October 1, 2010

  Kids' Authors Share Their Stories

Fabulous Book Giveaways for Your Club






Dear Readers:

This week's issue features books from Sourcebooks Fire, the new young adult imprint publishing teen fiction that, like its audience, burns with what's honest, fearless and uncompromising; and Sourcebooks Jabberwocky,  an award-winning imprint devoted
to engaging children in the pure fun of books and the wonder of learning new things.

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

- Kaleb Nation, who brings readers to a world of magic and mystery in the Bran Hambric books

- Kim Culbertson, who shows us how "music is a time machine" in her novel Songs for a Teenage Nomad

- and Risa Green, author of THE SECRET SOCIETY OF THE PINK CRYSTAL BALL, sure to appeal to teens who wonder what if they had a crystal ball...

Warm wishes,
Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp

Ages 9 and up / Middle Grade Urban Fantasy / Published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky


Win a set of Bran Hambric: The Farfield Curse by Kaleb Nation for your book club.


Enter to win by emailing Sourcebooks Jabberwocky (write "Kidsbookclubbing-Bran Hambric" in the subject line).


Dear Reader,


On the night of 3/3/03, when I was fourteen years old, I had a strange idea. I imagined a boy and a banker sitting on a roof, waiting for a burglar to arrive. I knew the burglar was a creature. I knew he was coming to kidnap the boy. And I knew the boy's name was Bran Hambric.


I worked on my first book, Bran Hambric: The Farfield Curse, for nearly six years, winding my way through Bran's sinister tale. Within the covers, I discovered a world like ours-with cars and planes and toasters-except in this world, there was magic everywhere. Bran Hambric, an orphan found in a bank vault of the only city in the world where magic was illegal, discovers that he is the son of a magic criminal and that his mother's former master is after him...  


When you read Bran Hambric or its sequel, Bran Hambric: The Specter Key(Oct. 2010), you're entering a world that until recently only lived in my head, where gnomes live with humans and your best friend might secretly be a mage. I hope you're ready for an adventure!




Kaleb Nation



Book reviews:

"The side stories (an oppressed gnome's plight, adult characters' experiences) add intricacy... The abundant magical elements, unexpected plot turns, and light humor will likely attract H. P. readers."

- Booklist


"...the author tucks in promisingly clever touches (magical power is measured in 'witts,' and weak mages are dubbed 'dimwitts') and has a knack for crafting quickly paced chases and fights."

- Kirkus


" The Farfield Curse brims with mystery, magic, and fun. Kaleb Nation's wry sense of humor kept me smiling, even while the mystical sparks flew. Get ready for lots of surprises and watch out for gnomes!"
 - D. J. MacHale, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Pendragon series

Discussion questions:


 1.    There are a lot of choices in The Farfield Curse: the choice his mother makes to save his life, the choice Rosie makes to leave the family, and the choice that Bran has to make when deciding between good and evil. If you were in their positions, would you make the same choices?

2.    In the city of Dunce, and in many places in Bran's world, gnomes are treated differently from other people even though they are almost exactly the same. Do these disparities exist in your community?

3.    If you were a mage, which Missiv do you think the winx would reveal you to be in?

4.    Remember how the mages and their friends had to hide their magic objects in Dunce. Where would you hide your magic things if magic was outlawed in your community?

5.    In Dunce, mages have to hide their magical abilities. Is there anything you feel has to remain a secret in your community?


To follow Kaleb as he writes the third Bran Hambric book, you can check out these websites,  or You can interact with him directly on Twitter or watch his videos on Youtube


Author call-in information:  Kaleb would be happy to Skype with your club!  He can also meet with your group if you live in the Phoenix area. He'll be touring Los Angeles, Portland, and Salt Lake City in October, so if you have a group in one of those areas, we can try and set something up! Email Paul Samuelson to submit your request.

  Age 13 and up / Teen Fiction / Published by Sourcebooks Fire


Win a set of Songs for a Teenage Nomad by Kim Culbertson for your book club!


Enter to win by emailing Sourcebooks Fire (write "KidsBookClubbing-Songs" in the subject line).


Dear Reader,


Music is a time machine. Whether you're a historian or a 16-year-old girl, songs trigger memories of specific places and events. For me, "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey reminds me of being thirteen and sitting lakeside on a sunny dock, music pulsing from my portable stereo. 


In Songs for a Teenage Nomad (Sept. 2010), Calle Smith and her mother have been drifting from town to town for as long as she can remember. She's been to fourteen schools in the past eight years alone! Whereas some people collect stickers or coins, Calle collects songs -- songs that conjure memories of happier times. She keeps these memories in her song journal, a way to make sense of her ever-changing geography.  Soon, her music will also unlock the mystery of her future. 


