Book Review: In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse




In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse by Joseph M. Marshall III

This book is going to need a little help finding and audience, but when it does they are going to love it.  Coming of age, road trips, history, culture all work so well in this slim text.

This is an important book to share with kids.  I found myself stopping to look up the memorials and historical sites as I was reading.  This is not the history I was taught in school.  It’s so much more personal and authentic.


Please read the excellent review published on the American Indians in Children’s Literature site.


Book Review: Drowned City by Don Brown

Drowned City:  Huricane Katrina and New Orleans

Written and illustrated by Don Brown

Winner of the 2016 Orbis PICTUS award, given to outstanding nonfiction for children.



The devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina was shown on live TV and it was stunning.  I think that a graphic novel is a good way to show the despair and hope that followed the flooding.  It’s good to note that some things I thought were true were shown by this text to be only rumors.  I don’t think it reads too much like a textbook, it’s more like good journalism.


You can take a peek at some of the text on the website.  While you’re there, you can see how NOLA feels about the text.  The book is the

Book Review: The Mighty Odds by Amy Ignatow





This book gets high marks from me because of funny lines and realistic teenage characters who just happen to have superpowers. The true strength of the books lies in the telling of how they get the powers, how they use the powers and how they work through their stereotyped roles.

It’s part one of a series, and readers of this blog know how much I hate a series.  I do appreciate that the author ended this episode and left me interested in reading more – not irritated by a cliffhanger.

Book Review: The Best Man by Richard Peck



Richard Peck has captivated me with this book. I enjoyed the humor, the characters and the plot. I especially liked the family relationships, dads and moms and sons and daughters and brothers all figuring out how to b happy. Mix in the deadpan humor and social ineptness of the main character and you have a winner for sure.

Source:  Public Library

Audience:  Grade 5 and up

The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman*

I didn’t actually read The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman and Chris Ridddell.  But I must say, this is an illustrated text I would really enjoy reading.  Check out the gorgeous cover:



Except, I did not read this book.  Not one word.  Not even the blurb.  Not. One. Word.  And really, you shouldn’t either.  I listened to it and it was amazing.  (OK, to be honest, I listened to it twice, but more on that later).

For the second year in a row I am attempting to complete Book Riot‘s Read Harder 2016 Challenge.  Check out this task list:


The task in question is :  Listen to an Audiobook that has won an Audie Award.  A quick check of Audiophile’s website led me to this title.  What grabbed me was the description: full cast and sound effects.  I cruised over to the Ocean State Libraries eZone and downloaded it directly to my phone.  (seriously, how great is that?!)

It was so good, I listened to it twice, once on my own and once with my 19 year old daughter – a captive audience on a long car ride.  Ten minutes in she paused the recoding and told me that while she was initially just being polite, she now was hooked.  We listened to the very end!  Check out this 5 minute excerpt and you will be hooked as well.


Audiobook Excerpt


Through the Woods, stories by Emily Carroll

(I used guidelines from East Carolina University to help me critically evaluate this text.)

This graphic novel is a collection of 5 stories of similar style and tone.  Think creepy ghost story meets very grim fairy tale.  In each story the main character is faced with a choice, what she chooses will lead to her…adventure.

First off, the text.  I found this appropriate for middle and high school in terms of content and vocabulary.  Struggling readers will not find too many difficult words or sentence structures.  Skilled readers will find the plots intriguing and interesting.  The cover art certainly reflects the content of the book and will have excellent shelf appeal.  The interior art and text work well together.  I found myself flipping back pages to check detail in the art as I made predictions about the plot.  Each palette of color seemed to be chosen deliberately.  A variety of page layouts add to the interest of the book.

Artists may enjoy a scroll through the author’s website.

Thanks to my local library for buying this book!