Addison Cooke and the Tomb of the Khan - Review and Tour

“What to give the kid who’s read all the Harry Potter and Percy Jackson books? Try Addison Cooke.” –Parents Magazine
By Jonathan W. Stokes

Teacher review: 
The first thing that got me hooked in wanting to read this series was the description of "The Goonies meets Indiana Jones." My only downfall is that I'm not 100% sure half my students know what the Goonies are or even Indiana Jones for that matter so that would lead into a whole different discussion. 
Addison Cooke and the Tomb of the Khan is the second installment in the series. As a teacher, series are a dream for  majority of stories. Especially those that involve adventures and journeys led by a kid their age. 
The imaginative description of Addison's adventures are sure to have kids hooked from the start. Not only are they trying to keep treasure from falling into the wrong hands, they also have rescues that have to occur. This story is ACTION packed as well as full of laughs that will keep kids entertained! 
Bonus: The fact that Jonathan was a teacher turned Hollywood script writer is a great way to book talk Addison Cooke into showing students what they are capable of and just how far talent and perseverance can take them! 

By Jonathan W. Stokes
Philomel Books; on sale November 14, 2017; 9780399173783; $17.99

Addison Cooke is back in his latest laugh-out-loud adventure: ADDISON COOKE AND THE TOMB OF THE KHAN (Philomel; on sale November 14, 2017; 9780399173783; grades 3-7). Complete with a cast of funny, kid-friendly characters reminiscent of The Goonies, and a quest to discover ancient secrets, Addison strikes gold once again in his second adventure: this time a journey through Asia in pursuit of the legendary tomb of Genghis Khan.

Fresh off a victorious treasure hunt and rescue mission in South America, Addison Cooke just cannot seem to avoid rogue bandits, pesky booby traps, and secret treasure troves lined with gold. Such is the life of a junior archaeologist. Just as reliably, as Addison attracts adventure, his aunt and uncle attract kidnappers! This time they find themselves becoming the pawn in a Chinese gang's plan to steal the Khan's most prized possession, his golden whip. When a third player enters the race, a Russian gang intent on nabbing the goods and exacting revenge for what happened with the treasure of the Incas, Addison and his friends find themselves once again caught in the middle, trying to rescue his family and stop the treasure from falling into the wrong hands!

Jonathan W. Stokes ( is a former teacher who is now a Hollywood screenwriter. He has written screenplays on assignment for Warner Brothers, Universal, Fox, Paramount, New Line, and Sony/Columbia. Inspired by a childhood love of The Goonies and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Jonathan set out to write his first novel, Addison Cooke and the Treasure of the Incas. Born in Manhattan, he currently resides in Los Angeles, where he can be found showing off his incredible taste in dishware and impressive 96% accuracy with high fives. Follow Jonathan on Twitter @jonathanwstokes.


Girls Who Code

Girls Who Code
A book review from Rylie, 4th grade.

What are these two books about?
They are about a girl named Sophia and she’s in a coding club with her BFFs and they have the best times together. They hang out a lot, but then they’re participating in their first robot hackathon and they have to do lots of teamwork to be in this hackathon. They are excellent at coding and that’s all thanks to their coding teacher Mrs. Clark.

What did you like best about this book? Why?
All of it was just amazing I am speechless because of how much you learn about coding.
Who would like this book? Is it only for girls, or would boys like it too? Why?
Boys might not take this book because of its cover, it says girls who code but I think maybe a boy might like this book. I think any people who code will really like this.

What did the author of this book do to keep you interested?
After something there will a part that will be amazing and it was awesome I loved the book it was cool how you just keep on learning things. It’s really good.

What was your favorite part of the book and why?
All of it was amazing but my favorite part was chapter 4 because it was the most part of learning and understanding coding.

What did you learn about coding while reading this book?
You learn a lot about coding in this book like you could make a robot just by coding.

Team BFF: Race to the Finish! #2 by Stacia Deutsch; Foreword by Reshma Saujani

Code It! Create It! by Sarah Hutt


Social Media Impact

Hey friends! So, I took to Twitter and Instagram on Sunday night to ask what everyone's current FAVORITE middle grade chapter book and picture book are! The results blew me away, mainly because there are SO MANY overlaps! I love that everyone has a different reason for loving the same book, or that I found books I hadn't even heard of! 
You can find the thread HERE

If you are looking for some new classroom novels to put into your 4th/5th grade classrooms or picture books to use for #classroombookaday - I compiled the list for you! 


Cassie's Back to School Reads

Let’s be Real


               My reading life has definitely plummeted since coming back to work. Not only coming back to work, but also having a crazy two year old at home who constantly yells at me, “Mama, get up! No book!” Unless, of course, it’s a book HE chose and wants to read.

