Monday, January 19, 2015

I Have A Dream!

"They were each born with the gift of gospel
Martin's voice kept people in their seats, but also sent their praises soaring
Mahalia's voice was brass-and-butter - strong and smooth at the same time
With Martin's sermons and Mahalia's songs, folks were free to shout, to sing their joy"

By Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney
Maryland Black-Eye Susan Nominee

Martin Luther King Jr. grew up listening to his father's sermons. He had the gift to lift people from  their seats and set them soaring. Mahalia Jackson was born with the gift of gospel and through her powerful voice, her songs lifted people to soar just as high. "Martin and Mahalia: His Words, Her Song" follows these two inspirations throughout their lives until they meet at one pivotal point in history. On 28 August 1963, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC, Mahalia Jackson told Martin Luther King Jr. to tell the people about his "dream". Martin abandoned the speech he had prepared and told the people about his dream. That "dream" will forever will in history and one day will be realized by all. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

It's Chili!!!

It's chili outside!! Okay fine! It's CHILLY! The one thing crock pots love to cuddle up with is a nice filling of chili. It's warm and cozy on these cold, Winter days. What goes great with chili besides sour cream and shredded cheese? A book, of course!! That's the best part about books...they go with everything!! Here are a couple of recommendations! Bon appetite! 

By Belle Yang

By Helen Kettleman and Will Terry

Friday, January 16, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge - January


** These are just a few ideas. I've always wanted to read "Beautiful Creatures". I have it on my Kindle and read the first chapter, but had to stop to read something else. It came out as a movie in 2013. There are 3 books that make up the series: "Beautiful Darkness", "Beautiful Chaos" and "Beautiful Redemption". I don't believe that these last 3 are movies. "Eragon" is kinda cool in the fact that it was written by a 15 year old! I remember when the book first came out!


** I'm not into romance, but I love the classics and truly believe that every teen should read at least one classic. The way they write, the way they use and choose words and the tone, morals and values that are portrayed, I feel, can still be relevant today. My favorite from this group? "Little Women" by Louisa May Alcott. One of my all-time favorite books!


** This isn't a hard task. There are so many books that are being made into a movie. The sad part is that the books are SO MUCH better!!! There are some books, especially the series, that there is way too much detail and background in the book for the movie to portray. Sadly, drama sometimes takes the place of truth and bits and pieces are included to sensationalize the movie to get folks to come see it. "Divergent" is one of my favorites and although it was similar to The Hunger Games (as most dystopia novels are), I don't think that it was AS violent. It did have some aggressive parts, but not as gory as "The Hunger Games".


** Kinda unfair since this is only January, but I see it as a challenge!! Some of these looked really good. "Fairest" was fairy tale-ish and "The Ghosts of Heaven" seemed pretty good.

Well, that's the challenge and a few ideas for the month. Enjoy!!!

2015 Reading Challenge

I was stalking around on Facebook the other day and found a Reading Challenge for 2015! I looked over the list and thought that it had some really good ideas. My next thought was...hey!! Edgewater Book blog readers would LOVE it!! I believe that there is a total of 50 ideas so I'm going to highlight 5 per month. Now I know January is halfway over. Can you believe it?!?! But I'll give out the challenges for the month and just expect everyone to finish by the 31st. Okay? Ha!

Feel free to post in the comments about what you read and if you liked it or not!!

Dragons For Kids

Dragons are great for guarding things that are valuable like gold, diamonds and CHILDREN! Jean E. Pendziwol's series of books about dragons and safety are wonderful ways to introduce children to tough subjects like fire safety, stranger safety, water safety and dealing with bullies. At the beginning of every summer when my own kids where younger, we would read these books and talk about the subjects. I would answer any questions they would have and we would run drills. The books were great starting blocks. They are fun and informative. I highly recommend these books for children of all ages really!

Appreciate a Dragon Day!

Who doesn't love a dragon?! Well...knights...townsfolk...little, hobbit-like creatures. Okay, maybe there are a few folks who don't like dragons, but readers LOVE them! These mythological creatures have been around for centuries and are very popular in folklore all over the world.

No one is really sure where the first dragon actually came from. The word dragon comes from the Greek (of course) "draconta" which means "to watch". Dragons have always been popular watch "dogs". Whenever there is treasure to guard, the best thing to do is to get a dragon to sit on it and keep it safe. I guess you could say, they were the first banks. This inevitably leads to a knight-in-shining-armor having to fight the dragon to rescue the gold for the townsfolk because honestly, why does a dragon need riches anyway?

Dragons can be see in a number ways. Some have wings and some don't. Some have 2 or 4 legs while others are like serpents. Some swim while others fly. They can live in the depths of the ocean or in a remote cave high on a mountain top. Even their attitude varies. Some dragons, especially the European models, can be grumpy and fire-breathing and always looking for a fight. If you travel closer to Asia, then the dragon takes on a more benevolent tone and is seen as wise and magical. The Chinese especially revere the dragon and it is an important part of their culture.

