Book Giveaway for Purple Day: The Day-Glo Brothers: The True Story of Bob and Joe Switzer’s Bright Ideas and Brand-New Colors By Chris Barton, Illustrated by Tony Persiani

Woohoo!!!  The Bookscoop’s sisters managed to pull off two Doublescoops in one month. Our review of The Day-Glo Brothers: The True Story of Bob and Joe Switzer’s Bright Ideas and Brand- New Colors by Chris Barton and illustrated by Tony Persiani is part of our Purple Day challenge to raise public awareness about epilepsy and seizures. One in ten people will have a seizure in their life-time and one in a hundred will have epilepsy. We want people who have epilepsy to not feel so alone and this happens to be a favorite book of Cari’s daughter. If you comment on this post and/or participate in our Purple Day Challenge we will enter your name in a drawing for The Day-Glo Brothers. Please see our Purple Day post for eligibility requirements.

Cari: I love biographies like The Day-Glo Brothers – nonfiction picture books that tell a compelling human story, which doesn’t typically make the history books.

Holly: When I picked it up, the librarian was just putting it on the request shelf for us. She turned around and said, “That book has great pictures!” and I agree. The colors are very illuminating. Tony Persiani does an excellent job.

Cari: The pictures really, really add to what you’re reading. Which is what a picture book is supposed to do, but not all of them actually do. It helps that you are talking about colors that you can only see in the dark with certain lights. So the illustrations are black and white in the beginning with a few select colors. It helps you realize what the world is like before those eye popping colors. I liked the story too, did you?

Holly: Yes. I liked that the Switzer brothers had goals early in life, but their lives didn’t necessarily turn out how they planned them.

Cari: That’s a lot how life is. They weren’t always interested in the same things, either- Joe was an entertainer and Bob wanted to go to medical school.

Holly: And Bob had an accident that resulted in a head injury that left him with seizures & double vision so he wasn’t able to go to medical school anymore. The two brothers experiment while he’s trying to recover in the basement.

Cari: Yes, light would bother him. They started working together out of boredom. I’m very interested in these two because of my daughter’s seizures. I was curious to know how he dealt with seizures the rest of his life or if the seizures eventually stopped. During Bob and Joe’s era people with epilepsy did not talk about it. In fact a neurologist today has been doing research on Franklin Delono Roosevelt and there is a lot of evidence to suggest he had epilepsy. I wondered if he couldn’t complete medical school because of prejudice about seizures.

Holly: Medical school is very intense. Without specific allowances for a disability, it may be impossible to complete medical school due to lack of sleep, which I hear contributes to seizure activity.

Cari: Yes, we have to be very careful to make sure our daughter gets adequate rest. We’ve also had to put in place protocol with the school for the special allowances this sometimes requires. Like for instance, the recent time change that throws our sleep/wake cycle off triggered a seizure in my daughter last year. So this year, we took extra precautions and had to take her to school late a few times.

Holly: I’m glad that you take such good care of her! I liked that this is the author’s first book  and that he was inspired to write it when he heard the Day Glo brothers’ amazing story.

Cari: Despite Bob having a what sounds like seizure disorder, I can’t say that he did have epilepsy although to be diagnosed you have seizures that do not have an underlying problem that can be corrected. Bob still did a lot of great stuff & both brothers had a lot of fun. If you suffer a traumatic head injury you have a 50% chance of developing epilepsy and it can develop years later. It’s so important to protect your head and that is why helmets are critical in prevention of post-traumatic epilepsy

Holly: The book makes it clear at the end that even though they didn’t become what they thought they would as kids, they still achieved their goals and I think that’s a great example.

Cari: Their paints were used in WWII to help pilots land and also to avoid problems with friendly fire. Their paints made it easier to identify the enemy from an ally.

Holly: Yeah, I wonder if there were spies trying to figure out how they made those glowing colors- or was that world wide knowledge by then?

Cair: Who knows?

Holly: So, how did you find out about the book?

Cari: It was a Cybils book we read in my book club. It was one of the ones I liked the most. My daughter also enjoyed reading it. I think she liked knowing that there were lots of cool things you could still do even if you have seizures.

Holly: I remember when ‘neon’ colors were all the rage.

Cari: I do too. Now we know who to thank. Some of them are coming back.

