MrsK's K-8 Books Worth Reading

my best-reads-for-k-8 shelf:
MrsK Books's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (best-reads-for-k-8 shelf)

Saturday, April 6, 2024

Seasoned Readers: Spring Time Book Retreats


In the "in between moments" of your day...
Enjoy discovering one of these inspiring reads...

ISBN: 9781101988640
Publisher's Synopsis:
Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, which harvests fiction from different realities. And along with her enigmatic assistant Kai, she's posted to an alternative London. Their mission - to retrieve a dangerous book. But when they arrive, it's already been stolen. London's underground factions seem prepared to fight to the very death to find her book.

Adding to the jeopardy, this world is chaos-infested - the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic. Irene's new assistant is also hiding secrets of his own.

Soon, she's up to her eyebrows in a heady mix of danger, clues and secret societies. Yet failure is not an option - the nature of reality itself is at stake.

MrsK's Review: Sci-Fi Fantasy
Irene had thirty minutes to steal the book and escape. She is sent from the Library to this alternate world, as in every book quest... she had to remain on alert and prepared. Her one advantange is that only a Librarian can read the "Language." No other form of magic can compare to the power of the Language. It's usefulness can "affect certain aspects of reality." As long as she can slip in and out with the book she is sent to recover, most quests will be quick and without notice. "Most" is the key,  for when discovery interferes... all aspects of the journey becomes dangerous.

Coppelia is Irene's supervisor. She is a research-based and well equipped field manager with a commanding personality. Senior Librarians only search for the most unique books in the alternate realities or those they long to locate. For Irene's next assignment she has determined that Irene will mentor a novice. Irene isn't sure about the urgency of this next journey. Something isn't in alignment.

Kai is the novice that arrives filled with enthusiasm, an air of arrogance, and impossible beauty. Even though he has only been in training for a short while, he is more than ready to leave training. But will he be a "runner" or will he be a willing learner?

Brandement is a Librarian that finds ways to overtake aspects of Irene's assignments. Her appearance at the beginning of the Grimm assignment is not a coincidence. Emily is concerned that Brandement will cause undue challenges. 

The next assignment is to locate the 1812 original Grimm manuscript. Irene isn't sure why this objective is so urgent. The manuscript could have an effect on the Language or it might be specific and unique to the alternate world which the Library would need to own to keep that world open or perhaps it's a book a Senior Librarian just wants to locate... which doesn't seem plausible due to the urgency of the assignment.

As Irene and Kai begin this journey, not all things will go as planned. Danger is everywhere. Death is possible. Creepers are always around the corners and not every character is reliable or truly what is portrayed. This twist-turning and unpredictable tale is so unusually woven... be prepared to walk away with a reader's overload... only to be compelled to rejoin the quest once your mind has successfully become accustomed to the previous page encounters! Be aware you will meet faeries, mutations, superheroes, impossible devices, vampires, werewolves, and of course dragons!
Warning... addictive... page turning! 

Meet the Author:

Genevieve Cogman got started on Tolkien and Sherlock Holmes at an early age, and has never looked back. But on a perhaps more prosaic note, she has an MSC in Statistics with Medical Applications and has wielded this in an assortment of jobs: clinical coder, data analyst and classifications specialist. Although The Invisible Library is her debut novel, she has also previously worked as a freelance roleplaying game writer. Genevieve Cogman’s hobbies include patchwork, beading, knitting and gaming, and she lives in the north of England.

Shannon Bream
ISBN: 9780063225886
Publisher's Synopsis:
“Have faith” is a phrase we hear all the time. But what does it actually look like to live it out? In The Mothers and Daughters of the Bible Speak, Shannon Bream examines the lives of biblical women to see how God’s plans can turn our worlds upside down. She tells the story of Jochebed, a mother who took enormous risks to protect her son, Moses, from Pharaoh. Could Jochebed have imagined that God’s actual design for her son involved flight into exile and danger? And yet this was all part of the master plan to deliver Israel from slavery. Another biblical mother, Rebekah, made terrible choices in an attempt to ensure her son’s place in history. And a daughter, Michal, struggled to keep her faithless father, Saul, from sin, while battling pride in herself.

Through these stories, Shannon explains the intimate connection between faith and family—and how God’s unexpected agenda can redefine the way we think about family. Not all of these mothers and daughters in the Bible were paragons of virtue. Like us, they were human beings who faltered and struggled to do their best. While some heard God’s voice, others chose their own paths. Through the lens of their imperfections, we can see how God used their stories to bring about His divine plans. He’s still doing the same work in our lives today.

The Mothers and Daughters of the Bible Speak shows that faith is more often a twisting road than a straight line. Yet, as the stories of biblical families attest, at the end of these journeys lies greater peace and joy than we could ever imagine.
"See, I am doing a new thing...
I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland."
Isaiah 43:19
MrsK's Review: Faith-Baised Bible Study
With in the pages of this journey you will find two truths: The first will be that you need a journal and a few colored pens for you will be inspired to take notes. The second truth will be found in your journey with yourself and the wisdom of these often quiet voices. As with Esther, you will be called for a time such as this.

I can not overstate the powerful guidance of these women who have walked before us. Esther's story has always been a strength building roadmap, yet with new insights I've discovered that her wisdom was in her love for her uncle, as well as her King. 

In Mary's and Elizabeth's story, I understood their journey for our Lord, their strengths demonstrates Proverbs 31 guiding our roles as a wife and a mother. Even though my children are now parents... this story tugged at my heart... reminding me that every generation that crosses my season of life is in fact a generation I can help raise up for our Lord.

In Ruth's and Naomi's story, my prayers to be so honored as to guide my daughter-in-laws in gracious love is an ongoing hope that only by our Lord's Grace will I plant seeds so fruitful.

Mother's and Daughter's... if you can use this book as a book study together... you are blessed. Make this your spring journey and take these women's example to heart... discuss these women and seek to be inspired for a new season of joy...

Throughout the years of my life I was in desperate need of a woman of faith. Isaiah's prophetic words resonnated within my season of motherhood. If I had considered the women of the Bible and what I could have learned... Well... now there is a book of their wisdom... this is a must for every mother, daughter, aunt, and grandmother...

Meet the Author:

Shannon Bream is the author of the number one New York Times bestsellers The Women of the Bible Speak and The Mothers and Daughters of the Bible Speak, the anchor of FOX News Sunday, and Fox News Channel’s chief legal correspondent. She has covered landmark cases at the Supreme Court and heated political campaigns and policy battles from the White House to Capitol Hill.

ISBN: 9780778311461
Publisher's Synopsis:
It was the year that changed everything. When Susannah Nelson turned eighteen, she said goodbye to her boyfriend, Jake—and never saw him again. She never saw her brother again, either; Doug died in a car accident that same year.

Now, at fifty, she finds herself regretting the paths not taken. Long married, a mother and a teacher, she should be happy. But she feels there’s something missing in her life, although she doesn’t know exactly what. Not only that, she’s balancing the demands of an aging mother and a temperamental twenty-year-old daughter.

Her mother, Vivian, a recent widow, is having difficulty coping and living alone, so Susannah goes home to Colville, Washington. In returning to her parents’ house, her girlhood friends and the garden she’s always loved, she also returns to the past—and the choices she made back then.

