The Bookies Newsletter
The Bookies Monthly Newsletter
June 2015
Starting a Summer of Reading
This month we're all about dads and kids! Father's Day is coming up on June 21st and we have Larry's list of recommended reads for dads. And for young readers, we take a look at school summer reading lists, plus recent recommendations from kids, grand-kids and grown-up kids in 'The Last Great Book My Child Read'. Reading is so important for children and author James Patterson recently launched a campaign to #GetKidsReading - more details on that below. And, of course, right at the bottom of the newsletter, you'll find our pick of the new June publications. 
Please note we will be closed on Father's Day, Sunday, June 21st, so we can be with our families.

Celebrating Dad
It's Dad's turn! Larry and Steve check out some of the books on our Father's Day display. It's important for dads to read to kids, but it's also important for dads to read for themselves. It's not only fun for all parents, but if you are a dad with young children in the house, particularly boys, you're showing them it's cool for boys and men to read. Here are Larry's latest recommended reads for fathers.

Larry's Father's Day Picks for 2015

The Taking Tree The Taking Tree: A Selfish Parody by Shrill Travesty, illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins
I love this book so much. A Father's Day gift of sarcasm and humor, especially for a cynical father who has read The Giving Tree once too often. This is the antidote.

A Man Called Ove A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
Newly out in paperback, this is the story of how life changes when a grumpy man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door. Ove is exactly the type of curmudgeon I hope to grow up to be.

The Onion Book of Known Knowledge The Onion Book of Known Knowledge
The title speaks for itself: anybody who believes this needs their head examined. Fun!

Clash of Eagles Clash of Eagles by Alan Smale
An alternative history, in which the Romans discover America and send a legion to conquer it. The sole Roman survivor of a Native American massacre joins the tribe and participates in a series of tribal conflicts. Constant action and adventure.

The Hidden History of America at War The Hidden History of America at War by Kenneth C. Davis
A collection of vignettes about America and Americans during various wars. By the author of the 'Don't Know Much About History' series.

The Greatest Knight  The Greatest Knight: The Remarkable Life of William Marshal, the Power Behind Five English Thrones by Thomas Asbridge
My favorite history read for the last twelve months or so. The story of William Marshal and his service to five kings of England, including the creation of the Magna Carta. Great writing that really made me live the story.

The Fifth Heart The Fifth Heart by Dan Simmons
Sherlock Holmes and Henry James on the case in America after the civil war. Lots of famous figures appear in this good historical mystery.

Waterloo Waterloo: The History of Four Days, Three Armies, and Three Battles by Bernard Cornwell
The first work of nonfiction from this great writer of well-researched historical fiction. I lived in Waterloo and Gettysburg for years and developed a great appetite for well-written books on this subject. This is the best book I've ever read on Waterloo, due to the quality of the writing.

Clash of Iron Clash of Iron by Angus Watson
Blood and guts in Iron Age England. Loved it! This is the second book in Angus Watson's epic Iron Age fantasy trilogy.

Snow Wolf Snow Wolf by Glenn Meade
Down and dirty Russian spies! Despite constant demand, this fantastic thriller has been out of print for years in the US. Now it's repackaged and back on our shelves, just in time for Father's Day.

All these are on our shelves now! If you find they are out of stock when you want them, we will gladly reorder. And don't forget some of my recent favorites which have already featured in the newsletter and which I've been forbidden to mention yet again: Dead Wake by Erik Larson, The Last Days of George Armstrong Custer by Thom Hatch, Syndrome E by Franck Thilliez and Mark Polizzotti, and An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris. (Ha, snuck 'em in anyway!)

Behind the Titles on School Summer Reading Lists 
Summer means - school reading lists! OK, and pools, and sunshine, and all the other good stuff - but don't forget the books! Reading just a few books over summer can help kids avoid the dreaded 'summer slide', when their reading abilities can drop back to a lower level.

The Giver It's fascinating to see the variety of books on local schools' 2015 summer reading lists. Many middle school lists include tried and trusted favorites such as Lois Lowry's The Giver and Gary Paulsen's Hatchet. Other middle schools are emphasizing more contemporary books such as Counting by Sevens by Holly Goldberg Sloan, and even James Patterson's Middle School: The Worst Years of  My Life. Several lists feature two ground-breaking award-winning books from 2014, Jacqueline Woodson's Brown Girl Dreaming and Kwame Alexander's The Crossover. As you can see even from these few titles, school lists this year are very diverse, including many books by and about people of color or with disabilities.

