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Princess April Morning Glory by Letitia Fairbanks

Posted by hollybookscoops on April 19, 2013

princess april morning glory

I love fairy tales, and old things, so what could be better than an old fairy tale brought to life once again? Princess April Morning-Glory by Letitia Fairbanks is full of beautiful hand calligraphy and watercolor illustrations. It’s like an illuminated manuscript resurrected from the Hollywood vaults. It is clear to see why it remained unprintable for so many years- especially since the original is produced on hand-made paper with silver and gold leaf!

It’s books like this that make me glad for the benefits of self-publishing. I know a lot of questionable things get published through self publishing, but I know at least one little princess (besides me) who was spell-bound by this long-undiscovered treasure. I borrowed my neighbor’s daughter and read the story to her along with my son. My 3yo kept talking about the different pictures in the beginning pages although he eventually grew quite wiggly before the story was over. However, my neighbor’s daughter didn’t move a muscle. Princess stories are definitely more poplar among the female folk I know. I would love to see pictures of the original in person, since they had gold and silver foil and were done on handmade paper (the original must be even more of a treasure than this reproduction). Check out the book trailer at the Princess April Morning Glory site to see some of the interior artwork and get a sneak preview of the story. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

**I received an ARC (advanced reader copy) of this book for review, at no cost to me. The opinions are my own.

Posted in Children's Literature, Picture Books, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Books for Kids Who Lose Someone by Holly Papa

Posted by hollybookscoops on March 22, 2013

Many of you know this already, but my Grandpa passed away at the end of January. We expected him to go, and were glad that he no longer suffered the effects of age and illness. However, it was still hard. We only live a few miles away, so we saw him on a regular basis. This was my kids first close experience with human loss- we’ve had pets pass before, and they lost some other great grandparents when they were too young to understand much. So of course, I wanted to find books to help my kids through the grieving process. I haven’t found the perfect book- probably because every circumstance is different. But, here are a few books we have read that have helped us share and deal with our grief. I hope they might help you too.


The Dragonfly Door by John Adams, illustrated by Barbara L. Gibson is a book that follows the lifecycle of a Dragonfly through a pair of nymph friends, Lea & Nym. Lea is older than Nym, so she changes from nymph to dragonfly ahead of Nym and Nym is left behind wondering what she did wrong for her friend to leave her. It’s a non-denominational way to express a belief in an after-life in a way kids might relate to. It has won many awards (Mom’s Choice, Benjamin Franklin, & Evelyn Turman Young Readers Book Award), and has beautiful illustrations. I personally found the text longer and more cumbersome than necessary, but my kids liked it and we had a great conversation.


What’s Heaven by Maria Shriver, illustrated by Sandra Speidel

Again, very heavy on the text, but sweet pastel illustrations lend to an angelic feeling in this book. I read it to my kids while they were eating dessert so that their attention span was longer than normal. Despite the long text, there were great discussion points and lots of questions and answers that children deal with whenever someone dies. It follows the journey of Kate, who has just lost her Great Grandmother as she comes to understand that when we lose someone to death, they are still a part of us because they have loved us and taught us things.

Grandpa and Me and the Wishing Star by Barbara J. Porter, illustrated by Dilleen Marsh

This one is also an award winner. Yet again, lots of text (it seems to go hand-in-hand with the subject).

This book reinforces my personal LDS beliefs about death and was a great fit for my kids when their Great-Grandpa passed away. The book starts with a little boy named Jamie and his Grandpa who are best friends. But one day Jamie comes home from school and sees Grandpa being taken away on a stretcher. Later he finds out that Grandpa passed away and he is angry at God for taking him. Jamie goes through some of the stages of grief in a realistic way that I feel is useful for kids to read about so that they know that those feelings are a normal part of grief. My kids had some special experiences with my Grandpa and were able to be with him right up to the end, so they had a lot of feelings to work through.