What she discovers is that things are not as they once seemed. Some paths are dead ends. But some gardens remain beautiful…

MrsK's Review: Reality Fiction
Vivian has gotten lost in her childhood town of Colville. A place she has known all of her life. Her husband, George, is no longer living... yet, she can talk to him in her moments of need. She must get home to her beloved garden and before he comes home.

Susannah is struggling through her son's and daughter's young adult choices. Brian is a wonderful father and husband... yet there is a disquieting within her mind. Add in the crazy dreams about Jake. Nothing seems "normal" and now, her mother is sounding "out of sorts." She knows its time to return to Colville. What will she find? Will her mom be willing to move into a senior facility? Will returning home to pack up the memories and sell the house allow her to walk away from her burdens that haven't healed? As an educator, summer vacation is the best time to get all things accomplished in Colville, yet if her brother had not died it wouldn't have been just her responsibility.

Chrissie isn't "eager" to return home for the summer break. Leaving the university doesn't thrill her. Leaving her dorm life and Jason to return home to Seattle is not how her life should be unfolding. Especially since Jason hasn't arrived as promised. College is mostly about her social life, her grades are still average but her life is centered around her friends and Jason.

Altimira is Colville's senior living facility. If Vivian will give it a chance, Susannah knows she will meet other's that she has known. Will it be the best choice for her mother? It definitely would be an easier transition for all that must be done for the sale of the house.

In this "disquieted" season of life, things are never easy. Memories and "unknowns" are always a shadow. The saying good-bye to what was and walking thru the desert of an exhaustive change will bring choices that either completes the struggles or destroys what was once comfortable. Relationships become stretched... old friends still have an influence... and home can become broken more than you anticipated. Which will Susannah experience... well that is the journey within the covers of  Susannah's Garden.

This is not a typical Macomber story line. It's a story that causes one to ponder how life can switch gears as one is becoming more seasoned in life. Given we all will experience our parents beginning their journey home, it's comforting to know how others walk the path of an aging parent. Three generations... some with dreams, some with mid-life questions, and those who are removed from their daily homes. What I discovered was the comfort of Macomber's storytelling craft, it did not leave me alone in despair. Hope is always woven within her stories. This book's journey provides a calming peace for the difficult seasons in a woman's life.

Meet the Author:

Debbie Macomber is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and one of today’s most popular writers with more than 200 million copies of her books in print worldwide. In her novels, Macomber brings to life compelling relationships that embrace family and enduring friendships, uplifting her readers with stories of connection and hope. Macomber’s novels have spent over 1,000 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Fifteen of these novels hit the number one spot.

In 2023, Macomber’s all-new hardcover publication includes Must Love Flowers (July). In addition to fiction, Macomber has also published three bestselling cookbooks, three adult coloring books, numerous inspirational and nonfiction works, and two acclaimed children’s books.

Publisher's Synopsis:
Sarah has found an anonymously published book about Debby Neely, a quilter from Maple Hill who was jailed for a crime she didn’t commit. To make matters even more interesting, the book was donated by Sarah’s mother, Ruth. Did Ruth have any connection to Debby? Can Sarah find Debby and bring her justice? Find out in this suspenseful adventure that is sure to please any mystery-lover!

"Some mysteries aren't meant to be solved."
MrsK's Review: Mystery
Maple Hill is a small town in which most everyone has known each other for generations. For Sarah, the library always gave her a sense of completeness. She was comfortable with the wisdom and stories that the library provided. Her discovery of an old storage area and a box of books would begin a mysterious journey to find out who Debby Neely was?  Sarah is baffled with this biographical book about a woman who was only in their town for a short period of time. Why did she come to their town? Who was Debby Neely? Why was she taken outside of the church and transported to jail? Was her mother a part of Debby's story?

Sarah realizes that her mother once had a dress like the ones described in the book. Could she be the author? Why was this book donated to the library? Debby seemed quiet, a gifted quilter, someone known at the local church... there must be someone in town who remembers her, including the author of this mysterious book. What Sarah knows for certain is that Debby's story is not a book to be set aside.

Woven between Sarah's interviews around the town and the pages of the mysterious book, there are characters that are realistically portrayed, in fact you would have met them in any small town across America. In many ways... I felt as if I had just gone home to my Silverton youth. Since this is a Patchwork Mystery, I adored all the descriptions of Debby's skilled patchwork dress/skirt designs. There really is nothing better than a quilted blanket, skirt, vest, or even drapes! Inspiring creations abound!

If your first mystery series was Nancy Drew or Trixie Belden... maybe you read Cam Jansen or Friday Barnes... this enjoyable mystery will be like finding an old friend... grab a quilt and a cup of tea and enjoy a moment of just reading for enjoyment,

Meet the Author:

Camy writes Christian romantic suspense, contemporary romance, and cozy mystery as Camy Tang and Regency romance under her pen name, Camille Elliot. She grew up in Hawaii but now lives in northern California with her engineer husband and rambunctious dog. She graduated from Stanford University in psychology with a focus on biology, but for nine years she worked as a biologist researcher. Then God guided her path in a completely different direction and now she’s writing full time, using her original psychology degree as she creates the characters in her novels. In her free time, she’s a staff worker for her church youth group and leads one of her church’s Sunday worship teams. She also loves to knit, spin wool into yarn, and is training to (very slowly) run a marathon.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Seasoned Readers Winter's Retreats


The most wonderful time of the year...snow... a hot cup of tea... a quilt...a book journey!

ISBN: 9781982131906
Publisher's Synopsis:
Eva Traube Abrams, a semi-retired librarian in Florida, is shelving books one morning when her eyes lock on a photograph in a magazine lying open nearby. She freezes; it’s an image of a book she hasn’t seen in sixty-five years—a book she recognizes as The Book of Lost Names.

The accompanying article discusses the looting of libraries by the Nazis across Europe during World War II—an experience Eva remembers well—and the search to reunite people with the texts taken from them so long ago. The book in the photograph, an eighteenth-century religious text thought to have been taken from France in the waning days of the war, is one of the most fascinating cases. Now housed in Berlin’s Zentral- und Landesbibliothek library, it appears to contain some sort of code, but researchers don’t know where it came from—or what the code means. Only Eva holds the answer—but will she have the strength to revisit old memories and help reunite those lost during the war?

"... Aurignon... was a town whose heart hadn't yet been trampled..."
MrsK's Review: Historical Fiction
In May of 2005, Eva saw a photograph in the NY Times newspaper of the book she believed had vanished over six decades ago. Even though the book was published in 1732, within its pages are the coded names of those whom Eva once helped. It was in July of 1942 that the world began its "horror" of the World War. It would be two nights later that the fatal "knock" on their door would awaken them. Her father had directed her to go to Monsieur Goujon if he was arrested. Thus begins Eva's journey, with a typewriter and a smile Eva ventures "into the heart of Paris." In 2005, after all these years Eva has decided to return to Berlin. She must reclaim the book of lost names.

With dashed hopes for escape, Eva leaves Monsieur Goujon's stationary establishment. The package of blank documents would require her talent. Would she be able to forge all the aspects of "real" identity cards, travel permits, and naturalization certificates? She had little time to create the forgeries that would get her mother and herself out of the "free zone." She was told to head to the small town of Auringnon south of Vichy. 

