Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Hook's Revenge by Heidi Schulz: Blog Tour: Guest Post: DIY Pirate Costumes


Arrr! Welcome to the next stop in the HOOK'S REVENGE blog tour! Today I'm thrilled to have the fabulous, dreaded pirate, Heidi Schultz, also known as the author of HOOK'S REVENGE, here on the blog! She's stopped by to tell us how we can dress like a pirate!! 

DIY Pirate Costumes


Arrr! International Talk Like a Pirate Day is in just two days! Yesterday I shared some piratical words to get your speech shipshape, but now we need to do something about your clothes. No self-respecting pirate would be caught dead wearing jeggings and flip-flops! You’ll want something to inspire a bit more terror in your friends and loved ones this weekend. But who has time to shop with all the pillaging you’ve got planned?


DIY Pirate costume to the rescue!


Follow these three rules and you’ll have a pirate costume in no time:


  • Pillage your own closet, keeping a weather eye out for black and red.
  • The hallmarks of any DIY pirate costume are these three things: scarves, belts, and jewelry.
  • Attitude is everything.


Pillage your own closet


Last Halloween, I decided, two hours before going out, that I wanted to dress up. I generally put on a costume every year, planning weeks in advance, but last year we had some other things going on and I didn’t think I would want to. When I realized I really did, it was almost too late!


I opened my closet to see what I could come up with and saw my old forest fairy costume hanging next to a long denim jacket. Eureka! I decided to be a pirate fairy.
See photo here.


For a straight-up pirate costume, I could have easily ditched my wings and replaced my fairy dress with a long, white men’s dress shirt under my jacket, perhaps tucking the collar under and adding a short red or white scarf, a la Disney’s cartoon Captain Hook.


Or, I could have turned myself into a lesser crew member with an oversized t-shirt, (striped would be great), belted at the waist with a long scarf. I’d wear it over leggings and boots or loose fitting, cut off khakis and sandals.


Once you start looking over your closet with the dead-eyed stare of a pirate, you may be surprised at the treasure trove that is there. Keep a particular sharp eye out for anything red or black, the most swashbuckling colors there are. And if you don’t see what you are looking for, perhaps you could move on to another closet in your house—a roommate or significant other’s? I mean, you are a pirate, after all, right?


Scarves, belts, and jewelry

Pirates love to accessorize. Scarves can be worn around the waist, draped across the body, or on the head.


Layer on some belts. Use different widths and colors. Fasten a couple together to wear across your body. If you have an old one you don’t want to wear any more, consider cutting it short and adding a new hole. It’s now a wrist cuff.


And bring on the bling: Oversized earrings, necklaces, and bracelets of all kinds. Show off your hard won booty. (Um, not that kind of booty. I mean, unless you want. Who am I to judge?)


Attitude is everything


In Hook’s Revenge, the pirates in Jocelyn’s crew weren’t very experienced (you’ll learn more about them later this week), but that didn’t keep them from acting the part.


They knew that much of being a fierce pirate is how you carry yourself. Sneer, growl, shout out “ARRRR!” and “Bucko!” at random moments.


Battle scars and injuries also help lend an air of danger. If you have an eye patch lying around (and who doesn’t?), go ahead and don it. But if not, you could simply adopt a squint. No peg-leg? Exaggerate a limp. No hook for a hand? Just do what One-Armed Jack, one of Jocelyn’s crewmen, did and tuck an arm inside your shirt.


Now that your pirate costume is complete, I’d love to see it! Tweet me a picture @HeidiSchulz or tag me on Instagram @HeidiSchulzBooks. And don’t forget the ARRRR, Bucko!