Cartoon Guide to Physics Very few graphic books have made it onto reading lists, unless you include The Cartoon Guide to Physics by Larry Gonick. This appears on the brand-new Northfield High School's list, which is an interesting list as it is based around non-fiction background reading, rather than the fiction that most school lists favor.

Searching for Silverheels There are other unique lists. One school is doing a 'read locally' initiative and has created a list of books written by Colorado authors, including the historical Searching for Silverheels by Jeanne Mobley and the fantasy Savvy by Ingrid Law. Another school's list only includes books published since 2013.

Finally, some schools are not suggesting any particular books, but are just asking students to read widely and make their own choices. We have copies of many Denver school reading lists, are stocked up on local schools' required reading and much more - so whatever is on your child's book list for summer, we're happy to help you find it! 

The Last Great Book My Child Read 
We share some of our young readers' recent favorites!

All the Answers
My 11-year-old daughter loved All the Right Answers by Kate Messner, about a girl whose pencil starts giving her the answers to questions in school and life. My daughter's review: "This is a really good book. I loved that Ava had anxiety, kind of like I do. She was such an empathetic character and I could really identify with her. Ava had to be brave and rise to challenges and it was all convincingly written. And I loved who the pencil turned out to be in the end."

Recommended to me by my fourth grade students, The Accidental Hero by Matt Myklusch introduces the reader to Jack Blank, an orphan with a dreary life, who finds escape in comic books, especially those featuring superheroes. When some characters from his comic books appear, Jack is spirited away to the Imagine Nation, where he discovers he also has powers. However, he also learns he might be a threat to the future of Imagine Nation. Jack fights hard to save his new homeland and find his true identity. Myklusch entices the reader to care about the characters and their fates and to escape with Jack to the wonder and idiosyncrasies of the Imagine Nation. This is the first in a trilogy that gets better with every book! 
Red: A Crayon's Story
One of the last great books I read to the children at The Bookies storytime was Michael Hall's Red: A Crayon's Story. This won giggles and smiles from kids and parents alike. This fantastic tale reminds us that not all bullying is mean - some of it comes from unwanted labeling and pressure. Plus it is a great story of overcoming your labels and being who you are on the inside!

Hoot Owl: Master of Disguise
Ryan again 
(Given Ryan's position as Tuesday Storyreader Extraordinaire, we couldn't resist another one of his favorites). Hoot Owl, Master of Disguise by Sean Taylor, illustrated by Jean Jullien, is full of fun drawings and funny noir-style words. These, along with a great happy ending, make this the perfect storytime book!

The Marco Effect
My (grown-up) daughter, Elizabeth, and I enjoy many of the same mysteries, and her latest favorite is Jussi Adler-Olsen's The Marco Effect. And my son called a few days ago to tell me how much he had enjoyed The Martian, by Andy Weir. 

Yoo-Hoo Ladybug!
My grandchild "read" and loved Yoo-hoo, Ladybug! by Mem Fox and Laura Ljungkvist. This is a marvelous reading experience for one-to-two-year-olds and their "reading" partner!

The Story of King Arthure & His Knights
I sent my third-grade grandson an abridged version of the story of the Knights of the Round Table - The Story of King Arthur & His Knights from Classic Starts. I hoped to shake him out of his obsession with dinosaurs and Minecraft. Now he's obsessed with knights. Mission accomplished!

Why Reading Matters for Kids 
Kids' favorite, James Patterson, is the latest author to emphasize the importance of reading for children. And he calls it "a matter of survival, rather than success", emphasizing shocking statistics, such as the fact that 6.6 million kids are at an increased risk of dropping out of high school, because they struggle to read. Patterson is looking for ideas to help at #GetKidsReading.

Spotlight on Spanish 
Spanish section 
Almost every kids' bookstore in the country has books in English - but what about children who grow up speaking other languages? Send them to us! With so many Spanish speakers in Denver, we have shelves and shelves packed with Spanish books for children of all ages - from picture books to young adult. Some are Spanish originals, others are translations of popular English books, and some even feature text in both languages. 
What We Were Up To in May...
Discovering New Favorites
Sometimes our staff members fall in love with particular books. One of these is Becoming Mrs. Rogers: Learning to Live the Fragile X Way, by Cindi Rogers, which deeply moved Susan L. Here is her review:
Becoming Mrs. Rogers
"Becoming Mrs. Rogers is a powerful personal story of the journey Cindi and Chris Rogers have taken since the birth of their two sons, both of whom were diagnosed with Fragile X Syndrome.  It is a journey that Cindi chronicles with the beautiful voice of a caring, devoted and determined parent. The book not only outlines the difficulties of coming to grips with the reality of raising two children with significant challenges but provides parents and teachers with a real catalog of practical, tested, reasonable practices that helped the Rogers' sons develop skills and attitudes to take them into adulthood. Highly recommended."
Cindi Rogers is a local teacher and we're delighted to champion this wonderful book.  If you would like to know more, pay a visit to her website, where she shares experiences from her life with her sons.