Madame Barbier is the proprietress of a small boarding house. Thanks to her kindness to Eva and her mother they have a roof over their head. As well as an introduction to a stranger who had shadowed Eva around the village.

le Pere Clement is a Catholic Priest at Eglise Saint-Alban. Someone who has "friends with ink-stained fingers." He will forever change Eva's life with his request for assistance in forging documents for the many travelers who are seeking refuge away from Paris. If "lives hung in the balance," could Eva be "called" to do her part for those in need? While she "forges" papers to get her father freed from the German camp, Eva and others will be drawn into endless hours of "pains-taking" detailing. Secrecy is a matter of life and death. Only a few can be trusted.

Remy Charpentier once a stranger appears at the right moment when she is heading back to Paris. Even though he appears at just the right moment when a German soldier is questioning Eva, he will become the most valued guide, friend, and co-worker Eva will know and forever remember about her days in Auringnon.

With the danger of the 1942 storyline, the beautifully crafted storyline of Eva's return to re-claim the book of lost names is a brilliant masterpiece. Settings are described with details of quaint village life, the horrific horrors of the feared German invasion, and the heartwarming truth of one woman's journey before she began a family. 

Our Booked to Dine group has rated this the best read of the year!
" librarians and booksellers everywhere,
who ensure that the books with the power to change lives
find their way into the hands of the people who need them most."
Thank you KH... for this dedication page quote... Inspired Learning and MrsK
Meet the Author:

A former reporter for PEOPLE magazine, Kristin has been writing professionally since the age of 16, when she began her career as a sportswriter, covering Major League Baseball and NHL hockey for a local magazine in Tampa Bay, Florida in the late 1990s. After stints covering health and lifestyle for American Baby, Men’s Health, and Woman’s Day, she became a reporter for PEOPLE and spent more than a decade working for the publication, covering everything from the Super Bowl to high-profile murders to celebrity interviews with the likes of Ben Affleck, Matthew McConaughey, OutKast, Justin Timberlake, and Patrick Dempsey. Her favorite stories at PEOPLE, however, were the “Heroes Among Us” features—tales of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. One of those features—the story of Holocaust survivor turned philanthropist Henri Landwirth (whom both Walter Cronkite and John Glenn told Kristin was the most amazing person they’d ever known)—partially inspired Kristin’s 2012 novel, The Sweetness of Forgetting, which was a bestseller all over the world. Kristin was born just outside Boston, Massachusetts, and spent her childhood there, as well as in Columbus, Ohio, and St. Petersburg, Florida. After graduating with a degree in journalism (with a minor in Spanish) from the University of Florida, she spent time living in Paris and Los Angeles and now lives in Orlando, with her husband and young son. She travels frequently to France for book research (and—let’s be honest—for the pastries and wine) and writes a book a year for Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster.

ISBN: 9780800722333
Publisher's Synopsis:
When Tabitha Brown's son makes the fateful decision to leave Missouri and strike out for Oregon, she refuses to be left behind. Despite her son's concerns, Tabitha hires her own wagon to join the party. Along with her reluctant daughter and her ever-hopeful granddaughter, the intrepid Tabitha has her misgivings. But family ties are stronger than fear.

The trials they face along the way will severely test Tabitha's faith, courage, and ability to hope. With her family's survival on the line, she must make the ultimate sacrifice, plunging deeper into the wilderness to seek aid. What she couldn't know was how this frightening journey would impact how she understood her own life--and the greater part she had to play in history.

With her signature attention to detail and epic style, New York Times bestselling author Jane Kirkpatrick invites readers to travel the deadly and enticing Oregon Trail. Based on actual events, This Road We Traveled will inspire the pioneer in all of us.

"Write the trouble stories down Gramo.
So I have them to read when I'm growed up."
MrsK's Review: Historical Fiction
In 1845 Missouri, Tabitha was working was inspiring her granddaughter with her life stories. Tabby promised a hand-written book about her life to Sarelia. As Missouri's city edged closer to her country home, Tabby reflected on her "garnered" wisdom. A quill pen, powdered ink, and memories all drifted in and out of her mind and onto her papers of a life lived. With Orus out in the Oregon country and Manthano a week's ride away... her only daughter, Pherne, encouraged her to write her biography for all of her grandchildren. Yet, at her age, memories proved to be a "fickle" thing. Hours alone in her cabin... muttering to herself and her chicken Beatrice led to a loneliness that she really didn't want to share with her children. It was those times in which she passionately taught her grandchildren... open books... open minds... teaching and sharing knowledge... that was her great passion but it only lasted for short periods of her day. Aging becomes the crossroad of your final season. Yet, time with her children and grandchildren, as well as the expectation of Orus's return is brightening her tomorrow.

Going west into the Oregon country would be a new adventure, a new beginning. Missouri wasn't a state that was currently supporting opposition to slavery. Those who journeyed west would need strength, determination, faith, and hope. Orus believed his mother needed to stay in Missouri. Tabitha became determined to have her own wagon and travel as the last wagon to not hold her family back. Once in Oregon, what will she do to begin a new season in her life? At least she will be with her children... God willing.

Those who walked before us, listening to their "stories" is how so many of us have grown up. In today's world the "tech-age" is no longer learning the circular seasons of life. As with so many of Kirkpatrick's novels, you will gain wisdom. As an educator in the Pacific NW, I've always been drawn to the brave souls who left their homes to travel out west. My great-grandmother was one of those who settled in Bandon, OR. More than grit... faith will walk with you... and this journey within a book will inspire you long after you've turned the last page.
"I want to know when trouble found you and how you got out of it.
That'll help me when I get into trouble... and I'll write my stories for you."
Meet the Author:


Kirkpatrick brings us a story of one woman's restoration from personal grief to the meaning of community."

ISBN: 9780425277539
Publisher's Synopsis:
In Athena, Mississippi, librarian Charlie Harris is known for his good nature—and for his Maine coon cat Diesel that he walks on a leash. Charlie returned to his hometown to immerse himself in books, but taking the plunge into a recent acquisition will have him in over his head…

Lucinda Beckwith Long, the mayor of Athena, has donated a set of Civil War-era diaries to the archives of Athena College. The books were recently discovered among the personal effects of an ancestor of Mrs. Long's husband. The mayor would like Charlie to preserve and to substantiate them as a part of the Long family legacy—something that could benefit her son, Beck, as he prepares to campaign for the state senate.

Beck's biggest rival is Jasper Singletary. His Southern roots are as deep as Beck's, and their families have been bitter enemies since the Civil War. Jasper claims the Long clan has a history of underhanded behavior at the expense of the Singletarys. He'd like to get a look at the diaries in an attempt to expose the Long family's past sins. Meanwhile, a history professor at the college is also determined to get her hands on the books in a last-ditch bid for tenure. But their interest suddenly turns deadly…

MrsK's Review: Mystery
Ok, I must admit I had never heard of a Maine Coon cat, but my introduction to Diesel was completely enjoyable. Let me introduce you to the Athena College librarian... Charlie. Currently, he is a bit unhappy with Mayor Lucinda for not showing up on time. Yet, he is curious to see the Civil War diaries that she should be dropping off.

The Mayor's son has discovered four diaries that are dated around 1840-1875. Athena, Mississippi was occupied by the Union troops during the Civil War. These diaries, written by Rachel Long, would be an excellent addition to the college's archives. Especially since the current descendant had served four terms as their Senator. Yet, Charlie wasn't exactly sure that the Mayor's statement that she thought the discovery of these diaries could affect the outcome of the upcoming election was rational.