Holly: Yes, I’ve noticed. I’m wishing I’d kept my neon Golden Gate Bridge t-shirt and maybe my neon green striped t-shirt. But, I don’t need the neon spandex. I think we’ll pass on those.

Cari:  You know I bet those brothers didn’t think that they would actually work together. You know a magician and a medical doctor don’t seem like they would go well together.

Holly: I beg to differ. Isn’t that what we expect from medical professionals? Magic?

Cari: Hah! That’s true.

Holly: I think the book is fascinating for kids – even if they can’t read it on their own, the pictures will appeal to them.

In lieu of a trip down memory lane, we thought we’d share some insight into our real personalities…

Cari: Growing up I was more of the idea person and tended to be in trouble more than Holly.

Holly: So far this isn’t any different than our stories.

Cari: How are you different from how we represent you in the stories?

Holly: I don’t let people walk all over me- you especially. I actually do have a back bone and opinions about things. I do tend to work in the background, so that much is true. How about you?

Cari: Well, I was not really a devious child. Yes, I did get in more trouble than Holly and have an overactive imagination. But, I wasn’t generally mean. I think I still come up with lots of good ideas for stuff.

Holly: Yes. You do. Like creating a book blog.

Cari: Thanks!

Holly: As always, I thought you were crazy when you brought up the idea, but did anyone ever tell you that you are convincing?

Cari: I’m known for my powers of persuasion. Speaking of which, isn’t it time we shared that one story?

Holly: Not unless you want to share the other one.

Cari: Blackmail. Did anyone ever tell you that you were good at blackmail?

Holly: Nope! It goes both ways, though. If you want to share my story, I’ll share yours.

Cari: You know, I think some stories are better left untold.

Holly: Now you’re talking!

Cari: You’re not so bad with those persuasion powers yourself. Maybe you should thank me.

Holly: For what?

Cari: For teaching you all my skills, of course!

Holly: I think we’re off track here. Aren’t we supposed to be telling them what we’re really like? I think we’re back to our paper personalities now.

Cari: Oh, yes. I guess it’s time to put out the lights on this doublescoop.

Holly: I think it might glo in the dark.

Cari: Yes, there is still a light on.

Holly: It’s your computer screen. Push the little circle button and it will turn off.

Cari: I’m not stupid.

Holly: I never said you were.



Half Moon Investigations by Eoin Colfer

In celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, we bring to you a new Double Scoop! A wonderful book written by an Irish author about an Irish kid in, you guessed it, Ireland!

Half Moon Investigations by Eoin (pronounced Owen) Colfer, is a kid-detective book that we are sure we would have loved when we were young. Actually, we love it now too, so hopefully that means we’re still young! Just in case the author’s name is ringing a bell, we will save you a trip to yahoo or google’s search engine and just tell you: Yes, this is by the same author as all the Artemis Fowl books.

Holly: My favorite part of Half Moon is that Fletcher was a real detective – he passed an online course for people over 18. So he was officially qualified even though nobody would believe him.

Cari: I thought you picked the book because Fletcher was short and you wanted a chance to poke at my shortness. Fletcher Moon is called Half Moon because he’s short. I do think the book is a good transition for kids who have outgrown Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew – it’s more complicated than the formulaic plots of the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books.

Holly: Honestly, I only picked the book for other reasons. First off I picked it because it’s set in Ireland, and we are Irish. Secondly, we love good detective stories and last of all, because it refers to Irish Dancing which we both did for many years.

Cari: Are you sure it’s not because I’m short?

Holly: No Cari, that thought didn’t even enter my head. Thinking of thoughts I never had, I don’t remember any parts in the book that I didn’t like.

Cari: I’ve read the Artemis Fowl books. Half Moon is similar to Artemis in that he is very bright and can get around adults when he wants information. Like hacking computers, getting information. Although Artemis is a juvenile genius delinquent (boy that’s a mouthful) with a lot of money in a fantasy setting. I thought Half Moon was a little bit more believable.

Holly: I appreciated the glimpse into the criminal world. Particularly interesting was the network of connections. I liked the example of the one ‘good’ kid, Red Sharkey, in the crime family trying to break the mold and be different. He wanted to be a model citizen, but because of his family people didn’t want to let him.

