Bookcation 2016 #12: Wing & Claw: Forest of Wonders

21 Mar

Linda Sue Park has been around for ages. In fact, many of my students had read her books long before even I did. I was introduced to her because I loved The 39 Clues series so much, and she wrote the 9th novel of the original plot line, Storm Warning. Now, she’s got a brand-new series that I think you’ll enjoy.

 

Wing & Claw - Forest of Wonders 

Forest of Wonders is the first novel in the Wing & Claw series. It’s about a young apothecary called Raffa who is rather gifted at his craft but suppressed by his father who doesn’t want him experimenting. One day, he comes upon an injured bat, so he concocts a cure using a rare plant in the forest. His medicine is effective … so effective, in fact, that Echo, the bat, develops a curious ability. And this is when Raffa’s life changes.

This is an adventuresome read that you’ll rip right through. I especially love the apothecary bits because I’ve always had a fascination for botany (mostly to learn about which plants to avoid!). I hope you enjoy this first installment. Let me know what you think about it!

Bookcation 2016 #11: Waylon and Pax

21 Mar

Waylon! One Awesome Thing by Sara Pennypacker is coming out next month, and I want you to keep an eye out for it. It’s a quick read that I think will leave an impact on you.

 

Waylon - One Awesome Thing 

The story is about Waylon, a fourth-grader who has grand plans for improving life but who has to deal with life itself before anything else. Waylon wants to be friends with (almost) everyone, but his classmates are divided in their loyalties. His older sister has begun wearing all black and stopped being his best mate. Will nothing ever stay the sweet way it was?

Middle school is often a strange and defining time in life, and I really enjoyed the way Pennypacker explored the various problems that adults often dismiss as important. When you’ve read this book, come find me and tell whether you ever felt like Waylon, too.

 

Pax

 

While I’ve got you eager to read all about Waylon, let me remind you to borrow one of our copies of Pax, too, and to visit the book’s site, “Find Pax”. Pax was sadly orphaned when he was very young because his fox family was killed, but Peter rescues him from the clutches of wild nature. Under Peter’s care, Pax regains strength, and the two of them plant the seeds of a beautiful friendship. But then, war happens, and Peter must move in with his grandpa while his father goes off to fight. Pax is not welcome to join them. Will Peter and Pax ever see each other again? Don’t worry, I’ll give you a tissue when you visit me to borrow the book.

Bookcation 2016 #10: The Genius Factor: How to Capture an Invisible Cat

18 Mar

Triskaidekaphobia I do not have! I love Friday the 13th, which is what led me to this book. Also, how does one capture an invisible cat?

 

Genius Factor - How to Capture an Invisible Cat 

Nate Bannister does three very unbrilliant things: he teaches a caterpillar math (ick … about math, not the caterpillar), mails a love letter (that doesn’t sound too bad), and enlarges his cat (Proton, lovely name) before making him invisible (normal reaction). So, of course, with his new-found gigantic-ness, what else would Proton do but roam about town? Nate and his friend, Delphine, try to stop Proton from smooshing everyone and everything into smithereens, but then Sir Jakob Maculte, the leader of the Red Death Tea Society, get in their way. What’s a guy (and his gal pal) to do? Run, probably.

The Genius Factor: How to Capture an Invisible Cat has just pubbed, and rest assured, Paul Tobin’s LOL first book of a brand-new series is on its way to our library. While you wait for its arrival, might I suggest you visit his site to discover more about his writings? Check in with me to see what the ETA is on this book when you come back!

Bookcation 2016 #9: Towers Falling

18 Mar

It’s been 15 years since the Twin Towers in NYC fell, and it seems simultaneously too long and too short a time since it happened. I was still a student then, finishing up my undergrad and getting ready to join the workforce. It was quite a challenge getting to classes that day (there were so many people gathered around TVs that normally ran a continuous loop of the weather – in various cafeteria, student lounges, and building lobbies) and getting through classes that week (profs and students alike were more keen to discuss the implications of what had just happened). For an event so clearly etched in my mind about where I was and what I was doing when I heard about it, I can hardly believe that a decade and a half have already passed since.

 

Towers Falling 

Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes is set in 2016 (and will pub this summer), and it discuss the events of September 11 through the eyes of Deja. Deja is in the fifth grade and, along with her friends Ben and Sabeen, wasn’t around when IT happened. But she knows it happened. She didn’t have to be alive then to feel the ramifications of that fateful day. She knows its significance because at school, their lessons revolve around American pride and community growth and healing. And she definitely feels it whenever Pop gets angry every time she mentions anything about the towers.

I haven’t managed to get a copy of this book yet, but I am quite excited to read it. Our world today is very different from how it was 15 years ago, but for those born after 2011, this is the only world they’ve (you’ve) ever known. I’m curious about what Deja and her friends discover about the past, their families, and themselves, and how it feels to live a life that doesn’t have a pre-9/11 memory.

Bookcation 2016 #8: Star Darlings: The Adventures of Sage, Libby, and Scarlet

17 Mar

Okay, well you know how much I love Disney characters, so it’s no stretch to think that I love Disney books, too. Percy Jackson and The Zodiac Legacy are two of our all-time favourite series, both of which are published by Disney Publishing Worldwide. Now, I’ve got another great series for you to fall in love with: The Star Darlings.

 

Star Darlings - Sage 

I’ve only read the first three books of what will be, I think (though I wish for more), a 12-book series, but I’m hooked. Think about it: not everyone is let in, so it is a rather big deal to be accepted to Starling Academy, a prestigious school for those wishing to become Star Darlings – wish granters – to people on Wishworld (aka Earth). Each Star Darling has her own unique personality, strengths, and even colour (just look at the book covers !). The cover art of each of the books alone is enough to get you hooked. The images and colour combinations are simply gorgeous and utterly mesmerizing.

 

Star Darlings - Wisher's Guide to Starland 

The first book, Sage and the Journey to Wishworld, introduces us to Star Academy and the Star Darlings. It’s everything you’d enjoy in a series starter: backstory, introductions, and lots of adventure. Sage is a great character who is flawed enough to be realistic but still quite likable. You’ll really enjoy discovering all about Ahmet Zappa and Shana Muldoon Zappa’s imaginative world full of Holo-Books and Star Transmitters (among other things). The follow-up, Libby and the Class Election, is just as sweet and charming as the first. Libby loves to say “yes” to people, but she needs to learn to think more of her own needs and stand up for herself, too. Nowhere does she learn this lesson more than down on Wishworld during her mission. In Scarlet Discovers True Strength, you’ll meet another Star Darling who is very unlike Sage and Libby. Scarlet is manipulative and often seeks revenge on those who displease her. Through her journey to Wishworld, she learns a valuable lesson on how to best help others.

 

Star Darlings - Group 

All three titles are in our library now, and I’m waiting to get my hands on the next three (Leona’s Unlucky Mission, Vega and the Fashion Designer, and Cassie Comes Through), which were published earlier this year. While we’re waiting, let me point you to the direction of Disney’s official Star Darlings site, Facebook page, and Instagram account. I’m sure you’ll find lots of images, news bits, and videos to keep you busy throughout the March Break. Let me know who your favourite Star Darlings are!

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