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, August 8, 2022

#IMWAYR August 8, 2022

 

It's Monday What Are You Reading is hosted each week by Unleashing Readers and Teach Mentor Texts. If you are a person who loves kidlit, all you need to do to join is to blog about books you are reading on Monday, add your link to either of those two blogs, and post using the hashtag. I hope you will join in!

I'm desperately trying to hold on to the last weeks of summer, but with all the back to school advertisements and with both of our teens coming home from their summer adventures, holding on is difficult. We took one final driving vacation and went up to Vermont, Quebec City, and New Hampshire before coming back to Connecticut, which gave me lots of time this week to read some great fantasy books!

Middle Grade


I can't believe I missed this one by Kelly Barnhill since she's one of my favorite middle grade fantasy authors. Her stories revolve around forgotten truths and that magic always has consequences. In this case, a long time ago a kingdom was separated when Toed to steal magic. In order to prevent the king from getting what he wanted, the magical beings caused a woods to grow and over time the people on each side of the woods mostly forgot about each other. Only the wrong twin, a fox, and a bandit's daughter can set the magic free and prevent war between two kingdoms that have forgotten each other's existence until now. 


Young Adult


Judah was born to change the world, but all she knows is that she was found as an orphan and taken to live in the castle where she is treated as a blemish on the world instead. The king would have had her killed, but his oldest son, his heir, is physically bonded to her, and the bond cannot be broken. What Judah feels, Gavin feels, and vice versa. Those who know of this connection want to use Judah and her power. All she wants is a life of her own. This young adult book is not for the faint of heart. Many characters in the book are tortured, physically and mentally. Those who enjoyed The Hunger Games would enjoy this book.


I was excited to get this one from Netgalley after seeing it on the cover of PW.  It is the story of Shin Lina, an 18 yo girl who has been forced into a dangerous life to keep her younger sister safe from harm. After her crime family is killed by another crime boss, Lina is forced to work for him. When he has her steal an important tapestry, the two of them find themselves in the realm of the Dokkaebi, the immortals. The only way Lina can escape with her life and save her sister is to kill the emperor of this city. But things are not always as they seem. This book combines Korean fantasy, the story of the Pied Piper, and romance. The Last of the Talons releases next month! Get it on September 27, 2022. 


This book doesn't come out until January 2023, but if you love fantasy and romance, you'll be excited to wait for it. To use magic, the witches in this world are bound to the roll of the dice. So far, Calliope Rosewoods' rolls have all been the number six, which may mean that she is fated to be a dangerous warrior. Between her rolls and her magic, which is a power that even has other witches scared, Calla wants to change her fate. When she meets two brothers, she may have found the key to changing her fate, but she in the process she may lose her heart. The only problem with getting this book so early is I will have to wait even longer for the next one.

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Stacy Barnett Mozer is a third grade 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 1, 2022

#IMWAYR August 1, 2022

 

It's Monday What Are You Reading is hosted each week by Unleashing Readers and Teach Mentor Texts. If you are a person who loves kidlit, all you need to do to join is to blog about books you are reading on Monday, add your link to either of those two blogs, and post using the hashtag. I hope you will join in!

It's August, which means my summer has hit its half way mark. I had two goals this year, to add a post every week for #IMWAYR and to finish the two manuscripts I owed my agent. I am excited to say that manuscript one sits in her inbox as of this morning. Now I get to not think about whether or not she likes it as I move on to manuscript number two. Wish me luck!

Reading is never really a goal for me, its a way of life. Here are the books I read this week.

Middle Grade


I cannot tell you how excited I was to get this one on NetGalley. The Trouble With Robots is about a team of middle school kids who are part of a robotics class. Unlike Team A, who always seems to have it together, Team B is a disaster. They are even disqualified from their first meet and their leader, Evelyn, is at risk for losing her leadership position and is worried her moms will be disappointed in her and she'll never see her best friend, who has moved and is on another robotics team, again. Enter Allie, a troubled student who has been assigned to robots club as a final chance to stay at the school. Evelyn and Allie could not be more different, but learning to work together will not just change their team, it will change each of them. This story is told from alternating points of view of Evelyn and Allie. Readers will adore both of them and will root for Team B. This is a definite must read when it comes out in September. 




Maxine has a figure skating competition coming up, but instead of staying focused on skating, the bullying she is dealing with from a boy in her school because she's Chinese is the only thing on her mind. And worse, her supposedly best friend thinks the jokes are funny. When a new girl arrives on the figure skating scene who is really good, Maxine can only see Hollie as added pressure. But finding a way to face her bully may also involved finding ways to make new friends. This is a fantastic middle grade story about how to stay strong and find your voice. It's definitely a must read for upper elementary and middle school classrooms.


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

Monday, July 25, 2022

#IMWAYR July 25, 2022

 

 

It's Monday What Are You Reading is hosted each week by Unleashing Readers and Teach Mentor Texts. If you are a person who loves kidlit, all you need to do to join is to blog about books you are reading on Monday, add your link to either of those two blogs, and post using the hashtag. I hope you will join in!

