January 15, 2010

Kids' Authors Share Their Stories

Fabulous Book Giveaways for Your Club


Lincoln and His Boys

Milo & Jazz
Choose Your Own Adventure

Scarlet Stockings




House of Danger
R.A. Montgomery



Dear Readers,

In this issue, you'll meet five authors:

-   Award-winning and bestselling author Rosemary Wells, who shares news with us about Abraham Lincoln's sons in her historical novel, Lincoln and His Sons

-   Cindy Martinusen-Coloma who, in her YA novel, encourages readers to discover beauty around them - in their lives and within themselves

-    Adventurer R.A. Montgomery, writing of the choices we make, and inviting readers to determine the direction of the story

-    Charlotte Kandel, who takes readers on a magical quest in her middle-grade novel

-    and Lewis B. Montgomery, who tells of writing mysteries (does the problem come before the solution?  Read more to find out!) in his chapter book for young sleuths.

Warm wishes,
Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp

Ages 14-18 / Young Adult / Thomas Nelson 

Win a set of Beautiful by Cindy Martinusen-Coloma for your book club.
Enter to win by emailing Ashley Schneider (write "KidsBookClubbing" in the subject line).


Dear Reader,


With my daughter in high school, I see how she and her friends all possess beauty in unique ways. Yet it's so hard for women - young and old - to recognize their own beauty without matching it against others. We also miss a lot of beautiful things in our day-to-day life. That's what made me want to write this book.

 Cindy Martinusen

I was inspired by my daughter and by the question of having and losing everything. What's left when perfection is shattered? I hope readers will discover beauty throughout their lives and in themselves as they read Beautiful.

Cindy Martinusen-Coloma

[email protected]

Book Reviews for Beautiful:

"With intriguing premise and characters, I was pulled right into this multi-faceted story. The relationship between the sisters felt honest and poignant, yet unpredictable."  

- Melody Carlson, author of The Diary of a Teenage Girl series

"Young adults will be familiar with the mantra that what is on the inside is more important than outer beauty, even though experience tells them otherwise. Ellie's and Megan's well-written character development will cause readers to care about them long after this poignant story is over."

-Romantic Times - 4 stars!
Discussion Questions for Beautiful:

1.   Which sister do you identify most with? Megan or Ellie? In what ways did the journey of the sister's lives influence your life?

2.   Do you have a sister or a best friend who is like a sister? How has that sister relationship helped you? How has it been hard and brought feelings of jealousy or insecurity? Are there ways you can improve your sister relationships, feel more secure about yourself and more okay about your differences?

3.   In what ways has your self imaged hindered you from seeking your dreams?

Author call-in information:  Cindy is happy to call-in to your club. Email Ashley Schneider at Thomas Nelson Publishers to submit your request.


Lincoln   Ages 8 - 12 / Middle Grade Fiction / Candlewick Press

Win a set of Lincoln and His Boys by Rosemary Wells for your book club.

Enter to win via the author's website (write "KidsBookclubbing" at the top of the message).

 Lincoln and His Boys

Dear Reader,

Why another book about Lincoln? Because it shows something new.


Lincoln was a human being much deeper than the traditional myth based histories that kids normally get about this great man. There are no well-worn anecdotes in this book. Almost everything in it is history that children will read nowhere else.


Few readers know Tad Lincoln had a cleft palate and was severely dyslexic. Few readers know that Lincoln's greatest joy was theatre and railroads, or that he read out loud every time he read anything.


His sons Tad and Willie were the heart of this great man. Their stories on the way to and in the White House are the heart of Lincoln and His Boys.


Lincoln was an extraordinary father, kind and gentle despite his own childhood where poverty and neglect ruled the day. Rosemary Wells


The history is researched impeccably. Every incident in the book has passed muster of the curators of the Lincoln Library in Springfield, Illinois. The conversation is what makes it different.


In its pages you can hear the Lincolns talking, very much as we do in our time.


Keep talking and reading,


Rosemary Wells

Book Reviews for Lincoln and His Boys:

"Introduces the legendary president through the perspectives of his youngest children, Willie and Tad... Rarely does a biography so robustly engage the audience's emotions."

-Publishers Weekly


"Wells' choice of words that a lad of the time might have used are especially good...we've been taken inside a family."

-Chicago Tribune


"With an almost absurdly great teaming of talent, it's little surprise that this fact-based chapter book is marvelous. Almost heart-breaking, because of the omnipresence of tragic death, at the same time it' somehow inspiring, confirming that a great man can be incredibly good and incredibly human as well."

