Kids Article

Yer a Wizard, 'Arry!

This school year, our kids specialist Mary-Catherine will reread the entirety of the Harry Potter series and blog about it for our website! Here's her second part of HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE. 

 

While reading HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE this week, I was struck by how revolutionary it was, not only for kids publishing, but for my generation as a whole! I find myself asking--at what point were those first readers hooked? What was it that turned this from a cherished-by-a-dedicated-few series to a worldwide phenomenon? It was before the rise of social media, so clever tweeting and tumbling weren’t a factor. In fact, the series feels distinctly old fashioned, because it just barely caught the era before computers and phones were ubiquitous. Sure, there was media attention and movies started rolling out, but the series was already well on its way to major success before that. Perhaps the best conclusion is that the books are just really really good, and spoke to something kids were looking for in their reading experiences and lives!

My colleagues (and fellow Potterheads), Liz and Augusta, both had similar answers when I asked them why they thought it was such a global success. Both talked about how exciting it was to find a character who was around their age and having grand adventures. Augusta mentioned how Harry was a normal kid who was actually very special, and that made her feel like she could be magic and save the world, too! Liz was drawn to the “realness” of the series, and the way that Rowling’s world-building convinces you that Hogwarts is out there, and magic is real. We also discussed the books as entry points for cautious and reluctant readers. This series is often credited with setting off the childrens publishing boom that exists now, because it brought a complex, modern story to kids in the tradition of the great adventure series of the past.

*****

In the section I read this week, Harry finds out--via several hundred, magically-delivered letters--that he is a wizard! A famous wizard! Whose survival SAVED THE WORLD! One of my favorite bits of this scene--in which Hagrid, the lovably hairy and very large Hogwarts gamekeeper, tracks Harry down to invite him to Hogwarts--is when Hagrid realizes that the Dursleys haven’t told Harry anything about the wizarding world or his history.

"CAR CRASH!" roared Hagrid, jumping up so angrily that the Dursleys scuttled back to their corner. "How could a car crash kill Lily an’ James Potter? It’s an outrage! A scandal! Harry Potter not knowin’ his own story when every kid in our world knows his name!"

I love it. One of the major themes of this first book--and really, the whole series--is identity: searching for it, finding it, creating it. Harry’s journey really begins here, with a blank slate and an army of unanswered questions. Who am I? Where did I come from? Especially for a child experiencing abuse, as Harry was with the Dursleys, this moment is all the more precious. It’s a moment that all kids, no matter how happy in their life, long for, which is why we find it so often in children’s lit. In Harry’s case, not only is he special, he’s the most extraordinary boy in the entire wizarding world! Who wouldn’t want to escape into that?

Next week: Diagon Alley, and the Brazos staff gets sorted!

Our Kid Experts Review Jasper Fforde

Jasper Fforde’s CHRONICLES OF KAZAM series combines magic, parody, wit, and adventure to create an irresistible story that’s sure to please every member of the family! This favorite of parents, teachers, and kids is a perfect literary outing, especially for middle grade and teen readers.

In the first installment, THE LAST DRAGONSLAYER, Jennifer Strange is just a normal, non-magical girl working at Kazam Mystical Arts Management, a magical employment agency. Ever since magic began to disappear around the world, jobs for wizards and sorcerers disappeared along with it, leaving a trail of bureaucracy and menial labor in its wake. But, when Jennifer achieves instant fame as the chosen slayer of the Last Dragon, everything changes. Especially when she gets to know the dragon...and finds out he’s a pretty cool guy...for a dragon, you know. The adventure continues in SONG OF THE QUARKBEAST, Jennifer and her gang of magical misfits go up against King Snood IV and make the world safer for all of us! 

The latest addition to the series, THE EYE OF ZOLTAR, picks up with Jennifer as she is commanded by the Mighty Shandar to find the titular Eye of Zoltar or risk a dastardly fate. The world Fforde has created for these novels is a whimsical wonderland with high stakes, but enough humor to keep the reading light and the pages turning at a rapid rate. Kids will be caught up in the action and cracked up by the unexpected twists and characterizations. 

Whether you’re a fan of Fforde’s prolific work for adults or the CHRONICLES OF KAZAM, we hope you’ll join us October 15 at 7pm to hear about THE EYE OF ZOLTAR and pester him for details of the upcoming fourth and final installment! We can’t wait to see you!

Our young readers are buzzing about EYE OF ZOLTAR! Check out their reviews. You can trust them, they’re experts!

 

“Are you a person looking for a very unusual adventure?  Do you want excitement, magical creatures, magicians, and a very dangerous quest? Then you should read THE EYE OF ZOLTAR  by Jasper Fforde, which will be coming out soon.

