that her pail of cranberries is empty and no longer can make her beloved pie.  Her friends come to her rescue and Porcupine discovers that she can now make Friendship Pie, which is much more festive.   Debut author Laura Renauld has written a heartwarming story about friendship and sharing, and illustrator Jennie Pon’s warm and tender artwork will captivate young readers.

Last week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Laura about her debut picture book.  To read the interview, click here.  Thanks to Laura Renauld for sharing an e-copy of Porcupine’s Pie with Beagles and Books.  Porcupine’s Pie will celebrate its book birthday tomorrow on October 9, 2018.

Kitten Construction Company: Meet the House Kittens by John Patrick Green

What happens when a cute little kitten named Marmalade wants to be taken seriously as an architect and design the mayor’s mansion? She teams up with fellow kittens Sampson, an electrical engineer, Bubbles, a plumber, and Professor von Wigglebottom to start House Kittens Construction. This graphic novel for early readers is absolutely adorable (sorry House Kittens). Readers will easily fall in love with these enterprising felines. Hoping this is a series with more adventures to come.

Etta’s and Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week:

Wanting to spread the dog love, Beagles and Books has a weekly feature of highlighting a literary selection with a canine main character.

The Rough Patch by Brian Lies

Have you ever been blown away by a story?  The Rough Patch is a poignant story about love, loss, grief, and healing.  Evan, a fox and his dog were inseparable until the dog unexpectedly dies.   Evan’s garden which was once the source of happiness is now a lonely place.   To deal with his pain, Evan destroys his once magnificent garden allowing weeds to take over.  When a lone prickly pumpkin vine makes its way into the garden, Evan lets it remain and tends it to until it grows into an enormous pumpkin. This prize pumpkin is integral to the story because it ultimately helps Evan mend his broken heart.  Lies’ illustrations are absolutely beautiful and tenderly reveal the range of emotions that Evan experiences.

Etta, Bella, and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books.  Have a great week!

Blog Tour, Book Birthday, Giveaway, Middle Grade Literature, Rockstar Book Tours

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Del Toro Moon by Darcy Karchut

Happy Book Birthday to Darby Karchut’s Del Toro Moon! Beagles and Books is excited to be a part of the Del Toro Moon Blog Tour organized by Rockstar Book Tours.

About the Book:
Title:
 DEL TORO MOON
Author: Darby Karchut
Pub. Date: October 2, 2018
Publisher: Owl Hollow Press
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Pages: 224
Find it: GoodreadsAmazonB&NTBD

“Ride hard, swing hard, and take out as many of those creepy critters as you can.”

Summary:
Twelve year old Matt Del Toro is the greenest greenhorn in his family’s centuries-old business: riding down and destroying wolf-like monsters, known as skinners. Now, with those creatures multiplying, both in number and ferocity, Matt must saddle up and match his father’s skills at monster whacking. Odds of doing that? Yeah, about a trillion to one. Because Matt’s father is the legendary Javier Del Toro—hunter, scholar, and a true caballero: a gentleman of the horse.

Luckily, Matt has twelve hundred pounds of backup in his best friend—El Cid, an Andalusian war stallion with the ability of human speech, more fighting savvy than a medieval knight, and a heart as big and steadfast as the Rocky Mountains.

Serious horse power.

Those skinners don’t stand a chance.

Review:
Del Toro Moon is a fast paced adventure told from the point of view of youngest son, Matt who is just joining his father and brother in the family trade. For centuries, his family has held the dangerous occupation of guarding the town against these wolf-like monsters known as skinners. Contained in sealed coffers for years, these creepy skinners have been getting out and multiplying.  Fortunately, the Del Toro family does not have to fight this battle alone, for their Andalusian war horses are right by their side fighting with them. And their horses can talk!  El Cid is definitely my favorite horse because he watches over Matt closely ever since his mother died. Having El Cid as a confidant is important because Matt’s dad, Javier and older brother, Ben do not always see eye to eye and given the family’s line of work, making friends is not easy for Matt.

