Sunday, March 26, 2017

Duck and Cover -- Review and Giveaway

Thought for the Day:
“Don't get it right, get it written.” 
~ Ally Carter ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:
While the post HERE I found in Gotham Writers Newsletter focuses on writing mysteries, it has a great lesson an openings that will grab readers. Don’t miss this one. 

When you are feeling stuck, maybe a writing prompt will help. Ride the Pen has 63 of them for you HERE

Character descriptions are tricky. Janice Hardy has some good suggestions HERE to help make them more organic. 

Well, I'm back. I'm still not 100%, but I am getting there. In talking to other parents and grandparents at the baseball field this week (I couldn't miss any more games!), I'm hearing the cough can hang on for four to six weeks. It's the cough and tiredness that is still hanging on. I have nearly 1500 unread emails in my box. If I haven't gotten to reading and responding to your messages and blogs, that's why. The reality is, I will probably never get caught up on those. All I can do is go forward, and that's what I will do. 

When I was last here, oh, so long ago, I promised a hard cover copy of Holly Schlinder's terrific Junction of Sunshine & Lucky to one of you. The winner this time is Violet Tiger. Congratulations, Violet! If you don't know her, Violet blogs about middle-grade books at Reading Violet which you can check out HERE. I will get your book out this week, Violet. And I have another giveaway, so please keep reading.

When I was teaching, while teaching wonderful books like Lord of the Flies and Alas, Babylon, I often told my students I was surprised to be standing in front of them since I had spent my childhood thinking about how to get my dad to build a bomb shelter and doing duck and cover drills in school. I grew up fully expecting the world to be blown to bits long before I would be an adult. When Janet Smart contacted me and asked if I would be interested in reading and reviewing her new book, Duck and Cover, I was happy to have the chance. I have known Janet through her very smart blog(sorry, I couldn't resist)   Creative Writing in the Blackberry Patch (click HERE) for some time. I also felt the subject matter was one I would relate to, and that it would be fun to revisit those times through someone else's eyes. I'm glad I had the chance.

Young Teddy Haynes has had some terrible changes in his life. He recently lost his father, and Teddy and his mother have moved from Cleveland to a little town in a holler in West Virginia to live with Teddy's aunt and uncle and two-year-old twins. These are not wealthy people. Teddy has to not only share a room, but a bed, with his little cousins. But they are good, loving people, and Teddy realizes he has much to be grateful for. It's not easy to move when you are twelve, but Teddy soon makes a friend. Melvin is a really smart boy, but he has a bad limp from having had polio when he was very young. (Polio was another real scare when I was a kid. It was interesting to have this fear addressed along with others from that time.) Melvin helps Teddy navigate the difficult transition to a new school. Soon Teddy has a small circle of friends and a blossoming romance when the prettiest girl in school, Skeeter, is part of the group. They all share the fear of a nuclear war and Russian missiles pointed at the US from Cuba. Teddy discovers his mother is busy secretly stocking the root cellar with supplies. The kids take a page from that book and set up a shelter in a nearby cave. They raid the local dump for some of the things they need and scrounge attics and homes for other needs. (I used to LOVE going to the local dump to find treasures! I think Janet is my sister from another mother.) 

I have a confession to make. I haven't finished the book yet (I really have been
Janet Smart
sick), but I will probably finish it by sometime tomorrow. So far (I'm more than two-thirds of the way through), I am loving this one. I have felt absolutely transported to another time and place. I love that about good historical fiction, and this one is good. The characters are all fully-developed and very real. I have lived in a small town, and the setting made me feel that. The story certainly connected for me, but more than that, I think it will connect and paint a picture of that time for my grandchildren and other readers of that age. I think this book will and should find a good audience in middle-grade classrooms. Teachers are always on the lookout for ways to teach particular time periods. This is a terrific portal to small-town America in the fifties and the fears that wore on young people in those times. 

I have an autographed paperback copy I will share with one of you. To win, all you need do is have a US address, be a subscriber or follower, and tell me that in a comment you leave on this post. If you are reading this in your email, click HERE to go to the blog so you can leave a comment. If you would like extra chances, please spread the word by posting the link on a Tweet, blog post, Facebook, or any other way you like. Let me know what you have done in your comment, and I will put in extra chances for you for each that you do.

Don't forget to check out Shannon Messenger's wonderful blog HERE for many more Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday reviews and giveaways. 


Sunday, March 19, 2017

Calling in sick...

