Wednesday, September 17, 2014

All About Middle Grade Interview: Yona Zeldis McDonough (Author of Little Author in the Big Woods)

Guys, I am so excited to welcome Yona Zeldis McDonough to the blog to talk about her biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder! I'm especially excited because not only is her biography, Little Author in the Big Woods, an excellent read I just so happen to be a long-time fan of the Little House on the Prairie books.

About the author:
Yona Zeldis McDounough is the author of many books for children, including Sisters in Strength; The Life of Louisa May Alcott; and The Doll with the Yellow Star. Ms. McDonough lives in Brooklyn, New York.

You can haunt Yona Zeldis McDonough at-
Website| Goodreads |


  • What drew you to wanting to write a biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her books for children? 
I thought that kids would be interested to learn about the amazing life behind the stories, and to discover the parallels between them. I know I was! 
  • Going out on a limb, I'm guessing that you've read her books. Could you share with us what you loved about the Little House of the Prairie books; and which was your favorite? 
I loved the careful, exacting detail that fills these books. When you read the Little House books, you learn how to churn butter, build a cabin, and plant crops—and so much more. There is so much rich description in these stories, and so much texture. All these things really make the time come alive.

I’m a big fan of all the books but I think my favorite is Little House in the Big Woods because it establishes the voice and sets the tone for all the others.
What do you hope readers will take away after finishing Little Author in the Big Woods?

A sense of a different life—harder in some ways, but purposeful, balanced and joyful. There are lessons to be learned here, and an example to be followed.

  • What book and author did ten-year-old you love? What was it about the book and author that made you love them? 
I loved A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I was so moved by the story of Sara Crewe and how she remained true to herself, even through the most difficult times. I read that book over and over. 

  • If you could meet any author, dead or living, and ask them one question about one of their books who and what would it be? 
I would want to meet Burnett and ask her about the inspiration for her story; she seems to have so much compassion for Sara and I am curious to know how she created this memorable fictional character. 

  • The world has fallen to a robot invasion and only one heroine/hero can possibly save the day, who do you choose? 
Laura Ingalls Wilder of course! After all her years on the prairie, she’s plucky and courageous enough to deal with robot invasions and plenty more! 

  • Care to tell us about your writing cave (include picture if you want)? 

I work in a small room on the second floor of my house that overlooks the backyard. The people next door have a beautiful magnolia tree and I can see a bit of it from my window; when it blossoms in spring, it is as beautiful as a bride. I’ve painted the room a pale sky blue and it is filled with my books, pictures, a wonderful old desk and lots of dolls; they keep me company as a work.

Yona, thank you so much for stopping by to discuss Laura Ingalls Wilder, her books, and your wonderful biography of her.

Little Author in the Big Woods by Yona Zeldis McDounough, illustrated by Jennifer Thermes, September 16, 2014. Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR).
Many girls in elementary and middle school fall in love with the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. What they don’t always realize is that Wilder’s books are autobiographical. This narrative biography describes more of the details of the young Laura’s real life as a young pioneer homesteading with her family on many adventurous journeys. This biography, complete with charming illustrations, points out the differences between the fictional series as well as the many similarities. It’s a fascinating story of a much-celebrated writer.

Don't forget, you can add Little Author in the Big Woods to your Goodreads shelves.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. To participate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Molly Pepper and the Night Train by Courtney King Walker [Cover Reveal & Giveaway]

I am very excited to help reveal the cover for Molly Pepper and the Night Train by Courtney King Walker. I cannot wait to see what y'all think of the cover for this one.

About the Author:
Courtney King Walker grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area building rocket ships and rafts out of cardboard, hoping to make it the moon or at least Niagara Falls. But a trip across the border to Tijuana was as exciting as it ever got, so she decided writing about adventure was the next best thing. She now lives in the Rocky Mountains with her husband and four children, and still dreams of flying to the moon. Her YA debut, ON THE FRINGE, was published in 2011 by Lands Atlantic Publishing.

You can haunt Courtney King Walker at-
Website | Twitter | Goodreads |

Molly Pepper and the Night Train by Courtney King Walker, March 13, 2015. Published by Lands Atlantic Publishing. 
Hidden somewhere in the fog of the San Francisco bay lies Blue Rock Island, home to the bay area’s two best-kept secrets: Bell’s Bluff, the old, abandoned prison on one side of the island, and the Night Train, a mysterious train ride on the other. When twelve-year-old Molly Pepper receives a secret invitation promising a night of magic and adventure aboard the Night Train, she is skeptical. In her experience, most promises prove too good to be true. The fact that she lost her mom is proof enough.

