Posted in Book Review

Thank you for another great year

Hi fans! 2019 has been a great year! I have had a lot of fun, and I’ve met new authors year round.

I am going to be a kid for the next two weeks and enjoy school vacation and presents. And kittens.

I may pop in to say hi and definitely will be on my Instagram and Twitter.

And more exciting, I have three more track cycle races before end of the year.

Posted in Book Review

The 11:11 wish

By Kim Tomsic

Book Source: borrowed from library

Book Status: available

1. The cat clock is SOOuOOOOO COOL!!

2. The ending is….. Just…….. OMG AMAZINGLY PERFECTED AS A CLIFF HANGER!!!!!!!!!!!!

3. Its a representation of a popularity tug. It’s where two popular girls are enemies and a girl is in between friendships, but leans toward one girl, but the other has more power. But in this one there is a lot of magic involved.

4. The magic…

5. It is about middle school, being the new kid, the loss of a parent, being the not cool kid and so much more.

Posted in Meet the authors

Laura Shovan

Poetry Friday blog posts:

Twitter: @laurashovan

Instagram (robot doodles): @laurashovan


1. When you were my age (10), did you have a book inspire or impact you?

In fifth grade, the kids in my class discovered the Narnia books. Once I read The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, I was hooked on fantasy adventure stories. Another favorite series is The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper.

2. Have you read anything recently that inspired or impacted you?

I just read Malaka Gharib’s graphic memoir, I Was Their American Dream. As a first generation American, I love stories about what its like to have an immigrant parent, and to be from a family with two or more cultures. I couldn’t put this book down!

3. Can you share what your usual day as an author looks like?

I work from home, so my writing day depends on the book or project I’m working on. Most recently, I wrote a robot poem every day in November – to go with the robot doodles I post on Instagram. Now that I’m revising the first, messy drafts, I am spending several hours on the robot poems every day. Good thing I have help from my editorial assistants, Sam the Schnauzer and Rudy the Beagle.

4. Is there a newer or less know author you think kids should know about?

I think every kid should read Super Jake and the King of Chaos, by debut middle grade author Naomi Milliner.

5. What is a cool thing about being an author?

There are so many cool things! Making wonderful author friends, working at home with my dogs for company, and hearing from readers – especially kid readers – who connect with the characters in my books.

6. Is there anything hard about being an author? I know it is not rainbows, cupcakes, pens and a pot of gold.

Now I’m dreaming of a pot of gold rainbow cupcake! There are many difficult parts to being an author. Working to meet a deadline often feels like cramming for the biggest test ever. Learning to deal with rejection, such as a less-than-wonderful review of a book you worked hard on – that is really challenging.

7. Book access and diversity in books is a big topic. As an author what do you think your role is in this topic?

I live in an area where the schools are very multicultural. One of my goals is to reflect that reality in the books I write. A positive change that’s happened in the last few years is that many authors will only appear at events or speak on panels if an effort has been made to include diverse voices.

8.  If you could portal into any book which would it be?

If I could portal into a book at this moment, it would be Victoria Jamieson’s graphic novel All’s Faire in Middle School. I’d love to be part of Imogene’s extended family, working behind the scenes at the Renaissance Faire.

Posted in Book Review

Pages and Co: The Bookwanderers

By Anna James

Book Source: Purchased at Book Beat

Book Status: Available

I was originally asked to do a book tour for this book, but I couldn’t make it work with my schedule, so it was on my READ!!! list. When I found this book at a local event, I was like, yes!!! And OMG, it was capital A Amazing! Now on with the review!!

1. The girl can wander into books.

2. The girl lives in a bookstore.

3. The girl’s mom is missing.

4. The girl’s best friend left her for another. Also because of sports.

5. The girl’s new best friend is a boy!

If I could bookwander, I would definitely go into

-any of Salina Yoon’s Penguin books plus Be a Friend

– Mike Maihack’s Cleopatra in Space

– Grace Lin’s Where the Mountain meets the moon

– Caroline Carlson’s The World’s Greatest Detective

– Varian Johnson’s The Parker Inheritance

Lil Bro says he would wander into I Survives, Dogman and Kitten Kingdom.

What book would you wander into or what character would you want to meet?

Posted in Book Review

Dark Lord Clementine

By Sarah Jean Horwitz

Book Source: bought at Book Beat

Book Status: Available

Okay, this book is soooooooo good! It’s about betrayal, hope, evil, friendship, and greatness! On with the review!

1.  The girl, Clementine, is the heir to the title Dark Lord, aaaand her dad, the dark lord, is cursed.

2. Clementine befriends a boy and a huntress during a nice walk the in the woods( not! ).

3. One word; Betrayal. Oh, the betraying in this book is elegant! Oh, I’m so dumbfounded! It’s really cool!

4. It’s realllllllllllly suspenseful!!

5. It’s just a really good book!!

Posted in Book Review, Lil Bro's Fabulous Fridays, Reviews by Annoying Little Brother


By David Biedrzycki

Book Source: bought at Book Beat

Book Status: available

Lil Brother here to tell you about a funny book that also teaches you Japanese words. In SumoKitty a stray kitten gets adopted by sumo wrestlers and takes care of their mice problem. But he eats too much and can’t chase the mice and gets kicked out. He was a very fat kitty. (One of our kitties is trying to be a SumoKitty)

He works at getting back in shape and earns his place back. On about every page is a new Japanese word to learn.

