Blog Tour with Review and Giveaway!: The Disappearance of Emily H. by Barrie Summy


disappearance of Emily

The Disappearance of Emily H.
Author: Barrie Summy
Published May 12th, 2015 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Goodreads Summary: A girl who can see the past tries to save the future in this compelling tween mystery.

A girl is missing. Three girls are lying. One girl can get to the truth.

Emily Huvar vanished without a trace. And the clues are right beneath Raine’s fingertips. Literally. Raine isn’t like other eighth graders. One touch of a glittering sparkle that only Raine can see, and she’s swept into a memory from the past. If she touches enough sparkles, she can piece together what happened to Emily.

When Raine realizes that the cliquey group of girls making her life miserable know more than they’re letting on about Emily’s disappearance, she has to do something. She’ll use her supernatural gift for good . . . to fight evil.

But is it too late to save Emily?

About the Author: Barrie Summy is the author of the I So Don’t Do mystery series starring thirteen-year-old detective Sherry Holmes Baldwin and the recently released The Disappearance of Emily H. Barrie lives in Southern California with her husband, their four children, two dogs, a veiled chameleon, and a fish. There was once a dwarf hamster, but let’s not go there. Visit her online Facebook:

My Review: Raine has moved from town to town throughout her life as her mother tries to find the man of her dreams; however, her mom promises that this last move is finally where they are going to settle. When Raine starts school though, she finds that this may not be where she wants to stay. On top of all of this, she has moved into a missing girl’s home which throws her in the center of Emily H’s disappearance. When Raine finds herself investigating Emily, she ends up in the middle of more than she bargained form.

I often find myself struggling with magical realism books because I can’t grasp the magic that the author is trying to throw in the real world. With this book, however, I really liked the magical twist that was put on this mystery book. Raine has the ability to grab memories. She sees sparkles that show her where the memories lie, and she is transported into the memory. I really liked this addition because it reminded me a little bit of Medium the TV show–just some more clues in a mystery.

Overall a book that I read in one sitting and had twists and turns that made me want to keep reading, and the mystery itself had a satisfying ending.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This book will find its most success in a middle school classroom or school library. It is one of those books that one student is going to read and is going to make his/her friend read so they can talk about it.

In a classroom, I, personally, would use this book to talk about bullying and best choices. Sections of the book could be pulled out that will definitely start conversations.

Discussion Questions: Do you think Raine made the right choice when she discovered the secret?; Do you think Raine made the right choice when dealing with Jennifer?; Why do you think Jennifer is so mean?; What caused ____ to make the choice s/he did?; Do you believe that Raine’s mother can change?

We Flagged: “I reach into my front pocket for the small, scratched-up silver heart with a dent in the side where I once dropped it on the sidewalk. I balance the heart in my palm and watch as tiny sparkles dance across it, sparkles only I can see.

I need a memory from my first day of kindergarten. A shot of courage for facing Yielding Middle and all the yuck that goes along with being the new girl.

I close my hand to trap the sparkles, then shut my eyes, drifting into the memory.” (p. 2)

Read This If You Loved: The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney, A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd

Recommended For:

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Don’t miss out on the other stops of the blog tour!

Thursday, June 4
Ms. Yingling Reads
Fri, June 5
Mon, June 8
Once Upon a Story
Tues, June 9
Read Now, Sleep Later
Wed, June 10
Thurs, June 11
Unleashing Readers
Fri, June 12
Small Review


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**Thank you to Barbara at Blue Slip Media for having us be part of the blog tour
and for providing copies of the text for review and giveaway!**

Find Blue Slip Media on Facebook
On Twitter: @barbfisch   @blueslipper
Visit their website

Sam & Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett


sam and dave

Sam & Dave Dig a Hole
Author: Mac Barnett
Illustrator: Jon Klassen
Published October 14th, 2014 by Candlewick Press

Publisher’s Summary: Sam and Dave are on a mission. A mission to find something spectacular. So they dig a hole. And they keep digging. And they find . . . nothing. Yet the day turns out to be pretty spectacular after all. Attentive readers will be rewarded with a rare treasure  n this witty story of looking for the extraordinary — and finding it in a manner you’d never expect.

About the Creators: Mac Barnett is the author of several award-winning books for children, including President Taft Is Stuck in the Bathillustrated by Chris Van Dusen, and Extra Yarn, illustrated by Jon Klassen, which won a Boston Globe–Horn Book Award and a Caldecott Honor. Mac Barnett lives in California.

Jon Klassen is the author-illustrator of I Want My Hat Back, a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor book, and This Is Not My Hat, winner of the Caldecott Medal. He is also the illustrator of House Held Up by Trees, written by Ted Kooser, which was named a New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Children’s Book, and Extra Yarn, written by Mac Barnett, which won a Caldecott Honor. Originally from Niagara Falls, Ontario, Jon Klassen now lives in Los Angeles.

