Author Tidbit: Alan Bradley

Alan Bradley, author of The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie and the other Flavia de Luce mysteries, has led an interesting life. He was born in Toronto, Canada. He received an education in electrical engineering, and has worked at television and radio stations. He become Director of Television Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan, and later left for early retirement. He then began writing. He has written children’s stories and short stories that have been published in literary journals, and became the first President of the Saskatoon Writers. While part of the Casebook of Saskatoon, he met the late Dr. William A.S. Sarjeant. The Casebook of Saskatoon was devoted to Sherlock Holmes and his adventures, and studying them. The book they worked on together, Ms. Holmes of Baker Street, presented the idea that Sherlock was, in fact, female. This resulted in many interviews and appearances, in the “firestorm of controversy”. He has also written The Shoebox Bible, a story about a family managing to persevere and love, even without a father. The first book in his series of Flavia de Luce (remember Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie?) got the Debut Dagger Award of the (British) Crimewriter’s Association, and the next two books in the series have been received the same enthusiasm. Actually, the fourth book, I Am Half-Sick of Shadows, is just recently published, at the beginning of November. In my opinion it is just as good, if not better, than its predecessors. Yes, I’ve already read it. Alan Bradley presently lives in Malta with his wife. Also two cats. You can visit him at www.flaviadeluce.com. I strongly suggest you take a look and grab onto one of his books when you get the chance!

A Birthday For Frances

So, I was feeling kind of stupid the other day–just so happens I missed my own blog’s first birthday. <sheepish look> So anyway, to make up for that, I am doing a post about…a birthday book! And it’s a good one. A Birthday for Frances, written by Russel Hoban, is only one of the books telling the story of the young badger called Frances. A birthday is coming up, and everyone is preparing. The only thing is that it’s not Frances’s; it’s her little sister Gloria’s. Gloria is the one who took Frances’s pail and shovel and hid them, and she never got them back. Frances has decided that she won’t give Gloria a present, but then she realizes that everyone else is. When Mom gives her two allowances, Frances and her father go the store and get a present: Four balls of bubble gum, and a Chompo Bar. Chompo Bars have nougat, caramel, chocolate, and nuts in them. Frances wonders if Gloria can eat it all. She starts to have second thoughts. This book and the others about Frances and her family were read to me a lot when I was little, and believe me, they are good. The pictures done by Lillian Hoban add great character to the book, and the things Frances gets up to are perfectly amusing. I recommend this for little kids and the parents who read to them. Go check it out!

Girl Knows Books’ 100th Post!!

That’s right, it’s #1-0-0! The countdown is over. And this occasion will be marked by highlights of my favorites, YOUR favorites, and perhaps some utterly random stuff. So let’s get started.

1. Month of the Most Views: December, 2010. It’s the busiest month of the year for us, too. I guess it’s for gift ideas!

2. Random But Cool: Really, the only truly random but cool post would have to be Book Dominoes. I mean, come on, it’s a video with books falling over one another in intricate designs that…well, I won’t give it away.

3. A Book I REALLY Liked: This highlight goes to The Sisters Grimm, by Michael Buckley. Fairy tale characters coming to life, mysterious disappearances, a dog by the name of Elvis–who isn’t at least SLIGHTLY interested, hmm?

4. Your Favorite Genres: As some of you may recall, back in May I published a poll asking everybody what their favorite genre was. And the results are in…Mystery and Fantasy tie for first place. So there you have it!

5. Most Helpful Book: Now, for you it may be different (in fact, it’s probably different), but probably the most useful book I have ever read would be Writing Magic: Creating Stories that Fly. This is most likely just because I want to be a writer, but I have found it to be quite valuable in getting me a little closer to my goal. Gail Carson Levine has done it again!

6. Most Touching: The most touching book I have ever reviewed is most certainly Anne Frank: The Story of a Young Girl. It so vividly brings to life the struggles a teenage girl went through in the Holocaust that it brings tears to the eyes and makes your heart pound. A must-read.

7. ONLY Post About Authors Whose Books I’m Not Allowed to Read: Brontë Sisters, Power Up! is a funny and intriguing video. Just look at the title!

8. Not Really a Post, But: This isn’t a post, but I thought it would be interesting. Girl Knows Books got its most views on January 20, 2011. Thank you to everyone who got bored while at their computer and thought they’d check me out. Your boredom is appreciated.

9. Informative (But Not in the Textbook Way): I find my most informative posts, in a real life way, are the Author Tidbits, just because they give a bit of background of the authors whose books we have fallen in love with. And sometimes, you can find out pretty interesting things! I guess that’s actually why I write them.

10. People Who Have Helped Me: No, I never actually wrote a post about this. But I figure some people have helped me so much I’d like to put a bit in about them. Like my family, who have helped me out tons, and my friends, who have supported me. A lot. Thanks! Without you, I probably wouldn’t have made it to this post.

Well, that’s the end. Tomorrow, it’s back to regular old reviewing. But I’m glad I got to do this post. Hope you all have had great summers!