While the Del Toro family business of combating skinners may have initially convinced me to read Del Toro Moon, it is the importance of sticking together as a family that will remain with me long after I have read.  Matt and Ben may not always agree with Javier, but they truly respect him and their family history.  Javier also has instilled a sense of duty and strength in his sons.  Matt is reminded by his father’s words that “courage is as much about battling our fears as it battling our foes.” Courage is crucial as Matt navigates not only fighting skinners but also opening himself up to new friendships and coping with the loss of loved ones.   Amid the horror of the Del Toro family battling skinners, Del Toro Moon is a story that also has a lot of heart.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Giveaway Details:
One winner will receive a signed finished copy of Del Toro Moon, US Only. Click on link below to enter.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e2389ba2807/?

About Darby:
Darby Karchut is an award-winning author, dreamer, and compulsive dawn greeter. A proud native of New Mexico, she now lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, where she runs in blizzards and bikes in lightning storms.

When not dodging death by Colorado, Darby is busy wrangling words.

Her books include the best selling middle grade series, THE ADVENTURE OF FINN MacCULLEN. Coolest thing ever: her YA debut novel, GRIFFIN RISING, has been optioned for film.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

Tour Schedule:
Join us on the other stops of this tour for more giveaway chances and to read more about Del Toro Moon.

Week One:
9/24/2018- BookHounds YA– Interview
9/25/2018- Oh Hey! Books.– Excerpt
9/26/2018- Random Bookish Banter– Review
9/27/2018- Patriotic Bookaholic– Review
9/28/2018- Rhythmicbooktrovert– Review

Week Two:
10/1/2018- Eli to the nth– Review
10/2/2018- Beagles and Books– Review
10/3/2018- Daily Waffle Excerpt
10/4/2018- LA Bookworm– Review
10/5/2018- Two Chicks on Books– Excerpt

#Bookexcursion, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 9/24/18

Beagles and Books is excited to share another edition of It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR is a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading. Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give it a #kidlit focus and encourage everyone who participates to visit at least 3 of the other #kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

Our Reads This Week:

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The Three Rules of Everyday Magic by Amanda Rawson Hill

Kate has a lot on her plate.  Battling depression, her father has recently left Kate and her mom. She and her best friend Sofia are drifting apart, and her Grammy’s dementia is worsening which prompted her mom to invite her to move in with them.  Kate has a good support system in her mom, Grammy, her karate instructor Mr. Amori, her friend Parker, and new friend Jane, but she still feels alone.  Grammy thinks Kate just needs a little magic to make things right again, but in order for the magic to work, Kate must follow the three rules of magic-believe, give, and trust, which is easier said than done.  In time, Kate starts to realize that she does have a strength inside of her, singing is a way to let sadness out, her circle of friends can grow, and everyday magic is real.

The Three Rules of Everyday Magic is a story about family, friendship, and forgiveness. One of the reason I love reading middle grade literature is after reading, I can always think of a student that would enjoy the story.  Another perk is that it helps me better understand the students I teach. Kate’s story reminds me that elementary students may be dealing with a lot; kids need to know that their worries matter, change is a part of growing up, and they have a support system even if it is only just to listen.

Special thanks to Amanda Rawsom Hill and Boyds Mill Press for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group.  The Three Rules of Everyday Magic will celebrate its book birthday tomorrow on September 25, 2018.

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First Generation: 36 Trailblazing Immigrants and Refugees Who Make America Great by Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace.  Illustrated by Agatha Nowicka

This well written and beautifully illustrated compilation of one page biographies features 36 brave and persistent immigrants and refugees who are the first members of their family to immigrate to the United States.

There are so many reasons I love First Generation.  The individuals highlighted span a range of professions including artists, scientists, athletes, and business leaders.  Each person is celebrated for his/her positive contribution to not only the United States but also the world.   The format makes the text highly accessible to elementary age students.  Vivid and striking illustrated portraits accompany each biography along with a quote and additional facts in a sidebar.  At the end of the book, additional information is provided such as tips for how kids can be a trailblazer and a bibliography which shares additional resources on all the amazing immigrants and refugees featured.

Special thanks to Sandra Neil Wallace for sending a copy of First Generation to my #bookexcursion group to read and review.  It recently published on September 4, 2018.

Oliver’s Otter Phase by Lisa Connors  Illustrated by Karen Jones

Oliver’s Otter Phase is an engaging text, for young children will be able to easily relate to Oliver & his animal antics & learn some amazing otter facts!  To read full review, click here.

Etta’s and Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week:

Wanting to spread the dog love, Beagles and Books has a weekly feature of highlighting a literary selection with a canine main character.

