Friday, May 22, 2009

Rick Riordan Came to Little Shop!

We had a great time during Rick Riordan's third trip to Decatur. Around 1,000 came over to the Rec Center on Monday afternoon to hear Rick talk about his Percy Jackson books, the upcoming movie, and what he's working on next.

Besides writing great books, Rick is simply a great guy. Despite being on the road for two weeks and on the second to last leg of his tour, he took his time connecting to the kids and answering questions. Thanks, Rick!!!

Little Shop would also like to thank Hyperion Books, the Decatur Recreation Center, the folks at Decatur Active Living, and Joe Davich and Georgia Center for the Book, for helping us put on this event.

For those of you who could not make it, we have a few signed copies of The Last Olympian left, as well as The Demigod Files. Also, there are some Last Olympian T-Shirts left.

Stone Voice Rising & Monster's Proof

Amelia Stauss, a great reader and a Little Shop regular, sends us reviews of two books she recently read. (Thanks, Amelia!)

Stone Voice Rising
by C. Lee Tocci
It was a wonderful book full of suspense. Some parts are scary and others happy. You feel like you're hanging off the edge of a high cliff. I read it two times in three days!

Monster's Proof
by Richard Lewis.
This is another scary tale full of mystery and equations. It proves the unimaginable - a math monster! Can you imagine that?
Note: this book is due out July 7th.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Help get a young man a book

Actually, you can help a lot of young men get books.

Some of you who've read this blog for a while (a good long while, at this point) may know that I regularly contribute to Guys Lit Wire, a blog that recommends books for teen boys. Well, we've begun a new initiative: starting yesterday, we're holding a book fair for boys incarcerated with no access to books.

See, boys in the LA County Juvenile Justice System are desperate to read, but there's no library. However, they can read books that are sent to them. Thus, our book fair.

Please go read this post to find out more.


Saturday, May 9, 2009

Stonewall Hinkelman blog tour 2009--Last Stop!

This blog post is part of the Stonewall’s Blog Tour. The master link will guide you to other parts of the tour. You can win prizes courtesy of Dial Books For Young Readers: the Stonewall Hinkleman Prize Pack contains a signed copy of Stonewall Hinkleman & The Battle of Bull Run, a t-shirt just like Stonewall wears on the cover, plus advance copies of other Dial Books for Young Readers titles. To enter, send an email to and put "Stonewall Contest" in the subject line.

Today I’m excited to participate in the Stonewall Hinkleman and the Battle of Bull Run blog tour. See, our old pal Sam Riddleburger, author of The Qwikpick Adventure Society, got together with his friend Mike Hemphill and wrote a time traveling romp romp of a book. It’s awesome, great fun, with great characters, great action and adventure, and if you aren’t careful, you just might learn you some Civil War history.

Young Stonewall Hinkleman is the son of avid Civil War re-enactors, and so of course he hates all things Civil War. But he wishes he’d paid more attention to his parent’s obsession when a magic bugle transports him back to the Battle of Bull Run, where he has to stop a mad plot to change history!

Um, hang on. Before I go on: have you clicked on the link above? The other stops on this tour? Hokey Majokey—what a great bunch of posts! And here I am, coming in at the end, and a little late at that. I wish I could go back in time, see what was coming, and write some totally awesome post that I could then post on time. On blogger, you can kind of rig going back in time…I used to. If I was late posting to the little shop blog, I would change the posting date and time so it would look like I had posted on time. But then I got in trouble with the blogger powers-that-be.

Time travel is a compelling idea, and we can never quite shake its power. Anybody watch Lost? Time travel , hinted at for seasons on end, has suddenly leapt crazily to the fore. Here’s a whole bunch of posts about time travel kidslit: she calls it Timeslip Tuesday! When I was a kid, one of my favorite series was Simon Hawke’s Time Wars books. In the series, agents of a time-monitoring agency traveled through time trying to ensure that radical anarchists didn’t forever change the timeline.

The strange thing about that series, looking back on it as an adult, is the basic underlying question of history—is it sacrosanct? Is history larger than us? I mean what’s so important about what happened in the past that we would never want to change it? And that’s part of what I like so much about Stonewall Hinkleman: the book asks those big questions. I mean, Stonewall doesn’t struggle to preserve what happened at Bull Run because “that’s what happened.” No, he wants to make sure that battle and the whole of the Civil War is won by the Union because the alternative would be catastrophic—wrong and terrible in a very real way to Stonewall.

