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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Recent Cover Reveals (That Made Me Swoon) Part II

Breaking Sky by Cori McCarthy

Devoted by Jennifer Mathieu

All the Rage by Courtney Summers

Conviction by Kelly Loy Gilbert

Sweet by Emmy Laybourne

The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker

I love all of these covers for very lots of different reasons...
In all honesty, I'm probably most excited about All the Rage, simply because I've been waiting WAY TOO LONG for a new book from Courtney Summers. You know how some authors just write the books you didn't even know you wanted to read? Yep. That's the deal here. The publisher could have covered that book with a brown paper bag and I would have been fine with it, but, luckily, the actual cover is gorgeous!

The cover of Sweet makes me dizzy every time I look at it.

I'm so pumped about new books from Jennifer Mathieu and Cori McCarthy - I loved both of their debuts!

Conviction and Witch Hunter are both from debut authors, but, with covers like those, how could you not want to read them?

Which new covers are your favorites? Any that you dislike? Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Review & Giveaway: Be a Changemaker: How to Start Something That Matters

Title: Be a Changemaker: How to Start Something That Matters
Author: Laurie Ann Thompson
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pub. Date: September 16, 2014
Genre: YA Nonfiction
Rec. Age Level: 12+

Pages: 240
More by this author: Emmanuel's Dream, My Dog is the Best

Goodreads / Buy It

When I was in fifth grade my close friends and I started a lunch time popcorn sale to raise money for our library. Motivated by our desire for more books, especially those with corresponding accelerated reader tests, we came up with a plan. We approached our teachers and principal with our idea: with the help of parent volunteers, we would resurrect the old popcorn machine that had been sitting in a storage closet, create a budget for the supplies, make announcements and posters advertising the lunch time popcorn sales, learn how to (safely) use the machine and package the popcorn, then spend our lunches selling the bag of popcorn to our eager peers.

It's been years and years since that fifth grade year, but I remember helping pick out the books that were added to our collection. I also remember using the popcorn sale as a way to raise $1000 for those affected by the September 11th bombing, which happened my 5th grade year. We were sure that, even though we felt a world away in Michigan, that we could help those in New York. Now, in my 20s, it's so great to look back on that elementary school experience - I'm really proud of my friends and fifth grade self.

Which brings me to Laurie Ann Thompson's Be a Changemaker: How to Start Something That Matters. This wonderful resource is not only filled with tips and guidance about how to start something as small as a lunch time to popcorn sale to improve the library collection to something much, much bigger with an even further reach. Thompson also includes inspiring quotes at the beginning and end of each chapter, as well as profiles on youths who have succeeded in affecting social change.

Though this book might be a bit much to read all in one sitting - there is a lot of information here - it's a great resource to explore a bit at a time and/or refer back to. 

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Monday, September 15, 2014

Interview & Giveaway with Yona Zeldis McDonough, author of Little Author in the Big Woods

Yona Zeldis McDonough is at The Hiding Spot today, answering questions about her newest nonfiction book for kids, Little Author in the Big Woods: A Biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder. I was obsessed with the Little House books and television show in elementary school, so I found Yona's novel, which explores the ways in which Wilder's real life informed and inspired her Little House novels, fascinating. Check out my interview with Yona below, in which she discusses what qualities drew her to Laura's story, her writing process, and upcoming projects.
Were there specific details about Laura Ingalls Wilder (or her Little House books) that inspired you to tell her story?

I wanted to tell Laura’s story because I saw a powerful feminist message in it.  Despite the hardships of her life, Laura’s mother, Caroline, was committed to the education of her daughters, even that of Mary, who went blind.  It was this fierce insistence on “book learning” that distinguished Laura’s family from so many others and it was something that she in turn passed down to her own daughter Rose.  I loved that mother-daughter connection as it played out in the succeeding generations and wanted to emphasize that in my telling of the story. 
Tell me a little bit about your writing process: Do you outline? Start at the beginning? The middle? The end?
I write in several different genres, including fiction and non-fiction, so my process is a bit different with each.  To write Little Author in the Big Woods, I did not adhere to a strict outline but I did begin at the beginning and worked my way through my subject’s life. I wanted to grow along with her and this method seemed to me the best way to accomplish that.
What kind of research did you do while writing Little Author in the Big Woods
I read several biographies of Laura, and consulted her own letters and diaries.  And I re-read all of her Little House books, so that I could understand the correspondences between the stories and the life. 
At the end of the book, readers will find fun extras, like recipes and games that were popular when Laura was a child. Have you tried any of these recipes or games? Which were your favorites?
I tried all the recipes and the craft project too. Because I am a doll lover, I’d have to say that the cornhusk doll was my favorite though I sure enjoyed that homemade butter—yum!
What jobs did you have on your way to becoming a published author? Is there a certain work experience that has shaped your writing or provided inspiration?
I had many jobs along the way and most of them I did not like!  I worked as a secretary, and I worked in the public relations office of a large government agency. I also edited and wrote a newsletter for another government agency.  But it was the freelance writing that I did—the dozens of essays, articles, reviews etc.—that honed my skills and made me understand that writing was a craft I needed to work at to perfect. 
If you had to pick a favorite word, what would it be and why?
Pamplemousse, which means grapefruit in French.  It’s such a cheery, happy sounding word. 
My blog is dedicated to my personal hiding spot, books. Who, what, or where can be credited as your personal escape from reality?
I love to rummage through thrift stores, yard/garage sales and the like.  I can lose myself in sifting through the things other people have discarded or given away; it’s like entering another world for me and I become very absorbed when doing it. 
What can readers look forward to next?
My sixth novel, You Were Meant for Me, is coming out from New American Library in October and my children’s biography of Sojourner Truth will be out next year.  I’ve also been working on a middle grade historical novel that takes place in France in 1940, and a picture book about a little girl named Bea and a very special doll…

Learn more about Yona and her novels, here.
Purchase Little Author in the Big Woods, here

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