5 FREE YA ebooks

Who doesn’t love a free book? Here are five,  YA ebooks currently listed as free on Amazon. Make sure they still are before you download them. Looking for a new book? Maybe one of these is your next read. Don’t forget to leave a review to thank the author for the freebie!

book5

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00557U33W?

 

book2

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004K6MHSI?

book1

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009TKS6ZS?

book3

http://www.amazon.com/Releasing-Dragon-Myths-Legends-Book-ebook/dp/B00D52QNCO/

book4

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AOL7W38?

Mental Health in YA Literature

love

No doubt that teens are under more pressure than previous generations. YALSA highlights some books which deal with coping skills for depression and anxiety. Click the link and take a look.

funny

Reality Scoop: Promoting Mental Wellness with YA Literature

JUVENILE FICTION- what sold in 2015?

reading

2014 was a big sales year for juvenile fiction. Publishers Weekly credits the Divergent novels and John Green for a good part of it. Unfortunately, print sales for kids’ fiction decreased by 3% in 2015. Apparently, the latest Wimpy Kid book was the only one to sell a million copies or more.

Although the category split out for juvenile fiction is far from perfect, a few insights can be gleaned. Harken back to what I wrote about predicting YA trends relating to the astrology of the up and coming generation (https://ellisnelsonbooks.wordpress.com/2015/05/20/can-ya-reading-trends-be-predicted/). Up 9% was a category called Holidays/Festivals/Religion. Is this the start of the Pluto in Sagittarius group taking an interest in spiritual and religious things? Maybe. Also notable was a 12% rise in purchases of animal fiction.

Social situations/Family/Health was down 10%. Small declines were also seen in SF/Fantasy/Magic (-2%) and History/Sports/People/Places (-4%).

Overall though, it’s hard to see emerging trends in the data when a bestseller in any category can really distort the picture. I would rather see the categories broken down and distributed by age group because picture book buying by adults is different than teens buying their own books. And this is only print sales. E-books are certainly playing an increasing role in sales for older kids. Even the decrease of 3% overall, needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Are e-books drawing off that amount or more? Is the decrease related to our overall flat economy?

Publishers Weekly Article: http://goo.gl/SoiKEu

 

CONTEST: WIN A FREE BOOK

Jan. 14:  THE WINNERS ARE: Patricia Robertson & KDKH. I will be contacting you both. 

It’s contest time! Leave a comment below and be entered to win a copy of the electronic version of Elephants Never Forgotten. Contest closes at noon (EST) on Wednesday (Jan.13th). Two books will be awarded by a random drawing on Thursday, January 14th. As a theme, tell me something about elephants. I’ll start us off with how the idea for the book came into being.

Here’s the synopsis:

A hundred years in the future, twelve-year-old Nigella receives a shipment from her deceased grandfather. Her inheritance is a herd of micro-elephants. While a lot of her friends have micro-pets, Nigella is at a loss on how to care for them. Why are her micro-pets so different from everyone else’s? What was her grandfather up to? With the help of her best friend, Kepler, the girls set off on an adventure to discover the truth.

What readers are saying:

“Ellis Nelson’s superb writing made this book a joy to read. I felt like I was right there experiencing the journey, the concerns, the total adventure. Lessons about friendship and family, ecology abound.”

“The leading characters are smart and resourceful girls. They set off for adventure and help make the world a better place. An intriguing, positive read for tweens.”

http://www.amazon.com/Elephants-Never-Forgotten-Ellis-Nelson-ebook/dp/B014AL1A9Y/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1452186113&sr=1-1&keywords=ellis+nelson

A BEATRIX POTTER CHRISTMAS

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The Christmas tree is up and as I peruse ornaments collected over decades, I’m struck by how many of them are animals. There are cats and dogs, rabbits and squirrels, hedgehogs and birds (a humming bird, blue jay, goose, partridge), and cows and horses. At the back door, I struggle with getting sunflower seeds and nuts out for my squirrels. Three inches of snow have to be cleared before I can lay down six piles of seed to accommodate the squirrels. After our dog died, we started feeding birds off our deck but soon found the squirrels to be more entertaining. The birds still come to the feeder and the overflow trickles down to feed a family of field mice who will come onto the deck once the squirrels have had their fill. I won’t see the bunny today because the storm is intensifying but I take comfort that I’ll see him tomorrow once the snow melts off. He was here earlier though; because I see his tracks crisscross the yard. The ornaments on the Christmas tree and the activity in the backyard scream BEATRIX POTTER. I live in a world she knew.

Beatrix Potter

Helen Beatrix Potter was born in 1866 in London. She is best remembered for her children’s stories featuring animals. As children, she and her brother spent many happy family vacations in Scotland and the English Lake District. Undoubtedly, the freedom to explore and interact with nature as a child grounded Beatrix in the natural world and fostered her connection to the land and its creatures. She and her brother made pets of wildlife including rabbits, a hedgehog, mice, and bats. Beatrix’s talents in drawing and painting emerged in childhood and were encouraged by her parents. In her teens, she wandered the Lake District sketching and immersing herself in nature. She took a keen interest in archeology, geology, entomology, and mycology. By the late 1890s, she had become adept at scientific illustration concentrating on watercolors of local fungi. She even had a paper on fungi reproduction presented at the Royal Botanic Gardens (women were not allowed to attend).

