Posts tagged ‘divorce’

PARENTAL WAR:STUCK IN THE MIDDLE

Cupcakes vs. Brownies: Zimmah Chronicles Book 1

Written by Scott King

In the prologue readers meet ten year old Karim, who is falling through pink candy cotton clouds trapped in a bubble of bubblegum. He is clutching a small glass bottle to his chest. At first glance, that does not sound like much of a predicament for a child, until you read on to the first chapter.

Karim’s parents, Malek and Christina, are arguing again. Karim overhears them discuss the possibility of divorce. The boy impulsively rushes out of the house into the streets of San Francisco with his dog in a thunderstorm. He bumps into an elderly woman named Madame Loope, who invites him into her pawn shop to escape the storm. Karim picks up a glass bottle. Steam begins hissing from the bottle as a man emerges from it once uncorked. This man is a Zimmah, a djinn. Karim asks that he be granted a wish. His first wish is to turn his Labrador into a Snow Lion. After the djinn grants that wish, Karim wishes the world was a happy place.

Karim is transported to a world filled with edible sweets. What astonished the boy is that he meets his father transformed into the king of the Cupcake World. Malek is preparing to do battle with his enemy, the Queen of the Brownies. Karim cannot believe his eyes when he discovers the Captain of the Brownie army is none other than his mother. When Karim pleads with Zimmah his wish is to fix things between his parents and return to the real world, the djinn informs him that this is the way things are and there is no magic to fix it. Will Karim ever find his way back home to San Francisco? Is Zimmah a friend or an enemy? What will happen to Malek and Christina?

This book is a creative way to approach the problem of divorce and how children may cope with it. It combines fantasy with an interesting plot that deals with an issue many children in families must face. Appropriate for children ages eight and older; this book could be useful for parents, teachers and social workers to open up many avenues of discussion.

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KITCHEN CHIT-CHAT

Stories Around the Kitchen Table: A Collection of Women’s Memoirs

Edited by Anne Randolph

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The editor based this collection on her creation of the kitchen table writers’ concept, which encourages women to find their creative author’s voice. A small group of women gather around a kitchen table and begin writing their thoughts with pen in hand. No need to worry about grammar, spelling or second guessing. Weekly sessions begin and end with the inspiration of a poem. Each author writes about her thoughts and dreams. Following the time allotted for writing, each of the participants listens and shares taking turns to read aloud. At the end of this nearly one hundred page collection of stories, Randolph includes short biographies of each participating author.

Topics are diverse; emotions and writing reflect the natural setting and willingness of each participant to immerse herself in the writing process, and more importantly to lend a willing ear to each other’s work. In “Belly Flops” the reader is treated to a young girl’s first experience diving into a swimming pool. “When I was Ten” propels its readers back in time to a child’s visit to Manhattan during World War II. “Learning to Fly” transports us to an airfield for a first flying lesson. “A Slow Leaving” reflects the emotional roller coaster the writer experiences as her husband is about to leave the house because their divorce has become final.

This book is a good tool to preview many styles of writing and a good conversation starter for a woman’s group on many topics up for discussion on women’s issues in the modern world. Recommended for young adult and adult readers.

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BUGGING OUT

Bed-Bugged (Doodle bugged Mysteries Book 1)

Written by Susan J. Kroupa

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First in a series of mysteries featuring a Labradoodle simply named Doodle. The dog has recently come from the pound to live with a master he calls boss and his daughter Molly. Doodle has been trained to sniff out bedbugs. Boss organized the Hunter Detection Company in the hopes of making a new start in the Washington, DC area. Everything rests on Doodle making it a success.

Ten year old Molly is smart; she will begin a special science school program at the end of the summer. Molly’s hobby is taking pictures; she keeps a secret album of memories for her Mexican mother, who she has not seen since the age of three. When intruders steal Molly’s album and her computer, Doodle is frustrated that he is unable to catch them. It does not take Molly long to realize that there might be a connection to work that her father Josh has recently completed. Like Doodle the young preteen is relentless in her will to solve the mystery. There will be unlikely connections to crime and family.

This story is told in the first “person” voice of Doodle. It is lots of fun to hear a dog’s perspective and humor as to the quirky habits and personalities of humans. While the book touches on serious issues like family relationships, immigration, and divorce, the overall tone is upbeat making this book appropriate for preteens, teens and adults. The plot contains unexpected turns and characters are well-balanced. Recommended for mystery fans, animal lovers, and anyone who enjoys curling up with an interesting read for a few hours.

