Monday, March 31, 2014

Friday, March 21, 2014

Evil Eyes Tour


Lisa is so ready for a break from the grueling first semester of college. Along with five other friends, she returns to Landry, and hopes to have nothing but fun. Within days, one of the group is the victim of a vindictive stalker, and Lisa herself is now in the man's sights. No matter what she does, she can't shake this person.

Fred has a little problem, but he figures he can take care of it himself, if he achieves fame with his folk rock band, Olney-Oak Lane Sounds. Then he happens to see this beautiful woman, who turns out to be just like every other woman he's met. He takes care of her, and is immediately drawn to Lisa. No one will get between Fred and Lisa, absolutely no one.

On Christmas Eve, Lisa has to fight for her life and sanity after Fred kidnaps her. She turns out to be very different from the other women, in a way he never figured.
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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Fractured Fairy Tales



You know I love a good fairy tale but I love a twisted fairy tale even more.  The first one I ever shared with my students was the wolf’s point of view in a take off of The Three Little Pigs.  Here are some I think you will enjoy.  Don't forget to enter the raffle for It Happened One Day.  All you have to do is comment on this blog and tell us your favorite fairy tale.


Three Billy Goats Fluff by Rachael Mortimer

 Mr. Troll can’t sleep with all the racquet the goats are making but Mother needs them to cross the bridge so they can eat and get good and fluffy.  Mr. Troll threatens but Mother devises a plan so everyone lives happily ever after.  Great pictures! I would read this book to kids 4-8.


The Prince of the Pond: Otherwise Known as De Fawg Pin by  Donna Jo Napoli

 This is the story about what happened when the prince first got turned into a frog.  He gets some help from the local amphibians and they are all impressed because he is unlike any frog they have ever seen.    I would read this to kids 5-8.


Goldilocks Returns by Lisa Campbell Ernst

 All grown up now, Goldilocks is wracked with guilt over what she did to the bears so she returns to make it up to them.  She goes all out, even decorating their home for them.  The bears hate it but she’s oblivious and off she goes.  What’s a bear family to do?  You’ll get a kick out of the solution for as they say history repeats itself.  I would read this book to kids 4-8.


The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by John Scieszka and Lane Smith

 Here is the wolf’s side of the story.  I never met a kid who didn’t like this book.  It is funny and can lead to some great discussions on point of view with older kids.  I would read this book to kids 5-8.
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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Interview with Cecily Paterson

Today we are fortunate to have the author of Invisible with us to answer a few questions.  I am thrilled that she agreed to talk about her wonderful book with us.

How did you decide to have a deaf heroine?
Making Jaz deaf was actually driven by the plot. In order to have the 'big
reveal' at the end, I needed her to not understand how her father died. Most
kids pick these sorts of things up, but if she couldn't actually hear anyone
around the time of his death (she lost her hearing aids in the confusion)
she would have a much smaller chance of understanding exactly what was going

You seem to know a lot about deafness. How did you learn so much?
Here I have to acknowledge that I probably appear to know more than I
actually do. I've known a few people who've had to wear hearing aids,
although only one of them was deaf to the same extent as Jazmine. I spoke to
an audiologist friend of mine who specialises in hearing aids for children
and gained some knowledge that way, but the rest of it was just trying to
imagine how life would be if you couldn't hear a lot of what was going on
around you.

Did you know that Jaz was going to be ok when you started writing or did
that just evolve as you wrote?
Yeah, I knew she'd be okay. She had to be!
She has strength inside her. It just needed to find its way out. Besides, I
write to a plan. I always have the end in mind when I start.

Shalini is a bully in every sense.  Were you ever bullied in school?
Again, yes. I went to boarding school when I was 11 and had a terrible first
year. The girls weren't as obviously tough and mean as Shalini and her crew,
but they didn't have to be to make my life miserable. It's worse at boarding
because your enemies have access to you day and night. Class time actually
felt like a break for me. The real hassles came after meals and on weekends.
Girls can be pretty mean. And when it goes on all the time, with no real
let-up, it can give you a lot of internal stress.

I loved the dynamic among Liam's group of friends.  Did you have a group
like that when you were in school?

