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Welcome to the Children of Jubilee Blog Tour!

 

To celebrate the release of The Children of Jubilee (Children of Exile #3), blogs across the web are featuring exclusive content from author Margaret Peterson Haddix and 10 chances to win the complete trilogy!

“Series Goodbye”
by Margaret Peterson Haddix

When I finished writing my very first series, The Shadow Children, I thought I had discovered the perfect way to explain how it felt to say good-bye to Luke and the other characters I’d watched grow and change over the course of seven books:“It’s like sending kids off to college,” I told anyone who asked. “You know they’re grown up and ready to leave home—they’re ready to say goodbye–but you still miss them.”My actual children were barely out of elementary school at the time, so I was describing an experience I hadn’t had in real life yet—I was only projecting.

Then my real kids grew up and left for college, and I realized I had totally underplayed what a heart-wrenching experience that would be. So at least with finishing a series, I have the comfort of knowing that I’ve already gone through worse heartache, and survived.

But there are similarities: To do our job as parents, my husband and I had to let our kids grow up and become independent and make their own choices. To do my job as a writer, I have to let my characters make their own mistakes and grow and learn and then bring their stories to a close.

And I do miss my characters after I’ve finished writing their stories. This is true with any character I’ve created, but the missing is particularly intense with series characters I’ve spent years imagining and thinking about and living with.

My real kids, of course, have continued to have new experiences and adventures, and they’ve continued to grow and change since the day my husband and I dropped each of them off at their college freshman dorms. (And, happily, they also call and text and come home to visit. And they welcome us when we go to visit them.) It would seem that my fictional characters would stay more fixed in time; once I turn in the last draft of the last book of a series, theoretically my characters have become who they are, and they’re never going to change again.

But fictional characters don’t just belong to an author at a fixed point in time, as she’s writing. They also belong to readers—and to the writer’s continued imagination.

One of the joys of being a writer is hearing from readers who whole-heartedly embrace the characters I love (or love to hate) as friends or enemies, as riddles to be figured out or rivals to be outsmarted. This can be a mixed blessing, because sometimes readers’ strong opinions are nothing like my own, and there are times when I want to huddle protectively over my characters and maybe even cup my hands over their ears so they don’t have to hear harsh criticism.

Other times, readers have amazing insights that make me see my own characters in a new light. Even very young readers have made me understand aspects of my characters’ personalities that I hadn’t noticed. Readers tell me, “I know just how Luke felt when…” or “I can relate to Katherine because…” or “I’m like Ella because…” And sometimes their epiphanies become mine as well.

I was already an adult and at least theoretically all grown up by the time I started writing series books. But even so, life and new experiences continue to change me both as a person and as a writer, so I also change my perspective sometimes on characters I wrote about in the past. Sometimes I want to go back and apologize to the characters in my early books: “Sorry—I wrote your story as well as I was able to back then; I really do wish I could have done it better!” And sometimes my own life experiences make me see how brave my characters were; how glibly I forced them to grow up and take responsibility. Sometimes I want to apologize for that, too.

With the publication this winter of Children of Jubilee—the third and final book in the Children of Exile series—I’m saying goodbye to yet another set of beloved characters: Rosi and Bobo, Edwy and Kiandra and Enu… I’m sure they will be fine, out in the world (or in their case, out in the universe) on their own.

I will miss them. But I won’t stop thinking about them. And I look forward to hearing from readers who are thinking about them, too.

*****
Blog Tour Schedule:
December 3rd — Beach Bound Books
December 4th — Ms. Yingling Reads
December 5thChristy’s Cozy Corners
December 6thCrossroad Reviews
December 7th — A Dream Within A Dream
December 10th — Book Briefs
December 11th — Chat with Vera
December 12th — Bookhounds
December 13th — Java John Z’s
December 14th — Unleashing Readers


Follow Margaret: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Kiandra has to use her wits and tech-savvy ways to help rescue Edwy, Enu, and the others from the clutches of the Enforcers in the thrilling final novel of the Children of Exile series from New York Times bestselling author, Margaret Peterson Haddix.

