Don't Vote For Me {spotlight}

by Krista Van Dolzer
Release Date: August 4, 2015
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Goodreads Link:

Buy Links:
Barnes & Noble- 
Books A Million-

Veronica rules the school
David’s starting a revolution.
It’s class president election time and no one is surprised when Veronica Pritchard-Pratt is the only name on the list. She’s the most popular girl in school, a social giant who rules the campaign every single year. David, for one, is sick of the tyranny- which he says. Out loud. When Veronica hears about this, she issues a public challenge to David. With his pride on the line, David accepts his fate and enters the race.
But as the campaign wages on, and David and Veronica are also paired up for a spring music recital, David learns this Goliath is more than just a social giant- and maybe deserves to win more than he does…

Excerpt from Don’t Vote For Me:

Spencer opened his mouth to answer, but before he could get a word out, his attention shifted to something—-or someone—-over my shoulder. Grudgingly, I turned around. Veronica was climbing onto the populars’ table, giving everyone a look at her signature All Stars. They were in such good condition that they looked brand-new, but I’d been shopping secondhand since Radcliff, one of my brothers, had introduced me to the art nearly six years earlier. Those skinnier toe caps meant that that pair of All Stars was thirty years old (at least). If Radcliff had been here, he probably would have offered her his whole PEZ collection—-not to mention his firstborn child—-for those vintage shoes.
I tried to tell myself that her plans had nothing to do with me, but I still wanted to dash. Except I couldn’t move. Not even the lunch ladies were immune to Veronica’s powers. One of them tried to intervene, but one look from Veronica froze the woman in her tracks.
Veronica surveyed the lunchroom like a queen surveying her kingdom. “It has come to my attention that a certain unnamed someone thinks I don’t have the perspective to speak for this class. Now, I’ll remind this someone that I’ve won the last two elections without breaking a sweat, but in case you think I won because no one ran against me, let me set the record straight. I’m perfectly willing to campaign against anyone—-and I mean, anyone—-who thinks he or she can beat me.” She scanned the crowd with frosty eyes—-until those eyes landed on me. “So by all means, join the race. And may the best candidate win.”
She held my gaze for one more second, then tossed her hair over her shoulder and hopped down from the table. Brady extended his hand, but she paid it no heed. After disposing of her bagel, she swept out of the lunchroom with her nose in the air.
While her friends raced to catch up, I just sat there, stunned. I’d already lost my appetite, but now I was afraid that I might lose my lunch. I wrapped an arm around my stomach and hunkered down behind my lunch box. Maybe if I asked him nicely, the Tick would fight my battles for me.
Riley shivered from head to toes. “What are you going to do?” he whispered.
“What do you think?” I asked. “I’m gonna hightail it to Panama and open up a taco shop.”
“You can’t make tacos,” he said. “And I don’t think they eat them there, anyway.”
“And,” Spencer replied, “you don’t have a passport. I’d let you borrow mine, but you’re pastier than I am.”
Spencer was the only kid in SV who had an actual passport, which he used to travel between SV and Hong Kong. He was born in New Hampshire (or maybe New Jersey), but his parents were Hong Kongans (or whatever you called them).
I knotted my arms across my chest. “Then I’ll just do nothing,” I said.
Spencer rolled his eyes. “You can’t do nothing,” he replied. “That’s what we’ve been trying to tell you.”
“Of course I can,” I replied, coating each word with confidence. “I’m really good at doing nothing. It’s one of my better skills.”
Riley snorted, then sighed.
“This will all blow over in a few days,” I said. “You just wait and see.”
Spencer inhaled another wad of French fries. “You don’t believe that for a second.”
Of course I don’t, I almost said, but for once, I kept my mouth shut.

Back To School {with new picture books}

Hard to believe it's almost that time already in many places. Back to School time can cause kids to be excited and a bit nervous (as well as us parents). Books are a great way to get your little ones ready for the big day. They are also great way to get the kids in your classroom calm and not so scared. Here are some great new books out to include in your back to school reading time. 

Back to School Round-Up

The Very Best Teacher!
By Ye Shil Kim
Illustrated by Miku Moriuchi
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
June 30, 2015

Ten little mice search for the perfect gift to give their teacher!

Tomorrow is Ms. Tulip's birthday and a celebration is in order! But how will her ten students decide on the right present? Luckily ten minds are better than one when choosing the ideal gift for the very best teacher.

