What to Read This Fall

September 20th, 2015 by

Okay, I get it. School’s started and you might be a little bit busy with classes and homework and clubs and friends and sports and OH MY GOODNESS HOW DO YOU HAVE TIME TO BREATHE?! But seriously — we should always make time to read. There are some great new books coming out this fall, so here’s a round-up of my recommendations. See below for official book descriptions from the publishers, paired with my take about each book! (I also recommend fitting in breathing time with reading time.)


Teen Boat The Race for BoatlantisTeen Boat! The Race for Boatlantis
by Dave Roman, John Green

High school drama! Pirates! Emotions! The Ignatz Award-winning comic about a young man who has the power to turn into a boat is back in a new full-color graphic novel, with a never-before-seen story that combines all the ANGST of being a teen with all the THRILL of being a boat!

It’s a graphic novel. About a dude. Who turns into a boat. How did this not exist before now?!


DoldrumsThe Doldrums
by Nicholas Gannon

Archer B. Helmsley wants an adventure. No, he needs an adventure. His grandparents were famous explorers… until they got stuck on an iceberg. Now Archer’s mother barely lets him out of the house. As if that would stop a true Helmsley. Archer enlists Adelaide — the girl who, according to rumor, lost her leg to a crocodile — and Oliver — the boy next door — to help him rescue his grandparents.

The description reminds me a little of Cassie Beasley’s Circus Mirandus, so I’m hoping that it’s just as good!

The TakenThe Taken (Foxcraft series #1)
by Inbali Iserles

Isla and her brother are two young foxes living just outside the lands of the furless — humans. The life of a fox is filled with dangers, but Isla has begun to learn mysterious skills meant to help her survive.
Then the unthinkable happens. Returning to her den, Isla finds it set ablaze and surrounded by strange foxes, and her family is nowhere in sight. Forced to flee, she escapes into the cold, gray world of the furless.
Now Isla must navigate this bewildering and deadly terrain, all while being hunted by a ruthless enemy. In order to survive, she will need to master the ancient arts of her kind — magical gifts of cunning known only to foxes. She must unravel the secrets of foxcraft.

Foxes, like wolves, were one of my favorite animals growing up. They always seemed so clever, and it sounds like Isla is no exception. Also, I am okay with being furless.

The Tapper Twins Tear Up New YorkThe Tapper Twins Tear Up New York
by Geoff Rodkey

In the follow up to The Tapper Twins Go to War, Geoff Rodkey delivers another ultra-modern comedy told as oral history with texts, screenshots and smartphone photos. When Claudia initiates a citywide scavenger hunt to raise money for charity, it’s not just the twins’ opposing teams that run riot. With the whole school racing to trade in sights seen for points to score front row tickets at Madison Square Garden, they may not get to the finish line with their dignity-and social lives-intact!

If you haven’t read the first book and need more convincing, check out Karen’s review! I wonder if we could successfully solve this NYC scavenger hunt faster than twins Claudia and Reese…

Star Wars Episodes IV, V, VI Retellings


Star Wars – A New Hope: The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy by Alexandra Bracken
Star Wars – The Empire Strikes Back: So You Want to Be a Jedi? by Adam Gidwitz
Star Wars – Return of the Jedi: Beware the Power of the Dark Side! by Tom Angleberger

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…. *screech noise* … Wait, no. Just recently in this galaxy, definitely in the United States, three amazing authors retold the classic Star Wars tales in three novels. Have I mentioned before that I’m a huge Star Wars nerd? I’m a huge Star Wars nerd. But you’ll enjoy these books even if you’re not a huge Star Wars nerd.

The NestThe Nest
by Kenneth Oppel

For some kids summer is a sun-soaked season of fun. But for Steve, it’s just another season of worries. Worries about his sick newborn baby brother who is fighting to survive, worries about his parents who are struggling to cope, even worries about the wasp’s nest looming ominously from the eaves. So when a mysterious wasp queen invades his dreams, offering to “fix” the baby, Steve thinks his prayers have been answered. All he has to do is say “Yes.” But “yes” is a powerful word. It is also a dangerous one. And once it is uttered, can it be taken back?

I hate bugs, but based on the description of this book, it’s too intriguing to pass up!

