The Hurricanes of Weakerville - Blog Tour


All his life, Alex Weakerman has had one passion: baseball. Specifically, the Hurricanes of Weakerville, Iowa—the scrappy independent-league team owned by his Grandpa Ira.

Even as team and the town have fallen on tough times, there's no place Alex would rather be than at the ballpark—a hot dog in one hand, a pencil and scorebook in the other, keeping track of each and every statistic. Alex has never been all that great at playing baseball, but that doesn’t matter. For someone as painfully awkward as Alex, being a fan—and a wiz with baseball stats—is all he needs.

When Grandpa Ira passes away, though, Alex is crushed. He's lost his best friend, and he doesn’t see any way that the team will survive. But Ira, it seems, has one last trick up his sleeve: his will names Alex the new manager of the Hurricanes.

Alex is as excited as he is terrified at the chance to finally put some of his fantasy baseball genius to use. But as he sets to work trying to win over the players, he soon learns that leading them to victory is about more than just stats. Will he be able to save his team, his hometown, and his family legacy?

From the author of The Fourth Stall, a SCBWI Sid Fleischman Humor Award winner and multiple state-award favorite, The Hurricanes of Weakerville is sure to appeal to middle grade readers looking for a funny book about real kids.

My love runs deep for a feel good baseball story. 

The way that Chris creates the flow of the story from start to finish reminded me so much of sitting down and hearing a story from a grandparent at a young age; the kind that you get puppy dog eyes for, you can't turn away - you want answers, but you don't want it to stop at the same time because it feels so good to be a part of something so genuine. 

The main character in the story, Alex, is experiencing a lot that students in the middle grades are also experiencing. The primary emotion that I know I hung on to was his grief over the loss of his grandpa. The sadness that one would have over a loss isn't as evident as you might think, but when a loved one is dealing with cancer and it's only progressing, you're actually dealing with the high emotion for quite some time. (I've had students who had specifically asked for a book with the C word in it, and also some who specifically want to stay away after losing someone close - so definitely a trigger warning to ensure kids know is there)

The family has owned the Weakerville Hurricanes for over a century, and Alex and Grandpa Ira shared this love for baseball and this team pretty deeply. When Grandpa passes, there's obviously a moment of pause unsure of how to proceed with the team, and life in general, but Alex then inherits all of his Grandpa's old scorecards...with annotations on them. Grandpa Ira's handwriting, his personality, his memory all shining through on these score cards and giving Alex a more in depth look at who Ira truly was. Not as Grandpa, but as Ira. What was his heart like? How did he truly take care of the Weakerville Hurricanes? With issues he faced, his empathy prevailed.

Alex then learns that the team is owned currently by a distant relative named Tex who plans to disband the team and tear down the stadium, the only way to save the Hurricanes and his Grandpa's legacy is to win the playoffs. A lot of issues arise along the way, which is how are adults going to listen to a 7th grade manager? 

There's a lot of baseball jargon, and more specifically the backend of baseball and managing a team. Which I personally loved and can't wait to share with my son, but if a kid doesn't know much about baseball, may need a crash course before diving in! 

Overall: 5 stars. A wonderful middle grade story that is one for the keeps. So many underlying themes to discuss. Teaching points: the writing structure, plot development, character arcs, themes, humor in writing. 

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Description automatically generated with medium confidence

Chris Rylander is the author of the acclaimed and bestselling “Fourth Stall” saga, the “Codename Conspiracy” trilogy, and co-author of book three in the New York Times bestselling “House of Secrets” series. He lives in Chicago, where he eats a lot of raspberry jam and frequently tries to befriend the squirrels on his block.

The Hurricanes of Weakerville Blog Tour 

6/21 Nerdy Book Club @nerdybookclub

6/22 A Foodie Bibliophile in Wanderlust @bethshaum

6/23 Teachers Who Read @teachers_read

6/27 LitCoachLou @litcoachlou

6/28 Bluestocking Thinking @bluesockgirl

6/29 Walden Tumblr @waldenpondpress

7/1        Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers @grgenius

Drifters - Kevin Emerson BLOG TOUR


Jovie is adrift. She’d been feeling alone ever since her best friend, Micah, left her behind for a new group of friends—but when Micah went missing last fall, Jovie felt truly lost.