Amazon | B&N | BAM | !ndigo | IndieBound

About the Author:

Ye Shil Kim is the author of numerous picture books in Korea. She works as an illustrator agent for EenArt in Korea.

About the Illustrator:

MIKU MORIUCHI graduated with a BA in illustration from the Norwich School of Art and Design, and an MA in illustration from Brighton University. She has illustrated 21 picture books, and lives in London.

Off to School!
Created by the Sesame Workshop
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
July 7, 2015

Tomorrow is a very exciting day--it’s Elmo’s first day of school! And Elmo needs your help to get ready. Let’s go off to school!

Smart Start Series
By: Ellen Honeck, Ph.D, Nancy B. Hertzog, Ph.D, and Barbara Dullagan, M.Ed.
Prufrock Press
August 1, 2015
Series Info:

The Smart Start series fosters engaging conversations for parents and their children through the use of interactive questioning. Images in these books convey children in realistic and familiar stages of play, and each image’s corresponding questions prompt children to think at critical, creative, and mathematical levels about their everyday surroundings and activities. The open-ended questions stimulate curiousity and invigorate conversations between parents and children. The books in this series highligh the vast world of a child’s imagination and encourage children to think deeply about the objects and situatious they’re faced with every day.

Around My House!
The first book in the Smart Start series for pre-readers fosters engaging conversations for parents and children through the use of interactive questioning. Images in this book convey realistic and familiar settings around the house: in the kitchen, the playroom, the bedroom, the garage, and more.
Amazon |  B&N |  BAM

Let’s Play!
The second book in the Smart Start series. Images in this book convey children in stages of play, and each image’s corresponding questions prompt children to think at critical, creative, and mathmatical levels about their everyday surrounding and activities.
Amazon|  B&N |  BAM

Let’s Go to the Market!
The third book in the Smart Start series. Images in this book convey chidren and parents in a familiar shared experience: going to and exploring the market. 
Amazon | B&N | BAM

About the Authors:
Ellen Honeck, Ph.D., is Dean of Gifted and Talented Academy for Laurel Springs School
Nancy B. Hertzog, Ph.D, is a professor of educational psychology at the University of Washington and the director of the Halbert and Nancy Robinson Center for Young Scholars. She is the author of two books, Ready for Preschool, and Early Childhood Gifted Education.
Barbara Dullaghan, M.Ed., is currently Elementary Gifted and Talented Coordinator for Bloomington Public Schools in Minnesota.

thank you Sourcebooks Jabberwocky for creating this Back to School spotlight post with all your great new picture books. While the post includes links I'm not affiliated with any so I receive no money if you click and buy from them. 

Dear Opl {spotlight}

by Shelley Sackier
Release Date: August 4, 2015
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Buy Links:
Books A Million-

There are three things Opl never expected to do during the eighth grade:
● Start a vendetta against celebrity check Alfie Adams, the “Nude Food Dude”
● Take yoga classes with her grandpa
● Become a famous blogger
But after a year of shrinking down her personality to compensate for the fact that her body’s getting bigger, Opl thinks it’s about time to start speaking up again. What she doesn’t expect is that everyone actually starts to listen…

Excerpt from Dear Opl:

First blog entry:
 My name is Opl, I’m thirteen years old, and this is my blog. My mom wants it to be a food journal. A log of chow. But I can’t see that being a good idea at all. Then it would just be a catalogue of crimes. My grandfather says I should use it to write about things that make me angry. He says it’ll be more interesting than listing everything I eat. It’s true. Anything would be more interesting than that. And because I know my mom will never read this, I might as well unbolt the floodgates.
Number one. No more Tylenol syrup. It’s now pills. That sucks.
Number two. Kids who don’t wash their hands after they go to the bathroom. I see it all the time and it’s disgusting. Everything you touch in school has already been touched by somebody else who didn’t wash their hands. It is the world’s most super-gross thing. Except for seeing grown-ups kiss. That’s grosser.
Number three. Getting in trouble for falling asleep in my boring history class. Pinching doesn’t work. Wiggling gets me snapped at. And you can’t listen to our teacher’s voice. It’s a soft, buzzy drone. Within thirty seconds, it feels like my brain is being sucked out of my skull. My eyes spin around to the back of my head just before my chin slides off my hand. Last week I had to walk around looking only to the left for two days because I wrenched a neck muscle.
Finally, I’d like to complain about our school’s new lunch menu rule as of today. Last year my lunch was perfect. Monday through Friday at exactly 11:50, my grade went to the cafeteria. My plate held a double cheeseburger with ketchup, mustard, and extra mayo—­pickle on the side. I also had cheese fries with extra cheese—except on Fridays, it was chili fries. And finally, I adored my jug of chocolate milk. I loved that lunch. I needed that lunch. And now someone has taken away the chocolate milk and replaced it with plain.
I asked one of the lunch ladies if there was more in the back, but she just shook her white-­netted hair at me.
“Well, where’s the strawberry milk?”
She pressed her lips together.
“Did the milkman run out? Why are we short?” I wanted to bang my tray on the counter. This needed fixing. And fast.
Another woman leaned over the cash register and barked, “New state policy. No. Flavored. Milks.”
“What?” I actually thought my shoulders were going to fall down to where my elbows hung. I was that disappointed. I’d been hearing the annoying buzz about some schools around us making changes like this. But not my school. My school was fine the way it was.
Tomorrow I’ll bring in a container of Hershey’s syrup and store it in my locker until lunchtime. “Never mind,” I told the lunch ladies. “Today I’ll have a blue Gatorade.”
I can think of a bunch of other stuff I’m all huffy about these days, but it’s getting late. I’m not sure how I feel about this bloggy thing, mostly because Mom has high hopes pinned on its big ole donkey butt. It’s no different than the rest of my silly diaries. Except now my bellyaching is electronic.
Later gator,

Rafflecopter Giveaway: 2 copies of Dear Opl. Runs July 26-August 31st a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author:

Shelley Sackier is an author and blogger who writes about the everyday ordinary grand slams and gruesome snafus in completing the Herculean task of raising two healthy human beings. Ultimately she hopes to impart the necessary knowledge of how to balance their checkbooks and pay their taxes. Here greatest hope is to discover that parallel universes are a reality, and that somewhere she is living a life where her children have agreed to occasionally make eye contact with her. They live in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

You can read more of her work, illustrated by Robin Gott, at

Social Networking Links:

Castle Hangnail

by Ursula Vernon
Dial Books for Young Readers

 When Molly shows up on Castle Hangnail's doorstep to fill the vacancy for a wicked witch, the castle's minions are understandably dubious. After all, she is twelve years old, barely five feet tall, and quite polite. (The minions are used to tall, demanding evil sorceresses with razor-sharp cheekbones.) But the castle desperately needs a master or else the Board of Magic will decommission it, leaving all the minions without the home they love. So when Molly assures them she is quite wicked indeed (So wicked! REALLY wicked!) and begins completing the tasks required by the Board of Magic for approval, everyone feels hopeful. Unfortunately, it turns out that Molly has quite a few secrets, including the biggest one of all: that she isn't who she says she is...

First off I have to say don't judge this book and think it's scary or to dark for kids to read. This book is not any of that, it is just a fun light heart-ed fantasy. Sometimes we judge a book by it's cover  and that might be the case with this book, but I have to say you would miss out on a gem of a book! Castle Hangnail is the perfect little book for all the fantasy loving kids out there who have outgrown the picture books and beginning chapter books. This is sweet and funny novel that is perfect for  your upper elementary reader to middle school reader. Hey even you might love it, I know I enjoyed it. Castle Hangnail is perfect for some read aloud time if your kids still like or let you do that. There is no evil or gore in this, just fun quirky cast of characters. The writing captures the reader and transports you into the world of castles, magic and minions. Molly is a delight as well as the minions, I mean who doesn't love minions they are so in right now. If you have a child or student that loves fantasy Castle Hangnail is great for all the kids out there who have read just about every other fantasy and magic book out there and are looking for a great book to read. While Castle Hangnail is a fairly big book it is a fast read since your kid won't want to put it down. Ursula Vernon is also the author of the popular Dragonbreath series which is so fun to read and very popular with the 3rd graders and up. This book is a about Molly finding her place in the world, growing up and being true to who she is. I really hope that Molly's story is just beginning and we will be able to read more about Molly, and everyone else at Castle Hangnail.

thank you so much Penguin for sending me a copy of Castle Hangnail for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the free book. We truly loved Castle Hangnail and I know it will be one that is read again and again!


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