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Violet and Victor Write the Best-Ever Bookworm Book

Violet and Victor Write the Best-Ever Bookworm Book

By Alice Kuipers
Illustrated by Bethany Deeney Murguia

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subjects: Language Development and Reading: Storytelling, Family Life: Parents/Siblings/Babies

Grade: P-1


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Violet and Victor Small are twins on a mission: to write the best book in the whole, entire world–together! Victor is reluctant, but Violet is determined, and soon the ideas can’t come quickly enough. They begin to write a story about a hungry Bookworm who is eating all the books in the library. Thanks to Victor’s brilliant ideas, Violet is able to save the day (and the library).
This delightful story-within-a-story is filled with good-natured sibling rivalry, and focuses on the spirit of cooperation, the satisfaction of a job well-done, and the magic of storytelling.

Praise & Accolades


“Murguia creates extravagant visual representations of the possibilities that await readers (and writers) of stories…Entertaining, and likely to inspire readers to try putting their own stories together.” -Publishers Weekly
“Clever fare for aspiring bookworms (especially siblings).” -Kirkus




By Fiona Wood

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subjects: Teen Life: Peer Groups/Popularity/Cliques/Personal Development/Relationships/Sexuality

Grade: 10-17


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During a semester in the wilderness, sixteen-year-old Sib expects the tough outdoor education program and the horrors of dorm life, but friendship drama and an unexpected romance with popular Ben Capaldi? That will take some navigating.New girl Lou has zero interest in fitting in, or joining in. Still reeling from a loss that occurred almost a year ago, she just wants to be left alone. But as she witnesses a betrayal unfolding around Sib and her best friend Holly, Lou can’t help but be drawn back into the land of the living.


Fans of Melina Marchetta, Rainbow Rowell, and E. Lockhart will adore this endearing and poignant story of first love, true friendship, and going a little bit wild.



A 2015 YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adult Book


★ “Wood builds a believable story of misguided friendship, betrayal, and empowering growth…  Refreshingly, Wood depicts only positive, validating sexual experiences for both Sib and Lou, in which they each have full agency over their bodies and their choices with their partners. With exceptional candor, honesty, and nuance, Wood tells a heartening and compelling story of the importance of agency, self-confidence, and true friendship.” — Booklist, starred review


★ “Wood eloquently traces the emotional growth of two girls during their high school’s required nine-week term of outdoor education…  Sib’s and Lou’s alternating narratives intimately express their respective losses of innocence and their tenuous attempts to chart new territories in rugged, unfamiliar surroundings. Their voices reverberate with honesty, vulnerability, and deep emotions and will leave a lasting impression on readers.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review


★ “Lou and Sib relate losing their virginity with such refreshing candor that Wildlife validates the sexuality and sexual needs of girls everywhere. This is Sib’s takeaway, too: although gorgeous guys like Ben may be hard to resist, they are not in charge.” — School Library Journal, starred review


★ “[B]eautifully executed…  Wood’s understanding of teenage voice shines in this dual account of unlikely friendship. Fresh, funny, and heartbreaking, the story manages to capture the complexities of two separate coming-of-age stories and wrap them into a cohesive tale of self-reliance and honesty. Sib’s hopefulness and Lou’s crushing grief act as a narrative balance, as do their differing (yet frank and relevant) accounts of sex and intimacy.” — Voices of Youth Advocates, starred review


“A beautifully crafted novel with achingly real characters that I couldn’t get out of my head.” — Melina Marchetta, author of the Printz Award-winning Jellicoe Road

Scenic Drive to Kohala Historical Sites State Monument

In 1962, Mo‘okini Heiau was declared a national historic landmark.
In 1962, Mo‘okini Heiau was declared a national historic landmark. Photo © Tom Benedict, licensed Creative Commons and ShareAlike.

At mile marker 20, turn off Highway 270 down a one-lane road to Upolu airstrip. You’ll know you’re on Upolu Airport Road when you see the wind farm on your right. You really need a Jeep to do the scenic drive. Follow the road until it reaches a dead end at the runway. Turn left onto a very rough dirt road, which may not be passable. This entire area is one of the most rugged and isolated on the Big Island, with wide windswept fields, steep sea cliffs, and pounding surf. Pull off at any likely spot along the road and keep your eyes peeled for signs of cavorting humpback whales, which frequent this coast November-May. After bumping down the road for about two miles (count on at least 45 minutes if you walk), turn and walk five minutes uphill to gain access to Mo‘okini Luakini Heiau.

