Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Secret Keepers by Trenton Lee Stewart

Trenton Lee Stewart, the author of The Mysterious Benedict Society, returns with a long-awaited new novel for kids called The Secret Keepers. As a testament to the popularity of The Mysterious Benedict Society series, the series has sold over 2.5 million books. Stewart’s books are for children who like mysteries and riddles, and there are many scenes where readers hold their breath in suspense. Much like The Mysterious Benedict Society, The Secret Keepers has an eclectic cast of characters, the book is just as mysterious, just as exciting, and just as fun to read.

The Secret Keepers is for children ages 8 to 12. Readers will find a hero in Reuben Pedley, a kid who has a proclivity for climbing walls and walking on dangerous ledges 10 stories off the ground. It is during one of these expeditions high up above street level that Reuben discovers a pocket watch hidden behind crumbling bricks. How did it get there? Who does it belong to? And why are the clock’s hands stuck at twelve? Once Reuben narrowly escapes falling off the ledge (and descends by climbing down a drainpipe) he knows that his discovery of the secret pocket watch is a mystery waiting to be solved.

“It seemed like the end of an adventure, and yet somehow Reuben knew—he just knew—it was only the beginning.”

Who are the secret keepers? Follow Reuben as he embarks on the adventure of a lifetime. Fans of The Lord of the Rings and The Mysterious Benedict Society will enjoy this book.

This review originally appeared at The Clarion Ledger.

Lemuria Books has signed copies of The Secret Keepers, and they do ship!

Friday, October 14, 2016

The Darkest Dark by Chris Hadfield, Illustrated by The Fan Brothers

You may recognize The Fan Brothers from their debut picture book, The Night Gardener, which was published in February of this year. Here, they illustrate the story of astronaut Chris Hadfield as a young boy. When Hadfield was a young child, all he wanted to be was an astronaut.
“When it was time to take a bath, he told his mother, “I’d love to, but I’m saving the planet from aliens.”
The Fan Brothers illustrate a young Hadfield with an adorable pug dog named Albert as they use their imagination to fight aliens and fly to Mars in a bathtub. But have you ever heard of an astronaut afraid of the dark? As a young child dreaming of becoming an astronaut, Hadfield was afraid of the dark.
It seemed like his dream was going to be impossible. In the summer of 1969, a young Hadfield eagerly awaited a very special event. The neighbors all gathered around the television to watch the moon landing of Apollo 11. As the astronauts jumped up and down for joy on the small tv screen, Chris noticed something.
“He’d never really noticed how dark it was there. Outer space was the darkest dark ever.”
Watching the moon landing changed his world. “He wanted to explore every corner of the night sky.” The budding astronaut was no longer scared of the dark, and he was ready to chase his dreams.
Chris Hadfield writes in the afterwards, "The dark is for dreams—and morning is for making them come true." 
This book is a gorgeous exploration of conquering fears, dreaming dreams, and making those dreams come true.
Astronaut Chris Hadfield

Friday, September 30, 2016

September 2016 in Review

The last day of September is here! We celebrated Roald Dahl’s 100th Birthday and as is always the case with September, became excited with the release of an avalanche of AMAZING titles! 

I picked three books for each age group that are available now that you might have missed in September. 

AGES 0 TO 3 

Animals: A Stylish Big Picture Book for All Ages
by Ingela P. Arrhenius
Candlewick Studio
ISBN: 9780763692681
On Sale: 09/27/16

This over-sized book of animals is perfect for an inquisitive three-year-old. Bright illustrations, incredible design work, and cheerful animals make the best animal book I’ve seen in ages. Will your child love looking at the TOUCAN or the MEERKAT? Crafty parents might be tempted to tear out the pages and frame them on the walls of their children’s room.

Everywhere Babies
by Susan Meyers, illustrated by Marla Frazee
Harcourt Children’s Books
ISBN: 9780544791206 
On Sale: 10/04/16

This book is not new, but this padded-board book format is new. And it is delightful! Perfect to give as a gift or to have your own baby chew on, rediscover this classic and enjoy Marla Frazee’s beautiful illustrations of babies, babies, and, of course, everywhere babies. 

