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Styx Malone and the Power of Personality

I could not put down the Season of Styx Malone, by Kekla Magoon (Wendy Lamb Books)

What grabbed me? First, the opening:

Two Tales of Adventure

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Knights, castles and dragons, oh my!

Thomas and the Dragon Queen, a lively middle-grade novel, has knights, castles, mighty war horses, princesses and dragons. The reader starts out thinking they know what they are getting from a book with those ingredients, but Crum turns almost every one of those characters and plot devices on their ears. So much fun!

Loner in the Garret and Other Books to Keep You Company While Writing

Everyone who writes has days when they wonder what they heck they are doing. On a good day you can move past that and put some words on a page. On a bad day, you binge watch Frankie and Grace on Netflix, am I right?

Dragons, Chocolate: A great combination

After reading Dragon with a Chocolate Heart and The Girl with the Dragon Heart by Stephanie Burgis, I wonder that there aren’t more books that combine chocolate and dragons. That’s a winning and — to my mind — unique combination. Burgis does a great job creating spunky characters who face daunting challenges but prevail with bravery, honesty and a little help from their friends.

A Middle Grade Novel That Knocks Cliches on Their Head ... Heads?

Goodbye Stranger, by Rebecca Stead (Wendy Lamb Books) is not a new book, but it is one of the most fully nuanced stories of middle school that I’ve read.

Author Will Make You a Fan of Non-Fiction

As a longtime fan of local author Patricia Hruby Powell, I’m pleased to review her latest book, Struttin’ with some Barbecue: Lil Hardin Armstrong Becomes the First Lady of Jazz (Charlesbridge). One of Powell’s many talents is telling a narrative non-fiction story with bounce and verve. Her language and rhythm pulls even the most reluctant reader right into her story. Illustrations by Rachel Himes further enliven the text.

The Difference Between the Almost Right Word and the Right Word….

It is not unusual for people to comment on my vocabulary. Although it is typically not critical, I feel squeamish. How can people not know these — to my mind — perfectly ordinary words and how can they function without them?


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