Don’t Check Out This Book! Spotlight

Get to the Bottom of Appleton’s Juiciest Scandal.

Praise for Kate Klise & M. Sarah Klise’s Three Ring Rascal Series:

“The Klise sisters are no newcomers to the world of children’s fiction. Their work is cute and fun with a great message”

-New Orleans Advocate (The Show Must Go On!)

Entertaining [and] ‘smafunderful’ (smart + fun + wonderful).”

Kirkus Reviews (The Show Must Go On!)

“True to form, sisters Kate Klise (author) and M. Sarah Klise (illustrator) use clever jokes, wordplay, and adorable illustrations to guide their readers.”

-BookPage (The Show Must Go On!)

In the fully illustrated epistolary novel Don’t Check Out This Book!, fifth-grade reporters follow a trail of phone messages, emails, articles, texts, letters, reports, receipts, and more to clear the name of their beloved librarian and clear the local school board of bad apples with criminal intentions. Behind text and images ripe with laugh-out-loud humor and abundant wordplay, including too many puns to count, lies an important message about censorship and readers’ rights to choose their own books. Sisters and collaborators Kate Klise (writer) and M. Sarah Klise (illustrator) have been publishing visual novels for middle-grade readers since long before the current graphic novel explosion. Together, they’ve created more than twenty award-winning books for young readers, including Regarding the Fountain, the 43 Old Cemetery Road series, and most recently the Three-Ring Rascals series. 

In Don’t Check Out This Book!, Appleton Elementary School has a new librarian, Rita B Danjerous. Not everyone in Appleton likes her unconventional methods or her infamous Green Dot Collection, which allows students to borrow books discreetly, without actually checking them out. Under Rita’s influence, students like Reid Durr and Ben Thinken, and even the absent-minded principal, Noah Memree, are staying up way too late reading. While Rita inspires the students and faculty alike, the new school board president and impeccably mannered shop owner Ivana Beprawpa is busy working to shut down the library and force students into uniforms available only at Beprawpa Attire. But what’s behind Ivana’s school uniform policy? A team of fifth-grade sleuths is determined to get to the bottom of Appleton’s juiciest scandal ever. 

Author Kate Klise’s books are “fresh, funny, and a delight to read” (School Library Journal). Here she uses her skill and wit to introduce kids to serious topics, such as censorship and abuse of power. “I was really motivated to cook up a book-banning character who could embody all the pettiness and corruption we see in the world today,” Klise says. “I also wanted to create some book-loving characters who could prevail in the end.” 

Beneath Appleton’s mystery, there is a pure, unabashed celebration of words, and the rights of all readers to choose their own books. Hilarious, empowering, and exciting, Don’t Check Out This Book! is filled with clever winks to the audience, as if to say “You’re a reader. You get it.” And by the end, we do. 

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Kate Klise is the award-winning author of more than 30 books for young readers, many of which are illustrated by her sister, M. Sarah Klise. On her way to becoming an author, Kate Klise worked as a babysitter, waitress, ice-skating instructor, and rosebush pruner. She was also a journalist and spent 15 years reporting for People magazine. When she’s not working on a new book, she enjoys traveling around the country, sharing her best writing tips and tricks with aspiring authors of all ages.

M. Sarah Klise has always had a fondness for creating colorful book reports, which began in elementary school with yarn-bound volumes on states and countries. In college, she enjoyed writing heavily illustrated letters home to her mother. Years later, she still does variations of all that when she illustrates books for young readers. She also teaches art classes in Berkley, CA.

A Tale of Highly Unusual Magic

A Tale of Highly Unusual Magic

Bestseller and author of the popular middle grade series Confectionately Yours Lisa Papademetriou is back with a magical, page-turning adventure for readers of all ages—a touching tale about destiny and the invisible threads that link us all, ultimately, to one another.

