by Bryan Patrick Avery
Most of the magic tricks I perform are quite old. My favorite card trick, popularized by Nate Leipzig, is over a hundred years old. Every once in a while, I grab some new trick and add it to my repertoire. This happened recently when I got my hands on a trick called “Smooth” from Nicholas Lawrence. It’s a great trick where a container of lip balm penetrates a dollar bill without leaving a hole. The trick is awesome, and instantly replaced my very old pen through dollar affect.
This got me thinking about my collection of books. Many of my favorites are older books (from my childhood or even earlier). Recently, though, a few recent releases have made it onto my favorites shelf.
First up, “Wake Up, Little Bat!”, written and illustrated by Sarah Momo Romero. This recently released picture book tells the story of a little bat who’s different from the other bats. Unlike most bats, Little Bat sleeps at night and is awake all day. Realizing that he may be missing out, he tries his best to stay awake at night, but to no avail. Then, he makes an amazing discovery about the world during the daytime.
Little Bat explores this new world, and makes new friends. When he returns home, it is his family who feel they may be missing out. Sarah’s lovely story is made even more endearing by her illustrations which make the bats look cuddly and sweet. Kids (and adults) will love the subtle touches in the illustrations, and Little Bat’s facial expressions alone make this book worth reading. In all, “Wake Up, Little Bat!” is a wonderful story kids will want to read again and again.
Another recent release is Sherry Howard’s “Rock & Roll Woods”, illustrated by Anika A. Wolf. A grumpy bear name Kuda is made even grumpier when he discovers that his new neighbors make a lot of noise. As he voices his objections to the noise, he discovers that his friends aren’t bothered by it. In fact, they seem to enjoy it. Before long, Kuda realizes that, if he wants to be with his friends, he may have to get used to the noise.
Sherry’s use of onomatopoeia, and Anika’s clever art work, help tell a story that is even more layered than the reader may original think. As an added bonus, Sherry includes a very helpful author’s note on Sensory Integration and how it may affect those around us. Her touching note adds to the sympathy we feel for Kuda, and helps point out some of the many ways Kuda’s friends helped him throughout the story.
Released earlier this year, Varian Johnson’s “The Parker Inheritance” has quickly become one my favorite books. Twelve-year-old Candice and her new friend Brandon set off in search of treasure when Candice finds an old letter which seems to have been left behind just for her. The letter promises an inheritance of millions of dollars, both for whoever can unravel clues and solve the mystery, as well as for the town of Lambert, South Carolina.
Candice knows that her grandmother tried and failed years earlier, and she is determined to succeed. Johnson’s story follows her quest, while also going back in time to tell the story of what happened in Lambert so many years ago that affected so many lives, both black and white. By the end of this incredible novel, the past and present intertwine, setting the stage for a hopeful, if uncertain, future.
Whether you’re a fan of "The Westing Game" or "Native Son" (or, like me, both), “The Parker Inheritance” is for you. This book is destined to become a classic of literature.
Well, that’s all for this month. Happy writing (and reading)!!!
We are so excited to be mixing things up at the Children's Book Academy, beginning with some delicious additions to the Blogfish. Meet our awesome new bloggers!!
Here's our lineup:
1st Mondays begin with Clear Fork/Spork editor/art director, former agent and former kidlit professor Mira Reisberg PhD who is also the Director of the Children's Book Academy.
2nd Mondays will feature super smart Melissa Stoller whose career is taking off with several new books.
3rd Mondays will feature Bryan Patrick Avery, published writer, man of mystery, and professional magician among other things.
4th Mondays will feature the fabulous debut author/illustrator Sarah Momo Romero.
And 5th Mondays will feature awesomely irreverent and super funny Aussie author Brydie Wright.
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