Wednesday, June 13, 2018


You can thank me if the next time you see Adam Gidwitz he dates your book. Just sayin.' And I'll say that many of the kids in the Maple Hill High School class of 2024, 25 and 26 will probably remember June 12, 2018, for a long time.

I have been a fan of Adam's since the first Grimm book.  Fast forward a few years to winter 2016-17 and we are all behind The Inquisitor's Tale. In fact, it won our Newbery Consensus Club and needless to say we were more than thrilled when it won Newbery Honor in 2017 that I lost my voice that morning.

Now 17 months later, Adam ran through our Castleton red carpet.

And even though he was only at school for two hours, it was worth every second. Students and faculty were all still buzzing about it today.  Which brings me to this post by Evan who chose to spend his lunch with me so he could dictate a mash up of The Inquisitor's Tale review and a recap of Adam's visit.  Enjoy...

"I have to say the Inquisitor's Tale is really good. I never read the author's note but I had to read the author's note because I had to read about how he came up with this book and the research he did.  And the author's note was really good.  He spent a year in Europe and he went to Paris and other parts of France.  Adam was at our school yesterday and I saw him in the hallway signing the posters we have up because it was Adam Gidwitz mania in our school and I saw him with my Newborn [2018] book group leader, Mrs. Warland, and I told Adam that he responded to my blog post.  He said he remembered me but just didn't know my name.  I thought that was so cool that a Newbery Honor author remembered me and responded to me.  
"He was just so nice and so good.  He was up. He was active and was happy to see all of us. He was happy to see all the kids.  He was happy to see all the sixth graders from last year.  You could tell from his expression on his face that he was just "wow."  And I think he really liked the atmosphere of our school. He seemed really excited to be here. I don't even know how many authors we have had our school, but I loved Adam Gidwitz.  He had to be my favorite author to come to my school yet.
"Give some credit, too, to Hatem Aly.  Because it said in the author's note that they would draw in the margins just random drawings and the most popular one they would draw is a guy getting shot in the butt with an arrow.  Pretty interesting, right?
"At the presentation, Adam told us that he actually went to one of the monasteries called Mont-Saint Michel and he had a guide with him because there is quicksand. That's included in The Inquisitor's Tale (read it to find out).  And there was quicksand and Adam had pull himself out of it, which would take a lot of strength! You are sinking and you are trying to pull yourself out.
"I read some of the Newbery books from last year and I think The Inquisitor's Tale should have won THE Newbery award, not just the honor. Whoever has not read this book, please do.  Just please.  It was SOOOOO good. And that's a wrap!"
And then it was time for recess....I'm cool, I know, but just not enough to miss recess....I understand.
Adam with Evan!

It's so intuitive of Evan--As you can see, Adam really does love the kids.

And you really can't leave Castleton without leaping...

And for your reading pleasure, previous blog posts featuring Adam's Inquisitor's Tale:
2017 Consensus Club

The review of 2017 ALA YMA

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Boy Bites Bug

Reviewer extraordinaire, Izzy, is back this time with a review of the new book, Boy Bites Bug by Rebecca Petruck. Izzy shared that as soon as she started reading it she could not stop.  She had to force her brain to say, "No more!" Otherwise, she was going to stay up too late reading it.  Here's her summary:

"This book is about a boy named, Will.  At the beginning he is in the library with some of his friends. He's reading a book called, Wrestling for Dummies, when his friend dares him to eat one of the stinkbugs that were crowded on the wall. And his 'so called' friend said, 'Make the Mexican eat it. They eat bugs all the time.' [That's not good to say stuff like that.] So the people were saying how racist that was and were stomping on all the stinkbugs and it was a huge mess.  Will ate one and threw up, adding to the chaos. 
"The library ended up being shut down for the rest of the year. Will started to doubt his friendship with Darryl. Then Will gets the class to eat grasshoppers for a class project to show that it's normal to eat bugs. Then his friend, Eloy, tries to tell Will that his project was making fun of his culture and so not a good thing. Will lost yet another friendship and feels really bad for making that project.  He struggles with his decision about the project because on the one hand, he thinks it was terrible but then the on the other he thinks it wasn't that bad. 
"Eventually, he visits Eloy's house to apologize and he does.  But his next idea still includes bugs.  If kids donate $1 to a charity they get a treat with bugs in it like 'chocolate covered ants' or 'wax worm cookies'. [There are actually recipes for them in the back of the book.] Will said that if he raised $250 he would eat a scorpion.  Does he earn the money?
"Will Will show the kids in his school that eating bugs is normal and cool? Will he regain his friendship with Darryl? Crawl into this page turner of a book today."
This book has been out in the world for a month now.  According to Izzy, it's definitely one to add to your collection!


Monday, June 4, 2018

The Truth As Told By Mason Buttle

With tears in her eyes, Taylor came in this morning to share her thoughts about Leslie Connor's new book, The Truth As Told By Mason Buttle.

I started to write a tweet with Taylor's thoughts and then realized it was going to take up more characters than my allotted 280.  I have not read the book yet but am a big Leslie Connor fan.  After reading the jacket, I realized that Taylor may have missed a few details but she was eager to share her personal thoughts.
"This book was so sad. After his best friend died, there is no one for Mason to defend him and he gets bullied a lot. Sixth grader Mason has dyslexia and is in a special class for kids like him. The other middle schoolers bully him like put mean things in his locker.  Lucky for Mason, he has a teacher he trusts. Things look brighter for Mason when Calvin offers him a pretzel in Ms. Blinny's class and they become friends. Even though Mason is still bullied, Calvin stands up for him as best as he can. Will Mason survive the bullies with his new friend by his side and get through sixth grade and the summer after?
"I liked how the story was written because it was as if Mason was writing it.  Even though at times it wasn't grammatically correct, I felt it was easy to understand and made a lot of sense.  The title matched the book because it was Mason telling the story.
"My favorite character was Ms. Blinny because she was really exciting and fun.
"I would give this book an 8 out of 10 stars.  It wasn't the best book I ever read, but I definitely liked it!"