Archive for April, 2012

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Many happy returns of the day, Jenny!

Hau’oli La Hanau!

I hope you have a very Happy Birthday!! Love you!!


Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos

History Turns Into Itself in This Newbery Winner

Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos

Jack Gantos has a whole summer planned full of baseball, history books, and war movies when suddenly, caught in the middle of his quarreling parents, he becomes “grounded for life,” ruining everything. Even though he lives in the dying town of Norvelt (originally founded by Eleanor Roosevelt to help poor families) and there’s not much to do, when his mom volunteers him to help an aging neighbor type up the town’s obituaries, he’s less than thrilled. Soon, though, Jack finds himself absorbed in the town’s history and the “original” Norvelters, as his spunky neighbor calls them, and he’ll do anything to get out of house arrest and over to help her in her task. Soon he’s involved not only with the obituaries but in a feud with an old man who ride’s a trike, play-acting the Grim Reaper, distributing Girl Scout cookies, digging a fake bomb shelter, and a near-constant nose bleed, not to mention a potential murder. Suddenly his summer is anything but dull!

Described as “melding the entirely true and the wildly fictional,” Dead End in Norvelt is a most-times funny and sometimes heart-breaking story of a boy coming of age in an old town past its prime full of wacky yet believable characters. Both darker and lighter themes blend with Gantos’ humor as Jack finds himself imbedded in nearly everything going on in town. The relationships between Jack’s parents and himself are enough to fill a book, but author Gantos has woven an entire town’s worth of personalities and interactions together seamlessly. (more…)

It's Milking Time

A Beautiful & Authentic Midwestern Picture Book

It’s Milking Time by Phyllis Alsdurf, illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher

In the interest of full disclosure, I feel I should tell you something: I fell in love with It’s Milking Time before I opened it.

Based on author Phyllis Alsdurf’s own childhood on a Midwestern dairy farm, this book has a lyrical story, a description of the daily chores a daughter shares with her father each evening as they milk and take care of their cows. Each two-page spread is a beautiful illustration that supports Alsdurf’s simple, straightforward narrative, a step-by-step introduction to evening tasks on a small family dairy farm. The story goes beyond that, though, sharing not only chores but the loving relationship between a father and daughter as well as the relationship between humans and animals.

So you won’t think I’m overly infatuated with this book (and maybe I am), I’ll let you in on a secret: I showed this book to an authentic dairy farm girl, and she loved it too. My soon-to-be Mother in Law grew up on her father’s Wisconsin dairy farm, and she gave It’s Milking Time her official seal of approval and accuracy. (more…)

The Inside Story

More April Author Events!!

Jenny discovered a hidden jem of a bookstore called Mockingbird Books in the Green Lake neighborhood of Seattle. I’m doing a special post for this because they have some really great events coming up this month, including one of my favorite local authors, Stephanie Barden. I reviewed her first book in the Cinderella Smith series…check that out here. Her second book The More the Merrier comes out this month! Clete Barrett Smith is another favorite author of ours and he’ll be part of The Inside Story event. We met him at an author dinner for his first book in the Intergalactic Bed & Breakfast series Aliens on Vacation (check out the review and interview with him).

Tuesday, April 17th @11am Story Time

Samantha Vamos The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred

Friday, April 20th @11am Story Time

Nancy Raines Day A is for Alliguitar

Wednesday, April 25th @6pm The Inside Story (in the Great Hall above Mockingbird Books)

Stephanie Barden, Katherine Grace Bond, Martha Brockenbrough, Dia Calhoun, Janet Lee Carey, Robyn Chance, Ben Clanton, J. Anderson Coats, Kevin Emerson, Sundee Frazier, Stephanie Guerra, Mindy Hardwick, Jeff James, Patrick Jennings, Deb Lund, Katherine Schlick Noe, Julie Paschkis, Brenda Peterson, Brianna Caplan Sayres, Carole Lexa Schaefer, Paul Schmid, Clete Barrett Smith, Suzanne Williams, Jennifer Shaw Wolf

Friday, April 27th @4pm

Alex Beard Crocodile’s Tears

Saturday, April 28th @1pm

Stephanie Barden The More the Merrier (Book 2 Cinderella Smith)





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The Very Fairy Princess

Julie Andrews is coming to Seattle!!

