Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Train To Impossible Places Blog Tour - Author Guest Post










The Train to Impossible Places: A Cursed Delivery
by  P.G. Bell (Goodreads Author)

(Book description from Goodreads)
A train that travels through impossible places. A boy trapped in a snow globe. And a girl who’s about to go on the adventure of a lifetime.

The Impossible Postal Express is no ordinary train. It’s a troll-operated delivery service that runs 

My book loving kitties loved this
special delivery!
everywhere from ocean-bottom shipwrecks, to Trollville, to space.

But when this impossible train comes roaring through Suzy’s living room, her world turns upside down. After sneaking on board, Suzy suddenly finds herself Deputy Post Master aboard the train, and faced with her first delivery―to the evil Lady Crepuscula.

Then, the package itself begs Suzy not to deliver him. A talking snow globe, Frederick has information Crepuscula could use to take over the entire Union of Impossible Places. But when protecting Frederick means putting her friends in danger, Suzy has to make a difficult choice―with the fate of the entire Union at stake.





Post by P.G. Bell


I noticed in Peter’s author bio that he mentioned he is a fan of Doctor Who. Since I also love the Doctor, I asked Peter to let us know how his fandoms inspire his writing.

The things I love probably influence me in more ways than I realise, but there are a few things I drew on very deliberately when writing The Train To Impossible Places. If I've done my job properly, there's a healthy dose of Terry Pratchett's Discworld in the trolls and their weird, half magical, half industrial city of Trollville. I also did my best to echo bits of The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams in the book's general tone. And my favourite TV show, Doctor Who, gets a few passing references as well!


Visit the other stops on the tour…

Post Master (Conductor)
9/18
Guest Post
Engine Room
9/19
Guest Post
Mail Room
9/21
Q&A
Antique Goods Coach

9/24
Review
Caboose
9/27
Guest Post
I received an ARC of this book, but was under no obligation to post or review. I got no compensation for joining this blog tour. 

Saturday, September 15, 2018

The Treasure of Mad Dog Magee Blog Tour -- with book and SKYPE giveaway!



Okay, friends.... this is such a good blog tour! Not because of anything I did, though. What I have for you is a SUPER fun Q&A with the author and an AMAZING giveaway. This giveaway includes FOUR signed copies of the book and a full class period SKYPE! I mean.... really... that's pretty cool!


Read this post, because this is one of the most fun sets of answers I've gotten from an author, and then be sure to go all the way down to the end to enter to win. (Prize provided by the publisher and the author.)



THE TREASURE OF MAD DOC MAGEE by Elinor Teele
Published by Walden Pond Press
ISBN: 978-0062345134
The small, run-down town of Eden is the only place Jenny Burns has ever called home. The roots of the trees are in her bones, the air of the mountains is in her breath, the lakes and rivers are in her blood. And that’s why, when her father loses his job and tells Jenny that they may have to move on from Eden, she knows she can’t let that happen.
The fever of New Zealand’s Central Otago gold rush still runs in the veins of Eden, and everyone knows the legend of Doc Magee: how he found the largest gold nugget anyone had ever seen and hid it somewhere in the hills before he disappeared. Jenny and her best friend, Pandora, know that if they can find the gold it’ll solve all their problems. But the way is fraught with mysteries, riddles and danger—and those are just the threats they know about. Before her quest is over, Jenny will have to face challenges from within as well as from without.



And now for a Q&A with Elinor Teele!

Did any particular childhood fascinations help spark ideas for the story?

I learned about the broad outlines of the Otago Gold Rush during high school summers in Arrowtown—our family often used to hike up Sawpit Gully and similar tracks in Central Otago. At the time, I was woefully unfit, so my experiences of the mountains were more in the line of Pandora than Jenny. I’d visited the Lakes District Museum and seen the abandoned mining works along the rivers. (And listened over & over to Banjo Paterson’s bush poetry on the car trip from Christchurch.)