In 1962, Mo‘okini Heiau was declared a national historic landmark. Legend says that the first temple at Mo‘okini was built as early as AD 480. This incredible date indicates that Mo‘okini must have been built immediately upon the arrival of the first Polynesian explorers, who many scholars maintain arrived in large numbers a full two centuries later. Regardless of its age, the integrity of the remaining structure is remarkable and shows great skill in construction.

When you visit the heiau (temple), pick up a brochure from a box at the entrance; if none are available, a signboard nearby gives general information. The entire heiau is surrounded by a stone wall erected for its protection in 1981. In one corner of the enclosure is a traditional Hawaiian structure used in some of the temple ceremonies. On occasion, this building is blown down by the strong winds that lash this coast. Notice the integration of the stone platform. This thatched structure is perfectly suited to provide comfort against the elements. Look through the door at a timeless panorama of the sea and surf. Notice that the leeward stones of the heiau wall are covered in lichens, giving them a greenish cast and testifying to their age. A large, flat stone outside the wall was used to prepare victims for the sacrificial altar. The only entrance to the heiau itself is in the wall roughly facing southwest. Inside is an enclosure used by the person responsible for finding and catching the human sacrifices that were offered at the temple.

This was once a closed temple for the ali‘i only, but the kapu was lifted in 1977 so that others may visit and learn. Be respectful, as this temple is still in use, and stay on the designated paths, which are cordoned off by woven rope. Along the short wall closest to the sea is a “scalloped” altar where recent offerings of flowers are often seen. Inside the heiau are remnants of enclosures used by the ali‘i and space set aside for temple priests. The floor of the temple is carpeted with well-placed stones and tiny green plants that give a natural mosaic effect.

A few minutes’ walk south of the heiau along this coastal dirt track is Kamehameha’s birthplace, called Kamehameha ‘Akahi ‘Aina Hanau. Rather unpretentious for being of such huge significance, the entrance to the area is at the back side, away from the sea. Inside the low stone wall, which always seems to radiate heat, are some large boulders believed to be the actual “birthing stones” where the high chieftess Kekuiapoiwa, wife of the warrior ali‘i Keoua Kupuapaikalananinui, gave birth to Kamehameha sometime around 1758. There is much debate about the actual year and place of Kamehameha’s birth, and some place it elsewhere in 1753, but it was to the Mo‘okini Heiau nearby that he was taken for his birth rituals, and it was there that he performed his religious rituals until he completed Pu‘u Kohola Heiau down the coast at Kawaihae around 1791.

This male child, born as his father prepared a battle fleet to invade Maui, would grow to be the greatest of the Hawaiian chiefs—a brave, powerful, but lonely man, isolated like the flat plateau upon which he drew his first breath. The temple’s ritual drums and haunting chants dedicated to Ku were the infant’s first lullabies. He would grow to accept Ku as his god, and together they would subjugate all of Hawaii. In this expansive North Kohala area, Kamehameha was confronted with unencumbered vistas and sweeping views of neighboring islands, unlike most Hawaiians, whose outlooks were held in check by the narrow, confining, but secure walls of steep-sided valleys. Only this man with this background could rise to become “The Lonely One,” high chief of a unified kingdom.

Together, Mo‘okini Heiau, King Kamehameha’s birthplace, and several other nearby historical sites make up the seven-acre Kohala Historical Sites State Monument. In 2005, Kamehameha Schools bought a large tract of land surrounding Kamehameha’s birthplace and Mo‘okini Luakini Heiau in order to protect the environs from residential and commercial development that might disturb the sacred nature of these cultural sites.

Note: You’ll have to return to Highway 270 the way you came because the road is closed off on the south end (but there is a small dirt turnaround there).

Related Travel Guides

Pioneering Women: Margo Oberg, Surf Legend

Margo Oberg from ENCYCLOPEDIA of SURFING videos on Vimeo.

Before women’s surfing became the popular sport it is today, Margo Oberg was in the water paving the way for generations of female surfers behind her. A pioneer for women’s surfing, Oberg dominated the sport for over three decades. Growing up in La Jolla, California, Margo Godfrey began surfing at 10 years old and won her first world championship title at 15.

