Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

Operation: Happy

Operation: Happy (Zonderkidz, 2024) by Jenni L. Walsh is one you won’t want to miss! (It’s coming out next April.*) Told in two points of view, it almost had me tearing up on the first page. It’s such a compelling and tense-making read, I hope it wins awards.

Jody wants a dog more than anything. Something to help going to bed feel the same no matter where she is. (Her dad’s a Marine and the family moves around a lot.)

Happy, a mixed German shepherd/collie/husky, is losing his eyesight and his handler is retiring, so he has a new job. Instead of being a military guard job, he’ll just need to make a girl happy.

But now it’s 1940 and the family has been ordered to Hawaii and Mom doesn’t want to go. She’s had a dream about “The Island.” And then they can see the battleships from their new house on Ford Island. Mom won’t even look at them, which makes Jody really nervous.

The story is inspired by a real Pearl Harbor survivor.

Jenni L. Walsh writes historical for children and adults. Read about her here and check out all her books here. I’m definitely reading more of her writing!

*I was privileged to read an advanced reader copy from the Publisher.

Posted in PB, So Many Good Books

When Your Daddy’s a Soldier

Perfect Picture Book Friday

National Veterans and Military Family Month

When Your Daddy’s a Soldier (Viking Books for Young Readers, October 2022) by Gretchen Brandenburg McLellan and illustrated by EG Keller is a wonderful picture book. I wish I’d had it when my grandsons were little and their dad was deployed.

This book is an honest look at what it’s like to be a military child. There’s the sweetness of a boy imitating his father and wanting to be just like him and the sadness when Dad has to go away for what might be “a maybe-forever long time.” I love the interactions between the family.

But don’t limit this book to military kid readers–this hopeful book will help all children with separations, or just to understand what it is like to worry about a parent being gone.

This is author Gretchen’s fifth picture book. You can read about her here–she was a military child herself–and see her other books here.

I love the warmth of EG Keller’s illustrations. And having a diverse family is lovely. See some of his other artwork here and read about him here. You can find Gerald’s other books here.

Posted in Contest, So Many Good Books, YA Novels

Second Fiddle

second_fiddleYou won’t want to miss out on the chance to read this great book yourself! Author Rosanne Parry has graciously given me two autographed paperback copies of Second Fiddle (Random House Children’s Books, 2011) to award to two lucky people.
First, let me tell you about this book:
Jody and her two musician friends, Vivian and Giselle, will be separated soon. The Berlin Wall has come down and the kids’ army families will all be sent to different places in the US. But first they have an Ensemble Contest in Paris. But now their music teacher has to cancel, so how will they get there? The answer involves attempted murder, rescue, lies, danger, and betrayal.
I love, love the first sentence: “If we had known it would eventually involve the KGB, the French National Police, and the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, we would have left the body in the river and called the Polizei like any normal German citizen; but we were Americans and addicted to solving other people’s problems, so naturally, we got involved.” Don’t you want to read more? Of course, you do!
To enter for a chance to win the giveaway, comment below with one of your favorite book lines. Tell me the title and author. I’ll throw your name in the hat with others and draw the winners. You must enter by April 16th at midnight Pacific Standard Time. (Please make sure you give me a way to contact you, so I can get your mailing address privately…)
After you enter, read more about Rosanne here. Her next book is called Written in Stone and will be out in June 2013! Rosanne says, “This is a story I’ve been working on for many years and is particularly dear to me as it is set on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State among the Quinault and Makah where I spent my very first years as a teacher.” And, yes, if you read YA, you’ve heard about the Quinaults before…