September 2016
 New Titles, Author Notes, Book Giveaways, and More


Dear Readers,    

Happy Fall!
In this issue of KidsBookClubbing, you'll meet...
...seventh grader Lia as she navigates friendships and her changing adolescent body in Barbara Dee's TRUTH OR DARE

...Skylar, a girl who returns to her exclusive East Coast boarding school to find that she's no longer one of the cool kids, in GOING GEEK by Charlotte Huang

...twelve-year-old Howard Wallace, who lives by his list of rules of private investigation, and his sidekick Ivy Mason, in Casey Lyall's HOWARD WALLACE, P.I. 
...spunky Louise, a precious young trapeze artist who discovers she's actually afraid of heights, in LOUISE TRAPEZE CAN SO SAVE THE DAY...REALLY by Micol Ostow

Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp
Ages 9 - 13 / Middle-Grade Fiction / Aladdin/Simon & Schuster

Win a set of TRUTH OR DARE by Barbara Dee for your book club. Enter to win by emailing the author (write "KidsBookclubbing" in the subject line).

Dear Reader,

When I was growing up, all the girls read Judy Blume's ARE YOU THERE GOD, IT'S ME, MARGARET. Some of us (and I won't name names!) even had to sneak copies of this novel, which dealt honestly with a girl going through puberty.

That book was published forty-six years ago, back in 1970. It's astonishing to me that since then, so few middle grade books have explored the subject head-on -- which is why I decided to write TRUTH OR DARE.  

My sixth novel is about a seventh grade girl named Lia who's so embarrassed by her late-blooming body that she lies to her friends during an extended game of Truth or Dare. As her lies pile up, friendships are  threatened, and Lia's world is thrown into chaos. Will unpredictable, eccentric Aunt Shelby help Lia get her friends back, or just make everything worse?

I'm hoping that readers find this book funny, honest, moving and relatable. I also hope it sparks some great conversation between girls and the grown-up women in their lives!


Book reviews:
"Lia's problems ring fully true, and her eventually learned life lessons are timeless. Entertaining bibliotherapy .... also a useful road map to resolution of the age-old problem of severe cattiness."
-Kirkus Reviews

"Dee has a keen ear for middle school worries. Her characters talk and act like young adolescents. ... This is a good book to give to middle schoolers, especially young women on the verge of puberty. They will recognize themselves and their friends."
-School Library Journal

"Dee captures the anxious intensity of a middle-school friends group with crystal clarity and warm sympathy....The book offers plenty of understanding, with some extra wisdom for girls worried about facing the harbingers of adolescence."
-Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"For a sixth grade girl who doesn't love reading, we recommend almost anything by Barbara Dee, including THE (ALMOST) PERFECT GUIDE TO IMPERFECT BOYS."
-Scholastic podcast

Discussion questions: 
  1. How important is it for friends to tell each other the truth? Do best friends need to tell each other everything? What's okay to keep private? Is it okay to lie sometimes? When?
  2. Why is Abi the leader of the group? What makes her a good leader? What makes her a bad one?
  3. Why do friendships end? If the girls hadn't played Truth or Dare, would they have remained friends? Was a breakup inevitable? Will any of the girls reconnect as friends in the future?
  4. Would Aunt Shelby make a good mom? How does she compare to Val, Mrs. Garcia, and Lia's mom? Is Aunt Shelby better as a mom or an aunt? Is there a difference?
To keep up with Barbara Dee via social media as well as find out news about TRUTH OR DARE and her other books, visit her website.

Author call-in information: Barbara Dee is available to email, call-in and Skype with your book club. She'll also meet in person with clubs in the New York City/Westchester area. Please email the author to submit your request.
 Ages 12 + / Contemporary YA / Delacorte/Random House 
Win a set of GOING GEEK by Charlotte Huang for your book club. Enter by emailing the author (write "Kidsbookclubbing" in the subject line).

Dear Reader,

I wrote GOING GEEK for anyone who has ever felt blindsided, demoralized, or lost as a result of life's many left turns. Skylar Hoffman is ready for an epic senior year at her preppy East Coast boarding school. She has the sweetest boyfriend, coolest friends, and lives in the best dorm on campus. But her amazing year quickly goes up in flames. It starts with getting relocated to a tiny dorm known for, well, nothing, and comes to a head when a not-so-little white lie about how she spent her summer in Los Angeles rockets through school.

It's meant to be a fun story about friendships, romance, and figuring out what kind of person you want to be. But at its heart, it's a book about second chances and seeing past what's immediately in front of you, both in terms of yourself and others.

I went to a high school much like the one in GOING GEEK and the experience definitely inspired some of the emotion behind the story -- mostly that feeling of struggling to find your place and your talents.

