May 15,  2014
 New Titles, Author Notes, Book Giveaways, and More



Dear Readers,     


In this issue of KidsBookClubbing, you'll meet   

...Gabe and his stepbrother Zack as they go summer camping in Elissa Brent Weissman's NERD CAMP 2.0

...Devin, and learn how his synthesia comes in handy in middle-grade adventure THE ONE SAFE PLACE by Tania Unsworth

...three sisters who discover they're heiresses to a billionaire in THE SECRET DIAMOND SISTERS by Michele Madow.


Warm wishes, 


Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp 



Ages 8-12 / Middle Grade Fiction/Adventure / Atheneum/Simon & Schuster 


Win a set of NERD CAMP 2.0 by Elissa Brent Weissman for your book club. Enter to win by emailing the author (write "Kidsbookclubbing" in the subject line).  


Dear Reader,  


When NERD CAMP came out in 2011, it wasn't yet cool to be a nerd; at least not for Gabe, who hides the geeky details of his summer from his cool stepbrother, Zack. I'll admit Zack was mostly there to drive Gabe's conflict. I was shocked to hear readers loved Zack; they wanted to see more of him.


For NERD CAMP 2.0, I knew Zack couldn't stay backstage. This summer, he's at his own camp, where he ends up sharing a campground with Gabe and the geeks. With that setup, the conflict built naturally. But a nerd like me writing from Zack's cool perspective? That was a challenge.






P.S. Also in May, check out THE SHORT SELLER, about a twelve-year-old girl who plays the stock market, in paperback!


Book Reviews:


"Elissa Brent Weissman has whipped up a clever, funny and moving story.  Her characters consistently defy stereotype, revealing fascinating layers that make them feel startlingly real and relatable. Whether you're a science fiend, a jock or something in between, you'll love spending time at Nerd Camp."
- Stuart Gibbs, author of Belly Up and Spy School


"Gabe's path to geeky self-acceptance is filled with quirky adventure. There's a UFO sighting, a stealth kayak mission and a clandestine lice-breeding lab, along with bunkmates who recite the digits of pi (for fun!) and tape pictures of Beethoven to their cabin walls. Fans of 'The Big Bang Theory' may recognize in Gabe and his smart, funny friends the youthful counterparts of the zany brainiacs on that popular TV show."

-The Washington Post (about Nerd Camp)

"Packed with humor, heart, and nerdy self-acceptance, this novel about 10-year-old Gabe's summer at a gifted and talented program is the perfect choice for reading material until lights out."   

-Scholastic Instructor magazine (about Nerd Camp

Discussion questions:     

  1. How do Gabe and Zack feel about having to share a campground? How would you feel if you were in either of their positions?
  2. As the war between Summer Center and Camp Seneca escalates, both sides wage battle. Is one side in the right and the other wrong? What makes you think so?
  3. Gabe takes a class called "Heroes of Our World and Imaginations." Who are some real-life and fictional heroes that you admire? If you were to create a fictional hero, what would that hero do? What is the most heroic thing you've ever done?
  4. Which camp would you prefer to attend, Camp Seneca or SCGE? What activities would you do? Which characters would you like to hang out with most?
  5. Do you agree that Zack and his friends are cooler than Gabe and his friends? What makes someone nerdy or cool? Do distinctions like "nerdy" or "cool" matter?

Can't wait for camp? Download recipes and experiment with molecular gastronomy on the Nerd Camp 2.0 page of Elissa's website


Author call-in information: Elissa Brent Weissman is happy to call-in to or Skype with your club. She can also meet with your group if you live near Baltimore, Maryland. Email her to submit your request.


Ages 10 and up / Dystopia / Algonquin Young Readers

Win a set of THE ONE SAFE PLACE by Tania Unsworth for your book club. Enter to win by emailing the author write "KidsBookclubbing" in the subject line).

Dear Reader,

I've always been fascinated by the mysteries of the brain. One day I was in a dentist's chair, dreading the dental work ahead, and I fantasized about having someone to take my place in the chair with "some kind of mind swapping procedure." And that's how I got the idea for THE ONE SAFE PLACE.