In one of my other blogging hats, I write for the teen boy’s book blog, Guys Lit Wire, and several months ago I reviewed a book by Terry Bisson called Fire on the Mountain. What is so breathtaking about this book is that it imagines an alternate history, one where the Civil War was not as we know it, but a true slave uprising, a revolution instead. And the result was a South completely unlike the one in which we live—In its stead stands a Neo Africa, a monument to world peace and knowledge. In Fire on the Mountain, Terry Bisson has imagined a utopian world that might have been, and as a consequence the book causes us to question those things we hold onto as “meant to be,” simply because that’s the way things happened.

So Stonewall Hinkelman? This kid who is thrown back in time and finds himself to be the only one able to save the future from the terrible forces of hatred, bigotry, ignorance, and the inevitable march of history? He could care less about making sure that everything works out “exactly as it should.” He has nothing invested in history for its own sake, or nostalgia. Instead, he’s busting his tail trying to do what he thinks is right. And there’s no “grandfather law,” no Unchanging Laws of Time and the Universe making sure that whatever happened, always happened.

So he does end up changing history. Not in any huge, re-write the history books kind of way—but in a very human, personal way. And isn’t that awesome? A book that says, “You may just be a kid with nothing but a bugle, but you can change history for the better?”

Oh, and it's got lots of laughs, that Stonewall Hinkleman and the Battle of Bull Run book. Did I mention that?

So now we come to the end of the Stonewall Hinkelman and the Battle of Bull Run blog tour. Thanks to Sam and Michael for letting me participate, and thanks to all the other bloggers for some great Stonewall posts. Don’t forget about the great contest I mentioned above—email Dial for the great book swag!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Silver Pheonix Review

We love when people write book reviews for us! Thanks to local illustrator Elizabeth Dulemba for her review of Silver Pheonix by Cindy Pon.

"Thanks so much for letting me read the ARC for SILVER PHOENIX by Cindy Pon. It's much like the movie, "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" in it's old society, Asian feel. It's also extremely plot driven but with an Asian mythology that most
readers won't be familiar with (and therefore sounds new) - the protagonists travel to the lands of the 'gods'.

Basic plot: Ai Ling's father travels to the palace but never comes home. An older man tries to rope Ai Ling into a marriage she knows her father would never agree to, so she leaves to search for her father. She ends up meeting and traveling with Chen Yong - a young man of mixed descent. During their journey magical creatures and demons seem intent on stopping them. But Ai Ling has a magic amulet that protects her and a budding skill to enter people's souls, making it possible to read their minds or defeat them. While visiting the gods, she learns that the Emperor's counselor was in love with Ai Ling in a previous life and is still intent on marrying her. He's managed to cheat death for generations by stealing souls. Ai Ling must defeat him to free her father.

Things do keep coming at you without set-up or warning (and leaving just as quickly), but it was still engaging and interesting. There are some scenes that are rather mature - an almost rape scene and a marital night scene that goes just shy of 'doing it.' The girl doesn't end up with the guy, but does set the reader up for a sequel with more adventures (which Cindy is contracted for). I didn't love the book, but I was definitely engaged. This is Cindy's first novel, and the writing was a bit rough (as far as things coming at you), however, I'd definitely keep an eye on future works. I
think it might be a good hand-sell for older readers who loved the Riordan books or other fantasy books."

Happy reading, everyone!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Writers on Motherhood

Mother's Day is next Sunday, and we wanted to take a moment to give a shout out to all the great moms we know, with some help from some of our literary friends:

Because I feel that in the heavens above/ The angels whispering one to another/Can find among their burning tears of love/None so devotional as that of "Mother"/Therefore, by that dear name I have long called you/You who are more than mother unto me.~Edgar Allan Poe

My mother had a slender, small body, but a large heart - a heart so large that everybody's joys found welcome in it, and hospitable accommodation. ~Mark Twain

If I was damned of body and soul/I know whose prayers would make me whole/Mother o' mine, O mother o'mine.~Rudyard Kipling

Whatever else is unsure in this stinking dunghill of a world a mother's love is not. ~James Joyce

The tie which links mother and child is of such pure and immaculate strength as to be never violated. ~Washington Irving

Grown don't mean nothing to a mother. A child is a child. They get bigger, older, but grown? What's that suppose to mean? In my heart it don't mean a thing. ~Toni Morrison

A mother's arms are made of tenderness and children sleep soundly in them. ~Victor Hugo

[A] mother is one to whom you hurry when you are troubled. ~Emily Dickinson

All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That's his. ~Oscar Wilde

A mother's love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path.-- Agatha Christie

The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness.-- Honore' de Balzac

To describe my mother would be to write about a hurricane in its perfect power.-- Maya Angelou

My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it.-- Mark Twain

Happy Mother's Day to all of our favorite moms!

The Little Shop Crew