Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Waiting to Read Wednesday: A Mutiny in Time by James Dashner

There are a ton of fabulous MG books out there and there's quite a few that are spilling over on my bookcases. I thought it would be fun to switch things up a bit and feature books that I've got on my shelves that are Waiting to be Read. 

Today's feature is: Infinity Ring, Book #1 A Mutiny in Time by James Dashner

I am so excited about this new series from Scholastic! Six well known authors will each be writing one of the books in this series. 

About the series:

History is broken, and three kids must travel back in time to set it right!

When best friends Dak Smyth and Sera Froste stumble upon the secret of time travel - a hand-held device known as the Infinity Ring - they're swept up in a centuries-long secret war for the fate of mankind. Recruited by the Hystorians, a secret society that dates back to Aristotle, the kids learn that history has gone disastrously off course.

Now it's up to Dak, Sera, and teenage Hystorian-in-training Riq to travel back in time to fix the Great Breaks . . . and to save Dak's missing parents while they're at it. First stop: Spain, 1492, where a sailor named Christopher Columbus is about to be thrown overboard in a deadly mutiny!

Each book comes packaged with a full-color, collectible Hystorian's Guide - your key to unlocking an all-new online adventure starring Dak, Sera, and Riq. You'll need all of the Guide's hints, secrets, and codes to navigate the richly immersive worlds of Revolutionary Paris and other soon-to-be-revealed locations in a totally unique, story-driven gaming experience.

Set to be released on August 28th, book #1, Infinity Ring is written by James Dashner will be kicking off this exciting series. You can Pre-Order this book now from: Scholastic | Amazon |  Barnes & Noble   

Book #2, Divide & Conquer by Carrie Ryan will be out on November 28th, 2012. I received A Mutiny in Time this week in the mail and I am so excited to be featuring it on Mundie Kids in the coming weeks. In the mean time, I highly recommend visiting Scholastic's site to learn more about this thrilling series for MG readers.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Taking a Break

Hi all! I apologize that I've been a little behind with my reviews, giveaways and other things I've had planned to post on Mundie Kids lately. A recent unexpected tragedy happened this past weekend to some family friends of ours, and it's made me pause and reflect on a lot things lately. I've put blogging on the back burner for the week, and I am taking a few days off this week off from blogging on Mundie Kids and I'm only doing a minimal amount on Mundie Moms. I'll be back later in the week with reviews and other goodies for you guys. Thank you!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Book Review: The Classroom by Robin Mellom

Illustrated by: Stephen Gilpin
Published by: Disney Hyperion
To Be Released on: June 19th, 2012
Source: ARC from author/publisher to review
Ages: 9 & up
5 stars: I Loved It!
Pre-Order from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

In 2012, a documentary crew descended upon Westside Middle School to detail the life of an average seventh grader and his classmates. What they uncovered, though, was far from average. Mostly, it was upper average along with moments of extreme average, highlighted by several minutes of total epicness. 

This is the story...

Trevor Jones--perfect attendance award recipient, former neurotic (he hopes)--has been preparing for the start of seventh grade his entire summer. But he is NOT ready for the news his best friend, Libby (proud neurotic, in a color-coding sort of way), drops on him: he must ask a girl to the fall dance. By the end of the day.

Trevor decides he would rather squirt hot sauce in his eyes than attend the dance. Everything changes when he meets mysterious new student Molly (excessive doodler, champion of unnatural hair colors). Trevor starts to think that going to the dance maybe wouldn't be the worst thing ever. But what if she says no to his invitation? More important, what if she says yes?! -quoted from Goodreads

A fabulously written, relatable middle grade coming of age story, The Classroom is a hysterical read with witty, well grounded characters and a quick, engaging plot line. It's been awhile since I've read a truly fun book, and Robin Mellom's middle grade debut is just that! With a documentary crew descending on Westside Middle School to document the life of an average 7th grade boy as he learns to navigate his way through MS, Robin was able to give a creative writing spin to her book by telling it from a documentary point of view. This not only allows readers to get to know the main character Trevor better, she also introduces readers to a variety of other characters through various interviews that take place in the book. 

Trevor is a character I think a lot of people will relate to. He's hit that awkward stage where you reluctantly leave behind some of your "childhood" tendencies and learn to deal with a more mature scene in middle school. If that wasn't hard enough, learning to navigate your way around middle school for the first time isn't fun, and nor is learning how to fit into a new crowd. What Trevor deals with and learns to cope with are things adults will get, and young readers will be able to relate to. It's not just Trevor that readers will understand, but the rest of the characters who now make up Trevor's social scene. 