THE ONE SAFE PLACE is an adventure story, but it's also the story of a boy with a secret power. Devin has a condition that causes his senses to blend together. Colors make noises for example, and soundshave shapes. Letters and numbers make rainbow patterns in his mind. The condition, a rare but real one, is called synesthesia. The other kids in the book think Devin is a bit weird, but when he and his friends are threatened by the sinister Administrator at the Gabriel H. Penn Home for Childhood, his power comes in handy in a surprising way.


I hope you find the book exciting and mysterious -- and also just a little bit scary!




Tania Unsworth


Book Reviews:


"A group of orphans uncovers a sinister plot in this chilling and engrossing tale filled with detailed, sharply drawn character. . . A standout in the genre's crowded landscape."

-Kirkus Reviews, starred review


"Fast paced and gripping. An original dystopian story for middle grade readers."

-School Library Journal, starred review


"Unsworth unravels the story with skilled deliberation, creating a page turning mix of suspense, intrigue and anxiety. The kids are genuine and quirky, just the right kind of mismatched misfits to snag readers' hearts."

-Publishers Weekly


Discussion questions:

  1. Although Devin's synesthesia is one of his powers, he has other strengths, including his ability to make friends. Is friendship an important theme in the book? How does it make a difference?
  2. Kit, Malloy, Luke and the others also have talents. What are they? Are there times when they are able to turn their weaknesses into strengths?
  3. There are several animals in the story. Which one is your favorite? How is each one important?
  4. If, like Devin and Kit, you found yourself hungry and scared in a dangerous city, do you think you would have trusted Roman's stories about the Home for Childhood?
  5. Do you think what happens at the Home could ever happen in real life?
  6. If you could swap minds with anyone in the world, who would you swap with?

You can follow Tania on Twitter, and read an excerpt at the publishers's website 


Author call-in information: Tania Unsworth is happy to call-in to or Skype with your club. She can also meet with your group if you live in the Boston area. You can contact her via her website

14 and up / Young Adult Contemporary / Harlequin Teen

Win a set of THE SECRET DIAMOND SISTERS by Michelle Madow. Enter to win by emailing the author (write "KidsBookclubbing" in the subject line).


Dear Reader,

Are you looking for a fun summer read? Did you love GOSSIP GIRL and PRETTY LITTLE LIARS? Then THE SECRET DIAMOND SISTERS is perfect for you!


In THE SECRET DIAMOND SISTERS, three sisters  from a poor town discover they're long lost heiresses of a Las Vegas billionaire casino owner and are whisked away to live in the glamorous hotel he owns. Savannah is a dreamer, Courtney is practical, and Peyton is a rebel -- you'll relate to one of them ... and fall for one of the guys they meet, too! 






Book Reviews:


"Sexy and electrifying ... Gossip Girl meets The Princess Diaries in a city that never sleeps."  



"This quick and entertaining read is filled with glitz and glamour ... get ready for one crazy and fabulous ride." 

-RT Book Reviews   


Discussion questions:

  1. Each of the main characters -- Savannah, Courtney, Peyton, and Madison -- are very different. Who do you relate to most? Least?
  2. If you found out you had a long-lost parent who was a billionaire hotel owner like Adrian Diamond, how would you react?
  3. The Diamond sisters get involved with different guys in The Secret Diamond Sisters. Which relationships do you support (or not support), and why?
  4. Along with the three Diamond sisters, you get the point of view of Las Vegas resident and queen bee, Madison Lockhart. Why do you think her point of view was included? Did you like getting inside her head?
  5. The Diamond sisters go through a lot of changes in their first week in Las Vegas. How do you think they've grown? What do you think they still need to work on?

Visit the author's website for extras on the series, and to follow her on Twitter (@MichelleMadow), Facebook (/MichelleMadow), Instagram (@MichelleMadow), and more.


Author call-in information: Michelle Madow is happy to Skype with your club. She can also meet with your group if you live near Boca Raton, Florida. Email her to submit your request.

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