July 11, 2012

July 12th, KKCO, Summer Reads Series,

     Welcome back to my summer reads series at Book Wisdom by Diane.  The country has been heated up with above normal temperatures.  Fireworks that linger into late July and early August have been silenced.  Mid summer has turned the corner like the shallow, brown, Colorado River that slowly slips southwest.  What's normal this summer?  Children visiting relatives and relatives coming to visit is a theme among families regardless of weather.  Summer is a time of visits both planned and unplanned. It brings with it positive and negative emotions.

     This morning on KKCO, News 11, Morning Show with Terri Chappel, I talked about two middle grade novels. I chose two very different books with commonalities. One book has been out for a short time and is written by a  California educator who is relatively new in the children's publishing.  The second is a tried and true, novel written by a very well-known New Zealand, author.

     I will be giving a copy of a book so leave a comment related to this blog.  Better yet, don't miss out and sign up for email updates!  You will be entered every month as a subscriber. The winner will be picked on July 23rd.  Check the bottom of the blog to see the winners name.  If you are the winner, please email me if I do not have your contact information.

      Virginia Kamhi is a master teacher in in Southern California who has taught grades K -4 in both bilingual and English only classes. CALLING HIM DAD, THE SUMMER MY FATHER APPEARED OUT OF NOWHERE is a 174 page middle grade novel and her first novel. The illustrations are by Florence Ko. Virginia's teaching experience has given her the knowledge and understanding how to create an authentic ten year old character.  Fourth grade has ended and a young, smart Latina learns the father she never knew has made plans with her mother for Brianna to spend summer vacation getting to know her father.  This unplanned summer visit takes the reader through the viewpoint of an unsuspecting girl as she goes through the ups and downs of getting to know her father and a different way of living.  The twists and turns of the story line create suspense as Brianna works through situations she had never imagined.  Virginia's real life experiences with her students and their lives solidify this storyline.

     I rate this a 4 apple book, a good to very good, summer read.  Virginia's real life experiences with her students comes through her polished, strong voice.

    Calling Him Dad is 174 pages and for middle grade readers.  This book would be most appealing to girls although the theme applies to both genders.

    The themes in this book are family issues, summer vacation and visits, unexpected family changes, and adjusting to change.

    You can learn more about Virginia and where to buy her book at: Virginia's website.

     This book is Indy published by WPR Books, Carlsbad, Ca. The publisher is dedicated to accurate portrayal of Latinos in the US.  You can find this book through,, and WPR.  

     I had a magical time meeting New Zealand, author, Joy Cowley last summer at the Highlight's Foundation Children's Writers and Illustrators Workshop in Chautauqua, New York.  Her speeches, invocations, workshops, and her availability to talk to novice writers allowed me to experience something a writer often only dreams of.  To make it even more relevant, the editor of her book, CHICKEN FEATHERS, Patricia Lee Gauch read from the book.  CHICKEN FEATHERS is illustrated by David Elliot and is a 149 page middle grade novel.  Life is about to change for for young Josh Miller.  A new sibling on the way, a strict grandma coming to take care of the house, a pet chicken, and a fox set the stage for an unforgettable story and lovable characters in this summertime read.  Joy is a master story teller both verbally and with written language.  She has more than 600 titles published.

    I rate this book a 5 apple book, an outstanding, cream of the crop, summer read. Joy's story telling ability parallels E.B. White in Charlotte's Web.

     CHICKEN FEATHERS is for middle graders of both genders. It is meant to be read alone or aloud.

     The themes in this book are changing families, pets, and growing up.

    You can learn more about Joy and books and where to buy them
at: Joy's Website

     This book is published by Philomel Books of Penguin Young Readers. Your local book store can order this book for you. On the West Slope of Colorado, our local independent seller is Grand Valley Books. In addition, it can be found online.


Tina Cho said...

Thanks for sharing about these 2 books I'd never heard of.

Diane Kress Hower said...

Thanks for tuning in! Look more more suggestions on my second page over the next week. I am playing catch up with my lists of great reads for summer!

Evelyn said...

I enjoyed reading about both of these books, Diane. Thanks for expanding my knowledge about good middle grade books.

BarbaraB said...

Hi Diane,
Thanks for reviewing these middle grade books that sound like great reading.
I also met Joy at Hightlights. That was about 18 years ago. She fascinated me with her story of how she learned to read.

Mirka Breen said...

Brava for a beautiful presentation. This blog is going to become the place to be...

Anonymous said...

Diane...thank you for the great reviews...summer is a wonderful time for kids to discover and enjoy new books so your summer reading series is PERFECT! I loved your KKCO interview and look forward to next week. :)

Debora Ann said...

I'm a true believer in reading to children. I know our reading to our sons gave them a great "head start" for school. I have an autistic nephew I know would enjoy anyone of these reads. Keep up the good work!