Feature Book of the Week #15 Ungifted by Gordon Korman

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Feature Book of the Week
Gordon Korman

The word gifted has never been applied to a kid like Donovan Curtis. It's usually more like Don't try this at home. So when the troublemaker pulls a major prank at his middle school, he thinks he's finally gone too far. But thanks to a mix-up by one of the administrators, instead of getting in trouble, Donovan is sent to the Academy of Scholastic Distinction (ASD), a special program for gifted and talented students.

It wasn't exactly what Donovan had intended, but there couldn't be a more perfect hideout for someone like him. That is, if he can manage to fool people whose IQs are above genius level. And that becomes harder and harder as the students and teachers of ASD grow to realize that Donovan may not be good at math or science (or just about anything). But after an ongoing experiment with a live human (sister), an unforgettably dramatic middle-school dance, and the most astonishing come-from-behind robot victory ever, Donovan shows that his gifts might be exactly what the ASD students never knew they needed.

About the Author

Welcome to the wonderful world of a regular guy who just happened to write 80-something books for kids and teens.
I was born on October 23, 1963 in Montreal, Canada, and grew up mostly in the Toronto area.
My writing career began virtually by accident when I was in 7th grade. The track and field coach had to teach English. For creative writing, he gave us total freedom to work on whatever we wanted for the rest of the year. It was February. That added up to a class period per day for more than four months. The result was my first novel, THIS CAN’T BE HAPPENING AT MACDONALD HALL.
I sent my manuscript to Scholastic because I was the class monitor for Scholastic Book Orders, and figured I was practically an employee. Seriously. (Full disclosure: my mom had to type my book for me.) It was a totally flukey and random way to launch a publishing career, but here’s the thing: It worked.!THIS CAN’T BE HAPPENING AT MACDONALD HALL was published by Scholastic when I was a freshman in high school, and I was on my way.
I’ve been writing for more than three-quarters of my life. My books have been translated into close to 30 languages and have sold over 25 million copies worldwide. I have a BFA degree from New York University with a major in Dramatic Writing and a minor in Film and TV.
I now live on Long Island, outside New York City, with my wife and family. When I’m not writing, you can usually find me driving one of my three kids to some practice or rehearsal or game. Either that, or I’m on the road, appearing at schools, libraries, and bookstores, meeting my readers. Visit Korman's website to see all of his published books

Feature Book of the Week #14 The Young Healer by Frank N. McMillan

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Feature Book of the Week
The Young Healer
Frank N. McMillan

In THE YOUNG HEALER tradition meets contemporary when what starts out as just another day becomes anything but that for young Feather Anderson. Her beloved grandfather, a traditional Lakota healer, pulls her out of class one snowy morning and takes her on an old-fashioned vision quest in the heart of New York City in hopes of finding the perfect Lakota medicine. It becomes the most magical day ever for eleven-year-old Feather Anderson, the day she saves her little brother’s life. Feather follows in her grandfather’s footsteps of healing as a medicine man and she then earns her newly-given secret Lakota name.

About the Author

McMillan, 53, began writing after the death of his father. McMillan wondered what he would want to have accomplished when his time was up. The answer was to tell stories and to be published.
"I like writing stories that I would have liked when I was that age," McMillan said. "I like appealing to young people's optimism and idealism. There's this real energy that young people have. I like to kindle that spark."
McMillan's father had a great respect and love for the American Indian culture. His son remembers his father's collection of Tonkawan Indian arrowheads that he found on the family farm in Central Texas. His dad also carved American Indian heads.
It is this childhood memory and a stay on a Montana Indian reservation in the 1990s that inspired McMillan's idea for The Young Healer.

Feature Book of the Week #13 Sophia's War: A Tale of the Revolution

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Feature Book of the Week
Sophia's War: A Tale of the Revolution
by Avi

In 1776, young Sophia Calderwood witnesses the execution of Nathan Hale in New York City, which is newly occupied by the British army. Sophia is horrified by the event and resolves to do all she can to help the American cause. Recruited as a spy, she becomes a maid in the home of General Clinton, the supreme commander of the British forces in America. Through her work she becomes aware that someone in the American army might be switching sides, and she uncovers a plot that will grievously damage the Americans if it succeeds. But the identity of the would-be traitor is so shocking that no one believes her, and so Sophia decides to stop the treacherous plot herself, at great personal peril: She’s young, she’s a girl, and she’s running out of time. And if she fails, she’s facing an execution of her own. 

About the Author

Avi is part of a family of writers extending back into the 19th century. Born in 1937 and raised in New York City, Avi was educated in local schools, before going to the Midwest and then back to NYC to complete his education. Starting out as a playwright—while working for many years as a librarian—he began writing books for young people when the first of his kids came along.
His first book was Things That Sometimes Happen, published in 1970, recently reissued. Since then he has published seventy books. Winner of many awards, including the 2003 Newbery award for Crispin: the Cross of Lead (Hyperion), two Newbery Honors, two Horn Book awards, and an O’Dell award, as well as many children’s choice awards, Avi frequently travels to schools around the country to talk to his readers.

Among his most popular books are Crispin: The Cross of LeadThe True Confessions of Charlotte DoyleNothing But the Truth, the Poppy books,Midnight Magic, and The Fighting Ground.
In 2008 he published The Seer of Shadows (HarperCollins), A Beginning a Muddle and an End (Harcourt),Hard Gold (Hyperion) and "Not Seeing is Believing," a one-act play in the collection Acting Out (Simon and Schuster). City of Orphans was released in 2011, receiving a number of starred reviews, as did his most recent book, Sophia’s War: a Revolutionary War Tale, released in 2012 (Simon & Schuster). Follow Avi on Facebook, where he shares an inside look at his writing process: facebook.com/avi.writer.

Avi lives in Clark, Colorado, with his wife.
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