My Review and Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: I just love the work that Mac and Jon do. I don’t think I have read any of their books that I haven’t enjoyed and haven’t found myself wanting to talk about. What I love most about their books is that they are unique and so, so, so smart. Their books are like no other, and this book is no different. It has nuances you have to carefully look for, it has an ending that you can debate about for a very long time, and overall is just so well done. I think this, along with the Hat books, may be the best open-ended picture books out there. Just like wordless books, open-ended books truly invokes conversing. When I finished, I immediately asked my husband to read it, so we could discuss the ending. Travis Jonker has a great post about the different theories about the ending, but I warn you: there are spoilers in the post! Think of all the great conversations or writing your students will have/do because of this thought-provoking picture book.

For some laughs, also check out Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen Make a Book: A Transcript.

Discussion Questions: What do you think happened at the end?; What do you notice about the dog as you are reading the book?; How is the ending different from the beginning?

Book Trailer: 

Read This If You Loved: I Want My Hat Back and This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen, Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett

Recommended For: 

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**Thank you to Laura at Candlewick for providing a copy for review**

Coyote Summer by J.S. Kapchinske



Coyote Summer
Author: J.S. Kapchinske
Published March 17, 2013 by Moon Halo Books

Goodreads Summary: Heath always looked forward to summer visits at Grandpa’s—long days in the wild Rocky Mountains, fishing with Dad on the Piedra River, and nights sleeping on the screened-in porch. Plus this summer, Dad promised to finally tell him the secret about old Mrs. Baylis—a mysterious Native American woman living down the dusty dirt road… But now, after Dad’s accident, it can never happen that way. Heath and his mother go to Grandpa’s, but only to spread Dad’s ashes in the river. 

In the beginning, Heath feels like he’s been swallowed by the raging Piedra, held upside down in some dark and unforgiving eddy. But one day, wandering along the riverbank, he meets Annie, a wild-eyed tomboy who shows him a hidden cave with a litter of orphaned coyote pups. Together they discover the cave holds another secret—one that might help them figure out the mystery of old Mrs. Baylis. During that summer in the mountains, Heath comes to realize there is both beauty and ugliness in the world, sometimes all tangled together. By opening himself up to Annie and the coyotes, he rediscovers hope and joy in this big, beautiful, mixed-up world.

My Review: You have never heard of this book have you? That makes me so sad. How do such wonderful books fly under so many people’s radars? This is a special book that should be in the hands of middle schoolers everywhere! Heath is a character that so many kids will connect with, and his journey would definitely touch them like it did me.

Heath recently lost his father senselessly when he was hit by a drunk driver. The sudden loss of a man that Heath looked up to affects him tremendously, and he is struggling to find himself. Everything he does at his Grandpa’s house reminds him of his dad, and his mom and Grandpa are dealing with the death in a way that makes Heath feel alone.  But during this summer, his coyote summer, he finds his own identity, makes an everlasting friend, and begins to figure out how to deal without his dad. And there are other subplots that run throughout he book that just add to the depth of the narrative such as Annie’s story and the story of Mrs. Baylis.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This book just needs to be shared. It could definitely be read as a read aloud, but it will probably find its home the best in the right students’ hands either through the classroom library or lit circles. Students who love nature, have suffered a loss, or enjoy identity books will find this one is perfect for them.

Discussion Questions: How does finding Annie and the coyotes change Heath’s summer?; Why is Grandpa acting the way he is?; Why was it important for Heath to spend the summer with the coyotes? How did it affect him?

We Flagged: “As we sat there, a heron swooped down on the far bank and began stalking the shallows for fish. He moved slowly and hardly made a ripple when he walked. Then he stretched his long neck over the water, cocked his head, and froze.

“He’s pretty,” the girl said under her breath, as if talking to herself.

Somehow, her saying that made me feel better. “Herons were my dad’s favorite. He told me we should all learn to be patient like one of them.”

“Your dad sounds nice.”

I looked down at my hands and felt that horrible lump in my throat.” (Location 196, Kindle book)

Read This If You Loved: Hoot, Flush, Chomp, or Scat by Carl Hiassen, Lost in the River of Grass by Ginny Rorby, My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George, Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

Recommended For:

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**Thank you to the author for providing a copy for review**

Just Call My Name by Holly Goldberg Sloan


Just Call My Name

Just Call My Name
Author: Holly Goldberg Sloan
Published: August 5, 2014 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Summary: The happily-ever-after of Holly Goldberg Sloan’s acclaimed debut, I’ll Be There, is turned on its head in this riveting, emotional sequel about friends, enemies, and how those roles can shift in a matter of moments.

