The Simple Art of Flying, by Corey Leonardo

Happy happy book birthday to THE SIMPLE ART OF FLYING by Corey Leonardo--a breathtakingly beautiful book. The stunning cover, lyrical writing, and 3 points of view makes this a phenomenal debut novel. Since the story is told through poetry, prose, letters and a medical log, each character is distinct, complex and relatable.

I love Alistair, the African Grey Parrot whose intellect and determination to escape to be with his sister drive almost all of his actions. He writes the most beautiful poetry. One of his poems is written after Bertie (POV #2-- a grieving old woman who writes letters to her dead husband), attempts to teach him his colors:
"That ribbon is not BLUE--
It's ghost-whale ocean-dust.
That couch-it's not pink--
It's pearl-berry petal-wisp..."


Fritz is the 12 year old aspiring doctor whose differences make it hard for him to make friends. His medical logs and interactions with other characters in the story help us understand his fears, his longing to connect with his father, and the price he's willing to pay for friendship. The book covers themes of grief, loyalty, hard work, friendship, family love, pet/owner relationships, freedom, depression, anxiety, and discovering that you've always had what you needed all along. 

THE LOST GIRL by Anne Ursu Plus GIVEAWAY!

"Thoughts fluttered frantically around Lark's head, looking for somewhere to roost. Iris was keeping things from her. Iris was sad. Iris was crying in camp. Iris was skipping camp. Iris had been wound up so tightly, and now she was unwinding everywhere. 'Something's wrong, Lark said quietly. 'really wrong.'"

I read this stunning story about identical twin girls in one day. This magical book captivates with beautiful writing, complex characters, and realistic relationships. Anne Ursu does an incredible job of putting you inside the head of 5th grade girls. She interweaves a plot filled with mystery, emotion and humor. The book encompasses themes of doubt, fear, loyalty, love, family, friendship, monsters (literal and figurative), feeling different, and being ok with being different. 

To win a copy of this book, comment on this post. If you share on facebook or twitter, you get another entry. Giveaway closes in one week. 

MORE ABOUT THE BOOK
Once upon a time, there were two sisters, alike in every way, except for all the ways that they were different.
    When you’re an identical twin, your story always starts with someone else. For Iris, that means her story  starts with Lark. Iris has always been the grounded, capable, and rational one; Lark has been inventive,  dreamy, and brilliant—and from their first moments in the world together, they’ve never left each  other’s side. Everyone around them realized early on what the two sisters already knew: they had better outcomes when they were together.
    When fifth grade arrives, however, it’s decided that Iris and Lark should be split into different  classrooms, and something breaks in them both. Iris is no longer so confident; Lark retreats into herself  as she deals with challenges at school. And at the same time, something strange is happening in the city  around them: things both great and small going missing without a trace. As Iris begins to understand  that anything can be lost in the blink of an eye, she decides it’s up to her to find a way to keep her sister safe.

PRAISE FOR THE LOST GIRL

“The Lost Girl is a jewel of a book—hard, bright, sharp, and precious. It reminds us of the boundless and subversive power of sisterhood and the inherent magic of girls.”—Kelly Barnhill, Newbery-Medal winning author of The Girl Who Drank the Moon

“I raced through The Lost Girl, breathless. And when I was finished, I found myself full of hope. It’s a beautiful, riveting, important book.”—Laurel Snyder, award-winning author of Orphan Island

“When the world makes no sense, I read books by Anne Ursu. When the world makes all the wrong kinds of sense, I read books by Anne Ursu. If you crave a story with the wit, wisdom, and magic to unriddle the world, then you need to read The Lost Girl by Anne Ursu.”—William Alexander, award-winning author of A Festival of Ghosts

“A beautiful, timeless tale of love conquering darkness in the midst of mystery and the angst of change. A must-have for any middle grade collection.” School Library Journal (starred review)

“This suspenseful mystery offers a story of empowerment, showing how one girl with the help of others can triumph.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“National Book Award nominee Ursu laces her story with fairy-tale elements and real-life monsters, while taking great care to cast girls in an empowering light and as authors (and heroes) of their own stories.” Booklist (starred review)