Sorry to miss two weeks in a row. I have been slammed with a terrible flu. I have no energy to read or write. I'm told this should be through in about another week. I'll be back at it as soon as I can.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Junction of Sunshine & Lucky -- Review and Giveaway

Thought for the Day:
 “Love is the answer to everything. It’s the only reason to do anything.
If you don’t write stories you love, you’ll never make it. If you don’t
write stories that other people love, you’ll never make it.”
~ Ray Bradbury ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:
Revision. Revision. Revision. I hate the word, but I know it’s necessary. Janice Hardy has a good post HERE on how to approach revision. 

It sure would be nice to make a living as a writer. Elizabeth S. Craig has ten hints on how to go about that HERE on Anne R. Allen’s blog. 

Part of the deal I have with Sacramento Book Review is that occasionally I write sponsored book reviews, ones that are paid for. I think most book reviews do this. Even Kirkus does. Anyway, I am reading a sponsored book right now, and the dialogue is just terrible. Half the time I don’t know who the speaker is. The author should have read Susan Uhlig’s post HERE on taglines and beats. 

I am in the middle of doing a house flip right now, and, honestly, I'm having trouble keeping up with things, so if I miss a post now and again, forgive me. I have to say, though, it is so much fun. This is something I have wanted to do for years, and it's finally happening. Now, if the market just holds a little longer.

Last week I offered an ARC of Scar Island by Dan Gemeinhart to one of you. This week's winner is Danielle Hammelef, who always shares my link lots of places and gets extra chances. Sometimes that pays off, as it did this week. Thanks, Danielle. I will get your book out to you this week. For the rest of you, please keep reading. I have another book giveaway this week.

I am really, really late to the party on this one. The Junction of Sunshine & Lucky by Holly Schlinder has long been on my TBR list and on my Amazon Wish List. My daughter gave me a copy for Christmas, and just loved it. It was so worth waiting for. 

Auggie was named for her grandfather, August or Gus, as he is best known, a junk dealer. Auggie lives with him. Their home, in a poor part of town, is a place they both love. The local school has been closed and Auggie and her neighborhood friends have to start at a new school. This brings about plenty of challenges for all the kids, but for Auggie it's really hard when her best friend forever seems stolen away by a rich, rather powerful girl named Victoria. Victoria's father is on the city council, and they set up a beautification committee that makes rules that seem to be designed to push Auggie and the people of their neighborhood out of their homes. Try as they might to make their homes more beautiful, the rules seem to become more and more stringent, causing fines to pile up. Auggie and her grandfather try to beautify their home with sculptures, but Victoria makes fun of their "junk." 

Middle school is such a difficult time, and Holly Schlinder paints the picture
Holly Schindler
beautifully what it is like to get through that time, facing loss of friendship, facing ridicule, and facing losing one's home. I think this a such a wonderful book not just for young people but for 
anyone who loves strong characters and a fine story. I recommend it highly. I will be looking for more books by this author. She is a terrific writer.

I have my own gently-read hardback to pass along to one of you. To win, all you need do is have a US address, be a subscriber or follower, and tell me that in a comment you leave on this post. If you are reading this in your email, click HERE to go to the blog so you can leave a comment. If you would like extra chances, please spread the word by posting the link on a Tweet, blog post, Facebook, or any other way you like. Let me know what you have done in your comment, and I will put in extra chances for you for each that you do.
Don't forget to check out Shannon Messenger's wonderful blog HERE for many more Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday reviews and giveaways.


Sunday, February 26, 2017

Scar Island -- Review and Giveaway

Thought for the Day:

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”
~ Thomas A. Edison ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:
Jessica Strawser has an interesting post on Writers in the Storm HERE about Acting Out of Character and how that can add interest and layers to our writing. 

Janice Hardy always has such great stuff on her blog, Fiction University. The one HERE is all about How to Write with a Teen Voice. It’s chock full of good info. 

If you are confused about plot and why it’s so critical, you will want to read the post HERE by K. M. Weiland.

I know I disappeared last week. It was my birthday and one of my former students gave me tickets for a San Jose Sharks game (that's hockey, folks, in case you don't know). I took my grandson and was gone until very late. Even though my team lost in overtime, it was a great game and we had a lot of fun. Anyway, I'm back!

Last time I showed up here, I promised a copy of Garvey's Choice by Nikki Grimes to one lucky winner. This time, our winner is Myra. Congratulations, Myra! I will get your book out to you soon. Thanks for reading and commenting. I have another book to giveaway, so everyone please keep reading.

