Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday

I'm joining in the fun of Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Daisy asks the question, "What are your top ten favorite books read during the lifespan of your blog?"

Here's my list: 

Okay For Now - Gary Schmidt

That was hard!  Narrowing my list to ten was a challenge - I've read and blogged about some extraordinary books.  My list of favorites is dominated by Middle Grades Fiction - no surprise there.  But I also included two exceptional Young Adult novels and three beautiful Picture Books.  

I look forward to the next Top Ten Tuesday challenge.

Blog you later!

Ali B.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Penguin Story

I recently attended the 2012 Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators conference in Los Angeles.  Inspirational!  What a pleasure it was to listen to and learn from the best in children's literature - Gary Schmidt, Tony Diterlizzi, Clare Vanderpool, Patricia Maclachlan, Lin Oliver and on and on.

I write middle grades fiction, so I wasn't sure what I would take away from the Illustrators Panel.  I love I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen and recently enjoyed the illustrated middle grades book, Breaking Stalin's Nose by Eugene Yelchin, and since both of them were on the panel, I decided to attend. It was fascinating to hear about the process of bringing text to life through illustrations.

Antoinette Portis was also on the Illustrators Panel.  She is the author/illustrator of Not a Box and Not a Stick.  During the panel she told a funny story about the creativity and business behind her book, A Penguin Story.

A bought this elegant and simple story for my daughter.  Ms Portis was kind enough to sign it for my six-year-old, and it has quickly become one of my kiddo's nighttime favorites.

The book tells the story of a penguin named Edna who has grown weary of her world of blue, black and white.  She takes off on her own in search of something different.  Edna stumbles upon a group of Arctic scientists with their orange equipment, jumpsuits and bright orange plane.  Just like that, the penguin and her friends have a new color in their lives, and Edna sees a world of possibilities.

Blog you later,

Ali B.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Gregor The Overlander

My lovely and eloquent ten-year-old son likes sharing his opinions on books.  He also enjoys being interviewed.  Having just finished Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins, he suggested I ask him some questions and post the answers on Literary Lunchbox.  He's not shy, my kid.

Before the interview started he promised to make his answers sound professional.  Phew!

Can you please give me a synopsis of Gregor the Overlander?

What is a synopsis?

Okay, can you please give me a summary of Gregor the Overlander?

It is about a kid named Gregor who falls into an air duct and is transported to a world that is ruled by giant spiders, cockroaches, rats and bats.

What is the name of this other world?

The Underland

Who are the main characters?

Gregor - a human boy (the protagonist)
Boots - Gregor's two-year-old sister
Vikus - another human who got lost in The Underworld
Queen Luxa - queen of the bats
Temp - a boy cockroach who is a friend of Gregor's and thinks Boots is a princess
Tick - a girl cockroach who is a friend of Gregor's and thinks Boots is a princess
King Gorger - king of the rats. (the antagonist)

Who are the bad guys?

The rats are the bad guys, but the spiders can be a little bit irritating, too.

Were the characters believable?

Yes.  I could imagine them in the real world.

Who is the audience for this book?  

I believe people going through adolescence.  I think they'd enjoy a book like this.

To whom would you recommend this book?

I would recommend this book to fans of The Hunger Games series because it was written by the same author.

If you were to compare Gregor the Overlander to another book or series, what would it be?  Why?

I can't compare this book to any other because it is so unique and mysterious.  It does remind me a bit of The City of Ember.

Gregor the Overlander is the first book in a series.  Will you read the rest?

I will read the rest because the ending left me in suspense.

Any final comments?

Gregor the Overlander is a very, very good book.  I hope some of my friends read it so we can improve our relationship by talking about this book.