May 15, 2015
 New Titles, Author Notes, Book Giveaways, and More


Dear Readers,     


In this issue of KidsBookClubbing, you'll meet:    


... Nere, a shy girl who can talk to dolphins in THE NEPTUNE CHALLENGE by Polly Holyoke

... seventeen-year-old strong-minded Santina in the medieval love story ALCHEMY'S DAUGHTER
by Mary A. Osborne 

Warm wishes,      

Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp 


Ages 10-14 / Middle-Grade Science Fiction / Disney/Hyperion

Win a set of THE NEPTUNE CHALLENGE by Polly Holyoke for your book club. Enter to win by emailing the author (please write "KidsBookClubbing" in the subject line).


Dear Reader,

When the sea has become humankind's last hope, a group of teens fights to survive beneath the waves. In THE NEPTUNE CHALLENGE, I continue the story of Nere Hanson, a shy girl who can talk to dolphins. Genetically engineered to live in the sea, Nere and her friends must go on a dangerous rescue mission and retrieve an invention that could help to save our world from climate change.

I am a scuba diver, and readers seem to think I do a terrific job of depicting Nere's undersea world. If you like books about dolphins, friendship, and adventure, you'll love THE NEPTUNE CHALLENGE.

Polly Holyoke

Reviews and awards for the first book in the series, THE NEPTUNE PROJECT:
"This suspenseful, undersea dystopia should keep middle schoolers hooked."
- Kirkus Reviews
"The book revels in the beauty of the underwater world and the creatures that inhabit it. The relationship between the teenagers and the dolphins -- who actually become characters themselves -- is particularly well crafted... With both romance and adventure, The Neptune Project will attract male and female readers."  
- VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates)

Texas Bluebonnet Award 2014-15 Master List
Maryland Black-eyed Susan Book Award Nominee
Bank Street College of Education's 2014 List of Best Children's Books

Discussion questions:

1.    Nere's brother James has the power to control other people's actions.  Would you like to have this ability? Why or why not?
2.    Several of Kuron's kids have some interesting marine life spliced into their DNA. If you could be part marine creature, what kind would you choose to be and why?
3.    Would you want to be part of the Neptune Project? Why or why not?
4.    Why do several of Kuron's kids decide to get tattoos?  What do those tattoos say about them as a group?
5.    By the end of this story, several of Kuron's kids have a chance to choose between being savage or being civilized. Do you think people can choose to change their fundamental natures?

To learn more about Nere's undersea world and see photos of some of the colorful marine creatures she and her companions routinely encounter and follow links to cool dolphin sites, dive into Polly's website.

Author call-in information: Polly is happy to skype with your group. She also will meet with your book club if you live in the North Texas region. Email Polly to submit your request. 

Ages 14 and up  / Historical Fiction  / Lake Street Press

Win a set of ALCHEMY'S DAUGHTER by Mary A. Osborne for your book club. Enter to win by emailing the author (please write "KidsBookclubbing" in the subject line).

Dear Reader,
In medieval San Gimignano, Italy, daughters of merchants are expected to marry. But seventeen-year-old Santina cares only for Calandrino, a brilliant young scholar who is preoccupied with his ancient alchemical texts.  
When Santina apprentices to Trotula, the village midwife (who might or might not be a strega, a witch), Trotula challenges her to forget  Calandrino and become the woman she is meant to be.  Some say she is a victim of the midwife's spell, but Santina is determined to follow in Trotula's footsteps even as calamities strike.

The setting may be 14th-century Italy, but I hope you'll find, in Santina, a strong-minded young woman whose search for meaning echoes your own.
Mary A. Osborne 
Book reviews:

 "Brimming with details of life in Italy during the plague of 1348, this well-researched story incorporates historical information about medieval alchemy, midwifery, and the conflict between science and superstition, providing a rich context and arresting contrast for Santina's thoroughly modern attitudes."
- Kirkus Reviews

"...the historical time period is well researched, and Santina is a smart, capable heroine whose desire for both knowledge and love will feel familiar to many modern readers."
- Booklist

Discussion questions:  

1.    Santina defies her father and risks being disowned in order to work as Trotula's apprentice.  Have you ever been in position where someone tried to prevent you from doing something that was extremely important to you?  If not, what activity or interest would you refuse to give up, even if it meant sacrificing a close relationship?
2.    How would you feel if your parents insisted on an arranged marriage, as was the custom during Santina's day?
3.    During the Middle Ages, midwives and female relatives rather than physicians assisted laboring women, and husbands were excluded from the childbirth experience altogether.  How has childbirth changed over the years, and what advantages have been gained as well as lost?
4.    A Manual to the Science of Alchemy, from which excerpts appear in Alchemy's Daughter, is a creation of the author's imagination but based upon actual alchemical literature.  How does the Manual inspire Santina to grow and change?
5.    Who would you chose to play Santina and Trotula if the book were a movie?

To read an excerpt from ALCHEMY'S DAUGHTER and keep up with the author via her blog or Facebook, please visit her website.

Author call-in information: Mary A. Osborne is happy to call-in to or skype with your club.  She can also meet with your group if you live in Chicago area. Email Mary to submit your request.

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