Kai and Leila are both finally having an adventure. For Leila, that means a globe-crossing journey to visit family in Pakistan for the summer; for Kai, it means being stuck with her crazy great-aunt in Texas while her mom looks for a job. In each of their bedrooms, they discover a copy of a blank, old book called The Exquisite Corpse. Kai writes three words on the first page—and suddenly, they magically appear in Leila’s copy on the other side of the planet. Kai’s words are soon followed by line after line of the long-ago, romantic tale of Ralph T. Flabbergast and his forever-love, Edwina Pickle. As the two take turns writing, the tale unfolds, connecting both girls to each other, and to the past, in a way they never could have imagined.

A heartfelt, vividly told multicultural story about fate and how our stories shape it.

Magic is my favorite thing in a story. I get to see how it works in the universe and how it affects the characters. Magic in a modern day world, like the one in A Tale of Highly Unusual Magic, where cell phones and blogs make a regular appearance, always intrigues me. How will magic and technology interact? Will one negate the other, or will they work in highly unusual harmony?

I promise I’m not telling everyone how much I loved A Tale of Highly Unusual Magic by Lisa Papademetriou because I met her during my first semester at Sierra Nevada College. It’s because the story of Kai and Leila is so heartfelt and runs much deeper than one might initially think.

Kai and Leila are both headstrong girls, lost in the surrounding newness they have found themselves in. Kai is on her own for the first time with her great-aunt in a town she’d never been to, and Leila is halfway across the world visiting family in Pakistan by herself for the first time. Then both girls find a magical book and a new story that connects them in an unusual and slightly magical way begins to unfold.

Leila gets herself into some trouble regarding a bad translation and a goat on her first time in town on her own. She has to find a way out of it and in the process changes from the self-conscious, self-doubting girl she was into a strong and well-rounded young girl.

Kai finds a friend with a strange obsession–moths, of all things!–and she finds the key to her friend’s success means revisiting her failures. When she travels down the hard path of her past, she finds it easier to navigate with a friend at her side.

I truly loved the interwoven stories of both Kai and Leila, not to mention the third story hidden within the Exquisite Corpse, the magic book. And while we don’t get a closed ending in A Tale of Highly Unusual Magic, we do get an open ending: there are plenty of things that could happen after the closing of the story, lots of places for the reader to imagine the possibilities that might befall Kai and Leila after their jaunt with the Exquisite Corpse is all said and done. The only question is whether it’ll be highly unusual, or highly magical.

An Interview with Emma Steinkellner

This week we talked with Emma Steinkellner, author and illustrator for the graphic novel The Okay Witch,  coming to you September 3rd. 

The Okay Witch

Sabrina the Teenage WitchmeetsRoller Girlin this hilarious, one-of-a-kind graphic novel about a half-witch who has just discovered the truth about herself, her family, and her town and is doing her best to survive middle school now that she knows everything!

Magic is harder than it looks.

Thirteen-year-old Moth Hush loves all things witchy. But she’s about to discover that witches aren’t just the stuff of movies, books, and spooky stories. When some eighth-grade bullies try to ruin her Halloween, something really strange happens. It turns out that Founder’s Bluff, Massachusetts, has a centuries-old history of witch drama. And, surprise: Moth’s family is at the center of it all! When Moth’s new powers show up, things get totally out-of-control. She meets a talking cat, falls into an enchanted diary, and unlocks a hidden witch world. Secrets surface from generations past as Moth unravels the complicated legacy at the heart of her town, her family, and herself.

In this spellbinding graphic novel debut, Emma Steinkellner spins a story packed with humor and heart about the weird and wonderful adventures of a witch-in-progress. 

Partners in PenHaving an artist on the podcast means playing some fun art games! Don’t worry. We’ve got pictures for you.

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll
The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
Shadow Weaver by MarcyKate Connolly

Episode #28: Granted

Jessica's Bigger Better Blog Header (1)

http://bookedallnight.podbean.com/e/episode-28-granted/

Listen to this episode and other episodes of the podcast on Podbean.

A dueling opinionated podcast! This week Jess and Maggie talk about Granted by John David Anderson (author of Ms. Bixby’s Last Day and Posted). Who will you agree with?

