book review, Children's Writing, Elise Gravel, Giveaway, Manhattan Book Review, Olga and the Smelly Thing from Nowhere, Pamela L. Laskin, Ronit & Jamil, Stick Cat, Tom Watson, Writing

Ronit & Jamil — a Review and Giveaway

Thought for the Day:
“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.”
~ Zig Ziglar ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:
Janice Hardy again with a great revision trick HERE about getting rid of passive voice. 
I received an email from Alex at Ride the Pen with a link to this absolutely spectacular post about getting rid of thought verbs and strengthening your writing HERE. Do not miss this one. 
Writer’s in the Storm has a great post HERE on how to get your characters through adversity. 

Maybe I will find the way back to my writing. The flip house I have been working on is finished and went on the market yesterday. Fingers crossed! If you are interested in seeing what we came up with, you can click HERE. And if you know anyone who lives near Sacramento and needs a house, send them this way. 

Last week I offered a chance to win one copy each of Olga and the Smelly Thing from Nowhere by Elise Gravel and Stick Cat by Tom Watson along with some art work from both. I’ve never done a giveaway from a publisher before, but the way it works is I send them the winner’s information and they will send out the prize, so I have little control on timing. This week’s winner is Dorine White. Congratulations, Dorine! If you don’t know Dorine, she is a writer of YA and MG fantasy and has several books published. You can read more about her and find some good book reviews at her blog, The Write Path, HERE. Dorine, I will ask the publisher to send your prize post haste. For the rest of you, please keep reading. I have another giveaway.

I am becoming more and more enamored with books in verse, so I always grab them when they come up for review. Part of the attraction for me is the brevity. I simply can get through more books when they are written in verse, but beyond that they are generally great stories and really well written. They sometimes attack difficult subjects and are a conduit to good discussions with young people who see books in verse as very accessible. This week’s choice was offered to me through Manhattan Book Review, and I snapped it right up. The book is Ronit & Jamil by Pamela L. Laskin, and here is the review I wrote for them.
Ronit, an Israeli teen, lives with her parents and sisters near the wall that separates her village from the Palestinian territory. Ronit goes with her father, a pharmacist, to a clinic in East Jerusalem run by an Arab doctor. The doctor’s son, Jamil, is there. Both fathers warn their children to not look at the other. Of course, they do look at each other and find each is fascinated with the other. Soon they are finding ways to meet and spend time together, and, inevitably, they fall in love. Over time, their love deepens, and they become more and more desperate to be together. But the danger is always that their families will discover their relationship and put an end to it.
The Israeli/Palestinian conflict is one many young Americans know little about.

Pamela L. Laskin

This modern retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet is an excellent story to use to introduce the issue. It is a short book, beautifully written in spare, lyrical verse that incorporates lines from Shakespeare’s play as well as from Middle-Eastern poetry. Author Pamela L. Laskin also uses some Middle-Eastern poetic forms. This book will likely become a classroom favorite.


I have an ARC of this lovely tome to share with one of you. To win, all you need do is have a US address, be a subscriber or follower, and tell me that in a comment you leave on this post. If you are reading this in your email, click HERE to go to the blog so you can leave a comment. If you would like extra chances, please spread the word by posting the link on a Tweet, blog post, Facebook, or any other way you like. Let me know what you have done in your comment, and I will put in extra chances for you for each that you do.

Don’t forget to check out Shannon Messenger’s wonderful blog HERE for many more Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday reviews and giveaways. 

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