Friday, September 2, 2011


Eight Keys, by Suzanne LaFleur

Coming soon will be The Apothecary, by Maile Meloy, and The Cheshire Cheese Cat, by Carmen Agra Deedy and Randall Wright.

Still enjoying Good Reads -- please join me!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Social Networking

I have always had a love/hate relationship with Facebook. There are many wonderful things about it and many annoying ones as well. Google+ is a new social networking site that has some features that Facebook currently does not -- and which I think will be quite useful. I recently was able to get a Google+ account going and I'll keep you up to date here on the experiment.

I also just joined a network called Good Reads ( where you can list books you've read (with or without a review), books you are currently reading, and books you would like to read in the future. I am trying to add all my "have read" books, but it is going to take some time to get that done! If you join Good Reads, I'd be happy to friend you (assuming I know you) -- my handle is JenBK.

Keep checking BookPage for new reviews, I have been busy this summer reading and commenting!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

More BookPage Reviews

I'm having such fun doing these reviews -- I can't seem to stop!

Here are the latest:

The Silver Bowl, by Diane Stanley
Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to NOT Reading, by Tommy Greenwald

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Latest Review

Well, readers, here's another review for BookPage:

This book was much smaller and not as intricate as the previous one, but still a great little read.

Next up: Charlie Joe Jackson's Book on How NOT to Read

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

First Review for BookPage

It's here! My first review for BookPage is available for your reading pleasure at

Once the book is released to the world and the AR test is available, I will donate my copy to the library.


Next up: Lexie by Newbery Honor-winning author Audrey Couloumbis.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Official Book Reviewer!

I am now going to be writing book reviews for BookPage, a nationally distributed book review resource. The reviews I write for them will be their exclusive property, so check out the link to see what I've written. I'll post here to let you know when they are published. I am reading a book now for a review deadline of April 4th, so it will probably be in either the April or May issue.

They also have a blog called The Book Case.


Friday, February 25, 2011

Irish Kate

Today's post is a plug for Irish writer Kate Thompson. Now, I will admit to being somewhat prejudiced in that anything from Ireland is going to be something I want to like anyway, but I can tell you that Kate's work is very fine and would be no matter where the stories were set.

The New Policeman is a wonderful combination of "real boy" in "real world" and the world of fantasy. This is not the kind of fantasy where the main character disappears into some alternate place and "real" time and place are forgotten (well, sort of -- but you'll have to read it to see what I mean). In fact, it's a great story about how time can get distorted between our world and the land of Faerie. The Last of the High Kings is a very satisfactory sequel. I will get the third and final book in this series, The White Horse Trick soon.

For those of you who can access the Junior High shelf, Thompson has written a wonderfully eerie tale about an Irish city boy who is forced to learn about the mysteries one finds in the country. It is called Creature of the Night and I liked it because it wasn't frightening like Stephen King, just really, really suspenseful and creepy.

Our library has the first two books in her new series called The Missing Link. The first book is called Fourth World and the second is Only Human. They are a cool look at the future and the possibilities (both good and bad) of genetic cloning and manipulation.

Check out Kate Thompson next time you're in the library. You'll be glad you did.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Hidden Gems -- The Last Dragon

My primary purpose for this blog is to highlight books that are quite wonderful but often overlooked. Many times they have won awards, but they are not as well known, or as well read, among the students at any given school. For the sake of the great story alone I will attempt to bring some attention to books that I think merit it.

My first entry for this would have to be The Last Dragon by Silvana de Mari. This book has won the Batchelder Award and deservedly so. When I present it to my students, I usually preface it this way: "If I told you this book was about an elf who must find the last dragon, you might roll your eyes and think Another one? But, trust me, this one is different." I go on to explain that what is great about a book is not always the story line, for it can seem quite similar quite often, it's the ability of the author to tell the story. Silvana de Mari knows how to tell a story. The prose is beautiful without being stuffy and the reader is drawn immediately into the world of the main character.

For any fantasy reader, it's a must. It's also for anyone who just likes a good story told well.

Monday, January 31, 2011

The Premier Post

Ah, yes. I have finally joined the millions who feel their thoughts are too good not to be shared. Truly, I never thought I would succumb to the temptation. And yet, here I am. Mostly I will post thoughts on good reads for middle schoolers, cool technology for kids, and random thoughts about straddling the love of the printed page and the fascination with technology.

Because I want my kids at my school to read this, I can guarantee you that it will be clean and (hopefully) helpful.

Can I just close by saying that I already have a complaint about bloggers? (Or would-be bloggers, I should say.) The best and simplest addresses that I could have used are taken by people who are NOT blogging. They haven't posted anything in the last two or three years -- or worse -- posted *anything* at all *ever*! Surely there is some way to make these people relinquish blog sites that they are no longer using. Thoughts? Ideas?