In her first surf contest she won the open women’s division and a coed children’s event, proving she had something special. She kept surfing, and by high school she had made a name for herself, winning the 1968 World Contest and the Western Surfing Association’s women’s title. Her early accomplishments were taking place when women’s surfing was nowhere near as popular as it is today.

She moved to Kaua‘i’s south side in the early 1970s after marrying Steve Oberg in 1972. For three years Oberg spent time on Kaua‘i, taking a break from surfing professionally. In 1975 she got back into the game, winning contests left and right. Throughout her career she won a total of seven world championships.

At home in Kaua‘i, Oberg began giving surf lessons in the mid-’70s and after a few years started the Margo Oberg Surfing School. She had a strong business going that supported her life on Kaua‘i. No longer competing, Oberg still lives on the south side of Kaua‘i, helping out with surf contests and working with her surf school. Today, women’s surfing has many more competitors, surfing at a higher talent level than they did 40 years ago. Oberg was truly a pioneer and an influence on many women on the surfing tour today.

Related Travel Guide

Sea Turtle Nesting and Florida Beaches

Sea turtles spend most of their lives in the ocean, only returning to land to dig into beach sand to lay their eggs, after which they immediately head back out to the ocean.
Sea turtles spend most of their lives in the ocean, only returning to land to dig into beach sand to lay their eggs, after which they immediately head back out to the ocean. Photo © ishtygashev/123rf.

The Atlantic coast is popular for sea turtles to make their nests, and Florida is a particularly favored place. There are some 70,000 sea turtle nests made annually along the Florida coastline, and most of them are made by loggerhead turtles.

Sea turtles spend most of their lives in the ocean, only returning to land to dig into beach sand to lay their eggs, after which they immediately head back out to the ocean. This is a doubly dangerous proposition for the creatures. First, the sea turtles return to the same spot every year to make their nests, guided by the currents, stars, and most importantly, the light of the moon; development along the Atlantic shoreline has obviously resulted in a lot more light along the beach, which both disorients and imperils the turtles. Second, those nests are often dug in the very same beaches where crowds of sun-worshippers descend daily, which occasionally results in the nests being crushed. Even if the mama turtle makes her way to the right spot and the nest remains undisturbed long enough for the turtles to hatch, the baby turtles still aren’t out of the woods, as they have to rely on the same combination of moonlight and stars to make their way back to the ocean. If lights along the shore disorient them, they can go the wrong direction and wind up trying to cross a highway instead of diving into the sea.

Obviously, coastal development has gone hand in hand with a steep decline in the sea turtle population. Thankfully there are now numerous regulations barring humans from interfering with nests or turtles, as well as a number of common sense reminders around the beach area to minimize light pollution during the summer nesting months. Groups like the Fort Lauderdale-based National Save the Sea Turtle Foundation (877/887-8533) are doing a great job raising awareness of the turtles’ struggles and educating tourists and locals about what they can do to keep from being part of the problem.

You can even support their mission by adopting a sea turtle nest. The Museum of Discovery and Science (401 SW 2nd St., 954/467-6637) also hosts moonlight sea turtle walks in May, June, and July.

Related Travel Guide

The Truth about Twinkie Pie

The Truth About Twinkie Pie

By Kat Yeh

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subjects: Family Life: Parents/Siblings/Babies, Personal Development: Self-Discovery

Grade: 3-7


[button link=””]Educator Guide[/button][button link=”″]Listen to interview with author[/button]


Take two sisters making it on their own: brainy twelve-year-old GiGi (short for Galileo Galilei, a name she never says out loud) and junior-high-dropout-turned-hairstylist DiDi (short for Delta Dawn). Add a million dollars in prize money from a national cooking contest and a move from the trailer parks of South Carolina to the Gold Coast of New York. Mix in a fancy new school, new friends and enemies, a first crush, and a generous sprinkling of family secrets.


That’s the recipe for The Truth About Twinkie Pie, a voice-driven middle grade debut about the true meaning of family and friendship.



“Yeh’s nimbly voiced, combination fish-out-of-water, personal transformation and emotional family tale is stuffed with charm.” – Kirkus Reviews


“[A] delight. GiGi’s voice keeps the story light and humorous… Endearing characters will keep readers engaged throughout as more than one character learns the true meanng of family and friendship.” – School Library Journal



Sisters Red

Sisters Red

By Jackson Pierce

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subjects: Adventure: Magic/Fantasy/Mysteries, Folk Tales/Fairy Tales/Classics: Magic, Teen Life: Family/Relationships/Sexuality

Grade: 10-17


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Scarlett March lives to hunt the Fenris–the werewolves that took her eye when she was defending her sister Rosie from a brutal attack. Armed with a razor-sharp hatchet and blood-red cloak, Scarlett is an expert at luring and slaying the wolves. She’s determined to protect other young girls from a grisly death, and her raging heart will not rest until every single wolf is dead.