Here Comes the Tooth Fairy Cat
Meanwhile, Shona came across Here Comes the Tooth Fairy Cat 
by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Claudia Rueda, in our dentistry section (yes, we have a dentistry section!) and calls it one of her favorite children's picture books ever:
"Cat wants to meet the Tooth Fairy, so he tries to trick her with a tooth from a comb. The Tooth Fairy is not fooled and Cat has to redeem himself by doing her job for a night - accompanied by an irritating and competitive mouse that he is Not Allowed To Eat. This book is charming and funny, accompanied by wry and witty illustrations. It wins that rare accolade: a book a parent will never get tired of reading.

It's Game Time!
Cool Circuits Junior We also love discovering new games! The Thumbs Up! incredibly popular Cool Circuits has just been launched in a junior version for kids under 6, so even more kids can join the fun. And we're intrigued by Thumbs Up! - simple on the surface, but hugely fun, and with a level of challenge that increases as you get used to the game. Using speed, observation and agility, this one is great for travel for all ages.

Sue Lubeck

Join us each Tuesday morning at 10:30 a.m. for Preschool Storytime. We choose awesome picture books to share with our young readers!

Coming Out This Month - Our June Joys!

by Josh Lieb
$16.99, Razorbill
Fiction, ages 8 to 12

All Joey thinks he has to worry about is seventh grade at a new school in New York. But then he is bitten by a dying rat  and transforms into a rat himself. Now he's got bigger problems. The rat community despises him, and the rat community's enemies think even less of him. Then he pulls the Spork from the Scone and accidentally becomes the rat community's hero. How is a weakling seventh-grader going to save the rat princess and her kingdom? And how is he going to get home? Fun and adventure for middle grade readers.                                                          Review by Shona           

by Mo Willems
$9.99, Disney-Hyperion
Picture Book

Elephant and Piggie, the beloved best friends are back in the latest from Mo Willems! Gerald is tired and cranky. Will Piggie be in his dreams? Or will she keep Gerald from dreaming at all?     
Monkey Not Ready for KIndergarten
by Marc Brown
$12.99, Knopf
Picture Book

Coming out toward the end of June, Monkey is an adorable new character from the creator of Arthur, and his story is a great way to reassure the nervous new elementary schooler over the summer. Kindergarten is only a week away...but Monkey is NOT ready. What if he gets on the wrong bus? What if they don't have any red crayons? What if he doesn't like the snacks? What if he doesn't make new friends? There are so many thoughts running through Monkey's head! Step by step, his family eases his worries: they get him a new backpack, help him read books about school, prepare his lunch, and make sure Monkey is excited - and ready for the Big Day. 
The Book of Speculation
by Erika Swyler
$26.99, St Martin's Press
Literary fiction


A treat for historical fiction fans, coming out at the end of June. This is an atmospheric read, set in the latter part of the 1700s. Simon, a young librarian receives a book, a log written by the owner of a 1700s traveling carnival. The book tells of a curse that drowns carnival mermaids. Simon's own mother, a circus mermaid, drowned in the water his crumbling house overlooks. And his sister ran away to join the circus six years ago. Can he stop the curse before his sister dies? This is a magical mystery that historical fiction fans will enjoy.

Review by Larry   

The Little Paris Bookshop
$25, Crown
Literary fiction

Most titles with bookshop in them have a stable place as setting, but not this one. This bookstore is a barge initially moored in Paris, and which then travels the inter-France river system on the way to the Mediterranean. The story is a bookseller's search for himself after losing the love of his life many years ago. He spends years connecting to life through the books he sells to readers, based on what he perceives as their emotional need. Then comes a new woman, and a lost letter found, and the journey to a new future begins. This is a good reflective read and I found it completely entertaining while touching on deeper thoughts of love, friendship, and the complexities of relationships. On our shelves at the end of June. 

Review by Larry
By Leonid Gore, Emily Gore
$17.99, Atheneum
Picture Book

Youngest siblings and late bloomers will be delighted by this charming and reassuring picture book which comes out in the middle of June. Nick is the youngest of four mice brothers, and while his brothers each know exactly what they want, Nick is never quite sure. Which color shirt is the nicest? What does Nick want to eat? Which flower will be best to pick from the meadow? Nick doesn't know! But...he might just be waiting for the right moment to bloom.
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