Cari: Yeah, definitely.

Holly: He tended to get in trouble when he was trying to help out.

Cari: I did not like the head mistress of the school and how she kept a list of good kids and bad kids with pictures. The good kids were angels and the bad kids devils.

Holly: I thought a lot about how often we take people and label them and sometimes it’s really difficult to let them escape that label.

Cari: Let’s talk about the girls’ gang, Le Fountanin. Basically, pink-loving or obsessed 10-year-old girls with a leader who is so ‘brilliant’ she is almost crazy. She appears to be all fufu and fluff on the outside, but she’s really made of ruthless steel. Whereas the Sharkey crime family is the opposite. On the outside they appear like steel, but they can really be generous when you know them.

Holly: Let’s talk about crime in Ireland. How much of it is related to the whole protestants vs. catholics ages old disputes?

Cari: I think this book is set in Ireland vs. Northern Ireland because the terrorist group IRA is in Northern, which is part of the United Kingdom. When I talk to people from there they talk about shopping. Just to go grocery shopping there are metal detectors. I’m not sure how much is Ireland and how much Northern Ireland spills over.

Holly: I’m just wondering if the level of violence and crime the girls were willing to go to was influenced by the community.

Cari: Or it could just be the author trying to break stereotypes. Criminals are often not the worst bad guys sometimes the worst criminals are people you wouldn’t think of. The Sharkey family did crime, but they weren’t cruel generally. Whereas this April girl is Miss Junior Criminal Mastermind in the making.

Holly: What do you think about they way Half-moon is attacked?

Cari: I thought it was scary and I think he was being stupid.  But, he is 12-years-old and they don’t always make the best choices. I think a lot of kids like Half-Moon might try it.

Holly: I thought it was extreme battery for a middle grade, in fantasy it wouldn’t phase you, but it kind of threw me off here.

Cari: It did put him in the hospital. On the other hand, I think there are teens that see that level of violence all the time. you can turn on the news and see violence all over the world.

Holly: One of the main points of the book seems to be that life isn’t always black and white. Half Moon likes that in detective ‘training’ all the rules are listed and it benefits you to follow the rules. Real life is a little different.

Cari: Half Moon has to cross a lot of lines to get at the truth. Half-Moon by the book wants to follow the detecting manual, and go to the police, but he suddenly finds himself accused of a crime he didn’t commit.  Out of necessity, he starts to change and becomes good friends with another kid that is from a crime family.

Holly: Isn’t there a saying: necessity is the mother of invention? In this case, I think necessity was the seed of friendship.

Cari: We need to be careful how we judge and stereotype people even as adults.

A fun fact about the Irish Bookscoops sisters, Cari and Holly:

Every St. Patrick’s Day from about age 9 and 10, we spent the entire day dancing, often until way past bed-time, all around the Treasure Valley as part of the O’Connor School of Irish Dance. We each have 9+ years of Irish Step Dancing under our belts. We’d like to pay tribute to our wonderful teacher, Bella Yerina of the O’Connor School of Irish Dance in Thousand Oaks, California, who flew up to the Boise, Idaho area about once a month to teach us. We also would like to pay tribute to Terry Jung (check out the 3rd picture on this site to see her perpetual trophy!), who supervised our weekly practices, managed all of our public performances, and also taught us many dance steps.

*If you click on the link above to check out the Irish Dance site, please note that we were a part of the school back in simpler days, before River Dance took the world by storm. The costumes we wore were the white ones with green and gold embroidery, and we didn’t use curly wigs back then- we did things the hard way sleeping in curlers all night and loading on lots of hair spray!

**The BBC did a series of thirteen episodes called Half Moon Investigations on the BBC in 2009. It would be fun to check these episodes out!

Purple Day Challenge & Book Giveaway 2011: Supporting Epilepsy Awareness Around the World on March 26th

Bookscoops is again thrilled to announce that we are participating in Purple Day, an international day to promote epilepsy awareness this year. For those of you new to our blog, we are two sisters – Cari and Holly who read and review books to promote literacy. Cari’s daughter was diagnosed with epilepsy in October of 2009 and this has been an interesting journey as her family and daughter have come to terms with diagnosis and what it means. Our whole family plans to celebrate Purple Day again this year and one of our brother’s is getting married on Purple Day.

