Posts from the ‘middle grades’ Category

OUT OF THIS WORLD

Alien Kid

Written by Kristen Otte

 

Charlie Baker is the new sixth grader in Silver Lake Middle School. Middle school is a difficult period in any child’s life, but for Charlie, things are especially tough. Charlie and his family tell everyone that they have just moved to upstate New York from Cleveland, but they are aliens from Jupiter’s moon, Europa. A revolution led to a militaristic faction gaining control. Charlie’s family had to flee in order to survive. The family struggles to blend in on Earth, but their ability to read minds is both a blessing and a curse.

Charlie is bullied by Caden and Jordan. He falls in love with a fellow student named Maya, to whom he reveals his secret. But Maya wants Charlie to use his gift to help others. Charlie is having enough problems trying to understand the culture and the language. He says things like “hot spaghetti” and “oh pug” leaving his fellow sixth-graders mystified. The book focuses on middle-grade issues like bullying, peer-school relationships, and first love. This tale will appeal to students struggling to fit into a new school or neighborhood. The characters are believable and realistic.

Recommended especially for readers in fourth through seventh grades, but the story is well-written and appealing for any age.

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AN UNEXPECTED REWARD

Hazelita And The Magic Broom

Written and illustrated by Hope Finning

Hazelita is a destitute, lonely old woman. Every day she wanders from village to village with her only valuable possession, an old broom passed down to her from her mother. At night she knocks on the door of a local inhabitant seeking a warm meal and a place to state. In return, she promises to sweep their home in gratitude for their kindness. Hazelita cries herself to sleep each night because she has no family to care for her. After a while, word spreads around that her broom is magic and that it will grant any wish the family requests.

One evening she comes to a family headed by Thomas who goes out of their way to shower kindness upon Hazelita. The next day, they refuse to allow her to sweep as she is their honored guest. But Hazelita is horrified to discover the next day, that her broom has lost its magic. What will happen to Hazelita now that she cannot pay for her room and board? The answer lies in kindness rewarded. Read the book to find out how.

This book teaches children the value of community responsibility and the lesson that we should not expect rewards for everything we do. I would recommend the book to elementary and middle-grade students.

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SPY DOGS AND SCI-FI

Spy Dogs (1): A Suspicious Neighbor

Written by Amma Lee

 

This book is the first in a series of spy dog detective mysteries. Puggy is an adorable pet who is totally devoted to Bill, his human master. When Puggy notices a new neighbor dragging a large black plastic bag into the house next door, he immediately becomes suspicious. Puggy peeks into the neighbor’s window and discovers lots of computers, strange mechanical devices, and caged dogs. Puggy learns that many dogs in the area have recently been kidnapped so he develops a plan to spy on the neighbor and unravel the mystery. Puggy is astonished to learn that this neighbor is actually an alien who has a plan to use the dogs to control humans. The faithful dog must mislead his master and risk his own life in an attempt to unravel the mystery. This book is the first in a series and ends on a cliffhanger.

This series is of interest to mystery and adventure enthusiasts. I believe it will especially appeal to middle-grade audiences.

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CHOOSING YOUR OWN WAY

The Village Alien

Written by Steve and Kathleen Donoho

On a sunny Saturday morning in Zionsville, Indiana, the protagonist and his younger brother, Andy head off to Lions Park on their bikes. The reader will determine the outcome of this interactive alien adventure. The boys encounter an alien spaceship landing in the park, setting the table for the rest of the story. Readers are given three choices at the end of each chapter. Plot outcome changes according to the reader’s decision.

This book affords readers the opportunity to revisit the scene several times, changing the outcome each time. It would be fun for siblings or friends to share it together. I like the fact that children can see that making choices affect outcomes and the characters. It allows them the opportunity to take risks or to play it safe.

Recommended for middle-grade readers. The length of sentences and manageable vocabulary will appeal to reluctant readers. It might also be a good choice for a classroom discussion group.

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SAVE SMART, START YOUNG

A Guide to Investing for Kids: Teaching Them About Money While They Are Young

Written by Stephanie R. Baker

This book is based on the author’s theory that children who learn how to be financially independent and conscious of tracking their own expenses grow up not only to be self-aware but good global citizens. Baker gives reasons for children to learn fiscal responsibility like how to invest and be responsible for handling their own money by choosing their own purchases wisely. They learn financial independence from their parents and awareness of community needs around them. These children acquire goals and dreams of future financial success.