Dragons are featured often in children's literature. "Puff the Magic Dragon" is one of the first experiences a child has with a dragon and Puff is a lovable and wise. Other literary favorites soon follow such as "How To Train Your Dragon" by Cressida Cowell, "The Library Dragon" by Carmen Agra Deedy and "Eragon" by Christopher Paolini. Even Harry Potter had a cute, little, bundle of fire named Norbert.

Fantasy wouldn't be the same without dragons! Are they real? Not truly in the sense that we read about them, but you can still find dragons out in the world. The Komodo Dragon is a HUGE lizard that lives in Indonesia. They are close relatives of the dinosaurs! If you'd like a dragon in your own home, then there is the bearded dragon that is available in pet shops locally. They make great pets! As always, you can visit your favorite dragon in a book!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

"Alistair Grim's Odditorium" by Gregory Funaro

By Gregory Funaro
Ages: 8-12
Grades: 3-7
Published by: Disney Hyperion
Publishing date: 6 January 2015

Happy New Year to everyone!! Let me tell ya, if this book is any indication of how this year's books are going to be, then I'm in for an amazing year!! There are moments I almost feel bad for liking so many books that I review, but then I think that maybe I'm just a good book picker! LOL 

My January book is "Alistair Grim's Odditorium" by Gregory Funaro and I just loved this book especially the end. I'm a fan of the fantasy genre, but this book isn't all fairies and witches. It's mechanical too and I think boys may actually like this one. We all know there is a shortage of good books for boys. Yes, there is a fairy, but there are monsters and doom dogs and trolls and the whole Odditorium actually flies away after a really cool battle with Prince Nightshade and the Black Fairy (boys might dig the Black Fairy...he's a creepy dude). This book is brand spanking new and is the first book of a new series!! 

Review for "Alistair Grim's Odditorium" by Gregory Funaro

If you take “Oliver Twist”, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and a roller coaster and mix them all together, then you’ll have “Alistair Grim’s Odditorium” by Gregory Funaro. The story itself begins by looking into the past when Alistair Grim’s Odditorium stood looking down over the streets of London. It wasn’t hard to miss since it resembled a giant, fat spider. Grubb was only about 12 years old. He was given to Mr. and Mrs. Smears by Gwendolyn, the Yellow Fairy. When Grubb was about 6, Mrs. Smears died and left Grubb to Mr. Smears and his cruel ways. Mr. Smears was a chimney sweep and taught Grubb his profession. One day, at Mr. Smears’ friend’s inn, the Lamb’s Inn, Grubb found himself in a bit of trouble and wound up hiding in the trunk of a mysterious guest’s carriage. After an unbelievable ride, Grubb found himself in the Odditorium where he was welcomed to stay and join the staff as a chimney sweep. 

Alistair Grim was the Odditorium’s proprietor and his collection of oddities was funded by a group of backers. After years of collecting money with nothing to show for it, the backers were threatening to freeze all assets. Alistair Grim agreed to a small, sneak preview to satisfy his financial backers’ curiosity. In an unfortunate series of events, that sneak preview never happened, but made way for an extraordinary adventure involving fairies, banshees, odditoria and a prince named Nightshade. 

I was apprehensive when I first started reading “Alistair Grim’s Odditorium” because it seemed to start as a period piece which I’m not too fond of in children’s books, but I do tend to give books a fair chance and that “period” feeling ended quickly and I began to get very interested. The Odditorium itself is described very accurately and detailed. There was plenty of action especially when Grubb was caught and found himself in a tournament. The tournaments reminded me of gladiators. I also loved the underlying message that family isn’t always blood-related, but nonetheless always important. The character development was rich and I was able to feel empathy especially for Mr. Grim who pined for Elizabeth and repulsion for Prince Nightshade and his stinky monster court. The parts of the book that I found the most interesting was the explanations of the smaller stories. Early on in the book you get to know Nigel and later meet Cleona and I found their stories fascinating, intricate and well thought out.  Several stories never really had all their questions answered which, I believe, made a perfect trail for another book. Basically, the book gave the reader a firm foundation, but not too much. I was especially fond of the happy ending. I’m looking forward to the second book! 

“Alistair Grim’s Odditorium” by Gregory Funaro is unlike any book I’ve read and I can’t express enough how much I enjoyed it! I highly recommend it to not only children, but adults as well!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Greenglass House

By Kate Milford
Grade level: 4 through 6

I was just poking around some book sites when I ran into this book. The cover fascinated me and I thought it was so pretty. I had to find out what it was about. From what I found out, it is very similar to Mysterious Benedict Society and Blue Balliet's Chasing Vermeer series. The Mysterious Benedict Society is another book whose cover fascinates me. Yes, I judge books by their covers. 

Anyway, Greenglass House is about an old inn in the winter when business is rather slow. The innkeepers adopted son Milo has plans to just chill during his holiday break, but the guest bell begins to ring and keeps ringing until the whole inn is filled with secretive guests. As things go missing and folks start to get a little uppity, Milo and the cook's daughter, Meddy, begin to do their own investigating and find out the truth behind Greenglass House and themselves.

