January 17,  2012   

  Kids' Authors Share Their Stories

Fabulous Book Giveaways for Your Club

                                     Angel in my Pocket Curse of the Shamra


Dear Readers,


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


... see what happens when Bette finds an angel coin in ANGEL IN MY POCKET, and 


... meet Dara as she leads a resistance against the enemy on the once peaceful island of Shamra in CURSE OF THE SHAMRA.


Warm wishes,


Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp 


FirstBlockAges 10 - 14 / Middle-grade Fiction / Macmillan Kids

Win a set of ANGEL IN MY POCKET by Ilene Cooper for your book club. Enter to win by emailing the author (write "KidsBookclubbing" in the subject line).


Angel in my Pocket Dear Reader,

I carry an angel coin in my wallet. One day, I was dropping change in a charity canister and almost put the angel coin in too. That got me wondering.


If I had dropped the coin in, who would have found it? Would it bring them luck or protection?  Once a writer starts wondering, books are born. The coin in ANGEL IN MY POCKET is passed among four very different kids.Ilene Cooper Things start to happen. . . people come into their lives . . .circumstances change.

People ask me if I believe in angels. I do. I believe angels can appear when we need help, but they don't have to have halos and wings. We can be angels for each other. All it takes is wanting to help.

Wishing you angels,

Ilene Cooper


Book reviews:


"The characters and setting are lovingly crafted, and readers will be left contemplating the roles of luck, magic, and inner strength in the kids' transformed lives."
Publishers Weekly

"A good luck charm exerts a positive effect on the lives of four seventh-graders at a Chicago magnet school for the performing arts . . As their lives intersect, four credible, contemporary, creative teens find faith to move forward."  
-Kirkus Reviews

"Ilene Cooper has created the perfect middle grade voice in Bette and presented four great characters that are honest and heartfelt throughout the story. Enriched with an overall theme of finding oneself, believe in the power of to change, and the possibility of luck, magic, and friendship, Angel in My Pocket is a light, sweet, and gentle, but powerful read."
-I Swim for Oceans


Discussion questions:


1. The book opens with Bette Miller having found an angel coin among the money earned at a car wash. Do you think Bette found the coin by chance, or do you believe the coin found its way to her?
2. Joe acts tough and and is a bully. What makes Joe act this way? What do you think Joe is really feeling about his life and his family? Do you believe Joe could ever be a good friend? 
3. Joe bullies Minkus for lunch money. When Minkus finally stands up to him and offers him money to buy lunch, Joe feels like punching him. Why? Why does he end up telling Minkus to keep the money? And why does he give Minkus the angel coin? 
4. In this novel, none of the characters has a perfect life. Do you think a perfect life is attainable? Why do you think bad things happen to good people? What are some of the ways that the characters deal with the difficulties they face? Would you handle things differently? 
5. Do you believe in angels? Do you think Bette, Joe, Minkus, and/or Vivi believe in angels by the end of the novel?

Read an interview, listen to a podcast, or visit Ilene's website for more information about her and her books.    

: Ilene Cooper is happy to call in to your club. She can also meet with your group if you live in the Chicago area.  Email the author to submit your request.   

       Ages 12 and up / YA Fantasy / Edge Books

To win a set of CURSE OF THE SHAMRA and the other two books in the SHAMRA CHRONICLES series for your bookclub, email the author (please write "Kidsbookclubbing" in the subject line).

Curse of the Shamra Dear Reader,
When I was growing up, many of the books I read carried the message that women were the weaker sex, waiting around for a man to come and save them. I have since learned from my two daughters and hundreds of teens who were in the classes that I taught that this is definitely not theBarry Hoffman truth. Sadly, even in my own classroom, there were too few books which featured strong-willed teens and women who were as brave and vivacious as the teens and women I had met in real life. I wrote my YA Fantasy series THE SHAMRA CHRONICLES to portray women as complex and heroic as they truly are: women I hope will inspire real women everywhere to stand up for what they believe in.
Happy Reading!

Barry Hoffman

Book reviews:

"A splendid journey into a world of intriguingly complex fantasy."
-Richard Matheson, New York Times bestselling author of I AM LEGEND, on CURSE OF THE SHAMRA

"A fine fantasy that will inspire many young women. Curse of the Shamra is a top pick that is highly recommended for those looking for a new fantasy series."
-Midwest Book Review

"(We) loved Dara's story and courage. The embedded messages of empowerment and change really struck home for our small town. I believe many youth will be talking about your Shamra soon and that their small world will be a model for all who cling to the past without looking for the good the future has to offer."
-Vicki Bleak, Title 1 Teacher, Camp Verde Schools on CURSE OF THE SHAMRA

Discussion questions (These questions pertain to the first book in the series, CURSE OF THE SHAMRA. They include spoilers, so please save for after reading the book.)

1.    What made Dara a good leader?
2.    Do you feel Pilla's death was required or unnecessary?
3.    How did Dara change throughout the book?
4.    Why did Heber betray Dara at the end of Curse of the Shamra?

For discussion questions for Books 2 and 3, to read Barry's blog, and for more information on the books, see the Shamra Chronicles website.

AUTHOR CALL-IN INFORMATION: Barry Hoffman is happy to call in or email with your bookclub.  Email the author to submit your request; please write "Shamra Book Club request" in the subject line. 

  • 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.

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