Posted in Fantasy, Fiction, Middle Grade, Science Fiction, Tween Reads

Gamer Squad takes on video game monsters in the real world!

Gamer Squad: Attack of the Not-So Virtual Monsters, by Kim Harrington, (Aug. 2017, Sterling), $6.95, ISBN: 9781454926122

Recommended for readers 8-12

Bex is a gamer, and her game of choice is Monsters Unleashed: an augmented reality game where you hunt and capture monsters using your smartphone and the game app. (Pokemon Go players, you got this.) She and her best friend, Charlie, love playing the game until a mishap with a strange machine at Charlie’s grandfather’s place causes a WiFi gitch and empties Bex’s monster catalog… into the real world! Now, it’s up to Bex, Charlie, and a frenemy Willa to track them all down and get them back before the monsters overrun their town.

Gamer Squad is one of those series you just know the kids are going to swarm when you get them on the shelves. It brings handheld gaming to middle grade fiction with fun and adventure, and author Kim Harrington manages to give us a strong female protagonist, a story about friendship, and addresses bullying all at once. It’s a fast-moving story with likable characters, excitement, and leaves you ready for the sequel, which in this case, released on the same day.

Gamer Squad: Close Encounters of the Nerd Kind, by Kim Harrington,
(Aug. 2017, Sterling), $6.95, ISBN: 9781454926139

A no-brainer for your gamer kids and a nice fiction-y wink to add to your STEM program displays. I’ve just ordered both for my library; the third book hits shelves this Fall.

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Posted in Fiction, geek, Guide, Non-Fiction, Non-fiction, Tween Reads

Holiday Book Shopping: Science and Tech

Books make fantastic holiday gifts! Need a stocking stuffer or are stumped by a kid who has seemingly everything? Try one of these!

I am guilty of favoring books in the STEM/STEAM areas, because that’s what I love evangelizing to my own kids and the kids at my libraries. Take a look – you don’t need to be a Stephen Hawking-in-the-making to enjoy these.

scratch-playgroundScratch Programming Playground, by Al Sweigart, (Oct. 2016, No Starch Press), $24.95, ISBN: 978-1593277628

Recommended for Ages 8-12

I love working with Scratch for young coders. It’s all about teaching kids how to computer code using interconnecting blocks of code, and the Scratch program, developed at MIT, is free and available online. Scratch Programming Playground walks kids (and grownups – I used this book extensively while putting together programs for this coming winter) through the process of learning Scratch by making cool games, like Fruit Slicer (a Fruit Ninja clone), Brick Breaker (where my ’80s friends at?), and Asteroid Breaker (Asteroids! Remember that one?). There are tons of full-color visuals and step-by-step breakdowns that will have kids programming in no time. I buy No Starch books for my libraries all the time – they’re great to have on hand.

 

how-things-workHow Things Work, by T.J Resler (Oct. 2016, National Geographic Kids), $19.99, ISBN: 978-1-4263-2555-7

Recommended for ages 7-12

Know a kid who’s constantly taking everything apart to see how it works? This is the book for her or him. It’s loaded with gadgets and how they work; fun facts; in-depth pieces on technology and how it works; profiles of scientists and innovators, and yes, experiments that are totally safe to try at home (with adult supervision, please). Learn how a tablet really works, how an aquarium works to keep fish healthy and happy, even how a toilet works, complete with diagram. Design a roller coaster with your kids – it’s easier than you think! Because it’s a NatGeo Kids book, you know the writing is great; it speaks to kids in easy, clear, fun language that educates and never talks over their heads or down to them. The photos are amazing, and the dog on a surfboard (page 131) is worth the cost of the book all on its own.

science-encyclopediaScience Encyclopedia: Atom Smashing, Food Chemistry, Animals, Space, and More!, by National Geographic Kids, (Oct. 2016, National Geographic Kids), $24.99, ISBN: 978-1-4263-2543-4

Recommended for ages 8-13

I know, it’s a NatGeo Kids lovefest right now, but it’s well-deserved. The Science Encyclopedia is info-packed with everything kids need to know about physical and life sciences, covering matter, energy, electronics, the universe, and more. There are record breakers, key dates in atomic science, and activities to try at home. Information is presented in 2-page spreads broken out into subject-specific blocks, with stunning photos, fun facts, and hilariously bad jokes (Where does bad light go? A prism!) A glossary, index, and additional resources round this volume out. Fantastic gift for any tween who wants to know more about everything.