Since the Enforcers raided Refuge City, Rosi, Edwy, and the others are captured and forced to work as slave labor on an alien planet, digging up strange pearls. Weak and hungry, none of them are certain they will make it out of this alive.

But Edwy’s tech-savvy sister, Kiandra, has always been the one with all the answers, and so they turn to her. But Kiandra realizes that she can’t find her way out of this one on her own, and they all might need to rely on young Cana and her alien friend if they are going to survive.


About the Author: Margaret Peterson Haddix is the author of many critically and popularly acclaimed YA and middle grade novels, including the Children of Exile series, The Missing series, the Under Their Skin series, and the Shadow Children series. A graduate of Miami University (of Ohio), she worked for several years as a reporter for The Indianapolis News. She also taught at the Danville (Illinois) Area Community College. She lives with her family in Columbus, Ohio. Visit her at HaddixBooks.com.



             
GIVEAWAY

  • One (1) winner will receive the complete Children of Exile trilogy: Children of Exile, Children of Refuge, and Children of Jubilee
  • US/Canada only

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Pride
Author: Ibi Zoboi
Published: September 18, 2018 by Balzer + Bray

Summary: Pride and Prejudice gets remixed in this smart, funny, gorgeous retelling of the classic, starring all characters of color, from Ibi Zoboi, National Book Award finalist and author of American Street.

Zuri Benitez has pride. Brooklyn pride, family pride, and pride in her Afro-Latino roots. But pride might not be enough to save her rapidly gentrifying neighborhood from becoming unrecognizable.

When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri wants nothing to do with their two teenage sons, even as her older sister, Janae, starts to fall for the charming Ainsley. She especially can’t stand the judgmental and arrogant Darius. Yet as Zuri and Darius are forced to find common ground, their initial dislike shifts into an unexpected understanding.

But with four wild sisters pulling her in different directions, cute boy Warren vying for her attention, and college applications hovering on the horizon, Zuri fights to find her place in Bushwick’s changing landscape, or lose it all.

In a timely update of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, critically acclaimed author Ibi Zoboi skillfully balances cultural identity, class, and gentrification against the heady magic of first love in her vibrant reimagining of this beloved classic.

Teaching Pride

I love retellings of classics, and I would argue that this retelling is far superior to the original. Ibi presented at the NCTE convention, and she is absolutely brilliant. She talked about how she values the inclusion of the pantheon in literature and how she does so in her own texts. She also shared how different poems within Pride are retellings of classic poems. I love her work and will read anything she writes.

Love stories are tricky. They can get sappy quickly. This book is so much more than a love story. It interrogates themes related to economics, race, education, and gender.

Gentrification

“It’s a truth universally acknowledged that when rich people move into the hood, where it’s a little bit broken and a little bit forgotten, the first thing they want to do is clean it up. But it’s not just the junky stuff they’ll get rid of. People can be thrown away too, like last night’s trash left out on sidewalks or pushed to the edge of wherever all broken things go. What those rich people don’t always know is that broken and forgotten neighborhoods were first built out of love” (p. 1).

Teaching Idea: As a class, explore the impacts of gentrification and displacement. Using this knowledge develop your own form of political art (https://youtu.be/JMVd5k2a2IM) to make a statement.

Culture

If Madrina’s basement is where the tamboras, los espíritus, and old ancestral memories live, the roof is where the wind chimes, dreams, and possibilities float with the stars, where Janae and I share our secrets and plan to travel all over the world, Haiti and the Dominican Republic being our first stop” (p. 23).

Teaching Idea: Pick a place in your life, and Use Zoboi’s writing as a mentor text to share that place with others (e.g. “If [place] is where_________, [another place] is where__________, where________.”

Equity

“Sometimes love is not enough to keep a community together. There needs to be something more tangible, like fair housing, opportunities, and access to resources” (p. 33).

Teaching Idea: As a class, discuss whether love is enough and whether tangible aspects must exist in order to keep a community together. Generate a concept or brain map that depicts tangible aspects that can impact communities.

Male/Female Gender Roles

I don’t need no knights in shining armor

Ain’t no horses in the hood

I killed chivalry myself with a pocketknife…” (p. 243).

Teaching idea: The teachers finds materials/advertisements that are gender-specific, and students rewrite the materials to remove gender from the text. Students evaluate how the meaning or the impact has changed.