Given so many interested parties, who were very impatient with Charlie's decision to evaluate and archive the documents before anyone could see them, he was becoming annoyed. The budget didn't provide enough funding to be at the archives for more than three days. Given the discovery that Rachel's memoir has suspiciously been recorded as lost, he was certain that someone was becoming overly concerned about what might be in the journals.

Kelly Grimes appears to be a freelance writer. Her insistence on reading the journals is getting bothersome. There might be a political revelation that is behind her desire, much more reasonable than a research paper... she could write a sellable book.

Jasper Singletary is a political "hopeful." What is the connection between Kelly and him? What would the journals prove that could help his election? How far might they go to get their hands on the journals?

Marie Steverton is using her professorship as her right to see the journals before anyone else. Could her urgency be in the discovery of some political scandal or could she be worried about what she already knows is written?

And then, Charlie receives the call that Marie has been "run over" and killed...

A jaunt with literary elements is always a delightful quick journey... add in a good mystery and murder... well is there any better way to spend a winter day off?

Meet the Author:


Miranda James is the pseudonym of Dean James, a seventh-generation Mississippian who recently returned home after over thirty years in Texas. A mystery fan since the age of ten, he wrote his first novel at the ripe old age of twelve. The only copy of The Mystery of the Willow Key vanished years ago, but since it was highly derivative of the Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden mystery series, that’s probably a good thing.

ISBN: 9781338749571
Publisher's Synopsis:
"You are to report to Station X at Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire, in four days time....That is all you need to know." This was the terse telegram hundreds of young women throughout the British Isles received in the spring of 1941, as World War II raged. As they arrived at Station X, a sprawling mansion in a state of disrepair surrounded by Spartan-looking huts with little chimneys coughing out thick smoke—these young people had no idea what kind of work they were stepping into. Who had recommended them? Why had they been chosen? Most would never learn all the answers to these questions. Bletchley Park was a well-kept secret during World War II, operating under the code name Station X. The critical work of code-cracking Nazi missives that went on behind its closed doors could determine a victory or loss against Hitler’s army.

"For it is evil things that we shall be fighting against. 
Brute force, bad faith, injustice, oppression, and persecution; 
and against them, I am certain that right will prevail."
PM Neville Chamberlain

MrsK's Review: Historical Fiction YA+
During wartime, many young women and teens walked away from their hopes and dreams and entered into the unknown service known as Bletchley Park. A service that would be cloaked in secrecy. Work that would be difficult mentally, emotionally, and physically. Sheltered away from everyday life.

On September 3, 1939, Britain and France signed an agreement to support Poland. Hitler refused the Prime Minister's letter. War began. In a red brick manor, Station X was established to decipher and break Hitler's codes and save the lives of their people.

Patricia was eighteen, and she worked as a listener on her wireless radio. The dial would be turned back and forth for any Morse codes coming across the "hissing" airways. She was trained to listen for all Nazi weather reports, battle strategies, orders to attack, and more. Most often she listened to naval codes that would endanger the British ships. Before the war, she had hopes of finishing secondary school and getting married. Her life in Lancashire never included joining the Women's Royal Naval Service (WRENS). Yet, at seventeen that is where she entered the war.

Jane longed to join the war effort, even though her parents felt she was destined to be a debutante. Once her friend Elizabeth sends her a request to come and join her at Bletchley Park, there would be no stopping her decision to take a train to the fifty-three-acre estate. Even though she understood that she would never be able to tell anyone, including her parents, where she was or what she would be doing... she signed the British Official Secrets Act. Jane had just joined the cryptographers in Hut 6 as a decoder.

Mavis had hoped to join the war efforts as a nurse, yet once she was interviewed and they learned that she knew the German language she became destined to do "more important duties." Deciphering word patterns and syllables would benefit the war efforts at the Enigma machines.

Sarah received a summons to report to Station X. There were so many questions, she had no clue why this unknown Commander Travis would send her to Station X. She lived a royal life of boarding schools and country manors. Her grandmother was Queen Elizabeth's best friend. She knew German and had spent six months in Munich. At Station X, she would be in Hut 8 where she would be working in the Index room gathering intelligence from the deciphered cards: naval coordinates; code names; weapons; units; places; and scientific names.

Along with the ladies above, you will meet Diana who would work in Hut11A with the machines that would break the secrets of the enemies. Gwen joined the WAAF, and her ability to speak some German landed her in Hut 10/Block A where she would cipher communications. In 1943, Ann would convert the crib and cipher texts into diagrams. Joanna would program the "Beast."

This is one of the best war novels. It is filled with historical photographs; factual captions; code-ciphering examples; as well as a glimpse into the lives of four hundred men and one thousand women who helped the world defeat the Hitler horror-filled takeover. This novel is one of the best resources for all learners 5th-HS+. If you are a homeschooling parent, an educator, or a librarian... get this book!

Meet the Author:


I have always been a storyteller. Even before I could write my name, I could tell a good tale. And I told them all the time. As a preschooler, I told my neighbors all about my three-legged cat named Spot. In kindergarten, I told my classmates about the ghost that lived in my attic. And in first grade I told my teacher, Miss Harbart, all about my family's trip to Paris, France. As I grew, I continued to write stories. But I never really thought of becoming an author. Instead, I went to college where I discovered yet another passion—history. I didn't realize it then, but studying history is really just an extension of my love of stories. After all, some of the best stories are true ones — tales of heroism and villainy made more incredible by the fact they really happened.

After graduation, I got married and had children. I read to them a lot, and that's when I discovered the joy and music of children's books. I simply couldn't get enough of them. With my two sons in tow, I made endless trips to the library. I read stacks of books. I found myself begging, "Just one more, pleeeeease!" while my boys begged for lights-out and sleep. Then it struck me. Why not write children's books? It seemed the perfect way to combine all the things I loved: stories, musical language, history, and reading. I couldn't wait to get started.

ISBN: 9781961125391
Publisher's Synopsis:
Cheryl Cooper loves the air of excitement these new arrivals bring, and as a recent member of the community, she enjoys getting to know her neighbors by delivering congratulatory gifts to the families. She never dreamed that one of these visits would end in an awful discovery...a baby has been snatched from his cradle!

When Cheryl comes across a lead that could reunite the child with his mother and put the kidnapper behind bars, she must take matters into her own hands. But will the truth she uncovers spell happily ever after or will it expose a deeper, more sinister problem?

MrsK's Review: Amish Mystery
Cheryl works at the Swiss Miss gift shop. Gifts made by local craftsmen are always sought after by customers, although on this day before Thanksgiving, she did not expect a customer who would be both in an extreme hurry and rude at the same time. Who was this customer? Why did she leave a foreboding impression?

Naomi is Cheryl's "mystery-solving" partner. Today they are on their way to drop off Rachel's baby items, which include Naomi's beautiful quilts for the sweet twins. 

Rachel is an Englisher who has newly married into the Sugarcreek community. One of the twins is keeping her awake and exhausted so this moment of coffee shared with her friends is a blessing. That is until Rachel goes to check on the twins... the urgency of her shout has ended the peace... one of the twins is missing!

An Amber alert is issued and thus the mystery begins. Will Rachel recover from the baby-napping? Will the Sugarcreek community rally around her for support? Will Rachel's estranged relationship with her parents finally come to their daughter's home? For Cheryl, the news that the strange customer had been quickly purchasing baby items throughout the community is the lead that Cheryl and Naomi will follow.

