Author Archives: Julie K. Rubini

New June releases!

June brings the end-of-school-just-can’t-find-a-book-for-summer-reading-club blues. Here are some fun adventures, action-filled fantasy, relationship stories, an inspiring memoir and a chilling nonfiction work to cheer up the middle-grade readers in your life.


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The Bravelands, written by Erin Hunter (HarperCollins)

Heed the call of the wild with this brand-new, action-packed animal fantasy series from the #1 nationally bestselling author of Warriors. Enter the Bravelands…and discover the Erin Hunter series you’ve been waiting for.

A lion cast out from his pride.

An elephant who can read the bones of the dead.

A baboon rebelling against his destiny.

For generations, the animals of the African plains have followed a single rule: only kill to survive. But when an unthinkable act of betrayal shatters the peace, the fragile balance between predators and prey will rest in the paws of three unlikely heroes.

Set in an epic new world and told from three different animals’ points of view, Bravelands will thrill readers who love Spirit Animals and Wings of Fire, as well as the legion of dedicated fans who’ve made Erin Hunter a bestselling phenomenon.

Readers everywhere were transported by the 100 cupboard doors leading to 100 worlds of adventure in the bestselling 100 Cupboards series! Now, whether you’re new to the series or can’t wait to know where the cupboards came from, you’ll want to open the cupboard door to this action-packed fantasy where friendships are forged, dark forces are challenged, and the adventure begins!

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The Silver Moon of Summer, written by Leila Howland (HarperCollins)

In the third and final book in the middle grade trilogy that Newbery Honor winner Rita Williams-Garcia raved is “brimming with hilarity and sisterly hijinks,” Marigold, Zinnia, and Lily Silver return to Cape Cod for another unforgettable summer.

This summer, the town of Pruet is turning 300, and a huge celebration is planned. On their first night back east, the girls make a promise not to fight with each other, ensuring that this will be the best summer yet.

It shouldn’t be too hard. Each sister, after all, has her own focus during the visit. Marigold makes it her mission to befriend Chloe, the famous director Philip Rathbone’s niece, who is working on the set of her uncle’s upcoming television series. Zinnie is busy creating an attention-grabbing blog to help her chances of becoming editor-in-chief of her school’s literary journal. And Lily has become quite the explorer with her science day camp group. All seems to be going smoothly until Zinnie’s growing friendship with Chloe leaves Marigold feeling hurt. Her little sister is stealing her new best friend—why can’t Zinnie just stop intruding on Marigold’s life?

With the divide between the girls growing deeper, Marigold, Zinnie, and Lily worry it’s impossible for them to go a summer without a big fight. The same silver moon may hang in the night sky each year, but the sisters below it are changing in ways they have yet to understand. If they grow apart, more than a promise could be at risk. But if they grow together…the sky’s the limit.

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Let’s Pretend We Never Met, written by Melissa Walker (HarperCollins)

The Thing About Jellyfish meets The Kind of Friends We Used to Be in this sweet, honest middle grade debut.

If it were up to Mattie Markham, there would be a law that said your family wasn’t allowed to move in the middle of the school year. After all, sixth grade is hard enough without wondering if you’ll be able to make new friends or worrying that the kids in Pennsylvania won’t like your North Carolina accent.

But when Mattie meets her next-door neighbor and classmate, she begins to think maybe she was silly to fear being the “new girl.” Agnes is like no one Mattie has ever met—she’s curious, hilarious, smart, and makes up the best games. If winter break is anything to go by, the rest of the school year should be a breeze.

Only it isn’t, because when vacation ends and school starts, Mattie realizes something: At school Agnes is known as the weird girl who no one likes. All Mattie wants is to fit in (okay, and maybe be a little popular too), but is that worth ending her friendship with Agnes?

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Run with Me: The Story of a U.S. Olympic Champion, written by Sanya Richards-Ross (Zondervan)

For as long as four-time Olympic gold medalist Sanya Richards-Ross can remember, life has been measured in seconds—the fewer, the better.

The Jamaican-American sprinter has been a star track and field athlete since she first began racing, ranking No. 1 in the world and bringing home Olympic and World Championship accolades. A role model for runners around the world, Sanya’s incredible success is matched only by her spirit both on and off the track.

From her early days running in Jamaica to her final race, Sanya shares the importance of determination, courage and faith. She uses the 4 Ps—push, pace, position and poise—a model created by her coach, Clyde Hart, to approach and tackle every obstacle. In her book, Sanya reveals how these strategies have helped her and will help kids learn how to run their best race in life.

Run with Me is Sanya’s story—her wins and her losses—chronicling her unique triumphs and trials with fame, family and faith. Written purposely for the 8-12 audience, this book will inspire kids to pursue their dreams at full speed.

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Pottymouth and Stoopid, written by James Patterson, illustrated by Stephen Gilpin (Little, Brown and Company)

Bestselling author James Patterson’s best book for boys in years! Tired of being bullied, middle-school underdogs “Pottymouth” and “Stoopid” finally fight back with the power of funny.

David and his best friend Michael were tagged with awful nicknames way back in preschool when everyone did silly things. Fast-forward to seventh grade: “Pottymouth” and “Stoopid” are still stuck with the names–and everyone in school, including the teachers and their principal, believe the labels are true.