Education

“There is more to learn

about my old, old self, and black and brown girls like me

from hoods all over this country want to

take over the world,

but there’s something missing

in our history books the public schools give us” (p. 147).

Teaching idea: Consider the school curricula. Whose voices are honored? Whose are missing? Rewrite a course to be more inclusive.

Home

“I have always thought of Bushwick as home, but in that moment, I realize that home is where the people I love are, wherever that is” (p. 270).

Teaching idea: Where is home? Create a visual depiction of your own home, and below it, write, “Home is…” How do our interpretations of home differ? What do they have in common?

Read This If You Loved: American Street by Ibi Zoboi, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson

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In honor of our favorite conferences—the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) Annual Convention followed by the ALAN (Assembly on Literature of Adolescents of NCTE) Workshop, we are doing a countdown over the next two weeks. Each day, we will feature a list that reflects the number of days left until the conference! We can’t wait to see many of you there! If you can’t be there, make sure to follow #ncte18 and #alan18 on Twitter and other social media to participate in this amazing PD from your home.

1. Cynthia Leitich Smith

Admittedly, I have seen her speak a few times. I am very fortunate to be introducing her, and I can’t wait to meet her!

2. Tomi Adeyemi

Tomi is a powerful force. I am really looking forward to hearing her speak.

3. Emily X. R. Pan

I regularly recommend The Astonishing Color of After. My students loved this book. I am really looking forward to listening to her panel!

4. Mark Oshiro

Yes! I can’t wait to hear Mark Oshiro speak. My students just finished Anger is a Gift!

5. Elizabeth Acevedo

This woman is an idol in my class. I can’t wait to listen to her!

6. Amy Reed

I am 3/4 of the way through The Nowhere Girls. Whew. This book is great!

It was difficult to limit my list to just six authors. The ALAN Workshop is going to be wonderful! I can’t wait!
Who are you excited to hear?

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In honor of our favorite conferences—the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) Annual Convention followed by the ALAN (Assembly on Literature of Adolescents of NCTE) Workshop, we are doing a countdown over the next two weeks. Each day, we will feature a list that reflects the number of days left until the conference! We can’t wait to see many of you there! If you can’t be there, make sure to follow #ncte18 and #alan18 on Twitter and other social media to participate in this amazing PD from your home.

1. Gayle Forman

2. Ibi Zoboi

3. Don Brown

4. Sharon Flake

5. Guadalupe Garcia McCall

6. Deborah Hopkinson

7. Renee Watson

I’m so excited to see these authors speak and to hopefully be able to tell them how much I love their writing. There are also so many new to me authors I look forward to seeing also–I can’t wait to share all of the amazingness that is ALAN afterwards. 

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“Introducing the World’s Rainbow of Cultures to Kids”

I’ll never forget the first time two foreign students attended our school. The brothers, one who was in my grade, were refugees from Poland and shared stories about their experiences as they had moved through five different countries before finally being granted residency in the US. They spoke five languages fluently—something I still envy—celebrated holidays we’d never heard of and taught us games we didn’t know existed. In return, we introduced them to the basics of baseball, how to eat Oreo cookies the correct way and tried to explain why Thanksgiving was almost as important as Christmas when it came to American holidays. Thanks to these boys and other foreign students, who attended our school over the years, my interest in the world was sparked.

There are around 6,500 languages presently spoken in the world and more than 5,000 ethnic races. If each represented a different color in a rainbow swirl, it’d be an amazing mix!

Living in Europe, there wasn’t anywhere I could go without meeting people from various countries and cultures or hearing them converse in foreign languages as they went about their daily lives. Especially in the cities, the huge diversity was simply a part of life.

I was constantly amazed how the kids not only accepted this but thrived on it.

In the children’s choir I directed in Germany, there was a child from Italy and one from Spain. The first time we sang Happy Birthday (in German, and then in English), they each insisted on singing the song in their own languages too. Not wanting to feel left out, some of the other children went home and learned how to say ‘Happy Birthday’ in other languages. From then on, every birthday was celebrated through our growing list of wishes and songs. It grew to be quite the lengthy event, but the kids enjoyed every second.