Rosie March once felt her bond with her sister was unbreakable. Owing Scarlett her life, Rosie hunts ferociously alongside her. But even as more girls’ bodies pile up in the city and the Fenris seem to be gaining power, Rosie dreams of a life beyond the wolves. She finds herself drawn to Silas, a young woodsman who is deadly with an ax and Scarlett’s only friend–but does loving him mean betraying her sister and all that they’ve worked for?

Praise & Accolades

* “This well-written, high-action adventure grabs readers and never lets go….A satisfying read with a fantastic cover.” –School Library Journal (starred review)

“Unfolds with steadily increasing tension and unexpected twists to a shocking climax…may well appeal to Melissa Marr’s readers and teens who like their fantasy on the gritty side.” –Kirkus

“Lushly romantic … Readers of Stephenie Meyer, Donna Jo Napoli, and Shannon Hale will enjoy the excitement, romance, supernatural elements, and fairy tale references.” –Booklist

Rock On

Rock On

By Denise Vega

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subjects: Family Life: Parents/Siblings/Babies, Personal Development: Self-Discovery, Teen Life: Family

Grade: 10-17


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Ori Taylor is the lead singer, guitarist, and songwriter of the Band To Be Named Later, a garage band he started with his friends. After years of being known only as the kid brother of sports star Del, Ori is looking forward to stepping out of his older brother’s shadow, learning to perform in public, and rocking the Battle of the Bands contest. Oh, and maybe finally working up the nerve to talk to a girl in person instead of just over e-mail. But when Del suddenly returns from college, he expects Ori to step back into his role of little brother, just when Ori is starting to come into his own.With his confidence wavering, will Ori be able to overcome his stage fright and lead the band to rock glory? Will the Band To Be Named Later ever get a real name? Will their best performances remain in the garage?Denise Vega’s deft exploration of brothers, bands, friends, and crushes promises to have readers tuning in page after page, because among all the ups and downs of being a teen, one thing’s for sure: We all just want to rock on.

Praise & Accolades

“In this thoughtful tale, sibling rivalry is taken to the next level. Both Ori and Del prove to be likable characters in their own respective ways.” SLJ

“Vega has imbued her tale with well-developed characters…readers will appreciate Ori’s gently self-deprecating humor and the lively Web postings and texts woven throughout that help tell the story.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Ori’s honest voice will have readers caring about the outcome…Blog entries from the band’s Web site are interspersed, giving an amusing glimpse of the drama among the band’s budding groupies, while third-person flashbacks to Ori’s younger days take readers behind the music-and behind Ori and Del’s strained relationship.” – Publishers Weekly

“Readers will feel like they have insider information on what it is like to be in a band….This book will be enjoyed by teens who like music, poetry, or a good family story.” –VOYA

“A smart, absorbing read about music, relationship complexities, and reconciliation.” – Booklist

“Engaging and smartly paced….Vega has a way with details, creating a pattern of incidents and emotional beats that builds assuredly to the final face-offs between bands and brothers. Likable three-dimenstional characters and rock-solid friendships add considerable appeal to this feel-good tale.” – The Bulletin

Right Behind You

Right Behind You

By Gail Giles

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subjects: Teen Life: Gangs/Substance Abuse, Personal Development: Loss/Responsibility

Grade: 10-17


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When he was nine, Kip set another child on fire. Now, after years in a juvenile ward, he is ready for a fresh start. But the ghosts of his past soon demand justice, and he must reveal his painful secret. How can Kip tell anyone that he really is–or was–a murderer?


Praise & Accolades

“This story explores, with sympathy and compassion, the nature of guilt, atonement and forgiveness.” –Publishers Weekly
“A sad and chilling journey…Suspenseful and thought-provoking.” -Nancy Garden
“Giles catapults readers into this story of rage and redemption.” -Patrick Jones
“Giles succeeds at revealing the humanity of someone who has committed an inhuman act.” -Susan Beth Pfeffer
“Fans will come away with a greater understanding of redemption and forgiveness.” –Booklist

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