The Last Last-Day-of-Summer
Author: Lamar Giles
Published: April 2, 2019 by Versify
Summary: The Hardy Boys meets The Phantom Tollbooth, in the new century! When two adventurous cousins accidentally extend the last day of summer by freezing time, they find the secrets hidden between the unmoving seconds, minutes, and […]
The Last Last-Day-of-Summer
Author: Lamar Giles
Published: April 2, 2019 by Versify
Summary: The Hardy Boys meets The Phantom Tollbooth, in the new century! When two adventurous cousins accidentally extend the last day of summer by freezing time, they find the secrets hidden between the unmoving seconds, minutes, and hours are not the endless fun they expected.
Otto and Sheed are the local sleuths in their zany Virginia town, masters of unraveling mischief using their unmatched powers of deduction. And as the summer winds down and the first day of school looms, the boys are craving just a little bit more time for fun, even as they bicker over what kind of fun they want to have. That is, until a mysterious man appears with a camera that literally freezes time. Now, with the help of some very strange people and even stranger creatures, Otto and Sheed will have to put aside their differences to save their town—and each other—before time stops for good.
About the Author: Lamar Giles is a well-published author and a founding member of We Need Diverse Books. Lamar has two novels forthcoming in 2019: his debut middle grade fantasy The Last Last-Day-of-Summer (Versify / HMH) and his fourth YA thriller Spin (Scholastic).
Lamar Giles is a two-time Edgar Award finalist in the YA category, for his debut YA thriller Fake ID (HarperCollins, 2014), and his second YA thriller, Endangered (HarperCollins, 2015). His third YA thriller, Overturned (Scholastic, 2017) received this glowing New York Times review, and was named a Kirkus Best Book of 2017. You can see the book trailer for Overturned here. FAKE ID has been optioned by Sony Pictures.
Lamar is a contributor to the YA anthology Three Sides of a Heart (HarperCollins, 2017), the editor of the We Need Diverse Books YA short story anthology Fresh Ink (Random House 2018), a contributor to the forthcoming YA anthology Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America (HarperCollins / Balzer & Bray 2019), and a contributor to a forthcoming We Need Diverse Books middle grade anthology The Hero Next Door (Random House 2019). He has published several short stories for adults. You can see tv interviews with Lamar here, and here, and here, and in a truly fun “Fun Facts” short interview, created by HarperCollins.
Lamar Giles — About the Book: “I’ve spent a lot of time talking with kids and their parents as I’ve crisscrossed the country on my writing journey,” says Giles. “Parents are looking for books to ignite a love for reading in their children, and kids are looking for fun books. I swore that if I ever had the chance to put a book full of words I’d written in the hands of a young reader they’d be the kinds of stories that drew them in willingly, entertained them, opened portals that they’d get lost in for hours. Every day I approach the blank page hoping I can write the One Book that makes all the difference in some reader’s life. I hope that The Last Last-Day-Of-Summer is that book for at least a few children.”
“The Last Last-Day-of-Summer reminds me that all children deserve to exist in magical spaces where their imaginations and familial bonds will them into heroism. Every single child should have the freedom to be one of The Legendary Alstons. And I, for one, am grateful to Giles, and this brilliant story, for that reminder.”
– Jason Reynolds, author of Newbery Honoree Long Way Down
“The legendary heroes of this legendary book are already legendary when the story begins! From there things can only get legendary-er!”
– Tom Angleberger, author of the Origami Yoda series
“Lamar Giles has written an instant classic – readers won’t want their time with the Legendary Alston Boys of Logan County to end.”
– Gwenda Bond, author of the Lois Lane series
Ricki’s Review: Can I go on an adventure with Otto and Sheed? This pair is full of excitement, and it made me want to leap into the book to join them in their sleuthing. I loved the concept of freezing time, and I giggled as they interacted with characters who were frozen in time. This book will set children’s minds into imaginative wonder, and it will spurn creativity. Objects are personified in exciting ways, and it just tilts reality on its head. I don’t read a lot of middle grade texts, but this one was particularly fun. I am looking forward to reading this to my sons when they are a tiny bit older.
