I’ll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan, a young adult romance and adventure novel.

“I’ll be There” by Holly Goldberg Sloan begins with a sweet romance and turns into a harrowing adventure tale. Readers will find this suspenseful book hard to put down. Sometimes her plots stretch credibility, but I don’t care. I love her books anyway!

Sam Border has led the life of a vagrant. His father, Clarence, is a conman and criminal. He drifts from place to place with his two sons, often to stay ahead of law enforcement. He spends his time stealing and pawning goods. Sam has not been to school since the second grade. He and his brother, Riddle, stay hidden during the school day and emerge from their low-income apartment later in the day to go dumpster diving.

Clarence finds the boys useful. People are less suspicious of a single dad with two sons. As the boys grow older, he resents them. Neither boy is willing to steal making them useless in his eyes.

Emily Bell is your all American girl. Her parents are loving people who want to make a positive mark on their world. Emily plays second string soccer and excels in school. She is curious about people and notices things that others fail to see.

When a series of random meetings brings her and Sam together. Emily finds him fascinating. He’s not like any guy she’s ever known. He’s quiet and humble, a welcome change from the arrogant Bobby Ellis, who has had his eyes on Emily for months.

When Emily’s parents realize she is in love, they insist on having Sam over for dinner. Mr. Bell discovers that Sam is a musical prodigy. It’s not long before Sam and Riddle become a fixture in the Bell household.

It’s scary for Sam who is beginning to realize how strange his life really is. Riddle, Sam’s brother, stands out even more. He’s five years younger and small for his age. He rarely talks and spends most of his free time creating intricate drawings in old phone books.

The book takes a sinister turn when Clarence Border finds Emily Bell’s cellphone in his son’s pocket. Clarence is very angry about his sons’ secret lives. He vows to seek revenge.

Meanwhile, the senior Bells are unaware that Sam and Riddle live in a moldy house on the worst side of town or that many of their meals come from trash cans. When Mr. Bell’s car is vandalized, Sam realizes that he has put the Bell family in danger.

 When Sam and Riddle arrive home, Clarence is throwing everything into the trunk and angrily orders them inside. They have headed again for an unknown destination.

They are now caught in a life or death spiral. Clarence vows revenge. From this point, it’s a wild ride for the brothers who must not only deal with Clarence’s wrath but also navigate a remote wilderness without supplies or assistance.

This is a great book for anyone who loves a good love story or adventure. It’s light reading at its best.

You can download this book and many others at https://bhmlib.org/nc-kids/ or through any public library in North Carolina. Other libraries also have e-books available.

Great Picture Books: Mother Bruce

Bruce is a grumpy bear.. He does not like sunny days, rain or cute little animals.

Bruce does love to cook. He loves eggs and enjoys making fancy recipes from the Internet. When he finds a recipe for hard-boiled goose eggs drizzled in honey salmon sauce, he can hardly wait to prepare this delicacy.

But Bruce is in for an unpleasant surprise, When he gets distracted from boiling geese eggs, he finds himself with four baby goslings that won’t go away. In fact, they decide that Bruce must be their mother. Bruce does his best to resist the ducks but in the end, they form a most unusual family.

You can read Mother Bruce and many other books on Libby https://www.overdrive.com/apps/libby/ or check your library’s web page for more information about e-books.

Hear Mother Bruce read aloud by Jaqueline Mitchell

Get Mother Bruce printables from Disney/Hyperion ONLINE-ACTIVITY-SHEETS.pdf

More ideas for Mother Bruce Activities with Literary Hoots http://www.literaryhoots.com/2016/10/15-extension-activities-for-mother-bruce.html

Smile by Raina Telgemeier: A Review

The current crisis is a great time to explore some fun Young Adult Books. I am planning to review some of my favorites.

Let’s face it. Middle School is traumatic!  Middle schoolers think eveyone notices everything they do. Classmates can be cruel. Anything that makes you different from your classmates feels like torture.

Smile by Raina Telemeier is an autobiographical graphic novel chronicling the ups and downs of middle school and high school, a tough season for any adolescent especially if there’s something that sets you apart from your classmates.

At age 12, Raina fell on the pavement resulting in losing her two front teeth. Six year olds with missing front teeth are adorable, twelve years olds not so much. Raina’s life for the next four years includes dental surgeries, trips to specalists and two sets of braces.Most of all, she feels different from her classmates. Her story navigates crushes, friendships and other teen drama.

Smile encourages the reader to laugh and sympathize with Raina’s recollections. When she spies her crush in the hall, she is so enamored that she walks right into a row of lockers.  When she tries on extensive headgear for her braces, She exclaims, “C’mom Mom, let’s go get me some glasses, a pocket protector and some velcro shoes.”

Raina begins her story with sixth grade and ends in high school. Along the way, she learns to chose her friends more carefully and pursue her talents for drawing and singing. She gradually settles in with a new group of artsy friends that are kinder, more authentic and accepting.

Kids love graphic novels.  Teachers and librarians are increasingly realizing the benefits of this genre.  Smile, however, is an exceptional graphic novel.  It won the Wil Eisner Award for best books for teens.  Telgemeier has published other graphic novels.