Languages form an intimidating barrier, and the ‘strange habits’ of other cultures make the differences seem even larger, but especially kids look past such things and are open to other types and ways of life. How strange and fun it can be to let odd sounds roll across the tongue and know they have meaning! Or discovering an odd food or dressing in a completely different way. Cultures live and breathe and discovering this is exciting.

In the fifth grade, my son was assigned to do a report on Iceland. Of course, writing the report wasn’t exactly a joyful experience as he collected statistics surrounding the people, economy, history and political aspects of the country. Simply said, he hated doing it. Then, he had the chance to speak with someone from Iceland, learn a few words and phrases, discover some of their stranger foods and hear about other aspects of life.  The next weeks, he’d throw out random words in Icelandic, wanted to try Sheep’s Head Jelly (I was secretly happy we didn’t find it in any of the local stores), and—this I didn’t enjoy—spoke during meals while his mouth was full because ‘that’s what they do in Iceland’.

Thanks to the increased awareness of diversity, especially in children’s literature, it’s not difficult to find stories about other cultures or learn about the countries themselves. And the internet…well, that’s a realm of information all on its own. A word or phrase can be translated into almost any language instantly and spoken examples aren’t usually hard to find. My youngest loves to check her pronunciation for Chinese words on Youtube. She’ll pet the dog and say ‘gǒu’.

Games, toys, food, clothing, school life—most information is readily available and doesn’t dip into the looming hole of boredom. It’s these fun and seemingly strange morsels of information which also point toward larger explanations behind culture and history. There is a reason why people in Iceland don’t shy away from Sheep’s Head Jelly, and now, my son will never forget the importance of sheep in Iceland’s agriculture.

With an ‘international week’, kids can pick a culture and present a few words, games or other bits of information they discover and keep it fun. Even diving in with more depth into a few well known and less known cultures introduces the vast varieties of the world. But it’s not only about the differences. Everyone around the world eats, sleeps, can be afraid of the dark, loves their parents and enjoys jokes or playing around.

Introducing kids to the variety of the world isn’t only fun but broadens their way of thinking. There are several organizations and groups, which offer ideas and opportunities to help teach kids learn more. Some of these simply offer maps and virtual country tours, while others help organize Skype sessions with other classrooms or assist in connecting teachers and students with penpals from around the globe.

https://www.kidlink.org/ –  promotes a global dialogue for youth. It caters to teachers and students.
http://usa.ipfpenfriends.com/ – caters to classrooms and teachers
http://www.studentsoftheworld.info – started in 1995 and offers not only the chance to connect with youth around the world but has other information including games, maps and ‘virtual tours’ of other countries.

About the Author: Tonja Drecker is a writer, blogger, children’s book reviewer and freelance translator. After spending years in Germany exploring forgotten castles, she currently resides in the Ozarks with her family of six. When she’s not tending her chickens and cows, she’s discovering new adventures, nibbling chocolate and sipping a cup of tea.
https://twitter.com/TDrecker
http://tonjadrecker.blogspot.com
https://www.facebook.com/TDrecker

About the Book: “I only desire your talent…”

Twelve-year-old Lindsey McKay’s biggest dream is to be a famous ballerina. But after moving to New York, she ends up at the Community Center with a teacher who’s a burly bear in tights.
When she meets Madame Destinée, the teacher of a top dance school who offers her classes for free, Lindsey can’t believe her luck. In exchange, she must perform in the school’s exclusive midnight shows, ones sure to make her a star. But something’s not right…
One by one, the other dancers disappear. Each time they do, a music box with a figurine just like the missing ballerina joins Madame Destinée’s growing collection. If Lindsey doesn’t discover the truth about the dance school, she might end up a tiny figurine herself. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41452109

Thank you, Tonja, for your post!

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We are starting In-Class Book Clubs in my Advanced Reading class this week, so students were able to browse 50 or so books that I have class sets of and choose the one that they are interested in being in a book clubs about. Here are the titles they chose this year:

6th Grade Class

8th Grade Class

7th Grade Class

I’m excited for the discussions these books will bring!
I’ll share after how I changed In-Class Book Clubs since last year and how it went!

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