Kellee’s Review: What a fun book! Let me count the ways: 1) robots; 2) time travel; 3) mysterious evil person; 4) giant platypus-like creatures; 5) flying cars; 6) giant fly paper; 7) monsters trapped in mirrors; 8) frozen time; etc. etc. So much is going on in this book that makes it so engaging. Take all of this and pair it with a cousin team who solve mysteries in their slightly-off county that now have the fate of everyone they know and love on their shoulders, and you have a book that is going to be a favorite!
I also would love to talk about the theme! However, I cannot talk about the theme. (I know–a tease!) The theme is part of the big reveal at the end. But I want to vaguely say that it is a theme that so many kids need to hear and we, as adults, need to talk to them about. (Though–even with this important theme, the book’s main pull is its just pure, fun adventures!)
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Teachers might use this book to encourage students to shift reality in a bit. They might begin by brainstorming possibilities of objects to personify in the world or constants to disrupt (e.g. time). This allows for very creative and fun storytelling possibilities!
The text is also a wonderful one to practice prediction and spotting foreshadowing! As you read the text aloud, have students stop you when they think they have spotted a clue to the mystery and also make predictions between chapters about what is going to happen (don’t forget to check the predictions!).
- What was your favorite part of Otto and Sheed’s adventure?
- How are Otto and Sheed alike? Different?
- How do you think these comparisons/contrasts help make them a good team?
- After each chapter make a prediction. Check your predictions throughout the book.
- What events in the book caused other events to happen?
- Look particularly at how time traveling affected the timeline.
- What literary devices did Giles use that were particularly effective for you?
- This book contains a fast-moving plot and exciting adventure. But it also contains depth in its themes and lessons. What did you learn? What would you apply to your own life?
“‘Well, hello, young men!’
Otto spun at the sound of the new voice. Sheed hinged up at his waist, shielding his eyes with one had and squinting into the sunlight. The approaching silhouette was string-bean slim and taller than most, thanks to the stovepipe hat propped crookedly on his head. He stepped quickly, his skinny arms and legs whipping him forward with almost boneless ease. Tipping his head toward them, the hat’s brim slashed a shadow across his face, dividing it diagonally, leaving a single crystal blue eye, half a nose, and a split grin visible.
‘Who are you?’ Sheed said, getting his feed under him.
Otto, shorter and wider than his cousin, gravitated to Sheed’s side. Both of them angled slightly away from each other for a better view of their flanks, in case something dangerous tried to sneak up on them Maneuver #24.
‘I’m a fan!’ The man offered his hand. ‘You two are the Legendary Alston Boys of Logan County, correct?’
Otto relaxed. ‘Yeah. We are!’
‘You all dispersed the Laughing Locusts before they devoured the county crops!’ he said. ‘You solved the Mystery of the Woman in Teal!’
Sheed stiffened. ‘How do you know that?’
‘Doesn’t everyone in Logan County know you two?’
Yes, Otto thought, proud of their reputation, they do!
Sheed, always a killjoy, said ‘You’re not from Logan County.'” (Chapter 2)
Read This If You Love: The Missing Piece of Charlie O’Reilly by Rebecca Ansari, The Night Door by Frank Cammuso, The Explorers series (#1, #2) by Adrienne Kress, Watch Hollow by Gregory Funaro, Coraline by Neil Gaiman
The Missing Piece of Charlie O’Reilly
Author: Rebecca K.S. Ansari
Published March 5th, 2019 by Walden Pond Press
Summary: Charlie O’Reilly is an only child. Which is why it makes everyone uncomfortable when he talks about his brother. Liam, his eight-year-old kid brother, who, up until a year ago, slept in the bunk above Charlie, took pride in being as annoying as possible, and was the only person who could make Charlie laugh until it hurt.
Then came the morning when the bunk, and Liam, disappeared forever. No one even remembers him—not Charlie’s mother, who has been lost in her own troubles; and not Charlie’s father, who is gone frequently on business trips. The only person who believes Charlie is his best friend, Ana—even if she has no memory of Liam, she is as determined as Charlie is to figure out what happened to him.
