I love how Story Magic (Jolly Fish Press, 2020) by Laurel Gale dives right into a magical world where stories are magic.
Kaya A’Dor isn’t supposed to know anything about the listeners and the magic they will do if you tell them a good enough story. But she’s learned enough from her older brother Hob to attempt a story herself despite it being forbidden to girls and women. When Hob is taken prisoner, Kaya’s sure it is her fault and she has to save him. Will she survive the dangers of her journey? Especially since it will require more story magic?
This story is a page turner. And isn’t that a lovely cover?
Read about Laurel here where you can also see pictures of animals she’s taken.
You definitely have to pick up Monster, Human, Other (Random House Children’s Books, September 2017) by Laurel Gale when it comes out. I was fortunate enough to get to read an ARC and loved this book.
It starts out with Isaac Read, whose family has moved once again, because he’s changing from his winter look to his summer look. Yep, Isaac isn’t human–he’s a clepsit–in the ambassador exchange program living with human parents. He has to tape down his tail when he goes out among humans and is always having to make new friends because of the moves.
Mr. and Mrs. Read’s child Wren lives with a clepsit family in their burrow. Her clepsit parents love her, but the extended family, not so much. Wren doesn’t have the sense of smell that the rest of the family does and often has trouble finding her way back to the burrow. She’s picked on by her cousins; distrusted by her aunt and uncle, the head clepsits. Thank goodness her brother Coney tries to protect her.
Add the voracans who want to take over the world. With relations between the human and clepsit cultures growing more tense, how can two kids help? But Isaac and Wren don’t have any choice but to get involved when the voracans show up in their world.
This book is fun and with enough scare to keep it interesting. The new world is believable and relatable. I’m sure kids will also love this book.
This is author Laurel Gale’s second book. Read more about what she’s up to on her website. I also recommended her first book Dead Boyhere.
Marvelous Middle Grade Monday Dead Boy (Crown Books for Young Readers, 2015) by Laurel Gale starts right off with humor. The first sentence is “Being dead stank.” The paragraph ends with talking about spray-on deodorant not masking the smell.
Besides the weirdness of his situation, I felt such empathy for the main character. Crow Darlingson is lonely–something we’ve all experienced. His mother won’t let him go outside (the odor, maggots, and falling body parts) and he’s not allowed to have friends (ditto). Then a new girl moves into the neighborhood and waves at him through the window. She even comes to the door to meet him. Of course, his mother won’t let her in. But Crow’s willing to risk a lot to have a friend. He just doesn’t know how much he’ll be risking. Or the truths he’ll discover.
(BTW, I’m not a fan of horror, so if that’s not your “cup of tea” don’t worry that this book goes too far. The horrible elements in this story are balanced well with humor and Crow’s positive traits.)
I love what author Laurel Gale says in a Thanksgiving blog post on her website: “I’m thankful for the magical doors books open.” I agree and am thankful she wrote Dead Boy. Because of it we got to meet. 🙂
Laurel also has helpful writing tips on her website.