Yes, I read graphic novels, too. And this is one of the best, by author Barry Deutsch. Mirka does not like bothering with marriage, or sewing, or anything she’s supposed to, for that matter. Unlike her stepmother Fruma. No, what Mirka wants to do is something different, something no eleven-year-old Orthodox Jewish girl has done before: Fight (and hopefully slay) dragons! Now, no one in her family is especially supportive of this. Not her bossy sister, not her nervous brother, and definitely not Fruma. But Mirka is determined to achieve her goals. Still, there is one problem…it’s not really possible to slay a fire-breathing beast without a sword, is it? Before you know it, our heroine is on a quest. So, follow through with the funny illustrations and interesting characters on the quest to Mirka’s sword.
Happy Easter, everyone! In the spirit of chocolate eggs and bunnies, I have the perfect book to review today. The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes, written by Du Bose Heyward, is a wonderfully illustrated book containing a story that will make any little boy or girl very excited about this holiday. Little Cottontail wants nothing more than to be an Easter Bunny (of which there are actually five), but all the strong jackrabbits and wealthy white rabbits tell her it can never be so. Soon, this little country bunny grows up into an adult country bunny, and has many, many little cottontails to take care of. Their home is very happy, even if Mother Cottontail hasn’t fulfilled her dream of distributing Easter eggs to children all over the world. Then one of the current Easter Bunnies is too old to carry on! All are excited, hoping they will be the replacement. And aren’t they all surprised when Mother Cottontail is chosen! This whimsical, beautiful book is sure to please, and I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I did.
I don’t know how many of you are aware of this, but April is National Poetry Month. So, what better way to celebrate it than writing some poetry posts, huh? I wouldn’t be surprised if nearly any person reading this knew the name of The Dream Keeper and Other Poems, written by the well-known Langston Hughes, but how many of you have actually read it? It’s a stupendous collection of poems on all things, from the rise and fall of the ocean to quiet girls. Not only do these works entertain, but they also give a bit of an insight to the author and how he lived. I’ve found that many books do. The poems are made even better by the unique illustrations of Brian Pinkney. This book will satisfy anyone, a sailor, a fashion designer, a dreamer, and you. So, to commemorate National Poetry Month, why don’t you give it a try? I’m sure good old Langston would be pleased!
What a great read! Cookie is the story by Jacqueline Wilson of poor little Beauty Cookson, who is perhaps the child most laughed at in school. Her name might mean pretty, but that she is definitely not. She hasn’t got a single friend, and is forever the victim of popular Skye’s teasing. At least there is Skye’s best friend, Rhona. Though she may be close to Beauty’s worst enemy, Rhona doesn’t hesitate to treat everyone, including those that are friendless, with kindness. Unfortunately, things aren’t much better at home. With a father that can explode with anger at any moment and a sweet mother that can’t seem to stand up to him, Beauty’s life isn’t what you would call “perfect”. Then Mom gets a superb idea: Beauty needs a nickname, something bouncy and fun, something that makes someone want to be your friend. Something like…Cookie. It’s just right, and Cookie is starting to see hope. But Dad’s temper is getting worse. This book is well written with very real characters, and I think almost anyone would enjoy it. If you find you enjoy it, try another book by Jacqueline Wilson, such as Best Friends. Go to the bookstore!
Well, it may sound nerdy, but I am dying for this to be made into a real toy. Because, frankly, I think this is awesome. How about you?
Before we start, I apologize. I would not have posted A Warning (But a Good One) if I had known how long it would be until I actually posted the interview with Deborah Wiles, author of Countdown and other great books. Thank you for being so patient.
What characters in Countdown did you have a lot of fun creating and writing about? I had fun creating all of them. Franny is a lot like me, so she was especially fun, as was Margie, because she’s a character with “bite.”
Like Franny in the book, did you ever compose a letter to Chairman Khrushchev? I composed letters to President Kennedy and to Khrushchev, all the time. They were in my head, and usually at night, in bed.
Countdown is the first in a trilogy. Why did you decide to write one when you haven’t before? I wanted to write about the sixties, and I needed more than one book. My three novels that take place in Mississippi form a connected trilogy as well.
What did you do when you had writer’s block or weren’t in the mood to write? I remembered I had a deadline, and I went back to work! I do something physical when I need a break or have trouble moving ahead.
What were the problems you ran into while writing the book? I often didn’t know what happened next and went down wrong pathways and had to back up and begin again, but eventually I figured it out.
What made you decide to write for children? I always say I write for ten-year-old me, and that’s why I write for young readers.
Where did you get your materials for the scrapbook part of the book? Was it fun? The scrapbooks were lots of fun to create. The material came from many different places: songs from the sixties, newspaper articles, photo archives, movies, magazines, and more.
Hope you enjoyed hearing from this great writer just as much as I did! Visit Deborah Wiles online and get to know her other books.
Who was Madam C. J. Walker? Many of you have probably already heard something about her. She started her own line of hair products for women and was a busy millionaire by the end of her life! She also gave much to charity and opened a theater in Indiana. Are you curious yet? I was, when I was told I had to read a biography of an African American in February. So, I hightailed it over to the library to get this great book by A’Lelia Bundles, who also happens to be Madam C. J.’s actual great-great granddaughter (talk about coming from an inspiring background). This book outlines the life of one of the best women in history, from her days in the south as Sarah Breedlove to the days of her thriving business in Harlem. Well-written, interesting, and with plenty of good pictures, this book will not only educate, but entertain. You might think nonfiction is boring, and I might have too at one point, but if you just try it you’ll figure out that there are somethings that are just as interesting as books about magic and witches. So why don’t you go to the bookstore and give this a try?
P. S. And for the adults…On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C. J. Walker.
So many books, so many undiscovered masterpieces. Tortilla Sun, by Jennifer Cervantes, is just such a masterpiece. Meet Isadora, nicknamed Izzy, a 12 year old with only her mother in the world. Her dad died before she was born. Then Mom goes to Costa Rica to do research for her PhD. As for Izzy, she is sent to New Mexico to live with a grandmother she hasn’t seen since she was six. Besides that, there’s the strange baseball she found that used to be her father’s, with the words “Because…magic.” Izzy knows the baseball means something, but Mom sure isn’t yielding any information. Hopefully, living with Nana and the other people in the village will reveal some answers to Izzy’s many questions. The village, as our heroine soon discovers, is filled with magic, enchantment, and new friends. Along with Mateo and Maggie, she starts to learn more about her family and the past previously unknown to her. She also learns some valuable lessons along the way, and I’m talking more than just how to make tortillas. This book was near impossible to put down, and I found myself wishing I could jump in and see the magic for myself. A great book for anyone. So go to the library and check for it!