June 15, 2011 

  Kids' Authors Share Their Stories

Fabulous Book Giveaways for Your Club



     Connected Wisdom 



In this issue of KidsBuzz, featuring book giveaways and behind-the-scenes stories from top kids' authors, you'll: time-traveling (medieval Italy) teens in Lisa Bergren's CASCADE;


...find yourself drawn into a world of international intrigue and romance in Travis Thrasher's ultra-scary GRAVESTONE;


...learn to "connect the dots" and understand systems literacy in Linda Booth Sweeney's folktale collection, CONNECTED WISDOM.


Warm wishes,


Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp 


Ages 12 and up / Young Adult Historical Romance / David C. Cook


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


CascadeDear 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 more books she'd rip through -- voila, The River of Time Series was born.


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 Lisa Bergrenmountain 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 DragonKeeper 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. "Us vs. Them" -- Most of us were taught, growing up, to go the extra mile in peacemaking and getting along with others. But in this medieval world, Gabi and Lia come up against this decision over and over again.

o   What would it take to make you draw the line in the sand and refuse to budge?

o   Would it be a societal trend, physical survival, or what? Describe.


2.  Gabi goes through extreme physical and emotional trauma in this book. When she's in the cage in Firenze, there is a very real possibility that she might die. Have you ever been on the edge of death?


o   If so, describe. What did you learn about life that you want to remember? 

o   If not, what do you think it would teach you?


3.  Would you ever date two different brothers at different times? How about two guy friends? Why or why not?


4.  Do you ever wish arranged marriages were still done today? Discuss the pros and cons.


5.  Many lives are lost in the battle for borders/property/power in this book. What land would you fight for? Your family property? Your state? Your country? Other countries? If you wouldn't fight for any land, describe your thoughts on that.


Intrigued? You can read a snippet of Waterfall and an excerpt from Cascade (Book 2).  Or visit the Facebook page for the series or Lisa's website.


AUTHOR CALL-IN INFORMATION: Lisa T. Bergren is happy to call-in to your book club.  To arrange a visit, email the author.  


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


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


GravestoneDear Reader,


I've made a career writing both supernatural thrillers and love stories. With TheTravis Thrasher Solitary Tales, I wanted to blend those two genres together by writing a story about a teen entering a new school and a new town. This series is about a boy discovering truths about the world (some quite eerie) and figuring out his place in it. My hope is that readers will take the exciting ride with Chris for all four different books.  


Happy Reading,


Travis Thrasher


Book reviews:


"Creep-a-dilly-icious! GRAVESTONE is a freaky ride that leaves you hanging on the edge of a cliff....with one foot hanging over. And someone nudging you from behind. Yes, it's that good....This is one story you'll want to read with all the lights on, and if you're squeamish about mannequins, well, let's just say you might want to hold someone's hand as well. GRAVESTONE is definitely worth the effort. Conquer your fears and go for it."

-Novel Reviews


"Filled with shocking twists, Gravestone is a tale of a teenager thrown into a battle over a town, a secret -- and ultimately his own soul."


Discussion questions:     


1.    What do you feel is happening in the town of Solitary?


2.    What would you do if you were Chris?    

3.    When you go through something difficult in your life, do you seek help by contacting others or do you internalize it like Chris does? What are the pros and cons in doing each?   

4.    Who exactly is Iris and what's the story on The Crag's Inn?   

5.    What do you think is in store for Chris in the next book?


Interested in writing tips?  Read Travis' blog, and learn how to connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more - all via his website


AUTHOR CALL-IN INFORMATION:  Travis Thrasher is happy to call-in and talk with your book club.  To arrange a visit, email the author.



Ages 9 and up / Anthology / SEED - distributed by Chelsea Green


Enter to win a set of CONNECTED WISDOM by emailing the author (write "KidsBookclubbing" in the subject line).