-Journal Inquirer

Discussion Questions for Lincoln and His Boys:

1.        What would it be like to be a child of the president of the United States? What would be its best aspects? What would be its worst? If your parent wanted to be president, would you encourage her or him?

2.        How does coming to the President's House change the Lincoln family? How does the Lincoln family change the President's House?

What is Tad Lincoln's physical disability? How does it affect the way he is treated by people outside the family? Why does he feel more confident in his soldier's uniform?

Author call-in information:  Rosemary Wells is happy to call-in to your club. Send an email to Rosemary via her website to submit your request.

Ages 7 - 11 / Illustrated Chapter Book Mystery / Kane Press

Win a set of a Milo & Jazz mystery of your choice by Lewis B. Montgomery for your book club.

Enter to win by emailing Kane Press (write "KidsBookclubbing" in the subject line).

Milo & Jazz

Greetings, mystery-lovers!


When you read a mystery, the problem comes before the solution. But when you write a mystery, sometimes the solution comes first! That's what happened with my first book in The Milo & Jazz Mysteries, The Case of the Stinky Socks. I started with a neat idea for a tricky answer to a mystery. Then I built a story around it, full of fun stuff like spy glasses, a baseball game, lucky socks, a crazy costume, ice-cream sundaes, and a pair of bold and clever young detectives.Lewis B Montgomery


What was the solution that I started with? Sorry, can't tell you that. You'll have to read the book! But take a long, hard look at yourself, and you just might find a clue. . . .


Happy sleuthing!


Lewis B. Montgomery

Book Reviews for The Milo & Jazz Mysteries:

"The Case of the Stinky Socks gets it just right: a fun, easy-to-solve mystery, readily identifiable young detectives, and some extras readers will enjoy. [Kids] will enjoy flexing their detective skills here and in the second installment, The Case of the Poisoned Pig . . . cleverly ends with new materials offering additional opportunities for armchair sleuthing."

-Booklist (starred review)


" . . . Each volume ends with additional 'brain stretchers' and mini-cases direct from Dash Marlowe. The stories are quick and satisfying, and challenges at the back of the books contribute to the enjoyment.  Wummer's pencil and ink illustrations add a humorous touch and are perfect for the stories."

-School Library Journal


"The Milo & Jazz Mysteries are a perfect blend of humor and suspense. Realistic characters and kid-friendly mysteries will make this series a favorite among young readers. Very refreshing!"
-Marcia Thornton Jones, author of The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids series

Discussion Suggestions for The Case of the Stinky Socks:

1.     Ask your readers if they've ever had to work in a group or play on a team with someone they didn't like or didn't know very well. How did they feel about that? Did they think it would work out? Discuss how Milo begins to value Jazz's help and eventually accepts her as his detective partner.


2.     Has anyone in your book club ever had a good-luck charm? Talk about Dylan's stinky socks and how they might have helped or hurt his pitching. Revisit P.J.'s line on page 70: "Dylan, you don't need luck. You just need to get your head back in the game." Ask your readers if they've ever been in a position where they thought they needed luck. Encourage them to think about what they might really have needed at the time.


3.     Ask your readers if they've ever had to let a little brother or sister (or any younger kid) tag along with them. Did they relate to Milo's feelings about having to baby-sit Ethan? Think about how Ethan's getting chased by Wildcat Willie helped Milo add a suspect to his list. Ask your readers if younger kids ever surprise them.


4.     Has anyone in your book club ever solved a mystery? (Even a mini-mystery-like finding something they thought they'd lost.) Ask the readers how they can use the tips in Dash Marlowe's lesson-observing, thinking logically, and drawing conclusions-to solve everyday mysteries in their own lives. Ask the readers what they like about reading mysteries. Do they want to be detectives when they grow up?

Visit Kane Press for more Milo & Jazz.

HouseDanger   Ages 7 - 12 / Interactive Adventure / Chooseco

Win a set of Choose Your Own Adventure #6 House of Danger by R.A. Montgomery for your book club. 

Enter to win by emailing Choose Your Own Adventure (write "KidsBookclubbing" in the subject line).

Choose Your Own Adventure

Dear Reader,


House of Danger is the sixth book in the "Choose Your Own Adventure" (CYOA) series. CYOA is different because every book puts YOU the reader in charge.  You are the main character in the story and make choices about where you want the story to go. Each book has many endings, so there are lots of different directions to take as you make your way to the end. 


