Oregon battle of the books: Preparing for battle


Grab your swords, shields, and reading glasses! Because the Battle of the Books is here! Teams will compete against other teams from their schools and districts to fight to the top and become the best readers!

With sixteen books to read and master, my team is going to try our hardest to beat other teams with answering the most trivia questions based on those books. But so far it’s been a challenge. The real battles haven’t even started yet, and we’re struggling to be on top of the school, and eventually the state! My friends and I are reading hard and practicing our questions for the battles. We have meetings to practice our knowledge on the book and we are pretty good so far- except for one problem. We’re too goofy!

We’re working on it, but we have been giggling in between questions and talking. That’s a problem! We want to stay on top. And if you or your friend’s team is having this problem, here’s five suggestions for how to handle your laughter.

  1. Think. Try to focus on the books that you are having trouble with, instead of the distracting noises and people around you.
  2. Take deep breaths. Not during the questions, but in-between them, close your eyes and take a nice long (but not goofy) breath.
  3. Challenge yourself. See how many suggestions you can give your team instead of hiding in the corner. In those battles, your team needs as much help as it can get!
  4. Silently be competitive. Be a good sport, but show assertiveness in your eyes. Don’t make it goofy, try to be as serious with this expression as you can. Don’t be mean either, but you want to show them who’s boss!
  5. And lastly, bite your tongue. I know that doesn’t take much description, but it worked for me.

Remember, be serious about this, but have lots of fun! That’s basically the whole point. Don’t let yourself down if you miss a question. Lift yourself up! Happy reading!

( List of books below)

The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester by Barbara O’Connor

Gaby, Lost and Found by Angela Cervantes

Kizzy Ann Stamps by Jeri Watts

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo

A Nest for Celeste by Henry ColeNight of the Twisters by Ivy Ruckman

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Rules by Cynthia LordSasquatch by Roland Smith

Starry River of the Sky by Grace Lin

Swindle by Gordon Korman

Tales from the Odyssey, Part One by Mary Pope Osborne

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume

The Trouble with Chickens by Doreen Cronin

The World According to Humphrey by Betty Birney

The Year of the Book by Andrea Cheng


Amazing Author L.R.W. Lee – new book in the “Andy Smithson” series


What has a horn, a teleporting sword, seven heads, and a cursed kingdom? That’s right, the third book in the Andy Smithson medieval adventure series, “Disgrace of the Unicorn’s Honor” (book summary below).

Andy, the main character in the series (in case you haven’t read this awesomeness) is courageous enough to defeat giants, trick trolls, and battle monstrous beasts like Abaddon. L.R.W Lee has a cool way of connecting the three books in this series. At the end of each book, Andy is teleported back to his home by surprise. At the beginning of each book, he finds his way from home the mythical land Oomaldee in some crazy way. In the first and second book, he starts to find ingredients that will break the curse laid on Oomaldee. In the third book… Wait, I’m not going to tell you that!

This author draws you to finishing the book by giving her characters so much personality – they each have their own way of acting, speaking, thinking and loving, and it is explained in a way that makes you think that the writer might have based them on actual people.

I give this book 100% fresh tomatoes. I know tomatoes are for movies, but this book should be made into one because it would be AWESOME!

Andy Smithson books by L.R.W. Lee

Andy Smithson books by L.R.W. Lee

Book 3 Summary – “Disgrace of the Unicorn’s Honor” (from the author’s website)

Andy returns to Oomaldee and learns the next ingredient to collect is the horn of a unicorn. Not unexpectedly, as he and his company embark upon their quest, they face stiff opposition from the evil King Abaddon, a foreign enemy who seeks to conquer that world. The physical battle, while intense, pales in comparison, however, to his conflicted heart, when a seductive voice calls to Andy, tempting him to surrender the unicorn horn in exchange for a promise to preserve his mom when he breaks the curse. Desperate to save her, he falls for the lie and puts in jeopardy his ability to end the curse.

Chocolate Book Challenge




I’ve been tagged by Erik Weibel of This Kid Reviews Books in the chocolate challenge blog tour. Below are some of my favorite books, and the perfect chocolates to eat while reading them. At the end of my post, I’ll be tagging Wallace Books, one of the best local bookstores in the country, located right here in Portland, Oregon.

Sideways Stories From Wayside School is a zany book by Louis Sachar. The story is full of confusing humor that will make you think and laugh. You will find Mrs. Gorf, who turns children into apples, Bebe, the fastest artist in the class, John, who can only read upside down, Mauricia, who loves ice cream, and many more funny kids in Mrs. Jewls’ class.

I don’t know why, but Lindt Chocolate Balls just confuse me. It’s a mystery as to what’s inside the chocolate balls. I never know until I bite into one if it will be hollow, gooey or solid, and who knows how to take a bite of a round ball of chocolate anyway? (Awkward!) Same with Sideways Stories from Wayside School. I’m never sure what will be inside, or what to make of the crazy stories. But I do know one thing – chocolate balls and Sideways Stories are both delicious.