Everyone has their own soundtrack.  What's yours?




Kim Culbertson


Quotes and reviews:


"Like losing yourself in the melody of your favorite song, Kim Culbertson's Songs for a Teenage Nomad is so engrossing, so transporting, so moving, I didnąt want it to end!"

- Alyson Noël, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Immortals series

"This is a novel that you will want to experience over and over again, just like a great song."
- 5 Star Review, reviewed by Becca Boland


"First-time novelist Kim Culbertson debuts with a timely work... The last stop for Calle is small town where she finds friends, meaning, and answers."

- Janis Loken, Eagle Harbor Book Company, Bainbridge Island, WA


"In Songs for a Teenage Nomad, Kim Culbertson expertly captures the tumultuous adolescent experience."

- Maui Times Weekly


Discussion Questions:


1. Setting is important in the novel, especially in relation to where the main characters -- Calle, Cass, Sam, the drama students-feel safe. What role do the various settings-the theatre, the beach, the school, the Lucky's Bar -- play in the novel? How do they provide the backdrop for what is happening to the characters?


2. Each chapter is a song title and snippet of Calle's journal, and thus, her past. With that in mind, why is the novel titled Songs for a Teenage Nomad?


3. How do adults in the story -- Alyson, Rob , Jake, Mr. Ericson, Mr. Atkins -- provide contrast to the teenagers through their own personal stories and journeys?


4. How does the first person narrator (Calle's voice) shape your understanding of the events in the novel?


5. Several themes stand out in Songs for a Teenage Nomad: betrayal, love, fear, loss. What was one of the most important themes in the novel for you and why?


Find out more about Kim at her website where you can subscribe to her monthly newsletter Point of View where she sends out book recommendations and curriculum ideas for teachers. Teachers can also download curricula for teaching SONGS OF A FEMALE NOMAD.  Connect with Kim directly on Facebook or Twitter.


Author call-in information:  Kim is happy to call-in or Skype with your club!  Email Paul Samuelson to submit your request. 


        Ages 13 and up / Teen Fiction / Published by Sourcebooks Fire

Win a set of The Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball by Risa Green.

Enter to win by emailing Sourcebooks Fire (write "KidsBookClubbing-Secret Society" in the subject line). 

Dear Reader,  

Have you ever felt like your life is soooo boring and that there's nothing special about you?  Who hasn't wished for a magic crystal ball that could add some excitement to life and improve the future?  
In The Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball, Erin Channing's kooky aunt mysteriously dies, leaving Erin a pink crystal ball and a set of cryptic instructions for how to use it.  Erin doesn't believe that it really first.  But as the ball's predictions begin to come true, her two best friends, Samantha and Lindsay, become convinced that the pink crystal ball holds the key to Erin's future -- and maybe even their own.  But will logical, rational Erin allow herself to think outside the box, or will she stay trapped in her boring life forever?  It is your read The Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball and find out!
Happy reading!  

Risa Green   

Book reviews:  

"Academic success remains at the forefront of Erin's mind, but as the pink crystal ball works its magic, she grows as a student and a friend, becoming more self-reliant. Fun for budding occultists and romantics alike."

- Kirkus Reviews

 "This is a fun read... If you're looking for a story that's not the current dark paranormal, this is the one. I really enjoyed this light, fun paranormal tale with magic sprinkled throughout."
- Young Adult Books Central

Discussion questions:  

1.    Erin is a top student who works hard, takes challenging classes, and is involved in her school.  Why do you think it is so difficult for her to write an essay about why she should be chosen for the trip to Italy?  Do you think a lot of teenagers today feel that it's hard to stand out?

2.    Throughout the book, Erin is exposed to a lot of people who are different from her, and she immediately categorizes them as "weird."  Do you ever make judgments about people based on what they wear or how they look, before you get to know them?  Do you think people ever make judgments like that about you?

3.    Erin's aunt Kiki writes to her that "life is at its best, and most interesting, when it's messy."  What do you think that means?  Do you agree?

4.    At the museum, Jesse tells Erin that the painting of Prometheus "represents the triumph of the human spirit over those who try to repress it.  He is spirituality."  How do you define spirituality?

5.    If you had the pink crystal ball, what would you ask it?  

To read an excerpt, view a trailer, or to find out which girl in the book is most like you, please visit Risa's websiteYou can learn more by joining The Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball on  Facebook, or read her blog, Mommy Tracked.

Author call-in information:  Risa is happy to call-in or Skype with your club!  She would also be thrilled to meet with your group if you live in the Los Angeles area.  Email Paul Samuelson to submit your request.       

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