Emily Bell has it all. She’s in love with a boy named Sam Border, and his little brother has become part of her family. This summer is destined to be the best time of their lives–until a charismatic new girl in town sets her sights on Sam. Now Emily finds herself questioning the loyalty of the person she thought she could trust most.

But the biggest threat to her happiness is someone she never saw coming. Sam’s criminally insane father, whom everyone thought they’d finally left behind, is planning a jailbreak. And he knows exactly where to find Emily and his sons when he escapes…and takes his revenge.

Review: Holly Goldberg Sloan is an incredible writer. I enjoyed the first book in the series, but I liked this one even more. I appreciate the great depth of her characters. Often, coincidences are categorized as poor writing, but Sloan uses them intentionally and in a clever way—defying literary assumptions about quality writing. The book is quite suspenseful, and readers will have the urge to race through it to learn how the plot unravels. The way Sloan builds the plot details is very thoughtful and meticulous, and I found myself constantly reflecting about how intelligent she is. This sequel is well worth the read. It is a difficult one to put down! It reads like a very literary mystery and would be a great text for teachers to have in their classrooms. One aspect that I love about this series is it turns our concept of family on its head; it will teach readers about the power of a strong family unit—traditional or not.

Teacher’s Tools for Navigation: This would be a fantastic resource for teachers teaching plot, suspense, and foreshadowing. The way Sloan builds the events and details is admirable, and students would learn a lot from her design. While it is a sequel, I think this book could certainly stand alone. The ominous mood made my heart race! Check out more curricular connections here: Curricular Connections.

Discussion Questions: How does Sloan thoughtfully use coincidence to build her story?; What is Destiny’s role in the novel? How does Sam perceive her? Is he right? What does this tell us about Sam? Why does the author name her, “Destiny”?; How do the shifts in point-of-view add to your reading of the text?

We Flagged: “That happens to really happy people. They don’t notice the little things” (p.81).

Read This If You Loved: I’ll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan, We Were Liars by e. lockhart, YA Suspense/Mystery

Recommended For:

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Voices of the Sea by Bethany Masone Harar



Voices of the Sea
Author: Bethany Masone Harar
Expected Publication: July 22, 2014 by WiDo Publishing

Summary: Seventeen-year-old Loralei is the future Guardian of her Siren clan. To outsiders, she appears to live the average life of a teenager, but like her ancestors, her voice has the power to entrance men. But the Sons of Orpheus are determined to destroy all Sirens, and when members from her clan are savagely murdered, Loralei feels a responsibility to protect her people. When Lora meets Ryan, a new student in her school, she can’t help but be drawn to him in a way that feels both exhilarating and unsettling. The sea’s dark whispers urge Lora to find the Sons of Orpheus, and she quickly learns that no one can be trusted.

Review: I was drawn to the mystery of this novel. I found myself turning the pages quickly, eager to uncover the mystery of Half-Moon Bay. This is a book that would be very appealing to my students as it is very engaging. The romance is passionate and fiery, and it is a text that would be easily passed amongst peers. Loralei is a strong, independent woman who works fearlessly to lead her clan. She faces danger with her eyes wide open, and teens can learn much from her strength. The book is cleverly crafted with the perfect amount of detail to leave readers guessing.

Teacher’s Tools for Navigation: My heart swelled at the many references to mythology. This text is unlike others that may be defined as paranormal romance in that the author includes a rich history of Sirens. Teachers can capitalize on this by asking students to explore Sirens further or research other mythological creatures.

Discussion Questions: How does the author develop the plot to keep readers engaged? Which details does she withhold? Which does she provide? Can you see any foreshadowing?; Can Loralei trust the people in her life? Which characters feel nefarious to you? Which can be trusted?

We Flagged: “She could no more ignore the ocean than she could her own soul” (Chapter Two).

Please note: This quotation was taken from an advanced reader copy. It may change in the final publication.

Read This If You Loved:  Of Poseidon by Anna Banks, Nightshade by Andrea Cremer, Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Recommended For:



The Adventures of Arnie the Doughnut: Bowling Alley Bandit by Laurie Keller



Bowling Alley Bandit
Author and Illustrator: Laurie Keller
Published June 4th, 2013 by Henry Holt and Co.

Goodreads Summary: As Mr. Bing’s new pet “doughnut dog,” Arnie couldn’t be happier. When Mr. Bing joins a bowling league, Arnie gets to go along to practices and competitions. But then Mr. Bing starts rolling gutter balls. Someone or something is behind the madness. Arnie, together with his team of goofball friends, must sort through the shenanigans and solve the mystery. Get ready for some sleuthing and even some magic.

Full of Laurie Keller’s winning charm and silly humor, this chapter book—the first in the series—is sure to please her many fans.

