Posted in Book Review

Beatrice Zinker

By Shelley Johannes

Book Source: borrowed from library

Book Status: available

I’ve read both of the Beatrice Zinker books and this is a double review. I’m also going to give only 3, because many things happen in both books. So, On with the review!!

Beatrice Zinker 1:

  1. 1. Kids would like this book because it’s about friendship mishaps.
  2. 2. It’s very funny.
  3. 3. It’s perfect for kids who like good trouble.

Beatrice Zinker 2

  1. Its about Spying for good!
  2. It’s really funny.
  3. Its about finding a friend and thinking about everyone, instead of the person your spying on.
Posted in General

Review partner

Meet Rebel, my new book reading and review partner. She is the litter mate of my brother’s kitten. They are rescue kittens just like our one year old cats.

Mom isn’t sure how we went from no cats to four in 7 months.

I just read “The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise” by Dan Gemeinhart and loved how she met Ivan. I have been jealous of Lil Bro and his kitten so my parents said if I had a Coyote Sunrise moment with a kitten, they would let us add one final kitten.

One of our older cats is loving having kittens around. The other is not so happy. Funny thing is the not happy cat was supposed to be our only cat. When the shelter called to arrange her adoption, they convinced Dad to adopt her foster sister. They are both tabbies and look a lot a like, but aren’t blood related.

Now I need to learn to take care of my kitten.

Posted in Book Review

Ban this book

By Alan Gratz

Book Source: borrowed from library

Book Status: available

I was not sure about this book at first because it seemed so similar to Property of the Rebel Librarian. But I loved it. For me this was such a better book. I might even re-read it.

Five reasons why I think kids will like this

1. It is about a girl causing good trouble

2. It is about betrayal and being forced into an unwinable position

3. It is about books and people trying to censor what kids read. And we know I am not a fan of that

4. The kids use grown up logic against the grown-ups. That is pretty fun

5. This was book was so worth staying up all night to finish. I thought I got away with it but my parents called my bluff pretty quick. But it was that good of a book.

Bonus: I liked this better of two books but I think Rebel Librarian would just as good a book for class to discuss censorship. It is nice to have two book choices for a class.

Posted in Meet the authors

Rebecca Donnelly

Online presence (website/social media) Rebecca Donnelly

Twitter: @_becca_donnelly
When you were my age (10) what book impacted you?  I was a huge fan of the Babysitters Club series when I was your age! (And I got to meet Ann M. Martin last year, which my ten-year-old self never would have imagined possible.) I had about six of them, I think, and I re-read them over and over. I loved re-reading, because it was so comforting to come across my favorite parts.


How long have you been a librarian?  I got my first library job in 2006, and I became a children’s librarian in 2007. 


What kind of Librarian are you? I’m a children’s librarian in a small public library in a rural college town. I’ve also been a children’s librarian in a larger suburban library and the director of a tiny rural library. 


-How do you match a kid to a book? I always try to find out what other books a kid has read and loved, because that gives me an idea of where they are with reading skills and what grabs their interest. Sometimes it’s as simple as handing a kid the next great fantasy book, but I’ve met plenty of kids who haven’t spent much time around books. In that case, I might start with nonfiction, because usually everyone knows what subjects they’re interested in, or I’ll go to graphic novels, because kids can see what they’re about really easily. 


-Book access is a big topic right now. What does the term mean to you and why is it important? Book access means that a kid has books in their life. Books at home, books at school, books in libraries and bookstores in your community. It also means access to things like magazines, audiobooks, and the internet, because there are many ways to build literacy skills. When kids have access to those things, it shows you what the adults in that community value.

You are also an author. How did you become one? I’ve wanted to be an author since I was six years old. I had a series of books called the Garden Gang by Jayne Fisher–this was in the UK, where I was born–and the author/illustrator bio said that Jayne was nine years old. To a six-year-old, that’s very grown-up! I remember thinking that I had three years to launch my own career (although it took a little longer than that). I started seriously trying to get published when I first began working as a children’s librarian. I wrote a book that got me a wonderful agent, Molly Ker Hawn, and although that book wasn’t published, we’ve been together for six years and six more book deals. (Most of those books haven’t been published yet.)