Children may learn how to invest by talking with their parents and picking up knowledge from schools and community programs. There are many different platforms offered for children’s investment, and Baker lists several of them with links to finding them on the internet. Alternatives to stock investment include lotteries and investing in independent funds that parents set up for them. Certainly, if many children would choose investment and financial independence the entire world community would benefit both in the short and long term.

I think this book is a worthwhile investment for parents and grandparents to consider in creating strong, resilient, independent, successful citizens of the future. Recommended for children age eight years and older to read and discuss with parents and teachers.

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HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY – TRANSFORMATIONS

Weeds in Nana’s Garden: A heartfelt story of love that helps explain Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias.

Written and Illustrated by Kathryn Harrison

This well-written book is poignant and beautiful. The author tackles a difficult subject with which many families are forced to face. By using the metaphor of a garden overcome with weeds, the author introduces the subject of Alzheimer’s disease and related forms of dementia.

The protagonist is a young girl who enjoys planting seeds in her Nana’s garden every spring. She laughs and dances as her grandmother explains the fairies are sprinkling their magic dust in the garden. They work the garden as the flowers spring to life. They observe the changes in the garden as the seasons change.

Then one summer, the little girl notices weeds growing in the garden. She inquires of her Nana whether they should pull them out, but her grandmother just nods. Confused, the little girl asks her mother why Nana does not remove the weeds and her mother tenderly explains that Nana’s brain is sick and that like the garden it is becoming tangled and confused. She reminds her daughter that like the flowers growing among the weeds, the Nana they remember is still underneath.

As time goes on, the weeds multiply and Nana’s condition worsens. The little girl has grown and she learns to deal with reality. She sings and dances in the garden once more, now taking over the responsibility for the garden while her grandmother rests sitting underneath a tree.

The author reminds us that our mothers and grandmothers are treasures, but like the cycle of the seasons, they will not be with us forever. There is a wonderful list of questions and answers that can be used to explain dementia to children. Harrison donates 20% of her sales to the Alzheimer Foundation in Canada. Recommended for parents, grandparents, teachers and children ages six and older.

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#Friends of Kids With Cancer #The Sock Kids #Book Blast

Proud to work with BeachBound Books and Friends of Kids With Cancer on this book blast.

BeachBoundBooks is pleased to be coordinating a Book Blast for Author Michael John Sullivan and the SockKids. The SockKids are partners with Friends of Kids With Cancer, a non-profit organization that helps kids be kids with their cancer treatments. We are honored to help out with YOUR help too. The blast will run from April 30 – May 14, 2018.

The Socks

The Socks are available for purchase at  http://thesockkids.storenvy.com/.
Sale of the Socks will benefit Friends of Kids with Cancer.

About the Book

The SockKids – Solving The Mystery Of Your Missing Socks! Where do our missing socks go? Readers find out in our children’s series, The SOCKKIDS. We follow the Socker family through many adventures; from encountering the slobbery mouth of the family dog to meeting Santa as he comes down the chimney on Christmas Eve to helping a fireman save a baby to the shyest Socker going to the school dance for the first time. Thanks to the time-travel opportunities afforded by the spin cycle of the washer, they learn about some of the most important humans in the world. Children two and up and their parents will be drawn to the diversity of the family and the universal and timeless lessons they teach: don’t be afraid of new experiences, treat others as you would like to be treated, and of course, beware of the spin cycle!

Where Do Our Missing Socks Go? We tell you! Readers find out in our children’s series — The SOCKKIDS. We follow the Socker family through many adventures, from encountering the slobbery mouth of the family dog to meeting Santa as he comes down the chimney to helping a fireman save a baby to the most sky sock going to the school dance for the first time. Thanks to the time-travel opportunities afforded by the spin cycle of the washer, the Sockers learn about some of the most important humans in the world. Children two and up and their parents will be drawn to the journeys of the family and the universal and timeless lessons they teach: don’t be afraid of new experiences, treat others as you would like to be treated, and of course beware of the spin cycle! In this book’s story, we read about Sudsy landing on the foot of inventor Ben Franklin. Sudsy, the bug-playing boy sock, discovers with Ben Franklin the wonders and dangers of electricity. The book includes safety rules and discussion questions put together by an experienced classroom teacher in helping parents and children respect the power of electricity.

