Feature Book of the Week Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberryy

Tuesday, January 29, 2013



In the zombie-infested, post-apocalyptic America where Benny Imura lives, every teenager must find a job by the time they turn fifteen or get their rations cut in half. Benny doesn't want to apprentice as a zombie hunter with his boring older brother Tom, but he has no choice. He expects a tedious job whacking zoms for cash, but what he gets is a vocation that will teach him what it means to be human.


Jonathan Maberry is a New York Times bestselling author, multiple Bram Stoker Award winner, and Marvel Comics writer. He’s the author of many novels, including Assassin’s CodeDead of NightPatient Zero, and Rot & Ruin. His nonfiction books cover topics ranging from martial arts to zombie pop-culture. Since 1978 he has sold more than 1,200 magazine feature articles, 3,000 columns, two plays, greeting cards, song lyrics, poetry, and textbooks. Jonathan continues to teach the celebrated Experimental Writing for Teens class, which he created. He founded the Writers Coffeehouse and co-founded The Liars Club, and he is a frequent speaker at schools and libraries, as well as a keynote speaker and guest of honor at major writers’ and genre conferences. Jonathan lives in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, with his wife, Sara, and their son, Sam.(Retrieved from Simon and Schuster website)

Question of the Week #3

Monday, January 28, 2013

Hi everyone! I apologize for missing last week's features. I was out sick all week, which is very unusual for me as I rarely get sick.

Happily, I am back firing on almost all engines so here is this week's question...

In which book does a character  swallow a contact lens?

Remember to 
  • identify your school with your answer
  • include the title and the author of the book
  • and only one answer per school.

Answers will remain hidden until Friday when we post the correct title and author.

Also watch for the Feature Book of the Week tomorrow and keep your comments coming.

And the Answer Is...

Friday, January 18, 2013

This week's Question of the Week was...

In which book  does a character give Malox for a stomach ache?

And the Answer is...

Bruiser by Neal Shusterman

And the winners are

Hazelwood Northwest Middle
Rockwood South Middle
Cross Keys Middle

Congratulation to this week's winners. Don't forget to check next week for question of the week #3

Featured Book of the Week Bruiser by Neal Schusterman

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

by Neal Shusterman

"There’s a reason why Brewster can’t have friends – why he can’t care about too many people. Because when he cares about you, things start to happen. Impossible things that can’t be explained. I know, because they're happening to me."

When Brontë starts dating Brewster “Bruiser” Rawlins – the guy voted “Most Likely to Get the Death Penalty” her twin brother, Tennyson, isn’t surprised. But then strange things begin to occur. Tennyson and Brontë’s scrapes heal unnaturally fast, and cuts disappear before their eyes. What at first seems like their good fortune turns out to be more than they bargained for…much more.

A Word From The Author...

When I was a kid, I wanted to be everything. A writer, an actor, a doctor, a rock star, an artist, an architect, and a film director. I had a teacher who said "You can't do that ? you'll be a jack of all trades and a master of none!" But I had it worked out: I'd be a jack of seven trades, and master of three.
Then, in ninth grade I had an English teacher who really made a difference in my life. She saw my love of writing, and challenged me to write a story a month for extra credit. Since I desperately needed extra credit in her class, I took her up on the challenge, and by the end of ninth grade, I really began to feel like a writer. That's when writing emerged above all my other interests as my driving passion.
When I was sixteen, our family moved from Brooklyn, New York, to Mexico City, and I spent my last two years of High School there. Having an international experience changed my life, giving me a fresh perspective on the world, and a sense of confidence I might not have had otherwise.
In college (UC Irvine) I wrote a humor column for my school paper, and during the summers worked as a camp counselor. I quickly got to be known as the camp storyteller. Each night I would come up with stories to tell - and my best audience was teenagers. That's what really got me into writing for teenagers ? and my early novels, such as "The Shadow Club" and "The Eyes of Kid Midas" began as stories I told at camp Anawana (Yes, it was really called that!)
I have to admit, I never gave up being a "jack-of-all-trades" entirely. I write scripts for film and TV, (Such as "Pixel Perfect" for The Disney Channel) and games, too (such as the "How to Host a Murder" games). Even my novels don't stick to a single genre -- I like to explore them all, hoping to learn and grow with every story I write.
I consider myself very lucky to have a career doing what I love. Of course it's a constant challenge to come up with stories that are original, meaningful, and capture the attention of readers. When I sit down to write, I always ask myself. "What is this book adding to the world? Why is it WORTH writing." Writing a good story is only the first part of it. I want my stories to resonate. I want the reader to not just read the words, but to FEEL the ideas and questions echoing deep inside. I don't like giving answers, because the only questions worth asking don't have simple answers. I prefer to ask questions that will challenge you to think, and see the world - and your own life - in fresh ways. The way I see it, a book should be a powerful experience. It should make you see new colors you never imagined existed - but now that you've seen them, you can see them everywhere.
I've come to the conclusion that writers are a lot like vampires. A vampire will never come into your house, unless invited -- and once you invite one in, he'll grab you by the throat, and won't let you go. A writer's much the same -- feeding on the speed of your heart as it races; feeding on your tears and your sighs; feeding on your turmoil, as well as feeding on your peace. I suppose this is why I write -- because I want to affect people -- somehow change them for the better. Most writers, deep down have some hidden desire to change the world. They want to paint a picture of the possibilities -- to show people the wonderful things that are possible out in world, or just within ourselves. Or perhaps to warn us of the terrible things that are also possible out in the world... and within ourselves. I often think about the power of the written word. Being a writer is like being entrusted with... or, more accurately stealing the power of flames, and then sling-shotting it into the air to see who catches fire. I think writers have a responsibility not to launch these fireballs indiscriminately, although occasionally we do. Still, what a power to find yourself responsible for, because words can change the world. I've always felt that stories aimed at adolescents and teens are the most important stories that can be written, because it is adolescence that defines who we are going to be. That's the time when we chose paths for ourselves that are going to shade and define the rest of our lives.
There were many books that had a powerful influence on the the things I thought about, and how I made sense of the world. I distinctly remember when I was ten, that my parents were late for picking me up at summer camp. Being the last kid waiting to get picked up, and with nothing else to do, I went back into the cabin, and climbed on the rafters, looking for trouble... but instead found a dust-covered copy of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, that appeared to have been there since the beginning of time. I opened the book, began reading, and was swept away by the story of the seagull in search of perfect flight. I read the book cover to cover, and the second I was done, my parents arrived -- it was as if the book was left there just for me! Around the same time I read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory -- another book that influenced me. I remember being awed by the fact that someone had actually thought of a story that brilliantly imaginative. I remember wishing that I could create something as imaginative.
My own children are a constant source of material, support, and editorial suggestions. I have four wonderful kids who fill out the core of my life, and keep me balanced. Writing is, after all, about taking your characters and challenging them to grow by throwing them off-balance. All the more reason for a writer to find some sense of balance in his or her own life. Of course our home is quite often a madhouse, but that's okay, because life is all about finding wondrous moments in the mayhem. And the same can be said for writing! (Retrieved from author website)

