Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Book Review Club (November 2012)

Welcome to our monthly online book review club! We meet the first Wednesday of the month, which, uh, is why this post is up today. Please scroll through the solid reviews below. Our goal? To topple your to-be-read pile. Weirdly, there are more reviews in the adult category and more mysteries than usual.  Enjoy!

(Elizabeth Dabney Hochman, Founding Editor and Publisher)

This month I'm reviewing something totally different: A quarterly online magazine written by and for teens and pre-teens around the globe. There is an annual print version with some of the best pieces from the year's web editions. To the left, sitting on my piano, is volume II of THE BEST OF KIDSPIRIT. It arrived in my mailbox recently, the ink practically still wet. (waving to the FCC)

How it works: Kids from around the world submit articles, poetry and art that speak to the themes chosen by the all-youth KidSpirit editorial board. Selected pieces go through two to three rounds of revision. A different theme is chosen each quarter. The BEST OF print version has pieces from each quarter. So, the themes tackled in the edition I read are: Conflict and Peacemakers, Exploring Humor, Creativity and Imagination, Ethics and Morality. Great stuff!

My thoughts: CLASSY. Everything about KidSpirit is classy. The magazine was a thoughtful, interesting, well-written read. The pages are thick and glossy, four color. If you know a pre-teen or teen who's into writing, I'd recommend they submit to this magazine.

Wrapping it up: KidSpirit isn't just an online magazine. It's also a community where members can "express their views and engage each other through groups and comments." (from The KidSpirit Editorial Board's mission statement) And it's an interesting place for teachers, parents and youth workers to hang out, too.

Before I forget, here's the website: KidSpirit. Also, the website is free and ad-free. Double yay.

And, now, onto everyone else's reviews. They are good! Of course, we expect nothing less!

Stacy Nyikos: CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein (young adult)

Patti Abbott: SALVAGE THE BONES by Jessmyn Ward (National Book Award Winner)

Sarah Laurence: FLIGHT BEHAVIOR by Barbara Kingsolver (just released)

Alyssa Goodnight of the Writers' Road Less Traveled: MR. CHURCHILL'S SECRETARY by Susan Elia MacNeal (historical mystery)

Scott Parker: THE YIDDISH POLICEMEN'S UNION by Michael Chabon (mystery, alt-history, literary, science fiction, the kitchen sink--joke!)

Prairie Rose of Prairie Rose's Garden: BELIEVING THE LIE by Elizabeth George (mystery)

Ellen Booraem of Freelance Ne'er-do-well: THE LIKENESS by Tana French (mystery)

Beth Yarnall: IMMORTAL LOVE by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban (paranormal romance)

Linda McLaughlin: PROOF OF HEAVEN by Eben Alexander

Note to Reviewers: Any errors (broken link, missed review, etc), just shoot me an email or leave a comment. Thank you so much for your reviews!


  1. Thank you so much for sharing this, Barrie; this magazine sounds great! I'm going to pass this along to my teaching friends. Anything that encourages kids to write and gives them an audience is fantastic.

  2. Barrie, thanks for the review and reminder to order my copy of Best of KidSpirit2. Both of my kids have contributed to KS. We are big fans. You have to pay for the annual Best of Issue in print/emag but joining the community/contributing to the online magazine is free. KS relies on grants and voluntary contributions. It's a wonderful cause to support. Here's the link to the order page for best of KidSpirit:

  3. Neat! I'll have to share with my girls. I think they'd find it both interesting to read and maybe inspiring to write for!

    On an aside, drop me an email one of these days and let me know when you're going to be back out in the wild wild west!

  4. The magazine sounds great and what a wonderful idea. It should be in every library!

    I'm hoping to get to everyone's reviews this month, but it may take me a couple of days.

  5. Just wanted to add: I will try to read everyone's reviews but I may not leave a comment, esp. if I can't get past the capcha the first time out. Dang cataracts!

  6. That does sound like a great magazine, Barrie! How cool!

  7. Rose: It really is a great opportunity for tween and teen writers.

  8. Stacy: I think your kids should get involved with this! I need to catch up with you!!

  9. Linda, I hope you're healing quickly.

  10. Alyssa, it is very cool. My photo doesn't do it justice.

  11. Wow! What an AMAZING idea for a magazine! Thanks for highlighting it. Kind of makes me wish I were still teaching English so I could introduce my students to it. As it is, I'll have to hope that the word gets out to English/Language Arts teachers.


Comments are always welcome!