Anne Ursu is the author of Breadcrumbs, named one of the best books of 2011 by Publishers Weekly and the Chicago Public Library, and The Real Boy, which was longlisted for the National Book Award. She is also a member of the faculty at Hamline University’s MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. Anne lives in Minneapolis with her family and an ever-growing number of cats. You can visit her online at www.anneursu.com










FRIDAY FEBRUARY 1: Teach Mentor Texts
SATURDAY FEBRUARY 2: About to Mock
SUNDAY FEBRUARY 3: Novel Novice
MONDAY FEBRUARY 4: Maria’s Melange
WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 6: Bluestocking Thinking
THURSDAY FEBRUARY 7: Kirsticall.com
FRIDAY FEBRUARY 8: Unleashing Readers
SATURDAY FEBRUARY 9: Book Monsters
SUNDAY FEBRUARY 10: Fat Girl Reading
MONDAY FEBRUARY 11: Word Spelunker
TUESDAY FEBRUARY 12: Nerdy Book Club

William Wakes Up, by Linda Ashman

Happy Book Birthday to WILLIAM WAKES UP, by Linda Ashman and Chuck Groenink!  It's a darling combination of THE LITTLE RED HEN and TEN LITTLE MONKEYS JUMPING ON THE BED.

"On a quiet morning,
sleepy and still,
William looks out on
a moss-covered hill.

He hears a faint and distant tune,
and says, "My friend will be here soon.
it's been a long and wintry wait--
we need a cake to celebrate!"

Expressive illustrations combine with the rhyming and lyrical text to make a delightful and whimsical read aloud. The premise of celebrating Spring with some spring cleaning, a cake, and a party with the birds is super fun--perfect read aloud for a wintry day when we need a little sunshine in our lives!


SIX MG AND YA READS FOR 2019

I’ve decided that 2019 is going to be my best year ever. Here are 6 books that have already paved the way for my best reading year yet!
  1. The SECRETS OF TOPSEA middle grade series by Kir Fox & M. Shelly Coats delightfully suprised me. The first book, A FRIENDLY TOWN THAT’S ALMOST ALWAYS BY THE OCEAN!, is filled with interesting characters and wacky circumstances, It’s the kind of book that makes you laugh and wonder. The story follows Davy’s journey as he figures out the town and how to make friends. By the end he’s figured out who he really is. At least we think he has. This book keeps you guessing until the very end.
2. THE EXTREMELY HIGH TIDE, is a quirky, whimsical, perfect follow up to the first book. The complex cast of characters and fast paced plot make for a delightful read. I especially love that the story includes kids with challenges without labeling them as challenged. It covers themes of friendship, loyalty, autism, introversion, inclusion, teamwork and acceptance. This is the kind of book that takes you by surprise and evokes discussion.
3. DRAGON PEARL, a middle grade by Yoon Ha Lee is available today! Filled with humor, intrigue, and interesting characters, this book combined space opera and Korean Mythology.
Thirteen year old Min, a fox spirit, runs away from home to find her older brother, clear his name, and find the dragon pearl so she can save her planet. The quest is riddled with twists and turns, complex decisions and fast paced action and dialogue. I found the read compelling and the story thought provoking. This book will evoke discussions of family, grief, loss, trust, betrayal, loyalty, and friendship.
4. THE CAMELOT CODE, THE ONCE AND FUTURE GEEK, by Mari Mancusi, is the kind of fractured story I love to read. What would King Arthur do if he traveled to the future and learned about all the trouble he would have at the end of his life? This middle grade novel is filled with twists, interesting characters, and references that will make people laugh. Both hilarious and heartwarming–definitely worth the read!

5. Somehow I missed THE SKIN I’M IN, a YA by Sharon G. Flake the first time it was released 20 years ago. Disney Hyperion released it again recently. Just. Wow. Powerfully written, compelling and relatable. Maleeka’s middle school struggles are moving and will resonate with anyone who is scared of the consequences of their choices. This book should be, and is required reading!
6. Released recently by the new press, Page Street, I was delightfully surprised by HOME AND AWAY, a new YA by Candice Montgomery. Beautifully written, complex, thought provoking. It’s the kind of book that covers race, discrimination, friendship, the meaning of love, family, betrayal, and everything in-between. I finished reading it on New Years day. It felt like the perfect read to start my best reading year yet.
What are you reading this year?
*This was originally posted on Writer's Rumpus, here.