Writing Magic by Gail Carson Levine

If you’re looking for a great book to teach you about writing, pick up a copy of Writing Magic: Creating Stories that Fly by Gail Carson Levine.

Best known for Ella Enchanted, Levine shares her wealth of experience with young writers. With helpful advice on beginnings and endings, writing dialogue, shaping characters, when to show and when to tell, how to come up with ideas and more this will become an often referred to resource. The chapters are short enough to be digested in one sitting and followed up with a writing exercise to illustrate the point. Even as a seasoned writer I found these exercises worthwhile. If you have an interest in writing, Writing Magic should be on your “TBR” list.

Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Age Range: 8 and up
Grade Level: 3 – 6
Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins; Reissue edition (December 23, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 006236717X
ISBN-13: 978-0062367174


I borrowed this book from our local library. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.


The Genius Files: Mission Unstoppable by Dan Gutman


With the real-kid humor that has earned Dan Gutman millions of fans around the world, and featuring weird-but-true American tourist destinations, The Genius Files is a one-of-a-kind mix of geography and fun.

As Coke and Pepsi dodge nefarious villains from the Pez museum in California all the way to the Infinity Room in Wisconsin, black-and-white photographs and maps put young readers right into the action.

File Size: 2732 KB
Print Length: 309 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (January 25, 2011)
Publication Date: January 25, 2011
Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
Language: English
ASIN: B004HD62O4


Order here!

Too Big by Judy Dearborn Nill

You’ll find the topics of bullying, peer pressure, friendship and learning to accept who you are wrapped up in a fabulously engaging story with Too Big by Judy Dearborn Nill.

Shelby Bradshaw considers skipping the fifth grade and going right to middle school. Academically that won’t be a problem, but it’s really to escape all the teasing she has endured since her growth spurt. She’ll miss being with her best friend Zoe, but maybe it will all be worth it.

Though there are many teaching points and topics for discussion, the young reader will also discover a great plot and interesting characters. They might know a Shelby or a Zoe or a Marissa or a Deke or a Kenny. They might have experienced some of what these characters have. Misunderstandings happen. People aren’t always who you think they are. Sometimes actions have bad consequences. Maybe a good idea ends up not being so good later.

Too Big tackles real issues that kids are dealing with and handles them without trivializing them or the real feelings young people must cope with. Too Big is an awesome book. I’m so glad the author asked me to review it. I’ll be looking for more of her work in the future.

Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Grade Level: 3 – 6
Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing; Large type / large print edition edition (October 22, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1616338075
ISBN-13: 978-1616338077

I received a copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Deck the Halls, We’re Off the Walls by Dan Gutman

With more than 10 million books sold, the My Weird School series really gets kids reading!

A.J. and the gang from My Weird School star in this series of after-school, holiday-themed chapter books featuring brand-new hilarious stories and thirty-two pages of games, puzzles, and more.

It’s Christmas, and you know what that means! Santa Claus is coming to town! Or at least to the local mall. But what happens when kid rapper Cray-Z gives a Christmas concert at the same mall and all his fans go bananas? One thing’s for sure—if A.J. and his friends from Ella Mentry School want to save the day, they will need a Christmas miracle.

Bestselling author Dan Gutman brings his wacky, kid-friendly sense of humor to this all-new series of holiday adventures. With My Weird School trivia and Christmas-themed facts and puzzles, this is one weird Christmas special you don’t want to miss!

ISBN: 9780062206848
ISBN 10: 0062206842
Imprint: HarperCollins
On Sale: 09/24/2013
Pages: 144
List Price: 1.99 USD
Ages: 6 to 10

Order from:

Google Play

Coming in November!: Cici’s Journal by Joris Chamblain & Aurelie Neyret

Cici dreams of being a novelist. Her favorite subject: people, especially adults. She’s been watching them and taking notes. Everybody has one special secret, Cici figures, and if you want to write about people, you need to understand what’s hiding inside them. But now she’s discovered something truly strange: an old man who disappears into the forest every Sunday with huge pots of paint in all sorts of colors. What is he up to? Why does he look so sad when he comes back?

In a graphic novel interwoven with journal notes, scrapbook pieces, and doodles, Cici assembles clues about the odd and wonderful people she’s uncovered, even as she struggles to understand the mundane: her family and friends.

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Grade Level: 3 – 7
Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: First Second (November 7, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 162672248X
ISBN-13: 978-1626722484


Purchase here

Dog Trouble by Galia Oz

Galia Oz was born in Kibbutz Hulda, Israel, in 1964. She studied film and Television in Tel Aviv University 1984-87.

Her award winning series of 5 books titled DOG TROUBLE was published in France, Spain and Brazil – and recently in the US by CROWN BOOKS Random House. The series is a steady seller in Israel for over 10 years (selling over 150,000 copies).

Oz has directed several documentaries, all screened in international film festivals, and in Israeli leading television channels.

Over the years, Galia Oz has been meeting thousands of readers in Israeli elementary schools, and taught creative writing and classic children’s literature to kids in public libraries.

Galia Oz is married and has two kids, a dog and a cat, and they all live in Ramat Hasharon, just outside Tel-Aviv.

Visit her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009378865434.

Inside the Book

Author: Galia Oz
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Pages: 144
Genre: Children’s book for young readers, ages 8-12

Readers who have graduated from Junie B. Jones and Ivy & Bean will fall head over heels for feisty Julie and her troublesome new dog. 
Julie has only had her dog for two weeks, but she is already causing all sorts of problems. For starters, she is missing! Julie suspects the school bully Danny must be behind it. But it will take some detective work, the help of Julie’s friends, and maybe even her munchkin twin brothers to bring her new pet home.

Wonderfully sassy and endlessly entertaining, the escapades of Julie and her dog are just beginning!

Julie’s adventures have sold across the globe and been translated into five languages. Popular filmmaker and children’s author Galia Oz effortlessly captures the love of a girl and her dog.

“A funny exploration of schoolyard controversy and resolution.” –Kirkus Reviews 

“Will resonate with readers and have them waiting for more installments.” –Booklist

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Operation Christmas Spirit by Vicki Watson

A rascally pony, two run-down carts, and a pile of moldy harness seemed like a strange start to a journey full of ups and downs that led Rosie to the most meaningful Christmas of her life. But looking back, she knew it all began that fall day at the livestock auction.

When Billy King asks questions about the biblical Christmas story, his curiosity inspires Rosie and the other children to dive into Scripture for the answers. Together they come up with a secret plan for a unique Christmas celebration–Operation Christmas Spirit.

Operation Christmas Spirit is the eighth book in the Sonrise Stable series, heartwarming stories of an extended homeschooling family as they live, learn, and love together. Mixing adventure, life lessons, and realistic horse stories, the series is a must for readers who enjoy family values, Christian faith, and, of course, horses!

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Grade Level: 1 – 6
Series: Sonrise Stable (Book 8)
Publisher: Sonrise Stable Books (September 20, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0984724273
ISBN-13: 978-0984724277

Purchase here!