Newbery Medal 2011: Moon Over Manifest

Devastated. If there is one word I can use to describe my state of mind after finishing a great book, it is devastated.

Devastated. If there is one word I can use to describe my state of mind after finishing a great book, it is devastated.

In trying to catch up to the ever-increasing list of Newbery medalists and honor books, I placed the latest winner, Moon Over Manifest, by Clare Vanderpool, on hold at the library.

In the excitement and stress of resigning from my day job, it took me a while to get through the first half, but I swallowed the rest whole today. And I am so happy to say that I am devastated that I am done reading it.

Abilene, a 12-year-old girl growing up during the Great Depression, arrives in Manifest, Kansas in a confused and transient state of mind. Her father has sent her to stay for the summer with people he knew eighteen years before, during another difficult time fraught with tyrannical coal mine owners, a Great War overseas, the spectre of Spanish Flu, and xenophobia. She is not sure why her father sent her, and she is reluctant to befriend anyone in the town, having grown up riding the rails with her father. However, she is curious about this town and its inhabitants, because she hopes it will help reveal her father’s past to her in a new way.

Through intimate and suspicious interactions with various townspeople, and a discovery of hidden treasure from the past, Abilene dusts off stories about the people her father once knew. And along the way, she discovers more about her father and herself than she expects.

I absolutely love the two layers of story wrapped up in this rich novel. If you’re a fan of mystery, historical fiction, and David-vs.-Goliath yarns, you’ll love this book, too.

Kirkus’s Wild World

Kirkus Reviews just released a nice list of books called “Children and the Wild World.” I have read only a few of these (Because of Winn-Dixie, Hoot, and The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate) and I remember each with distinctly strong feeling. There is something that brings out true emotion in these books. The “wild world” is a place where we all came from at one point, and we often forget that. I believe children must interact with nature in order to learn more about themselves.

So, keep this list handy. I know I will!

Yo, new book, new book!

Let's Use Our ImaginationsWhat do you like to do on a rainy day, or when you’re sick in bed, or on a long road trip? Sometimes you can have the most fun by just making something up! Use your imagination to pretend you’re exploring a castle, swimming at the beach, or adventuring into outer space. It’s super easy–and your friends from Yo Gabba Gabba! are right here to show you how it’s done. What do you think Foofa imagines? You’ll have to take a look inside this book to find out!

Fun Flaps!

safari-palsA few weeks ago, I had lunch with my editor and she was excited to show me my latest book. Safari Pals: A Lift-the-Flap Story will be available in stores shortly, and I have to brag that it is a wonderful book! In this story based on a favorite episode, Kai-lan and her friends are out to solve a mystery–who made those footprints? While they search, they encounter surprises and obstacles along the way. Kids will love the interactive format–each spread includes a flap that can be opened to move the story along.

Buy the book and enjoy this story with fun flaps! Xie xie (thank you)!

Bugs, Diego, Bugs!

its-a-bugs-worldThe month of June brings a new book to stores: It’s a Bug’s World, full of cool interactive gizmos like flaps and pop-ups for Go, Diego, Go! This is based on a favorite episode, so be sure to check it out.
Who hasn’t imagined being shrunken down to a tiny size, so that you can go on adventures with little critters like spiders and beetles? Okay, well, I did as a kid, and I bet I’m not the only one.