Friday, September 6, 2013

Iris Brave ~ A Book by ME!

Literary Lunchbox is my blog. It's where I review books. All sorts of books. Picture books, chapter books, middle grades books, and even young adult - this is the place. I LOVE books!

Well... I'm switching gears for this post. I'm going to do a bit of promotion. Self-promotion. See, I wrote a book too. And I'm pretty proud of it. 

Take a look at what some reviewers have said about Iris Brave.

In her literary debut, Ali B. has created a main character that lives up to her name. Iris has the heart of both Scout and Laura Ingalls. As engaging as Iris is, it is the cast of supporting characters and their genuine interactions with Iris that make this book a literary stand-out. The author puts these well-developed characters into a twenty-first century plot that will make this book a page-turner for upper elementary school students.

As an elementary school teacher, I had the opportunity to share this story with some of my students. It kept them all so engaged, and I found both my students and I couldn't wait to pick it up again the next day. I grew up in the Midwest, and the descriptions the author used remind me so much of my childhood. I can't wait to read and share her next installment in the series!

Iris Brave is one of my favorite books and I think everyone should get a chance to read it. It is realistic with just enough magic to make it fun and if you like mysteries this book is for you. Once I picked it up I could not put it down and however soon the next book comes out it will not be soon enough. It is a great book.
Russ (Age 11)

 If you're interested in reviewing Iris Brave, contact me at or leave me a comment and your contact information. I'd love to send fellow bloggers a review copy for consideration.

To learn more about me (as author) or to purchase a copy click here.

Blog you later!

Ali B.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Something for Everyone

Full-time teaching, parenting and my own writing schedule have kept we from Literary Lunchbox for far too long. I'm taking the Labor Day Holiday weekend to catch up on my blog and write a new post that has something for everyone.

There's been lots of talk recently about breaking the fourth wall, what it means and how to do it well. As a teacher of six, seven and eight year olds, I've been on the lookout for a great picture book that doesn't just break the fourth wall, but demonstrates how to do it. Hard to explain...

At the SCBWI conference last month I had the wildly wonderful opportunity to listen and learn from Mac Barnett, author of Chloe and the Lion. He was adorable and delightful and talked about a book that he wrote with illustrator Adam Rex. The book was Billy Twitters and His Blue Whale Problem, but he also talked about this incredibly spunky character named Chloe and her adventure with a lion (and a dragon.) But what really got be excited about this book was how to clearly illustrated what breaking the fourth wall means, and in a way that is accessible to little kids. Yay!

Teachers, parents, Santa Claus ~ if you haven't read Mac Barnett, you should.

Easter Ann Peters is trying to change her image. She's always been the good girl, the good student and
the teacher's pet. Heading into seventh grade, Easter wants to make new friends, stand up to a bully and get noticed. She has a plan - Operation Cool.

I loved this book because I loved Easter Ann Peters. She is so identifiable. We all have a bit of Easter in us. I also loved this book because it isn't just another "I want to be one of the popular kids" books. Easter is dealing with heavy issues at home, mainly her mother's depression and alcoholism.

 Jody Lamb does a magnificent job of developing Easter's character and portraying the struggle a child
must feel when she's worried about her mom, wishing she'd just get better but enabling her mom's alcoholism by covering for her and lying. She's a kid taking on adult responsibilities and doing what she thinks is best - until she realizes she's not.

I will continue to recommend this book to all middle grades readers, but will certainly emphasize the importance of Easter Ann Peters' ~ Operation Cool as a book that needs a space on every school counselor's bookshelf.

Now that I've highlighted a glorious picture book and a touching middle grades novel, I want to round out this blog post with a not-to-be-missed young adult read. Eleanor & Park. This book should be on everyone's TBR pile. Rainbow Rowell has a stolen the YA crown this summer with this beautifully-written, character-driven teen love story.

Here's what I wrote on Goodreads: This book was clever and sharp and so hit the spot without trying too hard. Rainbow Rowell's ability to jump in and out of character seemed effortless. Eleanor was wounded without all the angst and Park was the boy every girl should get for their first boyfriend. The 80's pop culture references and the raw dialogue were outstanding. Yay.

Blog you later!

Ali B.