After I learned how to get up a mountain, I gained a deeper appreciation for the landscape that Jenny adores. When I was writing my doctoral thesis and working remotely, I spent a fair amount of hours rambling in the area. I particularly love the Arrow in the autumn.

But the idea for the book didn’t come together until I was on a road trip with my brother to the West Coast (of New Zealand). It was raining—just for a change—so we decided to duck our heads into the Hokitika Museum. It had a great display on the Gold Rush, including vignettes of its one-of-a-kind characters.

I briefly thought about centering the book on the West Coast, and then I realized, duh, there’s a diverse & fascinating history on your parents’ doorstep.

Note: If anyone’s interested, there are some wonderful New Zealand novels (for adults) about the South Island during the Gold Rush years.


What bits of research for this story were the most interesting for you? Was there anything that was especially hard to find out? Were there any cool tidbits you loved but weren't able to fit into the story?

When I started, I knew next to nothing about the Chinese-Kiwi experience in the 19th century. I’m still learning, but at least I’ve had a glimpse! It was a real pleasure to correspond with Charlie Chin, who acted as a consultant. I particularly enjoyed digging (pardon the pun) into Kam’s experience with his garden—what kinds of herbs & medicinal remedies he might have used, his ideas of balance & healing, even how he would have ordered seeds in the 1870s.

Kam is particularly close to my heart. He’s the oldest in his family, and a teenager, so I reckoned he would be hitting the big questions of adulthood. When you’re born in one country and grow up in another, how do you decide between obedience & honor & tradition (the old world) and freedom & nature & imagination (the new world)? How can you reconcile your dreams of independence with a father who valued Confucian ethics? That’s why Kam is relatively serious and careful in his speech. Thanks to advice from Shenwei Chang, his brother became more of a cheeky Kiwi kid.

In a perfect world, I would have liked to explore the experiences of the adult women—I wasn’t able to dive into all the diaries and letters written in the time period. In my head, there’s a three-part mini-series set in the Rush years that provides the entire backstory for Mrs. Quinn and Gentle Annie. I also have some ideas for the love story between Jenny’s mother and father.


I love unique chapter headings/quotes. Can you talk to us about how you chose yours?

Every chapter begins with an illustration and a quote from Galen’s Anatomy—it’s a textbook that plays a key part in the girls’ treasure hunt. Kids might notice that Galen is wryly commenting on the content of each chapter, particularly when the girls start exploring the territory.

For example, Chapter 10 begins with an illustration of the heart and Galen’s quote: “Where is folly bred? In the heart or in the head?”.

• At this point, the girls think they have discovered where the nugget is hidden—in the bank, the geographic heart of Eden. But it turns out this may be a foolish thought.

• It’s an emotionally charged chapter—many folks are in love, remembering past loves, or pretending to be in love. Somebody may even be having a “heart attack.”

• The bank has two atria. It’s also guarded by a statue carrying a sword, a reference to the xiphoid, a sword-like structure at the center of the chest.

• The quote is a riff on The Merchant of Venice—another work about the dangers of money. Mr. Grimsby, who appears in this chapter, is a former Shakespearean actor.

There’s a humorous chapter for the humerus, a mud-soaked chapter for the intestinal tract, and a trek down the Longshank for chapters involving the leg. It all goes back to the picture of Da Vinci’s Vitruvian man in Magee’s office—the human body as a microcosm of the world.

I have some more clues on my website. My long-suffering editors had to work through an annotated draft where I noted all the Easter Eggs!


What would you pack as emergency or travel gear if you were going on a treasure hunt like Jenny?

First off, calories. Lots of them. Second off, an excellent pair of boots and two pairs of warm socks. Take care of your feet.

I’d also add a map, a collapsible shovel, wet weather gear, gloves, quick-drying layers, a Tilly hat, a wool hat, a sleeping bag, a water bottle, a pocketknife (shades of The Mechanical Mind of John Coggin), bandaids, sunblock, painkillers, tape for sprained ankles, a compass, a lighter & matches, a flashlight & batteries, water purification tablets, a toothbrush & toothpaste, deodorant, and soap.