The Thing About JellyfishThe Thing about Jellyfish
by Ali Benjamin

After her best friend dies in a drowning accident, Suzy is convinced that the true cause of the tragedy was a rare jellyfish sting. Retreating into a silent world of imagination, she crafts a plan to prove her theory — even if it means traveling the globe, alone. Suzy’s achingly heartfelt journey explores life, death, the astonishing wonder of the universe… and the potential for love and hope right next door.

This book is a total tear-jerker, heart-wrencher, and thought-provoker. Prepare tissues, hugs, and time to discuss with friends.


The Sword of SummerThe Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard Series #1)
by Rick Riordan

Since his mother’s mysterious death, Magnus Chase has lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers. One day, he’s tracked down by a man he’s never met — a man his mother claimed was dangerous. The man tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god.

The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants, and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years. When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision…

With my renewed interest in Vikings and never-dying interest in reading great fantasy-action by Rick Riordan, I can’t wait for the start of this new series!

The Odds of Getting EvenThe Odds of Getting Even
by Sheila Turnage

The trial of the century has come to Tupelo Landing, NC. Mo and Dale, aka Desperado Detectives, head to court as star witnesses against Dale’s daddy — confessed kidnapper Macon Johnson. Dale’s nerves are jangled, but Mo, who doesn’t mind getting even with Mr. Macon for hurting her loved ones, looks forward to a slam dunk conviction — if everything goes as expected. Of course nothing goes as expected. Macon Johnson sees to that. In no time flat, Macon’s on the run, Tupelo Landing’s in lockdown, and Dale’s brother’s life hangs in the balance. With Harm Crenshaw, newly appointed intern, Desperado Detectives are on the case. But it means they have to take on a tough client — one they’d never want in a million years.

If you read Turnage’s Three Times Lucky or The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing, this book is a MUST READ!

Big GameBig Game
by Stuart Gibbs

When someone takes aim at Rhonda Rhino, FunJungle’s pregnant (and endangered) Asian greater one-horned rhinoceros, the zoo steps up security measures in order to protect this rare animal and her baby.

But the extra security isn’t enough — someone is still getting too close for comfort. Teddy and company start to suspect that whoever is after Rhonda is really after her horn, which is worth a lot of money on the black market.

For the first time ever, the head of the zoo enlists Teddy for help — for once, he doesn’t have to sneak around in order to investigate — and the results are even more wacky, and even more dangerous, than ever before.

All of Stuart Gibbs’ books are great, and Big Game is no exception!

Did any of these books make it onto your to-read-pile? If so, send in a review or leave a comment below on what book you’re excited for this fall!

— Nancy

icon_nancyNancy is also very, very, very excited about an upcoming Official Harry Potter Coloring Book, but this blog post is not titled “What to Color This Fall”.

More about Nancy »

Review copy of Teen Boat, The Doldrums, The Tapper Twins Tear Up New York, The Nest, The Thing About Jellyfish, The Sword of Summer, and Big Game were provided by publishers.

Books for Asian Pacific Heritage Month

May 21st, 2011 by

Did you know that May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month? Unfortunately, Karen and I were a bit busy with our Poetry & Verse, Book Starring Guys and Wacky, Gross, Weird & Real! themes so we didn’t get to cover Asian Pacific American books this month!

(Side note: Perhaps we should abbreviate “Wacky, Gross, Weird & Real!” to WGWR!,which should always be shouted out loud due to the exclamation mark. As in, I read a WGWR! book today about honey badgers.)

But just because we didn’t get to do a full theme for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, that doesn’t mean we forgot about it! For those of you who want to celebrate, check out these books:

Project Mulberry by Linda Sue Park
Julia Song is a 7th-grader who moves to Plainfield, Illinois — and her family is the only Korean-American family in the neighborhood. What happens when her mom suggests that Julia and her new friend, Patrick, raise silkworms for the state fair?

Suki’s Kimono by Chieri Uegaki
On her first day of 1st grade, spunky Suki decides to wear her Japanese kimono, because it reminds her of the wonderful summer she spent with her grandmother. Her older sisters protest and her classmates snicker, but Suki dances her way into their hearts!

Farewell to Manzanar: A True Story of Japanese American Experience During and After the World War II Internment by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James D. Houston
Even though this was “assigned reading” for school, it has always been one of my favorite books. Jeanne Wakatsuki was only 7 when her family was uprooted and sent to the Manzanar internment camp; it’s fascinating and heart-wrenching to read about her experience there.

