Ages 8 - 12 / Middle grade biography / Aladdin
Win a set of STEVE JOBS, THINKING DIFFERENTLY by Patricia Lakin for your book club. Enter to win by emailing the author (write "KidsBookclubbing" in the subject line).
Full disclosure -- I'm an avid Apple fan. When Steve Jobs died, like so many people across the globe, I felt as if a brilliant light had been extinguished. When Simon and Schuster asked if I'd like to write his biography for middle grade readers, I responded, YES!
Unwashed hair, smelly body and barefooted -- that was how Steve Jobs often appeared as a college dropout and as a young businessman. Yet, this complex genius went on to create one of the world's most successful companies.
I viewed his life in three acts. The first focuses on his difficult school years, his burgeoning friendship with Steve Wozniak and their creation of Apple. The second dwells on the rising fortunes of Apple and the declining value of Steve as an Apple employee. The third act spotlights a humbled Steve Jobs who was desperate to succeed in business again. I chose to culminate that act with Steve's triumphant return to a near-bankrupt Apple and his transformative ideas, which brought Apple its unimagined success.
After reading this biography, I hope all you unique thinkers and dreamers will be inspired to follow your chosen life's path -- just as Steve Jobs did.
"Even reluctant middle grade readers will devour Patricia Lakin's biography of Steve Jobs -- a fascinating portrait of a kid who breaks nearly every rule and yet rises to astronomical heights. ...She follows his life chronologically, and consistently demonstrates how young Steve learned his unorthodox ways...What Lakin does for young readers is to, as Jobs put it, 'connect the dots' -- to demonstrate to young people how his experiences and passions shaped Jobs all along the way."
- Jennifer Brown, children's editor, Shelf Awareness
"Lakin offers a straightforward profile of the late computer/electronics pioneer and Apple cofounder via quotes and information culled from news articles, speeches and books...She follows Jobs's life along a linear trajectory from a restless but gifted boy through an enlightenment-seeking college dropout to Apple genius, finding parallels between his life and changes in technology and society. Lakin employs a wealth of interesting facts and anecdotes...Source notes are included."
- Publishers Weekly
"Standing out from the rush of postmortem profiles, this biography focuses most intently on the entrepreneur and innovator's earliest influences, from his mechanically gifted adoptive father and the electronics enthusiasts who clustered in 'Silicon Valley' to his exposure to Zen Buddhism, calligraphy, and the idea that art and engineering are not mutually exclusive pursuits...Lakin's summary of Jobs's formative years, and particularly her absorbing, detailed account of Apple's first heady days, will provide students of his achievements with unusual insight into his values and distinctively brash personality."
- John Peters, School Library Journal
- Why do you think Steve Jobs felt that, were it not for his fourth grade teacher, he would have wound up in jail? Were there other people who impacted young Steve's life in a positive way? Who were they and what were their contributions?
- What were some of the benefits that Steve Jobs experienced growing up in the neighborhood in which he did -- the one that came to be known as Silicone Valley?
- Do you think Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak should have faced some consequences for engaging in their business selling their illegal "blue boxes?" If so, what should it have been? If not, why not?
- After Steve Jobs came back to Apple, he was often verbally hard and very demanding of the employees. Do you think that was how he made them "think different" so they would come up with so many innovative devices? Why or why not?
- Steve Jobs often said he wanted to make a "dent in the universe." What do you think he meant by that? Do you think he achieved this goal? Why or why not?
Visit Patricia Lakin's website to learn more about her and her other books.
AUTHOR CALL IN INFORMATION: Patricia Lakin will be delighted to call into your club either by phone, iChat or Skype. She can also meet with your group if you live in the New York Metro area. Email her submit your request.
Ages 12-18 / YA fiction / Thomas Nelson
Win a copy of Crater by Homer Hickam for your book club. Enter to win by emailing the publisher (write "Kidsbookclubbing" in the subject line).
It's the 22nd Century and a tough, pioneering people are mining the moon for Helium-3, the fuel used in fusion reactors on Earth. Sixteen-year old Crater Trueblood is a miner who only wants to live a quiet life and be left alone. But when war looms, the owner of the mine sends Crater across a thousand miles of deadly lunar terrain and into space to recover a strange artifact that might keep the moon safe. To complete his mission, Crater must constantly fight and outwit the assassins and subhuman warriors who have been ordered to the moon to do one thing: Kill Crater.
More than anything, I love to tell a good story but it helps when there's a special spark behind it. In the case of Crater, this was my belief that the moon will be settled by a pioneering people who will choose to leave the old Earth behind and start a new society. They will work mostly for mining companies and live in underground towns beneath the Lunar dust and drive big mining machines and fast moon buggies. Crater gives me the chance to describe life on the moon and what it will be like.
It is my hope that while they read Crater, readers will feel like they're actually living on the moon. Afterwards, I hope they'll reflect on the exciting possibilities of living somewhere other than Earth, especially the moon. I have a slogan for the novel, especially for young readers: Luna est vestri. Carpe is! This is Latin and it means: The moon is yours.
"High adventure on the space frontier... Long-haul trucking on the Moon...with raiders, romance and a secret mission."
- Kirkus Reviews
"In a nutshell, Crater is sort of like Harry Potter meets Indiana Jones on the Moon - with some Jonny Quest thrown in for good measure."
- Space Ref
"Crater shows what is would be like to live on the Moon: to work there, to struggle, and to triumph. A fine piece of work."
- Ben Bova, author of Leviathans of Jupiter
- At the beginning of the novel, Crater is very happy just working the Scrapes, collecting Helium-3. But Petro has bigger plans for both of them. Why do you think Crater was happy doing the same job every day, and why is Petro so eager to get out? Which character do you relate to the most?
- What would be the best part about living on the moon? What would be the hardest to adjust to? What would you miss most about Earth?
- When you imagine life on the moon in the years to come, in what ways is it similar to the way life is described in Crater? What do you think will be different?
- What are Crater's greatest strengths? What are his greatest weaknesses?
- Describe life on Earth as Crater sees it. What is different than the way it is now? What is similar? Do you think the Earth in the book is how Earth truly will be in the future?
- How would you describe the relationship between Crater and Petro? How does it change over the course of the novel? What do you think is the hardest obstacle Crater encountered on the road to completing his mission? How do you think he managed to survive it all?
- What do you think will happen next for Crater and his friends?
Homer is happy to call-in or Skype with your club. He can also meet with your group if you live in the Huntsville, Alabama area. Email his publisher to submit your request.
A maximum of 10 books is available for each book club giveaway.