The backstory is that an ancient magician made a vow to kill all of the dragons in the Un-United Kingdom but never came through on this vow. Therefore, when he meets the main character, He threatens to kill all of the dragons- when the main character has two dragon friends (one likes the Doobie Brothers). He then makes a deal with her- find the Eye of Zoltar, a precious artifact- or he will fulfill his vow. But why would this magician want anything to do with this artifact? Find out in this book! Filled with adventure, near-deaths, lovable quarkbeasts, magic, a corrupt kingdom, pirates, and more, this book is sure to take you on a journey you will never forget. (Also check out the first two books in the series!)”

-Joshua M., age 11

“This book is very funny and unpredictable. Every page, something different happens. It kept me hooked! The characters aren’t all good or all bad, so they’re very interesting!”

-Hannah W., age 10

 

The Eye of Zoltar Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780547738499
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Harcourt Brace and Company - October 7th, 2014

The New Wacky, Weaselly, Walrus-y Canon

I grew up reading a steady dose of warm, fuzzy books featuring stuffed animals bent on some goal or other: Corduroy Bear looking for his brass button, the Velveteen Rabbit longing to be real, Winnie-the-Pooh doing whatever it is he does--mostly stuffing his face with honey and occasionally stopping to chat with Piglet. Dorothy Parker, that acid-tongued critic in leopard print, once said, “To speak against Mr. Milne puts one immediately in the ranks of those who set fire to orphanages.” I’m not suggesting any orphan fires, but it might be time to update the canon--and I think D.P. would agree. Each of these books exemplifies the traits I like best in a picture book: animal protagonists (like the handcrafted mice in I WISH I HAD A PET), minimal words (the wordlessly wonderful WHERE’S WALRUS) and tons of delightful details (those WEASELS are up to all kinds of shenanigans). 

 

Picture books are no longer just for children. In these wacky and wonderful picture books, adults will find as much to love as the kids they’re reading to--making these picture books sure to charm the whole family. Especially if that family likes weird hand-crafted mice and heart-warming tales of friendship between an un-huggable cactus and a lonely rock.

Hug Me Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9781909263499
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Nobrow Press - September 16th, 2014

Poor Felipe! All he wants is a hug, but his formal, personal-space-respecting family leaves him in the lurch. Watch as this frustrated cactus tries to make his way in the world. Funny and endearing, Felipe’s journey will delight readers young and old.


Where's Walrus? Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780439700498
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Scholastic Press - February 1st, 2011

This wily walrus is on the lam from the law. After escaping the zoo, our hero tries to elude his captors by blending in with his surroundings--whether he’s in a shop window, laying bricks with construction workers, or throwing up his tail along with a row of can-can girls. A story without text, these pictures are worth at least a thousand words.


I Wish I Had a Pet Cover Image
By Maggie Rudy, Maggie Rudy (Illustrator)
$15.99
ISBN: 9781442453326
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Beach Lane Books - July 1st, 2014

A charming dollhouse of a book that serves as a guide to responsible pet ownership. Sure, it’s a little creepy, but you’re going to love it! It’s full of funny little details: see that desk? The legs are made of matchsticks. Trying to keep your pet turtle clean? Gussy him up with a can of Turtle Wax. Halfway between stop-motion animation and taxidermy.


Tea Rex Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780670014309
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Viking Children's Books - April 9th, 2013

Endearing and fun, Molly Idle’s TEA REX will make you want to sip a cup of tea yourself and maybe have a crumpet. Formatted as a how-to guide to throwing the perfect afternoon tea, the young host and hostess learn that even armed with impeccable manners and a selection of cakes, a tea party can still go wildly awry.


Mr. Tiger Goes Wild Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780316200639
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - September 3rd, 2013

Mr. Tiger wants to loosen up, have fun, be wild. He romps from Victorian stuffiness to full blown wilderness only to find out he’s happiest somewhere in between. Brown’s expressive illustrations are full of humor and warmth.


Weasels Cover Image
By Elys Dolan, Elys Dolan (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780763671006
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Nosy Crow - February 25th, 2014

These weasels are bent on world domination, but something has gone terribly wrong with their machine. Watch as the weasels scurry to and fro, trying to find a solution. Full of hilarious details that reward repeat readings, Weasels is one adults will enjoy as much as kids.


Banned Books Month

September is Banned Books Month, that special time of year when I say “They banned WHAT?” at least 5 times a day. We love this month at Brazos, because it gives us a chance to highlight the dangers of censorship and the--sometimes ridiculous--lengths to which people will go to ban not only books, but ideas. It’s especially close to my heart, because I believe so strongly in the importance of letting children read widely and ask questions, rather than “protecting” them from complex ideas. 

 

Here are descriptions of five of my personal favorites, alongside a full list of banned books for kids that we’re featuring this month. For all these selections, come check out our Banned Books displays in the store! Be a rebel...read a banned book! 

Speak Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9780312674397
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Square Fish - May 10th, 2011

This is easily one of the most powerful books I’ve ever read. I encountered this book when I was fourteen and in some ways, haven’t stopped thinking about it since. It is frequently banned because it depicts the rape of a fourteen year old girl at a party, which is deemed too serious for teens. The scenes are emotional, without question, but it is these very scenes that make the book vital for teenagers of all genders. 