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INSPIRING CONFIDENCE

Title: Kool Kid Kruncha And The High Trapeze

Written by Emma Calin

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Interesting early chapter book features protagonist ten year old Charlie. The author calls it an interactive bedtime story adventure. This book touches on many of the issues facing today’s children like bullying, moving, and living in a divorced family. Charlie has carrot red hair; children love to pick on him. To make matters worse, his mom tells him that she has been offered a better job in London. He will have to leave his friends and home in Suffolk and move to the city.

On the first day in his new school, the “popular kids” make fun of Charlie’s physical appearance and athletic abilities. His Aunt Kate suggests that things will be better after he makes a friend. Charlie is puzzled when she takes him to the circus. What does Charlie discover? How can this possibly be a solution to his problem?

This book contains seven short chapters whose length is perfect for children who are learning to read content independently. I would recommend it particularly for seven to ten year old readers. The simple black and white drawings enhance interest. Free downloads, video clips, and competitions included in the book will sustain interest and extend reading.

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GHOSTS, MYSTERIES, AND HISTORY

xandra Fry, Private Eye: The Curse of the Lion’s Heart

Written by Angella Graff

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This is Book One of the Alexandra Fry detective series. Angella is a pretty ordinary twelve year old, who is nervous about starting the first day of seventh grade in a new middle school. She shares time with both of her divorced parents. At the beginning of the tale, readers are introduced to Alexandra’s unique talent. She is able to see the ghosts of famous historical persons, who ask her help in solving mysteries. Alexandra has assisted Magellan in finding his lost compass and Abraham Lincoln in finding his stolen top hat. As if the first day in a new school isn’t difficult enough, Alexandra is contacted by Queen Elizabeth I of England, who insists that if the family locket is not located, a curse will be visited upon the current community. Her classmates and teachers think that she is talking to herself.

Fortunately for Elizabeth, her dad works in the City Museum. Her ability to gain easy access has helped her solve many cases in the past. In this mystery, she will be able to enlist the aid of a new friend, Penelope, and an eighth grader named Jack who at first appears to be more of a suspect than a friend. Alexandra must face the same issues most preteens face: bullying, fitting in with the crowd, negotiating their way with adults and asserting their independence. The author narrates a plot that has lots of twists and turns and combines elements of paranormal, history, mystery and adventure. Characters are believable and use authentic dialogue. The text is easy enough for preteens, but also is sophisticated enough for a young adult or adult reader. I was totally drawn into the mystery and felt empathy for the young characters.

Readers age eight and older who enjoy history, mystery, detective, paranormal and coming of age books will all find something here to their liking. Look forward to the rest of the series.

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ODD ONE OUT?

A Sliver of Sun (The Piper Lee DeLuna Series Book 2)

Written by Dianna Dorisi Winget

ASliverofSun,picThis is the second book in a series centering around the character of Piper Lee DeLuna, but I did not read the first book and feel this second book can easily be read as a stand alone story. Piper is ten years old. She is trying desperately to fit in with her new family. Piper’s dad died in an airplane crash, her mother has recently remarried. Her stepdad, Ben, also has a ten year old daughter. Now Piper has a new dad, stepsister, and a new home. To complicate matters further, the girls soon find out a new baby is on the way.

Piper is funny and clever; the book covers issues of bullying, blended families, struggling to fit in, and the everyday problems children in middle school face. You want to root for Piper; the reader empathizes with her struggles and laughs at her foibles. One of the funniest incidents involves the girls’ attempt to control the sex of their soon to be born sibling. The dialogue is fun and authentic; the characters are believable and the text flows along well. Middle grade readers and teens will probably find themselves identifying with many aspects of this tale. Look forward to seeing what happens to Piper next. Recommended for readers age eight and older.

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TIP OF THE ICEBERG

Face-Off

Written by Stacy Drumtra-Juba

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Fast moving young adult novella centering around the issues of sibling rivalry, family relationships, the sport of hockey, coming of age, and divorce. The McKendrick Family is undergoing a crisis. Parents are constantly fighting and are on the verge of divorce. A.J. McKendrick is an out of work architect struggling to make ends meet, placing additional strain on the marriage. High school juniors and fraternal twins, Brad and T.J., strive to shine in hockey, but T.J. has the better grades. Dad places unrealistic expectations on T.J. When finances force the parents to remove T.J. from private school, the brothers are faced with a new situation for rivalry; how to play together on the same hockey team. Their younger brother Chris gets into fights in school and attempts to run away. All this emotional stress plays havoc on the lives of the family, their school, and their friends. In addition, there are the coming of age issues related to romance and future career plans.

The short tale offers a lot to young teen readers. It is packed with action, emotional tension, details about the sport of hockey, and well-defined characters facing issues with which the reader may empathize. This book would be a good choice for a reluctant reader as the tone is conversational and smooth flowing. Juba immediately draws you in and holds your attention. Highly recommended for teens, particularly boys who love sports.

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