There is a popular thread among book bloggers with the hashtag #IMWAYR. I don’t typically manage to post to this thread, but I just picked my older daughter up from 3 weeks of sleep-away camp yesterday and it seemed appropriate to cover what she has been focused on. So I welcome you to J’s edition of #IMWAYR.
We literally finished this book the night before we dropped J off at camp. The Dragon Lantern is the second book in the League of Seven series by Alan Gratz, and it had us chomping at the bit for book 3. The series is a very fascinating steampunk scifi look at an alternate history of the US and takes place in the 1870s. Without giving away too much, a group of extraordinary kids come together to save the world as part of the League of Seven to save the world from destruction at the hands of the Mangelborn (it is scifi, remember). Book 1 focuses on the first three characters of the League and in book 2 an additional two get introduced.
Roald Dahl strikes again! It’s been a while since J has read a new-to-her Dahl book, but we sent this one to camp with her and she loved it. In The Witches, Grandmamma loves to tell about witches. Real witches don’t ride around on broomsticks. They don’t even wear black cloaks and hats. They are vile, cunning, detestable creatures who disguise themselves as nice, ordinary ladies. So how can you tell when you’re face to face with one? Well, if you don’t know yet you’d better find out quickly-because there’s nothing a witch loathes quite as much as children and she’ll wield all kinds of terrifying powers to get rid of them.
I wanted J to get some of her Battle of the Books reading done, if possible, while she was at camp and am thrilled that she enjoyed Fish in a Tree as much as I did. This book focuses on a little girl with dyslexia who has always managed to hide her disability, but also, who has also always just figured that she was stupid. When a new teachers comes to teach Ally’s 6th grade class, he sees the bright, creative kid underneath the trouble maker. With his help, Ally learns not to be so hard on herself and that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of. As her confidence grows, Ally feels free to be herself and the world starts opening up with possibilities. She discovers that there’s a lot more to her—and to everyone—than a label, and that great minds don’t always think alike. Children are wonderfully taught that “Everybody is smart in different ways. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its life believing it is stupid.”
Of course, summer is the time of amazing new releases. One of the notes we got from J was actually requesting that we send her two of the books that were released the Tuesday after she started camp, which of course we had pre-ordered. I only sent her one, but we have a lot of reading cut out for us.
The one book I did send her was The Land of Stories: An Author’s Odessey. In the fifth installation of Chris Colfer’s fabulous Land of Stories series, brother and sister, Conner and Alex, are trying to save the fairy tale world by jumping into stories that Conner wrote and creating an army. There are a lot of hidden gems in this one about the lines between fiction and reality, the role of the author, and where the creative spark comes from. As a grown-up, I loved this series most when it stayed put in the fairy-tale world, but it is still a wonderful series that J is super excited to be reading. She needed a break from telling us about her experiences at camp so she could just have quiet time in the car to read this one!
One that we haven’t read yet, but is in our pile to be inhaled as soon as possible, is Serafina and the Twisted Staff, the sequel to the wonderful Serafina and the Black Cloak. In 1899, when an evil threatens all the humans and animals of the Blue Ridge Mountains, twelve-year-old Serafina, rat catcher for the Biltmore estate and the daughter of a shapeshifting mountain lion. Deep in the forest, Serafina comes face-to-face with the evil infecting Biltmore–and discovers its reach is far greater than she’d ever imagined. All the humans and creatures of the Blue Ridge Mountains are in terrible danger. For Serafina to defeat this new evil before it engulfs her beloved home, she must search deep inside herself and embrace the destiny that has always awaited her.
Tomorrow, our copy of The Candymakers and the Great Chocolate Case will arrive. J absolutely adored The Candymakers and read it three times! This book takes place a few months after the first book. Forever changed by the experience, Logan, Miles, Philip, and Daisy have returned to their regular lives. But when presented with the chance to go on tour to promote the new candy, they each have very different reasons for hitting the road. The stakes are a lot higher than they thought, however, and a decades-old secret is revealed. In this action-packed adventure, the four friends embark on a journey full of hidden treasures, imaginary worlds, rivers of light, a map of awe, a sky of many colors, and one very small cat who thinks he’s a dog. They’ve already learned to trust one another. Now they’ll have to trust themselves in order to face what lies ahead and save what really matters.
Since I mentioned that we finished The Dragon Lantern right as J was going off to camp, I couldn’t even wait the three weeks for her to get back to read the final book. It came out the Tuesday after she left and I immediately bought it (and loved it!). The final book, The Monster Wars, was probably my favorite of all three. Having discovered the monstrous secret of his origins, Archie Dent is no longer certain that he is worthy to be a member of the League of Seven. But with new enemies to face, he realizes that he may not have the luxury of questioning his destiny. Wielding the Dragon Lantern, the maniacal Philomena Moffett has turned her back on the Septemberist Society, creating her own Shadow League and unleashing a monster army on the American continent. Archie and his friends must race to find the last two members of their league in time to thwart Moffett’s plan and rescue humanity once more.
There are definitely too many books and not nearly enough time! What are you reading?