|While reading to my own kids while we waited for the school
bus in the morning (they hated me for doing this!), I learned about Johnny
Hudson, his father, Henry, and their fateful journey aboard the Discovery. I wondered what it would have been like to sail into
uncharted territory with simple navigational tools, and what it would have felt
like to face a winter trapped in the ice. What would it have been like to be left at home,
wondering what has happened to your loved ones when they didn't return on
schedule? And of course I had to
have a strong female protagonist!
Enter Isabella - a spy for England who is sent to the Dutch East Indies
Trading Company to gather information. And no book is anything without the character who will
change all their lives - Seth Syms.
Will he mutiny against Captain Hudson or will he honor his friendship
with Johnny Hudson and save the day?
Read Quest and find out.
P.S. It is the
400th anniversary of Henry Hudson discovering the Hudson River! So why not celebrate by reading
Quest! Check out the book trailer.
And may you continue to quest for the best in yourself!Kathleen Benner Duble Win a set of QUEST by Kathleen Benner Duble for
your book club.
Enter to win by emailing Kathleen Duble
(write "KidsBookclubbing" in the subject line).
Book Reviews for Quest:
"Told in four alternating voices, each one represented by a
unique typeface, this is the story of Henry Hudson's final, fatal attempt to
find the Northwest Passage. The
author's skillful juxtaposition of these four narratives creates an absorbing
work of historical fiction that manages to incorporate the viewpoints of
explorers, investors, sailors, governments, family members, and neighbors of
those who played a part in this fascinating era."
-School Library Journal
"The alternating viewpoints work well to create a
multi-faceted view of Henry Hudson and his world. Duble takes known facts and
blends in her own vision of what might have happened, as well as creating the
intriguing character of Isabella the spy (who easily could have carried her own
book). Duble expertly uses fact and fancy to create a truly intriguing work of
Discussion Questions for Quest
1. Quest is told from four points of view. Discuss how this helps the story unfold. If
it was to be told from only one perspective, which character's viewpoint would
you have chosen and why? (This need not be one of the viewpoints used)
and compare modern day explorers to those explorers of the past. How were their
lives similar? How were they different?
choice would you have made had you been faced with Seth's dilemma? Would you
have risked the possibility of being hanged for treason or would you have gone
with the captain and hoped to make it back by shallop?
you ever betrayed a friend before? Did the friend find out? How did you feel
afterwards? Has anyone every betrayed you? How did you feel about it?
Author call-in information: Kathleen Benner Duble is happy to
call-in or Skype with your club.
She can also meet with your group if you live in the Boston area. Email Kathleen to submit your request.
thoughts sometimes contradict what she says and how she acts. Do you ever find
yourself thinking something very different than your actions might convey? Dear Readers,I have a confession to make. I hate to exercise.
But one April, I decided to become a runner. So for two weeks I huffed and gasped my way through
brownstone Brooklyn. And I always
noticed this one particular house that had a little gargoyle statue sitting
outside of it. He seemed to be
grinning at me. And I always
wondered, what stories could he tell if only he could talk. Wouldn't it be fun to write about a
character that had the magical power to make inanimate objects talk? But three blocks later (and they were long, tortuous blocks)
I started to hear the voice of a character who didn't have any magical power, but who did
have the misfortune to be born into a family who all had magical abilities. And
what was worse was that she was supposed to have been the most gifted of them
all. Only her power never showed up. Or did it...
So I ran home and started typing. That was how I discovered
my main character, Tamsin Greene, of my YA urban fantasy Once a Witch. And that was also the end of my brief stint as a writer.
I owe it all to that little gargoyle.
Tamsin Greene comes from a long line of witches, and she was
supposed to be one of the most Talented among them. But Tamsin's magic never
showed up. Now seventeen, Tamsin attends boarding school in Manhattan, far from
her family. But when a handsome young professor mistakes her for her very
Talented sister, Tamsin agrees to find a lost family heirloom for him. The
search- - and the stranger- will prove to be more sinister than they first
appeared, ultimately sending Tamsin on a treasure hunt through time that will
unlock the secret of her true identity, unearth the sins of her family, and
unleash a power so vengeful that it could destroy them all.
For quizzes, facts about witches throughout the ages, an
excerpt and a book trailer please visit onceawitch.com. Also, I love to hear from readers
so feel free to drop me a line or two at email@example.com.
