February 15, 2011

Dear Readers,


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

- Sarwat Chadda as he talks about fairytales and fear in his YA novel, DARK GODDESS, about "sword-wielding heroines," princes, witches, wolves and more

 - the author of a book about werewolves and keeping secrets.  Interested?  Read what Peter Moore has to say about RED MOON RISING....

 - Lisa T. Bergren, an author who takes readers on a time-travel adventure to medieval Italy in WATERFALL

 - the famous singer Ella Fitzgerald, thanks to the storytelling talents of author Roxane Orgill in SKIT -SCAT RAGGEDY CAT: ELLA FITZGERALD
 - ... and learn all about Emma Lazarus and the Status of Liberty in Erica Silverman's LIBERTY'S VOICE.


Warm wishes,


Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp


Ages 13 and up / YA fiction / Published by Hyperion 

Win a set of DARK GODDESS for your book club.  Enter to win by emailing the publisher (write "KidsBookclubbing - Dark Goddess" in the subject line).

Dear DarkGoddessReaders, 


Dark Goddess, the sequel to my book Devil's Kiss, is about sword-wielding heroines, exiled princes, snow-bound forests and ancient witches and wolves. It's my grim fairy tale.

Billi SanGreal, the first female Knight Templar, returns to defend humanity, thoug
h now she wonders if she's doing the right thing. 

Dark Goddess is about the battle for the wild.
Every year the walls rise, the trees fall. Smoke clogs the skies that are less blue than before.

Dark Goddess is about the wild hitting back.

Baba Yaga, the ancient Russian witch, protects the last wilderness. Her followers are werewolves, Amazons, warrior women as deadly as the Templar.

The best fairy tales are about facing fear. Heroines go into the forest to meet the witch. When they return, they return wiser and stronger than before.  But not all make it back because Baba Yaga is as evil as she is wise and has a taste for human flesh...



Book reviews:

"Will keep readers hooked."
-Kirkus Reviews


"The action is fast paced and scary...Billi will appeal to those who appreciate tough and independent heroines

-School Library Journal

And reviews for the first book in the series, Devil's Kiss:

"Will keep readers hooked."

-Publishers Weekly (starred review)

 "Love, loss, betrayal and sacrifice, leavened only with the bittersweet grace of doing what must be done. Deus vult!"

-Kirkus Reviews

Discussion questions:

1.  The main character, Billi SanGreal, is struggling with a very personal loss, following the death of her best friend Kay.  How does this loss affect Billi's development as a character in this book, and her reactions to the actions around her?


2.  There is a very real threat of world destruction that Billi faces in this story.  Talk about how such a threat weighs on Billi as a character, and the sort of internal challenges she faces as she prepares herself for the task at hand.


3.  Billi's relationship with her father is an ongoing theme in both Devil's Kiss and this sequel Dark Goddess.  How has their relationship evolved in this story, and how does Billi's father shape her as a character?

Visit the Hyperion Teen Facebook page to check out our (free) short stories from Sarwat Chadda, to discover more in the world of Billi SanGreal!  

SecondBlock  Ages 12 and up / YA fiction / Published by Hyperion

Win a set of RED MOON RISING for your book club.  Enter to win by emailing the publisher
(write "KidsBookclubbing - Red Moon Rising" in the subject line)

Dear Read

Confession: I've thought werewolves were way cool ever since I was a little kid. Bigger confession: I still do. But I'd never seen a story that explored what it would really feel like to live a werewolf's life.  What if we lived in a world where werewolves were at the lower end of society - second class citizens? And if werewolves were at the lower end, who would be the elite on the other side? Well, vampyres. Hm.

So I wondered: what would it be like for a kid who looked one way on the outside, so he could live the good life of a vamp, but who felt different on the inside? What if this kid had to keep a huge secret from everyone - family, friends, teachers - his fear that soon, at the next full moon, everything in his life would change forever?PeterMoore

I thought this had the makings of the werewolf story I never read, but it had all the stuff I would look for in that kind of story: action, humor, and relatable characters with real feelings and real problems. And, of course, werewolves. I'm hoping you have as great a time reading Red Moon Rising as I had writing it.