I would have loved to, but sadly no. Because of the bullying in Grade 6, I
spent a lot of my school years feeling that I was 'tolerated' rather than
'liked'. I gained more confidence after school when I realised that I could
actually be myself and hang out with people who were being themselves as
well. Liam's group is more like the awesome people I hung around with at

I liked the contrast between Jaz and Gabby's adjustment to school life. Tell
us a little about that.

Jazmine sat on the edges, watching and waiting. She inched in, taking
painfully slow steps, constantly battling her own doubts. Gabby, on the
other hand, bounced in with her arms open wide and claimed people as her
instant friends. (I once was friends with a girl called Rachel who did
exactly the same thing. All of a sudden we were besties and I hardly knew
how it had happened!) Jazmine and Gabby are incredibly different, but in one
way, they're exactly the same: neither of them show other people their real
selves. They just use different self-defence mechanisms.

Tell us a little about your writing process. Do you write every day?
I have two designated writing times per week for my novels - both when my
three year old is at preschool, but I do 'work' at the computer every day,
either blogging (, answering readers' letters, doing
social media or trying to promote my books in some way. I have to be totally
alone and quiet to write my books. My husband is not allowed in the room and
I can't bear music or the radio.

How did your characters come into your life?
I'm actually pretty hopeless at making up people from scratch. I do best
when I can base the person on someone I know or have seen in real life.
Jazmine came from a girl I know called Mollie. She was so shy that when her
mum told me that she loved drama and 'came to life on the stage' I couldn't
believe it. 'There's my story,' I thought, and the seeds for Invisible were
planted. Coco and Charlie Franks in my new book, Love and Muddy Puddles, are
based on more real-life people - twins who moved from Sydney to the country.
And the book I'm working on at the moment is based on a trio of year 6 girls
I spied in a choir performance. Their body language was so intriguing that I
thought, "I bet there's a story about who's boss in that little group," and
Abby Smart was born.
By the way, there are some photographs of my real life inspirations on my
website at

Tell us about your most recent book
Love and Muddy Puddles is quite different from Invisible. To be honest, I
needed a break from all the intensity of Jazmine's life, so I wrote
something that made me laugh a little more.

Coco Franks is a trying to make a name for herself away from her twin
sister, Charlie, who is better than Coco at, well, everything. Coco decides
that fashion and popularity can be her specialty and works hard to get into
the popular clique at her school. When her dad decides on the spur of the
moment to move the whole family to the country, Coco is devastated. Her life
is about to be ruined
and no one seems to be listening to her.

Love and Muddy Puddles is about real friends, real beauty and real ways to
fall off horses and break your ankles. I enjoyed putting Coco into some
pretty hair-raising and icky situations (think leeches on her bottom and a
lot of horse poo) and I loved seeing how her eyes were opened up to get a
much better picture of herself at the end.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St, Patricks Day

Invisible by Cecily Anne Paterson


Rated 5 STARS



Jazmine is a young, deaf teen who,since her father’s death has closed herself off from the rest of the world by becoming invisible.  She stays as inconspicuous as possible by sitting quietly with some rough girls at lunch.  She feels embarrassed and frightened if too much attention is given to her.

One day, the rough bunch of girls she eats lunch with, led by Shalini hatch a plan to destroy the drama room at school because Shalini didn’t get the part she wanted. Jazmine is forced to tag along and the destruction begins. Jazmine doesn’t know what to do so she just stands around until a certain prop catches her eye and she hides it from the other girls.

They all get caught and are suspended but Jazmine is given a second chance by the drama teacher.  She has to be Miss Fraser’s assistant for the school play.  In spite of herself, Jazmine starts to enjoy working on the play and does things that she never did before.  Suddenly she starts to find herself by writing in a journal, making friends and living life to the fullest.

When Shalini returns to school with a shameful secret about Jazmine’s past, every thing seems to be falling apart.  Should Jazmine go back to being invisible?


I loved this book.  Jazmine was well defined and I could really understand her feelings.  I thought that feeling invisible in highschool is a common thing and I was happy that she was able to start appreciating her strengths and coming into her own. 

Her mom was a sad woman who thought keeping silent about problems was the right thing to do so people would still like you.  Unfortunately, Jazmine embraced that philosophy.  I think the mom was very believable in her frustration.

