Posted in Book Review

Show me a sign

By Ann Clare LeZotte

Book Source: purchased

Book Status: available

1. The girl, Mary, is deaf. A lot of people are deaf on the island that she lives on. She wonders why some people are deaf and some are not. Her father is deaf but her mother is not. Her friend’s parents are both deaf but her friend is not.

2. One day, a scientist, Andrew, arrives to investigate the cause of the deafness on the island. He is “nice and friendly!”. Cough-n- oooooooooops spoiler alert!!!

3. Then the kid—— OOOOOOOOOOPS SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!!!!

4. This book is set in a time where I wouldn’t be surprised if what happened was regular. I wasn’t originally clear when the book took place but it was clear it wasn’t now.

5. This book is just Sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo goooooood!!!!!!!!

6. I thought some of the ways they learned to communicate were cool. If you were hearing you used a horn to signal you wanted to talk to someone. If you were deaf, you scheduled it. They used spyglasses to see the other person.

Posted in Meet the authors

Scott Reintgen

Website

  1. When you were my age (11), did you like to read?

Honestly, not at that point. I had such a hard time finding books that I enjoyed. The Harry Potter series actually was the first one to rope me into being a big reader. Specifically, Prisoner of Azkaban, with all of its great plot twists and hidden identities.

  1. What is a book that made an impact on you?

I always like to say that every book I read impacts me. Great books teach me new things about being a writer. I get to learn how other authors are ending chapters or pulling off climactic moments. Reading is like taking a class from the greats. And then books I don’t like? Those teach me what I don’t want to do. Nothing is wasted.

  1. Is it hard to come up with book ideas?

This is the part that comes easy for me. My brain is just a weird one. So I’m always looking around our world and seeing different angles, figuring out how to tell new stories from things that seem normal or old.

  1. You write series. Is it hard to keep track of details between books?

Not really for me! It is an art, though, to making sure your readers can keep track of things. That’s why in a lot of sequels, you’ll see authors doing their best to remind the reader of certain things to catch them back up. For us, we’re often writing the sequel right after we finish book one. So most of it is fresh.

  1. Is there a new or lesser known author you think kids should be aware of?

I always hesitate to say “lesser known” but in terms of authors I think every young reader should know right now: Jason Reynolds, Elizabeth Acevedo, Kwame Mbalia, Leigh Bardugo, Ali Standish, and Nic Stone. These are just a few of my favorites, though most of them are in young adult.

  1. What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author?

My advice is always the same. Spend time writing. You can’t get better at anything without repetition and practice. Read widely. And lastly, do your best to find a writing community. Other authors can sharpen up your skills. Plus, it’s just fun to be around people who love to read and write as much as you do.

  1. As an author, do you hear from your readers? What do you like about that?

I do hear from my readers a good amount. It’s fantastic. It reminds us that our books do find a home, and how meaningful it is. The only negative side of that is sometimes we get tagged in harsh reviews. I don’t know any author who likes that part of the job.

  1. If you could portal into any book (yours or another person’s), what book would it be?

I’m a prisoner of the moment, and I just finished The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. Her writing is so gorgeous and she makes ancient Greece feel alive and dangerous. I think I’d want to jump into that world and meet some of the famous characters from literature and history.

Posted in Book Review

Saving Fable

By Scott Reintgen

Book Source: purchased

Book Status: available

1. It is a fun idea to think of where books and characters come from. This is set in the world of characters. They hope to be invited to Fable to attend the school for protagonist. There is a school for antagonist. At protagonist school you test to be the main character, a sidekick or other random characters. You are hoping an author finds you.

2. The girl is a character getting ready to be in a book!!!!! She is on sidekick track.

3. The city where the girl lives now that she was picked for a book, starts having weird and creeeeeepy things go on, like a bunch of library statues come to life and a teacher looks like they are from Coraline, and their mouth stitched up like a mandrakes.

4. The girl is such. A. Cool. Heroine. Like her hammer can both break and mend stuff!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

5.; THIS IS JUST SUCH A COOL BOOK LIKE OMG SOOO COOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

6. There is going to be another oneeeee!!!!!

Posted in General

Looking for input

I started this blog almost four years ago as I was finishing first grade. I am finishing fifth grade now. I am feeling a bit stuck but I am not ready to quit my blog.

In the nearly four years, I have almost 1000 posts, including over 600 book reviews by me and over 150 author/illustrator interviews.

Even before COVID, I was noticing it was getting harder for me to do reviews. I was also seeing a decline in readership. Four years ago, I was one of a few kid reviewers. Now there are quite a few. I want to figure out what make me unique in the mix.

Between all my platforms, I have around 2000 followers so hoping a large number would be willing to complete a survey for me. I am looking for open and honest input. I want to make my blog more beneficial to you.

Click for the survey

Thank you for your input!