The search seems hopeless—until Charlie receives a mysterious note, written in Liam’s handwriting. The note leads Charlie and Ana to make some profound discoveries about a magic they didn’t know existed, and they soon realize that if they’re going to save Liam, they may need to risk being forgotten themselves, forever.
About the Author: Rebecca K.S. Ansari is a former ER doctor. The Missing Piece of Charlie O’Reilly is her first book. She lives in Minnesota with her husband, four sons, and some seriously massive pets.
Praise: “As puzzle pieces click into place, The Missing Piece of Charlie O’Reilly reveals that it’s stories—and family—that make us whole. A deeply satisfying and beautiful book.” —Elana K. Arnold, National Book Award finalist and author of The Question of Miracles
Review: Read the flagged passage below… I’ll wait…
Welcome back. Those are the first few paragraphs of the book. Wow, right?! One of my favorite beginnings ever, and I was so excited to share it with anyone who would listen (I tweeted it, I read it to my students, I read it to anyone!) And yes, the rest of the book lives up to the expectations of that amazing start.
I was so impressed with the crafting of this novel, specifically as a debut novel. The author combines narratives, adds twists and turns, and keeps you guessing throughout the novel. The direction you think the novel is going to go is ever changing so predictions are impossible to make. All of these aspects made for an enjoyable novel that, as the name suggests, is a puzzle waiting to be put together.
Rebecca K.S. Ansari also did a wonderful job threading different big ideas throughout the book: acceptance, guilt, friendship, hope, trust, depression. Different sections of the book highlight these different big ideas and could be used for great discussions. The book also, as you can see, deals with some really tough and dark big ideas, but I think this narrative will give many students a jumping off point for talking about some of the struggles and ideas in Charlie’s story.
And the characters in the book are well-crafted and multi-dimensional. Each character has a full story that is developed to allow the reader to truly get to know the world that Charlie is adventuring in. I specifically loved the friendship between Charlie and Ana–an unexpected friendship that was built on trust, believing, and support.
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation and Discussion Questions:
Publisher-Created Educators’ Guide
Read This If You Love: The Real Boy by Anne Ursu, The Lost Girls by Anne Ursu, Midnight is a Place by Joan Aiken, The Grave by James Heneghan, Kit’s Wilderness by David Arnold
Don’t Miss Out on the Other Blog Tour Stops:
March 8 Nerdy Book Club @nerdybookclub
March 9 The Book Monsters @TheBookMonsters
March 11 LitCoach Lou @litcoachlou
March 12 Bluestocking Thinking @BlueSockGirl
March 13 A Foodie Bibliophile in Wanderlust @bethshaum
March 14 Maria’s Mélange @mariaselke
March 15 Unleashing Readers @unleashreaders
March 18 March Middle Grade Madness at Word Spelunking @wordspelunker
March 29 Writers’ Rumpus @kirsticall
**Thank you to Walden Pond Press for providing a copy for review and giveaway!!**
Author: Gregory Funaro
Published February 12th, 2019 by HarperCollins
Summary: Deep within the enchanted woods in the town of Watch Hollow stands the once-grand Blackford House, whose halls hold a magical secret: a giant cuckoo clock that does much more than tell time. But when the clock’s gears cease to turn, an evil presence lurking among the trees begins to come out of the shadows.
When Lucy and Oliver Tinker arrive in Watch Hollow, they have no idea that anything is wrong. A mysterious stranger has made their father an offer that’s too good for him to refuse. All Mr. Tinker needs to do is fix the clock at Blackford House and fistfuls of gold coins are his to keep.
It doesn’t take long, however, for the children to realize that there is more to Blackford House than meets the eye. And before they can entirely understand the strange world they’ve stumbled into, Lucy and Oliver must join forces with a host of magical clock animals to defeat the Garr—a vicious monster that not only wants Blackford House for itself, but also seeks to destroy everything the Tinkers hold dear.