About The Book

Twelve-year-old Jocelyn dreams of becoming every bit as daring as her infamous father, Captain James Hook. Her grandfather, on the other hand, intends to see her starched and pressed into a fine society lady. When she’s sent to Miss Eliza Crumb-Biddlecomb’s Finishing School for Young Ladies, Jocelyn’s hopes of following in her father’s fearsome footsteps are lost in a heap of dance lessons, white gloves, and way too much pink.
So when Jocelyn receives a letter from her father challenging her to avenge his untimely demise at the jaws of the Neverland crocodile, she doesn’t hesitate-here at last is the adventure she has been waiting for. But Jocelyn finds that being a pirate is a bit more difficult than she’d bargained for. As if attempting to defeat the Neverland’s most fearsome beast isn’t enough to deal with, she’s tasked with captaining a crew of woefully untrained pirates, outwitting cannibals wild for English cuisine, and rescuing her best friend from a certain pack of lost children, not to mention that pesky Peter Pan who keeps barging in uninvited.
The crocodile’s clock is always ticking in Heidi Schulz’s debut novel, a story told by an irascible narrator who is both dazzlingly witty and sharp as a sword. Will Jocelyn find the courage to beat the incessant monster before time runs out?
Purchase Hook’s Revenge: Powell’s | IndieBound | Barnes & Noble | Amazon



Heidi Schulz is a writer, reader, and giraffe suspicioner. She lives in Salem, Oregon with her husband, co-captaining a crew made of their teen daughter, a terrible little dog, and five irascible chickens. Her debut novel for middle grade readers, HOOK’S REVENGE, will be published by Disney•Hyperion on September 16, 2014. A sequel, HOOK’S REVENGE: THE PIRATE CODE, will follow in fall 2015. Bloomsbury Kids will publish her picture book debut, GIRAFFES RUIN EVERYTHING, in 2016.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Back To School with Jessica Darling: Back To School Advice from Author Megan McCafferty

Happy Marvelous Middle Grade Monday!


Today we're going Back To School (Middle School that is) with Jessica Darling!
Just in case you've not yet met Jessica Darling, she is the character in author Megan McCafferty's Jessica Darling's IT LIST, and her upcoming release, Jessica Darling's IT LIST 2. 


Inquiring minds wanted to know, what kind of advice author Megan McCafferty would give to those in Middle School. Here's what she said:

I started middle school with no friends.  I’m not exaggerating. No one from my elementary school was in my Honors classes. This wasn’t much of a loss because my sixth grade diary is filled with ALL CAPSY pronouncements such as:

NO ONE LIKES ME.
WHY IS EVERYONE SO MEAN?

And:

I HAVE NO FRIENDS.

So I was kind of desperate start my own clique in seventh grade. And I went about my friendship recruitment all wrong. I tried WAY TOO HARD to appeal to TOO MANY PEOPLE. Being open-minded and approachable is one thing. Being needy and fake is something else entirely and it’s NOT GOOD.  I could write a book detailing the intricacies of making and breaking friendships--OH WAIT I TOTALLY DID. So read that. But here’s the recap: ONE TRUE FRIEND IS BETTER THAN A POSSE OF POSEURS.

My story has a happy ending. Eventually I fell into a superduperbestfriendship with a smart, funny, artistic girl in my Honors classes named T.J. And when we were together—a clique of two, talking about everything and nothing at all—I felt like the most popular girl in school.  

About Megan's Books


By: Megan McCafferty
Published by: Poppy
Released on: 9/3/13
Add it to Goodreads

Move over, Dork Diaries! Jessica Darling, star of Megan McCafferty's bestselling Jessica Darling series for adults, is back in a hilarious new series perfect for tween (10 to 14) girls.

I hadn't even gotten to homeroom yet and I'd already discovered five hard truths about junior high:

1. My best friend had turned pretty.
2. She didn't know it yet.
3. It wouldn't be long before she did.
4. That knowledge would change everything between us.
5. And there wasn't a thing I could do about it.

It's the first day of seventh grade. Is Jessica Darling doomed for dorkdom?

New York Times bestselling author Megan McCafferty's hilarious series opener will have you laughing, cringing, and cheering for Jessica Darling as she learns that being herself beats being popular, pretty & perfect any day.