If you’re Pandora, you’re going to insist on cheese and an emergency beacon. If you’re Jenny, you’re probably going to forget half of it.

Throw it all in a Macpac and you’ll be good to go.


And just for fun... there are many "what five things would you include to help others understand you" memes going around on Twitter. Here's my favorite: What five items would someone include in a salt circle to summon you?

Am I being summoned to heaven or to hell? (Sorry, the Shakespeare never ends…). I’d probably go with:

1. A fountain pen
2. Dark chocolate
3. Freesias
4. A vial of water from the North Atlantic
5. A scrap of a red velvet theatre curtain

About the Author
Elinor Teele is the author of The Mechanical Mind of John Coggin (Walden Pond Press, ISBN: 978-0062345103) as well as a playwright. She graduated with a PhD from the University of Cambridge in 2005. Elinor lives with her family in New England. You can visit her online at www.elinorteele.com.


Explore the world of Elinor Teele's stories, plays, and HarperCollins books for kids.



Notification -- I received a free copy of this book with no requirement to participate in this blog tour. I received no other compensation.


US/Canada only
.... YOU can win a Skype with the author and FOUR autographed copies of the book! She is willing to do up to a full class period (50 minutes) with your class, and she'd love to chat with you ahead of time to plan it so that it can be fun and interactive for your class. This is an INCREDIBLE offer! My students adore Skyping with authors and it's such a wonderful experience!

Elinor just wants you to know that she's in a play in mid-November, so she'll be extra busy around then. 

For a chance to win (I'll pick a random winner on 9/29), please comment on this blog with your thoughts about the book or a possible Skype for your class. You can win an extra chance by replying and retweeting this post on Twitter (I'm @mariaselke). I'll email you or contact you via Twitter by 9/30 to get your specific information for the publisher. You'll have 24 hours to reply to me with your information or I'll move on to the next winner.

Check out the Educator's Guide on Walden.com

Visit other stops on the Blog Tour September 10-21

Monday September 10 Novel Novice
Wednesday September 12 Book Monsters
Friday September 14 Walden Media Tumblr
Saturday September 15 Maria's Melange
Monday September 18 Writer's Rumpus
Thursday September 21 Bluestocking Thinking


Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Must Read in 2018 Update

Well - I've had years where I hit way more of my reading goals...

When Carrie reminded me that it's time to post about our Must Read lists, it took me a while to remember where I even put my list! I had blogged them in past years, but I guess this year I only made a Goodreads shelf. Aaaaand I haven't updated with any other Must Read in 2018 blog posts this year....

The good news is I found my list. The other good news is I actually DID read some of the books. The best news is I now still have time to try to read a few more, right?

Books I haven't read yet. Sadly, I couldn't find many of them on Audible - which is one way I get in a lot of my reading. Mark of the Thief was available, so that will be my next listen.






































Shadow Scale is also available on Audible - but it's REALLY long. I still think I'll listen to that after Mark of the Thief.












I HAVE read Furyborn, and I loved it! Thankfully, this challenge had me look at my list again so I remembered to log having read it.





Books I have finished. 

AMAZING!! I mean, I love alternate history - and this one has ZOMBIES! Yeah.... read it.



An excellent anthology.




I listened to this one, and it was fabulous.






Another listen -- also amazing. Sad, and eye opening.



Sadly, this wasn't my favorite Meyer book (my favorites are still the Lunar Chronicles). Still, definitely a good story.



I absolutely loved this story. I love real world mixed with fairies, and this is a sweet and engaging story. I was even on the blog tour for this one!

http://www.mariaselke.com/2018/03/granted-by-john-david-anderson-blog-tour.html


Monday, March 19, 2018

Bat and the Waiting Game -- Blog Tour


I'm so happy to join the blog tour for the latest book about Bat by Elana K. Arnold. This one comes out at the end of March!