Little Elliot Big Fun 
by Mike Curato
Henry Holt Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 9780805098273
On Sale: 08/30/16

Little Elliot is back and even cuter than ever in a third picture-book adventure! Little Elliot and his best friend, Mouse, take a spin around Coney Island. However, Little Elliot soon realizes that he the rides are too fast, too scary, too dizzy. Together with Mouse, he learns how to be brave, and that the best part of any adventure is getting to share it with your best friend.


Samson in the Snow
by Philip C. Stead
Roaring Brook Press
ISBN: 9781626721821 
On Sale: 09/27/16

How many books about wooly mammoths are going to pull at your heartstrings? Probably not a lot, but Philip Stead’s newest picture book is gorgeous, and a new character, Samson the wooly mammoth, is someone that kids will remember for a long time. Most of all, Samson in the Snow is about making friends and being kind. 
Samson also gives the reader some words of wisdom: 
“Samson stared hard into the blinding snow. ‘It is better to walk than to worry,’ he decided. And so he did.” 

Henry and Leo 
by Pamela Zagarenski 
Harcourt Children’s Books
ISBN: 9780544648111
On Sale: 10/04/16

Pamela has been awarded two Caldecott Honors for her picture books Red Sings from Treetops and Sleep Like a Tiger. Her newest picture book is a dream-like adventure of a boy and his stuffed lion. With her trademark distinctive, jewel tone illustrations, this is the perfect book before bedtime. 

by Deborah Freedman
Viking Children’s Books
ISBN: 9780451474964
On Sale: 09/27/16

I love this picture book because it is a mystery! The narrator is named Shy…but who is he? The reader knows that “Shy’s favorite books were about birds. Birds the color of jewels…Birds who flew faster than the wind…Birds who could chirp a thousand melodies…But Shy had never actually heard a bird. None of his books could sing.” 
And so begins the problem—and the journey to find a bird! Want to know who Shy is? You have to read to the end to find out! 

AGES 8 TO 12

The Poet’s Dog
by Patricia MacLachlan
Katherine Tegen Books
ISBN: 9780062292629 
On Sale: 09/13/16

A short little book for anyone who likes poetry and/or dogs, the dog, Teddy, is the one who tells the story.

“I understand words, but there are only two who understand me when I speak. Sylvan [the poet] once told me this. 
“Poets and children,” said Sylvan. “We are the same really. When you can’t find a poet, find a child. Remember that.” 

Remember that.” 

Gorgeous, elegant, and heartwarming. This book is perfect to curl up with on a chilly night.

The Secret Keepers
by Trenton Lee Stewart 
Little Brown & Co.
ISBN: 9780062292629 
On Sale: 09/27/16

You might recognize this name as the author of The Mysterious Benedict Society. Stewart’s first book since that series, this is a stand-alone that follows the adventures of a boy named Reuben. With references to The Lord of the Rings, there is treasure, there are secrets, and of course, a curious cast of characters. 

The Peculiar Night of the Blue Heart 
by Lauren DeStefano
Bloomsbury USA
ISBN: 9781619636439 
On Sale: 09/13/16

Two orphans, two unlikely friends, and a blue fox. Lionel and Marybeth are opposites, but join forces when a mysterious spirit (or is it a blue fox) starts to control Marybeth. Haunting and mysterious, this story to read before Halloween. 


A Shadow Bright and Burning
by Jessica Cluess
Random House Children’s Books
ISBN: 9780553535907 
On Sale: 09/20/16

For fans of YA fantasy, this is an excellent choice. Henrietta has a power that must be kept a secret, or she might find herself executed. But when she uses her magic to save a friend, she is invited to train as Her Majesty’s royal sorceress. Sorcerers in Victorian England…what’s not to love? Fast-paced with great characters, I can’t wait for the next one! 

The Female of the Species
by Mindy McGinnis
Katherine Tegen Books
ISBN: 9780062320896
On Sale: 09/20/16

“This is how I kill someone.” Forget about the goody-two-shoes protagonist. Alex Craft is deadly, and knows how to get away with murder. In nature, the female of the species is the most deadly. Quirky and fresh, I could not put this book down. 

Tales of the Peculiar
by Ransom Riggs
Dutton Children’s books
ISBN: 9780399538537 
On Sale: 09/03/16

I’m including this collection of short tales by Ransom Riggs as the movie releases today, September 30! If you have (or have not) read Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, this is a great companion book. Beautifully written, the gorgeous packaging makes giving this book as a gift a great option.