Welcome

This is the blog of children's book author and third grade teacher, Stacy Barnett Mozer. I blog about my own writing journey, the journey of other kidlit authors, my classroom, and talk about books. Thanks for stopping by. Your thoughts are always welcome (and encouraged).

Monday, November 11, 2019

#IMWAYR November 11, 2019


Each week I try to join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee from Unleashing Readers to share all of the reading I've done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. I am currently a first round Cybil judge for the middle grade fiction, so expect to see a lot of middle grade fiction for the next few weeks. A lot of middle grade fiction.

Here's what I read this week:

Middle Grade


When Maggie's grandmother lost her memory due to dementia, she started to question whether our brains are enough to hold on to the things that are important to us. Instead, she found items to hold on to- things that would hold meaning for her. But as her collecting and saving starts bringing on feelings of resentment and anger whenever the slightest item is moved or touched, her parents realize that Maggie needs some help with holding on and letting go.


When Aven moved to a new city, not only did she have to start over in making new friends, she also needed to go back to proving to her new classmates that she was capable even though she was born without arms. Once she found a few good friends with their own challenges, everything became easier. But now Aven is starting high school with a whole new set of problems that goes along with it. A wonderful sequel to an amazing book. It may be appreciated more by an older middle grade reader because so much of the book revolves around dating.


When Carolina and her family have to leave Puerto Rico to move in with her aunt, uncle, and cousin Gabriella, Carolina isn't sure that living in Upstate New York is right for her. Her mother wants her to abandon her Spanish language and her love of painting to "fit in" with her cousins popular friends, but Carolina is more comfortable with Jenn, the social outcast who is into fairies and whose father is an artist. When Carolina finds a cabin abandoned in the woods, it's Jenn who is as excited as Carolina about fixing it up. But when the camp they are attending is threatened to close, holding on to the past becomes important to everyone.


Grace is a collector and when she visits her grandfather's new building over the summer she finds boxes and boxes of buttons. All she wants is to tell her best friend Ellie about them, but Ellie is a spotlight taker and instead of the buttons becoming something to share, the two girls go to war as part of a fab that sweeps the school. A good mid-middle grade story about friendship that will make everyone want to collect buttons!


Eleanor has been preparing for the end of the world for her whole life because of her grandfather being a survivalist so when she reads on a website that a world ending asteroid is supposed to hit at the beginning of April, she knows just what to do. Encouraged by her best friend, she starts sharing her news with others but only a small group will listen. Will the world end in April? This one you will need to read to find out.
_______________


Stacy Barnett Mozer is a teacher and a middle grade author. If you like what she's been reading follow her on Goodreads. Please leave a comment below. 

Monday, November 4, 2019

#IMWAYR November 4, 2019


Each week I try to join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee from Unleashing Readers to share all of the reading I've done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. I am currently a first round Cybil judge for the middle grade fiction, so expect to see a lot of middle grade fiction for the next few weeks. A lot of middle grade fiction.

Here's what I read this week:

Middle Grade


Imagine if your whole life you thought your mother knew nothing about her Native American background, and then you find a box in your attic that proves otherwise. Edie has always wanted to know more about her family, especially since when people look at her they expect her to know her tribe and history but her mother was adopted so she's always assumed she didn't know either. Then Edie and her friends find a box in the attic with a picture of another Edie. This Edie has written letter after letter about her life on and off the reservation. The box is the beginning of Edie's self-discovery and family discovery.


Audra has always known her parents were doing something dangerous. She would hear her father, a famous magician talking with her mother about the danger, but her mother would always tell her father to wait another year before he told more to Audra. But some secrets cannot be kept hidden forever. When the Russian soldiers come to her tiny Lithuanian farm looking for her parents, Audra is given a package and told to save it and bring it to another town at all costs. Imagine Audra's surprise when the only thing in that package is a book. Swept into a time in history when the Lithuanian language and books were considered illegal, Audra must decide if her safety and freedom are worth hiding a few books. A wonderful story about a part of history most kids and adults may not know.


Told in a similar fashion to Refuge, Alan Gratz's Allies follows a number of men and women as they experience D Day from water, land, and air. The stories weave together and overlap and give a clear picture of the chaos, heartbreak, and triumph of the day from the point of view of all of the allies involved.


