The Clockwork Three by Matthew J. Kirby

I just read Matthew J. Kirby’s debut novel, and I’m about to start devouring his next book, Icefall, which just won the Edgar Award in the juvenile ficiton category. I am looking forward to it. Unfortunately, we are putting in some landscaping- flower beds and such, and so I am going to have to work hard to sneak in some reading in between gardening. Don’t worry, I’m sure I’ll work it in somehow.

But… back to The Clockwork Three… I had a great time reading this novel and seeing how the lives of Frederick, Guiseppe and Hannah worked together like the intricate gears of a clock. Frederick is an orphan clockmaker’s apprentice, Hannah is a maid and the sole provider for her poverty stricken family, while  Guiseppe is a busker and slave to his Padrone (a really mean man that is basically a child-extortionist and slave-master). I love the name Guiseppe- it’s so Italian, and the Italian aspect of his heritage was a small part of what endeared Guiseppe to my heart.

I’ve heard great things about Kirby’s next book and I can hardly wait to get started. I also am looking forward to meeting Matthew J. Kirby in person this summer at the WIFYR conference and having him sign a copy for me. That’s one of the great perks about this conference. Not only do they have a First Line Contest (open to everyone) going on right now, but they usually have a first line contest at the conference and they have author/illustrator signings. It’s like a celebrity meet and great for the literary world. I can hardly wait to see all my favorite people @WIFYR!


Great Gift Ideas for Mother’s Day, WIFYR, and other literary gifts…

Mother’s day is fast approaching. Don’t have a gift yet? No problem. Here are a few quick ideas to get you going. Yes, they are all literary. If your Mother likes to read- or likes being a Mom (hopefully she does) here is a great multi-cultural book filled with classic Mother teachings that will tug at your Mom’s heart strings (especially if you are her son).

Mama Says: a book of love for Mothers and Sons by Rob D. Walker, Leo & Diane Dillon.

What if you are the Mom and you don’t know what you want for Mother’s Day yet? Or, are you looking for a great gift idea for your mother or wife who likes to write? Maybe she’s always dreamed of publishing a book, or writing a childhood memoir. Maybe she wants to write a picture book for her kids or grandkids- or maybe she loves art and has thought about becoming a children’s picture book author. Get her an all expenses paid trip to the WIFYR (pronounced wiffer) conference! What is WIFYR you ask? No, it’s not a new kind of wiffle ball game. WIFYR (Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers) is an amazing writer’s conference held annually in Sandy, Utah. There are intensive morning workshops- taught by great authors/ilustrators and afternoon only workshops- for those who want something a little more general and laid back (and cheaper). Some of the teachers who will be there are Matt Kirby– author of Icefall, which just received the Edgar Award, Mette Ivie Harrison, Cynthia Leitich Smith, among many others!

The other bonus, is that we- the Bookscoops sisters will also be there, so if you want to hang out with us, we promise we’ll be your friend, and you won’t be all alone.

There is also a first-line contest available- the deadline is May 12, 2012 at midnight. You can enter here: WIFYR FIRST LINE CONTEST

Don’t forget that the only thing better than a book- is learning how to write one! We hope to see you soon… @WIFYR!

Holly and Cari go to Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers a.k.a. WIFYR

One of the reasons that I (Cari) have not ben so active here, although it’s not one of Holly’s reasons (she somehow manages four busy boys, artwork, writing and posting book reviews and I am pretty sure her house is way cleaner than mine and I am NOT jealous or anything of my sister), is I just finished my first novel for Young Adults. Whoo Hoo, I am turning cyber cartwheels, which is the only kind I can.

Last year we went to the amazing Writing and Illustrating for Young Reader’s Conference (WIFYR) held at the Waterford Institute in Sandy, UT. Since we had such a lovely experience the first year, we are both returning for another week of energizing enlightenment and excitement. Last year I (Cari) learned from the talented Emily Wing Smith and Holly rocked out in Krystin Crow’s hip and cool picture book class.

Holly, (who, unbeknownst to me, almost majored in art on the recommendation of her high school art teacher, but then majored in something practical and boring (in my opinion), business finance) is taking the art class with Julie Olson. I am taking the contemporary fiction class for YA with Kirk Shaw.

If you have any inkling to become a children’s author and/or illustrator come and join us at WIFYR.

Holly and Cari’s top ten list of reasons to attend:

  1. No kids allowed (yes, we do love our kids)
  2. Cari needs Holly’s help to walk. (Last year Cari tripped in the parking lot and managed to scrape her knee without ruining her pants.)
  3. Meet other like-minded people
  4. Network with other writers/artists
  5. Book signings by your favorite author/teachers
  6. Get a peak into current publishing trends
  7. Agent John Cusick
  8. Editors Alexandra Penfold and Ruth Katcher
  9. Beautiful campus to inspire you to polish your manuscript
  10. Carol Lynch Williams -If no one else was there but Carol, you would still be so happy you came. She’s amazing!
*Visit the WIFYR blog for more information on a first line contest open to anyone. Hope to see you @wifyr

Up and Down the Scratchy Mountains by Laurel Snyder

I read this book about 2 months ago and absolutely loved it! I first heard of Up and Down the Scratchy Mountains when Laurel Synder (she has epilepsy) participated in our Purple Day challenge for epilepsy a few years back.  Some books take a while to start enjoying, but Up and Down the Scratchy Mountains was enjoyable from the start.

Lucy is a milkmaid whose best friend happens to be the crown prince named Wynston. Unfortunately, as she and the crown prince are getting older, protocol gets in the way. Apparently a milkmaid could never marry the prince no matter how much they liked each other. Frustrated with the sudden absence of her best-friend she sets off on a zany and wild adventure to find her mother.

Not much more to say than that without ruining anything, but it was a fun read. I laughed and cried and then laughed some more.

Laurel Synder’s Website