This is a very "sweet" mystery. Your heart aches for the young family. You follow the leads as the mystery unravels, and as with every Amish romance, you will enjoy the "goodness" of a community that in today's world is hard to find.

Grab a cup of tea, and a comfy quilt, and relax with this "cozy" Amish mystery,

Meet the Author:

Elizabeth Ludwig is an accomplished speaker and teacher, often attending conferences where she lectures on editing for fiction writers, crafting effective novel proposals, and conducting successful editor/agent interviews. Book three in her popular EDGE OF FREEDOM series, Tide and Tempest, was named a finalist for the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. Elizabeth was also named a finalist in the 2015 Selah Awards for her novella “One Holy Night”, part of the bestselling anthology collection, Christmas Comes to Bethlehem, Maine. Most recently, she was honored to be awarded a HOLT Medallion for her book, A Tempting Taste of Mystery, part of the SUGARCREEK AMISH MYSTERIES series from Guideposts. Her latest releases include Sheeps Passing in the Night, part of the MYSTERIES OF MARTHA’S VINEYARD series, also from Guideposts, and The Coffee Club Mysteries from Barbour Publishing.

ISBN: 9780316480772
Publisher's Synopsis:
Grayson Hawthorne was raised as the heir apparent to his billionaire grandfather, taught from the cradle to put family first. Now the great Tobias Hawthorne is dead and his family disinherited, but some lessons linger. When Grayson’s half-sisters find themselves in trouble, he swoops in to do what he does best: take care of the problem—efficiently, effectively, mercilessly. And without getting bogged down in emotional entanglements.

Jameson Hawthorne is a risk-taker, a sensation-seeker, and a player of games. When his mysterious father appears and asks for a favor, Jameson can’t resist the challenge. Now he must infiltrate London’s most exclusive underground gambling club, which caters to the rich, the powerful, and the aristocratic, and win an impossible game of greatest stakes. Luckily, Jameson Hawthorne lives for the impossible.

Drawn into twisted games on opposite sides of the globe, Grayson and Jameson—with the help of their brothers and the girl who inherited their grandfather’s fortune—must dig deep to decide who they want to be and what each of them will sacrifice to win.

"Hawthornes don't have hobbies...
we have specialties... expertise."
MrsK's Review: Mystery YA+
*January's first read... So worth the winter chill!
The Hawthorne brothers know that there is "no getting around the rules." Not even on Christmas morning. Even twelve years ago, the brothers knew there would be a trick... always a challenge... an important game of the mind and skill. 

All those years ago, the Hawthorne brothers have followed the rules of engagement. Each brother utilizes their individual strengths, their wit, their intelligence, and their name to accomplish whatever needs to be done. Today when their cells receive the 911 message... they will gather from wherever and whatever they are involved in. A summons, after all, is a summons. 

Jameson and Avery fly to London from the Iguazzu Falls. Avery is patient with Jameson's mood. Whatever secret he is harboring will remain secret until he's ready to let her in. In the meantime, Nash's summon was their destination. Avery has learned that "doing great things" was an internal force for Jameson. One that wasn't just "great" it was more of a "vast and lasting and incredible" great.

Grayson had his own secret. Since their grandfather's death and Avery had walked into their life, everything was changing. The year the brothers had learned who their fathers were had changed each of them. Grayson struggled with the outcome of his interactions with his father. To say that it ended badly didn't come close to what he was dealing with right now. So Nash's 911, took some time to register this new change. Xander, Jameson and Avery were so excited for Nash.

Jameson and Avery will be entering into a secluded game to win back Jameson's father's home. Grayson will be involved in a cat-and-mouse game of keeping secrets... secret from his newly discovered sisters.

The page-turning pacing is how these Hawthorne games unfold. This book might be the 5th in the series... it is one of the best crafted since the Inheritance games began. Every character has matured in their own style. Every clue is masterfully revealed at the precise moment you feel the anxiety of a choice that makes your gut scream no!

If you haven't begun the Inheritance games... get started... sleepless nights are a promise...
Meet the Author:


Jennifer Lynn Barnes (who mostly goes by Jen) was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She has been, in turn, a competitive cheerleader, a volleyball player, a dancer, a debutante, a primate cognition researcher, a teen model, a comic book geek, and a lemur aficionado. She's been writing for as long as she can remember, finished her first full book (which she now refers to as a "practice book" and which none of you will ever see) when she was still in high school, and then wrote Golden the summer after her freshman year in college when she was nineteen.

Jen graduated high school in 2002, and from Yale University with a degree in cognitive science (the study of the brain and thought) in May of 2006. She'll be spending the 2006-2007 school year abroad, doing autism research at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.

Happy Winter Reading...

Friday, January 12, 2024

Seasoned Readers Late Summer Nights

Publisher's Synopsis:
The Cat Who Saved Books is a heart-warming story about finding courage, caring for others – and the tremendous power of books.

Grandpa used to say it all the time: 'Books have tremendous power'. But what is that power really?

Natsuki Books was a tiny second-hand bookshop on the edge of town. Inside, towering shelves reached the ceiling, and everyone was crammed full of wonderful books. Rintaro Natsuki loved this space that his grandfather had created. He spent many happy hours there, reading whatever he liked. It was the perfect refuge for a boy who tended to be something of a recluse.

After the death of his grandfather, Rintaro is devastated and alone. It seems he will have to close the shop. Then, a talking tabby cat called Tiger appears and asks Rintaro for help. The cat needs a book lover to join him on a mission. This odd couple will go on three magical adventures to save books from people who have imprisoned, mistreated, and betrayed them. Finally, there is one last rescue that Rintaro must attempt alone . . .

Sosuke Natsukawa's international bestseller, translated from Japanese by Louise Heal Kawai, is a story for those for whom books are so much more than words on paper.

"Books have tremendous power."
MrsK's Review: Reality/Sci-Fi Fantasy
Meet Rintaro a high school student whose grandfather has just passed. I don't know if you have experienced the death of the one person whose life touched you in such a way that your entire world seems out of focus once they are gone, yet, Rintaro is about to experience a very real "altered reality" in his grandfather's "seasoned secondhand" book shop.

Meet Akiba, a concerned high school student. Since Rintaro will be moving, she begins stopping by the bookshop in hopes that Rintaro will return to school before he leaves.

Meet Tiger the Tabby, an unusual tabby cat with a "to-the-point" attitude. It seems that the cat is in need of Rintaro's help. Do not assume you know what the cat might need... just understand that the cat is quite outspoken, sometimes there, sometimes mysteriously missing, and very determined to drag Rintaro into other dwellings in which valuable books of knowledge are being mistreated.

Will Rintaro step up to the challenge, a challenge that will rescue books from disappearing... or will he remain locked away in his sorrow and just leave his grandfather's bookshop behind? Could Rintaro get stuck forever in a labyrinth? What might you say to someone who reads 100 books a month? Is it realistic to "abridge" a book so that everyone can experience great literature as quickly as listening to a song? But of course..."Logic and reason are never the best weapons in an irrational world."