Eleanor & Park Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781250012579
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - February 26th, 2013

ELEANOR AND PARK was challenged in a Minnesota school district last year after the content was deemed vulgar, and book riddled with profanity. They went so far as to cancel Rowell’s visit to their school to speak with the students about her work. This is another cherished favorite of mine, and while there are instances of profanity or harsh language, it’s intricately part of the story. The moments in which it occurs are painful and the starkness of the language communicates that beautifully. 


Green Eggs and Ham Cover Image
By Seuss
$9.99
ISBN: 9780394800165
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House Children's Books - August 12th, 1960

I will not read it, Sam-I-Am! Believe it or not, this classic was banned in Maoist China for its depiction of early Marxism. I kid you not. Lest you think the US is immune to such anti-Seussism, YERTLE THE TURTLE and THE LORAX have both been banned in our fair land.


A Wrinkle in Time Cover Image
$6.99
ISBN: 9780312367541
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Square Fish - May 1st, 2007

A WRINKLE IN TIME is an interesting case, as people have found myriad reasons to ban it since its publication in 1963. Especially throughout the 60s and 70s, some argued that it was “too Christian,” others that it’s “not Christian enough.” For some it was a pro-Communist text, others Satanist, a New Age text, or some kind of magic propaganda. Why were people so afraid of this book? Let’s all read it and discuss, hm? (See what I did there?)


Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780140384512
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Puffin Books - November 27th, 2001

Banned for its realistic portrayal of the struggles nine-year-old Cassie’s sharecropping family faces in 1933 Mississippi, this book is undoubtedly intense. It is one of the most regularly challenged books because of charged racial language and violence. Both are certainly there, but that’s the point! I vividly remember reading it in the fifth grade and having so many questions about the really terrible things happening in this book. It was a transformative reading experience and a powerful way for me to learn about the lives of children in these devastating circumstances.


Just Listen Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9780142410974
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Puffin Books - February 28th, 2008

Little Brother Cover Image
$12.99
ISBN: 9780765323118
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Tor Books - April 13th, 2010

Crank Cover Image
$12.99
ISBN: 9781442471818
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Margaret K. McElderry Books - August 6th, 2013

Glass Cover Image
$12.99
ISBN: 9781442471825
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Margaret K. McElderry Books - August 6th, 2013

Strega Nona Cover Image
By Tomie dePaola, Tomie dePaola (Illustrator)
$7.99
ISBN: 9780671666064
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - September 3rd, 1979

Where the Wild Things Are Cover Image
By Maurice Sendak, Maurice Sendak (Illustrator)
$18.95
ISBN: 9780060254926
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperCollins - December 26th, 2012

The Lorax Cover Image
By Seuss
$16.99
ISBN: 9780394823379
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House Children's Books - August 12th, 1971

Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories Cover Image
By Seuss
$16.99
ISBN: 9780394800875
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House Books for Young Readers - April 12th, 1958

Staff Pick Logo
James and the Giant Peach Cover Image
By Roald Dahl, Aimee Bender (Introduction by), Jordan Crane (Illustrator)
$16.00
ISBN: 9780143106340
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - August 30th, 2011

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Cover Image
By Roald Dahl, Ivan Brunetti (Illustrator), Lev Grossman (Introduction by)
$16.00
ISBN: 9780143106333
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - August 30th, 2011

Bridge to Terabithia Cover Image
By Katherine Paterson, Donna Diamond (Illustrator)
$7.99
ISBN: 9780064401845
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperCollins - May 2nd, 2017

The Golden Compass: His Dark Materials Cover Image
$12.99
ISBN: 9780375823459
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers - September 10th, 2002

Charlotte's Web Cover Image
$8.99
ISBN: 9780061124952
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperCollins - April 10th, 2012

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble Cover Image
By William Steig, William Steig (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781416902065
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - November 1st, 2005

Go Ask Alice Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9781416914631
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon Pulse - December 1st, 2005

The Little Black Book for Girlz: A Book on Healthy Sexuality Cover Image
$9.95
ISBN: 9781550379549
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Annick Press - September 1st, 2006

It's Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health Cover Image
By Robie H. Harris, Michael Emberley (Illustrator)
$12.99
ISBN: 9780763668723
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - August 8th, 2014

It's So Amazing!: A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families Cover Image
By Robie H. Harris, Michael Emberley (Illustrator)
$12.99
ISBN: 9780763668747
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - August 8th, 2014

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Cover Image
By Mark Twain, Iacopo Bruno (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9781481403757
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - July 1st, 2014

The Face on the Milk Carton Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9780385742382
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Ember - May 22nd, 2012

Reluctantly Alice Cover Image
$6.99
ISBN: 9781442423619
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Atheneum Books - May 3rd, 2011

Alice in Rapture, Sort of Cover Image
$6.99
ISBN: 9781442423626
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Atheneum Books - May 3rd, 2011

The Agony of Alice Cover Image
$6.99
ISBN: 9781442423633
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Atheneum Books - May 3rd, 2011

Let the Adventure Begin!

