Tag Archives: Middle Grade Books

Spy Mice Blog Hop & Giveaway with Heather Vogel Frederick

Books for boys…I’m not ashamed to admit as a children’s librarian it’s probably my Achilles heel…somehow very early in my career I became a certifiable princess expert within the library scene. I was always sought out when the need for girly books was crucial especially when the treasured few princess books were checked out or falling to pieces from so much child love. And while I never minded because I got to do Daddy Daughter Tea Parties and wear a ball gown skirt and tiara for programs….this became much more complicated when I was blessed with my beautiful BOY. That’s right…the Mom who knew it all for girls was blessed with the bouncing baby boy! What’s a librarian and a Mom to do? Call in the expert…a favorite children’s book author who just happens to have raised two boys. Did I mention she also happens to be fabulous at writing for girls as well? All right it must be said…she’s just plain fabulous.

Who is she you ask? Well…I always had my go-to books for boys that I trusted every time and the Spy Mice series by Heather Vogel Frederick was always one of those that I went to for reader’s advisory for boys. Spies…mice..adventure…intrigue…what’s not to like? So how wonderful is it that they are now all new in paperback with covers meant to make them irresistible to even the most persnickety of young readers both boy and girl. Lucky for me author Heather Vogel Frederick decided to drop by and answer questions about her favorite mice and their risky adventures. Not only that Stiletto Storytime and The Styling Librarian get to give three lucky readers entire newly released sets of the series. Now that’s something to celebrate! It’s a series I will no doubt be stocking for my boy for on down the reading road. So read on and learn more about this great series and remember to enter to win on the form below by simply sharing your favorite fictional spy.

SPY MICE Q&A

 Author Heather Vogel Frederick

 Q:  What’s the best part about the relaunch of your SPY MICE books?

 A:  Knowing that new readers will have a chance to discover them!  These books are dear to my heart, and I had a blast writing them.

 Q:  What do you think of the new look?

 A:  Fabulous!  I couldn’t be happier.

 Q:  Can you tell us how the books came about?

 A:  Sure.  Not that long ago, in a galaxy not that far away, I had a bright idea. I’d write a story that would pay homage to my misspent youth, or at least the part of it misspent in the living room watching television. I grew up during the heyday of spy-fi TV, addicted to such shows as Get Smart, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Mission: Impossible, and The Avengers.  My 12-year-old self loved them all.  I loved the glamour, the gadgets, the whole cool factor of espionage, at least as Hollywood portrayed it.

 Grown-up me knew exactly where to set the story. The seed for that idea had been planted when I’d filed away a newspaper clipping about the building of the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C., along with a scribbled reminder.  (Note to self: Great setting for a story, à la E. L. Konigsburg’sFrom the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.”)

 I noodled around with the concept for a while, came up with a great main character (an aspiring fifth grade spy whose James Bond moves were seriously lacking), but something was missing.  And so I set the story aside and waited for that je ne sais quoi.  And waited.  I’ve learned to trust my muse—she often makes me wait, but she always comes through.  One day, the words “spy mice” drifted into thought, and I was off and running.

 Q:  Do you have a favorite character?

 A:  Mouse or human?

 Q:  Let’s start with mouse.

 A:  Well, the evil rat mastermind Roquefort Dupont is really fun to write, and I have a soft spot for Bunsen (Burner, a shy lab mouse).  I love it when he blushes—which he does often, because he has a crush on secret agent mouse Glory Goldenleaf.

 Q:  And the humans?

 A:  There’s a lot of me in fifth grader Oz Levinson, alas.  When I was his age, we both shared the same awkwardness, the same Walter Mitty-esque delusions of grandeur, complete with deflating reality checks. And we were both bullied.

 Q:  Really?

 A:  Yep.  I was plump, shy, and wore glasses, the trifecta of bully bait back then, at least in my particular corner of suburbia.  Nowadays, schools talk much more openly about bullying, and really make an effort to both prevent the problem, and give kids the tools to deal with it more effectively when it does crop up.  Back then, it was just something to be endured.

 Q:  Would fifth-grade you have appreciated a mouse ally?

 A:  Are you kidding me?  I would have been ecstatic.

 Q:  Who’s your favorite fictional spy?

 A:  Oz may dream of being James Bond, but when I was his age I dreamed of being Emma Peel from The Avengers.  No one wears a black leather catsuit like Emma does.

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Filed under Author Interviews & Posts, Blog Tour, Children's Literature, Heather Vogel Frederick, Middle Grade, New Books

Blog Tour: “A Wrinkle in Time” 50 Years, 50 Days, 50 Blogs

To commemorate the 50th Anniversary of A Wrinkle in Time Stiletto Storytime is pleased to be a part of the 50 Years, 50 Days, 50 Blogs Celebration. As part of the second week of celebrating we are blogging about “sharing” this great book.

Personally the first time I read A Wrinkle in Time I didn’t get it. I was in middle school and I quickly went through the book and simply didn’t “get it”. Then the second time I read it, once again in middle school…I kind of got it. I got that it was special. As Meg says ” I got it. For just a moment I got it! I can’t possibly explain it now, but there for a second I saw it!” And so began my cycle of re-reading this destined classic. A cycle that has continued from young adulthood into graduate school and beyond into my library career.

How could this book not be destined to be a classic although in many ways it was lucky in finding it’s way to print at all. The classic good vs. evil, dark vs. light, right vs. wrong…but for children. That was the key. For the first time someone was entrusting children with saving the world, with joining the ranks of Jesus, Gandhi and so many of the other fighters. Someone was given children worth not only in constructing a story of this magnitude where they were the heroes but in also creating a story that might be hard to “get” but believing that those children out there devouring each page would persevere even if it did take a few times.

