top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. The feature was created because The Broke and Bookish are particularly fond of lists (as are we!). Each week a new Top Ten list topic is given and bloggers can participate.

 Today’s Topic: Ten Books That Leave You Wanting More

from Ash A. and Sam B., 8th grade

1. How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon

What happened to Tina? Do people actually start to realize how bad this situation is? -Ash

2. Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke

Ending was so good, but what I really wanted more! -Sam

3. The Future of Us by Jay Asker and Carolyn Mackler

How did they access Facebook? Why isn’t anyone questioning this? -Ash

4. Scorpia Rising by Anthony Horowitz

I need more information! This can’t be the end! -Sam
(P.S. I let Sam know after that there is another Alex Rider book coming out!)

5. Allegiant by Veronica Roth

I need to know how Four is after everything! -Ash

6. The Fault in our Stars by John Green

I just want to know how Hazel is. -Ash

7. It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

How is Noelle? Does she get better? -Ash

8. Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke

Is there going to be a second book to expand on the ending? -Sam

9. Champion by Marie Lu

I want more! -Sam

10. Inkdeath by Cornelia Funke

I am not a fan of the ending–I need more info. -Sam

Thank you, Ash and Sam!



IMWAYR 2015 logo

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA!

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme started by Sheila at Book Journeys and now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It’s also a great chance to see what others are reading right now…you just might discover the next “must-read” book!

Kellee and Jen, of Teach Mentor Texts, decided to give It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit – join us! We love this meme and think you will, too.

We encourage everyone who participates to support the blogging community by visiting at least three of the other book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.


For winning our giveaway of Grace Hopper!


Last Week’s Posts

**Click on any picture/link to view the post**


Tuesday:  Blog Tour with Review!: The Door in the Alley (The Explorers #1) by Adrienne Kress

Wednesday:  Seventy Favorite Books From Ten of Kellee’s 2016-17 Middle School Students

Thursday: Once Upon a Book Club — Unboxing!

Friday: Blog Tour with Giveaway and Review!: Two Truths and a Lie: It’s Alive! by Ammi-Joan Paquette and Laurie A. Thompson

Sunday: Author Guest Post: “Thank You, Teachers!” by Pepper Springfield


 Last Week’s Journeys


I am attending ALA Annual in Chicago!!!! I’ll catch you up on that and my reading next week 🙂


My son and I read All’s Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson (Author of Roller Girl). We’ve read a chapter each night, and he loves it. He’s only three (ha ha), but he’s obsessed with graphic novels. I don’t think he understood much of it, and this is definitely a middle school book, but he loved reading it with me. This book tells the story of Imogene, a 11-year-old girl whose parents work Renaissance fairs. She’s always been homeschooled and is training to be a squire, but she has to be brave and start middle school–which is very scary! It’s quite cleverly crafted, and I loved learning about the Renaissance fair life!

I finally read El Deafo by Cece Bell. This is a wonderful book. I loved the superhero motif. The book portrays disability in a way that is accessible to kids. It also taught me a lot about the hearing impaired. If you haven’t gotten to this one, I recommend it highly.

My son is obsessed with reading Peanut Butter and Jellyfish by Jarrett J. Krosoczka. This isn’t a new book, but we’ve read it at least thirty times this week, so I thought I should share it here. It’s about a seahorse named Peanut Butter and a Jellyfish named….Jellyfish. Crabby (the crab) bullies them. When Crabby gets in trouble, Peanut Butter and Jellyfish have to decide whether or not they will help them. The story is entertaining, and it’s great to talk about rising above bullying behavior and not being afraid to apologize when you realize you were wrong.


This Week’s Expeditions

I’m still listening to this gem, and I’ve started a few others that have come in the mail. I’ll report back about those soon.


Upcoming Week’s Posts

Tuesday: Ten Books that Leave you Wanting More from Ash and Sam, 8th grade

Wednesday: More Favorite Books From Ten of Kellee’s 16-17 Middle School Students

Thursday: Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley

Friday: The Bobs and Tweets by Pepper Springfield

Sunday: Author Guest Post

 So, what are you reading?

Link up below and go check out what everyone else is reading. Please support other bloggers by viewing and commenting on at least 3 other blogs. If you tweet about your Monday post, tag the tweet with #IMWAYR!