– Is it hard to come up with book ideas? No! It’s almost too easy to come up with ideas. I have a page-long list just for picture book ideas, and it keeps getting longer! The tricky part is knowing how to turn that idea into a story. What’s the best way to do it? How can you recognize when something’s not working, and should you rewrite, or put it aside and work on something else for a while? Those are the questions I find myself struggling with.


– Have you heard from readers. What do you like about that? It’s lovely to hear from readers. As a librarian, I like hearing from readers of all kinds, even if they haven’t read my books! But I hope that a kid who reads one of my books will find something creative and funny, and maybe they’ll find a part they want to read over and over. I did have one mom tell me that her son kept my first book in his bed to read again and again, along with his other favorites–that’s a real honor! 


– What newer or lesser known author do you think people should be reading? I recently listened to the audiobook of Anna Meriano’s first book in the Love, Sugar, Magic series, A Dash of Trouble. Any reader who likes stories about family, sibling relationships, food, and a little magic will love this series, and the second book, A Sprinkle of Spirits, is out now!


– What is something you have read recently that impacted you? I read a lot of history when I’m not reading middle grade novels or researching other things. I just finished reading A Few Drops of Red, a YA nonfiction book about the Chicago race riots of 1919. There’s a lot of history that never gets taught in school, and it’s important to learn it so we can recognize what’s happening in the world around us.


– If you could portal into any book which would it be? I’m not an incredibly adventurous person, so I can’t see myself portaling into a mystery or a fantasy world. I do love stories that show the real world plus something a little magical, so I’ll choose a classic English picture book, The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr. It’s about a little girl who opens the door and invites a large, friendly, hungry tiger into her house, where it eats and drinks everything, and then just goes away. That’s as much excitement as I could handle, plus Sophie wears really great tights.

Posted in Book Review

The Panda Problem

By Deborah Underwood

Illustrated by Hannah Marks

Book Source: borrowed from my library

Book Status: available

Deborah Underwood was my very first author interview. That makes her very special to me. I try to read all her books and put a hold on this one at my library. I have a hold on her other recent book too 😘.

Now on to five reasons this panda is not a problem

1. It is a really funny book with the Panda talking back to you the entire time

2. It rains jelly beans

3. They sail to Antarctica which means they see penguins. The penguins are not impressed by the panda

4. There are aliens

5. This would be an awesome book to read out loud especially if you do voices for each character.

Posted in Book Review

Dragons from Mars go to School

By Deborah Aronson

Illustrated by Colin Jack

Book Source: gifted to me by author to review

Book Status: available

Deborah lives near me and offered to drop her newest book off. Her timing was perfect as Lil’ Brother and I were making posters for the school supply drive Mom will be running at work. Deborah’s newest book has her Dragons from Mars going to school!

1. This book would be good for kids getting ready to go back to school.

2. It shows how people can be mean and how using your words can help change the situation.

3. The dragons are still wicked silly.

4. Deborah does a great job with her rhymes. Some make you really think.

5. This would be a fun book for an older kid to read to a younger class especially at the beginning of school. Like a fifth grader to kindergartners.

And hey since we are talking about back to school. Did you know a lot of schools do back to school drives? We have helped Mom with one for seven years. The supplies go to my school district where over 50% of the kids get free or reduced lunch. Donating supplies takes the pressure of parents and teachers.

If you can help a school with supplies it is great and easy to do. You can buy school supplies for super cheap the next few weeks.

Posted in Book Review

Max and the Magic Sailboat

By Axel Behn

Book Source: Provided in exchange for a fair review

Book Status: available

1. The book explains some things that are different in China from the US.

2. I am not sure I like how it points how things on China seem strange to an American and not how things Americans do could be strange to them.

3. This book could lead to a discussion with kids about how things we think are strange are normal to others. And the other way around.

4. The illustrations are interesting. They look like old pictures that were printed now. But they also look like illustrations.

5. Maybe this book would inspire a kid to learn more about China or other cultures.