Whose Story Is This, Anyway? by Mike Flaherty


whose story is this anyway

Whose Story Is This, Anyway?
Author: Mike Flaherty
Illustrator: Oriol Vidal
Published May 3rd, 2016 by Sterling Children’s Books

Summary: What’s this book about? That depends on who you ask. Our humble narrator thinks he’s got a great story for you, but he barely begins before he’s interrupted . . . by a scallywag pirate with a thrilling legend of mermaids and sea monsters! Soon an entire cast of colorful characters—including a hungry dinosaur, an alien bent on world domination, and a heroic knight—derails the boy’s saga. Everyone has a tale to tell—but if they can all get on the same page, this might turn out to be the best story ever!

About the Author: Mike Flaherty is an author and occasional hockey coach trying to keep up with his two kids and rather voracious cats. His secret lair is hidden somewhere in New Albany, OH, and he would be the world’s greatest super-villain if he could figure out how to get his Doomsday Device working. Until then, he’ll just keep writing stories.

About the Illustrator: Oriol Vidal is an illustrator and storyboard artist based in Barcelona, Spain. He graduated from UB Barcelona with a degree in Fine Arts. Including illustrating books and magazines, Oriol has worked in animation where he developed character designs and storyboards for clients in the US, France, UK, South Korea, and Spain. He happily works and lives with his little daughter, his wife, his cat, and his rowdy budgie.

Kellee’s Review: This book made me laugh out loud. The characters are zany, the premise is fun, and the outcome is perfect. I also loved the comic-esque layout of the book with dialogue bubbles and colorful illustrations. Trent and I were enthralled with the cast of characters–the author really made sure to include all kids’ favorites.

Ricki’s Review: This is a book that somehow manages to cram in almost all of my son’s favorite things—and in an interesting, humorous way! With each page, my son says, “Ooooh!” because he is so excited by the characters. I particularly like how the narrator has a cat. Too often, male narrators always hold dogs and female narrators always hold cats. My son, who loves cats, is catching on to this, and it frustrates me. The creativity in this book is admirable, and kids will love it.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This book will be such a fun addition to the classroom. It can be used for writing activities and for discussions (or as a mentor text) for point of view, voice, dialogue, humor, or narration. First, it would be really fun to rewrite this story from different points of view. Since each character thinks it is their story, their view of how things went down would be very different than the boys. It is also so great how the author gives each character their own voice and personality which would lend it to be a good mentor text for distinguishing voice and using dialogue. Also, students would have so much fun writing their own story about how each character ended up on this particular beach with this boy.

Discussion Questions: Why does the boy change is mind at the end of the book?; Which character would you want a whole story about?; How do you think each character ended up at this beach?; How would you have reacted if you were the boy?

Flagged Passages: 

Whose Story Spread

Read This If You Loved: Faraway Friends by Russ Cox, By Mouse & Frog by Deborah Freedman, Little Red Writing by Joan Holub, Nibbles by Emma Yarlett, Journey by Aaron Becker

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**Thank you to Sterling Publishing for providing copies for review!**

Windsnap Wednesday! Blog Tour, Giveaway, and Author Interview: Emily Windsnap by Liz Kessler




Emily Windsnap series
Author: Liz Kessler
Illustrator: Sarah Gibb

Book 1: The Tail of Emily Windsnap
Published April 27th, 2010 by Candlewick Press

Book 6: Emily Windsnap and the Ship of Lost Souls
Published August 4th, 2015 by Candlewick Press

To celebrate the book birthday of the sixth book in the Emily Windsnap series, we want to share with you information about the series, a link to the activity kit for the series, an exclusive interview with the author, and a giveaway of ALL of the books in the series!

The Tail of Emily Windsnap Goodread’s Summary: For as long as she can remember, twelve-year-old Emily Windsnap has lived on a boat. And, oddly enough, for just as long, her mother has seemed anxious to keep her away from the water. But when Mom finally agrees to let her take swimming lessons, Emily makes a startling discovery – about her own identity, the mysterious father she’s never met, and the thrilling possibilities and perils shimmering deep below the water’s surface. With a sure sense of suspense and richly imaginative details, first-time author Liz Kessler lures us into a glorious undersea world where mermaids study shipwrecks at school and Neptune rules with an iron trident – an enchanting fantasy about family secrets, loyal friendship, and the convention-defying power of love.

Emily Windsnap and the Ship of Lost Souls Publisher’s Summary: A field trip to a mysterious island quickly turns into an adventure when Emily Windsnap and Aaron discover a secret lookout point from which they spot a ghostly ship that no one else seems to be able to see. The ship appears and disappears only at certain times of day—growing fainter each time. Searching for answers only leads to more questions until Emily and her friends confront the island’s keeper, uncovering the incredible story of a ship caught between land and sea, day and night . . . life and death. Only Emily, with her ability to transform from mermaid to human, can enter Atlantis to try to bring the ship’s passengers back before the portal is closed forever. Emily knows that if she fails, not only will the passengers never see their loved ones again, but Emily won’t be able to return either. Will she be able to resist the allure of Atlantis and return home before it’s too late?

Activity Kit can be accessed here.

About the Author: Liz Kessler is the author of the New York Times best-selling series about Emily Windsnap as well as three adventures about Philippa Fisher and her fairy godsister. She is also the author of the middle-grade novels A Year Without Autumn, North of Nowhere, and Has Anyone Seen Jessica Jenkins? and the Poppy the Pirate Dog series for young readers. Liz Kessler lives in England.
Twitter: @LizKessler
Website: http://www.lizkessler.co.uk/


Unleashing Readers: What has been the hardest aspect of writing a series? What has been the most rewarding?

Liz Kessler: The hardest thing is making sure I remember everything that has gone before. I once knew an author who had one of her characters doing something in a book and had forgotten that she’d killed him off in an earlier chapter! Luckily, I don’t generally kill off my characters (I’d miss them too much) but when you are writing the sixth book in a series, that’s five books-worth of characters and stories to remember!

Most rewarding – I love having interaction with my readers and hearing about how Emily has inspired them, either with their reading or in their lives in general.

UR: How has Emily changed and grown throughout the series?

LK: Well, in many ways, she is the same person as she started out being: she likes adventure, she will always look after her friends and family, and she will always stand up for what she believes in. But she has matured a bit as the series has gone on. For one thing, she now has a boyfriend as well as a best friend! For another, I think that she thinks about things a little bit more before plunging into the next adventure. Luckily for me – and for my readers – she still plunges in once she’s thought about it! Life would be boring if she didn’t!

UR: How did you plan the series? Did you have the whole series outlined when you wrote the first book?

LK: Not at all. I wrote one book, had the second in mind and didn’t know what would happen after that! Each time, I’ve had a new idea and something that I’ve wanted to explore, and I’ve loved diving back into each book.

UR: What other character in the series do you think has had the biggest effect on Emily?

LK: Gosh. Good question. The other characters affect her in different ways. Shona gives her confidence and makes her feel good about having a best friend. Emily has a LOT of adventures because of her friendship with Shona. Mandy made her think about forgiveness on quite a deep level, as did Mr Beeston. Neptune is the one who challenges her the most. And Aaron has brought out a whole new side to her. Can I say all of them???! 🙂

UR: Next to Emily, who is your favorite mermaid?

LK: I love the ‘Real Mermaids’ series by Hélène Boudreau right now.

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Thank you so much to Liz Kessler for the interview and Candlewick Press for providing copies of the books for giveaway!

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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

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