By: Megan McCafferty
Published by: Poppy
To Be Released on: 9/23/14
Add it to Goodreads

Jessica Darling is getting the hang of seventh grade -- finally! While her old BFF, Bridget, is busy talking (nonstop) about her new boyfriend, Burke, Jessica tries to fit in with her new friends, Sara, Manda, and Hope. The IT List instructions from her sister, Bethany, and an epic slumber party may help Jessica secure her spot in the cool clique, but does she even want it?

Megan McCafferty's It List series introduces readers to Jessica Darling, an unabashedly brainy seventh grader who stays true to herself, even if it means being (totally not) cool.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

New To My Shelves: My Love of KidLit/MG Books Continues to Grow

It's been a long time since I've shared a Mundie Kids in my mailbox/new to my shelves post. While I can't promise I'll make a weekly post about books I have purchased or have recently received for review, I am going to try and do a much better job at spotlighting some of my new arrivals. Here are some of my newest arrivals from over the past couple of weeks, that will be featured here on the blog in the coming days and weeks. 

For Review





Bought


Thank you to
Disney Hyperion, Farrar Straus & Giroux, Harper Collins Children's BooksRandom House, Simon Kids & Crown Books for these fabulous reads. 

What MG/KidLit books have you recently added to your shelves?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Remembering 9/11 & Talking To Your Tweens About It

Remembering September 11th, 2001


Today is a day where our nation comes together to remember the events on 9/11. For me, on this day 13 yrs ago, I will never forget what I was doing, where I watched the news at, and the wide range of emotions I felt that day and for a long time to come. As a parent, each year I have talked to my kids about the events that happened on this day back in 2011, but on a level they'd understand. For the first time I sat down and really talked about this day with my son, who come home earlier this week asking questions about it. This morning we talked more about it. 

Though my children were not born yet when this happened, this is a moment in our nation's history that will never be forgotten, and a day that will always be talked about. Sometimes it's hard to talk to our kids about tragic events, even if it happened years ago. This morning I saw a post made by Scholastic Parents on Facebook. They shared an article that helps parents explain the tragic events of 9/11 to tweens through non-fiction and fiction books. You can find the list here

Sometimes I wish there weren't stories like this, so I wouldn't have to tell my kids what a scary place this world can be. It would be so easy if my kids lived in a happily ever after kind of fairy tale we often times find in children's books. It would be comforting if I knew they could be kept safe from the horrible things that are in our world. Then there are other times that I realize if they had that, they'd never realize or learn about the good that can come from such tragedy or get told about the heroic acts that saved more lives. Like the passengers who over took the hijackers of the plane that crashed in the PA field, or the scores of firefighters who lost their lives rushing into the burning World Trade Center to save countless lives, or learn about the people who were on the streets that day who witnessed the planes crashing into the World Trade Centers, and rushed other witnesses to safety. There are many more stories of those who went out of their way to rush others to safety, who put their own lives at risk. 

Through all the tragedy that played out on this day 13 years ago, there are many stories of good. They are many heroes, and many victims from this day. Sometimes it's hard to convey what we want to tell our children. Sometimes it's even harder to know what we should say or find the right words to say so that we can help our children understand and cope with their learning of these events. Sometimes books give us the words we lack. Hopefully someone reading this may find the list of recommended books to help talk to your child, that Scholastic Parents created, helpful. 


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Kate Walden Directs: Bride of Slug Man by Julie Mata; Cover Reveal

Kate Walden Directs fans, I've got something exciting for you today!! 
The Cover of the next Kate Walden Directs book!
Check out the cover below for the Kate Walden Directs: Bride of Slug Man, which will be out in May 2015 from Disney Hyperion. 


About Book
In the hilarious sequel to Kate Walden Directs, Kate is back and ready to make her second feature. But when big city kid, Tristan Kingsely, comes to town, it looks like Kate has some competition.

After her huge success with her first feature-length movie, seventh-grader Kate Walden is eager to start on her next film, a sci-fi romance called Bride of a Slug Man. When a new kid comes to town from New York City, Kate thinks she might have a new found film buddy—someone to share her interest with. And it doesn't hurt that he’s pretty cute. But it turns out that Tristan is making his own movie, and now the classmates Kate thought were eager to join her cast and crew are divided.