Wayside SchoolLindor

Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: The Donner Dinner Party is a dark humored non-fiction graphic novel told by Nathan Hale, and written by Nathan Hale (two different guys, same name). Nathan Hale (the one telling the story) is about to be hanged, but he delays the process by telling the hanger and the soldier funny (but true) stories that happen in the future. In this book, he is telling a dark-humor version of the Donner Party. This is the legendary story about pioneers who try to get over the mountain pass to California before the winter snow storms arrive, and most don’t make it. The actual story is a tragedy, but the humor makes up for it in this graphic novel.

The dangers of the story remind me of the tangy raspberry in Divine, Dark Chocolate Raspberry. Danger: tangy, Tangy: danger. Also, the dark humor reminds me of the “dark” in the chocolate. And the Donner Party needed raspberry chocolate. Badly.

Donner Dinner PartyRaspberry Dark Chocolate

The Big Book of Superheroes by Bart King is a super funny book about how to be a superhero and the history of some already known superheroes. The book tells readers the small steps they can take to become a superhero, like picking a name, a list of the worst superhero names, parkour (which my next-door neighbor does everywhere!), how to get your powers, how to not die while getting your powers, and much more.

This book reminds me of the chocolate fudge from Sweets Handmade Candies, my favorite candy store in Old Town Truckee, Tahoe. When I buy that fudge, I think “victory!” like a superhero.

The Big Book of SuperheroesFudge

Sisters Grimm: The Problem Child is about two sisters, Sabrina and Daphne Grimm, who live with their grandma and the grandma’s friend Mr. Canis, also known as the big bad wolf. Sabrina Grimm found her uncle that nobody actually knew about and asked him for help with her sister and grandma and Mr. Canis to help to defeat Red Riding Hood and the Jabberwock. In the real story, Red Riding Hood was sent by her parents to her grandma’s house but before she could get there, the Big Bad Wolf had killed and eaten her grandmother. When she got there, the wolf had driven Red Riding Hood insane and the woodsman had to save her from the wolf. Red Riding Hood had broken out of the insane asylum and was now working with Jabberwock.

This book reminds me of chocolate donuts and donut holes.  Why aren’t donuts and their holes sold in the same box? Why do donuts have a hole in them anyway? When you read the first Sisters Grimm in the Sisters Grimm series, you’ll want to read the whole series, just like after eating a chocolate donut hole, you’ll want to finish the box.

Sisters GrimmDonut Holes

I’m now tagging Wallace Books to continue the chocolate challenge tour! I can’t wait to see which books a whole bookstore will pick to pair with delicious chocolates.

New Book Review – Hello, My Name Is Octicorn


Hello, My Name Is Octicorn has to be one of the funniest picture books I have read. It doesn’t matter if you are 3 or 30 or 300, you will like it. In the book, written by Kevin Diller and illustrated by Justin Lowe, a unicorn marries an octopus, and their baby is an octicorn. This Octicorn doesn’t really fit in anywhere, even though he’s a fun guy and tries hard.

OcticornThis is a book about not leaving others out who could be fun friends, even if they are kind of strange. It’s is a hardcover book and so is good for a gift. Somebody young might color it in, because the black and white illustrations are just asking for some crayons. If you click on the image, you’ll see some pretty funny pictures of Octi around town.

A Paw-riffic site!


Screen Shot 2014-05-17 at 12.42.59 AMRecently, one of my bff’s and I had a chance to make a Word of the Week video for Stanley and Katrina’s website. Click on the image to visit Stanley and Katrina and see our video.

Stanley and Katrina wrote the paw-riffic book, The Perpetual Papers of the Pack of Pets. Their site has lots of fun stuff, like a video game designed by a ten-year-old!

My dogs, Bruno and Jasmine, are very interested in Stanley…

Writing Process Blog Tour


Erik Weibel, the kid book reviewer and author of The Adventures of Tomato and Pea, has tagged me in a writing process blog tour! You can see Erik’s book and his entertaining blog “This Kid Reviews Books” by clicking on these pictures:

The Adventures of Tomato and PeaThis Kid Reviews Books Blog

This is the first time I’ve been tagged in a blog tour, so it’s very exciting. At the bottom of these questions, you’ll find out about two grown-up authors who write about kids, Kari Luna and Carrie Wilson Link.

Felix the Service DogWhat am I working on?

I’m working on ideas for the second book in the series of The Crest. Some kids have asked me to include more boy characters in the next book, and I’m thinking about that. It’s true that most of the main characters in Magic The Crest are girls. One of my friends has a service dog and said I should make a service dog character in the book. I thought that was a good idea, because I don’t read a lot of books that have service animals as characters. Still, I’m not sure what’s going to happen in the next book.


Discovery Girls MagazineThis week, I’m also answering a lot of questions on the application for the Discovery Girls Magazine 2014 Leadership Summit in California. I love Discovery Girls Magazine – girls my age ask and answer questions about things we care about, like embarrassing moments! The girls who are chosen for the Summit get to help create issues of the magazine.