I am always searching for terrific middle-grade books, especially those that will engage boy readers. When I ran across a new mystery-adventure available for review for the San Francisco Book Review, I grabbed it. It is Scar Island by Dan Gemeinhart, and I love it's nod to several classic novels. Here is the review I wrote for SFBR.
Jonathan Grisby has been sent to Slabhenge, a reform school for boys. It used to be an insane asylum and is on an island in some very rough seas. Run by by the Admiral and a crew of nefarious men, it might seem that the inmates have taken over the asylum. When a crazy accident kills all the adults, the boys are on their own. They are prepared to send a rescue message with the mail boat that comes every day when a few decide it might be interesting to just be on their own for awhile, so they trick the mail boat driver and form their own little society. That’s when things get interesting. 
Author Dan Gemeinhart takes a helping of Shutter Island and mixes it with a bit
Dan Gemeinhart
of Treasure Island and a huge dollop of Lord of the Flies to create a contemporary middle-grade novel that will capture its intended audience and keep them turning pages until the surprising and exciting climax. This is a terrific book, and middle-grade boys — those boys that are so hard to get to read a book — especially will love it.
I have a gently-read ARC for one of you. To win, all you need do is have a US address, be a subscriber or follower, and tell me that in a comment you leave on this post. If you are reading this in your email, click HERE to go to the blog so you can leave a comment. If you would like extra chances, please spread the word by posting the link on a Tweet, blog post, Facebook, or any other way you like. Let me know what you have done in your comment, and I will put in extra chances for you for each that you do.
Don't forget to check out Shannon Messenger's wonderful blog HERE for many more Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday reviews and giveaways.


Sunday, February 12, 2017

Garvey's Choice -- Review and Giveaway

Thought for the Day:
"A successful book is not made of what is in it, 
but of what is left out of it” 
~ Mark Twain ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:
Lisa Cron has a brilliant post HERE on backstory. Don’t miss this one.

Sarah Albee has a great post HERE that will help you inject humor into your writing — always a bonus. 

The Editor’s Blog has a terrific post HERE on The Perspective from Inside the Character. Really good stuff. 

I have mentioned here that my older daughter, Maggie, is an actor. I received a note from her today telling me that she has a show airing next Sunday on Investigation Discovery. The show title is Evil Lives Here: My Secret Life. You should be able to search for it and set it up to record. In case you missed the earlier show she did for them, you can watch it HERE. She was murdered on that episode (YIKES!). These are not for the kiddies, by the way.

Last week I offered a fun book to one of you called Totally Wacky Facts About History by Cari Meister. This week's winner is stephie5741 who, it turns out, is Stephanie Faris, author of the Piper Morgan picture book series as well as other books. You can check out her blog HERE. Congratulations, Stephanie! I will get the book out to you this week. For the rest of you, I have another fun giveaway, so please keep reading.

I am becoming more and more enchanted by novels in verse. When I had a chance to review Garvey's Choice, a new novel in verse by the wonderful Nikki Grimes, I jumped at the chance. I was not disappointed. It is positively magical and truly amazing. This is my review for the San Francisco Book Review.
Garvey has a lot to deal with in his life — he is overweight, he has a sister who is a natural athlete, something Garvey’s father wishes Garvey was, and he has to deal with middle-school bullies. But Garvey has a best friend, Joe, who really gets him and helps him deal with all his adversity. Lunchtime is the best time for Garvey because he spends it with Joe and because he gets to eat, but when Joe’s schedule is changed, Garvey is alone again. Joe encourages Garvey to join the chorus. Garvey has a great voice and he makes a new friend, a boy with albinism, who helps Garvey learn to deal with the bullies. Garvey’s real success is in chorus, where he finds his voice in more ways than one. 
Nikki Grimes has written an entire novel in tanka poems. It is so beautifully
Nikki Grimes
written, readers will be lost in the lyrical lines. Young readers, often reluctant to read poetry, will be so taken with the well-developed story and engaging characters, they will forget it is all poems. This lovely book deserves to and will garner wide readership among the middle-grade set.
I have a gently-read hardback copy for one of you. To win, all you need do is have a US address, be a subscriber or follower, and tell me that in a comment you leave on this post. If you are reading this in your email, click HERE to go to the blog so you can leave a comment. If you would like extra chances, please spread the word by posting the link on a Tweet, blog post, Facebook, or any other way you like. Let me know what you have done in your comment, and I will put in extra chances for you for each that you do.
Don't forget to check out Shannon Messenger's wonderful blog HERE for many more Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday reviews and giveaways.