Good Dog by Cori Doerrfeld

A stray black and white dog takes a liking to a little girl who is enjoying a bike ride with her mom.  The dog attempts to follow the little girl around town and finally interacts with her at the city park.  When she returns to her seat on the bike, she forgets her teddy bear leaving it on the fountain ledge.  The once scared, lost, lonely, and hungry dog transforms into a smart, brave, thoughtful, and loyal dog delivering the teddy bear to the little girl at her house.  The friendly and loving dog is rewarded for his kindness with a “furever” home.  With warm and inviting illustrations and concise text of only two words per page,  Good Dog is a story that tugged at my heart because I love seeing the evolution of the sweet little dog from stray to best friend.

Etta, Bella, and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books.  Have a great week!

#Bookexcursion, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 9/10/18

Beagles and Books is excited to share another edition of It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR is a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading. Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give it a #kidlit focus and encourage everyone who participates to visit at least 3 of the other #kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

Our Reads This Week:

Monster Mayhem by Christopher Elipoulos

Young Zoe is a genius at building robots and loves watching old monster movies. She is not a mastermind at making friends her own age.  Scarred by a bad experience with a former classmate, Zoe tries to convince herself and the adults in her life that she is better off being alone.

Walking home from school one day, Zoe finds a gold ring, puts it on, and gives it a twist.  The next day, she is shocked to see a monster from one of her favorite movies outside her window.  While the magic ring may have granted her secret wish of wanting a friend, more monsters are on their way, and they are not as friendly as her new monster friend, Chomp.  Can Zoe alone save her city from the hungry monsters or will she finally be willing to trust others and ask for help?

My students love Cosmic Commandos so I was excited to read an advance copy of Monster Mayhem!  While reading Cosmic Commandos is not a prerequisite, there is a connection between both graphic novels.  Fast paced and full of adventure and humor, readers will love Zoe who has a talent for creating and problem solving in school but struggles with asking for help and building relationships with her peers.  Thanks to Penguin Young Readers for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group.  Monster Mayhem recently released in August 2018.

Polka Dot Parade: A Book About Bill Cummingham by Deborah Blumenthal Illustrated by Masha D’Yans

Polka Dot Parade celebrates the life of Bill Cunningham, the legendary bicycling photographer who snapped photographs of fashionable New Yorkers for almost 40 years.  Bill once said, “He who seeks beauty will find it.” Bill not only found beauty in the people he photographed but also in their clothes.  Bill did not merely snap pictures of those who followed fashion; rather, his focus was people who made fashion.  Bill thought that fashion was truly about freedom and being true to yourself.

Readers discover that Bill began his career as a hatmaker and a fashion writer before becoming a photographer.  Like the U.S. Postal Service, no weather deterred Bill from hopping on his bike to take pictures.  Throughout his career, 30 bicycles served as his transportation. Modest and unassuming, Bill was awarded the Legion of Honor, the French government’s highest honor in 2008.

With Deborah Blumenthal’s lyrical text and Masha D’yan’s vivid watercolors, Polka Dot Parade is a beautiful tribute to the man who invented street-fashion photography.  Readers will be not only inspired by his amazing talent but also for teaching the importance of finding and having a job that you truly love.

Thanks to Little Bee Books for sending a copy of Polka Dot Parade to my #bookexcursion group. It recently published on August 28, 2018.

Etta’s and Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week:

Wanting to spread the dog love, Beagles and Books has a weekly feature of highlighting a literary selection with a canine main character.

Good Rosie by Kate DiCamillo Illustrated by Harry Bliss

Rosie lives with a comfortable life with George, but sometimes, she gets lonely and wishes for a canine companion.  On their usual walk, George decides they need to try something new so they venture to the dog park which is full of dogs. Rosie though still feels lonely and a bit afraid around all these strange dogs.  When Rosie first meets Maurice, a Saint Bernard and small, energetic Fifi, she does not like them and wants to go home.  But when Maurice plays a little too rough with Fifi, Rosie comes to Fifi’s aid and learns that making friends all starts with one simple step-asking.

Written in concise text coupled with warm watercolor illustrations in a panel comic format, readers will fall in love with Rosie, Maurice, and Fifi.  I can’t wait to share Good Rosie as a read aloud for #classroombookaday which will teach students about the challenges and rewards of forming new friendships. Good Rosie recently published on September 4, 2018.