About the Author: Gregory Funaro grew up in Cranston, Rhode Island, and wrote his first story, The Ghost in the Window, in the fourth grade. He considers this to be his finest work, but unfortunately it has been lost to time. Following high school Greg majored in theatre at the University of New Hampshire, and after various acting gigs, received his AM in Theatre Arts from Brown University and an MFA in Acting from the FSU/Asolo Conservatory. He began his literary career writing thrillers for adults, but switched to children’s books after the birth of his daughter. His first book for Disney-Hyperion, ALISTAIR GRIM’S ODDITORIUM (2015), was a New York Times best seller and an Amazon Best Book of the Month, and his second, ALISTAIR GRIM’S ODD AQUATICUM (2016), received a Kirkus STARRED review. Look for WATCH HOLLOW and THE MAZE OF SHADOWS, coming from HarperCollins in 2019/20. Greg also teaches drama at East Carolina University, and is busy working on his next novel.
Follow him on Facebook and Twitter (@GregoryFunaro) and visit his https://www.gregoryfunaro.com/ to learn more about his books and him.
Review: I am so glad that Harper allows Gregory Funaro to continue expanding his creative tendrils because every one of his books I read, I am intrigued by how he crafts a story, the voice he gives his characters, the point of view he decides, and the surprises he gives me throughout the reading. With Watch Hollow, I love how Lucy and Oliver obviously have a voice even though the book is in third person, the way he ties everything together from the slightest mention at the beginning of the book to huge events in the end, and I love that I cannot predict what is going to happen.
And not only is the story crafted well, the plot is one that is going to suck in our readers that are always looking for spookiness. It is just the right amount of weirdness, supernatural, creepy mansions, unknown creatures, and magic. The characters are also crafted really well which gives the readers someone to connect with.
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Gergory Funaro’s fantasy is so different than the traditional fantasy books, and his stories will fascinate readers who may not be sure if they like fantasy because of the twist, turns, and intelligence in his narratives. Not only should his books be found in all libraries, classroom, public, and school, but it would also be an interesting to have an in-class book club focusing on different examples of fantasy and have students, at the end of the clubs, discuss what made their books fantasy and look at the wide variety within the genre.
- How did the inclusion of illustrations throughout the book help with your understanding of the plot?
- What does the animals quick acceptance of Lucy show you about her personality?
- What were your initial assumptions about Mr. Quigley?
- What did the inclusion of the crow from before they went to Blackford House tell you about the kids?
- Once you find out the truth behind the house, what clues can you find when you go back through the book?
- How did the third person limited point of view switching between the two siblings affect the narrative?
- How did the author use imagery throughout the book to engage his readers?
- How does the author set the Gothic and dark mood in the story?
“Oliver hung back in the doorway as Lucy and their father stepped into a cavernous, darkened foyer. Rectangles of dim dusty light filtered in from the rooms on the other side, and Oliver could just make out a wide staircase dissolving up into the gloom at the far end of the foyer…
Oliver pushed up his glasses, stepped inside, and set down his suitcase. His eyes had adjusted a bit, but with only the daylight streaming in, the foyer was still dim–in part because the walls were paneled three-quarters high in dark wood. To his left, he spied a shadowy parlor filled with antique furniture; to his right, a dining room with a long table. There were a handful of paintings on the walls, and where there was no paneling, the paper was peeled and gray…” (Chapter 4)
**Thank you to the author for providing a copy for review!**
The Sisters 8 Series by Lauren Baratz-Logsted with Greg Logsted and Jackie Logsted
The Sisters 8 #1: Annie’s Adventures & The Sisters 8 #2: Durinda’s Dangers
Published December 29th, 2008 by HMH Books for Young Readers
The Sisters 8 #9: The Final Battle…For Now
Published August 7th, 2012 by HMH Books for Young Readers
About the Series: The story begins on New Year’s Eve, eight sisters–octuplets–wait for Mommy to come back from the kitchen with eggnog and Daddy to come back from the shed with more wood for the fire.
But they–Mommy and Daddy, that is–don’t. Come back. Ever.
It takes the sisters a few minutes to notice, but when they do it’s just as you would expect. Disbelief! Outrage! Despair! But then a note appears, telling the girls that each one of them has a talent and a gift. They all must find theirs to learn what happened to Mommy and Daddy.