Why Bookscoops is going purple?

Well like we said, Cari’s oldest daughter was diagnosed with epilepsy almost a year and half ago. She has Generalized Seizure Disorder and experiences Tonic-Clonic Seizures, formerly known as Grand Mal as well as Absence Seizures. She is very bright and full of potential. Epilepsy is only part of her as a human being as she loves to read and is bi-literate in English and Spanish. She also enjoys spending time with friends, swimming and playing the violin. Recently, she started karate and enjoys practicing her kicks and punches around the house.  One of my biggest frustrations is the lack of information and misconceptions surrounding this disorder and particularly the lack of funding it receives. I feel that one of the best ways to help her deal with this is to raise awareness. Her life with epilepsy can be made easier and safer as more people know about this common disorder and learn how to respond with appropriate first aid.

Photo of Cari's daughter by Jessie Lynne Photography, click on photo to visit her website

In addition, we wanted to raise awareness about epilepsy because it is the second most common reason people see a neurologist behind migraine. Epilepsy affects 50 million people world wide and about 3 million people living in the United States have epilepsy. More people have this condition than multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and Parkinson’s disease combined and every year more people will die of epilepsy than breast cancer. Unfortunately, a lot of myths and false ideas are still being perpetuated about epilepsy (such as it is a mental condition or that epilepsy is contagious). Some of these misconceptions have caused many people to become isolated and live in fear and shame that someone will find out about their condition and many people have faced discrimination based on their medical diagnosis.

Who Can Participate and How to Participate?

There are number of ways to participate in our second annual Purple Day Challenge and because we love to promote literacy we are combining both reading and Purple Day starting on Monday Mar 7th and ending on Sunday, March 27th. While our blog focuses on children and adolescent literature we are inviting anyone to go purple!!!! So that means any person, author, book blogger or blogger who wants to promote Purple Day may participate. To make this easy on you (and us) choose any or all of the following.

1. Post the Purple Day Button on your blog, facebook or tweet about our challenge on Twitter, starting on Monday, March 7th through Sunday March 27th and write a post promoting Purple Day. Please note we have received permission to use the Purple Day logo as part of this challenge. If you choose this option you must read and agree to the copyright notice on the Purple Day website by using the logo you are stating that you have read and agree to their terms of use. Two sizes of buttons are at the bottom of this post.

2. Read a book about epilepsy and post a review. For a list of books for children go to Epilepsy.Com. Use the Reading for Purple Day Button to declare your participation & link to this post.

3. Read a book by or about a famous person with epilepsy and post a review. Don’t forget to use the Reading for Epilepsy Awareness button. Cari’s daughter’s favorite so far is The Day-Glo Brothers: The True Story Behind Bob and Joe Switzer’s Bright Ideas and Brand-New Colors, which also is a Cybils winner for 2009. Some names you might know are Harriet Tubman, Alfred Nobel and Charles Dickens and more recently actor Danny Glover, football player Alan Faneca and track star, Florence Griffin Joyner known as Flo Jo. For a more complete list visit The Epilepsy Foundation or if you’re a fan of Wikipedia see the List of Famous people with Epilepsy, which to be honest seems to be the best documented list we’ve found so far.

4. Read a book that promotes self-confidence and acceptance in children and post a review. Suggested books so far with a very appropriate title, Purplicious by Victoria Kann and Elizabeth Kann and Little Skink’s Tail by Janet Halfmann, illustrated by Laurie Allen Klein & again don’t forget the Reading for Epilepsy Awareness Button.

5. If you or a family has dealt with epilepsy write a post sharing your experience.

6. Wear purple on March 26th and tell people why you are wearing purple.

7. Click on the link to watch a short interview with Katie Couric and write about what the things that you learned you in a blog post, or if you don’t have a blog put it in the comments for this post.

8. Have an idea not listed above submit it and we’ll give you another entry. So if you think of something put a comment in the comments below.

For every entry we receive, Cari will donate 25¢ per entry for a total of fifty dollars to a non-profit organization that works towards epilepsy awareness and/or research and Holly will match Cari’s donation. Multiple entries are possible. One entry equals doing one of the seven items listed above.

