July 15,  2011  

  Kids' Authors Share Their Stories

Fabulous Book Giveaways for Your Club

Dear Readers,


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


... Sarah Porter as she shares a story of mermaids and powerful voices in LOST VOICES 


... J. Gabriel Gates and Charlene Keel, who introduce readers to a world of warring martial arts experts in DARK TERRITORY


Warm wishes,


Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp 


FirstBlockAges 12 and up / Young Adult fiction / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Win a set of LOST VOICES by Sarah Porter for your book club. Enter to win by emailing the publisher (write "KidsBookclubbing" in the subject line).



Lost VoicesDear Reader,


The mermaids of legend sank ships and drowned sailors, but no one ever seemed to ask what reasons they might have for doing it. Why were these beautiful sea-girls so compelled to use their powerful voices to enchant humans in this way? And were they affected by their own magic, wounded by their own destructive actions? Once I began considering the idea that mermaids might be those once-human girls who were so hurt that they rejected their own humanity, their behavior began to make a lot more sense.

 Sarah Porter

Lost Voices explores the dilemmas facing these lost girls. My heroine, Luce, struggles with the realization that no amount of revenge can ever erase the mermaids' pain, and that escaping to a life of freedom in the sea doesn't mean she can escape the humanity that lies secret in her heart.


Sarah Porter


Book reviews:


"A beautifully written and heartbreaking story about a lost soul struggling to forgive the people she loved who wronged her, and ultimately to forgive herself."

-Jennifer Echols, author of Going Too Far


A "haunting debut...Porter's writing is expressive and graceful...[Lost Voices is] a captivatingly different story."  




Discussion questions:


1.     The mermaids in Lost Voices respond to the cruelty humans have shown them with violence of their own. Do you think that it's ever right to answer violence with violence? If you think the mermaids ought to react differently, what should they do instead?


2.     Luce and Catarina have trouble stopping Anais from seizing control of the tribe. Is there a more constructive way they could deal with Anais? What about with each other?


3.     In Lost Voices, the mermaids find that their voices have an almost uncontrollable magical power. Do you think our voices and the things we say can have that much power in real life, whether it's power for good or for evil? How can we develop the power of our voices, and how should we use that power?


4.     Luce doesn't want to drown humans, but she doesn't want to judge or condemn her friends for their actions either. Do you think she's right to forgive them for what they're doing? Are there any actions that are truly unforgivable, or can people always redeem themselves if they're willing to change?


For more information about Lost Voices, please visit the publisher's website.   


SecondBlock Ages 12 and up / Young Adult fiction / HCI

Win a set of DARK TERRITORY by J. Gabriel Gates and Charlene Keel for your book club. Enter to win by emailing J. Gabriel Gates (write "KidsBookclubbing" in the subject line).

Dark Territory Dear Reader,   


It's agony to be the new kid.  Imagine how much worse it would be if your parents moved you out of a big city to get away from gang violence and the first thing you do at your new school is get in the middle of a fight between two rival gangs.


That's exactly what happens to Ignacio Torrez when he goes from LA's

J. Gabriel Gates

Vai Yu Law Photography

infamous South Central to a small town called Middleburg. Only Ignacio soon discovers that life in Middleburg is way crazier than it was in LA.  He finds himself caught up between groups of warring teenage martial arts experts, dangerous love triangles, and a terrifying magic that lurks near Middleburg's abandoned railroad tracks.


Thanks for reading!


-J. Gabriel Gates and Charlene Keel


Book reviews:


"Gates and Keel make their YA debuts with a tale that's part West Side Story, part supernatural mystery. . . . The overall effect is that of a summer action flick, with all the expected over-the-top situations, sequences, and dialogue."

- Publishers Weekly


"Gangs, martial arts, super powers and a mystical quest. Sounds like a fabulous summer read. And the cover is pretty sweet."

- Readergirls


"Combining the class struggle of The Outsiders with the star-crossed lovers of Romeo and Juliet, The Tracks: Dark Territory packs a modern kung fu punch sure to please lovers of suspense and adventure."

- Cynthia A. Walker, J.R. Arnold High School, Teacher of the Year 2010-2011


"This is one of the best books I've ever read. It made me think, cry, laugh and smile. It relates to me and people in my age group. [I want] to see Dark Territory in the library along with other books from The Tracks series."

- Jen, Age 14


Discussion Questions:      


1.     What parallels do you see between events in Middleburg and what's happening in the United States today?      


2.     Which character in Dark Territory do you most identify with and why? Who do you least identify with and why?  


3.     The Flatliners and the Toppers live by the Wu-de, a code of conduct. If you had to come up with a code of conduct for yourself, what would the number-one rule be and why?   


4.     Is the fighting between the Flatliners and the Toppers justified? Why or why not?   


5.     What did you learn from Dark Territory that you didn't know before?


AUTHOR CALL-IN INFORMATION:  J. Gabriel Gates is happy to Skype with your book club.  To arrange a visit, see the contact page on his website and write "Kidsbookclubbing" in the subject line.

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

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