Welcome

This is the blog of children's book author and elementary school 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, September 20, 2021

#IMWAYR September 20, 2021


It finally feels like school is starting to hum along. With masks and social distancing, but still humming. In writing news, my agent loves my manuscript revisions (yay!) and so I should be out on sub soon. For those of you who don't know what this is, it's what happens after a writer finishes a book and the agent sends it to editors at publishing companies. Sometimes they get back to you right away. More often, it's a time of waiting and writing something new. And of course, lots of reading!


The Benefits of Being an Octopus: A Novel

This middle grade book has been on my TBR list since it came out. It's every bit as wonderful as people have said. It's the story of Zoey, a 12 yo whose family situation makes it challenging for her to succeed in school. Her mother's verbally abusive boyfriend has made her mother somewhat absent in the life of her children and Zoey has had to step in. When her teacher notices her throw her homework out in the trash rather than turning it in, she decides to force Zoey into the debate team. Ms. Rochambeau sees herself in Zoey and through her pushing, Zoey is able to not just see herself in a different way, but help her mother and her friend's mother to find their self-worth too. I will admit to being particularly fond of books with great teachers. I hope that Zoey and her teacher find their way into the hands of real kids who need to adjust their own self-view.

I love middle grade fantasy, and Thirteen Witches is a really well done story. It's about a girl named Rosie whose mother has always been distant - almost to the point where sometimes she doesn't know who Rosie is. Her best friend, Germ, is the only one who really knows her, but lately Germ has been acting different, wearing makeup and caring about her clothes, and Rosie feels like she is losing the one person in her life that cares about her. When Germ makes a comment about the happy ending stories Rosie tells, Rosie decides to burn them and grow up. Little did she know that this act will be life changing because it opens Rosie's eyes to the magical world around her full of ghosts and witches. Rosie learns that she is the last in a line of witch hunters and now that she has this knowledge, her life is in danger from the witch who stole her mother's memory long ago.

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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 13, 2021

#IMWAYR September 13, 2021

 

Have you ever heard the saying, "People plan. G-d laughs." That would pretty much describe the past two weeks of my life. I made a pledge to myself to update this blog every Monday, and then Ida brought 6 inches of pond water into my basement from end to end. *Sigh* So no more promises, but here is what I've read since I posted last:

I really enjoyed the first two books in this magical middle grade series by Zetta Elliott. When Jaxon's mother asks a women named Ma to watch him so she can try to make sure they are not evicted from their apartment, Jaxon has no idea what his mother is getting him into. It turns out that Ma is a witch and she needs Jaxon to help her deliver three dragons. But when Ma gets trapped in the past, Jaxon turns to his best friend Vikram for help. Things seemed to go well until they realize that Vikram's sister has stolen one of the dragons. This series is fun, action packed, and has a lot to say about responsibility and friendship. It is definitely a middle grade must have.

Brewster's Millions was one of my favorite movies growing up, so I really loved Stacy McAnulty's middle grade version, Millionaires for the Month. When Felix and Benji find a wallet on a school trip belonging to millionaire Laura Friendly, Benji decides that she won't miss the $20 he finds inside to buy a hot dog. But Laura Friendly understands that every penny has value, so instead of simply rewarding the boys for finding her wallet, she gives them a challenge - spend $5,368,709.12 in 30 days and get 10 million dollars. The catch - no one can know what they are doing and why. If that was hard to do as an adult, for two kids in middle school, that's practically impossible. I loved watching these two opposite kids learn how to work together, seeing their friendship develop, and finding out what they decide to buy. Middle graders will love Millionaires for the Month.

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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, August 23, 2021

#IMWAYR: Some More New Books!

 

Is it really Monday already? With school starting this week, I almost broke my deal to myself to start posting each week on the second week. Fortunately I've read plenty of books this summer that I can't wait to tell you about. Here are some more books from Netgalley that I was thankful to read before their release date.

This middle grade novel in verse is the story of Aafiya Qamar. When Aafiyah sees pretty things, they tend to end up in her pocket or her bag. She feels drawn to them and needs to have them for a short period of time. When her father is accused of a crime and is unable to get back into the United States, Aafiya decides to not just borrow but to steal from her best friend's mother in order to help her dad. This story did an amazing job of putting us into Aaifiya's head to see how this compulsion takes over her life. I am thankful to see that the author gives Aafiya real consequences for her behavior. This is a book that I hope will find its way into the hands of kids who need to know they are not alone. This is a definite must read when Golden Girl releases in April of 2022.

Anybody Here Seen Frenchie? is a wonderful middle grade story about friendship and the importance of connecting with others. Told in multiple points of view, this story is about a girl named Aurora. Aurora may not be able to sit quietly in a classroom or keep still, but when her autistic neighbor Frenchie moves next door, she is one of the only people who he connects with. And even though Frenchie never says a word, Aurora understands him better than anyone else. When Frenchie doesn't make it to class one day, Aurora feels she is to blame. Follow her cue, and what Aurora has taught people about Frenchie, the whole town sets out to find him. I love these characters. They are each so unique and interesting. Their connection, and the way they touch the people around them, is beautiful. Everyone should rush out and get this book in February 2022.

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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.