With rumors spreading in school and between sets, Kate finds herself juggling more than just call times and rewrites. And judging from the whispers Kate hears about Tristan Kingsley, she suspects that he isn’t interested in having a fellow film-buff friend; he just wants to prove himself as the best filmmaker in school by winning the Big Picture Film Festival. Kate vows to enter too, and tries to focus on just making the best movie she can.

But between the cutthroat popularity contest, a bully situation that goes from bad to worse, and several on-set mishaps, Kate is going to need all the movie magic she can get to make sure Bride of a Slug Man hits the big screen.

Add it to Goodreads 

About Author
Julie Mata grew up outside Chicago and currently lives in Wisconsin. She loves movies and once wrote and directed her own short film. She also loves traveling, gardening, and reading a really good book. She is the author of Kate Walden Directs: Night of the Zombie Chickens.

Share Your Thoughts
Tell us what you think of the cover below in the comments.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Room on the Broom, Movie/DVD Review



Room on the Broom is about a kind witch who invites some unexpected animals to join her on her broom, much to the frustration of her cat.  Just as she is about to be eaten by a fearsome dragon, the witch is saved by the gang of animals, all working together.  The cat learns the importance of friends & family, and the witch rewards her new friends with a magnificent broom for everyone!
Produced by Magic Light Pictures (the team behind award-winning animations The Gruffaloand The Gruffalo’s Child) the half hour animation of Room on the Broom is a magical film about friendship and family based on the wonderful children’s picture book written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler.
Featuring an all-star cast of Gillian Anderson, Rob Brydon, Martin Clunes, Sally Hawkins, Simon Pegg, Timothy Spall and David Walliams, Room on the Broom is a delightful animated tale that the whole family can watch and enjoy together (Quoted from here).

A beautifully animated story about friendship. This is a movie that I wish I had seen/picked up sooner. Now I get why it's won theParent's Choice Gold Award. It's definitely deserving of that. This story follows that of a friendly witch, and an unlikely group of animals, as they go on an adventure on her broom. When trouble finds them via a dragon, the friends rally together to save the Witch. What I loved leading up to that point, is how the Witch and the cat met the dog, the green bird and clean green frog. Each of their differences plays an important part in the story, and the immediate acceptance the Witch has for each of them. 

From the creators of The Gruffalo, fans of all ages will love Room on the Broom. This is definitely a must have! It's a timeless tale about friendship, and love. You can find more information about the movie here. Or, if you're like me and find yourself strolling through your local Target store and happen upon the Fall/Halloween aisle, grab yourself a copy of the movie. You'll be glad you did! This movie has already become a hit in my house, and we've only owned a few days. 



Find out more about Room on the Broom. Here fans can find out more about the story, DVD, the books, sign up for news, and play interactive Room on the Broom games

The Iron Trial by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare; Launch Party TONIGHT at Books of Wonder


Guess what new Middle Grade book is out today!?! That's right, Holly Black & Cassandra Clare's The Iron Trial!! You can join the release party fun TONIGHT at Books of Wonder! Can't make it to NYC? That's okay. They've got you covered. You can contact them to pre-order your signed copy and they'll not only send it out to you (world wide), you'll be entered to win a signed copy of Cassandra Clare's upcoming release, The Bane Chronicles! Get all your information for how to order and about tonight's LAUNCH PARTY HERE


Monday, September 8, 2014

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: The Iron Trial by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare


 

The Iron Trial by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare is being released TOMORROW!! 
Recently Cassandra Clare shared a piece of art Magisterium art on her Tumblr page. Check it out below:



Here's what she said about it;

My favorite piece of Magisterium art, by Scott Fischer. Call stands before the Iron Gate. At the end of each year at the Magisterium, students must pass through a gate to prove their mastery of the elements. Call knows he shouldn’t cross this gate — but he wants to.



