April 1, 2010

Kids' Authors Share Their Stories

Fabulous Book Giveaways for Your Club


                                      Boys Bears                           Ten Cents a Dance                             

                                     Boys, Bears, and                        Ten Cents a Dance                         
a Serious Pair of                         by Christine Fletcher                                                                    Hiking Boots                                                                                                                                  by Abby McDonald                                                                    

Dear Readers,

In this issue of KidsBuzz, featuring book giveaways and behind-the-scenes stories from top kids' authors, you'll meet:

-  Abby McDonald, who introduces us to a passionate environmentalist who hails from the 'burbs of New Jersey in her romantic, enviro-friendly Boys, Bears and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots.
Christine Fletcher as she explores the idea of living a double life and taxi dancing. (Just what is taxi dancing?  You'll have to read Ten Cents a Dance to find out!).

Warm wishes,
Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp

FirstBlockAges 12 and up / Historical Fiction / Candlewick Press

Win a set of Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots by Abby McDonald for your book club.

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

Dear Reader,

Boys BearsHuddled in a damp tent in middle of the Canadian Rockies, I decided -- the wilderness has a lot to answer for. As much as I love the "idea" of gorgeous scenery, the reality is always wetter, colder, and way itchier than my fantasies. That's when I dreamed up Jenna: the Jersey girl who is a passionate environmentalist, but has never actually ventured into the great outdoors.

Jenna leaps at the chance to spend her summer in Stillwater, British Columbia (pop. 423, and one grouchy moose), but once she arrives, she finds that nature isn't quite the soothing "Walden" fantasy she had in mind. Out of her depth (literally -- thanks to a certain kayak incident), Jenna turns to an old survival guide for help, and comes to reassess her black-and-white beliefs -- with plenty of hilarious adventures, summer romance, and Abby McDonaldunexpected friendship along the way.

I hope you have as much fun reading it as I did writing it!


Book Reviews for Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots:

"A summer romance that's funny, environmentally friendly, and hard to stop reading."

"Fans of young adult fiction will appreciate a heroine who isn't a cookie-cutter cut-out of any other I've read, and the addition of environmental issues made this an interesting read without it becoming pedantic or heavy-handed."

Discussion Questions for Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots:
1.        Jenna starts the book demonstrating with her friends against a new development on the school field. How do you think her tactics (rallies, protests, sit-ins) can help a cause, and how might they harm it? What would you do to draw attention to an issue you cared about?

2.        Jenna often finds herself educating other people about environmental issues. Do you think it's her responsibility to spread the word, or should things like recycling, using eco-friendly materials, etc be a personal choice ? If not, why not?

3.        By the end of the book, Jenna and her best friend Olivia have very different ideas about protecting the environment. Do you think it's possible to be friends with someone who has such different beliefs? How would you talk to someone in this situation?

Read a sample chapter, visit Abby at her website, or join in on the conversation on Twitter.

Author call-in info: Abby is happy to email or IM with your club. E-mail Abby to submit your request.

Ages 14 and up / YA Fiction / Bloomsbury Children's Books

Win a set of Ten Cents a Dance by Christine Fletcher for your book club. (Christine is giving away 2 sets of books.)

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

Dear Reader,
Ten Cents a DanceTen Cents a Dance was inspired by a story from my own family: my mother's aunt who, after being kicked out of the house at the age of fifteen, supported herself as a taxi dancer.

I've always loved the bits of history that don't make it into the history books. Taxi dancing is like that. Taxi dance halls hired teen girls to dance with male customers (the girls were rented, like taxis, which was how they got their name). The pay was good, but back in the day, taxi dancers were considered disreputable and even immoral. Not surprisingly, many girls kept what they did a secret from their own families.
The idea of leading a secret, double life fascinated me. As I imagined the kind of girl who could pull it off -- and why she might have to -- my character Ruby Jacinski was born. After that, I couldn't rest until I knew her entire story. Immersing myself in Ruby's world -- hot jazz and beaded gowns, Christine Fletcherslaughterhouses and movie palaces, the Chicago lakeshore in summer, and a girl's dare-anything love for a bad boy -- made that time come alive for me.
I hope it does for you, too.
Happy reading!
Christine Fletcher

Book Reviews for Ten Cents a Dance:

"Readers will be riveted by Ruby's journey...Fletcher's absorbing wartime novel will have readers dancing in the aisles for its spirited, soul-searching heroine."
"The story is rifled throughout with superb emotions and detailed descriptions. The captivating setting and engaging, complex characters make this book a must-read."

Discussion Questions for Ten Cents a Dance:

1.        Ruby is attracted to Paulie in part because of his tough guy reputation. Why do you think some girls find tough guys so appealing?
2.        Peggy tells Ruby that "every taxi dancer has a story." What does she mean by this? What do you think it says about the girls who became taxi dancers?
3.        What impact do Ruby's experiences at the taxi-dance hall and the black-and-tan clubs have on her views about ethnicity and race?
4.        Ruby and her mother struggle with each other throughout the book: Ruby for independence, her mother for authority. How does money influence this struggle?
5.        A central theme of Ten Cents a Dance is illusion. How does illusion play into Ruby's relationship with Paulie? Does illusion color her view of the Starlight at the beginning of the book? What about by the end?

Read an excerpt, find out more about Christine in this Q&A, read reviews and fun historical facts, watch a short clip from the 1931 movie "Ten Cents a Dance".  You can also follow the author on Twitter.

Author call-in info: Christine is happy to call into or Skype with your club. She can also meet with your group if you live within a 1-hour drive of Portland, Oregon. Email Christine to submit your request.

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

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