My Review and Teacher’s Tools For Navigation: This book is going to be loved by kids. It is hilarious and is one rung below Big Nate on the humor, illustrated novel ladder. It is a great book to help readers get from early readers to middle grade illustrated novels. In the classroom, it would be a great book to use to practice prediction as the reader is given clues throughout the book to figure out who the bowling alley bandit is. Also, as a teacher, I personally loved all of the wit, puns, and funny similes in the book! These would be great to read with kids.

Discussion Questions: What other doughnut songs could Arnie sing at karaoke? Think of famous songs and tweak their title or lyrics to make them about doughnuts.

We Flagged: “But of all the great things about the bowling alley, my favorite is that there’s a restaurant inside called the Bowl-o’-Chow and they have a KARAOKE MACHINE! I usually watch Mr. Bing bowl for a while, and then I wander over to the Bowl-o’-Chow to sing a few songs. I was scared to try it at first, but now I’m a regular.

Here are a few of my old standbys:
Living’ la vi-DOUGH loca!
You ain’t nothin’ but a DOUGHNUT-DOG cryin’ all the time.
Fried in the U.S.A.!

And I always end with my signature song:
DOUGHNUT make my brown eyes blue.”

Book Trailer: 

Read This If You Loved: Big Nate series by Lincoln Peirce, Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey, Frankie Pickle series by Eric Wight

Recommended For: 

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Period 8 by Chris Crutcher



Period 8
Author: Chris Crutcher
Published March 26th, 2013 by Harper Collins

Goodreads Summary: In this full-length novel from Chris Crutcher, his first since the best-selling Deadline, the ultimate bully and the ultimate good guy tangle during Period 8.

Paul “the Bomb” Baum tells the truth. No matter what. It was something he learned at Sunday School. But telling the truth can cause problems, and not minor ones. And as Paulie discovers, finding the truth can be even more problematic. Period 8 is supposed to be that one period in high school where the truth can shine, a safe haven. Only what Paulie and Hannah (his ex-girlfriend, unfortunately) and his other classmates don’t know is that the ultimate bully, the ultimate liar, is in their midst.

Terrifying, thought-provoking, and original, this novel combines all the qualities of a great thriller with the controversy, ethics, and raw emotion of a classic Crutcher story.

My ReviewNow, this is not a “normal” Chris Crutcher book, but like all of his books, it is raw, true, and sports plays a role of some sort. And this one is SO full of suspense for the last 25%. It is a hold your breath, read as quickly as you can kind of book there at the end. (I do wish that this suspense had been spread out to 50% of the book. This would have helped the pacing a bit and I think it would have given Crutcher more time to give information into the crime. Although the quick pacing at the end adds to the suspense, I think spreading it out a bit would have kept the suspense and given more time to delve further into the bad guys and the mystery.)

Teacher’s Tools for Navigation: I, personally, really loved how he chose to tell the story in 3rd person. Although it doesn’t give as much insight into one character, it gives you a little bit of insight into each one, and as you are trying to figure out what is going one, it is really fun to hear from all the different characters. (Some readers and reviewers have stated that having the multiple 3rd person point of views made it so the reader didn’t really know anyone, but I think it actually helped me get to know everyone a little bit. It also allows for the reader to get snippets of not just the mystery but of the characters allowing you to build the complete character in your head.)

Another brilliant think Crutcher did was include foreshadowing scenes right at the beginning of the novel that did not make sense until the end and then I had to go back and read it. Well done!

Also, if you ever need a mentor text on complex sentence structure or descriptive language–Crutcher is for you!

Mostly, though, this book will find its home in teens’ hands. It will be as loved as other Crutcher books.

Discussion Questions: How does swimming help Paulie deal with his problems?; At what point did you figure out who the “bad guy” in the group was?

We Flagged: “He hits the water, involuntarily sucking air as the cold leaks in. The colder the better. He deserves this. Even so, he pees in self-defense, his only means to counter the ice-watery fingers creeping around his ribcage and into his crotch. He swims away from shore for about a hundred yards as his body heat warms the water inside the suit. He turns parallel to the shore and strokes, finding a candence he can hold over the next two hours. He knows how to play games to allay the monotony; fifty stroke hard, fifty strokes easy; a hundred strokes hard, fifty easy; a hundred-fifty hard, fifty easy, and on and on. An hour up and an hour back. He has taught himself to breathe on either side in order to keep the shore in sight and swim a relatively straight line. On this morning, working on zero sleep, he holds an even pace; no intervals. Just his sweet Hannah wedged in his frontal lobe. His gone Hannah.” (p. 3-4)

Read This If You Loved: Any other Chris Crutcher book, Shine by Lauren Myracle, Red Kayak by Priscilla Cummings

Recommended For: 

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