When the popular boys at school suddenly start paying attention to Mila, she doesn't know how to react. Some of her friends are even jealous. But as the boys start giving hugs, making comments, and getting too close, Audra starts being very uncomfortable and wants to do something. But how can she explain this away when no one else seems to mind?  This is a perfect book in the time of the #MeToo movement for girls to understand that there are some things that are simply not okay.



If you, or someone you know, likes kid spy books, then you will love Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation.
_______________


Stacy Barnett Mozer is a teacher and a middle grade author. If you like what she's been reading follow her on Goodreads. Please leave a comment below. 

Monday, October 28, 2019

#IMWAYR October 28, 2019


Each week I try to join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee from Unleashing Readers to share all of the reading I've done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. I am currently a first round Cybil judge for the middle grade fiction, so expect to see a lot of middle grade fiction for the next few weeks. A lot of middle grade fiction.

Here's what I read this week:

Middle Grade


If you, or someone you know, likes kid spy books, then you will enjoy Jada Sly, Artist & Spy. When Jada finds out her mom has died on in a plane crash, she doesn't believe it can be true. Her mother has spent her whole life teaching her about being a spy and Jada is sure that she must just be on a secret mission. When she comes to live with her father in New York and immediately notices she's being followed, she is sure she is right. Unfortunately her father just thinks she's having trouble coping with her mother's death and won't believe her. But right away Jada meets a group of kids in her new school that have a secret spy club and they are more than willing to go on Jada's adventure. A cute story full of twists and turns. You do need to suspend your disbelief a bit about the spy club, but who knows, maybe all schools have secret spy clubs. After all, it is a secret.


2019 seems to be the year of books about divorce or sibling death. This is the first I've read though where the child herself is having a challenging time dealing with the change, to the point of throwing a toaster through a window. Liberty is always so busy making sure everyone else in her life is happy that she doesn't focus on her own mental health. With the help of a therapist, she starts to see that self-care is as important as family care. This book covers important topics and felt very real and powerful. I hope it lands in the hands of kids (and parents) who need to know they are not alone.


Look Both Ways follows ten kids as they leave school and head out on their journey home. Their experiences are all unique. I really wanted to like this book because I love other books by the author and have heard good things about this one. I thought each separate story was enjoyable, but with I could see more connection between them. It is possible I just read it too quickly. I'd love to hear others' thoughts on this one.


Young Adult


I am always looking for new YA fantasies and this world created by Laura Sebastian was very satisfying. Theodosia was six when her kingdom was taken away and her mother was killed. Forced to live in the castle of the conquerer, Theo, now known to all as Thora or the Ash Princess, has had to play a part in order to survive. But when she is forced to kill her own father, she realizes that survival isn't enough. It is time to take back her kingdom and save her people. Fans of Sarah J. Maas' Throne of Glass series will enjoy this one. 
_______________


Stacy Barnett Mozer is a teacher and a middle grade author. If you like what she's been reading follow her on Goodreads. Please leave a comment below. 

Monday, October 21, 2019

#IMWAYR October 21, 2019


Each week I try to join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee from Unleashing Readers to share all of the reading I've done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. I am currently a first round Cybil judge for the middle grade fiction, so expect to see a lot of middle grade fiction for the next few weeks. A lot of middle grade fiction.

Here's what I read this week:

Middle Grade Graphic Novel


Sheets is the story of Marjorie Glatt whose mother died last year and now she's the only one left keeping up her family laundry. It's also the story of Wendell, a ghost who finds life in Ghostland lonely and boring. When Wendell accidentally finds his way to Marjorie's laundry and witnesses a local businessman sabotaging her store, the two of them will have to get past miscommunication and judgment in order to save the house and business that Marjorie's mom loved. I loved the way the illustrator used color to show the two worlds.


Middle Grade


A Place to Belong is a serious look at a very dark time in US history. After a horrible experience in Japanese interment camps, Hanako's parents denounced their US Citizenship so Hanako finds herself on a boat to Japan, a place she has never visited, to live with her grandparents, who she has never met. Post war Japan is a place of hunger and devastation but is also a place where Hanako finds the strength to start over and to forgive.