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“Thank You, Teachers!”

There are two types of people I like to spend time listening to and talking with.  First are teachers, particularly elementary school teachers, who have consistently been the most important influencers in my life.   This started with my mother who was a public school teacher in Dedham, Massachusetts.

My mother, showing a snake to third graders while she was pregnant with me. Not shown here was a future-famous student of my mom’s, mega-bestselling author, Anita Shreve!

Teachers were the real heroes and celebrities when I was growing up. Every spring when I was a kid my mother would invite our teachers over for lunch and it was a real thrill to be able to socialize outside of the classroom with my teachers and hear their stories.  It sounds old-fashioned and corny now but back then, it was one of the most significant days of the year and just one of the many ways I grew up with total respect and appreciation for teachers.

Decades later, as President of Scholastic Book Clubs, my job is to listen to teachers and partner with them in any way possible to help them get wonderful books into the hands of all students. I trace my career path directly back to those elementary school lunches.

The second category of people I like to spend time talking with are kids who aren’t great readers.  I enjoy most young people, but I particularly like to hear from kids who don’t like to read; those who say “I am just not a reader,” who can’t find a book they like, and thus become practically allergic to books and reading.  These kids don’t have the skills or the vocabulary or the confidence to keep up with complicated chapter books and they don’t want to be caught reading “baby books”. So they often get left behind or opt out.  I spend lots of time talking with many such kids when I visit classrooms around the country.   My interpretation of what I hear is that they need to connect with books that are funny, interesting, sometimes edgy, relatable, and easy enough for them to read and feel successful.

For years I thought about writing such a book myself but I had neither the self-confidence nor a specific idea.  One day, one phrase popped into my head: “Bob the Slob.”  It took me months to get over being self-conscious about actually sitting down to write (I would literally fall asleep from stress when I first sat down at my desk) but bit by bit, weekend by weekend, I pushed my self-doubt aside and kept at it.

Eventually, I developed that one phrase “Bob the Slob” into a rhyming chapter book about a family of slobs named Bob and a family of neat-niks named Tweet. These two families unwittingly move to the same place—Bonefish Street– and their not-so-friendly-neighborly adventures begin.

But the youngest in each family, Dean Bob and Lou Tweet, are not like the rest of their clans.  Dean Bob is fastidious and orderly; and Lou Tweet loves rock ‘n’ roll and never cleans her room.  They each struggle with their families’ extreme lifestyles and so it is lucky and wonderful when they meet each other and become best friends.

I found Kristy Caldwell, an illustrator on the SCBWI website and together we have been working on developing these characters and the world they live in and creating a series of funny, rhyming, fully illustrated chapter books geared for those kids who aren’t such great readers and have trouble finding something they want to read. Needless to say, we were thrilled when Meet the Bobs and Tweets was chosen by kids for the ILA Children’s Choices 2017 Reading List.

There are several themes that are important to me that run through these books: that kids can find creative and successful ways to navigate the nutty worlds of their families; that you can be best friends—like Dean and Lou—with someone who is very different from you; and that wonderful, creative teachers like Lou and Dean’s teacher, Ms. Pat, can make all the difference in a child’s life.

In Perfecto Pet Show, the second book in the series (pub date: June 27) readers meet Ms. Pat, Lou and Dean’s pet—and children’s literature—loving teacher.  Ms. Pat brings her pets to school, (her cat, Donald Crews; Mandy, her hamster; her Piglet named Pippi along with a few others) to announce her idea for a Kid-Pet Talent Show.  Like many great teachers I know, Ms. Pat is excited to find new ways to help her students express their creativity. Lou and Dean are dubious, and they dread the embarrassment of having their families come to school.  But Ms. Pat prevails and the Kid-Pet Talent Show is, as the Bobs would say very loudly and in unison:  PERFECTO!

Ms. Pat, the kids and their pets after a very successful Kid-Pet Talent Show!
(Illustration by Kristy Caldwell)

Ms. Pat is the latest in a long line of wonderful teachers in my life.  I am scheduled to go back to my elementary school alma mater, the John Ward School in Newton, MA and meet with students and share the Bobs and Tweets books with them. I will explain to them that my much of my inspiration for Ms. Pat came eons ago from teachers I had when I was sitting in the very classrooms they are in now.