For my monthly posts about events going on in the Seattle area, I forgot to see who was coming to the University Bookstore. I received a notice form them to inform me that JULIE ANDREWS will be doing a signing for her latest in her Very Fairy Princess series!


Saturday, April 28th @1pm

Geraldine’s friends may not believe in fairies, but she sure does. In fact, she knows that she is a VERY fairy princess, and she dresses and acts accordingly. But with such an important station in life, one has important duties and the occasional knee scrape is just par for the course when one is learning to fly. Join us for a visit from award-winning actress and author—and, let’s face it, treasure–Julie Andrews with her latest picture book.

Julie Andrews Signing Guidelines

  • A signing ticket is required to stand in the signing line.
  • Signing tickets are available by purchasing The Very Fairy Princess: Here Comes the Flower Girlfrom University Book Store beginning April 17.
  • Ms. Andrews will sign one copy of The Very Fairy Princess: Here Comes the Flower Girl per person.
  • Ms. Andrews is autographing only. There will be no personalizations.
  • No memorabilia will be signed.
  • No photos or videos please.

Signing guidelines are subject to change.

She will also be at the Lake Forest Park branch of Third Place Books on Sunday, April 29th @1pm.

Event Details


This is a ticket required event, with limited availability.  Secure your ticket with your purchase of The Very Fairy Princess : Here Comes the Flower Girl at Third Place Books.


Families may stand together in the signing line.


Purchase your book in person or over the phone only.


Signatures only.




Author Lissa Price

Author Spotlight: Interview with Lissa Price

Please give a warm welcome to author Lissa Price whose book Starters, a sci-fi thriller for young-adults, hits bookstores and libraries this month! Starters is the first in a duology of books (the second is Enders, due out December 12th), and it has a rip-roaring pace full of twists and turns galore. We met with Lissa after a shared event she had with fellow debut author Marissa Meyer (Cinder), and it was very clear what a huge fan of YA literature she is!

If you’re new to Starters, be sure to check out our review. Also check out John Scalzi’s blog where Lissa writes about how she got the idea for the series. Here’s a teaser:

My Big Idea was that in the future, desperate teens would rent out their bodies to rich seniors who could then enjoy being young again. It came to me in Costco, a few years ago. Trying to get a flu shot.


Thanks so much for meeting with us! I’d just like to say that I really enjoyed Starters, and the way you set the pace was fantastic. You talked about some of the inspiration for Starters coming from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. Did you have other literary inspirations?

I’m glad you asked that – Catherine Fisher’s Incarceron. I love that book! I am probably more passionate about that than the other two, partly because a lot of people haven’t read it and don’t know about it (even though it’s being developed into a film by Hugh Jackman’s company). I think she came up with such an amazing world. [Fisher] managed to get part of the old world in there but make everything new. I love different levels of reality–that’s my thing (MementoInceptionThe Matrix)–so, I love Incarceron. (more…)

Put this on your calendar!

Author Events for April!

There are some exciting authors coming this month. The best part about this month is that if you’re not able to see some of these authors on one day, you’ll have another chance on another day! Jenny and I get to interview Barry Lyga about his new book. I’m very excited that Robin LaFevers is back (we got to meet her at a secret author dinner at the Dahlia Lounge) in Seattle. The other BIG event that we’re looking forward to is Trenton Lee Stewart!! It’s a good month! -Ruby

Monday, April 2nd @7pm Third Place Books Lake Forest Park

Barry Lyga I Hunt Killers

Tuesday, April 3rd @7pm Barnes & Noble Alderwood

Barry Lyga I Hunt Killers

Friday, April 6th @7pm Barnes & Noble Northgate

Robin LaFevers (aka R.L. LaFevers) Grave Mercy (Book 1 His Fair Assassin) *Robin is my favorite children’s author! She has created the best character in her Theodosia series. If you haven’t read her, go to the bookstore immediately and pick up Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos. You will not be disappointed. Her newest book Grave Mercy (read the review here) is equally fantastic. -Ruby*

Monday, April 9th @7pm Secret Garden Books

Peter Lerangis The Dead of Night (Book 3 The 39 Clues: Cahills vs. Vespers)

Tuesday, April 10th @6:30pm Seattle Public Library Central Branch sponsored by Secret Garden Books

Ridley Pearson Shell Game (Book 5 Kingdom Keepers) (more…)

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