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In Conclusion

Well, my friends, it has to come time for me to say adieu.  I never thought that I would have so much fun being a book blogger, nor did I realize that I was going to “meet” so many great people online and in the blogging world.  Reading through some of the best childrens books during the past year has been an amazing literary journey, but now I must start on a different type of journey.

My husband and I are in the process of adopting a sibling set of 3 children.  Over the course of the past few months, we have started preparing our lives for these children, and one of the hardest decisions I made was to discontinue The Literary Wife.  While I absolutely love blogging and sharing my love for reading with friends through this medium, I want to ensure that the majority of my time is spent with my children, caring for them and giving them the attention they need to recover from the traumatic few years they have experienced thus far in their lives.  I will definitely still be bouncing around, reading posts and commenting when I can, but I hope that I have your understanding in this new endeavor.

Thank you for your faithfulness to reading this blog and encouraging me in my reading challenge and my life challenges along the way.  Happy reading!

 

Nerds Heart YA 1st Round

As mentioned yesterday, Nerds Heart YA starts today with the revealing of 1st round winners.  Paired with Violet Crush, we are making the decision on which book moves on in the tournament, Stringz by Michael Wenberg, or Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John.  Each of these books has a musical theme, as well as a backdrop of Seattle, Washington.  Read through the reviews of each book and see the winner revealed at the end.

Stringz by Michael Wenberg

Jace Adams is tired of being a teenage nomad, moving from city to city all because of his mother’s lame excuses to change location.  He just wants to settle down, surf and play cello.  Everything changes when he moves to Seattle and actually makes good friends.  All in good time, as his world is turned upside down, in good ways and bad, and he is forced to make decisions about his future and his identity.

While the main character was likable enough and the character development fun to follow, this book fell short when it came to the execution.  Some holes in the plot and in the characters made it hard to follow.  The friendships that Jace develops in his new school and homelife are intriguing and contribute a lot to his develop as a person.  Seattle as a setting and music as a theme is more than attractive to me, but unfortunately this novel needed a few more rounds of editing.

Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John

Piper is just your run-of-the-mill intellectual, over-achieving teenager.  Except that she’s deaf.  When she decides it’s time for a change, to do something different in her world, she becomes the manager of a high school band, recent winners of Seattle’s Battle of the Bands.  She doesn’t quite realize what she’s getting herself into, as she faces flack from her parents, numerous fights within the band, and the opportunity to make the band great or let them wane away in their lack of discipline.

Piper is an awesome character.  A well-rounded character, with her life story so obviously hindering her in more ways than just her deafness, she struggles to understand her role in her family and amongst the band.  She wrestles with her identity and often chooses to go out on a limb, seemingly uncharacteristic of the past Piper.  Though the other characters are not nearly as developed as Piper, the author leaves you wanting so much more from them.  With a creative storyline and a different main character than we are used to seeing in the YA world, Five Flavors of Dumb is definitely a winner.

As may be apparent by the short reviews, our choice in the book to move on in the bracket is Five Flavors of Dumb!  Follow along at the Nerds Heart YA homepage to see who the final winner is!

 
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Posted by on June 13, 2011 in YA Books

 

Nerds Heart YA

Starting in 2009, YA book bloggers have been hosting, participating and reading for the Nerds Heart YA competition.  With the goal of showcasing books that might not have received as much publicity as deserved, the competition is set up bracket-style, with bloggers deciding which books move on in the tournament.  This year’s competition contains a shortlist of books that were published in 2010 and feature one or more of the following criteria:

  • Person(s) of color
  • GLBT
  • Disability
  • Mental illness
  • Religious lifestyle
  • Lower socioeconomic status
  • Plus-size

Nerds Heart YA has already begun by the choosing of judges and the reading of novels set up in the bracket.  Beginning tomorrow, bloggers will begin to post their winning picks.  Check out the daily schedule for the first round here:

13th June This Purple Crayon/Book Addiction
13th June VioletCrush/The Literary Wife
15th June Pineapples & Pyjamas/Book Harbinger
(Edit) 21st June Birdbrain(ed) Book BlogBookworming in the 21st Century
17th June Secret Dreamworld of a Bookaholic 
17th June Books, Movies and Chinese Food/The Brain Lair
20th June The Wandering Librarians – Arianna/The Wandering Librarians – Anna
20th June We’re not butterflies…/A Backwards Story
22nd June TheReadingZone/Shylock Books
22nd June Early Nerd Special/Snarkymamma
24th June Book Nut
24th June Truth, Beauty, Freedom, Books
27th June the rejectionist
27th June TATAL 
29th June Sunshine and Bones
29th June Stella Matutina

Stay tuned tomorrow for my decision on which book moves on, Stringz or Five Flavors of Dumb. 