Now, months later, the search parties have been called off, and the news alerts have dried up. There’s only Jovie, biking around Far Haven, Washington, putting up posters with Micah’s face on them, feeling like she’s the only one who remembers her friend at all.

This feeling may be far closer to the truth than Jovie knows. As strange storms beset Far Haven, she is shocked to discover that Micah isn’t just missing—she’s been forgotten completely by everyone in town. And Micah isn’t the only one: there are others, roaming the beaches, camped in the old bunkers, who have somehow been lost from the world.

When Jovie and her new friend Sylvan dig deeper, they learn that the town’s history is far stranger and more deadly than anyone knows. Something disastrous is heading for Far Haven, and Jovie and Sylvan soon realize that it is up to them to save not only Micah, but everyone else who has been lost to the world and set adrift—now, in the past, and in the future.

I wish I could say I love sci-fi, buuuuut - The big thing I can say with Kevin Emerson, is that he always pulls me in. I have thoroughly enjoyed every title he has put out even if I'm unsure until I dive in. Middle grade science fiction with a Stranger Things vibe - with a focus on friendships, but the whole plot line and solution are entirely different. 

Jovie and Micah are best friends that live in Far Haven. When Micah disappears after they’ve been estranged she doesn’t understand why no one seems to remember her. She’s determined to figure out what happened, and then other odd things begin happening. 

I love how there's a correlation between being adrift or becoming a drifter and loneliness. How often do kids feel like they're not seen or heard? This theme will strike a chord with readers. We see how family and friends are so important as well as how we're all connected in a community. I also love a book with mysteries or secrets to unravel—and this story is full of them.

Recommended for students who find themselves loving anything MPH, watches Stranger Things, plays anything sci-fi, but also students need to have the focus and commitment because this book is THICK. (if they seem unsure, hook them on to his Last Day on Mars series and then this after the series!)

Themes: friendship, connection, childhood, determination, feeling lost/getting found, grief, mystery 

Teaching points: Recreating scenes, using the mysteries to curate endings, researching (grade appropriate) conspiracy theories - curating a story to tell the theory, visual representation (one pagers, POV eye, setting activities), analyze multiple POV/perspectives/alternating times,  

TW: child disappearance, trauma, grief, memory loss


5/9/22 Nerdy Book Club @nerdybookclub

5/10/22 Bluestocking Thinking @bluesockgirl

5/11/22 Charlotte's Library @charlotteslibrary

5/13/22 Maria's Mélange @mariaselke

5/16/22 Teachers Who Read @teachers_read

5/23/22 Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers @grgenius

5/27/22 A Library Mama @alibrarymama

5/31/22 Unleashing Readers @unleashreaders

The Aquamarine Surfboard - Reviews


The Aquamarine Surfboard
Kellye Abernathy

“Age never matters, these things are about bravery and heart.”

Thirteen-year-old Condi Bloom’s dream is to learn to surf, but her laid-back beach town isn’t what it used to be. Big resort owners are taking over the cove. Worse, someone’s harassing the Beachlings, the mysterious old women living in the cliffs off Windy Hollow, a lonely tower of rock that people say is haunted. When a new surfer boy named Trustin shows up in town and invites Condi to a forbidden surfing spot, she’s swept into an extraordinary underwater adventure, where a surprising encounter with Koan, the Riddlemaster of the Sea, changes her life. Along with Trustin, his quirky twin and a mystical aquamarine surfboard, Condi learns the untold stories of the Beachlings, uncovering the timeless secrets of Windy Hollow.

Ebbing and flowing between reality and magic, times past and present, The Aquamarine Surfboard by Kellye Abernathy is a riveting beach tale about opening up to mystery, building community when and where you can — and discovering the ocean is filled with magic—the really BIG kind—the kind that changes the world.

Tone - Theme - Imagery  - Vocabulary - Author's Craft - Literary Devices

Live your dreams! 