I did not get a chance to do as much reading this week, but I did finish a couple of new middle grades I'm excited to share. I'm trying so hard to ignore the calendar as the summer starts to tick down. At least I don't start until August 29 this year.

Middle Grade


Maggie is starting middle school and it feels like everyone she knows has a passion except her. When her friends become busy with their new clubs. Maggie decides to join as many as possible until something sticks. Maggie is a great character and I love the way she navigates getting to know herself and her interests. Illustrations add to the narrative in this graphic novel hybrid. I think even kids as young as third grade will love Maggie's story. 


I was so excited to get to read this novel on NetGalley. This second book in the Amari series kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. It was so action-packed it felt more like a movie than a book. If you don't know Amari, in the first book of the series, she found out there is a secret world with people who have abilities, but her ability, the power to use magic, is forbidden. Amari spent the first book proving that not all magicians are evil but here in the second book, she has to do it all over again. An excellent series for lovers of high-stakes fantasy. I wish the next one was already out!



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

Monday, July 18, 2022

#IMWAYR July 18, 2022

 

It's Monday What Are You Reading is hosted each week by Unleashing Readers and Teach Mentor Texts. If you are a person who loves kidlit, all you need to do to join is to blog about books you are reading on Monday, add your link to either of those two blogs, and post using the hashtag. I hope you will join in!

Last week I was on vacation so I was able to do so much reading! In addition to the books I wanted to finish, I was able to add an extra. All the books I read this week are must have additions to upper elementary and middle school classrooms and libraries.

Middle Grade


Repairing the World is a story about how to move on from loss. When Daisy loses her best friend, she has to figure out how to overcome her grief in order to move forward. She finds help in the birth of her babysister, new friends, and a project about Tikun Olam, or Repairing the World, she is assigned at Hebrew School. This book is a Bridge to Terabithia for modern times. 



Duet is the story of a bird named Mirabelle who loves to sing. When she meets a talented eleven year old prodigy named Michael, she becomes his muse as he learns to master Chopin. Elise Broach is a master of writing stories where small creatures from nature form a relationship with a child. I love her book Masterpiece about a beetle who paints. In Duet, Mirabelle and Michael are inspired by each other.


Last year, the kids of Fisher Middle School learned how to take action fighting the school's dress code. Their action made such a difference that this year the school and district is under new leadership, one that encourages action and has created a pilot climate class to encourage kids to think big. Mary Kate was supposed to start this class with her best friend Lucy, but Lucy has not been feeling well and no one knows why. Not having her best friend in school pushes Mary Kate to meet new kids who help to open her eyes to serious problems in her town. When the kids try to help solve these problems, they find that while they have the encouragement of the school administration, the mayor is their biggest enemy and that when it comes to climate change, systemic racism can also factor into the conversation. This sequel to Dress Coded will make you want to go out and do a better job taking care of the world and opens your eyes in so many ways. I hope it finds its way to policy makers.


Ellie has always been a larger sized person. The fat shaming from family members and classmates has caused her to create a list of Fat Girl Rules to live by. But when her best friend moves to another state, even those Fat Girl Rules can't protect her from the attitude of others. Thankfully she finds people who are in her corner who help her find her strength. The only thing I can think to say about this book is wow. Every page touches your soul. It is a must read book for kids and adults.


Thirst actually comes out tomorrow (Happy Book Birthday) but I had the chance to read it early from Netgalley. It's the story of Minni, a girl who lives in the poorest area of Mumbai where it is very difficult to find clean water. Minni and those who surround her don't just thirst for water, they thirst for the tickets to find their way into a brighter future and greater opportunities. When Minni's mother becomes ill, Minni has to step up to help her family by balancing school, her mother's job, taking care of herself, and going to computer class on the weekends. This is an excellent book and I'm glad it's been selected for this year's Global Read Aloud. Even though they are very different stories, it reminded me of Front Desk by Kelly Yang. The two books would be a good pair to read and discuss together in an upper elementary or middle grade classroom or to suggest to a child that age.



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

Monday, July 11, 2022

#IMWAYR July 11, 2022

 

It's Monday What Are You Reading is hosted each week by Unleashing Readers and Teach Mentor Texts. If you are a person who loves kidlit, all you need to do to join is to blog about books you are reading on Monday, add your link to either of those two blogs, and post using the hashtag. I hope you will join in!

This week I am on vacation in a spot that has no wifi ,so instead of posting what I have read, I am going to tell you what I will be reading while I am away.  I am ridiculously excited for this week's reading list. 