Sunday, February 5, 2017

Totally Wacky Facts About History -- Review and Giveaway

Thought for the Day:
“By perseverance the snail reached the ark.”
~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:
Sometimes I feel like I should link every one of Kristen Lamb’s blog posts. Seriously. And she always makes me laugh. Don’t miss the one HERE with six good hints to clean up your own manuscript. 

We all have nefarious characters in our books. The more nefarious the better. Even middle-grade isn’t to young for a good psychopath. Writer’s Digest has a guest post HERE by British thriller writer Peter James about making your villains evil enough. 

The art of seduction shouldn’t be overlooked in middle-grade writing. No, not THAT kind of seduction. The kind that pulls readers in. HERE is a great post on Writers in the Storm on that topic. 

I don't write often here about picture books, but I do love them, I write them, and I read them voraciously. I recently won a wonderful picture book from the Writer's Rumpus blog (check it out HERE) called Swimming with Sharks: The Daring Discoveries of Eugenie Clark written by Heather Lang and illustrated by Jordi Solano. It is a fascinating non-fiction, beautifully illustrated picture book that will encourage youngsters to follow their dreams. Check it out. 

Last week I offered a paperback copy of the fabulous Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles by Shari Green to one of you. This week's winner is Joanne Fritz. Congratulations, Joanne! If you don't know Joanne, she is a children's writer from Pennsylvania who blogs at My Brain on Books HERE.  She has wonderful book reviews and one of the most interesting About Me sections I've ever read. If you didn't win, please keep reading. I have another fun giveaway.

This week I have a particularly fun non-fiction middle-grade book for you. It is Totally Wacky Facts About History by Cari Meister. I love history, so this one was a must-have for me when I saw it on the available list for the San Francisco Book Review. Here is the review I wrote for them. 

A great many youngsters will turn their noses up at anything that has to do with history, so when parents, teachers, and librarians can find a book that will engage younger middle-grade readers with lots of interesting tidbits of history, it is bound to be a big hit. Every page in this book has fun graphics or illustrations along with one or two quick facts about history. What kid wouldn’t be interested in knowing things like the fact that unusual jobs in the ancient world included armpit-hair plucker, or that after pulling a rotten tooth an ancient Roman dentist would fill the hole with rotten fish, or that Winston Churchill often had important meetings in his bedroom because he really loved his bed, or that Leonardo da Vinci could draw with one hand while he was not only writing, but writing backwards, with the other hand? This will be a hit with all youngsters but especially reluctant readers. It’s fun, it’s fast, and it’s full of lots of astonishing information. The jazzy illustrations and bright graphics decorating the pages will draw readers through and keep those pages turning.
Cari Meister


I have a gently-read paperback for one of you. To win, all you need do is have a US address, be a subscriber or follower, and tell me that in a comment you leave on this post. If you are reading this in your email, click HERE to go to the blog so you can leave a comment. If you would like extra chances, please spread the word by posting the link on a Tweet, blog post, Facebook, or any other way you like. Let me know what you have done in your comment, and I will put in extra chances for you for each that you do.
Don't forget to check out Shannon Messenger's wonderful blog HERE for many more Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday reviews and giveaways.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles -- Review and Giveaway

Thought for the Day:
“Don't say it was delightful; make us say delightful when we've read the description. You see, all those words (horrifying, wonderful, hideous, exquisite) are only like saying to your readers Please will you do the job for me.” 
C. S. Lewis ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:
I have been saving this one for closer to tax time. Bookfox has a post HERE with 21 Tax Deductions that Save Writers Money.  

I am driven crazy by grammatical errors in the books I read for review. So does The Editor and she has a great post HERE on that very topic. 

Revision is so hard. Adventures in YA Publishing has a good list HERE of 30 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Tackle the Next Phase of Your Manuscript. 

My trip to NYC was great, and I had some wonderful time with my daughter Maggie. We saw Cate Blanchette in The Present. The performances were wonderful. Ms. Blanchette was dazzling, but I think this old Chekhov play was never published for a reason. We also saw Josh Groban in Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812. It is a spectacular production. The first act is a bit taxing since they are so busy introducing a cast of characters that requires a family tree in the program. (Yup. A family tree. Seriously.) That said, the second act music and story are quite wonderful and the amazing production is worth the very hefty price of admission. If Maggie hadn't had a friend in the show, we would never have gotten tickets. It's problem the second hottest ticket on Broadway behind Hamilton.