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2011 in YA Books

 

My Favorite Books

In official conclusion of my Top 100 childrens books challenge, I want to share with you my favorite books from the list. If you have been following the challenge, you know that I have enjoyed way more than this list shows, but these are the books that shone when going back through the list.  Be sure to click on the book title to see my initial thoughts during the challenge.

The Thief

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

All-of-a-kind Family

Stargirl

Ramona Quimby, Age 8

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

The Penderwicks

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Little Women

Little House in the Big Woods

Matilda

The Secret Garden

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Charlotte’s Web

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2011 in top 100 children's books

 

Books Set in NYC

In continuance of my lists compiled from the Top 100 childrens books, I wanted to share with you all the books from the list set in New York City.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that a great number of books were set in this great city.  But because I have not visited NYC, I have asked my friend Bethany to share her thoughts on this phenomenon of childrens books taking place in this city.  Enjoy her thoughts, her blog and the books!

“New York City. It’s big. It’s crowded. It’s loud. It’s exciting. It’s bright. It’s diverse. It’s a place where you can find any kind of person, food, music, fashion, and lifestyle. While it’s a city full of opportunity, hope, and passion, it’s also a place that can be dark, lonely, and dangerous.

So think about what such a city holds for children—the energy, the excitement, the joy. Having never been to the City until I was an adult, I often find myself jealous of kids I see going into the Met or playing in Central Park. I can’t imagine how special a childhood infused with the best of what the world has to offer in culture and food and sheer opportunity must be.

However. New York isn’t just bright and shiny.

For many, it represents an existence of struggle, fear, confusion, and heartbreak. A lifetime of trying to get ahead, only to have the rent go up again or have that perfect job fall through. It’s a place where, sometimes, kids have to raise themselves and act as adults far earlier than they ever should.

With so many different experiences and possibilities and outcomes, in many ways, New York City is the perfect setting for any novel. It’s a place that has so much character and history that an author has the ability to use NYC not only as a backdrop, but as a sort of supporting character, guiding the characters throughout the story simply by having them turn a corner or enter a building.

Although, you can argue that ANY setting can do the same thing, can’t you? Especially an urban setting. So what is it about New York that makes it so darn special?

I think it’s what the city represents for each person that comes to it. For some, it represents opportunity. For some, it’s the chance to start over. And for some, it’s the ability to just live there for awhile so that they can one day boast about it one day.

If you think that sounds over-romanticized, you’re probably right. I adore this city and constantly marvel at the fact that I call it home. I’ve been here for almost a year, and every time I see the skyline, I close my eyes and half expect it to have vanished when I open them. So maybe that’s why New York City is such a great setting—it’s a place that feels fictional even when you’re standing in the middle of it.”

All-of-a-kind Family

The Saturdays

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing

When You Reach Me

The Lightning Thief

Harriet the Spy

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

 
 

Just Plain Fun Books

So far, I have provided lists for y’all including life-topic books, great read-alouds and relevant classics.  Today, I want to emphasize the need for books that are just plain fun.  Whether it be the characters that bring tremendous life to the story or the author got way creative in the presentation of the novel, here are some books that will have kiddos craving more.

Sideways Stories from Wayside School

The Borrowers

My Father’s Dragon

The BFG

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

Frindle

James and the Giant Peach

The Tale of Despereaux

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

The Phantom Tollbooth

 
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Posted by on June 8, 2011 in top 100 children's books

 

Still Relevant Classics

On a list such as the one that I just conquered, we are bound to find some outdated classics, those that we might look back and think, “Why was that book so special to me?”  In my opinion, there are a lot that are still relevant and should not only be considered classic books but books that we should keep recommending to middle-grade readers.  Clicking on the title will take you to my original post on the book.

Caddie Woodlawn

All-of-a-Kind Family

Betsy-Tacy

The Saturdays

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

A Little Princess

Little Women

The Phantom Tollbooth

Anne of Green Gables

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Charlotte’s Web

 
 
 
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