MUST HAVE - Dear Student by Elly Swartz


*Click to purchase! 

Dear Student by Elly Swartz - OUT February 15! 

After her best friend moves across the country, Autumn struggles to connect with her new classmates. The two potential friends she meets could not be more different: bold Logan who has big ideas and quiet Cooper who’s a bit mysterious. But Autumn has a dilemma: what do you do when the new friends you make don’t like each other? When Autumn is picked to be the secret voice of the Dear Student letters in the Hillview newspaper, she finds herself smack in the middle of a problem with her friends on opposite sides. But before Autumn can figure out what to do, the unthinkable happens. Her secret identity as Dear Student is threatened. Now, it’s time for Autumn to find her voice, her courage, and follow her heart, even when it’s divided.

When Elly reaches out and gets an ARC of her newest sent to me ASAP, I drop everything and read. Elly’s protagonists in all her stories have always been so relatable as an adult and for my students. Autumn in Dear Student was no different.
Autumn’s whole world recently was shook up. Her dad joined the Peace Corps and took off, making Autumn feel abandoned and unworthy. Because of this they had to move above her moms vet clinic and attend a new school this year. Autumn has a younger sister Pickle who she is very close with, always having to be brave in front of Pickle even if she doesn’t feel brave. Autumn finds herself making new friends, leading a secret column called Dear Student, and starting a protest for something she believes in. Things are going great, until it all comes tumbling down. Autumn doesn’t think she’s brave, she feels weak, but in times where it’s really needed - she finds the courage to use her voice.
I loved this. Such a great, quick read. The friendships are so dynamic. The writing is absolutely perfect for middle grade. Elly has mastered the MG tone. Another amazing, feel good story by my dear friend. I can’t wait to share Autumn with kids.

Just Harriet - Blog Tour!

 Just Harriet - Click to purchase!


From the award-winning author of A Boy Called Bat comes a new young middle grade series in the tradition of Ramona and Clementine, starring an unforgettable girl named Harriet.

There are a few things you should know about Harriet Wermer:

  • She just finished third grade.
  • She has a perfect cat named Matzo Ball.
  • She doesn’t always tell the truth.
  • She is very happy to be spending summer vacation away from home and her mom and dad and all the wonderful things she had been planning all year.

Okay, maybe that last one isn’t entirely the truth.

Of course, there’s nothing Harriet doesn’t like about Marble Island, the small island off the coast of California where her nanu runs a cozy little bed and breakfast. And nobody doesn’t love Moneypenny, Nanu’s old basset hound. But Harriet doesn’t like the fact that Dad made this decision without even asking her.

When Harriet arrives on Marble Island, however, she discovers that it’s full of surprises, and even a mystery. One that seems to involve her Dad, back when he was a young boy living on Marble Island. One that Harriet is absolutely going to solve. And that’s the truth.

What a great  read aloud option for 2/3/4 grade teachers! I love the idea of having classics (such as Ramona) be filled in with modern day characters. Just Harriet reminded me so much of the old Ramona books. Harriet matures in this story by learning from her mistakes - which allows for a lot of open conversation in the classroom with these grade levels! Harriet is very relatable and I can see a lot of character development lessons being built around her progression through this story. I also am such a sucker for the mystery element that is provided. 100% recommend for readers transitioning from chapter books to MG titles. 


Elana K. Arnold is the author of critically acclaimed and award-winning young adult novels and children’s books, including the Printz Honor winner Damsel and the National Book Award finalist What Girls Are Made Of. Several of her books are Junior Library Guild selections and have appeared on many best book lists, including the Amelia Bloomer Project, a catalog of feminist titles for young readers. Elana teaches in Hamline University’s MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults program and lives in Southern California with her family and menagerie of pets. You can visit her online at


January 31 Nerdy Book Club @nerdybookclub

February 3 Teachers Who Read @teachers_read

February 13 Maria's Mélange @mariaselke

February 14 Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers @grgenius

February 21 StoryMamas @storymamas

February 22 Unleashing Readers @unleashreaders

The Unforgettable Logan Foster by Shawn Peters


Packed with superheroes, supervillains, and epic showdowns between good and evil, The Unforgettable Logan Foster from debut author Shawn Peter shows that sometimes being a hero is just about being yourself.