Always my Brother by Jean Reagan, illustrated by Phyllis Pollema-Cahill

Cari posted a review of this great book two years ago that helps children deal with the loss of a sibling. Please feel free to check out her review and her interview with author Jean Reagan

Grief is a part of life here on earth- we love people and we miss them when they are no longer with us. What are some of your recommendations of books that help children of all ages through this natural, but often painful process of grieving for a loved one?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Ungifted by Gordon Korman

Posted by hollybookscoops on March 22, 2013


Donovan Curtis is a magnet for trouble. He can’t seem to avoid it no matter where he goes. So when he destroys his middle school gym, he needs a place to hide. When some paperwork gets mixed up in the disaster, Donovan gets the best hideout handed to him on a silver platter. The Academy of Scholastic Distinction- or the gifted school. He knows he’s in major trouble if he’s discovered, so Donovan works hard at school for the first time in his life. The only problem is, how can he hide how ungifted he is? As Donovan embarks on a completely out of character adventure, he finds out how gifted he really is.

This book is perfect for all those kids out there who wonder how they will possibly contribute in the world of academics, when all they want to do is surf the internet and hit stuff. It was a fun read for me and I think you’ll enjoy it too!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Penelope Crumb & Penelope Crumb Never Forgets by Shawn K. Stout

Posted by hollybookscoops on March 22, 2013


Penelope is a recent discovery for me- she can be your newest discovery too! I’ve read books 1 & 2 in this brand new series that promises lots of fun and adventure. Penelope’s spunky and annoying and downright adorable. She has parts to her that all of us can identify with and although most of would be happy to be her friend, we might want a break or two once in a while. Penelope Crumb’s the kind of character that gets under your skin and wriggles her way right into your heart. 

These books are perfect for the upper elementary girls in your house, or the ones who are still young at heart. 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

J. Scott Savage is in Boise!

Posted by hollybookscoops on March 20, 2013

I just thought I’d give you all a head’s up that your first night of spring break could be spent doing something awesome! If you are going out of town, then the night before spring break could be spent doing something awesome!

What is it you ask? Well, dear readers, you can go to a…


… book signing. Yes, that’s right! J. Scott Savage, author of the Far World Series (I haven’t read them yet, but I want to), is coming to do a book signing at our very own Deseret Book!


Thursday, March 21st, 6:30-8:30PM at the Meridian, Idaho Deseret Book

Friday, March 22nd, 6:30-8:30PM at the Boise, Idaho Deseret Book

He has other books too, in case Zombies are your style… check out this one:


What? You’ve never been to a book signing? Book signings are so fun people! You get to stand in a line (that’s not the really good part, come back here!) The best part comes when you get to the front of the line. That’s when you get to meet really cool people called authors. What? You want to know how I know Mr. Savage is cool? Okay, I’ll tell you: He’s teaching a class at WIFYR this summer. You know, that amazing writer’s conference Cari and I keep telling you guys about every summer? Well, they only let cool authors come there. That’s how I know. And I would love to go to his class. I would sign up tomorrow if I could. But, I already agreed to take 25 giggly girls on a campout all week. Yeah, it’ll be fun. So you should sign up and go instead of me. Then you can tell me what I missed out on. We could be writing buddies!

Get ready to kick off your spring break to a fantastic start! It’s also a great finish to read week if you happen to be celebrating that this week at your school. My kids are at theirs, and Mr. Savage is even doing school visits. Is he coming to your school? He’s coming to ours, and I am so excited. I should go back to school just so I can be part of things like that.

Okay, okay, okay, I know you all don’t want to write books. You like to read them. So go! Write it down on your calendar, don’t miss it. Your kids need something great to read over spring break!

Posted in Fantasy, Middle Readers, News, Uncategorized, Young Adult Fiction | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

We Go Together! A Curious Selection of Affectionate verse by Calef Brown

Posted by hollybookscoops on February 8, 2013


This is the perfect universal valentine gift! It is so quirky and unusual that it has something for everyone. We Go Together A Curious Selection of Affectionate Verse leaves lots of room for wondering just which poem best applies, and at the same time ensures that each recipient knows they are loved and appreciated- platonically or otherwise. With so many verses to choose from, there is sure to be a favorite for everyone. What’s your favorite valentine verse?

What others are saying:

Jennifer at Literaticat- Need a Valentine for your daughter, son, bestie, westie, sister, brother, “Significant Other”, BF, GF, BFF, or super secret crush? Look no further!

Books for Kids- Just right for primary kids, but with vocabulary-expanding language and a depth of meaning that can even stick in the heart of a grownup, We Go Together!: A Curious Selection of

Affectionate Verse is a timely little volume to treasure for Valentine’s Day or anytime.