Libby, who's Trevor's best friend is a a little bit neurotic and started off the story in a surprising way. Having grown up with Trevor all their lives (they're now 7th graders), they've done everything together. Being that Trevor tends to get himself in awkward situations, Libby has decided that this year they need to make new friends. I kind of got her point, but poor Trevor is forced to quickly learn to rely on himself vs is best friend. Be rest assured, there's a fabulous message about friendship in this story, and these two are still best friends. There's also the good looking 8th grader who thinks he's above everyone else, the beefy 8th grader, who surprised me with how "nice" he is to Trevor, the know it all and the mysterious new girl, Molly. I loved getting to know each of these characters more. 

The Classroom Room is brilliant, funny and relatable for all ages! Robin tackles all the different emotions that kids experience starting middle school. I felt like she nailed the experience of "growing up" perfectly in this book, but she also kept it light hearted and fun. Through each of the characters, readers will be able to connect with their worries, fears, triumphs, understand their motives for their actions, and get what they're thinking. Each character is striving for something different during the course of this book, and Robin does a brilliant job at allowing the reader to see that and get it. I highly recommend picking this book up when it's out next week! This is a book that's not just for middle grade readers, but for parents and teachers alike. Robin Mellom's creative writing style and down to earth, realistic characters will definitely leave readers wanting more when they're done with this book. This is a read that older elementary and middle grade readers will love.

Thank you to Robin and Disney, I have a few spreads from the book to share with you guys. It's not just the story that made the book, but the Stephen Gilpin's illustrations that are featured through out the book. They're fabulous. Here's a sneak peak into the book: 

Thank you to Robin and Disney, I also have an ARC of The Classroom to GIVEAWAY! To enter, please leave me a comment, along with your email address. Open internationally. 1 entry per person and those under 13 yr old need to have a parent/guardian's permission to enter. GOOD LUCK!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The 13th SIGN by Kristin O'Donnell Tubb Cover Reveal Contest

The 13th SIGN by Kristin O'Donnell Tubb is being released on January 8th, 2013 by Feiwel & Friends and today you can take part in the COVER CONTEST! But first, here's a little bit about the book:

What if there was a 13th zodiac sign? 

You’re no longer Sagittarius, but Ophiuchus, the healer, the 13th sign. 

Your personality has changed.
So has your mom’s and your best friend’s. 

What about the rest of the world? 

What if you were the one who accidentally unlocked the 13th sign, causing this world-altering change—and infuriating the other 12 signs?  

Jalen did it, and now she must use every ounce of her strength and cunning to send the signs back where they belong.
Lives, including her own, depend on it.”

To celebrate the upcoming cover reveal, Kristin is hosting a COVER REVEAL CONTEST! Here’s how it works:
  1. Search the cover above for THREE zodiac symbols. Got them? Good! Then…
  2. Email your answers directly to Kristin at by June 30 to…
  3. Be entered into a drawing! The following will be doled out randomly to three folks who send in correct answers:
-a $50 IndieBound gift card!
-a signed hardcover of SELLING HOPE plus a signed paperback of AUTUMN WINIFRED OLIVER DOES THINGS DIFFERENT!
-a book “basket” including three middle grade books: BRIDGE TO TIME by Lewis Buzbee, THE STRANGE CASE OF ORIGAMI YODA by Tom Angleberger, and THE GIRL WHO CIRCUMNAVIGATED FAIRYLAND IN A SHIP OF HER OWN MAKING by Catherynne M. Valente
4.   BONUS! Anyone who includes a FOUTH zodiac symbol in their answers will    get double entries for the above drawing!

And that’s it!  Start searching and emailing! (Please remember to email answers rather than post them in the comments! Thanks!)

P.S. If you’d like to preorder THE 13TH SIGN, you can do so here  (Amazon) or here (Indiebound)! You’ll be automatically be eligible for the upcoming THE 13TH SIGN Preorder Contest! Good luck!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Book Review: Ghosts in the Fog, The Untold Story of Alaska's WWII Invasion by Samantha Seiple

Published by: Scholastic
Released on: October 1st, 2011
Source: book to review from Scholastic
Ages: 10 & up
4 stars: I Enjoyed It
Purchase from: Amazon 

Few know the story of the Japanese invasion of Alaska during World War II--until now.