Connected WisdomDear Reader,

Our children today are growing up in a world with the understanding that "everything is connected to everything else."  My ten year old reminds me that the kind of car I drive will affect the health of polar bears in the Arctic. My son can't see the connection between my car and the polar bear.   He has to imagine the bear, my car, the atmosphere and more as all connected, and part of a "living system."
Linda Sweeney   

I adapted the 12 folktales in Connected Wisdom to entertain young readers but also to encourage a new kind of literacy -- systems literacy.  When we're literate about systems, we learn to "connect the dots," to look at not just the parts but at interrelationships and patterns when we're faced with complex issues.  


When our children learn to see systems, they remember that their world is a tightly woven web of people, places, events and nature, and as such, is indeed meaningful.


Here's to connecting,


Linda Booth Sweeney


PS:  I collaborated with the truly talented children's singer, Courtney Campbell, on a Connected Wisdom CD.  This month, the CD won at the San Francisco Green Book Festival, in the children's audiobook division! Check it out here.


Book reviews:


"Artfully, beautifully, playfully, seriously, clearly Linda Booth Sweeney invites us to join her in a deeper understanding of the profound principles of living systems. Tapping wisdom connected to many cultures and many times, Linda weaves memorable simple stories into a tapestry holding enormous complexity. A book that is at once a work of art, a representation of science, and an invitation to think more deeply and playfully, Connected Wisdom is a gift. Whether the reader is six or sixty, it matters not. These pages open us more fully to the world around us."

-Judy Sorum Brown, Senior Fellow, The James MacGregor Burns Academy of Leadership



 "As our new century unfolds, it is becoming more and more evident that the major problems of our time are systemic problems, which means that they are all interconnected and interdependent. To solve them, we need to learn how to think systemically - in terms of relationships, patterns, processes, and context. In this book, Linda Booth Sweeney has assembled a wonderful collection of ancient folk tales and myths from around the world, which convey the profound 'systemic wisdom' of peoples who lived close to nature and had a deep intuitive understanding of life's networks, cycles, and processes of transformation. I highly recommend Connected Wisdom as a superb tool for teaching and learning the systemic thinking that is critical in our globally interconnected world."  

-Fritjof Capra, author, The Web of Life and The Hidden Connections


Discussion questions:


1.  Animal life on earth thrives through cooperation and partnership.  If you could look deep down in the ocean, you'd see the cleaner fish swimming into a shark's mouth and eating the left-over food from the shark's teeth. Why doesn't the shark turn the cleaner fish into a tasty snack? Well, it's a perfect partnership: The shark's teeth are well cleaned and the cleaner fish is well-fed.  Where is cooperation and partnership important in your life?   


2. In nature, there is a right size for everything. A giraffe is tall, a mouse is small, and each size has its benefits.  In the story of The Hodja, he comes to understand that there is a right size for both the pumpkins and the walnuts. He learns that sometimes, small is beautiful and sometimes, large is lovely, but just the right size is always perfect.  Is bigger always better?  When is smaller just the right size?


3. Have you ever noticed that nature doesn't create trash piles?  Apples that aren't eaten fall to the ground and over time, become food for the plants and other species living in the soil.  In nature, the waste of one becomes the food for another.  We are learning from nature, and how we can make sure that we don't create waste. Old tires can become shoes, plastic bottles can be ground up to make fleece for jackets, and left-overs from coffee plants can be used to grow mushrooms.  Think about something you've thrown away.   How might it be turned into something useful, or food for another?


4. Wherever we live, the sun rises and the sun sets everyday, over and over.  This is a natural cycle.  Nature is filled with cycles. These cycles -- like the water, carbon and nitrogen cycles -- help to renew the earth and keep it healthy, strong and in balance. Where are you a part of a natural cycle in your every day?


SEED, the book's publisher, has created a fantastic portal for educators, parents and others interested in fostering systems and science literacy through stories and activities. Interested? Click here. To read Linda's blog and learn more about her and her work, please visit her website.  


AUTHOR CALL-IN INFORMATION:  Linda  Booth Sweeney is happy to call-in and talk with your book club.  To arrange a visit, email the author.   


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