Okay, so that’s how it begins. How does it end? Enter the world of the Sisters Eight to find out…
About Annie’s Adventures (Book #1): A rather large problem has befallen the Huit girls. (Sisters, actually. Octuplets to be exact.) One particular New Year’s Eve, the girls wait for their mommy to bring them hot chocolate and their daddy to return with more wood for the fire. But they don’t. Mommy and Daddy, that is. They’re gone. Poof! Maybe dead—no one knows for sure.
You must see the problem here. Eight little girls on their own, no mommy or daddy to take care of them. This is not a good thing.
So now these little girls, must take care of themselves. Get to school, cook the meals, feed the cats (eight of them, too), and pay the bills. They can’t ask for help, oh no. Any self-respecting adult would surely call in social services, and those well-meaning people would have to split them up. After losing their parents, being split up would be completely unbearable.
At the same time, the question remains:What happened to Mommy and Daddy? The Sisters Eight (as they are called, affectionately and otherwise) are determined to find out. Luckily, they do seem to have someone or something helping them. Notes keep appearing behind a loose brick in the fireplace.
It’s a good old-fashioned mystery with missing (or dead) parents, nosy neighbors, talking refrigerators, foul-smelling fruitcake (is there any other kind?), and even a little magic. Eight little girls, eight cats, and one big mystery—let the fun begin!
Annie’s Adventures, wherein the girls’ parents go missing (or die) and the girls learn each one has a power and gift. Annie, being the oldest, is the first to discover hers.
And expand the Sisters Eight adventures by entering The Sisters Eight Website!
After you enter, you can:
- Learn about each of the books,
- Learn about the authors,
- Read reviews of the books,
- Meet the Huit sisters,
- Take a quiz to see which Sisters Eight you are,
- Printable paper dolls,
- Make your own beanbags,
- Decorate a t-shirt,
- Design flip-flops,
- Make a friendship bracelet, or
- Learn about starting a Sisters 8 book club!
About the Author: Lauren Baratz-Logsted is the author of more than a dozen books for adults and young readers, including The Twin’s Daughter, Crazy Beautiful, and the Sisters 8 series, which she cowrites with her husband and daughter.
A personal note from the author on this special anniversary:
Who could ever have predicted that getting snowbound in Crested Butte, Colorado, back in 2006 would lead 12 years later to a nine-book series that has sold over a quarter of a million copies? But that’s what happened to my family. When a visit with friends that was supposed to last five days turned into 10 following a blizzard that closed Denver Airport, my husband Greg and me and our then-6yo daughter Jackie had to find new ways to entertain ourselves, which in our case meant brainstorming what would become known as The Sisters 8 series, about octuplets whose parents go missing on New Year’s Eve, leaving the girls to solve the mystery of where their parents went while keeping other adults from realizing there are no longer any adults in the house. The first two books were published in December 2008, with seven more books since.
Over the course of my career, I’ve been extraordinarily lucky. While I have neither the money of Rowling nor the critical acclaim of Franzen, I’ve been able to write the books I wanted to write – for adults, teens and children – in a variety of genres, and seen nearly 40 of those books published. If that’s not lucky, I don’t know what is. But nothing in all of it has given me more pleasure than The Sisters 8. I got to create it with my husband and daughter, who is now 18 and off at college. I got to share the early books with Jackie’s classmates as we were writing them. I got to receive thousands of emails from kids – and their parents, grandparents, librarians and teachers – telling me how much the series has meant to them. Most writers I know long for more money or greater fame. Now, I’m not saying I’d say no to either, but when you’ve receive a letter from a ten-year-old saying “After my brother died, The Sisters 8 was the first thing that made me feel cheered again” or from a special needs teacher saying “It was the first book that ___ asked if she could take home to continue reading on her own” or whole families of Canadians saying they bring the books to read aloud to each other on camping trips (Bless you, Canada!) – well, after all of that, you realize that while fame and fortune would be nice, you did your job as a writer.
This marks the 10th anniversary of The Sisters 8. I hope you’ll join me in wishing them many more years to come – cheers! ~Lauren
Celebrate the Sisters 8 ten-year anniversary by picking up a Sisters 8 book and enter into their adventures!
Death and Douglas
Author: J.W. Ocker
Published October 31st, 2017 by Sky Pony Press
Summary: Douglas has grown up around the business of death.