       This equal parts makes me happy that I am so much closer to home and get more time with Gunner and also sad that my Audible time is completely obsolete. I can’t believe in two months I only read EIGHT books total. This is not okay, but I’m trying! 
Okay -- let's talk about the books I have read. GIF format?! :) 

Good Dog by Dan Gemeinhart


Ban This Book by Alan Gratz


Caleb and Kit by Beth Vrabel

The Way to Bea by Kat Yah

Rise of the Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste

The War I Finally Won by KBB

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness


Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds



Student/Teacher Dual Review - The Swallow by Charis Cotter

Here we are looking scared because this book was creepy!

  • What is The Swallow about?
    • Finlay’s answer: The Swallow is about two kids, Rose and Polly who are completely different. Rose is a girl that looks like she could be a ghost.Polly is a girl that has a big family and likes to be alone.Together they start to solve a mystery what they find out will be strange.

    • Mrs. Kuehler’s answer: Two girls, Rose and Polly are neighbors and they couldn’t be more different. One is quiet and looks like she could be a ghost. The other is outgoing and energetic. The two do become friends and try to solve a mystery together. What they end up finding out will blow you away…

  • Who do you think would like this book? Do you have to enjoy scary books to enjoy this book?
    • Finlay’s answer: I think if you are the kind of person that likes scary books that have a big mystery you’ll like this book. This book has it’s scary moments and not that scary moments.

    • Mrs. Kuehler’s answer: I think fans of Goosebumps might like this if they want something a little more than just a scary tale. This book definitely had it’s moments where it was scary, but by the end it didn’t feel as scary and I appreciated that. You definitely don’t have to be a huge fan of scary books to enjoy this one.

  • There are two main characters in this book. How are they alike and how are they different?
    • Finlay’s answer: Well, Polly and Rose aren’t that alike. Rose is small and ghost like some people think that’s she’s scary.Rose has long crazy hair and a pale face.Polly couldn’t look more alive she has straight brown hair and rosy cheeks.Polly is always anxious or wanting to be alone. Rose can see ghosts and Polly wants to see ghosts. Rose wishes she didn’t see ghosts she hates seeing them.Polly wants to stand out but it seems like no one notices her. Rose wants to blend in but she stands out.

    • Mrs. Kuehler’s answer: Rose and Polly couldn’t be more different. Rose is okay with blending in and not standing out, in fact she tries hard not to stand out because she doesn’t want what happened to her aunt to happen to her. Rose can see ghosts, like her aunt could, and she hates it.  Polly works hard to stand out because she lives with a loud, boisterous family.  Polly is dying to see a ghost and wishes she could see them like Rose can.

  • Without giving anything away, was the ending a surprise?
    • Finlay’s answer: Yes, very.The twist was very surprising I thought if that was going to happen it’d be the other way around.The twist was kind of sad and exciting

    • Mrs. Kuehler’s answer: YES! I did not see the twist coming and that just made me love the story more. I like it when an author can surprise me.

  • If you were to talk with the author, what would you want to know?
    • Finlay’s answer: I would want to know where she got the idea for the twist and the characters.
    • Mrs. Kuehler’s answer: I would want to know if she based the characters of Rose and Polly on anyone she knows and where she got the idea for the book.

Image result for the swallow charis cotter


IMWAYR 11.6.17

Image result for IMWAYR

It's been a few weeks since our last IMWAYR post. We're in the dredges of the school year, and it's generally around this time that my reading seems to slip. This year, it can't happen because I'm a CYBILS judge. Although you'll notice I'm reading a non-Cybils book right now. I've found that every 4-5 books, I need to read something just for me. 

I'm reading S.T.A.G.S., an edge-of-your-seat mystery that takes place over the course of a weekend at a Medieval estate in England. Greer, a pariah at her prestigious boarding school, receives an exclusive invitation for three days of "Huntin', Shootin', and Fishin.' Unable to turn it down, she finds herself in the middle of an ages-long tradition.

Amber is reading my favorite Neal Shusterman book. I have 6 copies of this book in my classroom and they are ALWAYS checked out. 

In a world ruled by the Thunderhead, Scythes hold a prestigious power-they have the ability to save or end your life. When Citra and Rowan are tapped to train for the Scythedom they begin to reveal corruption in their perfect world.

As always, be sure to check out Kelle's blog for more. And hopefully, we'll see many of you next week in St. Louis at NCTE!

Image result for STAGS book
Image result for scythe shusterman


"The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street" one line reviews

My fourth graders are listening to The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street by Lindsey Currie and we are about halfway through the book (LOVING IT!). As class, we all wrote one line reviews expressing what we think so far of the story... 

