April 15, 2010

Kids' Authors Share Their Stories

Fabulous Book Giveaways for Your Club

     Susan Kuklin                          Susan Kuklin                            Susan Kuklin                

     Time Pirate                               Independent Dames                     The Owl Keeper
by Ted Bell                               by  Laurie Halse Anderson           by Christine Brodien-Jones         


Dear Readers,

In this issue of KidsBuzz, featuring book giveaways and behind-the-scenes stories from top kids' authors, you'll meet:
-bestselling author Ted Bell who brings readers a thrilling sequel to his instant New York Times bestseller Nick of Time, in which the young time traveler Nick McIver must prove his courage once more;

- Christine Brodien-Jones who writes an irresistible fantasy novel about a boy who's allergic to the sun and finds he has the ability to fight the power of the dark; and

-acclaimed and bestselling author Laurie Halse Anderson: "listen up!" to her fascinating stories of the oft-overlooked women and girls who led and fought during the American Revolution (you read that right - women and girls!)


Warm wishes,
Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp

FirstBlockAges 10 and up / Adventure Fiction / St. Martin's Griffin

 Win a set of The Time Pirate by Ted Bell for your book club. 

Enter to win by emailing Ted's publisher (write "KidsBookclubbing" in the subject line).
Dear Reader,
I was inspiTimePiratered to write The Time Pirate by what I believe is a lack of good, old-fashioned flesh and blood heroes in today's books for young readers.   
Anyone who reads this book will, I hope, be inspired by the heroes in these pages. Two are ordinary children who overcome great obstacles to find the hero within and one is an extraordinary man- General George Washington- from another century, truly one of greatest heroes in history. But all three share common values: self-reliance, courage, persistence, love of country and family, and an unrelenting determination to succeed despite all odds.
In The Time Pirate, the thrilling sequel to the New York Times bestseller Nick of Time, the young time traveler Nick McIver must prove his courage once more, on two fronts: in WWII-era England, where Nazis have invaded his homeland, and in America during the Revolution, where Nick stands shoulder to shoulder with General George Washington. 

Meanwhile, the evil pirate, Captain Billy Blood, kidnaps Nick's sister and warns Nick that if he wants to see her again, he must hand over the wondrous time machine...

I only hope readers have half as much fun reading The Time Pirate as I did writing it!
All the best,
Ted Bell

Book reviews for Nick of Time (first book in series):

"If someone you love loves Harry Potter, Long John Silver, or Indiana Jones, this is the book for them!"
-Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Award 2009
 "Wow! Some books sweep you away. Nick of Time amazed me, dazzled me, and swept my imagination off to sea.... I've been craving an adventure story with a good mystery, and this arrived in the 'nick of time' to rescue me."
-School Library Journal

"A blast - the best of Robert Louis Stevenson, Horatio Hornblower, and Harry Potter. The kid in me loved it, and so did the adult."
-James Patterson, New York Times bestselling author of the Maximum Ride series

 Discussion Questions for The Time Pirate:

1.      Nick uses a time travel device known as Tempus Macina to travel across two different wars: the American Revolution and World War II.  What event must Nick stop to save his own country during World War II? Why does Nick feel compelled to stop the event from happening? Why does Nick feel "traitorous"?
2.     Nick takes his sister into the Dark Forest, where they locate their father's World War I Sopwith Camel fighter biplane in an old barn. Together, he and his friend Gunner, restore the old plane. Describe Nick's relationship with Gunner. Why does Nick want to restore the plane?
3.     Nick's sister Kate is kidnapped by Captain Blood and taken back in time to the 18th century. Why does Blood kidnap Kate? What important information does she discover and why is that information important?
4.      Describe Nick and Kate's relationship. In what ways are they alike? How are they different? How do their personas complement one another?
5.     Part of the fun of reading The Time Pirate is identifying historical references and determining whether Bell is being true to history or whether he is taking poetic license. Find a favorite scene and explain how Bell stays true to history and/or takes liberty with the truth.

Read the first three chapters, a discussion guide, and what people are saying about the Nick McIver books, visit the author's website and become a Nick McIver Facebook fan to keep up with the latest!

Ages 6-10 / Non-fiction picture book / Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing
Win a set of Independent Dames by Laurie Halse Anderson for your book club.

Enter to win by emailing Laurie's assistant (write "KidsBookclubbing" in the subject line)

Dear ReIndependent Damesader,

I packed Independent Dames:  What You Never Knew About the Women and Girls of the American Revolution with history, humor and "Huzzahs" especially for readers who have been bored out of their wits by dull textbooks. Dames looks at the American Revolution from a fresh angle; through the activities of dozens of women and girls who actively helped the Patriot cause.
I dug into the archives and found dozens of women and girls who fought for freedom.
They spied on the British, rescued Patriot prisoners-of-war, acted as scouts for the frontier troops, ran their husbands' farms and businesses, took care of injured soldiers, defended their homes, and, occasionally, fought on battlefields - even though that was against the law.