I will also ask the students to fill out a very short survey letting me know whether they are a Bob or a Tweet—and why. We have been sending out surveys about these books to kids from the beginning and the answers we get are wonderful and inspiring, and are helping to shape future books in the series.

I recently surveyed a classroom of kids and received heartwarming responses like this one:

And even ideas for my next book!

And some that make me smile and keep me humble.

Thank you to all the wonderful teachers who are part of my family, my education, my career, and my own children’s books!  And to all the kids I have met and hope to meet in the future. You all inspire me.  I hope you will enjoy the Bobs and Tweets as much as I do!


To learn more about the books, see my review on Friday!

“Short chapters and funny, rhyming text will help engage young readers…The flat, colorful illustrations are full of humorous details that add to the story.” Children’s Literature
“Caldwell’s energetic, full-color, Sunday-comics illustrations are satisfyingly chaotic.” Kirkus
“Colorful and appealing!” School Library Journal

About Pepper Springfield 

Pepper Springfield was born and raised in Massachusetts. She loves rock ‘n’ roll, chocolate, reading, and crossword puzzles. Illustrator Kristy Caldwell received an MFA in Illustration from the School of Visual Arts and lives in New York City.

Thank you Pepper for the guest post and Larissa at Claire McKinney PR for setting us up together!

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Nonfiction Wednesday

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and was started to help promote the reading of nonfiction texts. Most Wednesdays, we will be participating and will review a nonfiction text (though it may not always be a picture book).
Be sure to visit Kid Lit Frenzy and see what other nonfiction books are shared this week!

Two Truths and a Lie: It’s Alive!
Author: Ammi-Joan Paquette & Laurie Ann Thompson
Published June 27th, 2017 by Walden Pond Press

Summary: Two Truths and a Lie is the first book in a fascinating new series that presents some of the most crazy-but-true stories about the living world as well as a handful of stories that are too crazy to be true—and asks readers to separate facts from the fakes!

Did you know that there is a fungus that can control the mind of an ant and make it do its bidding? Would you believe there is such a thing as a corpse flower—a ten-foot-tall plant with a blossom that smells like a zombie? How about a species of octopus that doesn’t live in water but rather lurks in trees in the Pacific Northwest?

Every story in this book is strange and astounding. But not all of them are real. Just like the old game in this book’s title, two out of every three stories are completely true and one is an outright lie. Can you guess which? It’s not going to be easy. Some false stories are based on truth, and some of the true stories are just plain unbelievable. And they’re all accompanied by dozens of photos, maps, and illustrations. Amaze yourself and trick your friends as you sort out the fakes from the facts!

Acclaimed authors Ammi-Joan Paquette and Laurie Ann Thompson have teamed up to create a series of sneaky stories about the natural world designed to amaze, disgust, and occasionally bamboozle you.

About the Authors:


Ammi-Joan Paquette has traveled to twenty-four countries, has the ability to wake herself up at a given time without an alarm clock, and once climbed Mt. Everest. (Not all of these are true!) Joan is the author of the novels Rules for Ghosting, Paradox, and Nowhere Girl, as well as the picture books Petey and Pru and the Hullabaloo, Ghost in the House, The Tiptoe Guide to Tracking Mermaids, and The Tiptoes Guide to Tracking Fairies. She lives outside Boston, Massachusetts, where she balances her own writing and her day job as a literary agent. You can visit her online at

Laurie Ann Thompson has ridden a pig, gotten stuck in an elevator overnight, and jumped out of a perfectly good airplane. (One of these facts is not true; can you guess which?) She is the author of Be a Changemaker: How to Start Something That Matters, My Dog Is the Best, and Emmanuel’s Dream, a picture book biography about Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, which was the recipient of the Schneider Family Book Award and was named an ALA Notable Book, a CCBC Choice, and a Bank Street College Best Book of the Year, among dozens of other accolades. She lives outside Seattle with her family. You can visit her online at

Review: Walden Pond, as far as I know, hasn’t published a nonfiction text other than the Guys Read: True Stories, and I can definitely see why this is one they chose to add to their publication catalog. One of the greatest educational obstacles right now is that students have access to such a wide variety of information, some that is anything but reliable and valid, so it is up to parents and educators to show how to filter through all of the information and check the validity of what they find. Paquette and Thompson’s Two Truths and a Lie take that to a fun level giving the reader three stories, all the seem as crazy yet possible, but it gives kids the opportunity to use the internet to research each story to determine what is the truth and what is the lie. But the book doesn’t seem like it is for teaching, though it would work perfectly in the classroom, because the stories are just so crazy and fun to read from zombie-making fungi to an unlikely chicken, the stories are just all so unbelievable!

