June 1, 2010

Kids' Authors Share Their Stories

Fabulous Book Giveaways for Your Club

Tortilla Sun 


 Caleb & Kate

Dear Readers,

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

- Jennifer Cervantes, author of TORTILLA SUN, a book that will have readers thinking about magic and all sorts of possibilities (and tortillas, too!)

- Charlie Higson, author of the YOUNG BOND series, who brings us a terrifying (but terribly exciting) action adventure story in THE ENEMY

- and Cindy Martinusen-Coloma who serves up a Romeo and Juliet story and gets readers thinking about what true love really is in CALEB + KATE.

Warm wishes,
Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp

FirstBlock Ages 8 - 12 / Middle-grade fiction / Chronicle Books

Win a set of TORTILLA SUN by Jennifer Cervantes for your book group. 

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

Tortilla SunDear Reader,

When I was little, I found myself lost in books that stirred my imagination. I vividly remember pretending I was the heroine in many of those books, which usually meant I had some sort of magical ability. I hope you find such magic and imagination in the pages of TORTILLA SUN.  

I had so much fun bringing Izzy, Mateo, Nana, Maggie, and Frida to life. Each character had his or her own demands, like Frida insisted that she was a dog even though I wanted her to be a cat. So we compromised and she became a cat who thinks she's a dog. 

If you believe all things are possible and that maybe, just maybe, there really is magic in this world, then you'll love TORTILLA SUN.

I hope you'll email me and say hi, see what I'm working on next, or just hang around to talk about the book. I always email back!Susan Kuklin

Also, I hope you'll enter my Tortilla Adventure contest. Just send me an email with your favorite way to eat a tortilla!  Winners must be in the U.S. or Canada.  Details are on my website.

Thanks for your support!

Happy reading,

Jennifer Cervantes

Book reviews:

"...a middle grade fiction novel with ambition."
- School Library Journal

"Pick this up and settle in for a quiet and satisfying trip with arresting language and images that are sure to stay with you long after you close the cover."
- C.J. Omololu author of Dirty Little Secrets

"This book is magic."
- Irene Latham author of Leaving Gee's Bend

"A warm, beautifully written book"           
- Christina Gonzalez, author of Red Umbrella

Discussion questions:


1.     Izzy's mother sends her to live with her grandma - who she barely knows. How does

Izzy react to the news? How would you react if you had to live with a distant relative?


2.     Nana gives the name "Estrella" to Izzy's bedroom. What name would you give your

room? Talk about why you chose it.


3.     The people in the village tell Izzy how she reminds them of her father, who she never

knew. How do you feel when people say you remind them of someone - your parents,

siblings or even someone famous?


4.     Nana says that "Life is Magic" and "Sometimes you can't see the magic, you just know

it's there because you can feel it." Talk about a time you felt magic - was it something

you saw, or a feeling you had inside.


5.     Izzy finally learns the real story of her father's death. Do you think her mom and Nana

were right to wait so long to tell her the truth?


6.     Izzy has a chance to speak with the father she never knew. Do you think it was a

dream, or something else? Does it matter?


7.     Izzy and Mateo and surprised to find the treasure on the map was something they'd

had all along. What do you treasure in your life? Is it an object, a person, a feeling, a special talent, a place -- or something else?

For recipes, to watch a video and learn to make tortillas with the author, read a discussion guide, and follow Jennifer Cervantes on Facebook and Twitter, see the author's website.

Author call-in information:  Jennifer Cervantes is happy to call-in to your club. Email Jennifer  to submit your request.

Ages 14 and up / YA / Hyperion

Enter to win a set of THE ENEMY by Charlie Higson for your book group.

Email his publisher (write "KidsBookclubbing - Charlie Higson" in the subject line).

Susan KuklinDear Reader:

Imagine that a mysterious disease has ripped through the adult word and everyone over the age of sixteen has either died or turned into a mindless, flesh-eating freak.

Imagine that you are now trying to survive in an abandoned city, trying to find food and water and shelter while constantly fighting off attacks from zombified adults who are trying to eat you.

