Adult Book News!

I rarely post about the adult book world here because I’m always deeply entrenched in middle grade and YA books.  However, I can’t pass up the opportunity to brag about a high school classmate’s book deal!  (I went to a tiny, magnet-like high school for science and technology, so this is very exciting for a reader/writer like me).

Janet Silver’s rookie season as a literary agent with Zachary Shuster Harmsworth continues, as the former editor and publisher has sold a book to Doubleday about artificial intelligence and the human mind by 24-year-old Brown grad Brian Christian.

The book will follow Mr. Christian’s efforts to “train” for the 2009 Loebner Prize, an annual competition to be held in September that aims to instantiate the Turing Test by asking judges to interact with a set of human beings and computers and then deduce which is which. (Mr. Christian will be one of the humans.) The grand prize is awarded to whoever builds the computer least easily distinguishable from a human being in its ability to respond to the judges’ prompts.

A separate prize honors the person whose responses are most often taken as human by judges. This is the prize that Mr. Christian is going for.

Read more…..

 

Congratulations, Brian!  Can’t wait to read the book! 

 

Jarret J. Krosoczka’s Lunch Lady Graphic Novels

I’m always on the lookout for graphic novels that appeal to boys as much as the Babymouse series appeals to girls. The Babymouse series never fails to hook a few dormant or struggling readers at the beginning of the year, but they are usually girls. Something about all that pink makes it a hard sell for 6th grade boys. But I think I found my series- Lunch Lady by Jarret K. Krosoczka!

In the first book, Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute, we meet the “breakfast bunch” (Hector, Dee, and Terrence). Like most kids in the early intermediate grades, they are curious about the school lunch lady. What exactly does she do when she isn’t serving them lunch? I remember being in school and wondering about the “real life” of school workers. Well, the breakfast bunch decide to follow her one day to see what her life is like outside the cafeteria walls.

While the kids decide to follow the Lunch Lady, she and her pals begin to suspect the new substitute teacher, Mr. Pasteur, is up to good. When he refuses fresh baked cookies it only firms up their suspicions. In fact, he doesn’t eat anything. The ladies decide to follow him home – not knowing that they themselves are being followed by the breakfast bunch!

In the second book, Lunch Lady and the League of Librarians, we meet a cranky school librarian and her evil cronies bent on destroying video games! When the breakfast bunch and the Lunch Lady crew get wind of the plan, they set out to stop the League of Librarians! Can they do it, or will video games be destroyed in favor of reading?!

I have to say, I laughed out loud at both books. I enjoyed Lunch Lady and the League of Librarians the most because the librarians were hysterical. Some of the jokes might go over the heads of younger readers, like the librarian demanding to be called a media specialist instead of librarian. Regardless, it is very funny. Plus, the lunch lady comes up with a great compromise between reading and video games- everyone is a winner here.

I think this is a series that will appeal to boys who love graphic novels or need a series to really “hook” them into reading. It’s silly but the plot is fun and easy to relate to, being set in a school. The bright yellow color on each page reminds me of the pink used in the Babymouse series but more gender neutral. I think these would be a great lead-in to the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books.  I definitely plan to add these books to my library and I think they will be a big hit with boys and girls!

I imagine these books are going to blow up when the movie comes out.  Did you know Amy Poehler will be starring in the movie?  How cool is that?  I can totally picture her as the Lunch Lady!

 

 

Review copy courtesy of publisher

Cirque du Freak Trailer!

Finally, the trailer for Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant has been released!  I hope my students catch it…they are going to be thrilled.  The movie actually looks better than I expected.


Click here to watch!

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly

I absolutely adored The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate.  I put off reading this for way too long and wish I had read it back in May, so I could have recommended it to my students!  

Calpurnia Virginia Tate, or Callie Vee for short, is the lone girl amongst six brothers.  The year is 1899, and girls aren’t expected to have careers when they grow up.  But Callie loves exploring, learning about nature, and spending time with her grandfather.  What she doesn’t love is knitting, cooking, and all other “household” activities.  She wants to be a scientist when she grows up, and Grandfather encourages her.  Together, they explore the countryside  as Callie learns about the scientific method and growing up.

There is so much to love about this book.  It’s historical fiction that kids will actually enjoy!  There are great little tidbits about the turn of the century- kids will love the idea that Coke was invented and wasn’t always around.  It’s also the time when automobiles were invented, science was on the brink of so many discoveries, and it was the turn of the century.  The setting is ridiculously real- you can almost feel the suffocating heat in a time before air-conditioning.  But it’s the character’s that really drive the story.

Callie reminded me a bit of Anne Shirley, of Anne of Green Gables . She’s spunky in a believable sort of way, intelligent, and self-deprecating. Her family is also well-developed, with six brothers, a mother, father, and Grandfather. One of my favorite chapters involves Callie’s utter horror when she learns that three of her brothers have developed crushes on her best friend. As the oldest of six kids, I felt Callie’s pain. Especially when she finally can’t take it anymore and divides up the days of the week, allowing each boy one day to walk her and Lula home. When they ask about the other two days of the week she tells them she needs her space! I was laughing out loud.

Pick this one up for your classroom library, but be sure to read it first. You’ll love it! This is a great pick for strong intermediate readers or middle schoolers. But I loved it even more than my students, I think! I especially can’t wait to share it with my new classes when we begin our monarch butterfly unit. I think Callie’s love of nature and science will really spark something in them, too!

This one is getting a lot of Newbery buzz, so read it now!

 

 

Purchased by me.

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