New from Kevin Henkes: Sweeping Up the Heart

A novel about loss, loneliness, and friendship that tells the story of the spring break that changes seventh-grader Amelia Albright’s life forever.

Amelia Albright dreams about going to Florida for spring break like everyone else in her class, but her father–a cranky and stubborn English professor–has decided Florida is too much adventure.

Now Amelia is stuck at home with him and her babysitter, the beloved Mrs. O’Brien. The week ahead promises to be boring, until Amelia meets Casey at her neighborhood art studio. Amelia has never been friends with a boy before, and the experience is both fraught and thrilling. When Casey claims to see the spirit of Amelia’s mother (who died ten years before), the pair embarks on an altogether different journey in their attempt to find her.

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Grade Level: 3 – 7
Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: Greenwillow Books (March 19, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 006285254X
ISBN-13: 978-0062852540

Purchase here!

Guest Blogger: Hank Quense, Author of Fiction Writing Workshop for Kids

Writing a story is a tough job, especially for a kid. There’s all that stuff about characters and setting they have to remember. And then there’s the plot. How is a kid supposed to figure that one out?

I’ve written a number of novels and I’ve had over forty short stories published in magazines, anthologies and web sites. So I know firsthand about these difficulties. Over time and after a lot of false starts, I developed a process that allows me to approach a new story in an organized manner. Once I had this process I found it eliminated many of the dead ends I had previously run into.

A few years ago the Valley Middle School in Oakland NJ asked if I would visit the school and talk to their seventh graders. On visits like this, authors usually talk about their books and read scenes from them. I hate reading scenes! I find it boring and I’m sure I bore the audience with my monotonous voice. Instead of torturing the kids this way, I decided to show them how I use my process to create a short story. The slide talk worked like this: I gave them the overall story idea, one that they would want to write. After that, I used a handout with a series of text boxes with questions to have the kids come up with ideas on characters, setting and plot. Finally, I broke the story up into six scenes and showed the kids how to use the text box ideas to write each scene. The talk was wildly successful.

4: New Project
Besides the Valley Middle School, I’ve given this talk in libraries and expanded the concept to include two more story ideas. While I love doing this, my talks are geographically limited. To remove this limitation, I used these three talks as the basis for the ebook called Fiction Writing Workshop for Kids. Using the advanced technical capabilities of ebooks, the book has graphics, audio and video clips embedded into it. The videos show the text boxes and coach the kids on how to develop ideas for the basic story elements: characters, setting and plot. Each story has a final video clip showing the kids which text boxes to use in each scene.

Finally, there is a set of blank worksheets the kids can use to develop stories on their own.

The suggested audience for the ebook is 4th to 7th graders.

This is not an ordinary ebook: it’s interactive and that presents some problems. Not all e-readers can open the epub and mobi versions of this book. Apple computers and IOS devices can open the epub version if they have the free iBook app installed. Some Nooks also can open it. You can open the epub on a PC computer if the computer has Adobe Digital Edition app installed. You can download this free app here: https://www.adobe.com/solutions/ebook/digital-editions.html

The mobi edition will only work on the more recent Kindle Fire tablets.

Other Kindle tablets will not be able to deal with the audio and video clips.

The ebook is available on iBooks at https://apple.co/2CJYDjN and Kindle at https://amzn.to/2RnU5Yo.

This website has more information and a demo story your child can try out: https://padlet.com/hanque/a7zx74mjcgrg

Getting a book published is always a great feeling, but this one felt not just great, but also fulfilling.

A Toad That Explodes and Other Cool Animal Facts by Melissa Abramovitz

Did you know that horned lizards can shoot blood from their eyes? Discover other mind-blowing facts about animals!

Age Range: 10 – 12 years
Grade Level: 2 – 3
Lexile Measure: HL470L
Series: Mind-Blowing Science Facts
Library Binding: 32 pages
Publisher: Capstone Press (January 1, 2019)

Purchase here!

Melissa Abramovitz is the author of hundreds of magazine articles, more than 30 educational books for children and teenagers, numerous poems and short stories, and several children’s picture books. She is a graduate of the University of California San Diego. Visit her website at www.melissaabramovitz.com

New Release: New Kid by Jerry Craft

Perfect for fans of Raina Telgemeier and Gene Luen Yang, New Kid is a timely, honest graphic novel about starting over at a new school where diversity is low and the struggle to fit in is real, from award-winning author-illustrator Jerry Craft.

Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade.

As he makes the daily trip from his Washington Heights apartment to the upscale Riverdale Academy Day School, Jordan soon finds himself torn between two worlds—and not really fitting into either one. Can Jordan learn to navigate his new school culture while keeping his neighborhood friends and staying true to himself?

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Grade Level: 3 – 7
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins (February 5, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062691201
ISBN-13: 978-0062691200

Purchase here!

Max and the Midknights by Lincoln Peirce

 

Max wants to be a knight! Too bad that dream is about as likely as finding a friendly dragon. But when Max’s uncle Budrick is kidnapped by the cruel King Gastley, Max has to act…and fast! Joined by a band of brave adventurers–the Midknights–Max sets out on a thrilling quest: to save Uncle Budrick and restore the realm of Byjovia to its former high spirits!

Magic and (mis)adventures abound in this hilarious illustrated novel from the New York Times bestselling creator of the Big Nate series, Lincoln Peirce.

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Grade Level: 3 – 7
Lexile Measure: GN490L
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers (January 8, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1101931086
ISBN-13: 978-1101931080

Purchase here!

Available for Pre-order: Tangled in Time by Kathryn Lasky

This story sounds superb!

Life used to be great for Rose: full of friends, a loving mom, and a growing fashion blog.

But when her mother dies in a car crash, Rose is sent away to live with a strange grandmother she hardly knows and forced to attend a new school where mean girls ridicule her at every turn.

The only place Rose finds refuge is in her grandmother’s greenhouse. But one night she sees a strange light glowing from within it. She goes to investigate…and finds herself transported back five hundred years to Hatfield Palace, where she becomes servant and confidant of the banished princess Elizabeth, daughter of King Henry VIII.

Rose soon discovers something else amazing—a locket with two mysterious images inside it, both clues to her own past. Could the greenhouse portal offer answers to the mysteries of her family…and their secrets?

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Grade Level: 3 – 7
Series: Tangled in Time
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins (March 19, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062693255
ISBN-13: 978-0062693259

Pre-order from:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Books-A-Million
Indiebound