Etta, Bella, and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books.  Have a great week!

Blog Tour, Middle Grade Literature, Rockstar Book Tours

Blog Tour & Giveaway: The Third Mushroom by Jennifer Holm

Beagles and Books is excited to launch The Third Mushroom Blog Tour organized by Rockstar Book Tours.

About the Book:
Title:
 THE THIRD MUSHROOM
Author: Jennifer L. Holm
Pub. Date: September 4, 2018
Publisher: Random House
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook
Pages: 240
Find it: GoodreadsAmazonAudibleB&NiBooksTBD

“Believe in the unexpected” with this hilarious, heartwarming, and much-anticipated sequel to the New York Times bestseller The Fourteenth Goldfish!

Summary:
Ellie’s grandpa Melvin is a world-renowned scientist in the body of a fourteen-year-old boy. His feet stink, and he eats everything in the refrigerator–and Ellie is so happy to have him around. Grandpa may not exactly fit in at middle school, but he certainly keeps things interesting. When he and Ellie team up for the county science fair, no one realizes just how groundbreaking their experiment will be. The formula for eternal youth may be within their reach! And when Ellie’s cat, Jonas Salk, gets sick, the stakes become even higher. But is the key to eternal life really the key to happiness? Sometimes even the most careful experiments yield unexpected–and wonderful–results.

Review:
For fans of The Fourteenth Goldfish, The Third Mushroom is a sequel we have all been waiting for.  A year has passed with some changes.  Ellie has a cat named Jonas, she and her best friend Raj are in the seventh grade, and Ellie’s mom and Ben are now married.  Ellie’s seventy-seven-year-old scientist grandfather Melvin though is still living in the body of a fourteen year old boy.

Tired of being on the road, Melvin returns to town with dirty laundry in hand. Ellie is elated that he is back and while Melvin is happy to see his granddaughter, he is not excited to return to middle school pretending to be her cousin.  Still his grumpy old self, Melvin makes the best of it by being Ellie’s partner on a science project for the county fair.  Through their collaboration, Ellie learns valuable life lessons. Her most important observation is realizing that when an experiment fails, a true scientist always learns from her mistakes.

Written in short chapters and told through Ellie’s point of view, The Third Mushroom is sequel that does not disappoint.  Jennifer Holm does an excellent job continuing the story.  Ellie is one of my favorite middle grade characters because of her curiosity, thoughtfulness, and versatility.  While her mom and grandfather are polar opposites, Ellie can appreciate both the theatre and science. She is also very observant especially when it comes to her friendships whether it be with her old friend Brianna, her best friend, Raj or her grandfather Melvin.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Giveaway Details:

3 winners will receive a finished copy of THE THIRD MUSHROOM, US Only.
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e2389ba2794/?

About Jennifer:
Jennifer L. Holm is a NEW YORK TIMES bestselling children’s author and the recipient of three Newbery Honors for her novels OUR ONLY MAY AMELIA, PENNY FROM HEAVEN, and TURTLE IN PARADISE. Jennifer collaborates with her brother, Matthew Holm, on two graphic novel series — the Eisner Award-winning Babymouse series and the bestselling Squish series. Her new novel is THE FOURTEENTH GOLDFISH. She lives in California with her husband and two children.

Website | Twitter | Facebook |  Goodreads

Tour Schedule:
Join us on the other stops of this tour for more giveaway chances and to read more about The Third Mushroom.

Week One:
9/4/2018- BookHounds YA– Excerpt
9/5/2018- The Story Sanctuary– Review
9/6/2018- Rhythmicbooktrovert – Review
9/7/2018- Here’s to Happy Endings– Review

Week Two:
9/10/2018- For the Love of KidLit– Interview
9/11/2018- YA Books Central– Interview
9/12/2018- The OWL– Review
9/13/2018- Book-Keeping– Review
9/14/2018- Two Points of Interest– Review

#Bookexcursion, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Picture Books

Celebrating 100th Blog Post with It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 8/20/18

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Today Beagles and Books is celebrating a milestone with its 100th blog post! I am proud to share the latest edition of It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR is a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading. Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give it a #kidlit focus and encourage everyone who participates to visit at least 3 of the other #kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

Today also marks two days until teachers in my district return to school. I am fortunate to have 8 full days to prepare for students. I feel so blessed to have enjoyed a summer full of relaxation, rejuvenation and reading. I am excited to return to school and share new books with students and teachers.