This school year, our kids specialist Mary-Catherine will reread the entirety of the Harry Potter series and blog about it for our website! September's book is HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE.

So much to discuss in my first post. Where to begin? 

Let’s start with the books themselves. The editions I’ll be reading are the hardcover boxed set, a most prized possession of mine. My two best friends from high school, whose copies I had borrowed to read the series, chipped in to buy me the boxed set for my birthday/Christmas gift during our freshman year at college! I was so excited when I opened it, that we held an impromptu dance party in our small town movie theater parking lot. There is photo evidence, but you’ll never see it!

As I cracked open HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE, I thought back to the last time I reread the entire series. It was winter break 2012, and I holed up in my drafty Brooklyn closet apartment and reread the whole series in a span of two weeks. I was drawn in, totally captivated. I WAS IN HOGWARTS! Or at least it felt that way for two weeks. So I’ll be interested to see how this experience differs, since I’ll be reading it over a longer period of time, with a ton of other books and worlds interspersed.  

****

Now, because I was on vacation with my dear granny this week, I’ve only read the first chapter of SORCERER’S STONE, but what a doozy it is! Not only do we set the scene for the secretive relationship between the muggle (non-wizard for the newbies) world and the wizarding world, but we’re also immediately thrust into the gravity of the series’ central antagonist and conflict--the terror of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Plus, PLUS we meet Hogwarts favorites Dumbledore, Hagrid, Minerva McGonagall, and the Dursleys, Harry’s terrible family. 

Sure, Rowling’s writing is still developing in these first novels, but despite people’s criticism of her early style, this chapter is all the evidence I need that she’s been a masterful storyteller from the start. You immediately get that the Dursleys are the worst and somehow also the best, if for nothing but hilarity. We first experience the landscape of the series’ duel societies--muggle and wizard--through the eyes of Vernon Dursley, who knows about wizards but is suitably appalled by their very existence. Rowling’s free indirect discourse in this chapter is textbook and magnificent and I’m so excited to keep reading! 

Enough for now, but there’s so much more to come! 

Harry Potter Hard Cover Boxed Set: Books #1-7 [With Stickers] Cover Image
$205.93
ISBN: 9780545044257
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Arthur A. Levine Books - October 16th, 2007

A Magical Announcement!

An exciting announcement alert from our kids specialist, Mary-Catherine!

 

In the midst of yet another Harry Potter mega-fan conversation in the store, I cried exuberantly, “I HAVE TO REREAD HARRY POTTER!” This got me thinking...and planning...and scheming...and then it hit me! 

 

I’m going to reread the entire HARRY POTTER series this school year and blog about it for the website!

 

Each month, I’ll read one of the books and write updates--some geared towards parents, others at children or at teachers; some for fangirls and fanboys of the series, and some for complete Potter novices. You can expect videos, guest posts from other members of the Brazos team and Teen Advisory Board, recommendations of new books that draw on Potterish themes, and much, much more. 

 

I’m excited to take this journey with you through one of my very favorite series. Check in on Mondays for updates, and let’s jump on the Hogwarts Express! 

 

September’s book will be HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE.

 

New Bluebonnet Books Are Here!

A new school year is here, and with it comes a new list of Bluebonnet Books! Chosen by Texas librarians each year, the Bluebonnet List features twenty fiction and nonfiction books recommended for elementary-aged readers! These books are often assigned in school, and Brazos is happy to stock all twenty titles in their very own section at the beginning of the Children’s Literature shelves. Come in and peruse the list, or order online and pick up a bundle! 

Pickle: The (Formerly) Anonymous Prank Club of Fountain Point Middle School Cover Image
By Kim Baker, Tim Probert (Illustrator)
$7.99
ISBN: 9781250044273
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Square Fish - May 6th, 2014

Tales of the League of Picklemakers, Fountain Point Middle School’s anonymous master prank club. Hopefully your young pranksters won’t get too many ideas reading this one!


Lester's Dreadful Sweaters Cover Image
By Keith Campbell, Keith Campbell (Illustrator)
$16.95
ISBN: 9781554537709
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Kids Can Press - September 1st, 2012

A silly picture book about the perils of a well-meaning cousin who knits truly terrible sweaters, and Lester, who has to wear them all.


The Year of the Book Cover Image
By Andrea Cheng, Abigail Halpin (Illustrator)
$5.99
ISBN: 9780544022638
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Houghton Mifflin - May 7th, 2013

Ana’s best friends are all in books! Read along as she learns how to make new friends and embrace her culture, while still loving her book companions.