I don't usually mention adult books here, but I read one recently that was so amazing, I have to give y'all a heads up. Some years ago, I read a wonderful book called Plainsong by Kent Haruf. (If you click HERE you can read a wonderful article about what one student learned from studying writing with Haruf.) I loved it and think of it often, but I never got around to checking out his other books. I read a lot of blogs, and I read about another book by Haruf in two or three blogs in a period of one week. I took it of a sign that I needed to read it. Our Souls at Night is a magnificent book. I don't think there is one curse word in it nor is there any sex, so I wouldn't even be worried if any teens picked this one up, but for my adult readers, this book is simply amazing. I recommend it. It's a small book that can be read in a long afternoon, and it will be a wonderful afternoon for you.

Two weeks ago, I offered a copy of Clayton Stone Facing Off  by Ena Jones. to one of you. Honestly, if I ever had time to re-read a book, I wouldn't let this one go. But my busy life is your gain. This week's winner is Nancy, who shared my link on Facebook and got an extra chance. That paid off. Congratulations, Nancy! I will get this out to you soon. For the rest of you, I have a wonderful giveaway, so stay tuned.

As I have often mentioned, I am continually fascinated by novels in verse for young people. I ran across Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles by Shari Green as a review book for San Francisco Book Review and I snagged it. What a good choice that was for me! Here is the review I wrote for them. 

Bailey and her little brother, Kevin, have been dropped off at their grandmother’s to spend a month on the island while their parents attend a marriage camp, trying to find a way to stay together. Bailey is quick to make friends, and she and a neighbor boy, Daniel, become best friends immediately, exploring, swimming, and getting to know the island prognosticator, Jasper, former minister of the church. He foretells some interesting events, and Bailey grabs onto his foretelling as the answer to many of the problems she perceives in her life — her parents’ crumbling marriage, Daniel’s cystic fibrosis, and more. But miracles are hard to come by and don’t always happen as expected. 
Author Shari Green has pulled off a terrific feat. She writes this affecting book in
Shari Green
Photo by Pedersen Arts Photography
first person point of view in young Bailey’s voice in beautiful, lyrical blank verse — and it works seamlessly. The voice is pitch perfect for a young girl, the characters are all fully developed and completely believable, and the story will leave readers deeply moved and wanting more. This lovely book deserves a far wider readership than the middle-grade audience to which it is being marketed. Don’t miss this one.
I have a gently-read paperback for one of you. To win, all you need do is have a US address, be a subscriber or follower, and tell me that in a comment you leave on this post. If you are reading this in your email, click HERE to go to the blog so you can leave a comment. If you would like extra chances, please spread the word by posting the link on a Tweet, blog post, Facebook, or any other way you like. Let me know what you have done in your comment, and I will put in extra chances for you for each that you do.
Don't forget to check out Shannon Messenger's wonderful blog HERE for many more Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday reviews and giveaways.






Sunday, January 15, 2017

Clayton Stone, Facing Off -- Review and Giveaway

Thought for the Day:

“Making people believe the unbelievable is no trick; it’s work. … Belief and reader absorption come in the details: An overturned tricycle in the gutter of an
abandoned neighborhood can stand for everything.” 
~ Stephen King ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:
We all make mistakes, but mistakes in our writing life can be really costly. Adventures in YA Publishing has a good post HERE written by editor Emma D. Dryden that will help you avoid the most common mistakes writers make. 

Dear Editor has a tiny hint, but a powerful one, HERE. I like it! 

Alex Limburg has a guest post on Kristen Lamb’s blog HERE that will tell you How to Make EVERY Page of Your Story Interesting. 

Last week I offered a copy of Orphan Trains: Taking the Rails to a New Life by Rebecca Langston George to one of you. This week's winner is Nancy Kelly Allen. Congratulations, Nancy! If you don't know Nancy, she is a Kentucky children's writer with over thirty books out there. (My personal favorite is Barreling Over Niagara Falls. Check it out!) You can learn more about her HERE. Nancy, I will get your book out to you this week. For the rest of you, I have another giveaway, so please keep reading. 

Just a little heads up before I get to business. I am going to New York this week to spend a few days with my daughter Maggie. I seriously doubt I will get around to posting next weekend, so if I'm MIA, that's the reason. 

