Author Archive

Great Kids Books About Being Different

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

One of the wonderful things about books is that they can take you out of your life and let you look through someone else’s eyes, to see the world in a whole new way. This can be particularly moving when the character has difficulties that may not affect you personally, but could allow you to see that new kid at school or the neighbor who lives one street over with more empathy and understanding.

Out_of_my_mindOut of My Mind by Sharon Draper features 11-year-old Melody.  Melody remembers everything perfectly, but no one at school can see past the girl in the wheelchair, the girl with cerebral palsy. With the help of her neighbor and getting the chance to integrate with a regular classroom, she just might be able to reach out without saying a word.

WonderWonder by R.J. Palacio is about Auggie, who was born with a facial deformity that has prevented him from attending school because of the number of surgeries he has had. Now he is in middle school and attending school for the very first time. His big sister, Via, gets a chance to give her point of view as she starts a new high school. The different voices really add to the story!

Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine introduces Caitlin, who has Aspberger’s and relies on her brother, Devon, to help her make sense of other people’s reactions to her. But when Devon unexpectedly dies, Caitlin is left to figure out things on her own, including how to help her father.

If you have read another great youth book that fits this category, leave a comment below!


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Recipes: Where Are the Pictures? I Need Pictures!

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

I love to find new recipes to try, but the ones that really catch my eye usually have a picture.  There are some cookbooks that have mostly pictures, but you still have to hunt to find them.  Plus, a lot of the tried-and-true websites don’t have pictures either since they are user-based.  Yes, you can find great recipes, but I need a picture!

This is where Pinterest can help out.  Say you are looking for a new vegetarian recipe.  Just type “vegetarian recipe” in the search box, and all you see are pictures!  Need a chocolate dessert?  (This one will make you drool a bit.)  Just do a quick search, and you have a ton of recipes to browse!  Creating an account is fast and easy and you can save them all to a board in Pinterest rather than printing everything and not being able to find the one you are looking for when you need it.

Happy pinning!


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Loving the Second in the Series

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

I love reading the first book in the series.  Everything is new and fresh and I getCrown of Midnight to meet all these wonderful new characters.  But sometimes the second book in the series doesn’t quite live up to my own expectations (and I’m not naming names!)  So to put your mind at easy about a few series…

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas, second book in the Throne of Glass series. Celaena is forced to do the King’s bidding as his champion, but she still tries to do things her own way. When a friend from her past is marked as her next target, Celaena does everything she can to find out if there really is a treason plot before completing her task. Overall a great The Song of the Quarkbeastfollow-up book!  The storyline (and romance) is moving forward and there is a brief glimpse into Celaena’s mysterious past!

The Song of the Quarkbeast by Jasper Fforde, follow-up to The Last Dragonslayer.  If you loved the quirky humor from the first book, you will not be disappointed!  However, there are no dragons in this one. But Jennifer Strange is still struggling Rose under Fireto keep Kazam going and an out-of-control spell and unfriendly competition doesn’t help.

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein, companion book to Code Name Verity. First, let me say that if you haven’t read Code Name Verity, go do that immediately! Since Rose Under Fire doesn’t come out until September, I will keep it short. While the second book doesn’t have the mysterious first half, the book is very compelling.  And it does stand on its own, if the first book wasn’t read first.



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Author Vince Flynn Dies At Age 47

Friday, June 21st, 2013

Best-selling author Vince Flynn died Wednesday morning at the age of 47Flynn was diagnosed with prostate cancer three years ago. He had continued to write his New York Times Best Selling books featuring CIA agent Mitch Rapp. The status of his final book due out in October is not known at this time.

Flynn worked to overcome his dyslexia by reading, especially espionage novels. He decided to try his hand at writing his own book, Term Limits, which he self-published.  After the success of that book, he had no problem finding an agent and went on to publish 14 books.

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Thumbs Up! Award Top Ten

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

ThumbsUpThe Michigan Library Association (MLA) Thumbs Up! Award committee has released the Top Ten Books and votes will be taken through August 31st.  Each year a committee of dedicated professionals from around Michigan read tons of teen books and then discuss and vote on favorites until the top ten are picked.  After a teen participation vote, the committee will select one winner and at least one runner up book.

TEENS: Read as many of the books from the list and then visit the MLA website to vote!  The top teen vote counts toward the book that will receive the Thumbs Up! stamp.


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SYNC Teen Audiobooks This Summer

Saturday, June 1st, 2013

sync_13_300x250Do you love listening to audiobooks?  Do you want to get a start on your summer reading program goals? Start downloading audiobooks offered through the SYNC YA Literature into your earphones! Each week, SYNC offers a classic and a best selling YA audiobook for free.  Stop by the SYNC site today to start listening.

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Author Bernard Waber Dies at Age 91

Sunday, May 26th, 2013


The creator of Lyle the Crocodile died on Monday, May 16. Bernard Waber was 91 years old. He introduced Lyle in 1962 with “The House on East 88th Street.” His final book, “Lyle Walks the Dog,” was produced with his daughter, Paulis. He also wrote many other picture books, including “Ira Sleeps Over,” in which a young boy is afraid he will be teased for bringing his teddy bear over to a friend’s house.

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A Great Beach Book for Teens

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

The Moon and MoreReading a Sarah Dessen book is like taking a long stroll with a close friend.  Her characters seem like the girl living next door; someone you know from school. Her newest book, set to be released at the beginning of June, will feel very familiar to her readers.  The Moon and More is set in the beach town of Colby, just like Along for the Ride.

Emaline has the perfect boyfriend and a comfortable life working for her grandmother’s real estate firm in a small beach town. But the unexpected arrival of a demanding film director, and the cute assistant, change Emaline’s outlook. Will she be content attending the local college or should she reach farther? Her mostly absent father is pushing her to attend an Ivy League school, but how can she leave the familiar world of Colby?

This is a great book to take to the beach this summer!


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Free eBooks and Open Library

Friday, May 17th, 2013

logo_OL-lgThe use of eBooks is increasing every year, so a new source of free eBooks is always welcome. is a combination library/wiki site which can be edited by anyone but allows books to be checked out or downloaded for a two-week period. The Library of Michigan is one of many libraries across the globe to allow to scan their collection. Of course, copyright is followed so you will not be able to read the latest Patterson book, but the page does link to WorldCat, which lists libraries that own a physical copy of the book.

Check out the site and tell us what you think in the comments below.

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The Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

There are a lot of series written for teens, but sometimes one of those books disappoints and the whole series is never the same. Luckily, this is not the case with the Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta.

The first book, Finnikin of the Rock, helps set the backstory of the of the small kingdom called Lumatere, which is part of the Land of Skuldenore. Finnikin and his guardian have spent the last 10 years trying to find a home for the displaced people of their kingdom after the royal family was murdered and a curse is placed around the kingdom, which no one can cross. Their path is changed forever when they meet Evanjalin, who swears the heir to the throne is still alive.

The second book, Froi of the Exiles, picks up where Finnikin left off. Without giving away the ending of the first book, Froi is sent on a dangerous mission to the neighboring kingdom of Charyn, where he meets Quintana of Charyn (the third book title), the daughter of the king responsible for the death of the Lumatere royal family.

Each book was a pleasure to read and brought the characters to life, flaws and all. While the series has been wrapped up, I for one wouldn’t mind another book set in Lumatere! If you haven’t given this series a try, stop by your local library today to pick up a copy.

Finnikin of the Rock     Froi of the Exiles     Quintana of Charyn


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