Archive for the ‘middle grade fiction’ Category

A big day in the world of children’s literature — the American Library Association has announced the winners of the 2014 Youth Media Awards!

2014 Newbery Award for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature:

* * *

2014 Caldecott Award for the most distinguished American picture book for children:

Click here to see the full list of children’s and young adult books honored today!


Read Full Post »

I’m tickled pink (and red, green, yellow and blue) to welcome newly published author, faster-than-lightning reader, This Kid Reviews Books blogger and budding philanthropist Erik Weibel to Alphabet Soup today!

Eleven-year-old Erik is beloved in the kidlitosphere (he started blogging when he was just nine!), and continues to impress everyone with his consistently incisive and candid book reviews and irrepressible enthusiasm for reading and writing.

He worked on his new chapter book, THE ADVENTURES OF TOMATO AND PEA – Book 1: A Bad Idea, for 3 years (i.e., 1/4 of his life). It is the first in a planned trilogy featuring tiny aliens called Smidges from the planet Oarg, and is notable for its cast of colorful, quirky characters, lively narrative with hilarious rapid-fire dialogue, vivid descriptions, and enduring themes (friendship, cooperation, courage, the triumph of good over evil).

In Book 1, super crime-stopper Tomato, his techno-savvy sidekick Pea, and two other Smidges find themselves tricked, then trapped aboard the rocket ship S.S. Poofy with the evil Wintergreen and his unsavory cohorts. After they crash-land on planet EAR-TH, they must all learn to work together to ensure their survival and find a way to return home to Oarg.

Erik displays remarkable writing chops in this fun, quick read, and it’s exciting to see someone so young accomplish so much.

Yet one question remains:

Can this boy cook? :)

After all, he did include a character named Skew in the story, Tomato and Pea’s yellow friend who is a good, resourceful cook. Erik has said there’s a bit of him in each of his characters, and that he loves to cook. You can see why I had to investigate. :) :) :)

And so, my hungry readers –


for the first time on any blog anywhere –

*trumpet flourish*

Erik the Great Weibel dishes about food in The Adventures of Tomato and Pea, his plans to take over the world, his personal food preferences, and then (*drool*) cooks up two mouthwatering, out of this world, Smidge-approved recipes with his alien friends (including notes and tips). Intergalactic Yum!!

* * *


Read Full Post »

1. First things first! You’ve probably already heard, but this bears repeating again and again and again:

Colin Firth will be voicing Paddington in the new movie!!


I can’t even tell you how excited I was when I first heard about this last week — actually two lovely writer friends sent me a news link within seconds of each other with the same message: OMG! HAVE YOU SEEN THIS?!

And I died because I’ve loved Paddington forever, have read all his books numerous times and own 30+ Paddington stuffed bears and visited Paddington Station and like eating marmalade sandwiches and want a duffle coat and give people hard stares and want to change my last name to Brown and, and . . .

I mean, I was excited enough when I heard P was doing a genuine-for-real movie, but then to learn that of all the actors in the entire world with nice voices it will be COLIN FIRTH saying all of Paddington’s lines! Paddington’s character will be computer generated, but as Colin said, “Paddington will have something of me in his DNA because I’m going to do some sessions wearing one of those helmets with cameras to capture my face muscles, and all that data will somehow be incorporated into Paddington.”

Holey moley, two of my favorite guys morphed into one! Colin Firth face muscles for crying out loud. Too, too much!


One of my friends said, “It’s almost like Colin’s doing this just for you.” SCREAM. Oxygen, I need oxygen! We’ll have to wait till 2015 before the movie comes out. Sigh. And here I thought I couldn’t possibly love Paddington or Colin any more than I already do . . .

* * *


Read Full Post »


Five . . . four . . .  three . . . two . . . one –

It’s almost lift off time for Erik Weibel’s very first blog tour for his very first book!!

If you’re a cool reader in the know, you’ve probably been following Erik’s insanely awesome blog, This Kid Reviews Books, which he started when he was just nine. He’s still going strong and defying all expectations at age 11 by publishing The Adventures of Tomato and Pea, Book 1: A Bad Idea, a chapter book for ages 7-10. It’s currently available in both paperback and ebook formats.

