Tag Archive for fiction

Review — Treasure Island

Fun to see my Treasure Island adaptation up on LitPick, a site where kids (my readers!) are the reviewers. Check it out Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island.

Eek and Ack are back!

Just received my comp copies of the four, all new adventures of Eek and Ack. These chapters books contain much of the same silliness that the graphic novels are known for. They are almost prequels to the graphic novels. Not only are they for a younger audience, but their adventures focus largely on events on their home planet of Gloop.

9781434264084When Eek and Ack’s sister Bleck dares them to conquer Earth, they have no choice but to try. Things don’t go as planned, as they end up zapping the wrong planet!

9781434264091Ack has to write a paper about black holes, and he doesn’t know a thing about them. Eek is there to show Ack all the ins and outs about these space vacuums!

9781434264060Ack wants a pet, but he knows that Mom will never get him one. That’s no problem. Eek will just make him one instead!

9781434264077After observing earthlings, Eek decides to build a spaceship so that he and Ack can go conquer Earth. What will happen when their ship lands in the Sudsy Duck Laundromat?

Blurb —Campfire Crisis

“Are you ready for an adventure? Campfire Crisis takes you deep into the woods where you’ll have to make smart decisions too save the day!”
—Chris Everheart, author of Recon Academy and Hub’s Adventures

Review — Treasure Island

“Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island is not only a fun action packed adventure it is a treasure hunt for the story itself. Readers are challenged to make choices as to whether or not the story could end before it really gets started. Readers have the option to end the story as they see fit. Chapter one of this tale can be found on page 64. Your name is Jim Hawking and you help your mother run the Admiral Benbow inn. A strange sea fellow carrying a chest with him rents a room. After months of keeping to himself he asks you, for a few coin of course, to keep an eye out for a peg legged man. There might be a lot as stake. So, if you decide to help, go to page 47. If not, page 26. The reader decides which direction the adventure will go.

Author Blake Hoena has adapted one of his favorite childhood stories into a Choose Your Path book. These already exciting stories now offer a fun way for readers to enjoy them all over again or for the first time. Readers are encouraged to make a decision as to which way they want to read the story and follow the adventure. Parents and teachers will love this storytelling method and can use it as a tool to get those kids who wouldn’t normally pick up a book to actually have fun reading and enjoying the adventure.”

Kristi’s Book Nook

Raw (Live 2 Skate)

61vOmYyzmWL._SY346_Just received author copies for my latest skateboarding book, Raw. It’s one of the initial books in the new Tony Hawk: Live 2 Skate series and also the story that prompted me to get back on a skateboard. A few too many years have passed since I used to bomb down the hill near my house on a yellow penny board.

Can’t say that I’m able to carve it up on a half pipe like Gavin, the main character, does in Raw, but my Santa Cruz Woody Shark cruiser is now how I get to and from the library.

SUMMARY: In this edition of Tony Hawk: Live to Skate, Gavin Cole is the newest student at his glitzy suburban school. From the poorer north side, Gavin doesn’t have much in common with his wealthier classmates. When he finds a few skaters, though, he wonders if they could be his new crew. Will they accept Gavin and his skills for fixing up skateboards?

My next book in the series, Rival, a story of two half brothers who compete against each other for a spot on the skate team, will be out early next year.

Treasure Island Kickstarter

So . . . my adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island is written, edited, laid out, and ready for the printer. Now I wait.

Since I will have copies in hand later this fall, I’ve launched a Kickstarter project to help me with marketing. I’ll be working with a publicist, having cases of books sent out for review and traveling for book signings; all of which costs a pretty penny. So, I’m hoping to get a little support from you, my readers. Anything you pledge to my project will earn you incentives, so it’s not like you’re giving money away, but more like you’re purchasing merchandise through me.

If anything, go to my project page and check out the video. If it provides a laugh, I hope you’ll considering pledging for the cause.

Tanks (big green booming ones),

Live 2 Skate — Bombing (working title)

I just wrapped up my IMG_0558third book in the Live 2 Skate series, which is licensed through Tony Hawk and published by Stone Arch Books. The working title is Bombing, as the main character, Lei Tían, is a longboarder. She wants to impress upon her friends that longboarding is just as respectable as trick skating, even if she can’t Ollie. So she bombs down a steep street know as “The Hill” and breaks into a powerslide at the bottom to wow her friend.

To celebrate the completion of this book, I decided to hit a skatepark myself. I bought a cruiser (a hybrid between a trick board and a longboard) earlier this summer to get back and forth between the library and to help wear out my pooch, Ty. She loves breaking out into a full on run and pulling me along as I carve behind her somewhat like a waterskier. But I have never been to a skatepark before to actually skate.

IMG_0676So here I am, prepping for my first drop in. Even though I’ve watched videos on how to do this simple move, I ended up on my butt the first (and second) try. And while I didn’t do any tricks beyond some kickturns and riding over rollers, I still had a blast, and will try it again sometime—after my wounds heal.