Amazing insights, wondrously crafted, a page-turner of a different kind...
Enjoy, MrsK

"... books become imbued with a tremendous power, whether it be good or evil.
And when the soul of such a book becomes distorted..."
Meet the Author:
  Born in Osaka, Japan. “Books can't live your life for you. The reader who forgets to walk on his own two feet is like an old encyclopedia, his head stuffed with out-of-date information. Unless someone else opens it up, it's nothing but a useless antique.”
Sosuke Natsukawa is a doctor in Nagano, Japan. His first book Kamisama No Karute (God's Medical Records) won the Shogakukan Fiction Prize and received 2nd Place at the Japan Bookseller Awards. It sold over 1.5 million copies and was adapted into a film in Japan.
 Louise Heal Kawai  Japanese translator. I most wanted to convey the visuals that are so important in the original. My goal was to have the reader caught up in the quests as if they were there themselves. Whirling paper, booming music, and falling books, the visuals were essential to capture. (I hope I was successful.)

Another important aspect of the novel is the author’s thoughts on books and reading. Rintaro, the cat, and particularly Rintaro’s grandfather all express ideas on the topic of reading which I guessed (correctly) would be quoted in numerous reviews. The original Japanese was beautifully stated so I had to be sure that I translated these phrases in a way that would appeal to the English language reader, hopefully sticking in their mind. I tried to take extra care with the wording. Again, I hope I was successful.
ISBN: 9781324090625
Publisher's Synopsis:
For more than twenty years, Lemony Snicket has led millions of young readers through a mysterious world of bewildering questions and unfortunate events. With this latest book—a love letter to readers young and old about the vagaries of real life—longtime fans and new readers alike will experience Snicket’s distinctive voice in a new way.

This true story—as true as Lemony Snicket himself—begins with a puzzling note under his door: You had poison for breakfast. Following a winding trail of clues to solve the mystery of his own demise, Snicket takes us on a thought-provoking tour of his predilections: the proper way to prepare an egg, a perplexing idea called “tzimtzum,” the sublime pleasure of swimming in open water, and much else.

"This morning I had poison for breakfast."
MrsK's Review: Mystery
Lemony Snicket tells us... right up front... "that everything that happens in this book is true..." Well, I don't know about you, but for me, that's an intriguing hook!

Have you ever written things down in your mind or on slips of paper? Once you enter the later seasons of life... let me tell you... I can relate to writing all things down. The trouble is sometimes those slips that are meant "to be" reminders get shuffled into a void of no return. As for Mr. Lemony Snicket, who has just eaten his breakfast and the realization that he, in fact, does not have much time before the poison will finish his life.

While you ponder what the first thing you would be doing, consider Mr. Snicket's choice of retracing his steps from yesterday's outing. A day spent purchasing all of the ingredients that he had just eaten.
Seriously, who wouldn't want to retrace what was purchased that might have had poison in it?

This in fact... an incomparable read... a treasured moment in time... a mystery that has elusive threads that unravel... and a moment-by-moment sense of intriguing discoveries... 
Enjoy, MrsK

Meet the Author:
Lemony Snicket had an unusual education and a perplexing youth and now endures a despondent adulthood. His previous published works include the thirteen volumes in A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Composer is Dead, and 13 Words. His new series is All The Wrong Questions.

ISBN: 9780425232361
Publisher's Synopsis:
It has been almost a year since the Amish community of Pleasant Valley lost Ezra Brand to a tragic accident. Since then, his wife Rachel has struggled to raise their three children and run their dairy farm...

Rachel's friends and family have come forward to help. But all of their constant advice, however well-intentioned, puts undue pressure on Rachel. And when Ezra's best friend, Gideon Zook, asks her permission to build the greenhouse that Ezra had always promised her, she finds his presence too painful a reminder of the past.

As spring turns to summer, and Rachel puts her heart into growing the plants that have always brought her joy, can she discover the courage to embrace new beginnings?

"It wouldn't do to let her young ones suspect that their mamm had been crying."
MrsK's Review: Romance
Rachel has one desire, to remain on the land that her husband wanted to farm. So much has changed since his accident. Now it seems her family and the Amish community support her moving back home with her parents. But, is that really the best for her and their children? What about the dreams Ezra and her had shared? Why couldn't she remain on the farm and sell her beautiful plants at the market? Are there other possibilities that would keep her on their farm?

Gideon had been Ezra's childhood friend. Gideon had been the one who was with Ezra when the fatal accident occurred. Even though he was the carpenter who built their windmill, why would he want to be the one to build the present Ezra had planned for her? Would Rachel even let him be on Ezra's farm after what he wasn't able to stop? What isn't boding well... is the persistent pressure Isaac was putting on Rachel to sell the farm to him. Even if Isaac is her brother-in-law, what could Ezra do?

When an Amish novel finds its way into your home... the beautifully inspiring "wholeness" of family life, community, and hope becomes an inspiration that lifts the darkness of your own troubles while it promises moments of comforting page-turning...

"Forgiveness is only right..."
"We forgive as God forgives us. But God is God. We are not so gut at it as He is."
Meet the Author:

Marta Perry is a Pennsylvania-based author of over 35 novels, many of them inspirational romances. She uses her rural Pennsylvania life and her Pennsylvania Dutch heritage in writing her books, especially in her Pleasant Valley Amish series for Berkley Books and her new Amish-set suspense series for HQN Books.

Marta and her husband live in a centuries-old farmhouse in a quiet central Pennsylvania valley. They have three grown children and six beautiful grandchildren, and when she's not busy writing her next book, she's usually trying to keep up with her gardening, baking for church events, or visiting those beautiful grandkids. 


Monday, August 21, 2023

Summertime "To Be Read" discoveries K-MS

What's on your Summer 2B Read shelf?

ISBN: 9781338648263
Publisher's Synopsis:
From the PW Flying Starts creative force, Gracey Zhang, comes a touching and beautiful story about community, finding your own voice, doing what you love the most, and expressing your passion with FORTE! Rubin loves the beautiful sounds that are played by the orchestra. He wants to learn to play the violin and make his own music. But when Rubin plays, it doesn't sound like he imagines it should. Rubin goes into the forest to practice alone and despite only getting the violin to screech, he finds an unlikely audience that loves his unique style. In another inspiring and lyrical picture book that deftly dives into the psyche and heart of a child's viewpoint and experience, the creator of Lala's Words, Gracey Zhang, offers confidence to everyone who longs to master something that can be difficult and shows that there is only one way to do something that is to do it your own special way.

"Rubin loved the sounds...
They drifted around him and lifted him up..."
MrsK's Review: Storytime Read Aloud
Within a small town, Rubin enjoys listening to the Maestro's orchestra. When the Maestro places a violin in his hand... Rubin learns that his music is in need of some finer-tuned practice. So Rubin heads to the forest to practice the sounds he's been hearing.

With his first sounds, the forest creatures gather and join in with the sounds of his violin. Every evening Rubin would be in the forest clearing and every evening his audience joined in with their own unique voices.

With an ending concert, Rubin discovers that as his heart soared... so to did his unique violin voice.
Beautifully crafted, joyously performed,
Meet the Author:
Gracey Zhang is a freelance illustrator and animator with a BFA in illustration from the Rhode Island School of Design. Born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, and educated in the United States, she is now based in New York, where she rides the train while thinking of warmer climates.