 

These are all available now, either in your local bookstore or online through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, or IndieBound.

Posted in Early Reader, Fantasy, Fiction, Fiction, Intermediate

Blog Tour: Kid Crazy and the Kilowatt King rocks out!

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Kid Crazy is a kid living in a desert, dying to go on adventures in the dazzling City of Ever. When he encounters a droid named Denunzio, who overhears him wishing he could visit the City, the droid tells him that the king is rude and sour – a real creep, really. Kid Crazy doesn’t want to hear it – as soon as Denunzio admits that he can get Kid inside the castle, he’s off. They head off in a car made of bread and travel to the castle where, sure enough, the king is rude as all get out. He demands that Kid Crazy sing him a song, but Kid’s not having it. He decides it’s time the king learned some manners! He tells the king a riddle that brings home how rude he’s been, then teaches him the power of one simple word: Please.

 

KKC_jacketKid Crazy and the Kilowatt King, by Claudio Sanchez/Illustrated by Arthur Mask, (Oct. 2016, One Peace Books), $24.95, ISBN: 978-1-944937-03-4
Recommended for ages 5-8

A wild ride through a retro-futuristic, tech-y landscape and a rhyming story about a kid teaching a monarch manners – this book is too much fun! The 80-page length may give younger readers some pause – my 4 year old fizzled out about halfway through – but school-age kids  and independent readers will get into this fun fantasy tale with a great message. Arthur Mask’s illustrations give life to the text, and you can tell that our author, Claudio Sanchez, is a musician, because the text flows beautifully; they’re lyrics in a song about a better world beginning with one person: you. Mask lets his imagination run wild on the pages and it’s to the reader’s benefit, because there’s so much to see. The landscapes, the droids in the City (I love the teddy bear bot), the king with his floating crown and electric beard – it’s a book you experience.

I’d add this to my collections and booktalk it to my school-age kids and parents. I may try to read an abbreviated version at my all-ages storytime, which brings in a lot of preschoolers and kindergarteners, and I think I’ll write up a discussion guide to be able to talk this one up at school visits. When I get it written, I’ll post it here.

This is a blog tour, so I’d be remiss if I didn’t have links for you, to show where you can get a copy of Kid Crazy and the Kilowatt King. There are several exclusive book bundles Sanchez’s own Evil Ink Comics website, www.evilink.com; one wild collectible is a Kid Crazy Limited Coke-Bottle-Green 7″ Vinyl, featuring an original song and the Kid Crazy and the Kilowatt King audiobook read by Claudio Sanchez. You can also get copies on Indiebound, Merchnow, and Amazon.

About the Creators

csanchez_creditmanelcasanova_13Claudio Sanchez (author) is the front man for the conceptual rock band Coheed and Cambria, with over 3 million albums sold worldwide. He is also the creator of several comic books, including The New York Times best-selling series The Amory Wars, and the critically acclaimed titles Translucid, Key of Z and Kill Audio, co-written with his wife, Chondra Echert. He is on tour in 2016 for Coheed and Cambria’s latest album, “The Color Before the Sun: Deconstructed.” He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and their son, Atlas. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. EvilInk is on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can see his video, “A Friend to Enemies”, written for Kid Crazy and the Kilowatt King, on Facebook.

 

Arthur Mask (illustrator) illustrates books, magazines, games and comics. An eclectic mix of passions inspire him: from horror movies and music to retro video games. His mother says his first drawing was of a mosquito, but now he prefers to draw monsters. He lives in Sao Paolo, Brazil.

Chondra Echert Sanchez (editor) is a comic book writer and the creative co-director of Evil Ink Comics. She is also co-founder of The Social Co., a social media agency. She writes about life on the road with her husband, Claudio Sanchez, and their 2-year-old son, Atlas, at http://www.ourtransientlife.com.

You can find the publisher, One Peace Books, on Facebook.