There's still time left to pre-order your SIGNED copy of The Iron Trial from Books of Wonder! When you do, you'll be entered to win a signed copy of The Bane Chronicles. Get all the details here

Holly Black & Cassie answered a question about the comparrisonte of Harry Potter and their new series:

Friday, September 5, 2014

My Bibi Always Remembers: An Interview With Author Toni Buzzeo & Illustrator Mike Wohnoutka

I am so thrilled to have My Bibi Always Remembers author Toni Buzzeo and illustrator Mike Wohnoutka on the blog today! I recently read their newest release, which I highly recommend picking up, and LOVED it! As in, this book is on my 2014 favorites list for children's books. I recently had the chance to ask Toni and Mike a little bit about their book, and here's what they had to say: 



Hi Toni and Mike, welcome to Mundie Moms / Mundie Kids!

Toni, congratulations on your recent release, My Bibi Always Remembers. This was such a wonderful story. I recently read it with my daughter, who loves elephants. What inspired you to write a story about these magnificent animals, and what kind of research went into writing My Bibi Always Remembers?

I am a school librarian by profession, though I write full time now, so for me, research is always the first step in writing. I did both primary and secondary research. First, I’ve visited Kenya twice and spent time with the elephants of Amboseli National Park. I have truly have fallen in love with these magnificent, huge creatures. 




They live in families, nurture their babies, and work as a group to ensure the safety of all members. They are led by grandmothers, matriarchs who carry the wisdom of the family with them. In addition to visiting them in person, I read every single thing I could about elephant families and watched video after video. I love research!


And how could a girl like me not fall in love with a family led by a grandmother? My own Grandma Mae was the single most important person in my life.


From the day I was born, she loved me, cared for me, nurtured me and gave me all the time and attention she had to give. We walked for miles, we read for hours, we played for days. So when I saw the grandmother elephants leading their families, memories of my own loving grandma flooded me and I knew how I would tell the story!

Mike, your artwork is amazing! I absolutely loved the way you were able to capture and bring to life Toni's story. What was your illustration process like for My Bibi Always Remembers? Do you read the book, and visualize certain moments, or do you collaborate with Toni, and ask her how she would like you to illustrate each page?


Thank you!  As the illustrator for a picture book all I get is the text.  No art suggestions are given.  Most people are surprised to learn that the author does not get a say in what the illustrations will look like, and the author and illustrator do not work together. The publisher wants the illustrator to bring their unique vision to the story. However, with Toni it was a little different since she’s an expert on her subject, and it’s a more realistic book. After reading the story many, many times I started with very rough thumbnail sketches. When I felt like the sketches were ready I sent them to the publisher. This was where Toni got involved, but, only talking to the publisher. Toni always had very keen observations, like in my original sketches I had the elephants tusks going up rather than down.  I generally don’t look at reference material when I start the sketches for a book. I feel if you use too much photo reference when working on those first rough sketches the drawings can get rather stiff and the photos start dictating poses and scenes.  After seeing the comments from the editor (and Toni) I made revisions (now using lots of reference material) and once those sketches were approved, I did color studies and then the final paintings.


Toni, I love that your story is one that both educates readers about elephants, but also tells a story about Little Tembo and her family as they travel together. Was that something you had set out to do when you first started writing Tembo's story?

Tembo and her Grandmother. Those were the two characters I wanted you to know, and so I studied elephants, both little and big, young and old, during the research process. But as you say, I also wanted to tell a STORY. So I needed to find a compelling problem for the elephant family as a whole.  A drought is, unfortunately, not an uncommon problem for the animals of Kenya, which is why I chose it. It would then be important for Bibi, the grandmother, to get her family to water in a distant place she remembered from the last drought.


But little Tembo would continue to be her cute, playful, curious self, unconcerned about the necessity of finding that water, just like any young child would be.




I DID set out to introduce my young readers to elephants while telling a story they could relate to because it is likely they have been as curious and playful as Tembo!

Mike, what was one of your favorite pages to illustrate? 

Every time I start the paintings for a new book I feel like I can’t do it.  But with every book there’s always one painting that stands out for me and makes me feel like, yes, I can do it. For this book it’s the painting of Tembo following her mother on page 13, which was also used on the Title Page.


Toni and Mike, what is one of your favorite pictures books you'd recommend to our readers to pick up?