Our Reads This Week: 

Eraser by Anna Kang Illustrated by Christopher Weyant

Eraser has a thankless job fixing Pencil’s mistakes. As a result, Pencil is celebrated for his creativity not Eraser. She is tired of being just the clean up crew and making him look good. Eraser yearns to be more. With the help of her friends Pencil Sharpener and Ruler, she leaves Desk behind for a fresh start but her trip abruptly ends when she lands in the wastebasket full of first drafts.

Meeting the first drafts, Eraser discovers that not only is she a rock star in their eyes but she is indeed creative. Why? Because Eraser creates second chances! Meanwhile back on Desk, Pencil is having a panic attack without Eraser making mistake after mistake. Will Pencil finally acknowledge and appreciate Eraser for her contributions?

Full of puns that will make kids laugh out loud, Anna Kang has written a sweet story that teaches students about the power of cooperation and how mistakes make us great. Thanks to Christopher Weyant’s adorable and eye-catching illustrations and Kang’s witty prose, I will view my school supplies a little differently and will now always hold my erasers in high regard.

Eraser is a must read aloud for #classroombookaday because it will support building a classroom community among students. I already plan on featuring Eraser in my book talks this first week back.

For a sneak peek, view the trailer below.

A very special thank you to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sharing a copy with my #bookexcursion group. Eraser publishes soon on September 1, 2018.

Potato Pants by Laurie Keller

Potato cannot contain his excitement! For one day only, Lance Vance’s Fancy Pants Store is selling POTATO PANTS! When they’re gone, they’re gone so Potato wakes up early determined to get a pair. But there is something (actually someone) standing between him and his precious potato pants. It’s an Eggplant wearing pineapple pants. (Apparently yesterday was Eggplant Pants Day.)

Why is Eggplant a threat? Well, the day before Eggplant ran by Potato and pushed him into a trash can. Feeling vulnerable, Potato does not want to step foot into the store but that means no potato pants. And to make matters worse, he was just informed there is only one pair left. What’s a spud to do? Conquering his fears, Potato bolts into the store knocking over Eggplant in his panic. Will Potato finally get his potato pants? Will Eggplant seek revenge? Read Potato Pants to uncover the truth!

Loaded with potato puns, Potato Pants will make readers of all ages engage in nonstop belly laughing!  It is an “a-peeling” story with an important message-Never judge an individual by one sole action. Keller’s use of mixed media to create the bold and vibrant illustrations make the characters and setting literally jump off the page. My verdict is Potato Pants is a “tater-tastic” addition to #classroombookaday read alouds!

Take a look at the “spud-tacular” book trailer!

A very special thanks to Mary Van Akin of Macmillan Children’s Publishing for sending a copy to my #bookexcursion group. Potato Pants will publish on October 2, 2018.

Who Eats Orange? By Diane White Illustrated by Robin Page

Who Eats Orange? is an engaging and lively informational picture book that teaches young readers about animal diets. To read my full review, click here.

Etta’s and Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week:

Wanting to spread the dog love, Beagles and Books has a weekly feature of highlighting a literary selection with either a canine main character or a main character with a genuine love for dogs.

Rules of the Ruff by Heidi Lang

In the past, Jessie didn’t mind spending the summer with her aunt, uncle, and cousin, Ann.  But Ann’s egotistical best friend Loralee has strained her relationship with her cousin which prompts Jessie to focus on practicing her soccer skills at the park and convincing grumpy neighborhood dog walker, Wes to let her be his assistant, free of charge.  Jessie also thinks dog walking experience will persuade her dad to finally allow her to have a dog of her vert own.  Wes begrudgingly agrees to take on Jessie, but with one stipulation.  She must master the Rules of the Ruff, the code Wes lives his life by.

Although she has a rocky start, Jessie quickly begins to show promise in following the Rules of the Ruff.  Becoming more observant, Jessie soon uncovers that a new dog walker, Monique, is stealing many of Wes’ clients.  Desperate to help Wes win back his clients, Jessie concocts a scheme to sabotage Monique.  While her initial intentions may have been good, Jessie soon recognizes that her and Wes’ actions are actually hurtful and unprofessional.  Through dog walking, Jessie not only learns a lot of about dogs but she also learns valuable lessons about being growing up and being a honorable person.  Maturity means taking responsibility for your actions, learning from your mistakes, and realizing that dogs, like people, really do come into your life for a reason.  It seems that the Rules of the Ruff truly are a good code to live by.