Marabel and the Book of Fate ★★☆☆☆

marabelandthebookoffate.jpgIn Magikos, life is dictated by the Book of Fate’s ancient predictions, including the birth of a royal Chosen One who will save the realm. Princess Marabel has grown up in the shadow of her twin brother, Marco, who everyone assumes is the true Chosen One. While Marco is adored and given every opportunity, Marabel is overlooked and has to practice her sword fighting in secret.

But on the night of their thirteenth birthday, Marco is kidnapped by an evil queen, and Marabel runs to his rescue. Outside the castle walls for the first time, accompanied by her best friend and a very smug unicorn, Marabel embarks on a daring mission that brings her face-to-face with fairies, trolls, giants–and the possibility that all is not as it seems in Magikos.

I was really turned off by the pacing. So much of what happens after Marco, Marabel’s brother, is kidnapped only serves to move Marabel toward the next plot point rather than showing us her character. Her claustrophobic maid conveniently has a key to break her out of confinement and knows a secret way out of the castle.

A path, it is worth noting, that Marabel, the princess, has no knowledge of.

On their way out they meet a unicorn who talks and also has information to provide them as they flee the castle in hopes of rescuing Marco. The opening would have been more successful had Marabel made her own choices and found this information without it falling in her lap.

She has so much potential to be an adorable and relatable character but she’s only painted as a tropey second child. Her brother is The Chosen One and no one pays attention to her. Even the castle guards ignore her when she tells them she saw someone suspicious walk into her brother’s birthday celebration.

So much of the opening forces us to pity her rather than showing me reasons to be sympathetic on my own and the amount of time we spend being told to pity her slows the opening down immensely.

Publication Date: February 6th, 2018
Amazon . Barnes and Noble

A Tail of Camelot ★★★★★

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I have been waiting to get my hands on a copy of this book ever since I heard about it from the author herself. I’m so happy that it’s finally out and that I can review it.

Young mouse Calib Christopher dreams of the day when he will become a Knight of Camelot like his father and grandfather before him. For generations, Calib’s family has lived among the mice that dwell beneath the human Knights of the Round Table, defending the castle they all call home. Calib just hopes he will be able to live up to the Christopher name.

Then, on the night of the annual Harvest Tournament, tragedy strikes. The mice suspect the Darklings are behind the vicious sneak attack, but Calib has his doubts, so he sets off on a quest for the truth. Venturing deep into the woods beyond the castle walls, Calib and his friend Cecily discover that a threat far greater than the Darklings is gathering, and human and animal knights alike are in grave danger.

With help from a host of unlikely new allies, including a young human boy named Galahad, Calib must get the Mice of the Round Table and the Darklings to put aside their differences and fight together. Only then will they be strong enough to save Camelot.

A Tale of Highly Unusual Magic ★★★★★

24585386.jpgMagic is my favorite thing in a story. I get to see how it works in the universe and how it affects the characters. Magic in a modern day world, like the one in A Tale of Highly Unusual Magic, where cell phones and blogs make a regular appearance, always intrigues me. How will magic and technology interact? Will one negate the other, or will they work in highly unusual harmony?

Bestseller and author of the popular middle grade series Confectionately Yours Lisa Papademetriou is back with a magical, page-turning adventure for readers of all ages—a touching tale about destiny and the invisible threads that link us all, ultimately, to one another.

Kai and Leila are both finally having an adventure. For Leila, that means a globe-crossing journey to visit family in Pakistan for the summer; for Kai, it means being stuck with her crazy great-aunt in Texas while her mom looks for a job. In each of their bedrooms, they discover a copy of a blank, old book called The Exquisite Corpse. Kai writes three words on the first page—and suddenly, they magically appear in Leila’s copy on the other side of the planet. Kai’s words are soon followed by line after line of the long-ago, romantic tale of Ralph T. Flabbergast and his forever-love, Edwina Pickle. As the two take turns writing, the tale unfolds, connecting both girls to each other, and to the past, in a way they never could have imagined.

A heartfelt, vividly told multicultural story about fate and how our stories shape it.