The SockKids focus on educating children and adults how bullying affects us all and what we can do about it.

Do you know where your socks go when they go missing in the washing machine? Well, the SockKids know! The SockKids are a mismatched family of socks that sometimes time travel through the spin cycle, teaching universal lessons of love and kindness, and focusing on creating a greater awareness of the many social issues that children are faced with today. The SockKids help to educate and encourage children from 2 to 92 to find solutions in helping to make this a better world.

In this story, Sudsy and Wooly discover their human is being bullied at school and team up against bullies with Ethan’s newest friend, Olivia. They discover bullying hurts everyone and staying silent is not an option.

More Inside! Children’s counselor and licensed therapist, Jamie Ross, gives adults and children guidelines on how to handle bullies.

Book available at http://thesockkids.storenvy.com

About the Author

Michael John Sullivan is the creator of the SockKids. Constantly searching for his socks, he wondered whether the missing foot comforters had found another pair of feet to warm. So he searched and searched until he discovered these elusive socks likely time traveled. Before his interest in socks, Michael started writing his first novel while homeless, riding an NYC subway train at night. After being rescued off the train, he spent much of the past two decades helping raise two daughters while working at home in New York.

Michael eventually returned to his subway notes in 2007 and began writing Necessary Heartbreak: A Novel of Faith and Forgiveness (Simon & Schuster, Gallery Books imprint). Library Journal named Necessary Heartbreak one of the year’s best in 2010. His second novel, Everybody’s Daughter (Fiction Studio Books, 2012) was named one of the best books of 2012 by TheExaminer.com. He completed the trilogy by having The Greatest Gift published by The Story Plant in 2015.

Michael has written articles about the plight of homelessness for CNN.com, The Washington Post.com, Beliefnet.com, the Huffington Post, and America Online’s Patch.com service. He is a former board member of the Long Island Coalition For the Homeless.

Facebook ~ Website ~ Twitter

About the Illustrators

Shelley Larkin performs many tasks for the SockKids. She develops ideas, co-writes books, and is the marketing and promotions director. She has spent a lifetime of wondering where her missing socks go. The SockKids are grateful to finally solve this mystery for her.

She loves that children and their parents are drawn to the diversity of the SockKids family and the universal and timeless lessons they teach: don’t be afraid of new experiences; treat others as you would like to be treated, and of course, beware of the spin cycle! In addition, she is dedicated to finding the right soap for Sudsy.

Shelley is also a passionate child advocate, working with a variety of cause-driven organizations such as Destination Imagination, Up & At It!, Child Abuse Prevention Council, 3 Strands, the International Bullying Prevention Center, and Big Brothers, Big Sisters Youth Organization. Shelley has developed a keen sense of awareness of what children experience today in dealing with such important issues including bullying and recognizes the importance of putting into place the type of value-added programs that will effectively strike a nerve in preventing our youth from losing their way to a safe and productive future.

In her spare time, she is an event planner and resides in California.

Susan Petrone lives in Cleveland, Ohio with her husband, her daughter, and two silly dogs. When she isn’t writing SockKids stories, she writes novels and short stories (her work has been published in Glimmer Train, Featherproof Books, The Cleveland Review,  Muse,  Conclave, and Whiskey Island) writes about her beloved Cleveland Indians at ItsPronouncedLajaway.com for ESPN.com’s SweetSpot network. Her most recent,  Throw Like A Woman, was published by The Story Plant in 2015.

Alexandra /SugarSnail dreamed of becoming an illustrator since childhood, even though she didn’t know the profession actually existed. She later graduated from college with an MFA in graphic design.

She never gave up on her dream, so she decided to do what she loved best – become a children’s illustrator. SugarSnail’s beautiful artwork can be seen in many children’s books.

To reach Alexandra Gold/SugarSnail, follow her on Facebook.

Book Blast Giveaway

Prize: One winner will receive a $50 Amazon gift card or $50 PayPal cash prize, winner’s choice and a second winner will receive One pair of SockKids Socks
Giveaway ends: May 14, 11:59 pm, 2018
Open to: Internationally
How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.
Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Michael John Sullivan and is hosted and managed by Stacie from BeachBoundBooks. If you have any additional questions feel free to send an email to stacie@BeachBoundBooks.com.

a Rafflecopter giveaway  ($50 Amazon Gift Card)

a Rafflecopter giveaway (Sockkids Socks)

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