Author/Illustrator’s Info:

Don’t forget to check out Calef Brown’s website!

*I received a review copy of this book courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. The opinions in this review are my own.

Posted in Poetry, Uncategorized | Tagged: | 5 Comments »

Home Front Girl- A Diary of Love, Literature, and Growing up in Wartime America By Joan Wehlen Morrison

Posted by hollybookscoops on February 8, 2013

Home Front Girl


I feel like I have a new friend after reading Home Front Girl. Joan Wehlen was so palpable on the pages of this book, that I wish I had in fact met her and could call her my friend. Full of historical snippets and teenage soliloquys, Home Front Girl is the Yin to Anne Frank’s Yang.

One of my favorite parts is something Joan Wrote at age 17:

“Oh you, my generation! –we were a lovely lot! Sharp minds—arguing all the time and brittle bodies and even more brittle laughter—and all the time knowing that we were growing up to die. Because we weren’t fooled, you know. All through those bright-colored years of adolescence we knew we were growing up to disaster. For at least four years—well, three, before it happened, we knew it was coming. Some sort of inner sense of war lay upon us. We were pretty brave—we joked about it the way we joked about love and about the polio epidemic when we were all scared to death of it.”

Joan, more than anyone I’ve ever heard of at this time, felt the world was small- that all were worthy of brotherhood and peace, and saving and that war for anyone and everyone was wrong. This is illustrated in another one of her quotes, “London is Troy tonight. . . . Berlin is Troy too.” I think in this sense Joan is somewhat unusual for her generation, for most youth of her time were not pacifist. (Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong on that.)

I highly recommend Home Front Girl as a primary source for research and insight into the Greatest Generation as so many have called Joan and her peers. Joan’s writings are full of insight and humor and the every day happenings of a teenage girl. Even though Joan had profound insights, she also struggled with the same thing teenage girls struggle with now- school, boys, parents and knowing what to believe in.

Thanks to Susan Signe Morrison, Joan’s daughter for wading through pages and pages of memories to bring her mother’s diary to light and share it with the rest of us. I received a review copy of this book at no cost to me courtesy of Caitlin Eck, publicist for Independent Publishers Group. The opinions are my own.

Posted in Biography, Books for Girls, Books for teaching history, Non-Fiction, Uncategorized, Young Adult | 3 Comments »

Book ideas for Boys for Christmas Gifts

Posted by hollybookscoops on December 13, 2012

This post is a copy of an email I sent to a friend in response to her request for help to find good books for her Nephew this Christmas. It is by no means comprehensive, but hopefully there is something on here you haven’t heard before.
secrets of droon
One series that my kids have loved is Secrets of Droon. It’s a magical series about the same reading level or a little above the Magic Tree House, but it reminds me more of a mild Harry Potter. There are tons of books in the series and I’m sure you could find a lot of them to keep a voracious budding reader occupied for awhile.
Another series that my kids have liked starting around 3rd grade is Animorphs. It’s a story of some friends who are fighting an alien invasion of Earth. This series has been around for a long time as well, so there should be quite a few books available and you can sometimes find great deals on them at thrift stores and yard sales.
warriors cats of the clan
If he likes animal books, your nephew would probably like the Warrior Cats of the Clan books by Erin Hunter. There are a few different series that have sprouted off from this so, again- there are lots of books and the girls I know who’ve read them like them just as much as the boys.
 origami yoda
My kids have loved Origami Yoda and Darth Paper.
darth paper
The main characters are in middle school, so some of the situations are more appropriate to middle school than elementary, but nothing I had major issues with- I read them aloud at bedtime to all my boys. There was a lot of boy humor and we laughed a lot. There is a new one out called the Secret of the Fortune Wookie, which also promises to be full of laughs.
fortune wookie
More series to consider are:
Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins, author of Hunger Games (This is geared to a younger audience than Hunger games, but there’s still war and fighting)- 5 books:
gregor the overlander
Redwall (again, quite a bit of violence but I’m pretty sure I read it in 3rd or 4th grade)
Cabin Creek Mysteries series and lots of other books by Kristiana Gregory
blizzard on blue mountain
Chronicles of Narnia
chronicles of narnia
Partick Carmen’s Land of Elyon Books – make sure to start with the prequel for boys- since the 4-book series has a girl as a main character, and the prequel starts out with two boys. For some reason boys tend to be more hesitant to read books with girls as the main characters- but these are some of my favorites!
into the mist
Chris D’Lacey’s Dragon books (lots of global warming allusions in this one, but these are all really long big books I think there are 6 of them, so they should take up a lot of reading time for those insatiable readers.)


