Monday, June 23, 2014

MMGM: What the Moon Said

What the Moon Said by Gayle Rosengren
Word Count: 48,248
Age Range: 8-12 years
Book Description (from Amazon): Thanks to her superstitious mother, Esther knows some tricks for avoiding bad luck: toss salt over your left shoulder, never button your shirt crooked, and avoid black cats. But even luck can't keep her family safe from the Great Depression. When Pa loses his job, Esther's family leaves their comfy Chicago life behind for a farm in Wisconsin.
Living on a farm comes with lots of hard work, but that means there are plenty of opportunities for Esther to show her mother how helpful she can be. She loves all of the farm animals (except the mean geese) and even better makes a fast friend in lively Bethany. But then Ma sees a sign that Esther just knows is wrong. If believing a superstition makes you miserable, how can that be good luck?

Debut author Gayle Rosengren brings the past to life in this extraordinary, hopeful story.

Why it is Marvelous: First of all the cover is amazing. That is how I choose most books when I am browsing in the library and this one definitely caught my attention. I love how the title is on the moon and the joy of the scene depicted. I was a little hesitant as the story starts because there is a lot of repeated negativity in the main character's feelings towards her mother. Specifically that Esther feels that her mother doesn't love her as much as the other children. As a mother myself, this was hard for me to read. 

Esther's quest for her mother's love and what she discovers about it in the end is the main storyline here, with all the superstition as setup and supporting elements. The author keeps the story tight, moving over weeks at a time without feeling as though anything has been left out. After feeling she is being a bit whiny in the beginning, I love how Esther's character arc plays out. There is sadness in this story but also adventure and perseverance and hope. 

This has definitely been one of my favorite middle grade reads of the year!

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday (MMGM) was created by Shannon Messenger. To find other bloggers participating in MMGM go to her blog for a list of links.  

Friday, June 6, 2014

Cover Reveal: RED BUTTERFLY by A.L. Sonnichsen

I am so excited to help my IRL (in real life) friend reveal the cover to her MG verse novel RED BUTTERFLY (Simon & Schuster BFYR) that is scheduled for release in February 2015. I have had the pleasure of reading an ARC and it is amazing! Without further ado, here is it...

Jacket Copy:
Kara never met her birth mother. Abandoned as an infant, she was taken in by an elderly American woman living in China. Now eleven, Kara spends most of her time in their apartment, wondering why she and Mama cannot leave the city of Tianjin and go live with Daddy in Montana. Mama tells Kara to be content with what she has … but what if Kara secretly wants more?

Told in lyrical, moving verse, Kara’s story is one of a girl learning to trust her own voice, discovering that love and family are limitless, and finding the wings she needs to reach new heights.


If you're curious about the cover design process, please head over to Krista Van Dolzer's blog (@KristaVanDolzer). She interviewed RED BUTTERFLY's designer, Laurent Linn, art director at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. Plus, she's giving away an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of RED BUTTERFLY.


A.L. Sonnichsen grew up in Hong Kong and then spent eight years in China as adult. She now lives on the dry side of Washington State with her dashingly handsome sidekick, five talented children, and a luxury cat. Red Butterfly is her first novel. Learn more at