Generations of his family have run the Mortimer Family Funeral Home. The mortician and gravediggers are all his buddies. And the display room of caskets is an awesome place for hide and seek. It’s business as usual in Douglas’s small New England town.
Until one day an incredibly out of the ordinary murder victim is brought to the funeral home. And more startling: others follow. On the cusp of Halloween, a serial killer has arrived. And unsatisfied with the small-town investigation, Douglas enlists his friends to help him solve the mystery.
With sumptuous descriptions of a bucolic town and its quirky people, fascinating yet middle grade–appropriate insider information about the funeral process, and a crackling mystery with a heart-pounding conclusion—Death and Douglas has something for readers young and old.
About the Author: J. W. Ocker is the Edgar Award–winning author of Poe-Land: The Hallowed Haunts of Edgar Allan Poe. His work has appeared in Rue Morgue magazine, the Boston Globe, CNN, the Atlantic, and other places people stick writing. He’s from Maryland but has lived in New Hampshire since 2008. This is his first book for children.
“Ocker populates his eerie New England town with a memorable cast, and gives us a compelling hero in Douglas Mortimer. Kids and coffee-drinkers beware!” —Patrick Moody, author of The Gravedigger’s Son
“With the perfect balance of macabre and mystery, the ideal combination of horror and humor, the Ghastlies are bringing plenty of goosebumps and giggles for everyone!” —Brooks Benjamin, author of My Seventh Grade Life in Tights
Review: To be honest, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I started this book because it is way creepier than I thought it was going to be, but a serial killer on the loose in a town definitely will add that creep factor to any book.
Douglas is definitely well-rounded and mature when it comes to death, it has been around him his entire life, but all death he’s encountered has been natural or an accident until now. This is an interesting point of view for a character as I’ve never read a middle grade book with a character like Douglas. All of a sudden, a young boy who never feared death realizes that there is evil in some deaths and that scares him more than it may scare most because it is a new realization. This definitely adds to the suspense because Douglas is not only questioning everything around him but also on the look out for a serial killer, so all bumps in the night are a reason to jump.
I will also say that the conclusion was not what I saw coming!
Side note: Douglas and his friends did some DANGEROUS things, and I know that we have to suspend our belief when reading, but the whole time as an adult I wanted to yell at them for being so ridiculously careless in their safety by searching for a serial killer! Kids: Do not do that at home!
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: My students are always asking me for mystery books or horror books, and they are so hard to come by in middle school; however, this one will be perfect for them! Death and Douglas belongs in libraries of any kind!
- Why are Douglas’s friends jealous of how his parents treat him?
- How did Douglas become so well rounded when it comes to death?
- What is a mortician vs a medical examiner?
- The different terms for mortician are discussed: What are the different connotations of the different terms (mortician, undertaker, funeral director)?
- How did Douglas and his friends put themselves in danger? What should they have done instead?
- Who do you think is the serial killer? Were you right?
- How are Lowell and Douglas different? Why does their friendship work so well?
Flagged Passages: “Maybe Lowell’s crazy plan was worth going along with, for a little while at least. Despite the terrors of teh night, both old and new, Douglas found himself comfortably lost in his own thoughts.
Until the dogwoods spoke to him.
Somewhere behind the ordered row of trunks, a short hiss of words seemed to connect the space behind him and them. They sounded hollow, inhuman, almost breaths.
Ran like he’d never run in gym class, like no game of tag he’d ever played in the cemetery. Cold terror is the best fuel for the body.
Douglas didn’t dare look back. Didn’t even dare try to use the cane, which suddenly seemed silly in his hands. His breath came out ragged, and his feed slapped the ground even harder as he raced across the street to the front lawn of the funeral home. As he ran, he thought he could hear echoes of those sounds behind him. So close behind.
He ran even faster.
The night silhouette of the funeral home loomed above him–a scary place for some, a safe harbor for him.” (Chapter 11)
Read This If You Love: Murder mysteries or any mysteries!
