Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

I don’t even know how to tell you how much I loved The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl (Random House Children’s Books, 2018) by Stacy McAnulty. It was soooo good. I’m not surprised it has been put on some best book lists.

Four years ago, 12-year-old Lucy Callahan was struck by lightning. It turned her into a math savant and gave her some OCD characteristics. She’s been home-schooled ever since, but now Nana is making her to go to middle school. Lucy doesn’t think she can learn anything in seventh grade. But Nana makes her promise to “Give it 1 year…Make 1 friend.” Plus do 1 activity and read 1 nonmath book.

Day 1 doesn’t start out well when Lucy does her compulsive sit, stand, sit, stand, sit on the bus. And it doesn’t get better from there. Although she does like her math teacher.

Will Lucy be able to make good on her promise?

This is author Stacy McAnulty’s debut novel. However she’s written dozens of picture books and chapter books. Since then she’s had two more novels published (one is coming in September). I’m hoping my library has them.

One amazing fact about Stacy is she’s a 2 finger typer! Read more here.

Posted in Award Winners, Easy Readers, So Many Good Books

Chick and Brain: Smell My Foot!

Chick and Brain: Smell My Foot! (Candlewick Press, 2019) written and illustrated by Cece Bell is a hilarious book. It’s also a 2020 Theodore Seuss Geisel Honor Book.

Brain is not as smart as he thinks he is. Chick is trying to teach manners. It’s not going well. Then Spot comes along and even more trouble ensues.

This book is divided into four chapters–Foot, Spot, Lunch, and Other Foot. Kids will really enjoy figuring out things before the characters do. So much better than Dick and Jane. (Read the back of the book to get this reference.)

A sequel Chick and Brain: Egg or Eyeball that came out in March looks funny too.

Cece Bell is the 2015 Newbery Honor winner of the graphic novel El Deafo. Read about her other books here. And you have to check out her studio here. You may also want to read her bio.

Posted in The Nitty Gritty of Children's Writing, Tools

One Day Virtual Write-In

Our 8 member writing group has once or twice yearly writing retreats. We enjoy time together, eat together, and get lots of work done. We make it affordable by staying at someone’s house (or cabin) with everyone bringing food. We share in cooking and cleanup. This year our scheduled retreat was in May. Obviously Covid-19 canceled that.

We rescheduled for July. This time instead of totally cancelling, we agreed on a substitute–a virtual write-in. If it goes well, we will probably repeat.

I thought our schedule might be of interest to others.

ONE DAY VIRTUAL WRITE-IN SCHEDULE

8:30am              meet via Zoom
– PJs welcome.
– Bring a cup of coffee or tea, maybe a pastry or an egg, or some fruit.
– While we eat, we chat.
– Each one shares what project they will be working on this morning.

12noon            meet via Zoom
– Chat for a half hour.
– Then eat your own lunch and return to work.

4:00pm            meet via Zoom
– Talk about your day’s progress.
– Play game.

Children’s book question game:

  • All of us prepare a few children’s book related questions ahead of time.
  • Whoever raises their hand first and answers correctly gets a point. If no one guesses, the asker gets a point.
  • On to the next person until everyone has had a chance to ask three questions. (Prepare a few more in case someone uses yours!)
  • The winner gets a big hurrah from all of us.

In addition, the Zoom “room” will be open all day.

  • If someone wants to chat with someone for a bit, they could get on and see if anyone else is on.
  • Or text someone and ask them to meet.

We may decide to meet back after dinner and share some work for critique, or wait for our next Zoom critique meeting.