That to me is what makes A Wrinkle in Time and Madeleine L’Engle special and the reason why it must continue to be shared. And what better way to share than with this dazzling new 50th Anniversary Commemorative Edition which can rival it’s contemporary companions in shelf presence while providing a little something new for everyone to learn about their treasured favorite or new discovery, whichever may be the case. If you have not read this book I do hope you will let me share it with you now. Enjoy & Happy Reading!

About the 50th Anniversary edition:

The 50th Anniversary Commemorative edition features:

•       Frontispiece photo*†

•       Photo scrapbook with approximately 10 photos*†

•       Manuscript pages*†

•       Letter from 1963 Caldecott winner, Ezra Jack Keats*†

•       New introduction by Katherine Paterson, US National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature  †

•       New afterword by Madeleine L’Engle’s granddaughter Charlotte Voiklis including six never-before-seen photos †

•       Murry-O’Keefe family tree with new artwork †

•       Madeleine L’Engle’s Newbery acceptance speech

( * Unique to this edition    )         (   † Never previously published)

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Filed under Blog Tour, Children's Literature, Contests, Events, Middle Grade

Review & Giveaway: Pies & Prejudice by Heather Vogel Frederick

“Right before the start of their freshman year, the mother-daughter book club faces yet another challenge when Emma’s family unexpectedly moves to England. Leave it to the resourceful girls, however, to find a way to continue meeting and discuss a particularly fitting choice, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

In England, Emma encounters a new queen bee, Annabelle, who sets out to make her life miserable. Back in Massachusetts, meanwhile, Annabelle’s cousins swap homes with Emma’s family and are causing some major distractions. Cassidy clashes with moody Tristan, a modern day Mr. Darcy, while her friends swoon over Tristan’s younger brother Simon. As the year progresses, the girls each discover new talents, and when they cook up a plan to bring Emma home for a visit by holding a bake sale, it grows into a thriving business, Pies & Prejudice. After their sweet scheme looks like it’s going to fall short, though, they’re left wondering if the club will ever all be together again.”

It’s no secret that the The Mother Daughter Book Club series is one of my favorites for girls and now for teens as well since the girls are growing up and so are their book selections.  Best of all they are finally discovering my favorite author: Jane Austen. From the very first book in the series, we saw Austen connections with Emma whose mother just happens to be an Jane Austen loving librarian. She even named her son Darcy (something I tried and my husband nixed by the way). So it was only a matter of time before the girls aged and encountered Jane among other things such as boys and the pressures of starting of high school.

In Pies & Prejudice we get all the things we love about the series and much much more. One of my favorite aspects of the books has always been the girls themselves. Each girl is so unique that almost any reader can identify and connect with a character on a personal level. As the girls have grown older, readers may find themselves connecting with another or multiple characters as well. No matter what there is a girl for each reader to find something in common with. With a great story, fantastic characters and the immersion into the true classic Pride and Prejudice, this book has become my favorite of the series so far. I loved how each chapter began with an Austen quote which connected with the upcoming happenings in that chapter. Austen lovers, teens and mothers will all enjoy this special book.  Read it with The Mother Daughter Book Club Series, read it as a stand alone or even read it along with Pride and Prejudice. No matter what you choose you’ll be glad you did. And don’t forget to share it with all the mothers and daughters in your life.

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Series Giveaway

Thanks to the fantastic Heather Vogel Frederick two lucky winners will receive a copy of all four books in The Mother Daughter Book Club series by simply leaving a comment below sharing their favorite Austen themed book or series. Remember to leave your e-mail address. US/Canada addresses only. Giveaway ends on December 31, 2010. Merry Christmas & Good Luck to All from Heather Vogel Frederick and Stiletto Storytime.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Books for Girls, Children's Literature, Girly Books, Heather Vogel Frederick, Jane Austen, Middle Grade, New Books, Young Adult Books

Review & Giveaway: The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Gross Junior Edition

https://i1.wp.com/www.chroniclebooks.com/images/items/9780811/9780811875707/9780811875707_large.jpg Two distinct things popped into my mind after reading The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Gross Junior Edition by David Borgenicht, Nathaniel Marunas &Robin Epstein.

#1: What a great book for a reluctant boy reader in the age range of 8-12.

#2 This is a book that may not make me very popular among the parent(s) of that 8-12 year old reluctant reader.

The book is everything the title claims..and most of all gross. I understand some people may have objections…do we really need to know all the alternative names for poop or have boogers, gas and burps classified? Well…maybe not. But that does not mean that it may be extremely fascinating to young boys the world over and may be the ticket to getting them to pick up a book! The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Gross Junior Edition also has another great thing going for it…it’s full of facts! Sure the facts may be gross but they are facts nonetheless which is another hit for that 8-12 year age group. Think the “Guinness World Book” stage that a lot of kids go through. I went through one myself and adore random facts to this day. I am a librarian. This book will satisfy that random fact urge on the grossest of levels, my husband was a fast fan (the male gender appeal seems to extend far beyond the target age group).  You can learn everything from the real truth about warts to the largest hairball ever removed from a human. That’s right, I said human not cat. Told you it was gross. It’s all you would come to expect from the great Worst Case Scenario series only gross and junior sized!

And thanks to the generous publisher Chronicle Books, one lucky Stiletto Storytime reader will get to be grossed out as well with their own copy of The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Gross Junior Edition. Read it yourself and share it with the boys in your life (both young and old)…they are sure to love it! Contest ends October 7th at midnight EST. Winner will be chosen randomly and notified by e-mail. To enter simply leave a comment with your e-mail address telling me who in your life would LOVE this book.

Also make check out the other stops on this books great Blog Tour:

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Filed under Blog Tour, Children's Literature, Children's Non-Fiction, Middle Grade, New Books