Kait's Bookshelf

The website of author Kaitlin Scirri


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Book Review: Don’t Check Out This Book! By Kate Klise (illustrated by M. Sarah Klise)

Kait's Bookshelf Don't Check Out This Book!I don’t know about you, but nothing makes me want to read a book more than someone telling me I can’t or shouldn’t read it. Maybe this is why I love banned books so much. I just have to know what all the fuss is about! Today’s review is of the newly released Don’t Check Out This Book! by Kate Klise and M. Sarah Klise from Algonquin Young Readers. The book is an illustrated novel for young readers in grades 3 through 7. As the title suggests, it’s all about fighting censorship and corruption.

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Book Review: The Dark Lord Clementine by Sarah Jean Horwitz

Kait's Bookshelf The Dark Lord ClementineWell it’s officially October and time for all things spooky and magical! I started my month off with a new book from Algonquin Young Readers, The Dark Lord Clementine by Sarah Jean Horwitz. As the cover art and title suggest, this is a fantasy book for young readers filled with magic and adventure with a storybook feel to it. It is a great pick if your kiddos want something to suit the season or for any kids who enjoy adventure stories. Additionally, this book features a strong female lead with strong female supporting characters. Definitely a plus in my book, as I feel that adventure stories still tend to lean toward male protagonists. But not in this book. This book is all about Lady Clementine, daughter to the Dark Lord Elithor and heir to Castle Brack, where hundreds of years of Dark Lords have ruled before her. But…what if Clementine doesn’t want to be a Dark Lord? What if she doesn’t want to be a Dark anything?

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New Scary Stories for Kids!

The humid summer weather is finally letting up here, bringing a welcome rush of cool air. There’s nothing quite like opening the windows and having that fresh, crisp air breeze through the house. Of course with the cooler weather comes back to school followed by all things Halloween. I was surprised to see Halloween décor hitting shelves in August, but now that we’re a couple of weeks from October, I don’t mind it so much. I really enjoyed the displays of scary stories I saw at the bookstore this week. There was something for everyone, from Stephen King’s newest release, The Institute, to middle grade scary stories and even Halloween and monster themed picture and board books for kiddos. Today I’ll be reviewing two new children’s picture books that have released just in time for scary story season.

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Picture Book Reviews: Moon’s First Friends and Unicorn Day

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Today, I’ll be sharing reviews of two new picture book releases from Sourcebooks. One is about the Apollo 11 mission and is a great way to introduce kids to science and space. The other is a whimsical story of inclusion and acceptance featuring unicorns and rhyming words.

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Book Review: The Borrowers by Mary Norton

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Well, July is in full swing and that “summer vacation” feeling is in the air! I stated in my last post that I often gravitate toward middle grade and young adult books in the summer. I chose The Borrowers as my July book bucket list pick for this very reason. I figured that I would probably be in the mood for something light and imaginative, and I have wanted to revisit this childhood favorite for some time. It seemed like the timing would be perfect, and it was.

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Reviews of Two Tangled Novels: Rapunzel and the Lost Lagoon and Rapunzel and the Vanishing Village by Leila Howland

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Today I’m excited to talk about the first two novels in Disney’s Tangled series. Anyone who knows me knows about my love of all things Disney. Disney’s Tangled was a big hit with me. It was the first animated movie in a long time that had created such a buzz with both the kids and adults in my life. The movie was entertaining and funny, even earning a chuckle or two from my hubby who’s not exactly a Disney fan but watched it to humor me. 🙂

I’ve been a fan of Leila Howland’s writing since Disney kindly gave me an advance reader copy of her young adult book Hello Sunshine last year. I loved that book about an eighteen year old heading to Hollywood in pursuit of her dream, and I’ve been watching for Ms. Howland’s writing ever since. So you can imagine how excited I was when an author I love started a book series for Disney!

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February Book Bucket List: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

a wrinkle in time“’Well, then, someone just tell me how we got here!’ Calvin’s voice was still angry and his freckles seemed to stand out on his face. ‘Even traveling at the speed of light, it would take us years and years to get here.’

‘Oh, we don’t travel at the speed of anything,’ Mrs. Whatsit explained earnestly. ‘We tesser. Or you might say, we wrinkle.’” – A Wrinkle in Time

I chose A Wrinkle in Time as my book bucket list pick for February for a couple of reasons. One, I’ve wanted to re-read this book for years. When I picked it up this month, it had been at least twenty years since I’d read it. I remember it having a science fiction and fantasy feel to it, but I was fuzzy on the details. Two, I wanted to brush up on the book before the new Disney film version releases in March.

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January Book Bucket List: Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers

Mary Poppins

“But Jane and Michael were not taken in by that snap. For they could see in Mary Poppins’s eyes something that, if she were anybody else but Mary Poppins, might have been described as tears…”             – Mary Poppins

Earlier this month I shared part of my Book Bucket List. It is a list of books that I feel I must read in my lifetime. It differs from my To Be Read list in that these are books that I really feel compelled to read for one reason or another. On the other hand, my To Be Read list is a list of books that I think look interesting or amusing or that someone gave to me and I’d like to read eventually. But they are not books that I’ve always wanted to read nor will I be devastated if I don’t get to them in my lifetime.

My Book Bucket List consists of a variety of titles of literature for adults and children. Maybe it’s a book that has been traditionally controversial and I need to know what all the fuss is about. Maybe it’s a historically important piece of literature. Or maybe it’s a book I’ve heard referenced throughout my life but have never read myself. In some cases, they are books from my childhood, classic children’s tales that I remember enjoying but am fuzzy on the stories themselves. So I’d like to revisit them as an adult to fully appreciate their contributions to children’s literature and to my childhood as well. My January Book Bucket List pick is Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers. Continue reading


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Book Review: The Ghosts & Jamal by Bridget Blankley

The Ghosts & Jamal“It had been good to climb, as good as anything he had ever done. It had not been so good to fall, but he would recover. All in all, he thought, it was worth the fall, just to have climbed the tree.” – The Ghosts & Jamal

Jamal is a thirteen year old boy in rural Nigeria whose favorite drinks include Fanta and Sprite. He seems like everyone else except that he lives with epilepsy. His epileptic episodes are misinterpreted by his family as “bad spirits” coming upon him. So Jamal lives apart from his family, in a separate hut on the outskirts of his village. This isolation will ultimately save Jamal’s life during a terrorist attack on his village. I read Jamal’s story in one sitting. Once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down. I was worried for this young man – for his health, for his safety, and for his feelings – as he set out on his own to try to escape the attackers and to find his grandfather, or anyone else who survived, and might be able to help him. I feared for him and wanted to help and protect him. Continue reading


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Book Review: Wishtree by Katherine Applegate

Wishtree“Trees can’t tell jokes. But we can certainly tell stories. And if all you hear is the whisper of leaves, don’t worry. Most trees are introverts at heart.”

– Wishtree

I love books told from an unusual perspective. The point of view in Wishtree is what initially grabbed my attention. I’ve been looking forward to reading this book since fall, when I included it in my post of upcoming children’s and middle grade reads. In Wishtree, we hear from Red, a very old red oak tree. Red has seen and heard a lot over her many hundreds of years. She is very wise, but she knows the rules – no speaking to humans, ever. So, when Red sees a new family move into the neighborhood and quickly realizes that things aren’t quite right, she sets about trying to find a way to fix it.
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