“Survivor Girl” by Erin Teagan is so good you will not stop reading it, and when you are done, you will want a sequel. Alison, the main character, has mixed feelings about her dad. She learns things about him that disappoint her, but she also learns aspects of herself that help her in life-threatening situations. If you want a good and intriguing page-turner, flip to the first page of “Survivor Girl.” Be prepared for adventure! Continue reading
What better way to introduce children to the language and ideas behind computer coding (or just codes in general) than by reading picture books that combine real information with a bit of story-telling to inform and entertain.
“How to Code a Rollercoaster” written by Josh Funk and illustrated by Sara Palacios is a lively story about Pearl, who visits an amusement park with her robot, Pascal. This brightly illustrated picture book introduces kids to the language of computers. Readers learn what words like “loop,” “code,” “variable,” and “value” mean. In fact, they also learn computer reasoning like true and false and “if-then-else.” Adults just might learn a bit about computer programming from this quick, interesting read. The author knows what he writes about because he’s a software engineer. This is not his first picture book. (Viking)
“Winterwood” by Shea Ernshaw is about witches. Specifically it’s about Nora — daughter, granddaughter, great-granddaughter, and more — descended from a long line of witches who live and practice their magic along the shore of Jackjaw Lake and in the shadow of the forest outside the town of Fir Haven.
The Walker women came out of the forest back in the days when Fir Haven was a small gold mining town, and ever since, they have lived in a log cabin between the summer cabins and the dark forest. Nora lives there with her mother, now that her grandmother has died, leaving Nora with her moonstone ring. But Nora’s mother has left to sell her honey (charming bees is her particular magic), and Nora is alone in the cabin with only her wolf, Fin, to protect her when a blizzard envelopes the town and cuts off electricity and the roads.
“Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? Big Questions from Tiny Mortals about Death” by Caitlin Doughty, after two weeks in print, was eighth in hardcover nonfiction in the New York Times list of of bestsellers. Death sells. Doughty writes a book that will simultaneously make you gag and smile, but certainly won’t make you die laughing. In fact, that’s one question that isn’t answered in this book with strange facts about dead bodies and death — can you die laughing? Apparently no child asked that question. Maybe in the next book, Caitlin?
While this memoir, “An Elephant in My Kitchen: What the Herd Taught Me About Love, Courage and Survival” is, in a way, a sequel to “The Elephant Whisperer,” it’s a different story with a different writer. Françoise Malby-Anthony is a fabulous narrator, and her story brings readers to tears at times, but her strength and her determination shine through, as do her compassion and her inner goodness.
Both books are about Thula Thula, the game reserve that Françoise and her late husband, Lawrence, built together. He was the animal guy, and she took care of the lodges, booking guests and running the marketing. He was out in the field, solving elephant problems and issues with poachers, while she dealt with bad Tripadvisor reviews.
Last Friday I got a text from a young high school friend. She sent me a video of a black cat walking by her bus stop in our neighborhood. She said it looked skinny and seemed to be limping. It went up to a house where there was food outside, and when the man inside tried to greet it, it ran away.
I decided that I would try to help that cat, so after work I took a can of cat food and went to the house where they were feeding it. The woman who lived there agreed that I could try to trap the cat and get it medical care. She said that she would keep the cat if we caught it! I left canned food in the bowl she had left outside (filled with dog food). The next morning I went back and saw the food was gone. I left more food and explained that I was trying to find a humane trap and how they work. Continue reading
Mysteries are fascinating to both kids and adults. Luckily, picture books are available to feed this need for fabulous books to get kids hooked on mysteries. From picture books for early readers to picture books for older readers, it’s covered.
The series began with “The Darkdeep,” a horror story by Ally Condie and Brendan Reichs, and now the stories of the monsters and the mystery behind the appearance of “The Beast” might just be solved. In the first book, we learn about the quiet town of Timber in the Pacific Northwest, and about several of its teenage residents.
Nico is the son of an environmentalist, and with his friends Opal, Emma, and Tyler, and another teen, Logan, the son of the richest businessman in town, all happen upon a houseboat in the middle of an unnamed island. Strange things happen both in the houseboat and in the waters around it, but in this second book, they learn that the fate of the world may be on their teenage shoulders.
When a new Susan Isaacs novel comes out, her fans take notice. She’s not an extremely prolific writer; instead, she takes her time and writes a book every few years. But every one of her books has been a New York Times bestseller. She says she writes the kind of books she’d like to read — and she succeeds in writing books people love to read.
Reading children’s books is a great way to get information about many topics. These biographical picture books will educate readers on people they might not otherwise know about. Each story is fascinating and gives insight into how people with inner strength and fortitude can change the world. Continue reading
Michael Grant’s first adult novel, “A Sudden Death in Cyprus,” is a convincing demonstration of his unique skill in creating prose fiction of virtually any genre or targeted age group.
In this novel, Grant creates a protagonist who is very much like the author himself. Like Grant, David Mitre (just one of his aliases) dropped out of high school, started a life of crime, and met that perfect woman in the window. Like Mitre, Grant was a fugitive from the law — perhaps that’s why he took a pseudonym as an author. Regarding the Grant/Mitre oneness, Grant explained to me, “Frankly I thought Mitre might be insufferable, so I’m relieved people don’t seem to hate him (me). The Mitre ‘voice’ is a pretty faithful representation of what goes on inside my head.” So it’s not “just” a mystery, it’s also a character study — of the author and what he might have become had he not chosen well in terms of a life partner. Continue reading
How much does our subconscious control our reality? Do our fears and our regrets shape what we see and experience?
In “The Shape of Night,” Tess Gerritsen most definitely does not answer those questions. When food writer Ava Collette rents an historic mansion on the coast in Maine, she is fleeing a horrible decision she made that resulted in tragedy. She leaves her friends and her family to grapple with her feelings of guilt, and she also needs to finish her new cookbook, which is behind schedule.