Review — Campfire Crisis

What Jen Thinks: I have always thought there needed to be more choose-your-own-adventure books in the world. I remember reading the R.A. Montgomery books when I was younger and loving them. One thing that was very different about this chose-your-adventure type book compared to others that I have read, is that readers are given a choice at the end of every chapter. Your choice doesn’t mean that you will jump around in the book, the reader still reads through the chapters but is given a choice at the end of each. The author helps readers recognize when he or she has made a decision that would not be wise and then the reader is made aware of this and is able to instead make the opposite choice. Because this format is so unique compared to what I have read before, it made me stop and think about what I’m used to and why the author made the decisions he did about how to format this particular book. This would be a wonderful conversation to have with students about decisions an author makes and why or why not he or she might make those decisions. It would be interesting to hear how students respond to different types of choices they are given.
Similarly, choose-your-adventure books are unique because they are usually told form a 2nd person point of view. 2nd person seems to be altogether rare in writing and I think it is often overlooked when point of view is taught to students. I love that books like Campfire Crisis give students the opportunity to recognize what 2nd person point of view is and how it is different from 1st and 3rd person. (I totally remember wondering what 2nd person point of view meant because if you had 1st and 3rd, why wouldn’t you have 2nd?) I strongly believe in giving kids all the information and helping them discern for themselves why you may or may not use a point of view and why it may or may not be more common than others. Overall, I think students will learn a lot about camping and survival by reading this book but can also examine an author’s decisions and discuss how those decisions might apply in their own writing.

What Kellee Thinks: A different kind of choose your path book. In a choice chapter book, you are still the protagonist (2nd person alert!), but throughout the book you are given choices (one is right and one is wrong; rational is given) and you only continue when you choose the right one. This book definitely would be a great introduction to camping and takes the reader through some really realistic situations. Though a bit didactical, it definitely works in teaching safety- I even learned a few things.
In the classroom, this book would be great in a 2nd or 3rd grade classroom to talk about cause and effect. You could look at what would happen if you chose the wrong choice.
I cannot wait to see what other books come out in this series. I think it is a great opportunity to teach readers about many different things in a fun way.

Teach Mentor Text

Review — Campfire Crisis

Here we have a chapter book style adventure that places you, the reader, front and center in the decision making chair as you choose everything from what to pack to which way to go to who to send (or not) for help.  It’s a perilous place to be, yes….but, should you make the wrong decision, you’re not written out of the story.  Nope.  Surprised?  I was too when I first started reading because that’s how all of the one’s I’ve read in the past have been. One wrong page turn and the whole thing is over.  Not so here.  The author allows readers to make a mistake, expand their knowledge on a more applicable course of action, and continue forward in their journey.  It makes it almost an edutainment choice because after all, you are learning survival skills along the way and many kiddos flock to the appeal of a camping trip, so talk about real world application opportunity!  It also makes this a great option for those younger readers that are just starting to read books on their own giving them a chance to steer the story’s course and yet not feel defeated if a wrong turn is made.  A great balance indeed.

As for the story itself, Carla and Mike are definitely a great pair to have as friends as well as wood traipsing companions.  Everyone gets a chance to shine as events unfold and strengths are put to good use.  There’s even a chance to save a life…unexpected but once again, emphasizing the know-how that’s important to a successful and fun night/day under the stars.  The author made sure to cover all the basics here while imparting little gems of wisdom along the way…and all at a level that will peak interest but not endanger should they wish to try the newly found skills at home.   A small warning for adult readers…you might want to have a good campsite picked out for your little adventurers because after this read, I see the potential for a trip in your future.
Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

Review — Campfire Crisis

Blake Hoena is the author of more than 50 books for children, including DC Super Heroes chapter books, Sports Illustrated graphic novels, and the retellings of classic tales like the Perseus myth, but none of his books are as unique as his newest release. Campfire Crisis (Adventure Kids) is the result of mixing books for young readers, like The Magic Tree House with Choose Your Own Adventure books.

The book begins by introducing the three main characters and is told in the second person.  The reader and his or her friends, Carla and Mike, are going camping with the reader’s parents, and for the first time will have their own campsite, separate from the adults. Each chapter presents a dilemma that the reader must choose a solution to, however, unlike the Choose Your Own Adventure books, the reader learns right away if they have made the right decision.

Campfire Crisis is a perfect mix of camping education and adventure, as reader and friends escape a campfire out of control and figure out how to make their way out of the woods. Each of the characters has their own strengths that help contribute to solving several problems. Sporadic illustrations are sparse, highlighting supplies or potential danger.

The end of the book includes tips for camping and a list of supplies for a survival kit. This is a great book to read before a first camping trip, either as a read aloud for a younger child or for a beginning reader.  My son, finishing up fourth grade tomorrow, quickly flew through it and greatly enjoyed the story and the unusual format.

My kids and I both look forward to future books in this series.
5 Minutes for Books