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text 2016-12-02 11:20
The art of the possible
The Art of the Possible: An Everyday Guide to Politics - Edward Keenan,Julie McLaughlin

An everyday guide to politics.

by Edward Keenan

art by Julie McLaughlin

age range: 10 to 14 years old



You are a politician. This is the approach and reason for this book. Even if you are not old enough to vote, or think you don't need politics, or you choose not to pay attention to politics. Politics is the way we decide as a group how we do things. As a part of a community the decisions your make, or do not make, have an influence in the group. We need politics, and politics needs us. This is why is important to be a good politician, and that means being an informed and active member of the group.


This idea is repeated and explained along the different chapters of the book, and always in a positive way. The point is not to make the reader feel the burden of this responsibility, but understand how politics are the art of the possible. What is politics; how we decide things as a group, how do you make a good argument, and on the other hand how do you listen at other people's arguments, why conflict is good, and when it starts to be bad, how to keep all of this process honest, are some of the questions addressed by the book. The text is very accessible, and the author manages to avoid difficult or "big" words. The only few that are used are very well explained. The chapters include case studies to better illustrate how things work in real life, and at the end of the book there is also a glossary, index, and list of sources. I was surprised by the fresh and hopeful approach of this book. I am glad I crossed paths with it, and plan to buy a copy for my kids soon. Indisputable 5 stars to me.


I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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text 2016-10-13 12:52
The case of maker mischief
West Meadows Detectives: The Case of Maker Mischief - Liam O'Donnell,Aurélie Grand

#2 in the West Meadows Detectives

by Liam O'Donnell

ilustrated by Aurélie Grand

age range: 7 to 10 years old

Owlkids Books


Myron is a detective third grader, and Hajrah is his partner. In this second book in the series they are trying to find out who stole Robson, a robot built by their classmates, Jordan and "Glitch", for the Maker Faire Robot Maze Challenge. So far this sounds like an good mystery like many other mysteries for this age range. So, what makes this book different? 


The West Meadows Detectives series is told in first person by Myron, who happens to be in the autistic spectrum. The reader will notice from the very first pages how this is mirrored in the writing style, which is focused in the facts, without unnecessary descriptions, or needless extra words. Myron also express in many opportunities along the story how he feels about the situations in his everyday life, like noisy places, unexpected changes in the routine, or how sometimes his brain feels overloaded by the world around him. And at the same time how much he loves logic facts, and his ability to find and process clues. At the same time Hajrah happens to be hyper-energetic, with difficulties to sit or stay still, but also a great sense of how to help Myron when he feels overwhelmed by a situation. And Myron and Hajrah are not the only ones, since they are part of a neuro diverse group at the West Meadows School. The readers will also meet Sarah "Smasher" McGintley, who is a female bully bulling boys, something also uncommon to find in children's novels.


These nontraditional characters already make the story more than worthy. Now add a pinch of science, robots, coding, and challenges. Serve with black & white enjoyable pictures, that also complement the story showing the characters' body language and actions. And there you are.  A wonderful book I recommend you to try. I will keep a close eye on this series myself.


I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2016-10-07 14:26
Everton Miles is stranger than me
Everton Miles Is Stranger Than Me: The Night Flyer's Handbook - Philippa Dowding

sequel to The strange gift of Gwendolyn Golden

by Philippa Dowding

age range: 9 to 12 years old



Gwendolyn is a fourteen years old girl who also happens to be a Night Flyer, which means she has the ability to fly without mechanical assistance. As every Night Flyer she has a Mentor and a Watcher, and she also has all the problems a "normal" teenager has. Everything gets even more complicated when Everton Miles, another Night Flyer, moves to town. Everton is strange, it's true, but not as strange as the black feathered creature who follows Gwendolyn calling her when she flies at night. What it is happening here?


This middle grade novel was very enjoyable to read. The plot is absolutely engaging from the very first pages. Although it clearly has fantastic components, the story is set in a pretty normal small town. There are many funny moments, and some scary ones. Some of the issues of being a teenager are addressed along the way: gifts and responsibility, grief and expectations, dreams and reality. Friendship, in its different forms, is probably the main theme. I didn't read the first book in the series, but I will do it soon. And I really would love to see more books in this series. I think Gwendolyn, Everton, Martin and Jez has still much more to give us.


I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.



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text 2016-10-03 11:09
In the land of broken time
In The Land of Broken Time: The Incredible Journey - Maria Evan,Max Evan,Maria Evan,Helen Hagon

by Max Evan

illustrations by Maria Evan

translation by Helen Hagon

age range: 8 to 12 years old



Everything stars when a circus arrives to town and Christopher decides to sneak away at night to see it. There he meets Sophie, they are chased by a guard, and decided to hide in the basket of a hot air balloon. Afraid of being caught they undo the knot, and the balloon flies free caught in the wind. That's when Duke, a talking golden retriever who was sleeping in the basket, appears. All of this is exciting enough. Now imagine when they land in a strange place where time is broken...


In the land of broken time is a short fantastic novel in seven chapters full of action, and adorable characters. The themes are time and friendship. Information about how to measure time and how it affect us is exposed as part of the plot, and the way the characters love and take care of each other is beautifully touching. The illustrations are lovely, colorful, and add to the dreamy feeling of the story. I think this book is an interesting option for kids who love fantastic plots, time travel, and action. It is also a quick read. 


I received this copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2016-07-13 15:29
Click here to start
Click Here to Start (A Novel) - Denis Markell

by Denise Markell

Age range: 8 to 12 years old

Delacorte Books


Ted is a twelve years old boy who loves to play escape-the-room games in his computer. And he is really good at them. When his great uncle dies leaving a treasure for him to find, Ted will need all his skills to solve this real life challenge.


This book was such an enjoyable reading! It has lots of action, a trio of adorable friends, mysterious characters, treasure hunting, computer games, and literary quotes. It also approaches the topic of American soldiers of Japanese ancestry who fought during WWII in the 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Infantry Regiment, as well as the internment of Japanese American in camps during that period. The plot is dynamic and consistent. The writing is very engaging, and I found myself widely smiling in many occasions. It also made me want to read some classic literary works mentioned in it, to learn more about this specific historic events, and, why no, try some escape-the-room computer games. (No. I have never played them).


The cover art by Octavi Navarro is wonderful, and I also liked the pages layout, which mirrors a computer game. If it looks so good in an e-book I guess the printed edition has to be just awesome.

There is a hint at the end of the book that suggest this might be the first one in a series. Am I right? I hope so!


I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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