A very special thanks to Heidi Lang for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group. Rules of the Ruff recently published on August 14, 2018.

Etta, Bella, and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!  Have a great week!

Bookexcursion, Early Chapter Books, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 5/14/18

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Beagles and Books is excited to share another edition of It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR is a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading. Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give it a #kidlit focus and encourage everyone who participates to visit at least 3 of the other #kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

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The Frame-Up by Wendy McLeod MacKnight

The Frame Up is a fast paced, intriguing mystery adventure set in the real life Beaverbrook Art Gallery located in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada.  In this fictional story, Beaverbrook is not your ordinary art gallery because all the paintings are actually alive.  Once the gallery is closed, all the “residents” interact with each other.  Painted in 1915, Mona Dunn is a 100 year old painting but she is perpetually a thirteen-year-old who loves to visit the beach in the San Vigilio, Lake Garda painting and hang out with her partner in crime, Clem Cotterell who lives in a portrait with his family.

Mona knows that the most important rule of the gallery is don’t let the humans know that the paintings are alive.  One day Mona accidentally breaks that rule and reveals the gallery’s secret to Sargent Singer, the son of the gallery director.  Sargent who is visiting his estranged father for the summer promises Mona that he won’t divulge this incredible secret, and the two become fast friends.   Their friendship becomes crucial when Mona discovers a plot to steal paintings and replace them with reproductions.  Can Mona and Sargent stop the heist before it’s too late?

I enjoyed The Frame Up from start to finish!  Wendy McLeod MacKnight has written a fascinating middle grade mystery weaving elements of both the past and the present.  While living in the present, Mona and the residents give you a glimpse of life long ago. Because they are alive, the “residents” are aware of modern amenities such as movies, popular music, and even the internet.  The mystery involving the art heist kept me guessing until almost the very end. Sargent’s distant relationship with his father also affected me because I know some readers may identify with his struggle to connect with a parent.

Special thanks to Wendy McLeod MacKnight for sending an ARC of The Frame-Up to my #bookexcursion group.  The Frame-Up releases on June 5, 2018, which will include full color glossy pictures of all the paintings highlighted in the novel.  Since a visit to Beaverbrook is not possible right now, I can’t wait for my hardcover copy to arrive!

Fox & Chick: The Party and Other Stories by Sergio Ruzzier

Fox and Chick remind me of the iconic Frog and Toad, two friends who don’t always see eye to eye.  This early chapter book includes three stories.  In The Party, Chick interrupts Fox’s reading  asking to use his bathroom but not for the reason one would expect.  In Good Soup, as Fox is gathering vegetables, Chick questions his food choices until he mentions that foxes are supposed to eat little birds.  Oops!  In Sit Still, Fox is in the midst of painting a landscape when Chick suggests a portrait of him would be more exciting. If only Chick would sit still….

I read Fox and Chick to my second grade #classroombookaday class; they absolutely loved each story.  While it is a great read aloud, the illustrations deserve full attention to see both Fox’s and Chick’s expressions throughout each story.  After sharing Fox and Chick, the students wanted to know if there are more Fox and Chick adventures.  I can only hope!

Etta’s and Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week: 

Wanting to spread the dog love, Beagles and Books has a weekly feature of highlighting a literary selection with a canine main character.

Dog Loves Books by Louise Yates

Dog loves everything about books so he decides to open his own bookstore.  On the day of his Grand Opening, no one came and when they finally did visit, it was not to buy books.  While Dog was a little sad, he did not dwell on it.  Instead, he took a book off the shelf and began to read.  When he read, he forgot he was alone because each book took him on a new adventure.  At the end , a little girl visits his bookstore and while Dog loved books, he realized he enjoys sharing them even more!

How can you not love a dog that loves books!  Author illustrator Louise Yates reminds young readers about the power of finding the right book as well as the joy of sharing books with others.

I look forward to read the rest of the books in the series: Dog Loves Drawing, Dog Loves Counting, and Dog Loves Fairy Tales.

Etta, Bella, and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!  Have a great week! Happy Reading!

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