Peter

It wasn’t until her mid- 30s that Beatrix took a set of picture letters she had written to children and turned them into her first book. She had The Tale of Peter Rabbit printed in 1901. Publishers turned down the opportunity to publish the book failing to see its merit (think Harry Potter in the Edwardian Age,  JK Rowling was also turned down by multiple publishers). Along came Frederick Warner who published The Tale of Peter Rabbit with color illustrations the following year. Beatrix’s book was highly successful and so were the two (The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin and The Tailor of Gloucester) that came soon after. From then on, Beatrix published two or three books a year. Later her interests in farming and preserving the Lake District became foremost in her life, but she is still remembered fondly for the animal characters and stories she created.

www.beatrixpottersociety.org.uk

http://www.peterrabbit.com

Miss Potter (2006), the movie with Renee Zellweger & Ewan McGregor

 

12 Days of Christmas Sale!

Get Elephants Never Forgotten for the discount price of only $1.99.

Here’s the synopsis:

A hundred years in the future, twelve-year-old Nigella receives a shipment from her deceased grandfather. Her inheritance is a herd of micro-elephants. While a lot of her friends have micro-pets, Nigella is at a loss on how to care for them. Why are her micro-pets so different from everyone else’s? What was her grandfather up to? With the help of her best friend, Kepler, the girls set off on an adventure to discover the truth.

What readers are saying:

“Ellis Nelson’s superb writing made this book a joy to read. I felt like I was right there experiencing the journey, the concerns, the total adventure. Lessons about friendship and family, ecology abound.”

“The leading characters are smart and resourceful girls. They set off for adventure and help make the world a better place. An intriguing, positive read for tweens.”

https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/component/content/article/3-about/about-us/509-december-7-specials

 

 

SECRET HEART by David Almond

secret heart

This has been called David Almond’s most confusing book. While I loved Kit’s Wilderness and Clay, this one left me unsatisfied.

Joe Maloney is a different sort of kid. He doesn’t fit in. He’s a dreamer who can’t concentrate in school and doesn’t make friends easily. Joe’s mother recognizes some of his uniqueness and his sensitive ways but as a single parent, is largely unable to guide her son. When an all but defunct circus comes to town, Joe is called into the night by a mysterious tiger. Eventually he befriends many of the circus performers and gets caught up in the dream-like tale of the circus closing down. Questions of man’s relationship to nature, reincarnation, and the line between reality and illusion abound.

There is some beautiful imagery and prose here. Almond’s book is a challenging read for the middle grade or young adult audience. And just like in life, there is no easy, nicely-tied up ending. This is a good book to pick up when you think books for children are all alike. It may also shake a few adults out of their stupor.

HALLOWEEN YA HORROR

In an effort to satisfy my hunger for a good ghost story around Halloween, I stumbled on two firmly planted in the horror genre. Read at your own peril. Spoiler alert.

Beyond- A Ghost Story by Graham McNamee

Seventeen year old Jane was born dead and revived. In her short life she has escaped death four more times, but her shadow is after her. While Jane wrestles with these issues her best friend, Lexi, provides necessary comic relief. As the “Creep Sisters”, Jane and Lexi have to deal with being outsiders at school. Jane must find out why death haunts her before it’s too late and the opportunity comes when a skull is unearthed on the edge of town. Solving that mystery brings her face to face with a serial killer and reveals why her shadow is after her. McNamee successfully incorporates the idea of a dark, lost region that contrasts sharply to the bright light bliss of near death experiences. It’s a nice twist making it a unique ghost story. Sufficiently creepy, fast paced, and satisfying.

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Cas Lowood has inherited the job of ghost killer from his dad. Armed with a powerful knife, he seeks his prey. His next case draws him to Anna, a girl killed in 1958 on her way to a dance. Anna has the nasty habit of killing anyone who enters the house where she resides. This is a fairly well-crafted story, but not as original as Beyond. It has garnered quite a following seemingly attracting the Twilight crowd because of the romance between Cas and Anna. That part didn’t resonate with me. Cass witnessed a kid being ripped apart by Anna and yet he falls for her. The most unique aspect of the story comes from the idea of the Obeah- a creature seeking power and the Wicca traditions brought to the story by some of the lesser characters. This is a fast read, entertaining, but a bit familiar.      

THE STORY OF CHRISTOPHER ROBIN

Winnie

I’ve always loved the Winnie-the-Pooh stories. The Disney version is OK, but I really treasure the books with the pastel wash illustrations by EH Shepard. My son’s nursery had six of these prints which I still have and can’t manage to part with despite him graduating university. Why is that?

AA Milne became famous for a series of stories and poems about a little boy named Christopher Robin and his adventures with his animal friends in the Hundred Acre Wood.  Up until this point Milne had been known for his plays, but in 1926 he published Winnie-the-Pooh, and Christopher Robin, Eeyore, Kanga and Roo, Rabbit, Piglet, Owl, and Tigger made their way into children’s literature and the hearts of millions on both sides of the pond.     

The character of Christopher Robin was based on Milne’s small son by the same name. When the real Christopher Robin was young, he helped his father work on the stories. The fictional Hundred Acre Woods was modeled on nearby Ashdown Forest where father and son would walk together. Young Christopher had a stuffed bear named Edward. The fictional story bear was named after a bear in the London Zoo he had seen called Winnie (the bear came from Winnipeg, Canada) and Pooh after a swan the boy also saw. There is a bridge in Ashdown Forest where it is alleged that the first game of Poohsticks was played. The bridge has become a tourist site and since 1984, the annual World Poohsticks’ Championship has been held at Day’s Lock on the Thames.

Unfortunately, Christopher Robin grew up to resent his father immortalizing his childhood in the stories and poems. Once he was off to boarding school, he was teased and his life made difficult by other boys. So much so, that he learned to box to defend himself. Christopher Milne served in WWII, graduated from Cambridge, and ran a bookshop for most of his life. He also wrote several books, one called The Enchanted Places examined his life as a child. The stuffed toys Christopher played with were given to an editor who donated them to the New York City Public Library where they can be seen today.

Trivia Question: AA Milne attended school and was taught by another famous writer. Who was that? Feel free to answer in the comments. (I’ll post the answer if no one gets it.)