**Thank you to Sky Horse for providing a copy for review!**
Blog Tour with Review, Teaching Guide, and Giveaway!: Two Truths and a Lie: Histories and Mysteries by Ammi-Joan Paquette and Laurie Ann Thompson
Two Truths and a Lie: Histories and Mysteries
Authors: Ammi-Joan Paquette and Laurie Ann Thompson
Published June 26th, 2018 by Walden Pond Press
Summary: Unbelievable TRUTHS about outrageous people, places and events—with a few outright LIES hiding among them. Can you tell the fakes from the facts?
Did you know that a young girl once saved an entire beach community from a devastating tsunami thanks to something she learned in her fourth-grade geography lesson? Or that there is a person alive today who generates her own magnetic field? Or how about the fact that Benjamin Franklin once challenged the Royal Academy of Brussels to devise a way to make farts smell good?
Welcome to Two Truths and a Lie: Histories and Mysteries! You know the game: Every story in this book is strange and astounding, but one out of every three is an outright lie.
Can you guess which stories are the facts and which are the fakes? It’s not going to be easy. Some false stories are based on truth, and some of the true stories are just plain unbelievable! Don’t be fooled by the photos that accompany each story—it’s going to take all your smarts and some clever research to root out the alternative facts.
From a train that transported dead people to antique photos of real fairies to a dog who was elected mayor, the stories in this book will amaze you! Just don’t believe everything you read. . . .
About the Authors:
Ammi-Joan Paquette loves caves, hates mushy bananas, and is ambivalent about capybaras. She is the author of the novels The Train of Lost Things, Paradox, and Nowhere Girl as well as the Princess Juniper series and many more. She is also the recipient of a PEN/New England Susan P. Bloom Children’s Book Discovery Award honor. Joan lives outside Boston, Massachusetts, where she balances her own writing with her day job as a literary agent. You can visit her online at www.ajpaquette.com.
Laurie Ann Thompson loves capybaras, hates caves, and is ambivalent about mushy bananas. She is the author of several award-winning nonfiction books, including Emmanuel’s Dream, a picture book biography of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, which was the recipient of the Schneider Family Book Award and was named an ALA Notable Book and a CCBC Choice, among other accolades. She lives outside Seattle with her family, and you can visit her online at www.lauriethompson.com
Unleashing Readers review of Two Truths and a Lie: It’s Alive! http://www.unleashingreaders.com/?p=13591
Review: I just love this series for so many reasons! First, it is just so interesting! Even the “lies” include true stories with information switched out to make it not true. There are quizzes and tidbits of information. There is so much to read about and just take in. I am so in awe with the authors who truly find unknown information that is fascinating and will keep kids (and adults!) reading. Also, I think it is so important to teach students/kids (and adults!) how to determine if information being given to us is valid and reliable. Third, I think the authors do a fantastic job including a wide variety of topics to give students who may have different interests interested. And with two books in the series now focusing on two different focuses, it makes it so even more readers will find something they want to learn about. And lastly, I am so glad that the authors are making nonfiction fun! Too many of my students don’t like nonfiction because they find it “boring.” This book is anything but boring.
“Part 1: Hazy Histories
History. Some people think of it as nothing more than a whole bunch of names and events and dates to be memorized. But history is so much more than that. History is people, history is stories, history is fascinating!
In this section, we’ll spin some amazing tales from ancient history right up to the present day. All of them are remarkable, but remember–one of the stories in each chapter is fake.
Prepare yourself to experience history in a way that you never have before.
Let’s get started!
Chapter 2: Over 1,00 Years Ago
Read This If You Love: Unsolved Mysteries from History series by Jane Yolen and Heidi Elisabet Yolen Stemple: The Mary Celeste, Roanoke, The Wolf Girls, and The Salem Witch Trials; History’s Mysteries from National Geographic; History; Nonfiction mysteries
Blog Tour Stops:
|6/19||Library Lions Roar|
|6/21||A Foodie Bibliophile in Wanderlust|
|6/21||Roadmap to Reality: Helping Kids Find Their Way in a World of Fake News|
|6/26||The Official Tumblr of Walden Media|
|6/27||Nerdy Book Club|
|6/28||The Book Monsters|
The Reckless Rescue (The Explorers #2)
Author: Adrienne Kress
Published April 24th, 2018 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Summary: More mystery, more bravery, more danger, and one amazingly reckless rescue await in the second book in the Explorers series! The perfect read for fans of The Name of This Book Is a Secret and The Mysterious Benedict Society!