Bat and the Waiting Game by Elana K. Arnold
(Publishing March 27, 2018) ISBN: 978-0-06-244585-8
The second book in the irresistible and “quietly groundbreaking”* young middle grade series starring Bat, an unforgettable boy on the autism spectrum.

For Bixby Alexander Tam (nicknamed Bat), life is pretty great. He’s the caretaker of the best baby skunk in the world—even Janie, his older sister, is warming up to Thor. When Janie gets a part in the school play and can’t watch Bat after school, it means some pretty big changes. Someone else has to take care of the skunk kit in the afternoons. Janie is having sleepovers with her new friends. Bat just wants everything to go back to normal. He just has to make it to the night of Janie’s performance…

*Kirkus Reviews



My Thoughts:
I thought I loved the first book about Bat (and yes, I really did), but this one really made me smile. I loved how Bat was so understandable and relatable. He's impulsive and has trouble with his sister and with friendships - and his autism is just one piece of who he is. The people who share his world love him, but they don't handle him with kid gloves. Sometimes they make adaptations for him, and sometimes he has to learn to adapt for them. His family has typical problems getting along. I adore the fact that any child who reads about Bat will be able to relate to him. 

Bat's love for animals is essential. His difficulty dealing with change is just part of him. He makes good and bad choices, and they make his story one that made me laugh and smile as well as hurt for him at times. I love the fact that kids can get to know a kid with autism like Bat, and that the things that help him be more comfortable in his world are treated respectfully and as "no big deal". 

Who will like this book:
Teachers who want a great read-aloud for 2-4th graders.
Kids who love animals
Kids who don't always get along with their siblings
Kids and teachers who want to begin to understand people they may know who have autism. 


(I also joined the blog tour for the first book about Bat! Check it out for some fun veterinarian resources.)



Elana K. Arnold grew up in California, where she, like Bat, was lucky enough to have her own perfect pet — a gorgeous mare named Rainbow —and a family who let her read as many books as she wanted. She is the author of picture books, middle grade novels, and books for teens, including the National Book Award finalist title What Girls Are Made Of. Elana lives in Huntington Beach, California, with her husband, two children, and a menagerie of animals. She calls the “Bat” series for Walden Pond Press “books of her heart.” You can find her online at www.elanakarnold.com.
Check out the educator's guide!  It includes resources about understanding autism, social and emotional learning, activities, and classroom read-aloud suggestions.


TOUR STOPS
3/12 For Those About to Mock, @abouttomock Sam Eddington
3/15 Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook @knott_michele Michele Knott
3/15 @iowaamber Amber Kuehler
3/16 The Hiding Spot @thehidingspot Sara Grochowski
3/18 Educate*Empower*Inspire…Teach @guerette79 Melissa Guerrette
3/19 Maria’s Melange @mariaselke Maria Selke
3/20 Nerdy Book Club post by Elana
3/20 Writers Rumpus @kirsticall Kirsti Call
3/22 Bluestocking Thinking @bluesockgirl Nicole Levesque
3/28 Unleashing Readers @unleashreaders Kellee Moye


Source of book -- I received an ARC from the publisher but my thoughts are my own.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Granted by John David Anderson - Blog Tour


It's time to welcome another wonderful book by John David Anderson into the world! Be sure to go all the way to the bottom of this post for a chance to win a signed copy for yourself.




Granted by John David Anderson 
(Published February 13, 2018) 
ISBN: 006264386X  and ISBN13: 9780062643865

Everyone who wishes upon a star, or a candle, or a penny thrown into a fountain knows that you’re not allowed to tell anyone what you’ve wished for. But even so, rest assured: There is someone out there who hears it.

Ophelia Delphinium Fidgets is no ordinary fairy – she is a Granter: one of the select few whose job it is to venture beyond the boundaries of the Haven and grant the wishes of unsuspecting humans every day. It’s the work of the Granters that generate the magic that allows the fairies to do what they do and to keep the Haven hidden and safe. But with worldwide magic levels at an all-time low, this is not as easy as it sounds. On a typical day, only a small fraction of the millions of potential wishes get granted. And even granting those promised few means navigating a human world fraught with danger.