Question of the Week #2

Monday, January 14, 2013

Happy Monday, hoe everyone stayed warm this weekend.

This week's Question of the Week is...

In which book  does a character give Malox for a stomach ache?

Don't forget to include in you response the name of your school. Also please only provide one answer per school.

All comments will remain hidden until Friday when the correct answer will be posted along with the names of the school who correctly answered this week's question.

Good Luck.


Friday, January 11, 2013

Question  of the Week #1 was

In which book does the protagonist worry about his computer angle?

And the answer is....

After Ever After by Jordan Sonnenblick

Here is a list of the school who correctly answered this week's question:

Hazelwood Northwest Middle
Hazelwood North Middle 
Ladue Middle
Rockwood South
Cross Keys
Oakville Middle
Hixson Middle

Congratulations to these schools. They are on their way to winning!

Check back next Monday for another Question of the Week.

FEATURE BOOK OF THE WEEK Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Tuesday, January 8, 2013



Ransom Riggs

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. And a strange collection of very curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children who once lived here - one of whom was his own grandfather - were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a desolate island for good reason. And somehow - impossible though it seems - they may still be alive.


 I was born on a 200-year-old farm in rural Maryland, where at the tender age of five I decided that I definitely wanted to be a farmer when I grew up, because being a farmer meant driving tractors.  Then, partially as a result of my new ambition, my mom moved us far away to Florida, where there were relatively few farms but lots and lots of old people and not very much for kids to do.  In retrospect, it was precisely because there wasn’t a lot to do, and because the internet didn’t exist and cable TV was only like twelve channels back then, that I was forced to make my own fun and my own stories -- and that’s what I’m still doing, only now I get paid for it.  So thanks, sleepy Florida fishing village!

I grew up writing stories and making videos in the backyard with my friends.  I knew I wanted to do one or both of those things in some professional capacity when I got older, but I didn’t know how.  For three summers during high school I attended the University of Virginia’s Young Writer’s Workshop, and I still consider it one of the shaping experiences of my life.  I met so many great, brilliant people, and it convinced me that it was possible to make a life for myself as a writer.

I also knew I wanted to make movies.  So I compromised, and went to Kenyon College first to study English,  then moved out to Los Angeles to go to film school at the University of Southern California.  Looking back, that was a lot of time and money spent on school, but I don’t regret it at all.  Being part of those creative communities gave me lots of time to practice writing things and making movies before I had to go out and try to do either of those things professionally.

So now I do a lot of different things, which can make for a rambling and confused-sounding answer when I am asked, as I often am in work-obsessed Los Angeles, “So ... what do you do?”  But I will attempt to answer this question, in list form:

• I write books.  First, a non-fiction book about Sherlock Holmes.  Then a novel about peculiar children (which comes out June 7th).  Then a book of found photographs with writing on them, coming out in 2012.  I'm fairly certain there are more novels on the way. I can feel them clanking around half-formed in my brain.

• I make movies.  I went to film school and made a lot of shorts there, then after I graduated I got jobs making short and some book trailers, too, like this and this.  I also write screenplays and make the occasional video blog.

• I word-blog for mentalfloss.com.  My favorite column is a series of photo-travel-essays called Strange Geographies. (author biography retrieved from author's website.

Question of the Week #1

Monday, January 7, 2013

Welcome to the first Question of the Week for our 7th Annual Area Wide Book Battle.

Here are the guidelines for this contest:

  1. Only one answer per school will be accepted
  2. All answers must contain the correct title and author of the book
  3. All answers must contain the name of the sponsoring school
  4. Questions will be posted on Monday morning
  5. Answers must be received by 12 midnight every Thursday
  6. No answers will be seen on a question post until Friday 
A prize for the most correct answers will be awarded to the winning team at this year's Book Battle competition.

Here is the first Question of the Week...

In which book does the protagonist worry about his computer angle?

Good luck and don't forget
 to keep commenting on the Feature Book of the Week

HAPPY 2013

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Hope Everyone had a great break and are ready for more great Feature Books of the Week post.

This Monday The Question of the Week begins. Please remember:

  • when you answer the question, you do so as a team and not as an individual
  • only one answer per school will be used in determining which school wins the prize for the most correct answers
  •  include in the answer, the name of your school.

Looking forward to seeing more of your comments and receiving your answers to the question of the Week
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