Discussion questions:

1.   The main character in Red Moon Rising, Danny Grey, is half vampyre, half werewolf, and struggles to fit in at his high school.  Explain how this somewhat unusual problem can be related to the struggles typical high school students have with fitting in.

Why do you think the vampyres in this society have risen up in society's ranks, while the werewolves have been brought down?  What sort of societal change could bring about a rebalance of power between the two groups?

3.     One of Danny's primary struggles between his two sides is shown in his relationship with a certain female character.  Think about how relationships with others can shift our self esteem and need to define ourselves.

And visit the Hyperion Teen Facebook Page to check out a sneak peek at the first chapter!

Author Call-In Information:  Peter Moore is available to phone into book clubs.  Email his publisher to submit your request.


   Ages 11 and up / Young Adult Historical Romance / Published by David C. Cook

Win a set of WATERFALL by Lisa T. Bergren for your book club. Enter to win by emailing the author
(write "KidsBookclubbing" in the subject line).

WaterfallDear Reader,

My teen was a reluctant reader -- which is kind of embarrassing when you're an
author. But Twilight and Hunger Games helped me turn her from reluctant to ravenous. And since I'm a novelist, I wanted to give her another book she'd rip through -- fullof actionvoila, Waterfall was born.LisaBregren

Full of action and romance, readers meet Gabi and Lia, teens who time-travel back to medieval Tuscany -- and encounter the coolest guys ever -- as well as a mountain of danger. These sisters are no wimpy "save me" heroines waiting on their knights; they're seriously tough chicks. Yet they're real girls too, funny and fallible, even if they suddenly have fantasy-type lives.


Happy Reading!

Lisa Bergren

Book Reviews:

"I loved every minute of this adventure that took me out of our time and into the fourteenth century, and I marveled at how true-to-life teenage Gabi remained when facing extraordinary circumstances. Under Bergren's guidance, I look forward to time traveling again in the next book of the River of Time series."
- Donita K. Paul, best-selling author of the Dragon Keeper Chronicles and The Chiril Chronicles

"It's so refreshing to read teen lit that isn't full of darkness, but is still exciting. The characters aren't just more Bella and Edward wannabes -- they have a fresh romance all their own...I'll be recommending these books to my teen readers, every chance I get."

- Lindsay Olson, teen specialist, Pikes Peak Library District

Discussion questions: 

1.     What would be hardest about living in 1332? No showers? No hair products? No forks? No technology? No cars? Using a chamber pot? What would you miss most?

Is it ever okay to steal another girl's guy? Why or why not? Why was it okay for Gabi to do so? Or was it?

3.     At first, Gabi thinks she can work things out on her own. Find her own way back to the tomb and through it. She's kind of prideful and stubborn about it, even (sneaking out of the castle, climbing the wall, taking off on the horse, etc). How does pride sometimes keep us "stuck" in a tough situation?

4.     When Gabi is hovering between life and death, she thinks about what she is living for. What do you live for?

5.     If one of your parents died, what is one thing they always say that you'd always remember - that would actually help you deal with life?

Intrigued?  You can read a snippet of THE WATERFALL here and find out more by joining the River of Time Series group on Facebook.

Author call-in information:  Lisa T. Bergren is available to call in and talk with your reading group. Please email her to submit your request. 



     Ages 6 - 10 / Picture book biography / Published by Dutton

Win a set of Liberty's Voice: The Story of Emma Lazarus by Erica Silverman for your book club.

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


Dear ReadLibertysVoiceer,

From childhood, I loved poetry. So did Emma Lazarus.


Emma's ancestors came to this country seeking freedom. So did mine.

Immigrants became central to her work; immigrants have been important to my work as a teacher of English as a Second Language and librarian.