Today, however, is anything but typical. Because today, Ophelia is going out on her first assignment. And she’s about to discover that getting what you truly want takes much more than a handful of fairy dust.


My Thoughts: 

First of all, let me say that I'm so thankful that being asked to join this blog tour made me bump Granted to the top of my TBR pile. I have loved all of Anderson's books, so I already had ordered a copy of the book and I was excited to see it arrive on its book birthday last month. This book was just what I needed.

The world: 
I love books about fairies. I've read a ton of versions of the world of the fey, and I always enjoy seeing how an author envisions their motivations, hidden world, and how they interact with humanity. The crisis of declining magic is often part of these tales, and Anderson did a great job giving us reasons for this decline as well as showing how the fairies are managing the changes.

I thought the idea of the guilds of fairies, with "granters" being held in high esteem, was so fun! I also loved seeing the fairies who scavenge in our world and the ones who try to deal with bringing scraps of our technology to the fairies. The memorial to the fairies lost while granting wishes (the Femoriae) was a perfect touch early in the story to help the readers understand the risks that Ophelia would be facing.

My mind kept trying to decide what my fairy name would be, based on the story's naming conventions. Fairies are given their middle name first -- based on the plant from which they were born. Then they get their last name, based on a character trait they had as infants. Their first name is random. So I'm going to imagine I get to keep my own first name (I mean, why not, right? My parents didn't pick it at random, but they could have!) I'm going to go with Maria Bleedingheart ..... I guess I should check with my Founders on the last name, right? I'll return later today with that bit.


The characters: 
Whoa baby... the characters were so much fun! Ophelia, of course, was a great leading lady. Her strengths and faults were both on full display to help her in her quest to grant her first wish. I loved her struggle between her rule following nature and her growing sense of the need to follow what her heart is telling her to do. Helping kids find and honor their own inner compass is so important!

The dog she met along the way, though, totally stole the show. When he arrived on the scene, I immediately started laughing. Sam's exuberance, loyalty, and the way he always "says" exactly what he's thinking were just perfect. He definitely gets many of my favorite lines in the story.








Overall: 
Granted is just what the fairies... err... doctor ordered. It's the perfect mix of adventure, humor, love, and light to give you and the readers in your life the little lift you need.

YOUR OWN SIGNED COPY!! (US/Canada only)
Just comment below for a chance to win. Please be sure to leave your email address so I can contact you to get your mailing address. The copy will come directly from the publisher, and I will only use your email address to get and share that information with the publisher.

I'll choose and email a winner on March 17th -- Good luck!


I've blogged about other books by John David Anderson too!

Sidekicked        Minion        Posted        Dungeoneers 



About John David Anderson:
John David Anderson is the author of Ms. Bixby's Last Day, Posted, Sidekicked, Minion, and The Dungeoneers. A dedicated root beer connoisseur and chocolate fiend, he lives with his wife, two kids, and perpetually whiny cat in Indianapolis, Indiana. You can visit him online at www.johndavidanderson.org.






Source: I purchased a copy of this book myself. 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Becoming Madeleine - A Biography of the Author of A Wrinkle in Time - Review


(Updated...2/7/18..) 

Becoming Madeleine: A Biography of the Author of A Wrinkle in Time by Her Granddaughters

by 
Hardcover, 176 pages
Publication: February 6th 2018 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
ISBN 0374307644 (ISBN13: 9780374307646)



(Goodreads Blurb) This middle-grade biography explores the life and works of Madeleine L'Engle --written by her granddaughters--coming just in time for the all-new A Wrinkle in Time film, directed by Ava DuVernay.

