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Poetry on the Court and Diamond

Basketball season has peaked and poetry month is almost over, but here are some sports novels in verse (not so strange a genre as you might think), plus a poetic tribute to baseball, that are well worth a look. The Crossover, by Kwame Alexander. Harcourt Mifflin Harcourt, 2014, 237 pages. Age/interest level: 10-up. Basketball Rule […]

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Back to the Bibles

Last year we ran an extensive series of posts on the lucrative market of “specialty” Bibles, particularly for teens and children. That market just keeps on pumping, so it seems like a good idea to make this an annual feature. Today we’ll talk about new or new-ish Bibles for various age groups and demographics; tomorrow, […]

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The Shakespeare Stealer–and an Interview with Author Gary Blackwood

The Shakespeare Stealer (1998), Shakespeare’s Scribe (2000), and Shakespeare’s Spy (2003), by Gary Blackwood.  Penguin Group; Puffin Books.  Age/interest level: 12-16. True story: in 1998 I was shopping around a manuscript about a 14-year-old boy in 16th-century London who through a series of happy misfortunes becomes an actor in William Shakespeare’s theater company.  Before starting […]

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The Playmaker by (our very own) J. B. Cheaney

When I first read this book, I did not know Janie personally. I knew of her from WORLD Magazine, but it took a flyer at my local library for me to discover her middle grades fiction. I managed to finagle a face-to-face meet-up with Janie when she came to town for a Shakespeare Festival (and, like all […]

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Middle Grade Fiction with Fibonacci, Tesla, and More!

When I was a child I read large numbers of mysteries and was always somewhat irritated when I had to go to math class. I did just fine in math class, but all that specificity got in the way of my more verbal and creative side. If you have children that sound like this–or, believe it […]

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Adventuring with Wilder Good, Gannon & Wyatt, and a Giveaway!

NOTE: The giveaway contest is closed–congratulations to Nellie, who recommended Ivanhoe as her favorite adventure story.  “High interest” children’s literature (see our explanation here), covers many genres and age levels.  Today we look at some worthy titles in the travel/adventure genre for middle graders–and you, lucky reader, may have a chance to win three of […]

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Ukraine: Lessons in Liberty and Compassion, Pt. 2

Last week, we began our Ukrainian series with a personal reflection from our executive assistant, Hayley.  Having recently visited orphans in Ukraine, Hayley gave us insight into their situation, which is only made more tenuous by the current political upheaval.  And most importantly, she gave us a detailed look at how we (and our kids!) […]

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Retro Reads: Lloyd Alexander’s Vesper Holly Series

Ginger-haired, green-eyed, and very determined, 16-year-old Vesper Holly is ready for anything, especially an adventure.  Possessing “the digestive talents of a goat and the mind of a chess master. . . . She is familiar with half a dozen languages and can swear fluently in all of them.”  Not that she does swear –not in […]

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Retro Reads: Lloyd Alexander’s Chronicles of Prydain

It’s Retro Reads week with Lloyd Alexander! Today, we take a look back to Lloyd Alexander’s marvelous Chronicles of Prydain, the first of which was published 50 years ago. The Prydain Chronicles are modern classics which have influenced contemporary fantasy literature for children and remain highly readable/enjoyable in their own right 50 years after their first […]

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Retro Reads: The Sword in the Stone

This week we begin a series of occasional posts called Retro Reads: those modern-day classics you may have missed in your teen years or before you were even on the radar screen.  We’ll do this mostly by author: Beverly Cleary, E. L. Konigsburg, Elizabeth Speare, Natalie Babbitt—and any favorites you’d like to suggest?  We launch […]

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Sequelville: in Which We Follow up on Some Old Favorites

Sometimes fans of a popular book DEMAND a sequel (see Origami Yoda, below), and sometimes the entire series is planned out from the beginning.  Whether a series conclusion lives up to its promise is another story, but all of these sequels have their charms.  Click on the highlighted title of the previous book to read […]

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