Random Kidsmomo Connection: Karen went to the same high school as co-author James D. Houston! Not at the same time, though. Obviously.

Kimchi & Calamari
by Rose Kent

14-year-old Joseph Calderaro doesn’t look like a typical Italian-American kid, because he’s ethnically Korean. He was abandoned as a baby in Korea and the Calderaros adopted and raised him in New Jersey. His adopted dad doesn’t get why Joseph is having an identity crisis — or why he would pretend a famous Korean marathon runner is his grandfather.


Even More Books for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month:

  • Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata, winner of the 2005 Newbery Award!
  • Dragonwings by Laurence Yep
  • Rice Without Rain by Minfong Ho
  • The Alvin Ho and Ruby Lu series by Lenore Look
  • In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson by Bette Bao Lord and Marc Simont

And last but not least, a few different ways to say “I LOVE READING!” (Click on the image to hear it read out loud)

Wǒ ài dúshū (Mandarin Chinese)

Watashi wa dokusho ga daisuki (Japanese)

naneun dogseo leul salang (Korean)

Have you read any of these books? Send in your review or leave a comment below on how you celebrated Asian Pacific Heritage Month!

— Nancy

Kimchi & Calamari caught Nancy’s eye because of its delicious title.

Meet Nancy »

A Good Book for Today (Or Even YESTERDAY)

February 6th, 2010 by

Yesterday's Doll by Cora Taylor

Erm... anyone else think that cat is gigantic?

So, I know our Time Travel theme ended earlier this week, but I hope it’s not too late to tell you guys about one of my favorite books, Yesterday’s Doll by Cora Taylor.

(Once Karen shares with me her secret of how to travel through time, I’ll make sure to mention it in the podcast. For now, this blog entry will have to do.)

In Yesterday’s Doll, while main character, Meg* recovers from an illness, she’s given an old-fashioned doll that’s been in her family for generations. And whenever she falls asleep holding the doll, she dreams that she’s Morag, a girl traveling across the Canadian prairie in a covered wagon… decades ago! Slowly, Meg/Morag discovers why she’s being pulled to the past by this mysterious doll.

By the way — unfortunately, this book’s publisher is not printing new copies any more, so it might be kind of hard to find (I’d lend you a my copy, but… I like it.) So look for it in libraries or ask your parents to track it down… it’s a must-read!

— Nancy

* Um, do you get a Time Travel Card once you’re named Meg or something? WHY WAS I NAMED NANCY? … WHY?!

The Warriors Series by Erin Hunter

November 29th, 2009 by

warriorsReviewed by: Ayra, Age 10 from Ohio

Rating: ★★★★★

“Warriors” is a book series about cats that live in the wild. The first book, “Into the Wild”, features Rusty: A nice house-cat who lives with his humans. However, Rusty soon realizes there is a world beyong his yard. Rusty ventures into the wild and discovers a whole new community of wild cats. Rusty then abandons his easy life and goes to live with the wild cats. Will Rusty survive, or will the whole forest plunge into peril? This book is very interesting, and hooks you into the story as you go along. I would reccomend “Warriors” by Erin Hunter to you anyday! I hope you enjoy this book as much as I do!

Hot Books About Summer

August 10th, 2009 by

Get it? These are hot books because it’s hot in the summer! We’re geniuses, right? Right?! Why are you shaking your head and burying your face in your hands?

Anyway… here are some recommended reads that take place during the summer (in no particular order). If you’re a fan of any of these, send in your review:

  1. There’s a Bat in Bunk Five by Paula Danziger
  2. Bummer Summer by Ann M. Martin
  3. Hot and Cold Summer by Johanna Hurwitz
  4. The Summer of the Swans by Betsy Byars
  5. Thimble Summer by Elizabeth Enright
  6. Absolutely Normal Chaos by Sharon Creech
  7. Aquamarine by Alice Hoffman
  8. A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck
  9. Summer Reading is Killing Me (The Time Warp Trio) by Jon Scieszka
  10. Half Magic by Edward Eager
  11. Millicent Min, Girl Genius by Lisa Yee
  12. Saving Grace by Mary Hoffman

Plus, check out:

  • Fudge-a-mania by Judy Blume (Nancy’s pick)
  • Pinky Pye by Eleanor Estes (Karen’s pick)
  • The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall (our first Kidsmomo Mystery Book!)