This elegant and insightful biography of Madeleine L'Engle (1918-2007) was written by her granddaughters, Charlotte Jones Voiklis and Lena Roy. Using never-before-seen archival materials that include photographs, poems, letters, and journal entries from when Madeleine was a child until just after the publication of her classic, A Wrinkle in Time, her granddaughters weave together an in-depth and unique view of the famous writer. It is a story of overcoming obstacles--a lonely childhood, financial insecurity, and countless rejections of her writing--and eventual triumph. Becoming Madeleine will speak not only to fans of the icon's work, but also to anyone interested in writing.



"A self is not something static, tied up in a pretty parcel and handed to the child, finished and complete. A self is always becoming."
-- Madeleine L'Engle, A Circle of Quiet











What a perfect way to begin this biography, right? When I opened up the book and saw this staring at me, my eyes immediately welled up with tears. This quote sums up the reason I have never stopped loving A Wrinkle in Time (and the rest of the series). Meg and her family have had something to teach me at every single stage of my life -- because I am always becoming.

So who was the woman who created a world that included Meg, Charles Wallace, the "Mrs", and Naming? Who felt so passionate about the differences between "Same" and "Equal" that resonated with me in ever changing but still powerful ways on each read... Who let me travel through space and time while pondering how I could use my life to spread Light instead of Darkness...

I won't spoil all the secrets and surprises in this biography, but here are a few of my favorites:

It was easy to spot some of the personality traits Madeleine would give Meg Murry. Madeleine came across as highly intelligent but always unsure of herself. She had some of the same impulsivity (I was surprised to hear about an unkind prank she played on a classmate) and the bewilderment over how others perceived her actions. In one of her journal entries, she declares "I don't feel a bit older or wiser, but shall try to act older and wiser." That absolutely sounds like something Meg would say!

I was surprised to find out how active she'd been in theater. Her courage in pursuing her goals to write plays that would be performed in NYC was inspiring.

Throughout the biography, it was clear to see her ongoing passion for the written word. Each event in her life, each journal entry, each moment of submission or publication emphasized this point.

The moment that resonated the most for me, as a Wrinkle fan, was when she wrote in her journal about Mrs Whatsit (as she called it at the time). "If I've ever written a book that says what I feel about God and the universe, this is it. This is my psalm to life, my stand for life against death." (pg 143-144). I was so glad to know that even at that time, she understood the depth and power that would be A Wrinkle in Time.


A question I still have about L'Engle:
     -- This biography leads up to the successful sale of the novel that would become known as A Wrinkle in Time -- a genre bending story filled with science that inspired my adolescent mind. Yet this tale of Madeleine's life never really shows how she got interested in adding these kinds of science plot lines to her stories. Since the Meg and Charles Wallace stories ended up being my favorite, I'd love to know how she got interested in the science that filled that series.

Becoming Madeleine was a balanced mixture of photos, journal entries from young Madeleine, and writing by her granddaughters to help me get to know her better. The writing was accessible for a middle grade audience, and I can't wait to have some of the WiT fans in my classroom read about her life.


I have acquired numerous editions of A Wrinkle in Time over the years...
and I'm thrilled to have Becoming Madeleine join the stack.

UPDATE!!

I can't believe I forgot to add this amazing book that also had a book birthday on 2/6! I mean.... L'Engle and Larson.... right? I was skeptical that anyone could turn Wrinkle in Time into a graphic novel, but Hope Larson was exactly the right person for that job. My local bookstore didn't have a copy of this beauty when I went in on Tuesday, but I immediately ordered a copy and it is currently winging its way to my home, where I plan on devouring it post haste....  I highly suggest you do the same.




I received a copy of this book from the publisher for free, but my thoughts are entirely my own. 

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

A Dash of Trouble -- Blog Tour


Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for a really sweet new middle grade novel!





Mmmmmm.... A Dash of Trouble sounds delicious! 