Enter to win by emailing Carolyn MacCallough (write "KidsBookclubbing" in the subject line). Ages
12 and up /Urban
Fantasy / Clarion Books
Win a set of ONCE A WITCH by Carolyn MacCullough
for your book club.
Book Reviews for Once a Witch:
"[MacCullough] has created an enormously sympathetic
character in Tamsin, whose itchy relationship with her family will resonate
with teens struggling to define themselves. Characters, setting, conflict - all
develop nicely to create a light urban fantasy that goes down easy and will
have readers asking for its sequel."
"With the glut of contemporary romantic supernatural
tales, this will be popular, but the action, drama, and great potential for
compelling sequels set it apart from the crowd."
Discussion Questions for Once a Witch
through Once a Witch is the story of Tamsin's relationship with her
unconventional family. While Tamsin's family is different from others in the
obvious fact that they are witches, there are some more subtle differences that
make Tamsin uncomfortable as well. What else, besides magic, is unconventional
about Tamsin's family? IS there any such thing as a typical family? How would
you describe your own family?
seems nice enough when he first enters the bookstore. MacCullough uses
foreshadowing throughout the early chapters to make readers begin to feel a bit
uneasy about him. Locate and
discuss some of these examples.
witch community forbids the use of the Talent of 'traveling' through time. Why
do they insist that it's a bad idea to use this Talent? If you had this Talent,
would you use it? What time period would you visit, and why?
does Tamsin push Gabriel away, even though it's clear that she really likes
him? Have you ever done this?
For more information about the book (and me), check out the Once a Witch Discussion guide, watch the trailer, read an excerpt, visit my website, and feel free to contact me on Twitter.
Author call-in information: Carolyn MacCullough is happy to call-in to your club. She can also meet with your group if
you live in New York City or nearby. E-mail Carolyn
to submit your request.
The Gorillas of Gill Park: Dear Reader,
Ages 9 - 12 / Fiction / Holiday House Win a set of GILL PARK books by Amy Gordon for your book club.
Enter to win by emailing Amy Gordon
(write "KidsBookclubbing" in the subject line). Tell Amy why you would like to
have these books.
Parks, beginning with the one in Mary Poppins, have always seemed like
magical places to me. They are green spaces in cities where all sorts of people
can come together. Parks are also places where trees and music, baseball and
art can all flourish, and kids can run around and have adventures. People often
say my characters are quirky - but do you know what? I think all people are
In The Gorillas of Gill Park and Return to Gill Park you will
meet Willy, who never
thought he could be good at things, (but the Gorillas baseball team needs
him)...Liesl, who is not allowed to go to school, and has a bad temper....Mitch
Bloom, who lives in a treehouse...and developers who want the park land. A new
story set in Gill Park is coming soon! When Aiden's father dies, she has to
leave her farm and move to the city. Aiden hears of a stash of gold coins. She
hopes to find the coins and keep her home. She goes looking for gold, and finds
much more. The Quest for Gold Falcons (that is the working title) from Holiday House is coming this
you like parks, too,
Book Reviews for The Gorillas of Gill Park:
protagonist's first-person narration is both humorous and insightful, enabling
readers to experience his exciting summer firsthand... action-filled ...with
quirky, unforgettable characters."
successfully weaves several unusual plot threads into a suspenseful, winning
story that combines delicious words, clever dialogue, and endearing characters.
Middle-graders will cheer for Willie and his friends as they triumph over
bullies old and young and find joy in their own creative pursuits."
would be lost if a park were turned into a mall? Are parks or malls
2. As Liesl's guardian, Otto Pettingill
would not allow Liesl to go to school. He believed that schools interfere with
education. What do you think of his philosophy?
3. Listen to some of the music played into Gill Park :
Pachelbel's Canon, Mozart's Sonatas, "The Marriage of Figaro,"and ragtime
music. What kind of a mood are you in after you listen? What difference does
music make? Relate some ways that music can change how you feel.
To read an
excerpt please see October 2 entry of Amy's blog
plus here's some biographical information, her publisher Holiday House's website, Amy's website - and her Facebook page!
Author call-in information: Amy
Gordon is happy to call-in to
your club. She can also meet with your group if you live somewhere
Washington D.C. and Maine (and she sometimes go to California, too.)
She loves giving writing workshops. E-mail Amy to submit your request.
A maximum of 10 books is available for each book club giveaway.