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Book reviews:

"Wise and funny, swoon-worthy and realistic, and impossible to put down."
-Julie Buxbaum, author of TELL ME THREE THINGS

"A love letter -- brimming with heart, soul, and wit -- to everyone who's ever felt left behind . . . perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins and Rainbow Rowell."
-Jeff Zentner, author of THE SERPENT KING

"A deft examination of the politics of high school -- and how losing your popularity can win you unexpected victories."
-Stacey Lee, author of UNDER A PAINTED SKY
Discussion questions:
  1. Do you agree with Skylar or her friends with respect to their big falling out at the beginning of the story? Why?
  2. Do you think events would have unfolded differently if Skylar had been upfront about her problems? If so, how? If not, why not?
  3. Skylar's new dorm mates manage to be close friends with each other despite not having much in common, at least on the surface. What are some of the things you think bring them together?
  4. What do you think of Leo? Could the story have ended differently? (Trying not to give spoilers!)
  5. What aspects of Skyler's character, both good and bad, were consistent at the beginning of the book and at the end? Do any of her "bad" characteristics help her grow as a person?
For more info about the author and her work and to follow her to get the latest news about GOING GEEK, visit her website.

Author call-in information: Charlotte Huang is available to email, call-in and Skype with your book club. Please email the author to submit your request.

Ages 8 - 12 / Middle-Grade Fiction (Mystery) / Sterling Children's Books

Win a set of HOWARD WALLACE, P.I. by Casey Lyall for your book club. Enter to win by emailing the publisher (write "KidsBookclubbing" in the subject line).  
Dear Reader,

HOWARD WALLACE, P.I. is the result of a lifelong love of noir mysteries. I watched The Maltese Falcon at age eight and wrote my first detective story at age eleven. From fast-talking informants to chasing suspects down shady alleys, I loved everything about the world-weary life of a P.I.
When I sat down to write a novel, Howard popped into my brain and settled in like he owned the joint. Before I knew it, I was up to my neck in rickety bikes, middle school politics, devious blackmailers, and a nosy new girl named Ivy Mason looking to join the business.
Howard is a great detective, but I also grew to love his humor and his heart.
And I hope you will too.
Casey Lyall

Book reviews:

"Strong writing, relatable themes, and a solid mystery combine for a read that both boys and girls will have trouble putting down."
-School Library Journal

"Likely to see sequels; Howard and Ivy deserve them."
-Kirkus Reviews

"Lyle's debut is a winner."
-Publishers Weekly

"Give this to fans of ENCYCLOPEDIA BROWN who are looking for longer (and funnier!) well-plotted mysteries."
Discussion questions: 
  1. HOWARD WALLACE, P.I. is told from a first-person point of view. How does this affect the story and the information that you find out?
  2. Compare and contrast Ivy and Howard. What traits do they share? What traits make them different?
  3. Discuss the theme of friendship in this book. What does it have to do with Howard's P.I. business? How does it play a role in the crime that's been committed? How does Howard and Ivy's friendship change over the course of the story?
  4. Blue, Howard's bike, is an inanimate object. How does the way Howard interacts with Blue give her a personality for the reader? Describe what Blue would be like if she was a person.
  5. In Chapter 25, Howard's sister Eileen helps convince their parents that Howard should be allowed to leave the house. What strategy does she use to do this? What does this tell you about how Howard's parents feel about his detective work?
To learn more about Howard, Ivy and author Casey Lyall, visit her website.

Author call-in information: Casey Lyall is available to email and call-in with your book club. Please email her publisher to submit your request. 

Ages 6 - 9 / Chapter Book / Random House

Win a set of LOUISE TRAPEZE CAN SO SAVE THE DAY *(REALLY)! by Micol Ostow for your book club. Enter to win by emailing the author (write "KidsBookclubbing" in the subject line).  
Dear Reader,

When I first created a series about a precocious young trapeze artist horrified to discover that she's actually afraid of heights, I was channeling a long-standing personal fear. Louise struggles to feel grown up, only to learn that acknowledging her fears is perhaps the most grown-up way to handle them. Making peace with my own shortcomings has been a huge part of my own (ongoing!) process of becoming a grown-up. I still have a ways to go, but Louise helps me to laugh about the highs and lows (pun intended!) of the journey. I hope you'll agree!

Fact: The Sweet Potato Circus is in trouble. (Or at least that's what Louise heard through the tent flap.) Louise and her best friend, Stella, will do anything to save their circus -- even if it means joining forces with their sworn enemy, Ferret-breath Fernando! These three have big ideas and big tricks that will surely save the day in a big, big way!

See you at the circus,


Book reviews:

"A determined gal with a whole lot of heart, Louise will have fans hoping for a fourth outing."
-Kirkus Reviews

"Louise is an adorable character with a genuine personality and larger-than-life emotions.... A first purchase and dazzling readalike for 'Ivy and Bean' fans."
-School Library Journal
Discussion questions:
  1. Louise misunderstands something that she overhears, and believes that the circus must be in trouble. Can you think of a time when you jumped to conclusions without having all the information available? What happened and why? How could you have handled the situation differently? How could Louise have?
  2. What's the difference between Louise's brainstorming with her friends, versus using teamwork? Why does teamwork work out better for them? Talk about a time when you and your friends worked together (or didn't!) and what the end results were.
  3. Louise and her friends are performers in the circus, and their school is probably very different than yours! What are some of the differences? In what other ways is Louise's life different from yours? Do you think you'd enjoy being part of a traveling circus?
To learn more about Louise (and the author), visit Micol Ostow's website.

Author call-in information: Micol Ostow is happy to call-in to (or Skype with) your club. She can also meet with your group if you live in the New York Tri-State Area. Email the author to submit your request.
  • A maximum of 10 books is available for each book club giveaway.
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