Image result for the peculiar incident on shady street

Mrs. Kuehler - Super-duper scary (in a good way) and is making my skin crawl!

Aden - It sounds so creepy (in the best way possible!)

Rylie - It’s very intense and super scary and it’s making me have goosebumps. It’s super creepy gives me shivers.

Chris - It’s scary and its making me feel like my house is haunted. I turned my Xbox off one time and it came back on.

Drake - Very scary and quirky. It makes my heart beat very fast.

Emma - It is very intense and I feel like I’m in the story.  It gives me goosebumps and I can’t believe that her sketchbook has been drawn in!!?!?

Walker - It sometimes really freaks me out, and other times I am not scared at all.

Anna - It is thrilling because you don’t know what will happen next!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Braydon - It is really freaky and really scary

Jordan - It’s really scary (in a crazy good way) and it makes me feel nervous.

Austin - It blows my mind in a good way and it is scary. It is good!

Ellis - I feel creeped out because I do not like scary books or movies.

Morgan - The book is very scary and creepy and is giving me goosebumps.

Finlay - This is the scariest book I’ve read, yet I can’t wait to see the ending.

Chanel - So scary it feels like it was my house and I moved to Chicago. It is the best book ever.

Nia - I’m creeped out and I can’t wait to find out what’s next because it’s so exciting and it spooks me out I just love it

Lila - Is so scary, I feel like I might fall off my chair.

Abdul - Is giving me nightmares and makes me scared when I get up at night.

Raegan - It’s  sc.ary and it feels like it going to happen to me

Kiwi - It is like a middle school story but scary like :0 minds blown piz make more books like this one!

Austin It  is really scary it makes me shiver I wonder what will happen next

Hayden - It is very different from lots of the other books I have read.

Brittany - I feel good about hearing the rest of the story/I want to see where the story is going and what that doll is talking about. It’s getting scary by the moment and it feels like I´m in the story.

Connor - Very scary (in a good way). Kind of funny!

Jaiden - AWESOME!!!!!! But scary. Also fun but horrible when we have to stop. I feel scared, worried, and jumpy. I can’t wait for the end, literally, I CAN’T WAIT I’m so excited for the book to end but I wish it was a series of books so I could read the whole series I LOVE LOVE LOVE this book. I’m so excited to see what happens next time!!!!!!!!!!

Mattalyn - It is a very very scary book in a good way, great detail described in words, I want to see how it ends, it makes you very jumpy, sometimes I wonder if I was Tessa and what I would do and feel, VERY VERY interesting and brings you into another world.

Gwen - It has a lot of twists and turns and that's what I like SOOOOOOO AWESOME SOOOOO scary {in a good way} I love being scared so it's a good book for me to hear and so far it is amazingly awesome.


Alone Spotlight Tour & Giveaway

"A bloody, wonderfully creepy scare ride." –Kirkus Reviews


This must-read for lovers of Stephen King's The Shining will leave readers breathless as Seda and her family find themselves at the mercy of a murderer in an isolated and snowbound hotel.

When her mom inherits an old, crumbling mansion, Seda's almost excited to spend the summer there. The grounds are beautiful and it's fun to explore the sprawling house with its creepy rooms and secret passages. Except now her mom wants to renovate, rather than sell the estate—which means they're not going back to the city...or Seda's friends and school.
As the days grow shorter, Seda is filled with dread. They're about to be cut off from the outside world, and she's not sure she can handle the solitude or the darkness it brings out in her.
Then a group of teens get stranded near the mansion during a blizzard. Seda has no choice but to offer them shelter, even though she knows danger lurks in the dilapidated mansion—and in herself. And as the snow continues to fall, what Seda fears most is about to become her reality...

Haley's Review:

My husband's birthday falls on Halloween.  My brother-in-law is affectionately called Boo because his birthday is also on Halloween. And my nephew turned two on October 31. So you could say my family has an affinity for the spooky season. One of our favorite ways to get in the spirit is by reading creeptastic books. 
Admittedly, this book almost flew under my radar. I'd downloaded it from NetGalley in August but hadn't gotten around to reading it. After a few students this month inquired about books similar to It, I knew I needed to see if Alone fit that bill. 
I finished this book in one sitting and with three little ones, that's a feat I can't normally accomplish. But I couldn't put this book down.  

Set in rural PA, this modern-day The Shining is sure to capture the attention of even your most "reluctant" reader. 