A lot of my books are inspired by real adventures in my own world travels, and the stories I heard about or experienced in those places.  When I wrote House of Danger I started with a pretty normal place - a modern house in a typical R.A. Montgomeryneighborhood-and imagined a lot of wild things happening there.  I wanted to write about ghosts, paranormal activity, and the way a dark historic event can make a place haunted. A lot of kids have told me that House of Danger is one of their favorite Choose Your Own Adventure books because of its crazy endings.  I can't give too much away, but I will tell you that this haunted house is very powerful - and depending on what choices you make, you could be turned into a crystal, a baby, or even Genghis Kahn.


Best of luck on your adventures,


R. A. Montgomery

Book Reviews for House of Danger:

"This was the first of the Choose Your Own Adventure books that I ever read, and I loved it. They're aimed at pure action and adventure. Plus, as small as each book is, they contain numerous different stories. It is up to the reader to decide how the story ends. It is Nintendo in book form! In this particular book, you are investigating a mysterious house. Who owns the house? What kind of strange things or people will you encounter?"

- A reader from

"This book is crazy. You are a young detective, solving crimes. The story begins with a mysterious phone call for help. You end up following clues to the old site of a prison. That is where the real adventure begins. There are talking chimpanzees, a professor, genetically altered plants, aliens, explosions, and all sorts of advanced technology! Each turn of the page brings a new scene with new characters and new dangers. It's up to you how the story ends."

 - A reader from

Discussion Questions for House of Danger:

1.     The first choice of this book is whether to investigate the mystery of the House of Danger on your own, or to ask your friends Lisa and Ricardo for help.  When you have a tough task ahead of you, do you usually ask for help from your friends?

2.     Sometimes readers told me that they think the haunted parts of this house sound scary, and other readers think they sound funny.  Did parts of the haunted house make you laugh?  Did parts creep you out?

3.     I am a fan of scary books and scary movies.  Do you think this book could be made into a scary movie?  If you were directing it, would you change anything?

4.     There are 20 possible endings in this story.  Did you reach just one ending, or did you go back and try again several times?  Which ending did you like the best?

Read a sneak peek excerpt from House of Danger, learn more about R.A. Montgomery and his adventures in this interview with Reading is Fundamental, keep up with his adventures on his blog and via Twitter.

R.A. Montgomery is happy to call-in to your club.  Email Choose Your Own Adventure.

EnchantedRiddle   Ages 9 - 15 / YA Magical Realism Fiction / Dutton

Win a set of The Enchanted Riddle: Book One, The Scarlet Stockings Trilogy for your book club. 

Enter to win by emailing Charlotte Kandel (write "KidsBookclubbing" in the subject line).

Scarlet Stockings

Dear Reader,


IF you are reading this then I know for sure YOU LOVE BOOKS.  Reading them and perhaps even one day writing them?


That was my dream.  And I DID write a book, the sort of book I loved to read; a book with a brave, mixed-up, wonderful heroine setting off on a fabulous magical quest that changes her life and her heart.

 Charolotte Kandel

My book is The Enchanted Riddle: Book One of The Scarlet Stockings Trilogy.  You can read the first chapter at The Enchanted Riddle - Chapter One.


I hope you do, I hope you love The Enchanted Riddle, and I hope you invite me to talk to your book club by phone (or in person if you live in Los Angeles).





Book Reviews for The Enchanted Riddle and Charlotte Kandel:

"A charmed world of magic, mystery, glamour and adventure."

-Honolulu Advertiser/Gannett News Syndicate


"Deliciously enchanting for imaginative readers.  Charlotte's love of working with and encouraging young talent is her special gift."

-Young Writers' Conference


Discussion Questions for The Enchanted Riddle:

1.     Have you ever felt lonely or that people didn't understand you?  Horrible feelings.  If you have, what did YOU do about it?

2.        Was Daphne right to get so angry with Carlo and Maria when they wouldn't let her take a 'glamorous' job as beautiful Magda's personal assistant?

3.     Why was Daphne so mean to her 3 best friends when they came to see her backstage in Paris? 

4.     Was there anything Daphne could have done to avoid her awful onstage accident?

5.    What is the real meaning of the final line of the enchanted riddle, 'At last you must deserve me.'

Read an excerpt and keep up on the latest via the author's blog

Charlotte Kandel is happy to call-in to your club, or to visit your club if you live in Los Angeles.  Email Charlotte to submit your request.

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