Come September 8, Erik will kick off The Official Adventures of Tomato and Pea Blog Tour at This Kid Reviews Books, the first of 15, count ‘em, 15 (!) crash landings stops at various blogs in the kidlitosphere.

Here’s a synopsis of Erik’s book:

For years the evil villain Wintergreen had tried to destroy super crime-stopper, Tomato and his sidekick, Pea, and take over planet Oarg. In a plan gone wrong, Wintergreen traps himself along with his arch-nemesis in a runaway rocket ship that crashes on a strange planet called “EAR-TH”. Now these perennial enemies must learn to work together to survive the dangers on this strange world. Hungry birds, enormous snakes and the giant inhabitants of EAR-TH stand between this brawling bunch of aliens and finding a way home.


September 8:  This Kid Reviews Books – Cover Reveal and Announcements

September 9:  Michelle Isenhoff’s Blog - Book Review

September 10:  KidLit Reviews - Book Review

September 11:  Mother Daughter Book Reviews - Book Review

The Story Reading Ape - Guest Post by Erik

September 12:  Catherine Johnson’s Blog - Book Review

September 13:  Julie Grasso’s Blog - Book Review

By Word of Beth - Book Review and Giveaway

September 14:  The Patient Dreamer (Diane Tulloch’s Blog) – Book Review

September 15:  Picture Books Help Kids Soar - Book Review

September 16:  Susanna Leonard Hill’s Blog - Interview and Q&A with Commenters and Giveaway

September 17:  Reading with Rhythm - Book Review

September 18:  Julie Rowan-Zoch’s blog - Interview

September 19:  Dr. Nana Plum’s (AKA Dr. Niamh Clune)  – Book Review in Rhyme

September 20:  S.W. Lothian’s blog - Book Review

* * *


The one and only Erik the Great, whose future plans include taking over the world.




Copyright © 2013 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

It’s a big day for children’s literature!

The American Library Association’s Youth Media Awards were just announced several hours ago at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Seattle. Each year, these awards recognize the top books, videos, and audiobooks for children and young adults published in the United States.

We send our heartfelt congratulations to all the winners and honorees in all categories, and thank all the various committee members for their hard work in making these selections.

Winner of the 2013 Newbery Medal for most outstanding contribution to children’s literature is THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN by Katherine Applegate (HarperCollins, 2012)!

ivan cover

Newbery Honor Books: Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz (Candlewick Press, 2012); Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin (Flash Point/Roaring Brook Press, 2012); and Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage (Dial Books for Young Readers, 2012).

newbery collage

bomb cover

* * *

Winner of the 2013 Caldecott Medal for most distinguished American picture book for children is THIS IS NOT MY HAT by Jon Klassen (Candlewick Press, 2012)!

hat cover

Caldecott Honor Books: Creepy Carrots! illustrated by Peter Brown, written by Aaron Reynolds (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2012); Extra Yarn, illustrated by Jon Klassen, written by Mac Barnett (Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins, 2012); Green, illustrated and written by Laura Vaccaro Seeger (Neal Porter Books/ Roaring Brook Press, 2012); One Cool Friend, illustrated by David Small, written by Toni Buzzeo (Dial Books for Young Readers, 2012); Sleep Like a Tiger, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski, written by Mary Logue (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2012).

creepycarrots1 (2) 375

extra yarn cover

green cover

one cool friend cover

tiger cover

* * *

Special Congratulations to Virginia author Cece Bell for winning a Geisel Honor for her beginning reader, RABBIT & ROBOT: The Sleepover (Candlewick Press, 2012)!!! We love you, Cece!! ♥ ♥ ♥

rabbit & robot

Click here to see the full list of winners!!

Wow, that’s a lot of exclamation points for one day. Now I need more tea, cookies and a nap.

Have a good week, everyone! :)


Copyright © 2012 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 458 other followers

%d bloggers like this: