May 22, 2018

Down a Dark Hall Movie Trailer!!!!!!

Lois Duncan was my most favorite author when I was growing up.  I read and reread her books.  I own them all now!  And my favorite - Down a Dark Hall. Loved it so much.

Well, they have made a movie out of it! Yes, yes it's not completely the story.  I can they've changed quite a bit BUT it still keeps the basic of it! And whenever I go into a movie based on a book, I go in knowing it will be different. 

Here's the trailer!


Here's about the movie



In Theaters, On Demand, and On iTunes August 17th

Kit (AnnaSophia Robb), a difficult young girl, is sent to the mysterious Blackwood Boarding School when her heated temper becomes too much for her mother to handle. Once she arrives at Blackwood, Kit encounters eccentric headmistress Madame Duret (Uma Thurman) and meets the school's only other students, four young women also headed down a troubled path. While exploring the labyrinthine corridors of the school, Kit and her classmates discover that Blackwood Manor hides an age-old secret rooted in the paranormal.

Based on the classic gothic YA novel of the same name by Lois Duncan - author of "I Know What You Did Last Summer" - and produced by Stephenie Meyer (author of Twilight, The Host), DOWN A DARK HALL is a supernatural thriller directed by Rodrigo Cortés (Buried), from a screenplay by Mike Goldbach and Chris Sparling, and stars AnnaSophia Robb (Soul Surfer, The Carrie Diaries), Isabelle Fuhrman (Orphan), Victoria Moroles (Teen Wolf), Noah Silver (The Tribes of Palos Verdes), Taylor Russell (TV's Falling Skies), Rosie Day (Outlander), and features a truly memorable turn by the iconic Uma Thurman (Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill: Vols. I & II).

Summit Entertainment presents, a Temple Hill / Fickle Fish / Nostromo Pictures production.

Cast: AnnaSophia Robb, Isabelle Fuhrman, Victoria Moroles, Noah Silver, Taylor Russell, Rosie Day, and Uma Thurman
Directed by: Rodrigo Cortés
Produced by: Stephenie Meyer, Wyck Godfrey, Marty Bowen, Meghan Hibbett, Adrián Guerra
Written by: Mike Goldbach and Chris Sparling
Genre: Horror
Distributor: Lionsgate Premiere

Can't wait until August!!!

May 14, 2018

Captian Superlative by J.S. Puller: Interview and Review

Today I'm happy to share with you a great new book I was introduced to called 

Captian Superlative by J.S. Puller.  

About the book

"Have no fear, citizens! Captain Superlative is here to make all troubles disappear!"

Red mask, blue wig, silver swimsuit, rubber gloves, torn tights, high top sneakers and . . . a cape? Who would run through the halls of Deerwood Park Middle School dressed like this? And why?

Janey-quick to stay in the shadows-can't resist the urge to uncover the truth behind the mask. The answer pulls invisible Janey into the spotlight and leads her to an unexpected friendship with a superhero like no other. Fearless even in the face of school bully extraordinaire, Dagmar Hagen, no good deed is too small for the incomparable Captain Superlative and her new sidekick, Janey.

But superheroes hold secrets and Captain Superlative is no exception. When Janey unearths what's truly at stake, she's forced to face her own dark secrets and discover what it truly means to be a hero . . . and a friend.

J.S. Puller was kind enough to respond to a few questions I asked about!!

I work with Middle Schoolers. Can you talk about your middle school years and how (if it did) it made its way into the story?
Middle school was definitely a tough time for me.  I was going through a lot of difficult transitions, including the death of a grandparent, a close friend moving away (in the ancient
times before Skype and Google), and most of all having to face a great deal of bullying.  A lot of these struggles ended up on the pages of CAPTAIN SUPERLATIVE, in both Janey and Paige’s struggles.  I’ll also freely admit I said some things that I definitely regret, now.  Dagmar gets some of those lines.  Most significantly, in terms of CAPTAIN SUPERLATIVE, though, I developed a habit that drove my friends crazy!  I started arriving early to school and opening the doors for people.  Just like Captain Superlative herself.  To this day, I can’t really tell you why I did it.  Maybe I wanted to feel important.  Maybe I wanted to help.  It could really have been anything.  But I kept doing it.  In spite of funny looks, random insults, and my friends’ bewilderment.  I think, more than anything else, it was because in middle school, I was on a desperate quest to start learning who I was.  And a part of that became doing things like holding doors.  For no other reason than because I wanted to.
The book looks at "superheroes".  What is your idea of a superhero? Who were your superheroes throughout your life? 
A superhero, to me is someone we mere mortals should aspire to be like, who teaches us critical human virtues, not by lecturing at us or commanding our behavior, but by leading by example.  CAPTAIN SUPERLATIVE is dedicated to the two greatest superheroes I’ve ever known, my parents.  My mother never told me “You need to be a kind person.”  She simply was kind and showed me how to do it.  My father never told me “You need to work hard.”  He worked hard.  And I followed in his footsteps.  Now, that said, I was your typical, kind of stubborn kid who refused to believe that my parents were awesome so, growing up, my greatest hero and the person whose example I followed was…Kermit the Frog. “It’s not easy being green,” he would lament.  But ultimately, he always decided it was what he wanted to be.  Himself.  Is there a better lesson?

My students always want to know how an author writes a book - can you tell me about your writing process for this book?  How long did it take? 
Writing CAPTAIN SUPERLATIVE was definitely not a “normal” journey (although I might argue that “normal” is just a setting on a dishwasher).  It started one evening when I was visiting a friend.  She asked me to sing a song for her grandmother and I sang “A Little Gossip” from Man of La Mancha, the musical version of DON QUIXOTE.  I remember thinking to myself that it was a shame the role of Sancho, Don Quixote’s sidekick, was always played by a man.  I thought it would be fun to play as a woman.  The idea never really left me.  And then, over a weekend back in 2013, I decided I wanted to write a play about bullying.  The play became an adaptation of DON QUIXOTE, from the point of view of a modern Sancho, a girl named Janey, who was a constant bystander in life.  The play got developed.  Produced.  And as a challenge to myself, I decided to turn it into a novel.  I wrote the first draft in a month, then took a class at the University of Chicago to polish the manuscript.  And sent out over fifty query letters before I signed with an agent and did additional rewrites.  From there, it was auctioned to Disney Hyperion and I worked with an editor on even more rewrites.  From the first outline of the play to the final manuscript was a period of about four years!

Thank you so much for sharing!  I love hearing how her struggles in middle school made it into the book.  What a great thing for kids to hear! 

It has been a long time since I truly fell in love with a middle-grade book.  I've had some books I really enjoyed, but not fully fell in love with.  I fell in love with this book. I LOVED Janey.  She was real.  She was a kid I could completely see living and breathing in one of my classes.  I felt for her.  In the book, she talks about being "air".  She doesn't want anyone to notice her or call attention and she knows that no one really does.  She is "air".  So fitting for so many kids I see each day.  Sad by true.  This is a book I could hand to them, and help them see themselves in a story.  My daughter would have related to her!  

Now the plot - I did have to set aside my teacher mind a bit and let go of some of the stuff with Captain Superlative.  I just know some might now have happened in real life BUT I was ok with that! I loved Captain Superlative too.  I wish there could be more like her.  I liked her theory about starting small doing good things and then making it a habit.  I think it's an idea that would connect with kids.  

Can I just say one of my other favorite characters was Janey's dad! What a positive parental role-model in a book.  He was fantastic.  So much could've been done differently with his role after Janey's mother died - so many stereotypical things.  But instead, Puller choose to make he a great dad that did the right thing and loved his daughter fully.  I just love that kids could see him in this story and learn from him.  He was the right amount of wise father without being too much. 

I won't say too much about the plot because it really needs to be revealed to each reader.  I'll just say that it's a story that kids need because it's something they deal with and see.  All of it - the bullying, the secrets, friendship - everything.  Is it serious at a point?  Yup, but not every kid has a life that is easy.  They need to see themselves in the story.  And maybe - to help them understand the world around them - they need stories like this too see and understand what is not a part of their life.  

In short: Loved it.  Will be recommending it to several kids I know. 
Library? Yes, I would add it in a heartbeat. 

May 9, 2018

What I Leave Behind by Allison McGhee Blog Tour: Guest Post +GIVEAWAY

Super excited today to be a part of the blog tour for 

What I Leave Behind by Allison McGhee!

The tour is hosted by The Fantastic Flying Book Club.

What  I  Leave  Behind  by Alison  McGhee
Publisher:  Atheneum/Caitlyn  Dlouhy  Books  
Release  Date:  May  15,  2018  
Genre:  Young  Adult,  Contemporary  


After his dad commits suicide, Will tries to overcome his own misery by secretly helping the people around him in this story made up of one hundred chapters of one hundred words each.  Sixteen-year-old  Will spends most of his days the same way: Working at the  Dollar Only store,  trying to replicate his late father’s famous cornbread recipe,  and walking the streets of Los  Angeles.  Will started walking after his father committed suicide, and three years later he hasn’t stopped.  But there are some places Will can’t walk by: The blessings store with the chest of 100 Chinese blessings in the back, the bridge on  Fourth Street where his father died,  and his childhood friend Playa’s house.  When Will learns Playa was raped at a  party—a party he was at, where he saw  Playa, and where he believes he could have stopped the worst from happening if he hadn't left early— it spurs Will to stop being complacent in his own sadness and do some good in the world.  He begins to leave small gifts for everyone in his life,  from Superman the homeless guy he passes on his way to work, to the Little  Butterfly Dude he walks by on the way home,  to Playa herself.  And it is through those acts of kindness that Will is finally able to push past his own trauma and truly begin to live his life again.  Oh, and discover the truth about that 

About the Author
Alison  McGhee writes novels, picture books,  poems, and essays for all ages,  including the forthcoming novel  Never  Coming  Back  (out in October  2017) and the #1 NEW  YORK  TIMES  bestseller  SOMEDAY, illustrated by Peter  H.  Reynolds.  Her work has been translated into more than 20  languages.  She lives in  Minneapolis, California, and Vermont. 

I was able to ask Allison to share her thoughts on a topic for a blog post.  Since I'm a middle school media specialist I know kids always want to know what authors were like in middle school.  Here's what Allison had to say.

What was I like in middle school?

I was full of happiness. I grew up way out in the country, and I loved it. I loved waking up to the sun coming up over the pine woods across the road. I loved making hay forts in the barn and keeping them secret from my sisters and brother. I loved building a treehouse that no one but me was strong and agile enough to climb into. I loved reading and writing and dreaming up worlds in my imagination.

I was full of doubt. Will I ever stop growing (I grew six inches in eighth grade)? Why are my toes so long? Does my hair look good? Should I have gotten different glasses?

I was full of sadness. My best friend in the world moved to Florida, and I missed her terribly.

I was full of questions. Why are there so many cliques? What is my place in the world and how do I figure it out? Is there a world beyond this one, and was there a world before this one, and did I live before? 

I was full of anger and heartbreak. I rode the school bus to school, and it was a horror show of cruelty. Kids were so mean to each other, especially the ones who couldn’t fight back and had no resources of sharp tongue or humor to help them get by. The driver encouraged their meanness. In school, kids could be so mean to each other. Bullying was common. I tried to be kind, and I tried to defend, but I could never do enough. The injustice of the world was mirrored in middle school.

I was full of love. I loved my mother and father. I loved my sisters even though I wasn’t entirely sure they loved me back. I loved my little brother. I loved our dogs and cats. I loved my friends, and I loved the woods and the fields, and I loved the big sky and the smells of the earth and the clothes on the line and dinner cooking. I loved the sense that the world was full of possibility, and my life and everything I would do in it was also part of that possibility.

I absolutely love everything about this guest post!  Especially the "full of anger and heartbreak".  I know that for some kids the two toughest times of the school day are lunch and the bus ride.  I hurt for some kids know what they face as they step on that bus.  It's the one thing I wish I could stop forever as a teacher! 

For more blog stops check out the tour information


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May 2, 2018

On Gull Beach Blog Tour +GIVEAWAY!

Welcome to Day #3 of the On Gull Beach Blog Tour!

To celebrate the release of On Gull Beach by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Bob Marstall on March 27th, blogs across the web are featuring a scavenger hunt interview with Jane, plus 10 chances to win a set of On Bird Hill, On Duck Pond, and On Gull Beach! Follow along each day to see a new answer from Jane!

Q: How has your vision or approach for the series changed between writing On Bird Hill and On Gull Beach?

Jane: Here we have a perfect example of the YES I CAN or MAKE IT WORK moment. I wrote BIRD HILL for Bob Marstall--a dear friend of 40 years-- who was changing his style after a lifelong career of doing gorgeous scientific and realistic book art work. He wanted to work in a more doodle-like, freer, a more elliptical style and showed me his "doodles." And from one of his drawings which eventually became the cover of BIRD HILL, I wrote the book. Cornell loved it but then decided after it was published, that they needed to go back to the scientific stuff they were really known for. And so we said "Yes, we can. . ." which is how first DUCK POND and now GULL BEACH reflect that that publisher's editorial choice.


Blog Tour Schedule:

April 30th - The Eco Lifestyle
May 1stMrs. Mommy BookNerd
May 2nd - The OWL
May 3rdFoodie Bibliophile in Wanderlust
May 4thLate Bloomer's Book Blog

May 7thWord Spelunking
May 8th - GeoLibrarian
May 9thChat with Vera
May 10thBooks My Kids Read
May 11thMundie Kids

Together again! On Gull Beach reunites bestselling children’s author Jane Yolen and award-winning illustrator Bob Marstall for the third installment of the acclaimed On Bird Hill and Beyond series of children’s books written for the renowned Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

In On Bird Hill, Yolen and Marstall took readers on a surreal journey with a boy and his dog as they see the natural world, ultimately witnessing the miracle of a chick emerging from an egg.

On Duck Pond continued their journey, this time at a serene pond filled with birds, frogs, and turtles who are suddenly disrupted by their intrusion, but soon settle back into a quiet equilibrium. On Gull Beach brings us to an idyllic shoreline in Cape Cod, where gulls hover, dive, and chase with pitched acrobatics in pursuit of a seastar. This enchanting sequel in a brand new habitat will delight readers young and old.

About the Author: Jane Yolen has authored more than 370 books, including the Caldecott-winning Owl Moon, which every budding young ornithologist owns, You Nest Here With Me, which is a popular new favorite, and the New York Times bestselling series How Do Dinosaurs. Jane Yolen’s books have been translated into over 20 languages and are popular around the world. Jane's husband, David Stemple, was both a well known bird recordist and a professor of computer science and he taught the entire family how to identify birds. Many of Jane’s books are about wildlife subjects, especially the winged kind. Jane lives in Easthampton, MA. Visit her online at

About the Illustrator: Bob Marstall is the illustrator of nine nonfiction children’s books, including the The Lady and the Spider, which sold over a quarter-of-a-million copies and was a Reading Rainbow selection. Bob has also been honored with an ALA Notable; an IRA Teachers’ Choice; a Smithsonian Magazine Notable Book for Children; and three John Burroughs selections.

In addition, two of Bob’s books are included in the New York Times Parent’s Guide’s “1001 Best Books of the Twentieth Century.” Bob Lives in Easthamton, MA. Visit him online at

About the Cornell Lab: The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a world leader in the study, appreciation, and conservation of birds. Our hallmarks are scientific excellence and technological innovation to advance the understanding of nature and to engage people of all ages in learning about birds and protecting the planet.


  • One (1) winner will receive a set of On Bird Hill, On Duck Pond, and On Gull Beach -- great summer reads!
  • US only
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