Posts Tagged 'The Book Stall'

Todd Hasak-Lowy Author Visit

Thanks to The Book Stall in Winnetka, I was able to host Todd Hasak-Lowy, author of 33 Minutes, at my school. He held the rapt attention of 125 hoping-for-a-snow-day fifth graders, no small feat in and of itself, with stories of his own middle school years and how those experiences became part of the 33 Minutes narrative. Mr. Hasak-Lowy’s entire presentation was as fast-paced and quick-witted as his writing. His ability to engage students in the conversation was remarkable and even that rogue questioner, whose question is meant to get a few chuckles from his peers, was acknowledged and his question legitimized.  Of great delight to the teachers and students, was the discussion of revisions. Mr. Hasak-Lowy read a portion of the first draft and the comparable section of the published text and led the students in an insightful critique of the two versions. So open another tab on your browser and send off an email to Todd Hasak-Lowy at hasaklowy@gmail.com .  Schedule a visit for your school. You and your students will not be disappointed.

February 26, 2013 at Roosevelt School, Park Ridge, IL

February 26, 2013 at Roosevelt School, Park Ridge, IL

Educator Day at The Book Stall

My friends and colleagues at The Book Stall in Winnetka, IL hosted another successful educator event yesterday. While I think I’m up to speed on middle grade reading they never fail to surprise me. Thanks to their recommendation, on my short list is The Unwanteds series by Lisa McMann. The first two books, The Unwanteds and Island of Silence are currently out. Kirkus Reviews described this middle grade dystopian fantasy series as “Hunger Games Meets Harry Potter.” That was enough of a recommendation for me. With the popularity of the Hunger Games franchise, I have a number of lower grade readers asking for it. I’m thrilled to have an age-appropriate recommendation. Book #3 of the seven book series is slated for release this fall.

I don’t pick up a lot of YA fiction, but now on my short list are two recommendations — Just One Day by Gayle Forman and Lovely, Dark and Deep by Amy McNamara. When you have such knowledgeable book sellers making the recommendations, you can’t go wrong. Oh, so may books and so little time. :-)

 

 

Authors Galore

Its been a week filled with writers and discussions of writing! Thanks to my friends at The Book Stall in Winnetka, IL, Clare Vanderpool came to speak to the 4th and 5th graders at my school. Ms. Vanderpool was promoting her recently released book, Navigating Early.

Navigating Early is the quest of two boys, Early Auden and Jack Baker. The boys don’t quite fit in at their Maine boarding school and when a school holiday leaves them to fend for themselves, they set off on the Appalachian Trail to discover the great black bear. A second, parallel, quest is featured in the book. Early, being a math wiz, has created a story of pi. Not the number, per se, but of Polaris, nicknamed Pi. Vanderpool’s ability to weave the two narratives into a cohesive whole is nothing short of masterful. I was spellbound by her practice of the craft — multiple story lines and nuanced characters brought to like with beautiful descriptions and authentic dialogue. It doesn’t get any better than Navigating Early.

Several weeks ago, I reviewed Todd Hasak-Lowy’s novel 33 Minutes. The launch party was held on the weekend at The Book Stall. I wanted to meet Mr. Hasak-Lowy. There were references in the book to locations that I was sure I knew from my high school years in Farmington Hills, MI. Sure enough, Todd graduated from the same high school I attended. Comparing notes on his setting was great fun!  The reasons I liked 33 Minutes still hold and I enjoyed hearing Todd describe the writing process for the novel. Using such a narrow time frame to tell the story is not all that common, maybe even unique.

I enjoyed the week immersed in books and talk of writing. Thank goodness for the lingering warm feelings it created as we settle in for a cold week here in the Chicago area.

 

 

Reviews

Having caught up on a fair amount of my “adult” reading for the next few weeks, I’ll be focusing on reviewing books geared for elementary and middle grade readers. For the most part, I’ll feature reviews for newly published books on Thursdays. Tuesdays will feature books from my “backlist,” titles we might have missed given the challenges and excitement of everyday life.

A big thank you to Robert McDonald of The Book Stall in Winnetka, Illinois for graciously allowing me to access his collection of advanced reader’s copies. The Book Stall was recently recognized as Publisher’s Weekly 2012 Bookstore of the Year! This independent bookstore thrives due to its knowledgeable and personable staff. If you find yourself in the Chicago area make sure to plan a visit.


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