GHOSTS IN THE FOG is the first narrative nonfiction book for young adults to tell the riveting story of how the Japanese invaded and occupied the Aleutian Islands in Alaska during World War II. This fascinating little-known piece of American history is told from the point of view of the American civilians who were captured and taken prisoner, along with the American and Japanese soldiers who fought in one of the bloodiest battles of hand-to-hand combat during the war. Complete with more than 80 photographs throughout and first person accounts of this extraordinary event, GHOSTS IN THE FOG is sure to become a must-read for anyone interested in World War II and a perfect tie-in for the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor -quoted from Goodreads

Having a grandfather who was a POW of WWII, I grew up with hearing a lot of stories about the war, and that fueled my desire to learn more about the war the older I got. I was really quite shocked when I sat down to read this book, as I hadn't heard anything about Japan's invasion in Alaska during June of 1942 through August of 1943. Quite honestly it made me angry to learn that this invasion could have been voided, and also was covered up by our own country. I thought Samantha Seiple's account of the invasion, and what happened before, during and after this time was well done. I felt she did a great job showing all sides of this story not only from personal accounts, but all recorded accounts as well. 

War is not pretty, and often times the enemy is viewed as this horrid monster, but what I found fascinating from some of Seiple's personal accounts that were used in the story is some of the guys on both sides of this war knew each other, and went to school together. Even more surprising is that two of the men who fought against each other ended up becoming friends after the war. While this invasion took lives, and virtually wiped out villages, there were people who arose about the horrible circumstances they were placed in and forgave those who did them wrong. Not only that, Seiple humanized those who fought for Japan, and allowed me to realize that just like some of those who fought for the US, there were man who were forced to fight for Japan, that did not believe in the war. 

Those that survived during this time were resilient, courageous American men, and women who did what they had to do to live. I am shocked over what some of them had to endure, not just as the hands of the Japanese, but the brutal elements as well. The heart of this story is of course those Americans who one, didn't know what was happening when the Japanese invaded their islands on the days of June 3rd- 6th, and who virtually had no help from the outside, since the government at that time didn't want the word to get out that Japan had in fact invaded the US. The accounts of those who survived this ordeal are amazing. Their will to survive and sacrifices to save their families, their home and country are amazing. 

Sadly it took 15 months for the US to win back the Alaskan islands of Kiska and Attu. Many lives were lost, and homes destroyed. What were once peaceful villages and beautiful islands where decorated with blood shed, fires and bombings.

I felt that Samantha did an amazing job on educating me about this invasion. It was evident to me that she did a lot of in-depth research in order to tell this story for all sides. As a reader, I liked that she was able to make this personal to me by introducing to me a new person during each chapter of this book by given their account from the war, and how their role tied into this invasion. Samantha's use of personal stories, in-depth research, historical records, maps, photographs brought out a wide arranges of emotions for me while I read this harrowing account of the war. Samantha didn't miss a beat with her vivid and often times, harsh descriptions of what the Japanese soldiers did to their American captives, the cruel, and often times unbearable Aleutian weather, how American POW's were treated and the bloody battle that ended Japan's invasion. Not to mention how America ended the war. 

Over all this is a story I'd recommend to those who are interested in learning more about WWII. This non-fiction story is educational and very informative. It's a well written, well researched book that gives a detailed account about an invasion that never should have happened, and the consequences that followed it years and years later not just for American's, but for those in Japan and through out the world. 

To learn more about her book and the Aleutian War, please be sure to visit Samantha's link here.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Book Review: Daddies Do It Different by Alan Sitomer

Illustrated by: Abby Carter
Published by: Disney Hyperion
Released on: April 17th, 2012
Source: unbound book from publisher to review
Ages: 4 & up
4 stars: I Really Enjoyed It
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Daddy sure doesn't do things the way Mommy does Just in time for Father's Day, this hilarious picture book takes a high-spirited look at the way dads put their own spin on different parts of a child's life--from going to a birthday party to bathtime. Alan Sitomer's debut picture book is inspired by his own experiences as a father and winningly complemented with delightful art by Abby Carter -quoted from Goodreads

Daddies do it Different is a fun, delightful story about the things Moms and Dads do different. Told through the eyes of a young girl, this story got plenty of laughs from my kids and I as we read about some of the things this little girl's parent's do. From the way breakfast is prepared, to bath time, play time and bed time, I liked how Alan was able to show the differences in the way parents do things, and how this story illustrated those differences. I loved that this story embraced the differences in how parents do things, and how much fun that can be for their kids. Not everything in this story rang true in our home, but it's over all message did. To be honest, this story definitely reminded me of the things my parents did differently and some of the differences my kids experience now. I love that like the little girl in this story, my kids get to enjoy the differences of how my husband and I do things. 