I also really like Margaret Peterson Haddix- but these are probably too old as well for him at this point
The Candy Shop War- this is one my 4th grader is currently reading and it’s an excellent read-aloud (the book on cd is awesome!). The second book was just released and I’m pretty sure it will become a longer series.
candy shop war
arcade catastrophe
You are welcome to check out our reviews on some of these books (we haven’t reviewed all of them) the easiest way is to search for them by title or author in the search bar at the top of this page. We try to categorize them but don’t always specifically mark them as boy or girl. I try to encourage my boys to read books that are written about girls, but that doesn’t always go over well. Actually, it almost never does, but it doesn’t hurt to keep trying to educate them, right? Here’s a link to our boy category. It’s not age specific, and doesn’t include everything:
A few random books we’ve enjoyed lately- Fart Powder:Bubbles in the Bathtub
fart powder
 Captain Nobody by Dean Pitchford (awesome audio book).
captain nobody
I hope you find success in sharing reading with the boys you love! What series or books do your boys love to read?

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

After Hello by Lisa Mangum Review by Holly Papa

Posted by hollybookscoops on September 26, 2012

After Hello by Lisa Mangum


So, I met Lisa Mangum and she is awesome. Which explains how her books became the same way. I was excited to meet Lisa when I realized she would be at the writer’s conference I went to last summer. I had recently discovered her Hourglass trilogy and couldn’t wait to meet the person behind that great story. I was not disappointed. Lisa is very friendly and easy to get along with.

But, this is not a review of Lisa, it’s a review of her most recent book, After Hello. I wasn’t expecting anything like the Hourglass Trilogy, although I think a small part of me was hoping for some magic anyway. Which, now that I think about I still got. After Hello is set in New York City and is filled with the hustle and bustle and craziness that is the magic of New York. I went there once (to New York) and I was actually the same age as the protagonist in the story. I could relate in a zany way- as in an I once was there and I was way too naive and dependent on my Aunt to take me around to possibly be this character sort of way. There’s some suspension of disbelief that I had to employ in reading because there was no way on my bravest teenage day that I would have acted anything like Sara or Sam, the two main characters. And yet, I still enjoyed the story and found myself wishing I’d been that brave and bold  at the same time that I was glad I wasn’t so blind and trusting. Perhaps that is a clue to creating lovable characters- make your readers love them and hate them and not be able to set the book down because they want to know what crazy thing they’ll do next and you think that by reading faster maybe you can make sure they don’t get strangled by some crazy psycho lurking in the alley.

After Hello covers such a short period of time that it is amazing the depth and character development taking place. Sara and Sam are both in very different places by the end of the book. A 24-ish hour difference. I was left hanging at the end of the book and would love a sequel even though that’s not in the plans. You can read all about it in my author interview with Lisa Mangum where she tells us her upcoming plans here.

Now, what are you waiting for? Time’s awasting! Check out the great sugar packet trading contest with awesome prizes and you have way more than 24 hours to see what kind of trading master you are. I’m thinking I want to trade my sugar packet for a trip to France… but that would take some serious trading skills so we’ll see.  If you could trade for anything, what would you trade for?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Announcement! Holly’s new Author/Illustrator Site

Posted by hollybookscoops on September 7, 2012

One of Holly's Illustrations from WIFYR Workshop

As many of you know, we (Cari and Holly) are both aspiring to be genuine published authors. Tack on illustrator to Holly’s goals and you have the whole picture. As part of the journey to publication, I (Holly) have created my  own website where I will be posting insights about writing and illustrating and chronicling my journey to success. I will still be posting here at Bookscoops and hope that you will follow along with me in both places.

“The scariest moment is always just before you start.” Stephen King

Here’s to a great ride. Cheers!

Posted in News, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »


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