Hmmmmm, sounds like a mystery to me!! From what I hear, that's perfect for Anne Arundel County!!

The Thickety by Sophie Davis

By J. A. White
Grade level: 5 through 7
Age level: 10 years and up

The story is about a little girl, Kara, whose mother was convicted of witchcraft when she was six years old. Her and her little brother have been forever shunned by their community because of their mother. The community believes that magic is evil and evil also lives in the dark forest that surrounds the entire island. The forest is known as the Thickety. Kara is lured into the forest by a strange bird and she finds a book with unusual powers that may belong to her mother. The Thickety is the first book of the series. Book 2 - The Thickety: The Whispering Trees comes out 10 March 2015. 

Mysteries Are Number One In The County

The Capital ran an article recently about the surge in mysteries. It seems that Anne Arundel County loves their mystery reading! James Patterson and John Grisham are the favorites and account for 4 out of 5 of books borrowed from the public library. These, of course, we accounting for adult books. But James Patterson has been delving into children's books lately as well and seems to be a hit with the youngsters. His book "I Funny" is a Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Nominee this year and another book of his, "First Love", was in the top 5 of borrowed library books.

The Top 5 Young Adult books borrowed from the public library are:
- "Mocking Jay" by Suzanne Collins
- "The Fault In Out Stars" by John Green
- "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins
- "Catching Fire" by Suzanne Collins
- "First Love" by James Patterson and Emily Raymond

For Children's books the top 5 are:
- "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck" by Jeff Kinney
- "I Spy Fly Guy" by Tedd Arnold
- "Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes" by James Dean and Eric Litwin
- "The Day the Crayons Quit" by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers
- "Don't Let The Pigeon Drive the Bus!" by Mo Willems

If you'd like to jump on the mystery bandwagon, then try these mysteries on for size!

* "Suspicion" by Alexandra Monir
* "The Invisible Library" by Genevieve Cogman
* "Once Upon A Grind" (Coffeehouse Mystery #14) by Cleo Coyle
* "Spell Booked" (Retired Witches Mystery #1) by Joyce Laverne
* "Sparrow 59" (The Sleeper's Coalition #1) by Devon Ashley (new adult book)
* "No Test for the Wicked" (Lexi Carmichael Mystery #5) by Julie Moffett
* "A Hiss-tory of Magic" (A Wonder Cats Mystery Book 1) by Harper Lin

A. G Howard...Again?

Ok, so I'm intrigued with this series. I'm pretty sure I've written about it before, but the covers are so breathing taking and the whole story being based around Alice In Wonderland makes me want to read it. Fairy tales are a big thing right now which I love. The best part being that they are not your typical fairy tales. Writers are getting to be pretty creative and the stories they are coming out with are captivating. What made me mention the A. G. Howard books again? Well, the third installment is coming out this month ~ Ensnared. So I've got a challenge for you. First read the original Alice In Wonderland and then start working on the series. When you're done, come back here and tell me all about it!!!

Coming 6 January 2015!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Top 10 Lists of 2014

Now that 2014 is over, let's have a little look at the Top 10 Lists.

Best Middle Grade and Children''s
1. "The Blood of Olympus" by Rick Riordan
2. "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul" by Jeff Kinney
3. "The Iron Trials" by Holly Black
4. "Sisters" by Raina Telgemeier
5. "Land of Stories: A Grimm Warning" by Chris Colfer
6. "Brown Girl Dreaming" by Jacqueline Woodson
7. "The School of Good and Evil" by Soman Chainani
8. "The Shadow Throne" by Jennifer A. Nielsen
9. "Dork Diaries: Tales From The Not-So-Glam-TV-Star" by Rachel Renee Russell
10. "Snicker of Magic" by Natalie Lloyd

Young Adult Fiction
1. "We Were Liars" by E. Lockhart
2. "Isla and the Happy Ever After" by Stephanie Perkins
3. "Panic" by Lauren Oliver
4. "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" by Jenny Han
5. "Take Me On" by Katie McGarry
6. "Love Letters Dead" by Ava Dellaira
7. "Don't Look Back" by Jennifer L. Armentrout
8. "The Impossible Knife of Memory" by Laurie Halse Anderson
9. "I'll Give You The Sun" by Jandy Nelson
10. "Since You've Been Gone" by Morgan Matson

Picture Books
1. "The Pigeon Needs A Bath" by Mo Willems
2. "The Book With No Pictures" by B. J. Novak
3. "Julia's House for Lost Creatures" by Ben Hatke
4. "Tuesday Tucks Me In: The Loyal Bond Between a Soldier and his Service Dog" by Luis Carlos Montalvan
5. "What Do You Do With An Idea" by Kobi Yamada
6. "Sparky!" by Jenny Offill
7. "Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker" by Patricia Hruby Powell
8. "Hi, Koo!" by Jon J. Muth
9. "Here Comes The Easter Cat" by Deborah Underwood
10. "Quest" by Aaron Becker

These lists were from the Top 10 Goodreads Choice Awards and I think they're pretty good. If we don't have them on the shelves, then feel free to order your copy!