-Goodreads

I promise I’m not telling everyone how much I loved A Tale of Highly Unusual Magic by Lisa Papademetriou because I met her during my first semester at Sierra Nevada College. It’s because the story of Kai and Leila is so heartfelt and runs much deeper than one might initially think.

Kai and Leila are both headstrong girls, lost in the surrounding newness they have found themselves in. Kai is on her own for the first time with her great-aunt in a town she’d never been to, and Leila is halfway across the world visiting family in Pakistan by herself for the first time. Then both girls find a magical book and a new story that connects them in an unusual and slightly magical way begins to unfold.

Leila gets herself into some trouble regarding a bad translation and a goat on her first time in town on her own. She has to find a way out of it and in the process changes from the self-conscious, self-doubting girl she was into a strong and well-rounded young girl.

Kai finds a friend with a strange obsession–moths, of all things!–and she finds the key to her friend’s success means revisiting her failures. When she travels down the hard path of her past, she finds it easier to navigate with a friend at her side.

I truly loved the interwoven stories of both Kai and Leila, not to mention the third story hidden within the Exquisite Corpse, the magic book. And while we don’t get a closed ending in A Tale of Highly Unusual Magic, we do get an open ending: there are plenty of things that could happen after the closing of the story, lots of places for the reader to imagine the possibilities that might befall Kai and Leila after their jaunt with the Exquisite Corpse is all said and done. The only question is whether it’ll be highly unusual, or highly magical.

Lisa Papademetriou

Barnes & Nobles . Amazon

Mice of the Round Table ★★★★★

23384425I have been waiting to get my hands on a copy of this book ever since I heard about it from the author herself. I’m so happy that it’s finally out and that I can review it.

Ghosts ★★★★★

25903764Graphic novels have always had a special place in my heart, and Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier has taken my heart in its adorable fist and crushed it to smithereens.

Catrina and her family are moving to the coast of Northern California because her little sister, Maya, is sick. Cat isn’t happy about leaving her friends for Bahía de la Luna, but Maya has cystic fibrosis and will benefit from the cool, salty air that blows in from the sea. As the girls explore their new home, a neighbor lets them in on a secret: There are ghosts in Bahía de la Luna. Maya is determined to meet one, but Cat wants nothing to do with them. As the time of year when ghosts reunite with their loved ones approaches, Cat must figure out how to put aside her fears for her sister’s sake – and her own.

Raina Telgemeier has a long list of great kidlit graphic novels, including DramaSmile, and her graphic adaptation of the Baby-Sitter’s Club. So Ghosts is another stellar addition to anyone’s library, and let me tell you, you need this book in your library.

Catrina is a great character, someone I would have heavily identified with as a kid–scared but loyal and a great big sister. Her younger sister Maya has cystic fibrosis and ends up stuck at home when she would rather be trick-or-treating or meeting ghosts in their new home in Bahía de la Luna. Bahía de la Luna is a town where the veil between the human world and the ghost world is thin, and so ghosts come into town every so often. But on Halloween night, every ghost comes into town to meet with their living family.

The art is adorable and the fact that Telgemeier shows all the little things about what it means to have cystic fibrosis is awesome; we see Maya’s nightly breathing ritual, how quickly a breathing attack can come on, how it affects Maya’s mentality about life and death. The juxtaposition of Maya’s inevitable passing and the reality of ghosts in town softens the blow that eventually Maya will leave her family in the world of the living, but it’s still so incredibly bittersweet.

Catrina grows and becomes courageous, not just for herself but also for her sister, and she meets the ghosts and makes new friends.

Ghosts by Raina Telegemeier is the perfect Halloween read for readers of any age.

Raina Telegemeier

 Barnes & Nobles . Amazon

Puddle’s Wonderous Worry Dolls ★☆☆☆☆

puddles wonderous worry dollsI’ve been meaning to read more easy readers and middle grade, but I was thoroughly unimpressed with this one. Puddle’s Wonderous Worry Dolls reads like an easy reader but it tried desperately to enter into the heftier realm of middle grade.