Now imagine that another kid turns up with stories about a safe place across the other side of town. Do you trust him? Is this your only chance of survival? Or might he just be leading you into worse danger? Susan Kuklin

That's the story of my new book, the first in a series, where the kids are the heroes and the adults are the enemy. It's a terrifying action adventure story in which a group of young people set out on a trek through a dangerous city, fighting every step of the way.

Happy Reading,

Charlie Higson

Book reviews:

"Lord of the Flies meets 28 Days Later in this disturbing postapocalyptic adventure"
- Publishers Weekly

 "The Enemy definitely isn't for the squeamish. Young Bond creator Charlie Higson set out to write a scary book-and he's definitely succeeded. . . . A cracking story for older readers."
Daily Express

"This is an amazing book! I really enjoyed reading it and found it physically difficult to put down."
- Ten Titles Book Review Magazine

Discussion questions:

1.     One of the most compelling aspects of THE ENEMY are the various perspectives author Charlie Higson showcases, giving a voice to a variety of different characters in the book.  Talk about which character you found most compelling in this story, and why this particular character resonated with you.

2.     As the kids in this story make their way across London toward their goal of Buckingham Palace, they undergo a variety of tough decisions and challenging conflicts along their route.  Reconstruct one scene from the story along the kids' journey and put yourself in their shoes.  Do you agree or disagree with the choices made in this scene? 

3.     The character of Small Sam arises as a hero of sorts in this story, and is forced to take on physical and emotional challenges beyond his 9 years of age.  Talk about Small Sam's character progression throughout the book and how the circumstances he finds himself in affect his development.

To read an excerpt and find out more information, see the publisher's website.


    Ages 12 and up / YA  Romance / Thomas Nelson

Win a set of Caleb + Kate by Cindy Martinusen-Coloma for your book club. 
Enter to win by emailing her publisher (write "KidsBookclubbing" in the subject line).

Susan KuklinDear Reader,

The central idea of Caleb + Kate is based inspired by the Romeo and Juliet story. It's about two people that the world thinks wouldn't make a good couple, but they fall in love regardless of what's logical. As the challenges come to pull them apart, Caleb and Kate each have to examine the love they feel for each other to decided if it's worth fighting for, and if so, how they will keep their love strong in a world full of broken dreams.

Though I've written 8 novels previously, I have never written a true love story. I was both excited and nervous about the prospect. It's such a huge, complex subject. Since I enjoy challenges, I was excited to write the book. But I was amazed how the writing really shaped my thoughts on love in a new way.  
Once I had the idea of basing the book on Romeo and Juliet (my editor helped a lot in the brainstorming), the story truly took off. This book and characters came alive in a new way for me. I felt like my fingers had to keep up with the story.  Susan Kuklin

I hope readers will look at love in a new way and spend time savoring the idea and origin of love. I know that we can fall for people who are completely wrong for us, but there's also a right person out there. What changed everything to me is that there MUST be a core anchor that keeps love alive and thriving in two people to last a lifetime. That origin is...well, read the book and explore it with both Caleb and Kate. :)

May you discover love in new and beautiful ways,

Cindy Martinusen-Coloma

Book reviews:

"Romeo + Juliet gets an update in this story of forbidden love. Shakespeare's never been so hip."

- Jenny B. Jones, author of The Charmed Life Series
"... a light, tender story about star-crossed lovers who struggle to be together. It shows how love has no socioeconomic boundaries but unfortunately, does not cure all problems."

- Romantic Times

Discussion questions:

1.     Do you believe in true love? What does that mean to you?

2.     Are there people in your life who display the love you hope to find?

3.     What are some of your favorite love stories in movies or fairytales?

Find out how to follow Cindy on Twitter or send her a friend request on Facebook via her website.  

Author call-in information:  Cindy Martinusen-Coloma is happy to call-in to your club.  She can also meet with your group if you live in the Redding, CA area. Email Cindy 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.