When I started blogging….
Now…
Posted in Meet the authors

Mike Sherer

Author website/social media: https://mikesherer.orgm.sherer@yahoo.comhttps://www.facebook.com/mike.sherer.7140; @mikewsherer; https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B082KYLJ2Ghttps://www.facebook.com/groups/215904102149512/https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/99137407-mike-shererShadytown by Mike Sherer;
Shadytown by Mike ShererSynopsis: Want to read the next ‘Stranger Things’? A kinder, gentler ‘Stranger Things’ written for a younger aud…

1.     When you were my age (10), did you like to read?

          Science fiction. That’s what my older brother read, and he read voraciously. Science fiction books were stacked up all over the house. So those were the first books I picked up. These weren’t Middle Grade or YA. Those categories hadn’t been invented yet. You had children’s fiction and adult fiction. These science fiction books were definitely adult. They were fascinating.  

2.     What is a book that made an impact on you?

          ‘Gravity’s Rainbow’, by Thomas Pynchon. Densest, most richly-charactered, most intense, trippiest, most imaginative, wildest, most incredible book I have ever read. But it is extremely adult literature.

3.     Is it hard to come up with book ideas?

          Not at all. I have too many ideas. That’s why I enjoy writing short stories, of which I have succeeded in getting 20 published. Short stories give me a chance to explore an idea without committing to a major project. Same goes for novellas, of which I have published 4. 

4. Is there a new or lesser known author you think kids should be aware of?

          Sam Swicegood is a new author. His novel ‘No Place’, which incorporates elements of ‘Wizard of Oz’, is a good read. An older writer you don’t normally associate with MG lit is Ray Bradbury. His novel ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’ is great, if a little frightening. If you saw the movie, don’t be put off by it. The movie was terrible. The book is great.

5.     What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author?

          Write. Write. Write. Write. Write. Write. Did I mention write? You learn to ride a bicycle by riding it. You don’t go to classes, you don’t attend seminars, you don’t read books about it. You learn to ride a bike by riding it. Same goes with writing. And do not give up. If you enjoy writing. But you would have to enjoy it to invest the necessary time required to get good at it, whether you ever make a dime at it or not. If you invest your time in something you enjoy doing, then even if you fail you win.

6.     As an author, do you hear from your readers? What do you like about that?

          I get feedback from my friends. They are honest friends. I don’t always like what they tell me, but it is useful. My friends point out problems I don’t even realize are problems. They also make suggestions on how to improve my writing. I don’t always follow their suggestions, but I consider them. You need a tough hide. Not only will you get tons of useful criticism (if you are lucky), but you will also get tons of rejection notices. I’ve always said 1 yes is worth 1,000 nos.

7.     If you could portal into any book (yours or another person’s), what book would it be?

          ‘The Eye of the World’, by Robert Jordan. That is the first book in his amazing Wheel of Time fantasy series. He created an amazingly rich world which I would enjoy being a part of.

Posted in Book Review

Shadytown

By Mike Sherer

Book Source: copy provided for review purposes

Book Status: available

1. The boy’s grandmother is a ghost.

2. There is a tree that is summoning evil ghosts.

3. There is a boy, Sean, a boy, Sam, a boy, Sham, a boy, Aaron, a girl, Celia, a girl, Tammy, and a girl, Maeve, who’s also a werecat, plus good ghost grandma, that are trying to save their town.

4. There is a few evil ghosts, that include a lady who can be any age, a guy who can get inside your head, a tree, and a skeleton on fire that can make you see car crashes before they happen (not very evil, right? But he causes them to make up for that!)

5. This is a slow book at first but once you get into it you won’t want to put it down! I was up for literally all night!

Posted in Visit the Bookstore

Grandpa’s Barn

Where is it located?

Copper Harbor, which is a small, seasonal resort town at the far north in Michigan

Bookstore online presence

We’ve been working on a website (not yet launched) and we have a Facebook page

How long have you owned the bookstore?

We opened this store in 2002, but I’ve been selling books in Copper Harbor since 1981.

Why did you buy/open a bookstore?

At the time, we also owned a gift store where we sold a lot of books.  I wanted to have a business that focused primarily on books especially those with a regional focus.

What is the cool part of owning a bookstore? 

Having conversations about books!  I love talking to a wide range of readers and learning from them about the books they love and are interested in reading.

Any authors you think middle grade readers should check out?

Two of the most enthused book recommendations I’ve ever received from a middle grade reader were the Green Rider series by Britain and The School of Good and Evil series by Chinani.  I loved reading The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise, by Gemeinhart so I enjoy recommending that and, basing a book on its cover, I like to recommend the Wildwood series, by Meloy. More importantly, which books are at the top of your list?

What is a hard part of owning a bookstore?

When you own a small business, there is never enough time!  Even though it’s pleasurable, it’s hard work seeking out new titles and finding their sources.  Small, independent bookstores have carefully chosen inventory – we’re not necessarily buying the Top 10 reads package deals of each season, so it can take a lot of work finding the right mix for our shelves.  Tracking inventory, paying bills, and cleaning are all part of the package!

How has COVID-19 impacted your bookstore? 

For the fist time in 40 years of owning a business in Copper Harbor, I’m not actively involved preparing to open in May.  I haven’t made a decision as to how my business will operate this summer, how I will safely allow people in the store, how I will run our book club meetings, and more.  The writing of this story is incomplete – we’re looking ahead only one chapter at a time.