Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day

The winner of my ARC of Circa Now is:
Yay! Please email your mailing address to

This week, I'm thinking about all who serve and have served our country. Thank you and thank you. Because of you, the rest of us enjoy our freedom.

A few years ago, my kids and I had the privilege of meeting a World War II veteran and having him speak to our small group. He was old, of course, but spry and full of life. And he talked about how many of those he served with have now died and how it gave him an even greater urgency to talk about his experience because soon there will no longer be any living veterans of World War II. He's an amazing person with an interesting perspective. And I know all veterans can't do what he does -- the experiences are too painful, too rough, and still too raw. My own great uncle was never able to share his World War II experiences, and I understand and respect that perspective also. But vetrans of any war, whatever your experience has been please know there are grateful people everywhere who believe in you and are thankful for you.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Circa Now (with ARC giveaway!)

It's always an honor to receive an ARC, and the very best thing I can do with one once I've read it is share about it and then pass it along as a giveaway. So that's what I'm doing with Circa Now by Amber McRee Turner, which officially releases May 27th. Details on the giveaway are at the end of this post.

The premise: Circa Monroe works with her dad restoring old photos. Sometimes they even 'shop' things into photos for fun and then create stories about them. But one day Circa's dad heads into a terrible storm to deliver one of the restored photos, and he dies in a tragic accident, leaving Circa with just her mom who's always been so dependent on Circa's dad. But then a mysterious boy shows up, a boy with no memories who needs their help.

What I loved: The twisty-turny plot that carries just a hint of magic -- the magic of hope. In the same vein as her first novel Sway but yet in a brand new manner, Amber McRee Turner weaves this magical hope into her latest novel in so many beautiful ways.

To enter the giveaway of my ARC, simply have a United States mailing address and leave a comment on this post. The giveaway is open until 8pm CDT, Sunday, May 25, 2014. Winner announced May 26th.

For other great middle grade recommendations, follow the links on
Happy middle grade reading,

Monday, May 12, 2014


My family and I drove to my mom's house for Mother's Day weekend. She still lives around Fargo, North Dakota, where I grew up, although not in the house where I spent my childhood. But every time I'm there, as I drive the streets where my friends lived, pass churches and schools I attended, and gaze at parks and bike trails where I played and biked, I remember. Memories wash over me, snippets of my life return, and I'm seven or seventeen all over again. It's powerful, as memories tend to be.

And it's also beautiful because I had a wonderful growing up, but I know many kids do not and have not. And this is why I write for kids. Because memories -- whether good or bad, lovely or hard, things we want to remember or things we'd rather forget -- mold us into who we are and who we are becoming. And maybe, just maybe, books can be part of the good, the lovely, and the things we want to remember. And maybe they can help heal the bad, the hard, and the things we'd rather forget.

I hope to have books out there someday that do these things.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Marvelous Midde Grade Monday: A Snicker of Magic

Ahhhh. One of my favorite reads so far this year is A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd. It's her debut, and what a debut it is with its fun twist on lost magic, characters that touch your heart, and a plot that keeps readers guessing. There's a little something in this one for everyone, including ice cream.

The premise: Felicity Pickle is a wanderer. Mostly because her mom never settles in one place for too long, and so Felicity longs for home. She also see words everywhere, even shimmering in the air over people's heads sometimes, and collects them. So when Felicity's family roams into Midnight Gulch, all sorts of words tumble her way, but two of the most important are home and magic.

What I loved: The way Natalie Lloyd strings words together. Felicity might be a collector of words and discovering a unique magic in Midnight Gulch, but Natalie Lloyd has a magic all her own when it comes to sewing just the right words together sentence after sentence. This is one of those books that stays with you long after you've read the last page. And magical ice cream only adds to its perfectness.

For more middle grade magic, check the links on
Happy middle grade reading,