The Day the Crayons Quit Cover Image
By Drew Daywalt, Oliver Jeffers (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780399255373
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Philomel Books - June 27th, 2013

A Brazos favorite! A group of crayons go on strike because they are sick of being typecast! Red crayons can be more than apples, thank you very much. An instant classic, and essential for every kid’s library.


Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures Cover Image
By Kate DiCamillo, K. G. Campbell (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780763660406
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - September 24th, 2013

The 2014 Newberry Winner from all-star Kate DiCamillo tells the charming story of a young girl and her best friend--who also happens to be a squirrel with super powers! It’s a chapter book-graphic novel hybrid that is sure to be a crowd pleaser.


The Lost Treasure of Tuckernuck Cover Image
$6.99
ISBN: 9780062118912
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Katherine Tegen Books - September 24th, 2013

Laurie and Bud have to solve the Tutweiler Treasure mystery before the school board tears down Tuckernuck Hall! Full of twists aplenty, kids will love this humorous take on a hard-boiled mystery.


Spy Camp Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9781442457546
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - April 8th, 2014

Even spies go to summer camp! Though thankfully, most normal camps don’t feature survival classes and death threats from enemy spy networks. A fun companion to SPY SCHOOL.


Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales: One Dead Spy Cover Image
$12.95
ISBN: 9781419703966
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harry N. Abrams - August 1st, 2012

A fun and informative graphic novel about one of American history’s most unfortunate and infamous spies. If you love this one, check out the other novels in the HAZARDOUS TALES collection: DONNER DINNER PARTY; TREATIES, TRENCHES, MUD, AND BLOOD; and BIG BAD IRONCLAD.


The Neptune Project Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9781423159797
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Disney Press - April 1st, 2014

The daughter of oceanographers overcomes obstacles, predators, and enemies on a quest to save the world alongside her friends. Great for budding marine biologists and environmental activists.


The Frog Who Croaked Cover Image
$12.99
ISBN: 9780062071644
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Walden Pond Press - May 7th, 2013

The title says it all! A new detective is eager to prove his worth when a local teacher goes missing. Parents will appreciate the parody and kids will be thrilled by--what else?--platypus police officers.


Face Bug Cover Image
By J. Patrick Lewis, Kelly Murphy (Illustrator), Fred Siskind (Photographer)
$16.95
ISBN: 9781590789254
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Wordsong - March 1st, 2013

Poetry and close-up photography of bug faces! This book has everything.


Odette's Secrets Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781599907505
Availability: Backordered
Published: Bloomsbury U.S.A. Children's Books - February 26th, 2013

A novel in free verse, Odette is a Jewish girl who must keep a secret in order to save her life during the Nazi invasion of Paris.


Athlete vs. Mathlete Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9781599908588
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Bloomsbury U.S.A. Children's Books - February 5th, 2013

When fraternal twin brothers discover they don’t live up to their life-long mathlete/athlete stereotypes, each tries to adjust to a new set of friends and expectations.


Dead City Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9781442441309
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Aladdin Paperbacks - September 3rd, 2013

Molly Bigelow’s mom secretly trained her with all the abilities necessary to survive a zombie attack. What happens when these skills are tested?


Rebel McKenzie Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9781423163886
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Disney Press - December 3rd, 2013

An aspiring paleontologist participates in a beauty pageant to raise money for the archaeologist summer camp she’s dying to attend. But the world of beauty pageants is more than she bargained for. Can she find a way to adapt in the midst of makeup, hairspray, and gowns?


Monsieur Marceau Cover Image
By Leda Schubert, Gerard DuBois (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781596435292
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Flash Point - September 4th, 2012

A stunning picture book biography about the most famous mime of all time! Find out the story behind the silent man’s life and achievements. Plus, the illustrations are a dream!


Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780307977960
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Yearling Books - April 22nd, 2014

If you thought you knew the story of Rumpelstiltskin, this book will turn it on its head! Rump was bullied as a child because of his name, and goes on a journey of self-discovery to break his magical curse.


Counting by 7s Cover Image
$8.99
ISBN: 9780142422861
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Puffin Books - September 16th, 2014

Already a huge hit! Willow is a twelve year old prodigy, who isn’t interested in the things the other middle schoolers seem to be. Fall in love with Willow’s voice and family in this heartwarming tale of being yourself...even when yourself is a bit eccentric.


Liar & Spy Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780375850875
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Yearling Books - August 6th, 2013

Georges is intrigued when he sees a sign for a spy club meeting, and starts to follow the clues. Join him as he explores his family’s new apartment building and his new life as a kid spy.


The Expeditioners and the Treasure of Drowned Man's Canyon Cover Image
By S. S. Taylor, Katherine Roy (Illustrator)
$12.95
ISBN: 9781938073717
Availability: Backordered
Published: McSweeney's - December 3rd, 2013

When their father goes missing, siblings Kit, Zander, and M.K. go on an adventure to find him and the missing half of his map. Told in an alternate-steampunk-reality, this book is the first in an exciting new series that blends engineering, cartography, anthropology, and geology!


