A Valentine’s Day Ballad – Love, Kidsmomo

February 11th, 2012 by

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and we’ve been trying to figure out the best way to show you guys just how much we love you.

First we thought about making cards, but then we realized it would take A LOT of glitter and construction paper and doilies to create a valentine for each and every one of you. Then we thought about chocolate and roses, but that’s just so expected and boring… So instead, we’re going to serenade you!

Around the holidays, we tried our hand at re-writing some favorite Christmas carols. So for Valentine’s Day, we’ve chosen the world’s premiere love song to undergo a transformation thanks to our lyrical and vocal talents: “Love You Like a Love Song” by Selena Gomez!

(PS – If you’re on the go — or maybe busy getting ready for a big date — just download the audio.)

Btw, apologies for Karen’s horrendous singing. Please don’t let that stop you from being our valentines!

— With love from Karen and Nancy

Christmas Caroling, Kidlit Style – Song #2!

December 18th, 2011 by

A few days ago, we treated you to our version of “Jingle Bells” — as sung from the perspective of Greg Heffley. Today, we’ve got another twisted Christmas carol for you — this time in honor of our favorite boy wizard, Harry Potter!

Inspired by the brief reference to “God Bless Ye Merry Hippogriffs” in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, we present our imagined version of the song:

(PS – If you’re on the go — or busy waging a war on Death Eaters — just download the audio.)

There are even more verses in the real song, but we figured you could only take so much of Karen’s singing. (Hardy har har.)

Do you ever sing your own version of famous songs? Leave a comment with your ideas for new and improved lyrics to any tune, holiday-related or not!

— Happy holidays from Karen and Nancy!

Instrumentals courtesy of Songsculptor.com

Christmas Caroling, Kidlit Style

December 15th, 2011 by

Recently, we learned a new word. We love it because: a) we never knew a word existed to describe this activity, and b) it just sounds funny.

The word is filking.

Filking means re-writing the lyrics to a song, with your own twist. For the holidays, we decided to try our hand at filking with some traditional carols — adapted for children’s book lovers!

Today, we present to you… “Jingle Bells” from the perspective of Greg Heffley, the star of Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid series:

(PS – If you’re on the go — or busy figuring out how to score some free hot cocoa — just download the audio.)

Hope we didn’t kill your eardrums with Karen’s singing voice! You have two days to recover, and then check back here at Kidsmomo for another attempt at kidlit Christmas carol filking. (HA HA HA. Filking. That sounds funny…)

— Happy holidays from Karen and Nancy!

Thank you to Cameron Lui for arranging and performing the instrumentals!

Hugo Movie Review

December 2nd, 2011 by

hugo-movie-posterLike the station inspector chasing after Hugo, or Hugo and Isabelle seeking out the answer to a mystery, last week Nancy and Karen went in search of a magical movie experience… We saw Hugo, based on the book The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick!

And did the movie deliver? To find out, you’ll just have to watch the video review below! You know, just like Hugo and Isabelle watching a film, or — oh, forget it, let’s just get to the review:

(PS – If you’re on the go — or busy winding the clocks at the local train station — don’t worry, you can still listen to our review. Just download the audio.)

Have you seen the new movie Hugo? Leave a comment with YOUR review! How do you think it compared to the book? And what do you think: do you need to know the book already in order to enjoy the film?

Authors Dish on The Chronicles of Harris Burdick

November 3rd, 2011 by

Have you ever heard of a man named Harris Burdick? I hadn’t, until I learned about The Mysteries of Harris Burdick — a picture book by Chris Van Allsburg. But the illustrations inside aren’t by Chris Van Allsburg, they’re from Harris Burdick… or so Chris Van Allsburg claims! Even stranger: each illustration has just a title and caption — so the reader can make up their own story to go along with it.

And in the newly released The Chronicles of Harris Burdick, 14 award-winning authors did exactly that. Just like school homework, the authors were assigned (or politely fought over) an illustration from The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, and then each author wrote a short story to accompany the picture.

Makes me wonder what kind of grades my 7th-grade Language Arts teacher would have given the likes of Jon Scieszka (author of the Time Warp Trio series) or Lois Lowry (Newbery Medal-winning author of The Giver — no big deal or anything)! Would she have given a gold star to Walter Dean Myers or extra credit to Jules Feiffer, or would she have marked up their papers with red pen?

Jon Scieszka, Chris Van Allsburg, Lois Lowry, and Linda Sue Park

Last week, Karen and I attended an event at a local Barnes & Noble, where authors Jon Scieszka, Lois Lowry, Chris Van Allsburg and Linda Sue Park graced us with their presence and talked about the new book!

For those who missed it, the authors are Sherman Alexie, M. T. Anderson, Kate DiCamillo, Cory Doctorow, Jules Feiffer, Stephen King, Tabitha King, Lois Lowry, Gregory Maguire, Walter Dean Myers, Linda Sue Park, Louis Sachar, Jon Scieszka, and Chris Van Allsburg… PLUS an introduction by Lemony Snicket.