(synopsis from the teacher's guide) 
Leonora Logroño’s family owns the most beloved bakery in Rose Hill, Texas, spending their days conjuring delicious cookies and cakes for any occasion—and no occasion is more important than the annual Día de los Muertos festival. Leo hopes that this might be the year that she gets to help prepare for the big celebration…but, once again, she is told she’s too young. Sneaking out of school and to the bakery, she makes a startling discovery: her mother, aunt, and four older sisters have in fact been keeping a secret. They’re brujas—witches of Mexican ancestry—who pour a little bit of sweet magic into everything that they bake. Leo knows that she has magical ability as well, and she’s more determined than ever to join the family business—even if she can’t let her mamá and her hermanas know about it yet. And when her best friend, Caroline, has a problem that needs solving, Leo has the perfect opportunity to try out her craft. It’s just one little spell, after all….What could possibly go wrong?



My Thoughts:

I am thrilled to be able to put A Dash of Trouble in my classroom library. I teach upper elementary students who have strong reading skills. They are always looking for books that include friendship and family. Leo is a lot like them. She’s curious, eager to grow up, and isn’t always sure of exactly the right path to take. The fact that Leo is also part of a loving family of sisters and has a strong friendship with Caroline makes it a great addition to the books I share with my students.

Some of my students are passionate fantasy readers, but others prefer realistic fiction. I love that Leo’s story will interest both groups. The realistic setting with a pinch of magic is a great way to help fantasy readers branch out into realistic books and vice versa.

The icing on the cake is the fact that A Dash of Trouble is another title that helps me continue to diversify my collection. I want books that stretch my students to see things from other perspectives. I also want books that allow my students to see themselves in the pages. Knowing that Anna Meriano brings an authentic voice to the novel makes me feel even better about sharing this story with my students.
 


Trying out the treats....


Someone wanted to investigate my treats!
   


 "Leo's Lucky Pigs" -- though mine didn't fly!

1. I had most of the ingredients already, so you may also have them in your kitchen. I had a big bin of cookie cutters someone gave me years ago, too. I think I used up all of my "luck" when I found a pig cookie cutter inside.

2. My biggest challenge was trying to figure out whether my liquids were at "light syrup" stage. Eventually I just stopped simmering and poured it into the dry mix. It worked out fine, so I'm guessing this isn't a mission critical decision.

3. Working with this cookie cutter took some trial and error. The dough kept getting stuck inside! I ended up dusting the rolled out dough with extra flour to help it not stick as much.

The cookies were delicious - with a mild flavor that was only slightly sweet. I liked them, but I wasn't sure what kids would think. I shared my stash of lucky pigs with some students today, and many of them declared them the “best cookies they’ve ever had!” (Although some did put them second or third on their list after their parents’ chocolate chip cookies.) They also immediately declared that they want to read the book as soon as it ends up in the classroom library. I’m so excited that this is the start of a new series!



This isn't the first time I've dabbled in recipes that are included in books! Check out my "Top Ten Bookish Treats" post with librarian Crystal Brunelle on Nerdy Book Club from 2014.



About the Author 
Anna Meriano grew up in Houston, Texas, with an older brother and a younger brother but (tragically) no sisters. She graduated from Rice University with a degree in English and earned her MFA in creative writing with an emphasis on writing for children from the New School in New York. She has taught creative writing and high school English and works as a writing tutor. Anna likes reading, knitting, playing full-contact quidditch, and singing along to songs in English, Spanish, and ASL. Anna still lives in Houston with her dog, Cisco. Her favorite baked goods are the kind that don’t fly away before you eat them.

Read a fun interview with Anna Mariano on Barnes & Noble's site...

And check out the other two stops on the Blog Tour!

1/21 Nerdy Book Club "COCO, THE FIRST RULE OF PUNK, AND EVERY MEXICAN (AMERICAN) STORY OUT THERE BY ANNA MERIANO" -- read about her concerns that this story "had already been told" and how she realized that her novel was definitely an important addition. 
1/22 Bluestocking Thinking -- with the chance to WIN a copy of the book! 


** I received an advanced copy of the book to read from the publisher, with no strings attached. I was happy to provide this review for a book I loved! **
 
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