Our Goals for this Challenge

Our goal is three-fold 1) to promote Purple Day and raise epilepsy awareness, 2) to dispel myths surrounding epilepsy and 3) to compile a more comprehensive list of books that portray epilepsy and/or people with epilepsy accurately, especially for children. Finally we do hope to raise some money for epilepsy awareness.

How to Enter and When Does it End?

Sign-up in the comments below telling us who you are and what you are planning on doing to participate. Make sure you leave a link to your blog. If you post about this challenge please leave us a link in the comments to your post and we will put together a list of everyone who participated with links to their blog posts as the week progresses. The Purple Day mini-challenge begins on March 7th and ends March 27th , midnight MST.

Rewards for this Challenge:

  • For everyone who participates we will enter them in a book give away for When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead, the 2010 Newberry Winner as well as the Day-Glo Brothers: The True Story Behind Bob and Joe Switzer’s Bright Ideas and Brand-New Colors, which also is a Cybils winner for 2009. Both books have characters with seizures. Please note: This open to continental U.S. residents and international participants where it would cost less than $10.00 to ship & ends on March 31st mountain standard time.
  • The good feeling that you are helping other people become aware of a disorder that affects millions of people world wide.
  • Last year we raised $50.00 to donate to CURE. This year we would like to raise more, remember Cari is willing to donate .25¢ up to a total of fifty dollars and Holly will match her donation to a non-profit organization that works towards epilepsy awareness and/or research for each person who commits to participate by doing any of the 8 options above. See above for details of how to enter and participate.

Interested in sponsoring our Literacy and Purple Day challenge?

If you are an author/publicist and have a book that you think would go well with Purple Day we will consider doing a review of your book and/or host a giveaway. Please contact us at caribookscoops (at) ymail  (dot) com or hollybookscoops (at) ymail(dot)com.

Non-profit Groups that promote Epilepsy Awareness, Education and Fund Research

Consider donating to one of the groups below:

Purple Day – Founded by Cassidy Megan, a child with epilepsy to promote global epilepsy awareness.

CURE Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy – raises money for epilepsy research.

Epilepsy Foundation an organization dedicated to advocacy, education and research.

Epilepsy Association of Utah – The group in Cari’s state dedicated to educating the public and supporting persons and their families with epilepsy.

Anita Kaufman Foundation – Dedicated to educating the public to not fear epilepsy.

Purple Day Button

We have provided two sizes for the button. If you would like to use the Purple Day Button you must read and agree to the copyright notice on the Purple Day website by using the logo you are stating that you have read and agree to their terms of use.

Crispin The Cross of Lead and Crispin at the Edge of the World by Avi

crispin cross of leadCrispin: The Cross of Lead

I read and enjoyed this book many years ago, I re-read it just before reading the sequel, Crispin at the Edge of the World. A fascinating tale of murder and deception, the Cross of Lead traces the journey of a young boy struggling to discover who he is and why he has been proclaimed a “wolf’s head”, which means he can be killed on sight, no questions asked. Afraid to venture beyond the medieval village he has known his whole life, Asta’s son recognizes how little he knows when he meets the juggler named Bear. As Bear questions Asta’s son, and encourages him to use his own wit, Crispin learns that he has more potential than he ever imagined.

crispin edge of worldCrispin: At the Edge of the World

I enjoyed the sequel to the Cross of Lead, which follows the further journey of Bear and Crispin as they dare to sail away from England and escape the attackers who are hunting them without mercy. The people they find to help them along the way are genuine characters that add depth and perception to the story. Bear now acts as father to two children who trust him with their lives. Faced with impossible decisions and difficult situations, this is another successful spell-binding Avi tale. I look forward to reading the third and final volume of this planned trilogy!

Crispin: The End of Time

I was excited to find out what happened to Crispin in this, the last installment of the Crispin series. Crispin’s life has been one never-ending adventure since he left home as the wolf’s head in book one. The adventure continues in the foreign land he and Troth find themselves alone in. Set in a middle-ages environment, Crispin’s life story is fraught with danger and his life doesn’t slow down one bit in the last book! Once again escaping murderers and thieves, Crispin’s last tale will give readers the satisfying ending they desire and still leaves the door open for more tales, if Avi should change his plans. Avi has created a fun series for upper elementary students that will leave them with a great appreciation for the safety and security we enjoy in our civilized world!