Why I Write Books for Kids by J.A. White

Short Answer (Take your pick—all are true.): A) I’m a teacher. B) I’m a dad. C) I love kids. D) I love books for kids.

Long Answer (Equally true, but harder to explain.):

While I don’t necessarily miss being a child, I miss being a child reader. I still treasure books, of course, but my enjoyment of them is somewhat hampered by an understanding of their origins, the knowledge that books are written by talented men and women who love to tell stories but also need to earn a living. This inevitable realization—that the once mysterious workings of the world are composed of mere practicalities—is one of the true curses of adulthood. As a child, the thought that an author was paid for his or her work never occurred to me; books were simply truths that fell from the sky, as mysterious as ancient doors leading to far-off kingdoms. I remember being 8 or 9, crouched low by the fiction section of my school’s library (a long row of tightly packed volumes running beneath a giant window that overlooked the playground), sliding out volume after volume just to crinkle the corners of the books’ jacket covers because they were that magnificent. There are benefits to being an adult reader—the learned awareness of an artist’s craft, for example—but I’m not sure the scholarly appreciation of a great work of literature can ever compare with swallowing The Tombs of Atuan in one sitting, with loving a story utterly and completely and feeling not the slightest pressure to justify why. I regard all children with a certain amount of envy for this ability, and that is why it saddens me whenever I meet a child who doesn’t like to read. They don’t know what they’re missing, and the clock is ticking.

The reason I write for children, then, has more to do with them than me. I’m not sure it’s fair to say that children are more appreciative readers than adults, but I feel like they enjoy a purer appreciation. I remember the undiluted love I had for books as a child, and it gives me the greatest pleasure—as both an author and a person—to think that some boy or girl might while away a rainy afternoon with one of mine. Stories, after all, are the greatest gifts we can bestow, and children their worthiest recipients.

A brief interview between Mary-Catherine and J.A. White, in which she tries her best to not beg for information on the upcoming books in the series.

MC: You mentioned THE TOMBS OF ATUAN in your piece--which other books, from your childhood or current day, would recommend for young Brazos Bookstore readers?
JAW: Wow—where to start? My favorite fantasy series growing up was THE CHRONICLES OF PRYDAIN by Lloyd Alexander. I also loved A WRINKLE IN TIME by Madeleine L’Engle, the Earthsea books by Ursula LeGuin, and anything by John Bellairs, particularly THE HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN ITS WALLS. Some of my current favorites include THE BOOK OF LOST THINGS by John Connolly (as well as his Samuel Johnson books), the Bartimaeus series by Jonathan Stroud, and the short story collection M IS FOR MAGIC by Neil Gaiman (which contains “October in the Chair,” one of my favorite short stories). A few other recent titles I really enjoyed were THE LUCK UGLIES by Paul Durham, THE RIVERMAN by Aaron Starmer, and THE CAVENDISH HOME FOR BOYS AND GIRLS by Claire Legrand.

MC: In light of the different ways kids and adults read, what do you think about the current trend of adults reading children's lit and YA?
JAW: I love the fact that so many adults are enjoying children’s lit and YA! Why not? The true measure of a book’s success is whether or not it can be enjoyed by a reader of any age; a good story is a good story, period. (For example, UMBRELLA by Taro Yashima is, for my money, one of the most perfectly realized narratives ever written—and it’s a picture book.) Also, when adults read the same books as the children in their lives it provides such a golden opportunity to engage in meaningful conversations about literature. It’s a win-win for everyone!

MC: Has writing for children helped you recapture that purity of a child's book appreciation? Has it changed how you relate to books?
JAW: In terms of my own reading, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to recapture the purity of appreciation that I had as a child. Don’t get me wrong—I still get giddy whenever any of my favorite authors release a book (that means you, Gillian Flynn—hurry up). But although reading gives me great pleasure, the writer side of me is always considering the author’s technique and why he/she wrote things a particular way. I wish I could turn that analytical part of my brain off and just enjoy the story, but I can’t. On the other hand, writing THE THICKETY has allowed me to meet young people who have that wide-eyed appreciation for something I wrote, which is an utter honor and the best feeling in the world. So I guess reading will never be the same as when I was a kid, but writing has never been better!

THE THICKETY is on our shelves now!  

The Thickety: A Path Begins Cover Image
By J. a. White, Andrea Offermann (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062257246
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Katherine Tegen Books - May 6th, 2014

Real Kids Review Books!

We trust our experts because they're YOU! Readers for our brand new ARC Review Program are reading and reviewing the best new picture books, chapter books and young adult novels. 

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Poop Fountain!: The Qwikpick Papers Cover Image
$12.95
ISBN: 9781419704253
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Amulet Books - May 20th, 2014

This book is about three kids who go to see a fountain of (ahem) poop. The kids' names are Lyle, Marilla, and Dave. I think the fact that it's a true story is special. I think that people should read it because it's about a poor boy and his friends doing something amazing. Plus, it has the word poop a lot. I liked this book and I think you will too. 