ISBN: 9781338805819
Publisher's Synopsis:
Grab your compass and join the Adventure Friends -- Miguel and Clarke -- in this full-color early reader series! Pick a book. Grow a Reader! This series is part of Scholastic's early reader line, Acorn, aimed at children who are learning to read. With easy-to-read text, a short-story format, plenty of humor, and full-color artwork on every page, these books will boost reading confidence and fluency. Acorn books plant a love of reading and help readers grow! Clarke is new to town and ready to explore. Miguel loves meeting new people and going on adventures. With their walkie-talkies and compass in hand, these new friends map out their neighborhood and search for hidden treasure! With easy-to-read text and full-color artwork throughout, this adventure-filled early reader series is sure to be a hit with beginning readers! And after seeing Miguel and Clarke use their super-cool mapping skills across four short stories, readers may even be inspired to make their own neighborhood maps!

MrsK's Review: Read Aloud - 2nd Grade:
Such a perfect summer reading book. Is there any better time to explore the area around your home than on those lazy summer days? What about those long...evenings in which you have nothing to do? Why not begin a treasure-hunting group of friends and go exploring... even if it's only your backyard!

That's exactly what Clarke and Miguel decide they will do, especially since Clarke is new to the neighborhood. Explorations with a friend is absolutely the best summer-time memory. 

While you enjoy these great adventures with C&M, you learn what exploration tools you would pack for your summer adventures. As you explore, you can create your own area map... everything you need to know is in this book!

Be a summer explorer...stay safe...make good memories,

Meet the Author:

A pinch of humor, A dash of sweetness, and served with a side of curiosity. Picture books can shape our views of the world. I’m humbled to be a small part of that.
ISBN: 9781338799613
Publisher's Synopsis:
In this full-color early chapter book series, Priya starts a party-planning business to help save the planet -- one party at a time! Pick a book. Grow a Reader! This series is part of Scholastic's early chapter book line, Branches, aimed at newly independent readers. With easy-to-read text, high-interest content, fast-paced plots, and illustrations on every page, these books will boost reading confidence and stamina. Branches books help readers grow! Priya is excited to plan her aunty’s birthday party. She will donate the money she makes to help the cutest endangered animal on the planet, the quokka! But the party is this Saturday! With so many items on her to-do list, can she get it all done in time? Priya sends out handmade invitations, makes DIY decorations, and sets an orange-only snacks menu -- including pumpkin samosas! Will Priya’s very first party be a success? With speech bubbles, easy-to-read text, and vibrant artwork on every page, this series is perfect for newly independent readers!

MrsK's Review: Gr.1-2 Reality Fiction
Have you ever enjoyed planning a party? Do you enjoy celebrating with family or friends? Do you have the "gift" for knowing exactly what someone's celebration should look like? If so, then this is a book full of party-planning ideas.

Priya has started a party-planning business that raises money for animals in trouble. Awesome... right?
Do you know what a Quokka is? Don't worry, you will by the time you've read this book. These animals are adorable! As Priya plans her Aunty's birthday party, you are given insights about what a party planner does. There are so many ideas... read with a party-planning journal... you just might start your own party-planning business. Start with creating your own paper-chain curtain... on a summer day... open your window and watch as a summer breeze whispers through your curtain!

What summer parties could you plan?

Meet the Author:

Mitali Banerjee Ruths grew up in Houston, Texas, and dreamed of becoming an astronaut someday. She has worked as a babysitter, an ice cream seller, and a medical doctor. She now works as a creative director at a software company. She writes early in the morning on paper and types late at night on her computer. She loves telling stories, eating cookies, knitting sweaters, and going for walks in beautiful landscapes. She now lives in Canada with her husband, three kids, and their dog Tux. One day, she would like to orbit the earth and knit in zero gravity with floating yarn while watching a sunrise every 90 minutes.

ISBN: 9781338766738
Publisher's Synopsis:
When 10-year-old Kinjal hears a strange noise in the middle of the night, he grabs his twin sister, Kiya, and the two go searching in the forest at the edge of their new house. There, they find Snowy and Midnight, two winged pakkhiraj horses from the Kingdom Beyond Seven Oceans and Thirteen Rivers who have come to this dimension to seek help -- bees are disappearing, along with the nectar the pakkhiraj horses need to survive.

Whisked away to a magical realm, the twins must use Kiya’s scientific skills and Kinjal’s love of books and language. But then they discover that the disappearance of the bees is more nefarious than they thought, and the plot goes all the way to the top.

MrsK's Review: GR 3-4 Fantasy
How would you stop a Chaos monster from destroying the Solar System? What becomes an unknown quest for Kinjal and Kiya swiftly becomes a hidden secret about their dog Thumbs-Up, as well as their parents.

What happens next "had no explanation..." What the twins experience on a stormy night will break the laws of "space, time, and every scientific experiment." Thumbs-up rushes outside... begins whining and yipping... and then... what Kiya hears becomes the "beginning" of the rest of their saga.

Many of us have longed to see winged horses, yet on a stormy night, it would not be the traditional "beautiful experience. Especially when the only way to save your pet is to get on the backs of these powerful creatures and fly away from their home, their community... their universe.

So many questions... where is this Sky Kingdom? What is the Great Blah? Even though the Sky Kingdom is beautiful and overflowing with lush areas, there are sections that are dying. What is killing off the source of the creatures' "honey" food source? Could the twins really be the ones that could bring an end to the poisonous destruction?

A novel that will take you "out of this universe..."

Meet the Author:
 I spend my life at the intersection of the stethoscope and the pen. But besides all this, what I also do is teach my students to listen by writing stories. I have them do listener response – writing in reaction to a poem or story we read in class. I have them write to a prompt – ‘when was the last time you witnessed suffering?’ I have them write ongoing personal illness narratives – weekly narratives in which I ask them to tell of the same experience but from a different point of view or genre or form to help unpack not only their own personal stories (stories which inform how they, in turn, will listen to the stories of others), but discover how stories work – in regard to plot, form, function, and voice.

ISBN: 9781338726381
Publisher's Synopsis:
Jeff Smith's bestselling, award-winning BONE saga returns with this hilarious sequel to Tall Tales! Smiley Bone, Fone Bone, and their Rat Creature pal, Bartleby, take a group of young scouts to a legendary landmark that the Bone cousins found when they were kids. They share stories around a campfire, spinning tales of trips to the moon, the delights of quiche, an imagined monster come to life, and an encounter with the two stupid Rat Creatures gone hilariously wrong! This volume includes stories written by Jeff Smith and Tom Sniegoski and illustrated by Jeff Smith, Stan Sakai, Katie Cook, Matt Smith, and Scott Brown.

MrsK's Review: GN Fun for all ages
There is something wonderful about reading a comic book, especially on a summer morning. If you haven't met Bone or it's been a while since you've read a Bone comic... this is definitely one to check out.

When a young group of scouts campout in a legendary landmark, Smiley Bone, Fone Bone, and Rat Creature are sure to spin a few campfire stories...

Excellent summertime read... and then retell... around the campfire,

Meet the Author:
 Born and raised in the American mid-west, Jeff Smith learned about cartooning from comic strips, comic books, and watching animation on TV. In 1991, he launched a company called Cartoon Books to publish his comic book BONE, a comedy/adventure about three lost cousins from Boneville. Against all odds, the small company flourished, building a reputation for quality stories and artwork. Word of mouth, critical acclaim, and a string of major awards helped propel Cartoon Books and BONE to the forefront of the comic book industry.