I will say there are times when I am the one who does things in a more fun way than my husband, or there's times he does things in a sillier way than me. That's okay, I love that we can balance out the way we parent and raise our children. I got why he showed the mom in the manner he did, because I sometimes find myself in that position, and I have to remind myself to step back and just play and have fun. I also appreciated the comical side to parenting that Alan included in his story. Being a parent is serious, and it's a huge responsibility, but with it also comes those fun moments when you can act silly and enjoy making memories with your kids. I felt some of Alan's message from his book was just that. The end of the story ends on a note that rings true about one of the things that Moms and Dads do the same. 

Don't miss my interview with author Alan Sitomer and enter to win a signed copy of his book here.

Blog Tour: Daddies Do It Different by Alan Sitomer

I'm excited to have children's author Alan Sitomer on the blog today! He's here to talk about his recent release, Daddies Do It Different, a fun, heartwarming story that I highly recommend picking up this Father's Day. You'll be able to read my review later this morning here on the blog. 

Hi Alan, welcome to Mundie Kids! My kids and I enjoyed Daddies Do It Different. Where some of you the moments you wrote about in your story inspired from personal ones?

What wasn’t derived from my own semi-inspired personal looniness for this book is a better question! Do I goof around at the market putting fruit up my nose in order to get a smile out of my daughter? Absolutely. Have I ever overeaten at a kid’s birthday party by having not just a second, but a third slice of birthday cake because I just couldn’t get enough of that oh-so-yummy chocolate frosting? Uh huh. Page after page of this book is rooted in a truth.
To a certain extent, the best fiction usually is.
Fatherhood has awakened in me a realization that it’s okay to admit that I am sometimes flying by the seat of my pants. Yet when it comes to my kids, all of my actions are most certainly grounded in a profound and unshakeable deep love. I feel it’s important that my daughters and I have LOTS of fun together—even when we are doing the most mundane of things, such as going to the market, brushing teeth before bed, or whatnot. Life is lived in the small moments and while sure, a yacht trip to Hawaii would be spectacular, one doesn’t need a luxury liner to share life’s most beautiful moments.
The laughs and joy in each of our hearts is worth more to me than any big boat.
What would you say is one of the things your kids enjoy that you do differently than your wife? 

My wife and I do many things differently, but it’s important to note that “different” does not necessarily mean one way is “better.” My wife has her way, I have my way, and as parents we’ve had to come to terms with recognizing that it’s okay to be dissimilar as long as we are not undermining one another.
For example, if bedtime is 8:30, Daddy doesn’t get to stretch it until 10 p.m. in the name of fun. However, Daddy might carry his little girl upside down to her room, misplacing her in the laundry basket, the flower pot, and the sink before he actually figures out that the proper nighttime location to deposit his little upside down package is in her bed.
Sometimes, Mommy’s delicate touch is just what the doctor ordered. Other times, Daddy’s shenanigans are pitch perfect. But if you come to my house, you’ll find that these roles switch as well whereby Mommy is sometimes the goofball and Daddy is sometimes the one who gives the tender hugs before night-night.
There aren’t any hard and fast rules to most of this, but I think it’s safe to say my silliness can hit a higher note than hers.
Then again, for me it’s “literary research,” right? (*wink-wink*)

 Is there a favorite book your kids have you read to them over and over again? 
We definitely have a few favorites that are well worn in our house. Of course, you have to realize that both my wife and I are teachers, so our library of children’s books is fairly large. (Aside from bloated bookshelves in every room, we also have boxes upon boxes of books in the garage.)
One title that leaps out is No, David! by David Shannon. My older daughter and I must have read that book a zillion times. The story is so funny and the text is so spot on (yet sparse). The great thing is, it’s one of those titles that started with me reading this book to her—and now she is reading this book to me.
When you see those sorts of things start to happen in your home, it’s a really special time.

 What inspired you to become a children's author?
The magic of books wove its spell on me quite early on. There is a long list of children’s book authors—from Dr. Seuss to Maurice Sendak and more—who seemed to practically beckon me to take a stab at flexing my imagination through the written word. This goes way, way back to when I was nothing more than a wee little thing.
Some people feel called to music, others to painting, still others to science or medicine or math. For me, it was always writing. Truth is, I still can’t believe I get paid to do this for a living. Don’t tell my publishers, but I am going to continue to write these things whether they pay me or not.
I guess I am one of those writers who simply can’t not write. Penning children’s books not only brings meaningfulness to my world, I am convinced it keeps me sane.

 What's one of your favorite things about being a father?
One of my favorite things about being a father is that I’ve learned to give of myself so authentically, at least in a way that I never before did prior to having had children. I wasn’t ever a tyrant or an ogre, but I never before really understood the deep joy to be found in sacrifice and true generosity. Dad-hood has illuminated this for me.
Of course, being a father is also a license to laugh each and every day. The adult world can get so serious, but as a father to two young children, I am not sure if there is anything more important to the general health of my daughters than making sure that we share a heck of a lot of laughs together.
The value and power of smiles seems far too underrated to me in our modern-day society. As a dad, I believe they move mountains.    