--Daniel M., 8 


Torn Away Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780316245531
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - May 6th, 2014

TORN AWAY is about Jersey, a sixteen year old girl that thinks she knows all about tornados. When her town is destroyed by one, jersey loses everything-her mom, her sister, and her home. She is first sent to live with her biological father and then her grandparents. Jersey must learn how to cope with the grief and live her life again. I loved this book partly because I was always worried about what was going to happen next. I could not put TORN AWAY down.

-- Caroline B., 13

 


The Glass Sentence Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780670785025
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Viking Children's Books - June 12th, 2014

THE GLASS SENTENCE is a great book. It takes place almost 100 years after the Great Disruption, which threw all the countries and continents into different time periods, from the far future to prehistoric times. The book is about a girl named Sophia. Her Uncle Shadrack is a very famous mapmaker and explorer. When Shadrack gets kidnapped, he leavesher a message in her notebook that says “Find Veressa.” Sophia and her new friend, Theo, leave for the Baldlands to try to find Veressa. I loved this book and would definitely highly recommend it. It is very original, which I really liked. The author created memory maps that allow people to view other people’s memories by touching the maps and created new ways of telling time (from a 20 hour New Occident clock to a 9 hour Baldlands clock). THE GLASS SENTENCE is an amazing book, and anyone who loves adventure books should definitely read this book!

-- Emily B., 11

 


Help! We Need a Title! Cover Image
By Herve Tullet, Herve Tullet (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9780763670214
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - May 13th, 2014

This review isn’t finished...haha just kidding! This supposedly unfinished book is about a cast of hospitable characters trying to find a story for their book. The inspiring, creative story seems to look at an unfinished page not as a failure, but as an opportunity. The sketch-like and moldable quality of the art lends to new surprises and discovery on every page! In this book, it’s not the destination that’s great, but the journey. This is a must-read because it teaches you that things don’t have to be finished to be great!

-- Anjelika, 16, Teen Intern

 


Infinite Sky Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781481406581
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Atheneum Books for Young Readers - May 20th, 2014

INFINITE SKY is about a girl named Iris. Her mom left two months before the book starts. Gypsies, also called Travelers, move on to her family’s land at the start of the book. Iris sneaks out to see the Gypsy boy who is her age, but her father hates the Gypsies so she gets in trouble. Then someone she likes kills one of her relatives (I don’t want to spoil the story by giving away more), and she has to figure out where her loyalties lie. I thought this book was amazing. It was never boring. Even though the story was sad at times, it was happy at the end, and Iris learns to accept that life isn’t always fair. This was a book that I could barely put it down once I started reading it.

-- Emily B., 11


Henny Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781442484368
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books - January 7th, 2014

HENNY is about a chicken with arms who has some trouble fitting in at the farm. This book illustrates what it’s like to be different in a profound, yet relatable way. The simplicity of the illustrations give it a happy, yet delicate feel. It’s easy to relate to Henny when her emotions are written not only on her, but in her surrounding. It’s a memorable book and teaches an important lesson-being different can be good!

-- Anjelika, 16, Teen Intern


Comics Squad: Recess! Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780385370035
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House Books for Young Readers - July 8th, 2014

I liked this book because it is funny and I like funny books. I also liked this book because it is full of comics and I like books with comics. And it is different from other books I've read. 

--Joshua B., 7 


Uncaged Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780385753067
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers - July 8th, 2014

This book is about a radical animal rights group that is hunted by a company that experiments on animals. It explores all aspects of California, which I thought was cool. People should read it because it's packed with action and I couldn't put it down.

--Nicholas E., 12 


Nuts to You Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780060092757
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Greenwillow Books - August 26th, 2014

This book is about a squirrel (Jed) who gets snatched by a hawk and then his friends set out on a treacherous journey to save him. My favorite part was the squirrels’ game at the end. I also enjoyed the squirrels’ interpretation of human language. If you’re looking for a book you can’t put down, choose NUTS TO YOU.

-- Katie R., 9


Kate the Great, Except When She's Not Cover Image
By Suzy Becker, Suzy Becker (Illustrator)
$12.99
ISBN: 9780385387422
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Crown Books for Young Readers - August 5th, 2014

KATE THE GREAT is about a girl named Kate who has to survive Robin (her older sister), her frenemy Nora, and Mrs. Petty, the art teacher. She is going into fifth grade, which is her last year of elementary school. Kate really likes to doodle, and her drawings throughout the book are very entertaining. She makes jokes and doodles from her day that I felt really added to the telling of the story. The book was very funny and well-written. Kate is close to my age, and I could relate to her in various parts of the book. I highly recommend it!