I have mentioned Greg Pattridge's blog before. He writes really intriguing book reviews and when he says something is worth a look, I always pay attention. You can find his blog HERE. It's always worth a look. Anyway, he reviewed and recommended the first two books of the Clayton Stone series on his blog sometime back, and they sounded like terrific books. I checked my reviewing options and was able to pick up Clayton Stone, Facing Off by Ena Jones for the Manhattan Book Review. What a fun read! Here is the review I wrote.

Clayton Stone is happy at his middle school. His lacrosse team is destined for the playoffs, and all is right with his world. But his grandmother tells Clayton he needs to go undercover at a rival middle school. It’s necessary. The president’s only child, Kyle, also a lacrosse player, goes to that school, and chatter has been picked up that is deemed to be a threat. Clayton is disguised and sent to the new school where he can play on the lacrosse team and try to make friends and stay close to Kyle. But when a bully starts making everyone’s lives miserable and a mysterious boy shows up as a new student, things get pretty interesting. 
Tweens and teens as secret agents and spies aren’t uncommon in kidlit, but, for the most part, they end up sounding and often acting like they are thirty-five. Not this time. Author Ena Jones has created a spunky young character who tells his story in a pitch perfect twelve-year-old boy’s voice. Clayton is smart and funny, with just the perfect amount of wonder at his secret-agent grandmother and all the spy toys he gets to use. Don’t miss this!
Ena Jones
I have a gently-read hardback for one of you. To win, all you need do is have a US address, be a subscriber or follower, and tell me that in a comment you leave on this post. If you are reading this in your email, click HERE to go to the blog so you can leave a comment. If you would like extra chances, please spread the word by posting the link on a Tweet, blog post, Facebook, or any other way you like. Let me know what you have done in your comment, and I will put in extra chances for you for each that you do.
Don't forget to check out Shannon Messenger's wonderful blog HERE for many more Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday reviews and giveaways.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Orphan Trains: Taking the Rails to a New Life -- Review and Giveaway

Thought for the Day:
“If I had nine hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the 
first six sharpening my ax.” 
~ Abraham Lincoln ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:
I get lots of email from Writer’s Digest and now and then they send a link to an interesting post. HERE you will find 5 Helpful Lessons for Writing a Novel. 

From Gotham Writers comes this interesting article HERE on Enlivening Passive Characters. Enjoy. 

Janice Hardy talks about the importance of context HERE. Worth your time. 

I hope you all had wonderful holidays filled with family time and love. I know I did. My two daughters and two grandchildren and I spent a few lovely days at Lake Tahoe. This was the view from the deck of our rented condo. 

Ah. It truly is God's country up there. Okay, be jealous, but not for too long. We have books to talk about. 

I hope my last-minute shopping suggestions were helpful to some of you. They were all books I thought had merit. There was no giveaway, so on to the review. 

The Orphan Trains are a fascinating chapter in our country's history. I have run across a few books about it and have enjoyed them all. Orphan Trains: Taking the Rails to a New Life by Rebecca Langston-George is a wonderful addition to the small canon of this topic. Here is the review I wrote for the San Francisco Book Review

In the mid-nineteenth century, more than 30,000 children lived alone in New York City, with no parents or other relatives to care for them. Orphanages didn’t have enough room to hold them all, and many lived on the streets, making their way by selling newspapers or apples. A local minister, Charles Loring Brace, took note of this problem and vowed to find ways to help. He founded the Children’s Aid Society, and part of their work included placing children with farm families in the Midwest and West. Over the years, into the twentieth century, thousands of children, including some babies, were loaded on railroad trains and sent west to be looked over and chosen by families looking for help working farms and filling out families. Some had great experiences, some had terrible ones. 
Author Rebecca Langston-George follows the lives of seven children, including
Rebecca Langston-George
all the good and the bad that happened to such children. Many have photographs as well. Included is a follow-up section that tells what happened to the children later in life. This well-researched and beautifully written book will be a treasure for middle-school teachers and students and any who love history.
I have a gently-read paperback for one of you. To win, all you need do is have a US address, be a subscriber or follower, and tell me that in a comment you leave on this post. If you are reading this in your email, click HERE to go to the blog so you can leave a comment. If you would like extra chances, please spread the word by posting the link on a Tweet, blog post, Facebook, or any other way you like. Let me know what you have done in your comment, and I will put in extra chances for you for each that you do.

Don't forget to check out Shannon Messenger's wonderful blog HERE for many more Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday reviews and giveaways.