Even though Sweet Pea's parents are divorced, they are determined not to let that fact change the way Sweet Pea lives. In order to do that, her father has rented the house two doors down and has decorated it exactly like her mom's house, down to the colors on the walls. When the one neighbor in between the two parents, a recluse odd advice columnist, asks Sweet Pea for help, she finds herself escaping her strange life by answering the messages of others. Now she just has to hope that no-one will figure it out. A fun story about family and accepting who you are.


When Coyote's mother and two sisters died in a car crash five years ago, her father changed his name to Rodeo, changed her name to Coyote, bought a bus to turn into a mobile home and the two of them set off to see the country. Coyote has learned to keep her sadness in check in order to help her father, but when she learns from her grandmother that the town will be bulldozing the park where her mom and sisters had buried a time capsule right before they died, Coyote realizes that it is time to do something to help her own pain - even if that means she needs to trick her father to do it. Joined by a bunch of odd travel companions, including a goat named Gladys, Coyote's journey is truly one that is remarkable. 

Young Adult


I was able to slip in a Young Adult book this week, and I was so glad I did. Annaleigh is sure that her family is cursed because her mother and four of her sisters have all been "returned to the salt." When her childhood friend returns and promises her remaining sisters nights of dancing in secret, they are all ready to abandon their clothes of mourning in order to let some fun come into their lives. But Annaleigh quickly suspects not all is as it seems. She just needs to prove it without everyone thinking she is crazy and before any more of her sisters die. The House of Salt and Sorrows is a fractured retelling of the twelve dancing princesses, with a number of ghostly twists and turns. 
_______________


Stacy Barnett Mozer is a teacher and a middle grade author. If you like what she's been reading follow her on Goodreads. Please leave a comment below. 

Monday, October 14, 2019

#IMWAYR October 14, 2019


Each week I try to join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee from Unleashing Readers to share all of the reading I've done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. I am currently a first round Cybil judge for the middle grade fiction, so expect to see a lot of middle grade fiction for the next few weeks. A lot of middle grade fiction.

Here's what I read this week:

Middle Grade


It has been a year since Leah's life was forever changed. A year of feeling like a ghost with ghost parents with the door to her brother's room permanently closed. But when Leah meets Jasper, a new girl in town who never knew Leah's brother, Leah is able to find her way back to herself and to tell her story. But Leah isn't the only one with a story to tell. Jasper is experiencing problems too and has asked Leah to keep her secret. But some secrets are too big to keep and Leah has to decide whether to risk losing her one true friend in order to keep Jasper safe. This is a wonderful story about friendship and moving forward after loss.


Like Leah, Rain has spent 360 something days mourning the loss of a brother. But for Rain, that night, and the promise her brother made her make, has haunted her. Her father has handled the loss by locking himself in his room while her mother is full of energy, energy that has caused her to find a new job in New York City. Rain knows that only 1 in 4 couples make it after the death of a child so she's hoping that this move will help them be the 1. Since running is the only way Rain forgets about the challenges she is facing, she joins the track team and with her new track friends she hopes she can make a plan to keep her parents together. The story is told from two points in time, now and that night.


Amara wants to know more about her family heritage so when she learns her father is taking a work trip to New York City from where they live in Oregon, Amara wants to go with him. The fact her teacher gave them a suitcase project where they have to learn more about their family helps her cause and sends her off to Harlem to meet the grandfather her father hasn't spoken to in 12 year, the same amount of year Amara has been alive. You can not help wanting to visit Harlem after reading this story and the author provides the directions for the suitcase project in the back. A must read for any classroom.


When Caitlyn moved to Vermont she expected it to be hard to be the new girl. She didn't expect that her school would look like a mansion, there would be goats on the soccer field, and everyone would be disappointed that she was not Paulie Fink, the class hero. Now it's Caitlyn's job to pick the next Paulie Fink. Told in a combination of interviews and story, The Next Great Paulie Fink reminded me of the Origami Yoda series. A lot of fun with some serious heart.


_______________


Stacy Barnett Mozer is a teacher and a middle grade author. If you like what she's been reading follow her on Goodreads. Please leave a comment below. 

Monday, October 7, 2019

#IMWAYR October 7, 2019


Each week I try to join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee from Unleashing Readers to share all of the reading I've done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. 