Small Persons With Wings

Yes, Small Persons with Wings. DO NOT call them fairies. They don’t take kindly to it, as Melissa Angelica Turpin finds out pretty early in life. Age five, to be exact. That’s when she had a Small Person with Wings living in her room. His name is Fidius, and he could make squash look like candy corn and a room look like a jungle. But all that changes when Mellie comes back from kindergarten with the exciting news that she plans to take Fidius in to show everyone. Maybe for once she might have some friends. Then Mellie’s hopes are dashed when she wakes up the next morning to an awful surprise: Fidius has left, leaving nothing behind but stupid china figurine. Let’s just say things don’t turn out well on Monday when that’s all Mellie has to show of her “fairy”. The embarrassment follows her for years, right up to when she’s thirteen. But when there is news that her grouchy grandfather has died and left her family his old inn, it’s a golden opportunity to leave it all behind and get a fresh start. But what do Mellie and her parents find when they get there? You guessed it. An infestation of Small Persons with Wings. Sigh. what can Mellie do now? This is a fresh, fun book, with a good plot and lovable characters. The writing is good, not particularly engaging, but definitely works. It’s appropriate for both children and young adults. Nice job to Ellen Booraem! This is a book I would recommend to all fantasy-lovers. I suggest you go check it out!

July 27, 2011: Only two more!

Outrageous Women of the Renaissance

Okay, here’s a thought provoking question for you: What do you think when you think nonfiction books? Do you think dusty old tombs no one wants to read? Do you think textbooks, like in school? Or just, “Gosh, BORING.” I’ll admit it, I never used to read nonfiction books. But I’ve recently started reading some, and realized that they can be pretty good. I mostly like reading about people (particularly women) that lived years before us, such as Sir Walter Raleigh or Eleanor of Aquitane. So no wonder I like this book, Outrageous Women of the Renaissance, by Vicki León. It has stories of women from all around the world, living during the unique times of the Renaissance. Some are ladies of high standing, some are even thieves and pirates, and all of them are interesting. There’s Isabella from Spain, Moll Frith of the British Isles, Joan of Arc from France, and tons more. This book teaches people about history and the way things were back then as well as the ladies. It’s fun, and there are also Outrageous Women of Ancient Times and Outrageous Women of the Middle Ages, plus more. This is a book for all ages, showing that the really good stories aren’t always fantasy.

July 3, 2011: 5 posts left!

Amelia Rules!: The Whole World’s Crazy

Possibly my all-time favorite graphic novel series is Amelia Rules! Really, how can you not love it? It’s about an extremely funny, interesting, and adventurous young girl, who still has her flaws. Amelia Louise McBride is real, and I think that’s a part of why I love her. Amelia has moved from her beloved New York City to a small town she didn’t even knew existed. Even living with her cool Aunt Tanner can’t brighten things up. Things aren’t looking their best, but she has made friends. Reggie, who (let’s be truthful) is rather odd, Pajamaman, who is friendly despite his quiet nature, and Rhonda, who has lumpy hair and a sharp tongue. Let’s just say she and Amelia are still, um…getting used to each other. Jimmy Gownley’s words and drawings go together to make you laugh out loud, and Amelia is a truly unique character. And don’t stop with this book! There are many more. I say this is a book that both kids and adults will enjoy, and I hope they do.

June 20, 2011: 8 posts to go!

Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village

This book is just fun. It is full of monologues/dialogues, all based on everyday life in Medieval times, every one written by the talented hand of Laura Amy Schlitz. There are parts from Nelly the sniggler, Constance, a pilgrim, and even Giles the beggar. And, believe me, there are tons more.This helps children gain insight into what life was like all those centuries ago. Who knows, maybe your ancestor was a tanner, or a glassblower? These witty bits of literature are a great way to get children interested in history, and how people lived before them. Some rhyme, some don’t. Some are for two actors, some are for one. You can read them just to yourself, or get a friend and take turns acting out the various parts. What makes them even more fun (and this is just something cool I noticed) is that they’re all related. Occasionally, a story will be told from two points of view, or you just might learn more about one character while reading about another. It’s just a fun book that’s meant to be…well, fun. I’m confident kids will enjoy it, and it’s not just kids that like books or history. It gives children with a dramatic flair a chance to enjoy themselves as well. I definitely suggest you at least take a look. See you!

P. S. Guess what? Girl Knows Books is approaching it’s 100th post! Yes, that’s right! The countdown starts today. June 13, 2011: 9 posts to go!

Author Tidbits: Michael Buckley

Well, let’s see…I’ve done posts on The Sisters Grimm and NERDS, so I might as well do one on the author of both: Michael Buckley. Before he became a writer for children, Michael Buckley was stand-up comedian. He was also the lead singer of a punk rock band, and he worked as an intern on the Late Show with David Letterman. He also worked on developing programming for various TV networks. Quite an array of jobs, I might add. Finally, he discovered the joys of writing, especially with a healthy dose of funny. The Sisters Grimm is his first work, and he is now a bestselling author. For those that aren’t particularly drawn to The Sisters, he has a funnier series called NERDS. This more resembles science fiction, chock full of originality. Now that you know more about the author of these great books, why don’t you take a look?