-- Emily B., 11


The Fire Wish Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780385369763
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Random House Books for Young Readers - July 22nd, 2014

This book is about two girls who trade places. An ordinary girl captures a jinni and wishes that they could trade places. She ends up living in the jinni’s world, while the jinni must live in the human world. Through the course of the book, each girl learns that they like their own lives better, so they each try to get their old lives back. This book is told from first person point of view with the characters alternating back and forth. I would like to say this book is better suited for girls because almost all the characters in the book are girls.

-- Price P., 11


The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780385376525
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers - July 22nd, 2014

THE MISADVENTURES OF THE FAMILY FLETCHER is about two dads and their four adopted boys. I really enjoyed this book, because each boy was from a different culture and religion. As a result, they celebrated all different kinds of holidays which I loved hearing about. The oldest boy was Christian, the next oldest boy was African-American and celebrated Kwanzaa, the second youngest was Jewish, and the youngest was Hindu. I liked that they all were nice to each other and had a great time together. I especially liked the youngest boy, Frog. He was very funny and cute. This book reminded me of the PENDERWICKS series. THE MISADVENTURES OF THE FAMILY FLETCHER showed what family was all about.

-- Caroline B., 13


Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor (Frank Einstein Series #1): Book One Cover Image
By Jon Scieszka, Brian Biggs (Illustrator)
$13.95
ISBN: 9781419712180
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Amulet Books - August 19th, 2014

Frank Einstein is a very bright kid scientist who visits his grandfather, Albert Einstein, while his parents are on vacation. Klink and Klank are two self-assembled artificial-intelligence entities (more simply robots). Frank, Klink and Klank work together to make an Antimatter Motor bike to enter into a science fair. I really liked this book because it was funny and entertaining, and it was neat to see how smart Frank was. I was really interested to see if they would win the science fair or not. The robots had funny personalities and helped Frank a lot with the Antimatter Motor bike. I am really glad it is a series and cannot wait for the next one to come out!

-- John B., 8


The Swap Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062311696
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Katherine Tegen Books - August 26th, 2014

THE SWAP is about a girl named Ellie and a boy named Jack who switch bodies. Jack (in Ellie’s body) has to get used to going to sleepover birthday parties, soccer, and everything else Ellie usually does. Meanwhile Ellie (in Jack’s body) has to get used to Jack’s three older brothers, his rigorous hockey training, and other boyish things. Seeing how Ellie and Jack reacted to having to live as the opposite gender was very entertaining. I would definitely recommend this book to kids ages 10 to 14. I really liked this book and think it would appeal to boys and girls alike since the main characters are a boy and a girl. THE SWAP was very original and very well-written.

-- Emily B., 11


Leroy Ninker Saddles Up Cover Image
By Kate DiCamillo, Chris Van Dusen (Illustrator)
$12.99
ISBN: 9780763663391
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - August 26th, 2014

Leroy Ninker works at the movie theater in the concessions area; however, he wants to be a cowboy. He realizes that to be a cowboy, he needs a horse. He gets a horse for free from someone wanting a new home for her horse, and then he loses the poor horse. The rest of the story deals with how he tries to get the horse back. I thought this book was really good and finished it in one sitting, I liked it so much. I also liked reading about all of the MERCY WATSON series characters in this story because it is a spinoff from Mercy Watson. LEROY NINKER SADDLES UP was very funny and entertaining, and I hope there will be more of them.

-- John B., 8


Dive Into Summer Reading!

From beginning readers to high school graduates, we’ve prepared a summer reading list that has something for everyone. Curated from brand-new bestsellers, store favorites newly in paperback, and recommendations from the HAISLN list, these fifty titles will please parents and kids alike.

Middle Grade Reading List    |     Young Adult Reading List 

Download the complete reading list here

Reading Logs and the Summer Reading Challenge
Print off the official Brazos reading log and checklist-version of the summer reading list to help your child track their progress. At the end of the summer, we’ll give away prizes for our most prolific readers, but also celebrate kids at every level of participation. Completed reading logs can be turned in anytime all summer and kids can fill out as many as they want! It is my hope that kids and teens--from reluctant readers to avid bookworms--will find that they can take part and find success as more empowered readers!
** Checklist
** Reading log

ARC Review Program - Ages 8-18
The ARC (Advanced Readers Copy) Review program is designed for readers aged 8-18. This is a free program that allows students to take home advanced copies of books and review them for our store, newsletter, and website! This program is not strictly for summer, but we’re kicking it off along with our other summer initiatives. Fill out the registration form, bring it to the store, and choose an ARC based on the child’s age group. They can write as many reviews as they want and turn them in on the official submission form.
** Registration form
** Submission form

BTAB (Brazos Teen Advisory Board) - Ages 12-18
The Brazos Teen Advisory Board, which will run for the duration of next school year, is a great opportunity for teens age 12-18 to take on a deeper role in the store. We’ll be accepting applications all summer and will make decisions at the end of August. This is a great opportunity for passionate teen readers to learn about bookselling, write features for our website, and volunteer with in-store events.
** BTAB app

 

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