Here's what I read this week:

Young Adult



The Body Finder series is an intreging supernatural mystery thriller about a girl named Violet who is able to locate murderded dead bodies and their killers because of the echos and imprints the body leaves behind. Each story is told in multiple points of view, focusing mainly on Violet, but slipping in chapters from the suspected murderers point of view as well. It reminded me of the new adult Miki Radicci series by Mike Purfield. If you like these books, you may like those as well.



_______________


Stacy Barnett Mozer is a teacher and a middle grade author. If you like what she's been reading follow her on Goodreads. Please leave a comment below. 

Monday, September 23, 2019

#IMWAYR September 23, 2019


Each week I try to join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee from Unleashing Readers to share all of the reading I've done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. 

Here's what I read this week:

Upper Middle Grade/YA


It is not often I find out something I didn't know about the Holocaust. I am normally a very quick reader, but The Librarian of Auchwitz is not a book to read quickly. The author goes backwards and forwards through time and makes references to the books the librarian is reading inorder to set the scene for the events in Block 31 in Auschwitz and the main character, Dita's role in saving the books and creating living books to enrich the lives of the children imprisoned in the family camp. It is an amazing read, especially when you realize that all the people and situations were based on true events. 



_______________


Stacy Barnett Mozer is a teacher and a middle grade author. If you like what she's been reading follow her on Goodreads. Please leave a comment below. 

Monday, September 16, 2019

#IMWAYR September 16, 2019


Each week I try to join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee from Unleashing Readers to share all of the reading I've done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. 

Here's what I read this week:

Upper Middle Grade/YA



Persepolis is a great example of how graphic novels are not easy, simple reads. It is the memoir of Majrjane Satrapi who grew up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. Marjane does a great job of addressing very serious situations in a way that an older middle-grader through adult would understand and appreciate. I would love to pair this book with It Ain't So Awful, Falafel because both show how the changes in 1970s Iran affected one girl living in America and one living in Iran.



_______________


Stacy Barnett Mozer is a teacher and a middle grade author. If you like what she's been reading follow her on Goodreads. Please leave a comment below. 

Monday, September 9, 2019

#IMWAYR September 9, 2019


Each week I try to join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee from Unleashing Readers to share all of the reading I've done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. 

Here's what I read this week:

Middle Grade


 Jeffery Magee might have had a normal life if his parents weren't killed in a freak accident. Instead he finds himself living on the street between two parts of a racially divided town, trying to figure why these two groups think of themselves as so different when they really have a lot in common. A modern classic that can still be enjoyed and discussed by today's kids.


This is the second graphic memoir from Shannon Hale and I loved the way she took the events of the first book and showed how even though she thought she had life and friendship figured out, as we age those same things get more complicated. Shannon also does a good job of sharing how anxiety was a challenge in her life. I wish I had this book when I was in middle school. Shannon's questions and thoughts resonated with me because I felt the same way when I was her age (and I'm pretty sure I am her age). Even though kids today have some differences such as technology and cell phones, the thoughtful questions she asks about love and life and friendship are still being asked by tweens and teens today.


Young Adult



When seventeen-year-old Zoe is caught in a snowstorm with her brother and their dogs, all she can think is she needs to find them shelter. The fact that the neighbor's house, which should be empty looks lived in doesn't occur to her until after a man living there kills her dog and threatens her life. But just when things seem hopeless, a mysterious, good looking stranger comes out of the ice to save the day. As Zoe finds out more about this stranger, who she names X, she finds out that there is much she doesn't know about her world, X, and her neighbors and how they connect to the "death" of her father. Told in multiple points of view, this story will have you on the edge of your seat. 


_______________


Stacy Barnett Mozer is a teacher and a middle grade author. If you like what she's been reading follow her on Goodreads. Please leave a comment below. 

Monday, September 2, 2019

#IMWAYR Summer 2019


Each week teachers and librarians join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee from Unleashing Readers to share all of the reading they’ve done  over the week from picture books to young adult novels. It’s been a long time since I’ve shared my reading so instead of sharing the books I’ve read this week, I’ll start the new school year as I do for my students, sharing all of my summer reads. Starting next week I hope to go back to one week at a time.


It’s Monday. What have you been reading?