Book Club: Around the World by Matt Phelan

This last week I hosted book club at my house. The book I chose was Around the World by Matt Phelan. (I've written about it before.) I wanted to introduce some of the smartest ladies I know to graphic novels, and this one was a big hit. For starters, almost everyone who came read it! (I, myself, have been guilty of not reading the book before I attend this particular book club.)

"I liked it! And I didn't think I was going to like it." 

"I was like 'Oh, no, I've got two book club books to read!' but then I opened this one up and yay! It was a graphic novel!"

"You can say some things in pictures that you can't say in words. Like when she is dancing."

"I love the expressions on their faces."

"I found Thomas Stevens' story really inspiring. He was unhappy with his life and he made a new life for himself in a time when it was really hard to do that."

"Nellie Bly was my favorite!"

"I thought Joshua Slocum's story was just so sad . . ."

"I could tell the flashbacks in the last story, because they were a different color."

"I had to read the last one a couple of times, it was confusing to me. There aren't many words."

"I don't like graphic novels, but I liked this one." 

If you're looking for a good book club book, I heartily recommend this one. It is the sort of book that both satisfies you and increases your curiosity. It contains three true stories of world travellers, written and illustrated by the same hand.

What books has your book club read lately?

KidLitCon 2012

I'm SO happy to say I will be going to KidLitCon 2012! I really cannot convey my excitement properly. But this is telling -- twice the conference has made it into dreams I've dreamt recently (one good, one bad).

* New York City * Children's Literature * Blogging * Making new friends *

It sounds so awesome to me! Which means I think I'm headed to the right place. If you're going, too, let me know so I can look for you. I'll be the tallish one with the longish brown hair and -- shoot I don't think that's going to cut it. I'm going to have to distinguish myself somehow...

Update: The Conference was great! I recommend KidLitCon to book bloggers, book reviewers, authors, illustrators and book lovers. We got to meet with publishers and see their upcoming titles in person. We got to hear speakers on SO many great bookish topics. We traded books, we ate dinners, we ran around the city at night looking for souvenirs:

One of the highlights for me was meeting Grace Lin. I love her books Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (a gorgeously illustrated chinese fairy tale story) and her Ling and Ting series for early readers (These two cute, hilarious twins and their jokes and antics)! 

I wrote about my adventures getting to KidLitCon here. Or perhaps you'd like to see the notes I took at a Newbery Authors event in NYC right after the conference? You can see those here

Apply now as a Cybils 2012 judge!

The application information and form are up over at the Cybils website, as of today!

As I filled out the application I realized that if I'm selected as a judge this year, it will by my fifth year. Wow! I really love the Cybils. I love the shortlists, and the winners, and that it is all run by volunteers from the kidlit blogging community.

Seriously, if someone asks me for book recommendations in an area of children's literature that I don't read as widely, the Cybils shortlists are the first place I go. Solid, every time.

This year, loads of book bloggers will come together to pick the best from 2012 in eleven categories: Book Apps, Easy Readers/Early Chapter books, Middle Grade Fiction, Middle Grade Science Fiction and Fantasy, YA Fiction, YA SciFi/Fantasy, Picture Books, Nonfiction Picture Books, Middle Grade and YA Nonfiction, Poetry, and Graphic Novels.

Hooray for the Cybils!


Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

This book is steampunk: history and fantasy meet and mingle, and it is great. Set in an alternate version of World War I, Leviathan alternates between Alek, the son of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and Deryn, the daughter of a hot-air-balloon pilot who is determined to fly, even if it means breaking the law.

I really liked this one!  I had heard it was good, Ashley raves about the trilogy and so do others. I checked out the audio book for our cross-country drive this summer. Sadly, my CD player fritzed out. Luckily, I had brought a hard copy. "Be Prepared!" That's my motto. So Jacob and I read this to each other on the drive, pausing when our stomachs threatened us, and we both give it the thumbs up.

Westerfeld did a great job of exposition and world building -- we got to head right into the action and we learned about the world as we went along. Illustrations were interspersed throughout the book and helped me visualize some of the descriptions of intricate machines and engineered animals.

I was able to identify with both of the main characters and liked Deryn's determination particularly. In my opinion, Alek's best quality is his compassion.

The end of the narrative ties things up somewhat, but definitely leaves plenty of room for book two, Behemoth, and book three, Goliath. I've got book two now. :)

The author's note at the end explains which parts of the book are based in history and which are fictionalized  -- quite a boon to me, finishing in the middle of nowhere with no internet access. Another personal plus: no foul language (unless you count "barking" as a swear word) or inappropriate content (though some crushy feelings add tension to the end of the book). This is a book I wholeheartedly recommend that my parents and siblings listen to on their next road trip, and they range in age from nine on up.  

Moving season!

Summer is moving season. I didn't have to move house this summer, thankfully, but I've moved the blog! No worries, you can still get to Everead via everead.blogspot.com -- you'll be redirected to the new URL.

That's right, www.evereadbooks.com is our new address! So let me know if you see any bugs or have any trouble with feeds or anything. I would have got everead.com, but the going price was four digits and I wasn't going for that. At this point, Everead isn't generating income so the price tag was just laughable. 

On the subject of blog income, you'll notice the ads in the sidebar. They're google ads, and follow the pay per click model. That means if you click on something over there that interests you, I earn a few cents. (At the moment I don't have any pay per impression ads -- those would pay me for people just looking at them, rather than clicking them.) If you ever see objectionable ads on Everead, please let me know. 

Loads of blogs make money through advertising, and I'm not opposed to Everead being one of them. In fact, if you have a business, or a blog, or an idea or message that you'd like to put in the sidebar, contact me and if I think it is a good fit for the site we can skip the advertising agency middle man. Ads like those are called "boutique ads."   

It's probably my dream job to be a personal book shopper, so I've also toyed with the idea of offering other (non-advertising) services here on Everead. You should definitely email me if you want to hire me to buy books for you. One book, lots of books, whatever. At this point I'm not making it part of the site, but I'm open to it.

So, what have you moved this summer? 

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