The Door in the Alley by Adrienne Kress


The Explorers 
By: Adrienne Kress

31380874

Release Date : April 25, 2017
Pages: 302
Audience : Ages 8-12

The Story 

Twelve-year old Sebastian lives in a structured world. He follows the rules, enjoys math and science, and he works hard to one day become a brain surgeon. One day, he follows his cousin, Hubert, on a different route home. While walking this new route, Sebastian sees a plaque for an Explorer's Club. The plaque captures his interest, and he returns the next day to see it, but  instead runs into a pig in a tiny hat. As you can imagine, it is with this pig that Sebastian's world is turned upside down and Sebastian soon becomes involved with working The Explorers who think Sebastian needs to break the rules every now and then. 

Enter twelve-year old Evie.  Evie was orphaned after her parents died in a car accident. She spends her days looking out the window of her orphanage wishing for more. When she is not at the orphanage, a local family invites her over to have dinner with them. Evie thinks the family is mundane, but while she is having dinner with them one day, a man enters with a gun. Evie barley escapes alive. As she is leaving the family gives her a letter from her grandfather asking for help. Could Evie have a chance at having a family again? Evie follows her grandfather's direction and ends up at the Explorer's Club. 

Together, Sebastian and Evie work together to find a key that will save Evie's grandfather. 

This is an exciting adventure is a start to a brand new series. It is perfect for young readers who enjoy titles such as the A Series of Unfortunate Events or The Greenglass House. Its mystery is sure to get the attention of reluctant reader's and its wacky sense of humor will keep kids and adults laughing until the end. 


*Please note: I received an advance reader's copy of this title from Random House in exchange for an honest review* 

Prisoner of Ice and Snow by Ruth Lauren Blog Tour

Please welcome Ruth Lauren to Tween You and Me! 

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About the book (from the publisher) 

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When Valor is arrested, she couldn’t be happier. Demidova’s prison for criminal children is exactly where she wants to be. Valor’s sister Sasha is already serving a life sentence for stealing from the royal family and Valor is going to help her escape . . . from the inside.

Never mind that no one has escaped in three hundred years. Valor has a plan and resources most could only dream about. But she didn't count on having to outsmart both the guards and her fellow prisoners. If Valor’s plan is to succeed, she’ll need to make unlikely allies. And if the plan fails, she and Sasha could end up with fates worse than prison.


Q&A Questions 
with Ruth Lauren 

1. What was your favorite children's book growing up?

So many! Although I have to acknowledge that some of them have problematic aspects that I didn’t understand when I was a child. I loved Watership Down, The Secret Garden and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

2. The book has a wonderful theme of sisterhood. How were you inspired to write about Valor and Sasha?
The book was pitched as FROZEN meets PRISON BREAK . I wasn’t consciously thinking of Frozen when I wrote it, but I’d seen Prison Break and I wondered what that sort of story would be like if it was about two young sisters instead.
I’ve always been interested in sibling relationships, and more specifically in sisters, and I think there’s a reason so many middle grade stories (and young adult books) revolve around that relationship. I once read that a sibling relationship can be stronger, and harder to lose, than any other relationship, given that it’s often one that has been with you your whole life (literally so in the case of twins like Valor and Sasha). Most people will never know anyone else for the same amount of time as they know their sibling. That bond, whether it’s an incredibly close one or whether it’s much more complex (or both) will always be unique as perhaps the most enduring relationship in a lot of people’s lives.
This book is about girls and for girls (boys and everyone else welcome too!) and I wanted the sisters to inhabit a world where it would never occur to them that positions of power weren’t open or available to them. They don’t have to struggle or overcome to gain those positions and they see women in every role in the book—from ruler to doctor to prison guard to hunter. Why did I plan that? Because it’s something every child should see reflected in books and in the real world.   
3. How has your teaching background help to shape your writing?
I think this particular book was more inspired by having a young daughter and wanting to write for her, but certainly teaching children to read and write and to love books fed into me wanting to write a fun and fast-paced adventure for kids.

4. How did you come out of your writing closet to share your work with others? What advice would you give to young people aspiring to become a published author?
I didn’t for quite a long time! At first I found it far easier to share my writing with strangers in online writing forums than I did with people I know. Now that my debut is about to release, I’m still finding it strange to speak to people about what I do.
The best advice I can give is read. Read everything. Read all the time. Then write. Write some more, and don’t give up, because perseverance is more important than pretty much anything else. Finish your work, find people whose opinions you trust (this can be hard!) and be prepared to take critique and use it to make your work better. Then repeat, repeat, repeat.
5. Prisoner of Ice and Snow has some rich world building. What inspired this fantasy world?
I wanted a very cold, snowy, frozen world where the elements themselves could cause problems for the characters and bleed through into every part of the planning Valor has to do to try to break her sister out of prison. I drew on elements of the Russian landscape and traditional clothing but I also wanted to create a matriarchal world where only women can rule and where they often have positions of power.  The Russian inspired fantasy land part of the idea came soon after as I thought about where I could place the sisters to make their escape even more challenging.
6. If you could have dinner with any fictional character, who would it be?

Have you read Vic James’s GILDED CAGE yet? I’d love to meet Silyen Jardine. I think he’d be a fascinating/terrifying dinner date. Or Lila Bard from A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC. Or Karou from Laini Taylor’s DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE! Or Katsa from GRACELING! Ok, I will stop now.

Thank you for stopping by Lauren! 

When I read this book, I ended up staying up all night to finish it. It is an exciting crossover book for both tweens and teens. Thanks to Bloomsbury Children’s Publishing, one lucky winner will win a copy of Prisoner of Ice and Snow!  