Reader! Your attention is greatly needed. We have left things unresolved! What began as your average story of a boy stumbling upon a pig in a teeny hat and a secret international explorers society has turned into an adventure of epic proportions.
* The bad news: The boy (Sebastian) has been kidnapped by a trio of troublesome thugs.
* The good news: His new friend Evie has promised to rescue him!
* The bad news: Sebastian has been taken halfway around the world.
* The good news: Evie has famous explorer and former Filipendulous Five member Catherine Lind at her side!
* The bad news: There’s still the whole matter of Evie’s grandfather (and the leader of the Filipendulous Five) somewhere out there in grave danger.
* The good news: Pursuing Sebastian will lead Evie and Catherine to another member of the Filipendulous Five, who might be able to help!
This missive is a call to action and an invitation to join in mystery, bravery, and danger. There will be new people to meet, new places to see, and some dancing along the way. And one amazingly reckless rescue.
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 inspiring her love of both writing and performing. She also has a cat named Atticus, who unfortunately despises teeny hats. She is the author of The Explorers: The Door in the Alley, The Explorers: The Reckless Rescue,and The Explorers: The Quest for the Kid. To find out more about Adrienne, visit AdrienneKress.com and follow @AdrienneKress on Twitter and Instagram.
Review: This book starts RIGHT up where the first left off–like, actually! Mid-sentence! And I’m so glad because the cliffhanger in the first one was so intense! But here we are, right where we left off: Sebastian is kidnapped, and Evie has to figure out how to save him (hence the title…). Like the first book, I found that the snarky narrator, silly footnotes, and ridiculous situations was humor that is right up my alley, causing many laugh out loud moments, but let’s not forget that the story is also a nerve-racking adventure story also! Other than the humor and adventure, I also really like the characters in this story. Evie and Sebastian complement each other so well, and we really get to see them shine in this book as individuals since they are separated.
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This series would be a perfect mentor text when teaching dramatic irony, breaking the 4th wall, and footnotes. Even reading the first chapter will cover these three literary elements and will also get a lot of kids excited to read the story. Because the other place this book belongs is in libraries and classrooms–it is going to be a big hit with adventure and humor fans!
- How does the narration style the author chose change the tone of the story?
- Why do you think the author chose to include footnotes in the story?
- How does the author use dramatic irony to keep the reader reading?
- What is the “Lost Boys” K-Pop group an allusion to?
- How do Sebastian and Evie complement each other?
- How did some good or bad things in the story end up being the opposite of what you thought?
Flagged Passages: “Chapter 1: In which we resume our story.
There is a difference between fact and opinion. It’s hard to tell sometimes because opinions like to dress up as facts, and their costumes have gotten quite impressive lately.¹ There is a way, however, to easily tell the difference between them. You have to weigh them. Because, you see, facts have more substance. So they’re heavier. This is how one can know for a fact, for example, that being kidnapped for your brain is scary. Because when this fact is placed on the scale, man, does it ever tip the balance.
There are other facts one can be certain of. Like that private jets are cool. That traveling long distances get boring. And that not knowing where you are going or what’s going to happen to you is exhaustingly stressful.
And if you don’t believe me, just ask Sebastian, who is sitting in his seat and staring out the window of the private jet, feeling precisely all of those things.
It is odd to feed bored. Not that feeling bored is a rare or weird feeling. It’s a very common part of life, after all. But it just felt strange to feel bored in his particular situation. He should have been feeling terrified, possibly even a little excited. And he knew this because he’d felt those things initially when he’d been snatched out of the Explorers Society headquarters and held captive in a helicopter. But that felt like forever ago now.
¹I once saw an opinion wearing the most spectacular curly mustache that distracted me so much, I totally let him into my head, even though I found his footwear suspicious.”
Read This If You Love: The first Explorers book: The Door in the Alley, Emily and the Spellstone by Michael Rubens, Guardians of the Gryphon’s Claw by Todd Calgi Gallicano, Cucumber Quest series by Gigi D.G., Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz, The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
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