Reading Emma's poems, articles and letters, I was moved by her passion for poetry and justice, which led her to write the powerful poem that defines the Statue of Liberty.  



Emma fought for immigrants' rights back when women had few rights.  I hope you find her to be as inspiring a role model as I have.

Best wishes,



Book reviews:

"In a straightforward and smooth narrative style, Silverman, author of the popular Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa series, tells the story of Lazarus' life and work."

- Booklist


"The evocative illustrations marry well with this accessible, appealing story of a woman both ahead of her time and an important American writer who left a lasting literary legacy." 

- School Library Journal


"With colorful, lively illustrations and energetic writing, Silverman's ode to one of the most deserving woman in history is a picture book extraordinaire."

- Kids Home Library


Discussion questions:


1.     What does it mean to "listen to the whisper of the voice within?"  Why do you think this was helpful advice for to the young Emma Lazarus?  Why do you think the voice within speaks in a whisper? Have you ever listened to the voice within?


2.     Why do you think Emma was so deeply affected by meeting the immigrants?  How did her contact with them change her?


 3.     What are some of the reasons people leave their homelands and come to the United States?   Do you think it's hard or easy?  How do you think immigrants are viewed in the United States?

4.     Emma wrote: We are none of us free, until we are all free. What do you think she meant?    Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Do you think people who read her words back in the 1880s agreed with her?


             5.     The French called the statue, Liberty Enlightening the World. What do you think they
             meant by this?  Emma called the Statue of Liberty "Mother of Exiles."  What do you think she             meant by those words?   If you had lived at that time, and someone asked you to write a poem              what name and what meaning would you give to the famous statue?


Visit Erica Silverman's website to watch the book trailer, and discover the curriculum guide

Author call-in information:  Erica Silverman is available to call in and talk with your reading group. Please email her to submit your request.

FifthBlock     Ages 7 - 11 / Picture book biography / Published by Candlewick Press

Win a set of Skit-Scat Raggedy Cat: Ella Fitzgerald for your book club.  Enter to win by emailing the author. (Write Kidsbookclubbing in the subject line).

SkitDear Reader,

When I was a girl, my greatest freedom was to ride my bike to my library, in Franklin, Michigan. I filled my basket with books, usually including one or two "orange biographies." You might still find them in your library ("Childhood of Famous Americans Series," with orange covers).

I liked how the "orange" books made the subject's life into a story. I tried to do the same with Ella Fitzgerald's young life in Skit-Scat Raggedy Cat.


Fatherless, Ella lost her mother at 14, got sent to an orphanage, was homeless in Harlem, and still managed to sing her way to a job with Chick Webb's band and a hit song on the radio. Now that's a story!

If you like to write as well as read, you'll find some writing advice in the "Tips" section of my website.
I'm happy to call-in to your club, or, if you are in the New York City area, to try to visit in person.
You can email me, I'll write back.

Yours truly,


Book Reviews:

Crackles with tension and verve."

- Publishers Weekly (starred review)


"The lively writing sings and swings along with Ella."

 -Kirkus Reviews (starred review) 

"An effective interplay of relatively dense text and, well, jazzy illustration that should appeal to a crowd that might consider itself well past picture books."

- Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

 A Junior LIbrary Guild Selection

Discussion questions:

1.     Listen to a recording of Ella Fitzgerald singing and talk about what you hear. Besides "A-Tisket, A-Tasket," my favorite songs include "Stompin' at the Savoy," "Lady Be Good," and "How High the Moon," (in which Ella scat-sings, meaning she sings nonsense syllables instead of lyrics).

Ella's story is about struggle. What did Ella struggle with and against? How did she use her gifts to prevail?

Visit Roxane's website for more info on her and her books - including some tips for young (or any) writers.  Plus there's nothing like seeing and hearing Ella Fitzgerald - check out this video of her singing "A-Tisket, A-Tasket".

Author call-in information:  Roxane Orgill is available to call in and talk with your reading group, or visit in person if in the greater NYC area. Please email her to submit your request.

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