ISBN: 9780545803502
Publisher's Synopsis:
What happens when the power goes out? And doesn't come back for days... weeks... even longer? Master of middle-grade suspense Roland Smith explores the possibilities in this action-packed novel!
Henry lives with his parents and extended family on a 40-acre property they all call the Aunt Farm. Even with dozens of aunts, uncles, cousins, and animals running around, life on the farm has always been comfortable and routine. But that all changes the day a passenger jet drops out of the sky and onto their land. And then all the phones go dead... And the cars won't start... Having spent a lifetime relying on the comfort and convenience of electricity and technology, now Henry and his family have only one hope for survival: each other.

"Hunger makes a thief of any man."
Pearl S Buck
MrsK's Review: Middle School Survival
What would you do if you were out on your farmland on a cold-crisp morning... where just being alone at the creek meant it was a good start to your day... and then a bright flash lit up the sky? Would you feel a sense of dread? For Henry, that's exactly how his entire life changed. Oh and just to let you know... that passenger jet that just fell out of the sky isn't a typical daily experience!

Henry lives on his family's forty-acre farm, a farm that has been in his family for seventy-two years. His father is the Portland Zoo director and his mom left her CEO position when he was born. Tech was a guarded tool on the farm, in spite of the fact that they had their own wind turbine. Most of his aunts and uncles lived around him and life consisted of daily chores, schooling, and family everywhere.

So, on the morning that the jet fell from the sky, Henry's farm life would become one of survival. What will happen when the food supply gets low? How old must you be to go into the city during an EMP outage? Think about it... cars are stranded... looting has created a danger zone... even if you had an older vehicle that wasn't out of commission, you had to have security... as in armed and ready to do whatever it would take to keep from being ambushed.

Caroline is Henry's neighbor. Not only have they grown up together. Turning thirteen hasn't been the easiest time of their friendship... and yet, Henry was not expecting to see Caroline sitting between her mom and dad at the crash sight. Now, she is "talking" to him. It's not like she's a ghost, it's just that she carries on a conversation that has quite the attitude.

The Wonderland Compound has become the envy of all who live around Portland, Oregon. The WC has electricity, food, their own bartering coins, items to trade for, and of course a secured "dead car" border. The challenge is that there are some who have decided to take over the compound. Will Henry survive a mishap trip into the Portland Zoo?

Roland Smith has an amazing "home-run" hit with this stand-alone novel. If you've read his survival series: Thunder Cave, IQ, and Storm Runners... you must get this novel! If you have not read any of this author's books... I can tell you, as an educator, every year his novels have been an "enthusiastic" hit with our learners. His mastery of "page-turning" hooks is beyond comparison. His narratives are so well crafted that these characters never leave you... you always want another book to be written.
Get ready for a night into morning read,

Meet the Author:
Roland Smith is an American author of young adult fiction as well as nonfiction books for children. Smith was born in Portland, Oregon, and graduated from Portland State University and, following a part-time job at the Oregon Zoo in Portland, began a 20-year career as a zookeeper, both at the Oregon Zoo and the Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma, Washington. After working to save wildlife following the Exxon Valdez oil spill, in 1990, he published his first book, Sea Otter Rescue, a non-fiction account of the process of animal rescue. Smith continued to draw upon his zoo experiences for other non-fiction titles, including Journey of the Red Wolf, which won an Oregon Book Award in 1996.
In 1997, Smith published his first novel, Thundercave. The book continues Smith's theme, as teenage protagonist Jacob Lansa follows his biologist father to Africa where the father is researching elephants. The Lansa character also appears in 1999
s Jaguar and 2001's The Last Lobo. Other novels by Smith include The Captain's Dog: My Journey with the Lewis and Clark Tribe, Zach's Lie, Jack's Run, Cryptid Hunters, and Sasquatch (novel), about a boy who searches for Bigfoot. Peak is the story of a teenage boy obsessed with climbing mountains, Elephant Run, and Tentacles(novel). In 2008, Smith published the first book in the series I, Q, titled Independence Hall. Smith's books have won "Book of the Year" awards in Colorado, Nevada, South Carolina, and Florida, as well as in his native Oregon. Smith lives in Tualatin, Oregon with his wife and stepchildren.

MrsK's Reading Bio

Reading is important! No questions asked, not even a blink of the eye from any student I grew up with. On the first day of the First grade, we were given our first books. Day two we all read aloud, round robin of course. Day three we were place in our first basal, now known as a lit circle group. Books were so important, publishers designed new curriculum so that every student was reading by the end of the first week. These early readers had images that looked like what we could see in the classroom, beyond the classroom, even on the big screen. Reading is important, throughout history every generation has believed that “Reading” opens up the world for endless possibilities.

I adore the 1950’s Dick and Jane books. Actually, most reading specialists and experienced (45+) educators believe that every student learned to read with Dick and Jane. Since these books are being re-issued, I have heard many parents, grandparents, and students claim that Dick and Jane stories of repetition does teach students to read.

Early influences from my mother influenced my desire to read. I would watch her read and we would go on “secret” excursions to the library. The library became my playground. I owned every book I could carry home, of course they needed to be taken back to their home after visiting with me for a week or two. My first book that I could pull off of the library shelf and read was, Father Bear Comes Home. I only saw my dad on Sundays for a few hours. I would pull this beginning reader off of the library shelf every week. Every week I would try to read the first chapter. Every week I got further in the story. My mom would let me check it out, only if I could read it myself (She didn’t like the illustrations therefore she didn’t want to take time to read it to me). One day, I pulled the book from the shelf and when mom came to get me from the children’s corner, I realized that I had read the whole story. I ran to the check out desk and the Librarian KERCHUNKED the checkout card. My mother, brother and neighbors read. My teachers read. We all read aloud all day long in school. The Priest read aloud every day at mass, even in Latin. Everybody in the Doctor’s office read. People on the bus read. Dad’s waiting in their cars as the Mom’s and children grocery shopped, read. In fact, once you could read and write, Sunset Magazine considered you a reader and sent you mail every day.

Reading is important; I’ve spent my life reading. I’ve traveled around the world and into space through books. My favorite genre is whichever book I have open at the time. Children’s Literature is my passion. Book clubbing is one of the best past times, especially if food is involved. In fact my friends of old are in a book club and we are about to embark on a beach trip to “read” and discuss our newest selection.

My “home-run” book story has helped every student find his or her own “home-run” reads. Every year, I have shared my, Father Bear Comes Home, and every year my students have brought in their “home-run” books. That’s the “diving board” into our Lit. Studies.

In “Growing Up Digital,” Tapscott’s insights into the new generations enthusiasm for the Net reminded me of my generation’s enthusiasm for reading, movies, TV, parties and our driving permits. The Net-Generation, as Tapscott describes, “are learning, playing, communicating, working, creating communities, and enforcing a social transformation.”
N-Geners are interactive “techies” who are always looking for a way to “work it” verses the TV Generation of “Baby Boomers” who started out looking for “how it works.” Reading development is tougher today, society moves too fast to invest their “non-working” free time into a book or even “home work.” Since I stepped into my own classroom, I have seen students being told to read, being forced to read, and threatened into reading. Homework is not any longer the vehicle for students to gain their future lifestyles or careers with. Yet, the Internet does create an enthusiasm for learning. Since I have been enrolled in these courses, I have used the computers in every subject. My students are using the newest technology in the classroom because I am giving them investigative sites to use as they learn from each other and books. I agree with Tapscott, in order to bridge the gap with this up and coming generation we must “live and learn with them.”

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