I discovered a few things from being approximately 7 feet from the some of the coolest authors, ever:

1. It is impossible NOT to be in awe of them.

2. In a classroom: Jon Scieszka would be the class clown, Lois Lowry would be the sarcastic brainy one, Linda Sue Park would be the thoughtful poetry writer, and Chris Van Allsburg would be the science nerd. Who just happens to be really, REALLY good at drawing.

3. Linda Sue Park has an intense fear of worms, just like me!

As authors were selected to write for The Chronicles of Harris Burdick, the most coveted illustration was “the one with the nun” — which Lois Lowry got!

Jon Scieszka’s first choice was also “the one with the nun,” but in the end, he wrote a story for “Under the Rug” — and he had some interesting things to say about it:

Wish you were there? Check out more videos from the event on the Kidsmomo YouTube channel! Meanwhile, pick up a copy of the book and let us know which illustration most fascinates YOU!

— Nancy

Nancy knows that if it turned out to be a giant worm under that rug, she would totally jump onto that chair and by sheer will and fright, float away to meet up with that nun.

More about Nancy »

Btw, Nancy works at Barnes & Noble, but her job has nothing to do with events like these — or with this book in particular. Unfortunately.

Aaron Starmer: Author Video & Interview

October 11th, 2011 by

What do an evil principal, five child prodigies, one boy prophet, a mysterious machine, and a world without adults have in common? They all come from the mind of author Aaron Starmer!

His first book, DWEEB (for ages 8-12), is about a group of middle schoolers who are kidnapped by their principal and have to thwart his dastardly plan — pronto.

His new book, The Only Ones (for ages 10 and up), just came out last month, and we were delighted to receive a copy hot off the presses!

But we were even more excited when Aaron took a break from his intergalactic vacation to send us a video message about his books. Confused? Just watch the video — filmed exclusively for you guys here at Kidsmomo:

HA HA HA HA HA! We hope his lamp survived the video shoot…

Anyway, here’s that interview Aaron mentioned in his video:

In DWEEB, five kids band together and call themselves, well, DWEEB. Did you ever form a club with your friends when you were a kid? And if you could be in your dream club now, what would it be?
Aaron Starmer: I never had a club when I was a kid, but we definitely had a tight-knit group of guys who would build forts and play capture the flag and flashlight tag together. We weren’t quick to let other kids in on some of our adventures, so I guess there was a silly air of exclusivity about it. These days, I’m not ashamed to admit, part of me would still love to be in a band. I never had the patience to learn to play an instrument, but rock star dreams don’t ever completely fade away.

In The Only Ones, each kid in the village has a special skill they bring to the group to help the town run. One kid hunts, another purifies the water, another puts on elaborate shows for entertainment, etc. If you lived there, what do you think you would have done?
Aaron Starmer: I like to think I would be a halfway decent survivalist, who could build things and start fires by striking stones together. But that’s probably not the case. I would hope I’m a good enough storyteller that people would come over to my house in the evening to sit next to the fireplace while I would regale them with tales. In the mid-80s, when I was a kid, I lived in Australia and that was sort of my job there. As an American, I had seen all the TV shows that hadn’t yet reached Australia. So I could tell my new friends what was going to happen on The A-Team and V and Dukes of Hazzard, long before they were able to see it. For an 8-year-old, that was power!

Both books have a really interesting and unique cast of kids. Are any based on real people in your life?
Aaron Starmer: Not consciously, but every character is a little bit me and a little bit the people I know… and a lot of who-knows-what. I think every person has at least one thing that is remarkable about him/her, and I tend to start by defining what is remarkable about each character. Then I try to find contradictions in the character, because we’re all full of contradictions. I definitely borrow dialogue and anecdotes from things I’ve heard friends and family say, but that’s hardly the majority of the writing. It’s more about establishing a character and setting them loose in a world with its own particular rules.

Well, wasn’t that nice of Aaron Starmer to interrupt his space travels to say hello? Why don’t you reward his efforts by entering our sweepstakes for a chance to win his books?

• Copy of DWEEB, signed by the author
• Copy of The Only Ones, signed by the author

[This sweepstakes is now closed.]

Erica Perl: Author Video, Interview, & Sweeps!

September 27th, 2011 by

when-life-gives-you-oj-jugIf you read Karen’s review of Erica Perl’s When Life Gives You O.J. a couple weeks ago, then you should have finished the book by now. Because that’s what everyone does when they read our book reviews, right? You all rush right out of your house and get the book and read it straight through until you’re done, forsaking all your normal responsibilities and previous engagements. Right?

Well, if you didn’t do that with When Life Gives You O.J., then we’re sorry to tell you, but you’ve made a big, big mistake. Because the book is really good, people!

But if you need a little more enticement than just Karen’s review, check out this exclusive video from the author, Erica Perl — made just for Kidsmomo! She answers three questions from us, and also introduces a furry friend — who bites!