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Like I shared above, these stories would be a perfect way to practice digital literacy and learn about reliable and valid sources.

Discussion Questions: Which is a lie? Why do you think so? Where could you check to find out? Which of the true stories do you want to learn more about?

Flagged Passages: “Part 1: Preposterous Plans and Fungi–Crazy, Creepy, Cool

Ah, nature. A green meadow. Wind rustling through the leaves.
Mushrooms growing on the side of a fallen log. What could be more peaceful, more predictable, more ordinary?
To that we say: ha! The plants and fungus we spotlight in this section are full of surprises. They completely defy those common stereotypes and misconceptions
Intrigued? We hope so! Because once you’ve read these, going green will never mean quite the same thing…

A. Underground Miracle Root
B. Pandomonium
C. The Secret Lives of Plants.” Chapter 1, Part 1

Read This If You Love: Learning interesting and new facts about nature

Recommended For: 

classroomlibrarybuttonsmall closereadinganalysisbuttonsmall

Follow the Blog Tour!

June 5th   Librarian’s Quest
June 7th   Flowering Minds
Pragmatic Mom
June 11th  Geo Librarian
June 13th Smack Dab in the Middle
June 14th Bluestocking Thinking
June 15th Novel Novice
Library Lions Roar
June 16th Archimedes Notebook
June 18th Nerdy Book Club
June 19th Cracking the Cover
June 20th Writers Rumpus
The Hiding Spot
June 21st  Maria’s Melange
June 23rd Unleashing Readers
June 24th This Kid Reviews Books

Enter the Giveaway!

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I am very lucky. I have had the best students in the world. One of those students, Logan LeDuc, is particularly special to me. As a senior in high school, she approached me and asked if she could do an independent study in Advanced Young Adult Literature. I knew Logan very well at that point, and it was an easy yes. She published book reviews in the town newspaper and easily read over a hundred books that year. She continues to read with passion, and I assure you that I did not have a role in this. Logan devoured books long before she met me, and her reviews of literature and critical eye were extraordinary before our connection. I was simply happy to work with her and learn from her that year. Logan has gone on to establish The Book Elves, an Instagram account with over 30K followers. Obviously, I am one of many folks who admires her.

Logan is the curator of the young adult literature box for Once Upon a Book ClubAs many of you know, we have pretty strict advertising rules on this blog. We don’t advertise. We don’t accept money. We are here for teachers. Teachers, I think you will love this idea so much that I am sharing this very cool interactive reading experience. It’s a subscription service that allows users to receive a box every month (or in longer intervals, if that is preferred). Logan sent me this box for my own enjoyment. She didn’t know that I would be posting about it on the blog, but I just couldn’t stop myself.

Below is a picture of the May young adult book club box for Once Upon a Book Club. I also captured a side angle photo because it’s quite thick. I was pretty excited when it arrived at my doorstep.

The box included a reminder that I am not supposed to open any of my gifts yet.

And here is the box. The picture doesn’t capture how beautiful it is:

Each gift is neatly wrapped with a page number sticker. This sticker includes the page number of which I should open the gift. And in case I get lost in the book (Between Two Skies), the pages have sticky notes to remind me to stop to open my gifts. This allows me to read freely without thinking about whether I missed a gift!

Get ready, teachers. This next part will make you swoon. They include read along dates for unboxing/discussion. At the noted times, readers can log into Instagram or Facebook to discuss the book together! And there are discussion questions, too!

How fun would it be to unbox and unwrap the books as a class read-aloud? I know I would have been the kid who logged in to join the discussions on the set evenings.

I’ll report back after I’ve read the book and unwrapped the gifts. I also plan to go online for the live unboxing videos. Woot! I am off to read!