So how do they go about changing everyone’s minds? By turning their misery into megastardom on TV, of course! And this important story delivers more than just laughs–it shows that the worst bullying doesn’t have to be physical…and that things will get better. A great conversation starter for parents to read alongside their kids!

Official Notice to Parents:
There is no actual pottymouthing or stupidity in this entire book!
(Psst, kids: that second part might not be entirely true.)

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The Door Before, written by N.D. Wilson (Random House Children’s Books)

Readers everywhere were transported by the 100 cupboard doors leading to 100 worlds of adventure in the bestselling 100 Cupboards series! Now, whether you’re new to the series or can’t wait to know where the cupboards came from, you’ll want to open the cupboard door to this action-packed fantasy where friendships are forged, dark forces are challenged, and the adventure begins!
 
Hyacinth Smith can see things that others miss, stop attack dogs from attacking, and grow trees where no trees have grown before. But she’s never had a real home. When her father tells them they’ve inherited a house from their great-aunt, Hyacinth sees trouble brewing. Their great-aunt has been playing with forces beyond her control, using her lightning-tree forest to create doors to other worlds. When one door opens, two boys tumble through . . . bringing with them a battle with the undying witch-queen, Nimiane. Hyacinth, together with the boys, must use her newfound magic and all of her courage to journey straight into the witch’s kingdom in a daring plan to trap evil and kill the immortal.

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Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth, written by Frank Cottrell Boyce (HarperCollins)

Award-winning author Frank Cottrell Boyce returns with another one-of-a-kind story of heart, humor, and finding one’s place in the universe.

Prez knows that the best way to keep track of things is to make a list. That’s important when you have a grandfather who is constantly forgetting. And it’s even more important when your grandfather can’t care for you anymore and you have to go live with a foster family out in the country.

Prez is still learning to fit in at his new home when he answers the door to meet Sputnik—a kid who is more than a little strange. First, he can hear what Prez is thinking. Second, he looks like a dog to everyone except Prez. Third, he can manipulate the laws of space and time. Sputnik, it turns out is an alien, and he’s got a mission that requires Prez’s help: the Earth has been marked for destruction, and the only way they can stop it is to come up with ten reasons why the planet should be saved.

Thus begins one of the most fun and eventful summers of Prez’s life, as he and Sputnik set out on a journey to compile the most important list Prez has ever made—and discover just what makes our world so remarkable.


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The Day the World Went Nuclear, written by Bill O’Reilly (Henry Holt and Company)

Autumn 1944. World War II is nearly over in Europe, but in the Pacific, American soldiers face an enemy who will not surrender, despite a massive and mounting death toll. Meanwhile, in Los Alamos, New Mexico, Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer and his team of scientists are preparing to test the deadliest weapon known to mankind. Newly inaugurated president Harry Truman faces the most important political decision in history: whether to use that weapon.

Adapted from Bill O’Reilly’s historical thriller Killing the Rising Sun, with characteristically gripping storytelling, this story explores the decision to use the atom bomb and the end of World War II in the Pacific.

 

Dia!

I had the opportunity to attend the 33rd annual Virginia Hamilton Conference at Kent State University in early April.  The event is the longest-running event focusing entirely on multicultural literature for children. One of the highlights of the program is the awarding of the Virginia Hamilton Literary Award. This year’s honoree is Pat Mora, author of over forty books for children, teens and young adults.

Pat is also the founder of El día de los niños/El día de los libros, (Children’s Day/Book Day), or simply Dia.

I must admit, that despite being directly involved in children’s literature for nearly twenty years as both children’s book festival founder (www.clairesday.org) and children’s book author, I knew nothing about Dia.

So, what is Dia? And what can we do as writers of children’s literature to participate and promote the initiative?

Dia’s roots began in 1925 at the first World Conference for the Well Being of Children in Geneva, Switzerland. Children’s Day was established after the conference, intended to bring attention to children’s issues. Many countries, including the Soviet Union, encouraged the publication of children’s books.

The Parade of the Red Army, Soviet Union, 1931.

In 1996, Pat Mora proposed connecting the celebration of children with literacy. The following year her concept was endorsed by REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking. The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) is now the home to Dia.

Dia is intended to be a daily commitment to connecting children and families to diverse books, languages and cultures. April 30th is designated as the culmination of the year-long celebrations.

Libraries across the United States celebrate Dia with book clubs, bilingual story times, and, (yay!) guest appearances by children’s book authors and illustrators.

ALSC has a website, where book suggestions, toolkits and great resources can be downloaded to help with a Dia Celebration. Check it out: www.dia.ala.org

The website has a locator tab to find a Dia event near you: http://cs.ala.org/websurvey/alsc/dia/map.cfm

Pat offered in her comments to the audience at Kent State University that we in Ohio were not doing enough to spread the mission of Dia. There is only one event listed in the national registry in my home state. Pat is right. We can do more.

My hope is to somehow bring together a collaborative effort to celebrate Dia with our partner library system, the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library, and our Claire’s Day event. Stay Tuned.

What will you do to support this important mission of connecting children with books? Perhaps you could read of one of your works at your local library. Or, maybe volunteer to share multicultural books with children at your nearby school. Or, even just share the Dia website with your local school and/or library.

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Book Fiesta, written by Pat Mora, illustrated by Rafael Lopez.