Magic Cover Early Image

Also, Magic The Crest just got turned into an ebook. As soon as I finish proofreading it, you will find it here! It will have sketches from the cover illustrator of my book. One of the best parts of writing a book was getting to see the sketches from the illustrator. The dragon he drew is amazing. This is what it looked like at one point.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My book is in the adventure/fantasy genre. It’s different from other adventure and fantasy books because my characters are mostly tough girls who have to conquer mystical creatures in other realities, like other planets! They are funny, and nice, and sometimes sarcastic, like me 🙂

Why do I write what I do?

Fantasy writing gives me a chance to tell any story I want, literally. In fantasy, you can write random things or any adventures or characters you want. I like how my imagination can flow with this kind of writing.

How does my writing process work?

Well, for my book, I signed up for a program called NaNoWriMo. It stands for National Novel Writing Month, and it’s in November. For the Young Writers Program, kids set a word count goal to something reasonable and write until November 30, when they turn their project into the word count calculator on the website. If they meet their goal, they win!

NaNoWriMo plot bunnyI used to write by hand, but during this competition I starting writing in Microsoft Word on a desktop computer. I pretty much couldn’t do anything else that month except write and go to school and a little bit of playing so I could finish my goal. I also printed out some vocabulary word lists and story prompts for when I got stuck. I used plot bunnies and had a picture of a bunny on my desk. Sometimes I read writer pep talks or watched them on YouTube. My favorite pep talk is here.

Now, my book Magic the Crest has a Facebook page and an Amazon.com page.

Soon, two authors I have met who live here in Portland will answer these questions about their writing process on their blogs. Kari Luna wrote a book called The Theory of Everything that just won the Oregon Book Award for young adult literature. Kari’s Tumblr blog is here. Carrie Link wrote a book about her son, Wil, called Wil of God (I have met Wil, too, and he is very nice.) Carrie’s blog is here.

The Theory of Everything by Kari LunaWil of God cover

Favorite quote from Dr. Dolittle


My favorite line from The Story of Dr. Dolittle ahead:

Dr. Dolittle asks the rare, two-headed pushmi-pullyu to go abroad with him.

Dr. Dolittle: “Excuse me, surely you are related to the Deer Family, are you not?”

“‘Yes,’ said the pushmi-pullyu, ‘to the Abyssinian Gazelles and the Asiatic Chamois-on my mother’s side. My father’s great-grandfather was the last of the Unicorns.'”

Concluding Sentences


The concluding sentence to a future book:

“She gazed out at the wide open plains of the future, where she would be stuck. Forever.”

A future cliffhanger:
“And then I woke up.”

Those two concluding sentences are great for mysteries and cliffhangers. The second one you can add to any story.

“I Even Funnier”


reading James Patterson

I’ve recently been reading “I Even Funnier,” by James Patterson. I have to say it’s literally the most funny book ever, as stated in the title. The narrator/main character, Jamie Grimm, is trying to joke his way all up the way up to first place in ‘Planet’s Funniest Kids Comic Contest.’ And now I will write what is on the back of the book:

“Step right up and see me, Jamie Grimm, laugh my way through the roller coaster ride called middle school! Watch me joke my way to the top of the Planet’s Funniest Kid Comic Contest! Be amazed as I fend off the attention of thousands of starstruck girls! Or something like that anyway. . .”

The sequel to “I Funny” only changes the title up a little bit, but it makes the book funnier. Duh.

Lemony Snicket’s new book


I just met Lemony Snicket. He is a very funny and mysterious man. (Funny as in he has a good sense of humor.) I have read “A Series of Unfortunate Events,” but right now, I’m going to talk about his new book that I just got, “29 Myths on the Swinster Pharmacy,” by Lemony Snicket, illustrations by his wife Lisa Brown. It is about the Swinster Pharmacy and I really don’t get it at all.

This is what is written on the first page:

1. We are very curious about the Swinster Pharmacy. We traveled all the way from the next town to find out what it sells.

That is all that is on the first page, for there is not much writing in this book.  But, it is all very mysterious. (Did I already say that?) It is a very good book but there’s not much to say about it. But the writing and illustrations are very good.

meeting Lemony

“HOUSE OF HADES” by Rick Riordan


The first sentence is my favorite: “During the third attack, Hazel almost ate a boulder.”


This book is perfect for people who like Greek gods and goddesses, sword fighting, giants, titans, and more monsters. It is the fourth book in the series “Heroes of Olympus.” (I recommend reading the “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” series and other three Heroes of Olympus first.) This book is really good.

In the book, Percy Jackson, Annabeth Chase, Jason Grace, Piper McLean, Leo Valdez, Frank Zhang and Hazel Levesque go on a quest following the Prophecy of Seven in a heavily armed warship called the Argo II.

But only five of of the seven are on the ship. In the earlier book, Percy and Annabeth fall into a very dangerous place called Tartarus, and the only way to get out is to through the “Doors of Death.”

Piper, Jason, Leo, Frank, Hazel, and their rescued friend Nico Di Angelo go through many adventures to reach the Doors of Death and rescue their friends.

Meanwhile, Percy and Annabeth struggle through Tartarus, half dead, to reach the same destination.

Stay tuned for the fifth book in the Heroes of Olympus series, “Blood of Olympus,” coming out in Fall, 2014. I assure you it will be awesome!