Seventy Favorite Books From Ten of Kellee’s 2016-17 Middle School Students

From Lucas B., 7th Grade

1. The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Giver is one of the best books I have read because of the character Jonas and how he handles his problems. This book definitely tops my list.

2. Legend series by Marie Lu

The Legend series was one of my favorites series because of the action that takes place in the book

3. The Compound by S.A. Bodeen

The Compound is one not to forget! The mystery of what happened to the characters and what they had to experience being locked up for years and not being able to get out.

4. The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart

This book was one of my favorites though it was a sad book. But it was victorious in the end!

5. Fish in a Tree by Linda Mullaly Hunt

It shows that anybody can be anything. The main character has dyslexia, so she thinks she can’t do anything but a teacher influences her to do great things and she does!

6. The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe

This is book is an exciting book that I will never forget. This book made me feel emotional because of the things that they were going through.

7. Trapped by Michael Northrop

This book is amazing with the pressure of just a few people turned them all upside down and they have to try to figure a way to get out of the mess they’re in.

8. Nine, Ten by Nora Raskin Baleigh

This book is a favorite because it put my heart in an emotional state, and it really hit home for me.

9. Wig in the Window by Kristen Kittscher

This is one of my favorite books because the genre is mystery, and the book is just action-packed and filled with adventures.

10. Hurt Go Happy by Ginny Rorby

I loved reading this book in class. It was very emotional and made me think a lot.

From Jayden R., 6th grade

1. Divergent by Veronica Roth

There is a weird society that has lots of action in this dystopian world.

2. Scorch Trials by James Dashner

There is a lot of action and a little bit of mystery.

3. The Lightning Thief by Percy Jackson

The first Riordan book I read that made me want to read all of his books.

4. Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life by Wendy Mass

A huge mystery is in this book and it has a cool ending.

5. Hurt Go Happy by Ginny Rorby

This is a sad and emotional book.

6. Legend by Marie Lu

There is action, a mystery, and some sad parts.

7. Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick

This book is very sad and interesting.

8. Trials of Apollo by Rick Riordan

I like this book because it is different from Riordan’s other books because it is in the POV of a god.

9. Lost Heroes by Rick Riordan

Lots of action, and there are some plot twists.

10. The Hunger Game series by Suzanne Collins

So much action!

From Ethan F. (1-5) & Omar B. (6-10), 6th Grade

1. The Living by Matt de la Peña

This book is my all-time favorite with so many twists and turns! It’s great!

2. Framed by James Ponti

This is a great crime book. It leads you one way and takes you the other way.

3. Turn Left at the Cow by Lisa Bullard

I am a big crime fan, and this is another good one.

4. 23 Minutes by Vivian Vande Velde

This book is another crime book, and it messes with you.

5. Masterminds by Gordon Korman

This book is amazing, and it also messes with your mind.

6. The Terrible Two by Jory John & Mac Barnett

I like this book because it was funny, and it showed how anyone can be friends.

7. Kimchi and Calamari by Rose Kent

I like this book because it was really dramatic.

8. Wonder by RJ Palacio

I liked this book because it is about a kid working to to make friends.

9. Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

I like this book because it is funny how Greg does things.

10. Last Kids on Earth by Max Brallier

I like this book because it was funny.

From Varun J. (1-5) & Yassine M. (6-10), 6th Grade

1. Legend by Marie Lu

It is an action-packed adventure.

2. Warcross by Marie Lu

This book reveals something really unexpected.

3. The Young Elites by Marie Lu 

This series messes with your mind.

4. Variant by Robison Wells

Very intense book.

5. Masterminds by Gordon Korman

This series is a shocking piece of mystery writing.

6. Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

It is a humorous piece of writing.

7. Kimchi and Calamari by Rose Kent

A very intense story.

8. Dog Man by Dav Pilkey

So funny and well-thought out.

9. Poptropica by Jack Chabert

This story is a really funny adventure.

10. Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick 

A really intense book!

From Celina R., 6th Grade

1. Wonder by RJ Palacio

This is my favorite book because it touches on an important lesson about a boy in the world where looks do matter for people, so Augie, the boy, has to overcome the whispers when he enters for the first time into school.

