Saturday, October 4, 2014

Kid Konnection: The Top-Secret Diary of Celie Valentine: Friendship Over & Giveaway

Every Saturday, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. This week, I'm going to share with you a sweet middle grade book about friendship.

Summary: Ten-year-old Celie has quite a few things on her mind—fights with her sister Jo, secrets at school, an increasingly forgetful grandmother, and worst of all, a best friend who won’t speak to her. How can a girl who hates change survive, when everything in her life is changing? By writing, of course. Celie’s often comical and always heartfelt diary entries include notes, e-mails, homework assignments, and pages from her top-secret spy notebook. -- Boyds Mill Press

THE TOP-SECRET DIARY OF CELIE VALENTINE BOOK 1: FRIENDSHIP OVER is the first book in a new series by Julie Sternberg and illustrated by Johanna Wright, and I thought it was adorable. The book is written in the form of Celie's diary, but there are also lots of doodles and drawings. I think young girls (ages 8 to 11) will absolutely love it!

Celie is a 10 year old girl who is trying to deal with some issues in her life. She constantly fights with her older sister, her best friend is shutting her out, and her grandmother seems to be absent-minded. She is doing the best she can to deal with these problems, and the diary her father just gave her for her 10th birthday becomes a way for her to vent.

I thought THE TOP-SECRET DIARY OF CELIE VALENTINE: FRIENDSHIP OVER was so much fun. The story was fast-paced and a quick read, and I think kids will relate to some (if not all) of Celie's life. Celie is a fantastic character who is both funny and insightful, and her writings are guaranteed to bring a smile to the faces of young readers.

I also appreciated the way the book was written. Rather than just having a lot of text, there was a nice mix of Celie's writing as well as emails, notes, and snippets from her spy notebook. This makes the book desirable even for the most reluctant of readers. The format of the book, with its variety of drawings and fonts, makes it seem like you are actually reading a 10 year old's journal; and who doesn't want a peek at someone's private thoughts?

As a mom, I really liked THE TOP-SECRET DIARY OF CELIE VALENTINE: FRIENDSHIP OVER for all of the reasons above but also because it had some wonderful messages for young readers. Many books this age deal with friendship problems, but I thought this one was especially realistic. Celie's feelings were absolutely spot on -- both her anger and her hurt; and I know kids will relate to her.

In addition, I appreciated the storyline with Celie's grandmother. Many families are having to deal with the issue of dementia and taking care of the elderly. Needless to say, it's difficult for everyone involved. While Celie knows that her grandmother is starting to forget things and she sees how concerned her parents are, she doesn't fully understand what is happening. I have a feeling that the next novel might explore Celie and her grandmother's state of mind a bit more!

I really enjoyed THE TOP-SECRET DIARY OF CELIE VALENTINE: FRIENDSHIP OVER and I can't wait for the next book to see what's in store for Celie. Highly recommended for middle grade girls who enjoy books in a journal format.

Thanks to Blue Slip Media for providing a review copy of this novel.

Check out the other stops on Ms. Sternberg's blog tour!

Sept 29 Mother Daughter Book Club
Sept 30 5 Minutes for Mom
Oct 1    Sharpread
Oct 2    KidLit Frenzy
Oct 3    The Hiding Spot
Oct 6    Ms. Yingling Reads
Oct 7    GreenBeanTeenQueen
Oct 8    Great Kid Books
Oct 9    Teach Mentor Texts
Oct 10  Unleashing Readers
Oct 11  Bermuda Onion

Giveaway alert: One lucky reader will receive a hardcover copy of FRIENDSHIP OVER: THE TOP-SECRET DIARY OF CELIE VALENTINE. To enter, just fill out the form below before October 17th at 11:59 p.m. EST. I will randomly select and notify the winner the following day. This contest is open for those of you with U.S. addresses only. Good luck!

If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, please leave a comment as well as a link below with your name/blog name and the title of the book! Feel free to grab the little button too!

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