Thank you Alan for stopping by Mundie Kids today! Visit Disney Go to learn more about this book and to print your downloadable Father's Day card.

About the Book:

Published by: Disney Hyperion
Released on: April 17th, 2012
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Daddy sure doesn't do things the way Mommy does Just in time for Father's Day, this hilarious picture book takes a high-spirited look at the way dads put their own spin on different parts of a child's life--from going to a birthday party to bathtime. Alan Sitomer's debut picture book is inspired by his own experiences as a father and winningly complemented with delightful art by Abby Carter -quoted from Goodreads

Don't miss Alan's next stop is at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.

The Giveaway:

Thank you to Disney Hyperion, I have a signed, hard copy of Daddies do it Different to giveaway! To enter, please leave me a comment, along with your email address. This is open to US and Canadian residents. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Book Review: Red Knit Cap Girl by Naoko Stoop

By: Naoko Stoop
Published by: Little Brown Kids
Released on: June 4th, 2012
Source: book from publisher to review
5 stars: This is a MUST Have!
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Red Knit Cap Girl is a little girl with a big dream -- to meet the Moon.
Red Knit Cap Girl lives with her animal friends in an enchanted forest. There is so much to see and do, but more than anything Red Knit Cap Girl wishes she could talk to the Moon. Join Red Knit Cap Girl and her forest friends on a journey of curiosity, imagination, and joy as they search for a way to meet the Moon. 

Gorgeously illustrated on wood grain, Red Knit Cap Girl's curiosity, imagination, and joy will captivate the hearts of readers young and old as her journey offers a gentle reminder to appreciate the beauty of the natural world around us
-quoted from Goodreads

If there's only one children's picture book you pick up this year, this is the one to get! Naoko's beautiful illustrations and heartwarming story capture the heart of imagination for those both young and old. It's a lovely story about friendship, adventure, and captures the essence of childhood perfectly. Red Knit Cap Girl and her woodland friends want to meet the moon. How does one go about doing that? You'll have to jump into this story's delightful world and take the journey with Red Knit Cap Girl to find out. I promise the journey will be worth it!

Not one to want to cut a book apart, I freely admit the illustrations in this book made me want to actually remove the pages just so I could frame them and hang them. They're that cute! Thank you to Little Brown, I've got two spreads from Naoko Stoop's book to share with you today. The first one is one of my absolute favorite pictures from the book (click the image to enlarge it).

See what I mean? How could you resist such adorable illustrations. Forget hanging these pictures up in the nursery, I want one of these in my office. 

Red Knit Cap Girl is a story I HIGHLY recommend picking up. It's not just a story young readers will enjoy, but one that "older" readers will too. I'm looking forward to reading many more adventures of Red Knit Cap Girl and Enchanted Forest Friends. 

If you love Naoko's illustrations, I highly recommend checking out her Esty shop.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Waiting to be Read Wednesday #1

There are a ton of fabulous MG books out there and there's quite a few that are spilling over on my bookcases. I thought it would be fun to switch things up a bit and feature books that I've got on my shelves that are Waiting to be Read. 

Today's feature is the Knightley Academy series by Violet Haberdasher. I've heard nothing but great things about these books, and they're next up on my list of books to read. 

Published by: Aladdin
Released on: March 9th, 2010
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Henry Grim is a servant boy at the Midsummer School—until he passes the elite Knightley Academy exam and suddenly finds himself one of the first commoners at the Academy, studying alongside the cleverest and bravest—and most arrogant—young aristocrats in the country. They thwart Henry’s efforts to become a full-fledged Knight of the Realm, but he and two commoner classmates are determined to succeed. In the process, the boys uncover a conspiracy that violates the Hundred Years’ Peace treaty—and could lead to war! Can Henry manage to save his school and country from their enemies—and continue to study at the Academy? -quoted from Goodreads

Published by: Aladdin
Released on: June 28th, 2012
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Fourteen-year-old orphan Henry Grim's schooling at the prestigious Knightley Academy continues, as he and some friends discover an old classroom filled with forgotten weapons which lead them into a dangerous adventure. -quoted from Goodreads

This series sounds like the perfect summer read for kids! What's a MG book you're waiting to read?
I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~ Anna Quindlen

Good children's literature appeals not only to
the child in the adult, but to the adult in the child.
~ Anonymous ~