Baseball, Below, book review, Cyn Balog, Dead River, Diary of Minnie Bonner, Dirndl, Margaret Wise Brown, Meg McKinlay, That Time I Joined the Circus

Below by Meg McKinlay — A Review and Double Giveaway

Thought for the day:

“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.” ~ Rumi~
A Gift for My Writer Friends:
These are very useful or interesting articles or posts I’ve found recently. I hope you enjoy them.

I can’t lie to you, sometimes I really have a hard time with certain homophones. I want to lay down my pen and lie in my bed and, well, you get the idea. Click HERE for a good article on the Lay/Lie problem. 
I receive an email each day from The Writer’s Almanac. It’s free and it’s always interesting. It begins with a poem – usually evocative and inspiring – then gives some information about various writers whose birthdays fall on the day. Click HERE for one that has the most fascinating write-up about Margaret Wise Brown, who in some ways, belied her middle name. 

You will find a terrific post on Hiding Emotions if you click HERE

When we were last here together, I talked about constructing a dirndl for my granddaughter Gracie to wear to school for their unit on immigration. I didn’t have a photo at the time, but several of you said you wanted to see the final product, so heeeeeere’s Gracie! 

Last time I also offered copies of a couple of terrific books — Dear America The Diary of Minnie Bonner and That TimeI Joined the Circus. Our winner (and it pays to get extra chances by passing long the link to my blog) is Darith3duh! (Cue the balloon drop!) Thanks for Tweeting my link, Darith3duh. I will be sending your books out this week. Congratulations! If you didn’t win, please keep reading. I have two more books to give away this week.

Summer has begun and I want to let you know that I may not be posting every week. You may have noticed I didn’t post last weekend. Our grandson, Gehrig, (how’s that for a baseball name?) was in a baseball tournament and his team won the championship! WooHoo!! It was not an easy draw and they worked hard to win. Anyway, I was busy watching great baseball and didn’t get to write a post. I have some travels coming up and some grandchildren that need extra time from me, so I’ll be posting when I have time to write a post. But fear not, I will still have lots of books to give away, so please visit when you can.

I want to tell you about a wonderful book I read this week. It comes from a very prolific Australian author, Meg McKinlay. I didn’t realize until after I was done with the book that the author was Australian. It seemed a very American story to me. The book is Below and I loved it.

Cassie is 13 and was born the day her town was drowned. Some folks had decided a lake and dam was pretty important, so they built a replica of the town, with a few minor tweaks. So the old town is at the bottom of a huge lake. Cassie had arrived two months early, and her lungs had not developed fully. In order to build her lung capacity, Cassie has to swim every day. She hates the over-chlorinated town pool that always seems to have lots of used band-aids floating in it. (Yuck!) She decides to do her swimming in the lake, but not where others swim. She goes to the forbidden side of the lake, the part over the old town. 

A classmate, Liam, who had been in a terrible accident when only a few months old and has terrible scars joins Cassie at the lake. They become better friends than they had been before. They discover the level of the lake is dropping in the long, hot summer, and soon they are able to get down to some of the structures. They discover the water doesn’t simply hide building, but secrets as well.

This is a quiet book, but such a compelling story. The well-drawn characters of Cassie and Liam will capture your imagination and you will cheer for them. The other characters that populate this incredible story are real and true. The mystery is perfect for a sophisticated middle-grade audience without leaving older readers wanting. 

I have a gently-read hardback copy of Below to give away. Since I am absolutely buried under books, I am also going to give away a copy of a YA book called Dead River by Cyn Balog. I must warn you — this one is true YA and not appropriate for middle graders. But if you like YA and you like to be scared, you will like this book. I got it because I just loved the cover. Isn’t it spooky? This is another gently-read (although sometimes my palms were sweaty) hardback book. If you would like to win these two books, please be a follower (did you notice I FINALLY broke into triple digits? YAY! Thanks!) and leave a comment. If you want extra chances in the drawing, Tweet the link to this post or put in on Facebook and let me know. I will make sure you have extra chances in the drawing. 

Don’t forget to stop by Shannon Messenger’s wonderful blog for more Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday links. Click HERE to find it.


On the book giveaway, this is for U.S. only. Sorry, but it would be too expensive for me to send books out of the country. But please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you. Remember, if you have trouble leaving a comment, click on the title of the post and it will give you just this post with a comments section on the bottom. Also, if you haven’t signed up by email, please do. Just look in the upper right-hand corner of this page, pop your email address in, and you will receive an email each time I put up a new post. Your information will not be shared with anyone.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s