By Caitlin Kittredge, for The Children’s Book Review
Published: April 29, 2011

I knew when I set out to write The Iron Thorn that it was an alternate history novel (albeit one set in the 1950s) and that I’d run into language barriers.  Not the type you’re thinking of—but slang, etymology and yes, even swearing.

Somebody asked me recently what I thought of swearing in YA, and my answer was the same as it is for adult fiction—don’t be gratuitous, but when it’s situationally appropriate, then hell yes.  Swear.  Sidestepping so-called “bad words” lessens the impact.  You run into a roadblock though, writing about teenagers in the 1950s.  Pop culture at the time liked to pretend that teenagers didn’t swear (or, except in a few rare cases, smoke, drink or even let the possibility of sex cross their minds.)  I turned to my mother, who was a teenager in the late 1960s, as a primary source, and from there I extrapolated some real language, supplemented by books on 50’s pop culture for slang and references.  That was the easy part.

By Amber Clark, for The Children’s Book Review
Published: April 27, 2011

Wacky Jacky: The True Story of an Unlikely Beauty Queen

Wacky Jacky is a determined young girl who teaches important lessons through her life experiences.  Wacky Jacky, at times, is seen as both awkward and an outcast, but she transcends and transforms her circumstances with her attitude, actions and the help of her family. She allows us to see the gifts hidden beneath the differences that too often divide us.

Based on Jaclyn’s childhood experiences, Wacky Jacky’s ultimate message is that “you don’t need a crown to sparkle.” By imparting valuable character lessons in an engaging story, Wacky Jacky is a tool for parents and teachers to teach lessons in self-esteem and positive attitude, and illustrate social issues like bullying. This playful and endearing story will inspire young girls to transcend their circumstances.

By Bianca Schulze, The Children’s Book Review
Published: April 25, 2011

From seeing the stars to taking a tour of the moon, The Klutz Guide to the Galaxy is an educational, entertaining, intergalactic treat. The book comes with 6 tools, including a build-it-yourself telescope and a no-batteries-required sundial, to help kids ages 8 and up navigate their way through outer space. The design and layout is kid-friendly, making it easy for galactic explorers to digest information and ponder some of the greatest scientific discoveries of our universe, right from their backyards.

Is it possible you have a young galactic explorer at your house? If so, reach for the stars and enter to win one of two copies of The Klutz Guide to the Galaxy. Giveaway begins April 25, 2011, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends May 23, 2011, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

By Tabitha Baskin, for The Children’s Book Review
Published: April 22, 2011

J.R. Terrier and the Message (JR Terrier Book Series #1)

Tabitha Z. Baskin (Paperback)

Genre: Fiction – Children’s Story Books; Book Themes: Animals, Friendship, Loyalty

“J.R. Terrier and the Message” by Tabitha Baskin is a fun-filled and engaging story that speaks of loyalty and friendship.  It’s showcases artistic and vivid illustration of the canine characters led by J.R. Terrier which stands out with his image being, “More than just a lovable pup”. Read through the 28-page gem of a book as the unique friendship between JR Terrier and his buddies unfolds and begins at what seemed to be a sunny afternoon at the park.

By Bianca Schulze, The Children’s Book Review
Published: April 21, 2011

Imagine waking up and finding yourself in the wrong bedroom, in an unfamiliar house and when you look in the mirror, another face stares back at you. Enter to win one of three advanced reader copies of FLIP by Martyn Bedford and you won’t have to imagine … you can read about it. Giveaway begins April 21, 2011, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends May 19, 2011, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

Reading Level: 12 and up

Hardcover: 272 pages

By Martyn Bedford, for The Children’s Book Review
Published: April 21, 2011

A Visit to the Dentist

One of the most common questions I get asked as a writer, is: “Where do you get your ideas from?” Well, the seed for FLIP was planted in my head more than 40 years ago . . . by a visit to the dentist.

Of course, dentists are always putting things in your head (or, at least, in your mouth) – fillings, braces, pointy tools, cotton swabs, their fingers and so on – but even back in the 1960s you didn’t expect to go for a regular check-up and come away with an idea for a novel.