My cat is black. He is not a SumoKitty but he takes very good care of our foster kitties. I like anything with black cats in it.

This book is about not giving up and putting in hard work. It is about when you do something and stop trying hard. Then you have to try even harder.

Kids who like cats, Japanese and fun books will like this. I am going to read it to my cat everyday so he can be a SumoKitty.

Posted in Book Review, Meet the authors

Micki Fine Pavlicek

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

In think my experience with reading is different from many authors.  I don’t remember reading being encouraged at home. As a child, I think I had an undiagnosed reading disorder, making reading quite difficult.   I learned to read to do well in school but reading for pleasure didn’t come until later in life. So, you can imagine I didn’t start out wanting to be a writer.  

Having said that, I remember receiving a book from my godparents that I absolutely loved.  I loved horses as a child so this book was right up my alley.  

King of the Wind: The Story of the Godolphin Arabian, by Marguerite Henry (Author), Wesley Dennis (Illustrator).

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

Since I didn’t read much as a kid, adult books are the ones that have had the biggest impact.   The books with the greatest impact on my life are about mindfulness meditation.  Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn changed my life, along with books by Sharon Salzberg, Thich Nhat Hahn and Jack Kornfield.  

For pleasure reading, I like books that use language that lights up the story, words I can hear and feel, words that make me want to hear every word and not skim over anything.  I like the brilliant work of Jane Smiley, in particular The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton. 

As an adult I read children’s book teaching kids mindfulness and others that are encouraging and hopeful.  A few books about maintaining connection with a caretaker figure come to mind, like The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn, illustrated by Ruth Harper and Nancy Leak and The Invisible String by Patrice Karst, illustrated by Geoff Stevenson.  

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

I have one children’s picture book, May All People and Pigs Be Happy, which teaches loving-kindness meditation and an adult book, The Need To Please: Mindfulness Skills to Gain Freedom from People-Pleasing and Approval Seeking.  

The very idea to even write these books came without prompting during meditation.  Several times I would hear the thought . . . “Book!” At first I tried to ignore those thoughts, partly because I didn’t think I could write a book.  Finally, as I meditated, I asked the question . . . “What book?” As I softened around the idea of writing a book (I hadn’t considered myself a writer), the subjects emerged and thoughts came as I sat quietly. 

Once I had a general outline for the The Need To Please I received a contract to write it, which included deadlines. This made for a fair amount of anxiety, especially being a first time author, making it difficult to put flesh on the bones of my outline.  I had difficulty finding the “right” words to express my thoughts.

For May All People and Pigs Be Happy, I didn’t have a contract and wasn’t in a hurry, so I simply let the ideas come a little at a time.  I wanted the book to follow the way loving-kindness meditation is traditionally taught, so I had a basic skeleton for the book.  I also have a stuffed pig, Pigalina, and I love her. Pigalina would pop into my mind along with the way loving-kindness meditation is taught.  From there ideas would simply pop into my mind about the plot. Since I wasn’t in a hurry, the book came to me in its own time without much trouble.  

4.     What author or book have read recently that impacted you?  

I am rereading Viktor Frankl’s inspirational book, Man’s Search for Meaning.  

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

I don’t know if Andrew Jordan Nance is a lesser-known author but he has a few lovely books that help kids develop mindfulness and emotional regulation.  His recently released book is The Lion in Me.

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

Spend some time being quiet and letting your imagination enchant you.  The imagination is a wonderful source of ideas. If you are quiet you can listen to and see what you imagination gives you.  Follow your imagination. Most of all, you don’t need to try to hard to make things up but let them come to you. Keep writing down your thoughts and over time they can come together into a plot.  

I hope this interview is encouraging for you.  I didn’t read as a child. I thought I couldn’t write a book.  Even though I had no confidence as a writer, I knew I had ideas worth writing about.  So, I did it. You can too.  

When I didn’t have a deadline, I had fun writing and it was productive.  Have some fun writing down your story and mix in some persistence. You can make it happen.

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

I love hearing from readers.  I have heard many lovely stories about the impact of May All People and Pigs Be Happy.  These stories warm my heart and sometimes bring tears to my eyes.  One person told me that she read the story to her daughter who had been crying because a friend was mean to her.  They practiced the loving wishes from the book and the daughter felt calmer and more loving toward herself and her friend.  These stories are important because I can see the mission of helping kids find their inner kindness and caring being full-filled.  

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

I would be Claire from my book, May All People and Pigs Be Happy.  She learned loving-kindness at an early age as I wish I had.