If you teach grades 7-12, be prepared to buy multiple copies of this seriously creepy read. 
Enter our Rafflecopter giveaway below!
Excerpt from Alone:
      Sometimes I dream I am drowning.
Sometimes I dream of bloated faces, bobbing on the surface of misty waters.
And then I wake up, often screaming, heart racing, hands clenching fistfuls of my sheets.
I’m in my bed at the top of Bug House. The murky daylight casts dull prisms from my snow globes onto the attic floor. My mom started collecting those pretty winter scenes for me when I was a baby. I gaze at them, lined neatly on the shelf in front of my window. My first order of business every day is hoping they’ll give me a trace of the joy they did when I was a kid.
But either they don’t work that way anymore, or I don’t.
Who am I kidding? It’s definitely me.
I’m insane. Batshit. Nuttier than a fruitcake. Of course, that’s not an official diagnosis. The official word from Dr. Batton, whose swank Copley Square office I visited only once when I was ten, was that I was bright and intelligent and a wonderful young person. He said it’s normal for kids to have imaginary playmates.
But it gets a little sketchy when that young person grows up, and her imaginary friend decides to move in and make himself comfortable.
Not that anyone knows about that. No, these days, I’m good about keeping up appearances.
My second order of business each day is hoping that he won’t leak into my head. That maybe I can go back to being a normal sixteen--year--old girl.
But he always comes.
He’s a part of me, after all. And he’s been coming more and more, invading my thoughts. Of course I’m here, stupid.
Sawyer. His voice in my mind is so loud that it drowns out the moaning and creaking of the walls around me.
“Seda, honey?” my mother calls cheerily. She shifts her weight on the bottom step, making the house creak more. “Up and at ’em, buckaroo!”
I force my brother’s taunts away and call down the spiral staircase, “I am up.” My short temper is because of him, but it ends up directed at her.
She doesn’t notice though. My mother has only one mood now: ecstatically happy. She says it’s the air up here, which always has her taking big, deep, monster breaths as if she’s trying to inhale the entire world into her lungs. But maybe it’s because this is her element; after all, she made a profession out of her love for all things horror. Or maybe she really is better off without my dad, as she always claims she is.
I hear her whistling “My Darlin’ Clementine” as her slippered feet happily scuffle off toward the kitchen. I put on the first clothing I find in my drawer—-sweatpants and my mom’s old Boston College sweatshirt—-then scrape my hair into a ponytail on the top of my head as I look around the room. Mannequin body parts and other macabre props are stored up here. It’s been my bedroom for only a month. I slept in the nursery with the A and Z twins when we first got here because they were afraid of ghosts and our creepy old house. But maybe they—-like Mom—-are getting used to this place?
The thought makes me shudder. I like my attic room because of the privacy. Plus, it’s the only room that isn’t ice cold, since all the heat rises up to me. But I don’t like much else about this old prison of a mansion.
One of the props, Silly Sally, is sitting in the rocker by the door as I leave. She’d be perfect for the ladies’ department at Macy’s if it weren’t for the gaping chest wound in her frilly pink blouse. “I hate you,” I tell her, batting at the other mannequin body parts descending from the rafters like some odd canopy. She smiles as if the feeling is mutual. I give her a kick on the way out.
Despite the morbid stories about this place, I don’t ever worry about ghosts. After all, I have Sawyer, and he is worse.
As I climb down the stairs, listening to the kids chattering in the nursery, I notice the money, accompanied by a slip of paper, on the banister’s square newel post. The car keys sit atop the pile. Before I can ask, Mom calls, “I need you to go to the store for us. OK, Seda, my little kumquat?”
I blink, startled, and it’s not because of the stupid nickname. I don’t have a license, just a learner’s permit. My mom had me driving all over the place when we first came here, but that was back then. Back when this was a simple two--week jaunt to get an old house she’d inherited ready for sale. There wasn’t another car in sight, so she figured, why not? She’s all about giving us kids experiences, about making sure we aren’t slaves to our iPhones, like so many of my friends back home. My mother’s always marching to her own drummer, general consensus be damned, usually to my horror. But back then, I had that thrilling, invincible, first--days--of--summer--vacation feeling that made anything seemed possible. Too bad that was short lived.
We’ve been nestled at Bug House like hermits for months. Well, that’s not totally true. Mom has made weekly trips down the mountain, alone, to get the mail and a gallon of milk and make phone calls to civilization. We were supposed to go back to Boston before school started, but that time came and went, and there’s no way we’re getting off this mountain before the first snow.
I peer out the window. The first dainty flakes are falling from the sky.

Snow. Oh God. Snow.

Cyn Balog is the author of a number of young adult novels. She lives outside Allentown, Pennsylvania with her husband and daughters. Visit her online at

a Rafflecopter giveaway