You'll find all kinds of supplementary information as well as discussion guides to my LaurieHalseAndersonbooks on my website:  I would be very happy to set up a Skype visit with your book club to discuss Dames or any of my other historical books:  Chains, Fever 1793, and Thank You, Sarah! You can email my assistant for details:
Bookishly yours,
Laurie Halse Anderson

Book Reviews for Independent Dames:

"I LOVED the voice in this book. Absolutely loved it. This is a picture book built for intermediate grades and middle-schoolers, and the voice will speak to them.... Anderson makes the information accessible and dare I say, even fun!... Laurie Halse Anderson has created the ultimate non-fiction book for middle-schoolers. I can't wait to use it for my multi-genre study and my Women's History Month project. Independent Dames: What You Never Knew About the Women and Girls of the American Revolutionis an absolute MUST for all classrooms and libraries! And the best part is, students will actually want to read it! It can be read at a glance, with the narration and dialogue bubbles, or kids can read deeper and examine the crawl/timeline. This is a book that can be read over and over, with kids learning something new each time."
-The Reading Zone
"...A few of the names are familiar - Phillis Wheatley, Martha Washington, Abigail Adams, Deborah Sampson-but as the author establishes, there are many women and girls whose large and small contributions to the cause of independence have been largely ignored. Prudence Wright and Sarah Shattuck guarded their village when the men were fighting at Concord and Lexington, and they captured a British spy. After her husband was killed in battle, Margaret Corbin fired his cannon until she was shot, making her the first American woman to receive a military pension. Whether the women were disguising themselves as men in order to be soldiers, raising money for suffering soldiers, sewing and knitting for the troops, or participating in protests or a boycott of British goods, their actions were significant. Faulkner's ink-and-watercolor illustrations are exuberant, often amusing, and filled with crosshatching and dialogue balloons. The spreads are busy and information-packed, and readers will be both engaged by and educated about this critical period."
-School Library Journal
A CBC/NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Book

Storytelling World Award Winner

Discussion Questions for Independent Dames:

1. Who is your favorite Independent Dame? Why?
2. Did the activities of any of the Dames surprise you? Why?
3. Why do you think earlier generations did not talk about the activities of these Dames?
4. What surprises did you find in the timeline?
5. Historians say that Americans in the Victorian-era downplayed the role of women and people of color in the revolution. Why would they have done that?
6. Which one of the Dames would adjust the best to our modern society? Which one would have struggled?

You'll find loads of information about Independent Dames including music from the period, web links for further reading, a game and more at the Independent Dames mini-site.  Plus you can find out about Laurie Halse Anderson's book awards and keep up with her on Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, her blog and more at her website.
Author call-in information:  Laurie Halse Anderson is happy to call-in to or skype with your club.  E-mail Laurie's assistant to submit your request.

Ages 10 and up / Fantasy / Random House Delacorte Press

Win a set of The Owl Keeper by Christine Brodien-Jones for your book club.

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

Dear Reader,

OwlKeeperI started writing The Owl Keeper in November, 2001, when the world felt dark and bleak: a tale of hope.  I imagined a lone boy in a forest.  Overhead, an owl.  This boy loved the dark.  He wanted desperately to be brave, but he was afraid.  Why?
I was drawn to the mystery surrounding the boy, the owl, the forest.  All I knew was, he had a dangerous secret  -and his orderly world was about to crumble.
 Christine Brodien-Jones
Set in a future ruled by fear, The Owl Keeper explores courage, loss, betrayal and friendship.  I hope readers will empathize with Max's struggle to be brave on his perilous journey with the owl and his friend Rose.  Isn't the unknown something we've all faced at one time or another?
Enjoy the adventure!
Christine Brodien-Jones

Book Reviews for The Owl Keeper:

"The post-apocalyptic setting is nicely done here, with hints that this is indeed our world gone horribly wrong: terrifying genetic mutants, eerily similar to familiar animals, haunt the night, a global climate disaster has made the season eternally winter, and an all-controlling government threatens to take over people's minds...Animal lovers and budding environmentalists...may enjoy Max's relationship with his owl."  
- Kate Quealy-Gainer, Bulletin of the Center for Children's Boo
"Christine Brodien-Jones carefully mixes in hints of dystopia, mystery, adventure, and fantasy to create hands down the best novel aimed at younger teens that I have read since the Harry Potter series...From the amazing depth of her characters to the non-stop action, this novel was a blast...The action and adventure in this novel will be sure to captivate and inspire anyone's imagination."
-Kate Bourne, The Neverending Shelf (selected as The Neverending Shelf's Book of the Month)


Discussion Questions for The Owl Keeper:

1.      Although The Owl Keeper is a fantasy, it explores issues we face in our everyday lives.  Choose a theme from the book and discuss how it relates to you personally.  Examples: friendship, courage, self-esteem, family relationships, trust and betrayal, censorship, the morality of genetic experiments, oppressive governments, dealing with loss.

2.     What monsters have you encountered in literature? If you were a mad scientist in a secret laboratory, what sort of monster or genetically-altered creature would you create? Write a story and put your hero/heroine in a situation with this monster. Do they tame it, destroy it, or find a way to escape?

3.     After a rocky beginning, Max and Rose become close friends, sharing secrets, disagreements and terrifying adventures. Write a character sketch about a friend, including descriptions of your adventures and misadventures together, and details to illustrate why your relationship is unique.  

4.     "PERFECT WEATHER FOR A PERFECT WORLD. CITIZENS' DOME CONSTRUCTION SCHEME." Max dreads the time when the citizens of his town, including his parents, must leave and move into the domes. What would it be like to live in a controlled environment? Would a world without darkness be a perfect world, as the High Echelon's billboards claim? Write a short story about a character living inside one of these domes.

5.      "Rose was his one true friend: she would risk everything to save him.  And he would risk everything to save her."  Do you think Max's opinion of Rose changes over the course of the novel?  If so, how?  Would you risk your life, as Max does, to save the life of your best friend?

You'll find an excerpt, Q&A, and book trailer at Christine's website. Follow her blog and keep up with her via Twitter and Facebook.
Author call-in information:  Christine is happy to call-in to your club.  She also may be able to meet with your group if you live in the Boston area. Send an email to Christine via her website to submit your request.

  • A maximum of 10 books is available for each book club giveaway.

  • Contest entries are sent directly to the authors administering each contest.  Our Privacy Policy does not apply to emails sent as contest entries.  You must be 18 years or older to enter the contests.

Copyright 2010 Kids' Book Club Book. All rights reserved.