Be sure to enter the drawing below. The contest is open to anyone in the United States or Canada. 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Did you like hearing more about Ruth Lauren? Be sure to follow the rest of the blog tour! 

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Until next time, 

-Pamela

Don't forget to serve tween parents too!




Follow me! 

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I am over on ALSC  this week talking about the importance of serving tween parents.  

Updates

Hello friends, 

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I hate how far behind I have gotten on updating my blog! Please forgive me. I graduate with my MLIS in December, and I feel like that is all I have time for. I have not forgotten about tweens! 

I am currently working on a Beauty and the Beast Escape room. The program is still a few weeks away, but does anyone have any tips for a good escape room? 

I will be planning on sharing a post with my plans and a recap of how it went! 

As a library, I am currently in the process of planning for Summer Reading. 
I am obsessed with Steven Universe so of course I had to do a program with that! I am also planning to do a Percy Jackson and a LARP Mars program. 

This past month, I became a teen librarian! My focus has shift a little bit, but I still work with all ages. In fact, I just did a baby story time this morning, but it is my hope that I can share more programming from my middle school tweens. 

What kinds of programming are you doing for this summer? 

I will continue to update with my passive programs and book reviews soon! 

-Pamela


Star Wars Jedi Training


Star Wars Jedi Training 

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This past year has gone by so quickly. I am happy to finally start a new year, but the last tween program of the year helped to end the year on a happy note. For this program, my library put on a Star Wars holiday program for tweens. It was a huge success! 

Preparation
As the month of December approached, my coworkers and I collaborated on some tween programming we could offer during the holidays. When we offer tween programming as a library, we always try to ask our participants what type of programming they would like to see in the future. Over the summer, the answer we got was unanimous- Star Wars.  

Our vision for the program was simple. We wanted a place for tweens to go to celebrate their love of Star Wars and to meet other people with the same interests. We also wanted to show off our collection and encourage our Star Wars enthusiasts to check out Star Wars books and nonfiction literature on space.

Originally, we planned our program to be a glow themed dance that would give tweens an outlet for somewhere to go over their holiday break.

While brainstorming ideas, we discovered that our coworker’s husband taught Jedi Martial Arts and he was willing to come in for free to do a free Jedi training for the kids. This would include showing the kids how to use lightsabers along with some simple health tips such as managing your anger. This simple outreach contact changed the entire structure of our program.

The Program
Before the program began, we first gathered supplies. The only thing we needed for this program were glow sticks and balloons from the Dollar Tree and some cookies. Thankfully, our library already had a set of lightsabers made out of dollar pool noodles that we were able to use for this program. Since our outreach guest volunteered to this program for free, the cost of this program was less than $10.  

On the day of the program we spent about an hour setting up. We placed Christmas lights around the room, spread out glow sticks around the room, blew up balloons, hung up donated Star Wars posters, and set out food.

After that, we gave our Jedi Martial Arts guest full control. He opened the program by discussing that it is important to manage your stress and anger with exercise. The kids did some jumping jacks, planks, and went over some basic breathing exercises.

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Next, he then went through some simple movement that the tweens used to spar with the light sabers with. They gracefully moved up and down our auditorium for an hour.

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After the participants completed Jedi training, they were invited to dance to music from the Star Wars soundtrack and complete trivia for a prize. It was a program that even Yoda would approve of, but it was only made possible with collaboration and outreach.

If you don't have access to someone that could do a free program from a Jedi Martial Arts Academy, have no fear. This could easily be substituted with a bubble machine and some pool noodle lightsabers. Tweens will be excited to meet other people that share their interest and will be excited to do activities that

For even more information on this program, please check out my ALSC blog post on things that I learned from this program.

Until Next time,

Pamela

Fall, Kidlit Con, Bookoplis, and Newberys

Wow, can you believe this year is almost over? I feel like I fell asleep in October and woke up in time for Thanksgiving. I apologize I have been slow to post on here. This year has been full of sickness and stress. I hope that even though this year has been difficult, it will bring new beginnings and opportunities.

One opportunity I had this year is the privilege of going to Kidlit Con. Kidlit Con is a small conference with a one-on-one feel with authors and other bloggers. Having this opportunity to go, helped me to learn about a couple new resources I wanted to share with you.

The first, is Bookopolis


Before this conference, I have never heard of it, but I feel like it is a useful tool for both librarians and parents. Essentially, it is a tool that kids can use to find books that other kids have recommended. It is broken down into kid friendly language such as "I want a big book or an easy book."  Recently, I have been passing this resource onto parents who come in looking for a book for their child who isn't with them at the time. The parents and the kids that I have shared it with, have loved it! It is quickly becoming my new favorite reference tool to share. 

The second, is 90- Second Newbery 


This program challenges kids to read Newbery awards and create a movie in 90 seconds that covers the entire book. It is a wonderful way to expose children to the award and to promote creativity and even some STEAM skills. I imagine it working well with school libraries and maybe even an on going program at a public library. I especially found it fun to watch some of the kid's work. They are very creative! 


I realize this was a quick overview of this, but I wanted to share it with you before I forgot it! I hope everyone is having a fantastic fall season. What is your favorite resource? 
Is there a new resource that you discovered this year? 

-Pamela



Welcome MLA!

Welcome Missouri Library Association! Thank you for attending our session. Here are some program plans and additional resources to assist you in building tween programming at your library!

 


Program Plans


 Scooby Doo Programming




 Scooby Doo Instructions




Please let me know if you have any questions or if there is anything I can help you with.

-Pamela