Toni: I just adore picture books, so it’s hard to choose just one! I hope your readers will read the other two companion books to My Bibi Always Remembers, of course, 


but I also hope that they’ll read Mama Built a Little Nest by Jennifer Ward, illustrated by Steve Jenkins, to learn more about animals—this time birds!


Mike: I have two children (Franklin, 9 and Olivia, 6).  We read together a lot - mostly picture books.  We have something we call “Battle of the Books”, where I read 4 or 5 picture books per night.  Each night we do a secret ballot ranking them.  The winner of each “battle” goes into a bracket where they will eventually face off in a picture book tournament, not unlike the NCAA basketball tournament.  This is a great springboard for conversations about what we like in a book.  After reading more than 275 picture books the winner was “The Salamander Room” by Anne Mazer and illustrated by Steve Johnson, which is one of my all-time favorites. Toni’s “One Cool Friend”, another favorite, made it to the Final Four.



Thank you to Toni and Mike for being here today! This is one children's book I highly recommend picking up!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Hug Machine by Scott Campbell, Book Trailer Reveal

Happy Friday! I am so thrilled to team up with Simon & Schuster to reveal the hilarious, and must watch book trailer for Scott Campbell's upcoming release, HUG MACHINE. Before I share it, here's a little bit about his upcoming children's book:



By: Scott Campbell
Published by: Atheneum Books For Young Readers (Simon & Schuster)
To Be Released on: August 26th, 2014
Ages: 4-8
Pages: 40

Who have YOU hugged today? Open your arms to this delightfully tender, goofy, and sweet tale.

Watch out world, here he comes! The Hug Machine!

Whether you are big, or small, or square, or long, or spikey, or soft, no one can resist his unbelievable hugs! HUG ACCOMPLISHED!

This endearing story encourages a warm, caring, and buoyantly affectionate approach to life. Everyone deserves a hug—and this book! 

Check out the Hug Machine Book Trailer:



My favorite part of the trailer was the tree hug. haha
Please leave us a comment and let us know what you thought about the trailer. 

You can read a sample of the book, find out where you can pre-order Hug Machine and more, here



Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Best Back to School Books for Your Kids from Harper Children's Books


Looking for a great back to school book for your child? Harper Collins Children's Books has you covered. Check out their list of The Best Back to School Boos For Your Kids



We know how exciting and intimidating the first day of school can be for kids. Books are a great way for children to get ready for their first day back at school. Your child will be able to relate to the stories and characters in the books below, enjoy the fun adventures and learn from the challenges they faced.

Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes

Ages 4-8
The blossoming Chrysanthemum begins to wilt when she attends school and her fellow students make fun of her name. Your little one will appreciate this funny and honest story about school teasing, self-esteem and acceptance.

Clark the Shark by Bruce Hale, illustrated by Guy Francis


Ages 4-8
Clark loves life! But what happens when he is too enthusiastic for his friends and classmates to handle?

Bully by Judith Caseley

Ages 4-8
Bully is about a boy who gets advice from different people on how to handle a bully without any results. That is, until he discovers on his own how to handle the bully. This book is one that many kids will be able to identify with and shows that there are different ways to solve a difficult problem.

My New Teacher and Me! by Al Yankovic, illustrated by Wes Hargis



Ages 4-8
“Weird Al” Yankovic’s tale of Billy is an entertaining back-to-school story that’s sure to keep your kid laughing.

Rules for School by Alec Greven, illustrated by Kei Acedera



Ages 6-10
Sixth-grader Alec Greven passes down his wisdom and advice to help students starting out or the ones that started out on the wrong foot.

Lone Bean by Chudney Ross


Ages 8-12
Bean is a spunky third-grader who learns what it means to be a good friend, and that it’s possible to have more than one.

The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes


Ages 8-12
This award-winning story about second-grader Billy Miller is filled with laughter and friendship and elementary school adventures. 

I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~ Anna Quindlen

Good children's literature appeals not only to
the child in the adult, but to the adult in the child.
~ Anonymous ~