Still, Molly gives hope another chance. Together with her loyal friend, Noah Wonderly, they sneak out of the house and follow a string of clues leading to the Night Train. But when the train stops at Bell's Bluff, Molly discovers the real reason she was invited. There, she starts to wonder if hope and magic not only fix broken promises; but make you believe in them again.

Don't forget, you can add Molly Pepper and the Night Train to your Goodreads shelves now.
Check rafflecopter form for rules and details on the giveaway.

Monday, September 15, 2014

All About Middle Grade Review: Stay Where You Are & Then Leave

Stay Where You Are & Then Leave by John Boyne, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers, March 25, 2014. 247 pages. Published by  Henry Holt and Co. (BYR). Source: publisher.
The day the First World War broke out, Alfie Summerfield's father promised he wouldn't go away to fight—but he broke that promise the following day. Four years later, Alfie doesn't know where his father might be, other than that he's away on a special, secret mission. Then, while shining shoes at King's Cross Station, Alfie unexpectedly sees his father's name on a sheaf of papers belonging to a military doctor. Bewildered and confused, Alfie realizes his father is in a hospital close by—a hospital treating soldiers with shell shock. Alfie isn't sure what shell shock is, but he is determined to rescue his father from this strange, unnerving place. . . .
First Sentence:
Every night, before he went to sleep, Alfie Summerfield tried to remember how life had been before the war began.

Zhukov’s Dogs by Amanda Cyr [Cover Reveal]

Hey guys, today, I am excited to help Curiosity Quills reveal the cover for Amanda Cry's Zhukov's Dogs here on the blog. Let me know what y'all think of this one. 

About the Author:
Amanda Cyr, Zhurkov's DogsAmanda Cyr is a tea-loving freelance journalist, viral content curator, and debut novelist. She studied creative writing at Seattle University, where she developed all sorts of opinions before becoming a member of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association. She is currently represented by Kimberley Cameron of the Kimberley Cameron & Associates Literary Agency.

Growing up, Amanda moved around a lot. She began writing to make the transitions easier and make up for her lack of friends in middle school. An awesome professor in Medford, Oregon tried to convince her to pursue writing professionally, but Amanda was deadest on a law career. It wasn’t until an unpleasant professor in Seattle, Washington told her she was a terrible writer that Amanda really committed to the idea of getting published, mostly just to spite her professor.

When Amanda’s not hunched over a laptop she enjoys sleeping, video games, Netflix binges, and wrestling with her two polar bear dogs. She currently lives in Los Angeles, where she spends her days hissing at the sun and missing Seattle. Her least favorite things include the mispronunciation of her name, screaming children, and California.

You can haunt Amanda Cyr at-Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Cover art: Alexandria Thompson of Gothic Fate
Zhukov's Dogs by Amanda Cyr, October 27, 2014. Published by Curiosity Quills Press.
Lieutenant Colonel Nik Zhukov is just like any other desensitized seventeen-year-old living in the year 2076. At least he likes to think he is when he isn’t busy eliminating threats to national security, breaking up terrorist organizations, and trying not to get blown up. It’s all in a normal day’s work for one of the military’s top dogs, and he’s never disappointed. Never failed. Never lost sight of his dream of making it to the elite force, even as each new job forces him to see just how morally corrupt his leaders are.

On the verge of promotion, Nik is dispatched to the underground city beneath the icy Seattle tundra, his final mission handed down directly from The Council. It should have been a simple in-and-out, but the underground is full of dark secrets and he soon finds himself swept into battles, lying to his best friend back east, and growing a bit too close to the rebels he was sent to spy on.

Nik realizes too late that he’s broken the number one rule within his ranks; he’s allowed himself to feel normal for the first time in his life. He might be able to turn the job around, become the soldier he was once was, except for his growing attachment to the rebel leader. A guy. Yet another first for Nik. It’s a mistake he pays for dearly when he learns The Council’s true intentions for the city.

It’s never ‘just harmless fun’ when you’re a government dog, not when The Council holds the leash. Nik knows there are some lines you can never come back from crossing, and he’s forced to choose whose rules to play by. He races toward the invisible divide, aware he’ll be called traitor by both his nation and by his friends. Aware that even the right choice can be deadly to make.

Don't forget, you can add Zhukov's Dogs by Amanda Cyr to your Goodreads shelves.
Are you a middle grade author, want your book to be spotlighted this year during the challenge on my blog? Than this post is just for you. All about Middle Grade Challenge

Sign up for the 2014 All about Middle Grade Reading Challenge.


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