The new friends that Jazmine makes are a wonderful bunch who get along and tease and play together and stick together if things get tough.  It would be wonderful if all invisible kids could come across a group like these friends.

Her budding romance with Liam is sweet and age appropriate.  He is a cutie and a half!

Shalini and her fellow bullies were scary and mean without becoming cartoonish.  I felt sick when Shalini came back and made Jazmine’s life miserable.

I especially liked the way the author shared Jazmine’s feelings through her writing in the journal.  They were true and deep and I teared up many a time.

I think you would really love this book if you were ever a teenager or are one now!

SPECIAL NOTE:  Come back tomorrow for an interview with the author, Cecily Paterson.

Thursday, March 13, 2014



No books today. I just wanted to tell you about the cool contest that is coming up in Kidz Korner next week.  I will be giving away the book, It Happened One Day, to a lucky winner.  It is one of the books I told you about in I Know a Story.
It is an "antique" so I hope you'll enter the raffle.
See you next week with Fractured Fairy Tales.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Monday, March 10

No Read Around Sue today.  I'll be back next week with my review of Invisible by Cecily Paterson.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

World Book Day

Read a book today!

Erin Go Bragh!

St. Patrick’s day is around the corner and although I’m not Irish but I still like to celebrate the day.  Wearing green and having a green dinner is how I celebrate.  It’s usually still cold and gloomy so it’s a good chance to have some fun and cheer up.

Here are some books to share with the kids.

 St. Patrick’s Day by  Anne and Lizzy Rockwell

 The Rockwells do it again and explain St. Patrick’s day with a group of first graders and their teacher.  Cute drawings to go with the easy text.

There was as Old Lady Who Swallowed a Clover by Lucille Colandro

The old lady is at it again and you can learn some St. Patrick’s day items to boot.  The drawings are crazy fun and the cadence of the text is familiar to all.

That’s What Leprechauns Do by Eve Bunting

 Three leprechauns start out their day determined not to get into any mischief …so, of course, they make mischief all the way.  I loved the drawings and the story.

St. Patrick’s Day Alphabet by Beverly Baris Vidrine

 Who  would have thought you could make a whole alphabet book about this holiday?  You will learn a lot about Irish culture when you pick up this book.

Now don’t forget to serve the kids green milk and green cookies on the 17th.  Until then, keep on reading!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Read Across America

Where U @? by K.C. Sprayberry

  Rated 4 STARS


Trea, a quarter Cherokee girl, has a rotten life.  Her father bailed on the family and her mother got obese and her granny fights with her mom all the time.  Her mother owns a crappy little house, eats candy by the ton and even entertains a few “gentleman” callers.
School isn’t any better.  A trio of girls make Trea’s life a living hell.  She tries to avoid them but it is almost impossible.

There is only one light in this dim existence and that is her boyfriend, Dave.  Dave is what every girl dreams of.  He’s the quarterback on the football team and smart enough to get into Harvard.  His family is rich but he is modest.  He is kind and caring of Trea and she loves him truly and deeply.  But she doesn’t ever ever want him to see where she lives.
A “chance” encounter with Dave’s family and their generosity to her finally make her break her resolve and she lets him take her home.

Everything changes with the sudden reappearance of her deadbeat dad and he gets a job under a false name and even tries to hide a whole other family!  Trea is devastated and doesn’t want anyone to know about that either.
When Dave is involved in a tragic accident, Trea feels like her emotional support has disappeared but she underestimates herself and the group of people who have come to love her.
Deadbeat dad and her mother disappear and Granny changes the way things are run at home and suddenly, things are looking up.

I really liked Trea.  She had the conflict of home and school.  She was surrounded by jerks but she took refuge in her relationship with Dave.  I was glad she finally was able to take control of her own life.

Dave was the perfect boyfriend who really understood Trea and her insecurities.

The adults in the story were not as well written though.  I thought they seemed too broadly sketched.  Trea’s mom and dad had no redeeming qualities.  They reminded me of cartoon villains.
Dave’s parents were too good to be true. 
Granny’s swift change of heart after the parents took off was heart warming but a true 180.  I was curious to know where she got all the money to take such good care of Trea.

 In spite of its flaws I enjoyed the story of Where U @?  It kept me engaged mainly because I was hoping for a good ending for Trea and I was not disappointed.