Logan Foster has pretty much given up on the idea of ever being adopted. It could have something to with his awkward manner, his photographic memory, or his affection for reciting curious facts, but whatever the cause, Logan and his “PP’s” (prospective parents) have never clicked. 


Then everything changes when Gil and Margie arrive. Although they aren’t exactly perfect themselves—Gil has the punniest sense of humor and Margie’s cooking would have anyone running for the hills—they genuinely seem to care.


But it doesn’t take Logan long to notice some very odd things about them. They are out at all hours, they never seem to eat, and there’s a part of the house that is protected by some pretty elaborate security.


No matter what Logan could have imagined, nothing prepared him for the truth: His PP’s are actually superheroes, and they’re being hunted down by dastardly forces. Logan’s found himself caught in the middle in a massive battle and the very fate of the world may hang in the balance. Will Logan be able to find a way to save the day and his new family?

Shawn Peters has spent more than two decades writing professionally for television and advertising. Married and a father of two kids, Shawn is by his own description a suburban-dad trope-fest. He enjoys coaching his kid’s teams, playing old-dude softball, and comparing IPAs with other dads. In his spare time, Shawn makes ultra-nerdy Dungeons and Dragons puns on Twitter under the handle @DnDadJokes. 

Riley's Ghost - John David Anderson book blog tour





From the author of Posted comes a ghost story pulled from the darkest shadows of middle school—and a tale of one girl’s attempt to survive them.

Riley Flynn is alone.

It feels like she’s been on her own since sixth grade, when her best friend, Emily, ditched her for the cool girls. Girls who don’t like Riley. Girls who, on this particular day, decide to lock her in the science closet after hours, after everyone else has gone home.

When Riley is finally able to escape, however, she finds that her horror story is only just beginning. All the school doors are locked, the windows won’t budge, the phones are dead, and the lights aren’t working. Through halls lit only by the narrow beam of her flashlight, Riley roams the building, seeking a way out, an answer, an explanation. And as she does, she starts to suspect she isn’t alone after all.

While she’s always liked a good scary story, Riley knows there is no such thing as ghosts. But what else could explain the things happening in the school, the haunting force that seems to lurk in every shadow, around every corner? As she tries to find answers, she starts reliving moments that brought her to this night.



John David Anderson is the author of many highly acclaimed books for kids, including the New York Times Notable Book Ms. Bixby’s Last DayPostedGrantedOne Last Shot, and Stowaway. A dedicated root beer connoisseur and chocolate fiend, he lives with his wonderful wife, two frawesome kids, and clumsy cat, Smudge, in Indianapolis, Indiana. You can visit him online at


Tour Stops


January 10 Nerdy Book Club @Nerdy Book Club

January 12 A Nerdy Bibliophile in Wanderlust @bethshaum

January 13 Teachers Who Read @teachers_read

January 14 A Library Mama @alibrarymama

January 15 Maria's Mélange @selkeslair

January 18 Lit Coach Lou @litcoachlou

As I walk around the halls of our middle school on a daily basis I hear the whispers and see the emotions across faces - emotions filled with fear, anger, sadness. The stillness in looking for someone they might know or could feel elated to see, but a lot of time there's a loneliness to the hallways. Students who don't feel like they belong, or who are forcing themselves to belong - not always making the wisest decisions on who they spend their time with. 

I dug into Riley's Ghost without realizing how obvious the connection to real life middle school truly was. Fear. It lives within the students on a day in and day out basis, and Riley's Ghost is a story that every single kid I teach could relate to. 

I appreciated the complete honesty throughout this story that Anderson has written - he has such a way of connecting with middle school readers. I know the flashbacks may be harder for a younger group to follow along with, which could. make this for a good read aloud/discussion, but when it comes to 5th and up - I highly recommend. 

There's a little bit of Riley in all of us, and I think sometimes facing those fears, the things you don't believe in until they're in your face, help us grow in ways we never thought possible.