2. Stones on a Grave by Kathy Kacer

This is one of my favorite books because it talks about a girl, Sara, who is an orphan and tries to go to Germany to find information about her father and mother, only to find out something devastating.

3. Fish in a Tree by Linda Mullaly Hunt

This talks about Ally, a girl who has a hard time in school who meets a new teacher that discovers her way of learning may just be different from other kids, and he helps her through the ups and downs of kids in her school.

4. Hurt Go Happy by Ginny Rorby

This book is on my list since it is an encouraging book that teaches people to over come obstacles. Joey, the main character, meets a chimp and her owner, and together they try to be free of Joey’s mom’s strict rules.

5. Serafina’s Promise by Ann E. Burg

This book is one of my favorites since it talks about a girl going through poverty and a family, who along the way, teaches Serafina to have a heart of gold no matter what.

6. Augie and Me by RJ Palacio

This book is a sequel to Wonder, and it talks about the kids and their viewpoints on Augie. This book explains why and how they act the way they do towards Augie.

7. nine, ten by Nora Raleigh Baskin

This book talks about four kids and their story about the day before and right after 9/11. It talks about how the day looked and how their parents were close to a horrible tragedy.

8. Juniper Berry by MP Kozlowsky

This book talks about a girl and how her parents became instantly famous and how she finds a boy who she instantly becomes friends with, and they try to figure out the mystery on why her parents stop paying attention to them.

9. Death of a Kleptomaniac by Kristen Tracy

This book is about a girl who had everything but gave it up after she was caught stealing.

10. Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes

This book talks about a girl who’s father won’t let her listen when the teacher talks about 9/11 because of a secret he is hiding from them.

From Bryson P., 8th Grade

1. Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan

Lots of action and Greek mythology.

2. Unwind dystology by Neal Shusterman

Full of action and mysterious.

3. Ghost by Jason Reynolds

Overall a well written and good book.

4. Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper 

Very well written and addicting.

5. Wonder by RJ Palacio

A very good book! Similar to Out of My Mind.

6. Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Interesting and is hard to put down.

7. Amulet series by Kazu Kibuishi

Great graphic novel series that is well written and illustrated.

8. The Worst Class Trip Ever by Dave Barry

Fun to read and is funny.

9. Shadow Children series by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Good overall series; well put together.

10. Endangered by Eliot Schrefer 

Great book about apes, and is hard to put down!

From Cristhel G. & Seif A., 8th Grade

1. The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart

It is a stunning and heartbreaking story.

2. The Sweet Evil series by Wendy Higgins

It is an amazing and eye-opening series.

3. The Breathing series by Rebecca Donovan

It will make you cry from page 1!

4. The Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan

A wonderful series full of adventure.

5. The Fault in our Stars by John Green

A sad love story that will make you cry.

6. The Hush Hush series by Becca Fitzpatrick

A magical, beautiful story.

7. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

A heart-wrenching story that will be guaranteed to make you cry.

8. Out of my Mind by Sharon Draper

An unexpected story about a girl just trying to be normal.

9. April Henry books

Amazing, suspenseful, and mysterious books.

10. All Fall Down series by Ally Carter

Adventurous yet sad and amazing with cliffhangers.

Thank you Lucas, Jayden, Ethan, Omar, Varun, Yassine, Celina, Bryson, Cristhel, and Seif! 

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The Explorers: The Door in the Alley
Author: Adrienne Kress
Published April 25th, 2017 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Summary: The Explorers: The Door in the Alley is filled with adventure and danger. There are missing persons, hired thugs, a hidden box, a lost map, famous explorers, a risk-averse boy, and a girl on a mission. Not to mention secrets not meant for the faint of heart. But if you are feeling bold, or maybe even a little italic, and if you enjoy derring-dos (and doing dares), this just might be the story for you.

Featuring a mysterious society, a secretive past, and a pig in a teeny hat, The Explorers: The Door in the Alley is the first book in a new series for fans of The Name of This Book Is a Secret and The Mysterious Benedict Society. Knock once if you can find it—but only members are allowed inside.

This is one of those stories that starts with a pig in a teeny hat. It’s not the one you’re thinking about. (This story is way better than that one.)

This pig-in-a-teeny-hat story starts when a very uninquisitive boy stumbles upon a very mysterious society. After that, there is danger and adventure; there are missing persons, hired thugs, a hidden box, a lost map, and famous explorers; and also a girl on a rescue mission.

