#amreading Delights

Book Report 37

The Tea Dragon Society is a graphic novel set in a fantastical world where a small group of friends tend to dragons inspired by different blends of tea. Skellig won my heart and will be one of my top books for the year. A boy finds a strange winged man/thing in his shed and tries to help. And The Samurai and the Long-Nosed Devils is the first in the Zenta & Matsuzo mysteries, set in 16th century Japan. Lots of cultural details for this historical setting, with two wandering samurai (ronin) solving the case.

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#amreading Bees and Birds

Book Report 36

I’ve discovered a fondness for novels in prose, and Rhyme Schemer is a fun one. A boy who bullies and posts rebel poems finds the tables turned. But he also finds support from his English teacher (who is awesome). Hour of the Bees brings a blended and estranged family together to sell the family ranch and move Grandpa Serge into assisted care.  He’s getting senile, except Carol is beginning to think there’s some truth to his strange stories. And in Hoot, new-to-town Roy allies himself to a feral boy in order to save a colony of burrowing owls from an incoming pancake house.

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#amreading Winged Things

Book Report 35

Flight of the Phoenix kicks off a smart lower middle grade series about a boy from a family with a long history of adventuring. My Side of the Mountain is a classic story about a boy who decides to try fending for himself, living off the land in the Catskill mountains. And Forest of Wonders is about a boy, too. Raffa’s a pother (apothecary) with an unusual knack for herbs. In saving the life of an injured bat, he inadvertently changes him … and is desperate to keep that fact a secret.

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BYWAYS: Galena

Galena

Little Details
■ Galena is expecting a baby. If she and her husband can stay ahead of the Chasers until their child is born, they’ll become free citizens of Liberty.
■ She was brought as a child from Arundel, an empire far to the south. Memories of her former home sometimes make her sad.
■ Her personal seal is an oyster with a pearl, hinting at the precious life she’s carrying.
■ Galena’s marriage to Hurlock was arranged by their owner.

#amreading Minnesota

Book Report 34

An autobiographical trilogy, in which Paulsen simply refers to himself as “the boy.” In The Cookcamp, the boy is bundled off to stay with his grandmother, who’s working as a cook for a team of nine burly men building a road through thick forests in northern Minnesota.  Alida’s Song takes place about a decade later, when the boy’s grandmother sends for him to come help in the countryside where she’s working as a cook for two Swedish farmers. (This was my favorite, often reminding me of my own childhood in MN.) and in The Quilt, we flash back to a little-boy story that celebrates the hard work and courage of the women back home during WWII. (Full reviews and fair warnings on Goodreads.)

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BYWAYS: Behind the Header

Byways, for the website

We’re taking a look behind the header on Byways cover illustrations. The series title often hides pretty scenes or special secrets. This week, it’s Zane’s turn. On Book #6, we get a dramatic first look at one of the many creatures who call the Wilds their home. Since Zane’s half-wild himself, he gets along well with everything from firebirds to fairy kestrels.

Firebird Nest

White stone littered the landscape. Round boulders came in every size, and smooth spikes jutted out of the grass like the ribs of a huge skeleton. All the green and white might have been pretty on a sunny day, but with dark clouds boiling across the sky, it was spooky.

—Byways #6, Into the Hills: A Zane Johns Adventure

Here’s what’s behind the header on the cover of Byways Book #6, Into the Hills: A Zane Johns Adventure. Continue reading BYWAYS: Behind the Header