Young Adult

League of Liars will be the first book I will read because I started it before I left. When 17yo Cayder Broduck's mother is killed by magic, he decides the best way to get revenge is to become a prosecutor in order to punish those who would use magic in a world where magic is illegal. But before he can do that, he needs experience so he gets an internship with a defense attorney. As he gets to know his clients, Cayder learns that things aren't always what they seem. I'm was about a quarter of the way through this book when I left for vacation and it was an instant hook. Think John Grisham with magic.

Middle Grade




Check back next week to find out what I thought about these books! Happy Reading!

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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, July 4, 2022

#IMWAYR July 4, 2022

I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday weekend. I just returned from a trip to Vermont where the weather was beautiful and the fireworks were extraordinary. Being away also gave me plenty of time to read and write. I am currently working on revising a story about a girl who is starting middle school so this week I reread a couple of my starting middle school favorites to see how they handled pacing.

It's Monday What Are You Reading is hosted each week by Unleashing Readers and Teach Mentor Texts. If you are a person who loves kidlit, all you need to do to join is to blog about books you are reading on Monday, add your link to either of those two blogs, and post using the hashtag. I hope you will join in!

Now on to what I've been reading!

Middle Grade



When Shayla starts middle school, she wants everything to stay the same between herself and her two best friends. But it isn't easy to have a United Nations of friends when world events force different perspectives. When a police officer is found innocent of shooting a black man, even though there is video showing that man had his back to the officer, was unarmed, and couldn't be a threat, Shayla has to think about what it means to be a Black girl in this world. The book does an excellent job of explaining the Black Lives Matter movement and the protests that follow events like this. It is a well written story about the challenges of identity children face at this age. It was also, unfortunately, timely, because as I was reading it another of these incidents was in the news. 



Lucy would rather be working on graduate level math equations than starting middle school. After a lightning strike, her brain was wired to see math in a way that others might imagine a movie in their mind. Until this year, she has been homeschooled because her wicked smart math ability and OCD made it difficult to be understood and accepted by the other kids. But while Lucy has conquered high school math, she has yet to conquer middle school friendships so her Gran sends her "for her own good." Now she just has to survive for a year. This is one of my favorite all time books. Not only is Lucy a lovable character, there are dogs.

Young Adult


Technically this book might be adult, but it reads as a YA book to me. When Addie is forced to marry a man she doesn't love, she makes a deal with the devil for freedom. Unfortunately, the devil is in the details and Addie finds herself living a never ending life that only she will remember. In order to grant her freedom, the devil has made it so that once someone leaves Addie's presence, they forget her immediately. Until one day, one boy remembers her. Told from different points in Addie's never ending life, we see how she learns to leave her mark upon a world that would forget her face.

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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, June 27, 2022

#IMWAYR June 27, 2022

It's my first day of summer vacation, so what better way to celebrate then talking about books? I had a grand plan in September to blog throughout the year, but once again COVID and the world's attitude towards teachers and schools got in the way, so TGIS!

It's Monday What Are You Reading is hosted each week by Unleashing Readers and Teach Mentor Texts. If you are a person who loves kidlit, all you need to do to join is to blog about books you are reading on Monday, add your link to either of those two blogs, and post using the hashtag. I hope you will join in!

Now on to what I've been reading!

Middle Grade


I loved this new fantasy by A.F. Steadman. Skandar lives in a world where unicorns aren't the pretty, white, rainbow filled creatures of peace we are used to seeing in other fantasies. In Skandar's world, unicorn's are vicious creatures who can cause chaos if not tamed by a Unicorn Rider -- and everyone hopes that they will be one of those riders. So when Skandar shows up for his Unicorn Hatchery test and is told to go home before he even goes inside, he thinks all hope is lost. When a mysterious figure shows up at his door offering another chance, he takes the risk, no matter what the cost. Lovers of middle grade fantasies such as Eragon and Keeper of the Lost Cities will love this book. I can't wait for the next one.



Imagine that you can open any lock with just a thought. Melanie Gate has had this power as long as she can remember, and it sets her apart from the other boys and girls in the orphanage where she has grown up. When a Traveler (a gearling automatron) shows up at the orphanage looking for help, it makes sense for Melanie to be the one to join him. But the Traveler is not what he seems, and it turns out, neither is Melanie. An exciting adventure with magic, adventure, and a mysterious cat. Fans of The Girl Who Drank the Moon will enjoy this one.

Young Adult


The last unit of my school year was fractured fairytales, so I was excited to find this series of fractured Disney movies. These are not Disney stories for kids. A Whole New World asks the question, "What if Aladdin had never found the lamp?" or put a different way, "What if Abu never stole the lamp out of Jafar's hands when he locked him in the cave of wonders?" The answer, according to Liz Braswell, is that you would have a kingdom in turmoil and a princess who would need to step out of her comfy existence to become a rebel leader. Young adults and adults who watched Disney's Aladdin as a kid will enjoy this version.

Here are some of the other books in the series. So far I have read Once Upon A Dream, Part of Your World, and Mirror Mirror. All are done a bit differently and are a bit dark, but a lot of fun.



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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.