About the Author: Adrienne Kress is a writer and an actress born and raised in Toronto. She is the daughter of two high school English teachers and credits them with her love of both writing and performing. She also has a cat named Atticus, who unfortunately despises teeny hats. Look for her online at, and follow her on Twitter at @AdrienneKress.

Review: I love when narrators break the fourth wall if it is done well, and you’ll learn really early on that it is done well in The Explorers. This hilarious narrator takes us on this adventure with Sebastian, a character that very logical people will relate to, and Evie, a character that people who are bored unless they are on an adventure, will relate to that is filled with more action, adventure, and danger than I thought would come out of this little book. But don’t worry, the narrator keeps it light with funny chapter titles and footnotes. All of this combines to make a book that I loved quite a bit because it is just the perfect balance of adventure, humor, friendship, and mystery. Although, I must warn you about the cliffhanger–WHOA! I’m still recovering. 

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: The Door in the Alley has many opportunities to be a mentor text including discussing footnotes and breaking the fourth wall. Not many books use either of these yet The Door in the Alley uses both quite well. Discussing these will also lead to a perfect conversation about voice. Normally voice is saved for first person books but because we have a narrator that although not a character in the story definitely has a voice, it would be interesting to talk to students about how that worked in this book.

Discussion Questions: What do you think is going to happen in the next book?; Why do you think the author chose to have the narrator break the fourth wall and speak with you, the reader?; Sebastian and Evie are quite opposites, and normally they would seem like an odd pairing; however, they seem to work perfectly together–what do you think each of them brings out in the other?; Evie is searching for her grandfather because he is in trouble, but what is she truly searching for?; What do you think Sebastian’s parents are thinking right about now?!

Flagged Passages: “In all the confusion, with the pig and the teeny hat and the zigzag man, he had completely forgotten about the thing he had been trying to forget about. In one way, it meant he had done an excellent job at avoiding it up until now; on the other, it meant hat his guard had been down. For, sure enough, the man had turned down an alley. The only alley that existed on the street. That connect to another street. And there was only one thing down that alley.

Sebastian approached it with caution, his expression slowly morphing into one the pig had been wearing all the time. Terror. He stood at the end of the dark passageway and peeked his head around the corner only to see the man standing right by the door. And right under the sign that read…

The Explorers Society.” (p. 18-19)

Read This If You Loved: The Wig in the Window by Kristen KittscherFRAMED by James PontiLoot by Jude Watson, Nickel Bay Nick by Dean Pitchford, and other mysteries where kids have to solve a problem because adults won’t listen to them

Recommended For:

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Visit the Other Stops on the Blog Tour: 

Date Blog URL
24-Apr Live To Read
25-Apr Imagination Soup
26-Apr Mom and More
27-Apr Pandora’s Books
28-Apr Mommy Ramblings
1-May The Lovely Books
2-May Batch of Books
3-May Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
4-May To Read, or Not To Read
5-May Grandma’s Cookie Jar
8-May Good Reads with Ronna
9-May Geo Librarian
10-May Life By Candlelight
11-May Jumpin Beans
12-May Always in the Middle
15-May Librarians Quest
16-May The Book Wars
17-May Middle Grade Mafioso
18-May Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile
19-May Tween You & Me
22-May Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook
23-May Mundie Moms 
24-May The Write Path
26-May Beach Bound Books
29-May Middle Grade Ninja
30-May Night Owl Reviews
31-May Cracking the Cover 
1-Jun Jenni Enzor
2-Jun Literary Hoots
5-Jun From the Mixed-Up Files of Middle Grade Authors
6-Jun The Winged Pen
7-Jun Operation Awesome
9-Jun Bloggin’ ’bout Books
12-Jun YA Books Central
13-Jun Ms. Yingling Reads
14-Jun MGMinded blog
15-Jun Smack Dab in the Middle
16-Jun Swoony Boys Podcast
19-Jun Book Foolery
20-Jun Unleashing Readers
21-Jun Kit Lit Reviews
22-Jun The O.W.L.

**Thank you to Josh at Random House Children’s Books for providing a copy for review and hosting the blog tour!**