(Btw, if you’re wondering why we asked Erica about Yiddish, then you clearly ignored Karen’s wise advice and haven’t read When Life Gives You O.J. yet. For shame!)

Well, if that video isn’t enough to get you to read the book, then I guess we’ll just have to give you a copy!



Kids (under the age of 18):

Enter for a chance to win o prize! Just fill out this entry form and mail it back to us. (Don’t forget to have your parent/guardian sign it — otherwise, you won’t be eligible to win!) We must receive your entry before October 31, 2011.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. A PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. Legal residents of the 50 United States (D.C.) under 18 years. Void where prohibited. Sweepstakes ends 10/30/2011. See official rules.

A huge thank you to Erica Perl for stopping by Kidsmomo and signing books for our sweepstakes! As for you: why don’t you do yourself a favor and listen to Karen for once — enter the giveaway now!

Raymond Bean: Author Video, Interview, & Sweeps!

September 22nd, 2011 by

Let’s just get this out of the way, shall we:

Farts! *Giggle.* Air biscuits! *Snort.* Laying an egg! *Guffaw!* Cutting the cheese! HA HA HA HA HA! Ha ha ha! Ha!

Sorry, we couldn’t resist. But can you blame us? We’re talking about the Sweet Farts books by Raymond Bean, after all! But now that that’s out of our systems, we can move on. (Out of our systems! Get it? Okay, now we really are done.)

If you’re not familiar with Sweet Farts and the sequel, Sweet Farts: Rippin’ It Old School, well, we could tell you all about them. But why not get the 411 directly from the author himself? Check out this special video greeting from Ray Bean, just for Kidsmomo readers:

(Here’s a link to the German version of the book, Stinker, as mentioned in the video.)

Raymond was also kind enough to answer a few of our burning questions:

Describe a time when you let out an S.B.D. (Silent But Deadly)!
Raymond Bean: I’m kind of a wonder of science. I don’t pass gas. I have, however, been on the recieving end of more than my share over the years. Being a teacher can be kind of smelly at times.

Keith decides to take matters into his hands and investigate farts for the science fair. What were some of your own science fair projects you did as a kid?
Raymond Bean: I remember working on experiments that involved lots of fizzing. Vinegar and baking soda can be a very fun combination. I also liked to experiment with electricity. I think I did a project where I tried to generate electricity with lemons.

Did you have to do any fart-related research for the books? We want details!
Raymond Bean: As a matter of fact I did have to do “fart-related” research. I had been working on a story about a 4th grader who cured the smell of human gas. I knew the boy in the story would try to find a way to make gas have different scents. When I started looking for interesting ideas to include in the book, I learned that Benjamin Franklin had a similar idea. In 1781 he wrote a humorous essay calling on scientists to work to find a way to make human gas smell better. He claimed that it would be one of the greatest scientific discoveries of all time. In the book, Keith sets out to make old Ben proud.

And now it’s your turn to make Keith proud! How can you do that? By honoring his work and entering our Sweet Farts Giveaway!


• Copy of Sweet Farts, signed by the author
• Copy of Sweet Farts: Rippin’ It Old School, signed by the author
• A box of SWEETARTS®


Kids (under the age of 18):

Enter for a chance to win our prize! Just fill out this entry form and mail it back to us. (Don’t forget to have your parent/guardian sign it — otherwise, you won’t be eligible to win!) We must receive your entry before October 31, 2011.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. A PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. Legal residents of the 50 United States (D.C.) under 18 years. Void where prohibited. Sweepstakes ends 10/30/2011. See official rules.

A big thanks to Raymond Bean for stopping by Kidsmomo and providing the sweepstakes prizes! Now what are YOU waiting for? Enter the sweepstakes now!

Book Trailer: Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key

August 31st, 2011 by

This book trailer for Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key was originally the Mystery Book Theater video for our More School Stories theme. For more on Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key, check out our “Rule the School” podcast.

School is a nightmare for Joey in Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key by Jack Gantos. But that’s only because everyone at school thinks he’s the nightmare! Poor guy. It’s not his fault his meds are duds, but accidents keep happening (especially after eating shoofly pie).

Guys Read: Thriller – Video Review

August 21st, 2011 by

Since our current theme is Fall Preview, our latest video features an upcoming book we’re super psyched about — or should we say, we’re thrilled about it? (Yes, we should, because we love puns.)

Guys Read: Thriller
comes out September 20th, and it’s packed with spooky tales from awesome authors like Anthony Horowitz, Walter Dean Myers, Margaret Peterson Haddix, and M.T. Anderson.

Check out our “He Said / She Said” video review of the book — starring our friend, Taylor, to bring a guy’s point of view for this Guys Read!

Too busy running away from a supernatural predator and no time to watch the video? No problem! Download the audio!

And while you wait for Guys Read: Thriller, check out Guys Read: Funny Business — it’s already out.

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