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A Book and a Hug - Tales of Bunjitsu Bunny

Isbael Bunny is wonderful at martial arts. She is probably the best student in her bunjitsu class, which is why everyone calls her Bunjitsu Bunny. How did she get to be so good? Bunjitsu Bunny knows something very important: the best student isn’t always the one who yells the loudest kicks the hardest. Self-control and humility can be just as important as strength.

In a series of gentle and funny short stories, Bunjitsu Bunny illustrates her many virtues in true Zen fashion. Where other students might lose their cool, Isabel calmly uses her wits and patience to navigate tricky situations. What should she do when the bunjitsu school is locked? How can she handle a sparring match with a much bigger opponent? How can she learn to conquer her nightmares?

Independent readers will be charmed by Bunjitsu and her lessons, and the Asian-inspired illustrations complement the tales perfectly. Isabel will spark some great conversations between children and their parents and will be an especially sweet role model for kids who are interested in learning martial arts.

Read-alikes: The Three Ninja Pigs, Ninja Red Riding Hood, Winnie-the-Pooh

This review originally appeared on A Book and a Hug.

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A Book and a Hug - Hungry

Imagine a world in which nobody needed to eat food anymore; a world in which all of your basic nutritional and hormonal needs were regulated through synthetic formulas, a world in which your cars could drive themselves, in which you are always connected by screens, in which society thrives in one big happy unified world.

Sound too good to be true? Don’t tell the leaders at One World, but that’s because it is.

This is the environment that privileged teen Thalia Apple lives in, and she’s starting to realize that all isn’t as ideal as it seems. She’s different from most of her peers, preferring analog to digital, homemade to mass-produced, face time to screen time. Still, she would be pretty fine with her plugged-in existence in the Inner Loops if it weren’t for one very important thing.

Thalia Apple is hungry.

She has had tests and seen specialists and drinks all the specially-calibrated Synthamil that she is supposed to need, but she can’t help the growling rolling discomfort that is beginning in her stomach. She can’t help but wonder what it would be like to eat real food, to have the ability to grow plants again like her ancestors did in the days before the Food Wars. She can’t help but wonder if she’s the only one like this.

Thalia won’t wonder for too long, as the plot of Hungry kicks into high gear when she becomes involved with Basil, a cute and charismatic member of a resistance group. With his influence, Thalia is able to see the world as it really as. She finds out just how unjust One World and its monopoly over nutrition is and how poorly the underprivileged masses are treated. After busting out of a rehabilitation facility, she and Basil are on the lam, sparking revolution wherever they go. There are rumors of fertile land out in the Hinterlands, of crops and real food. The people are hungry. They want to eat.

As the population rises to join the two rebels, the stakes get higher and higher. Will Thalia and Basil be able to make a difference and change the laws? Is there really a way to produce their own food like the stories say? What really lies beyond the Loops in the Hinterlands?

Hungry is a fast-paced dystopia that feels, unlike many of its contemporaries, uncomfortably like it could actually happen in the not-so-distant future. The creation of the world of the Inner and Outer Loops is very detailed, and Thalia’s evolution from privy to freedom fighter is well plotted. Older readers will be eager to find out what will become of her and her partner in crime.

Read alikes: The Giver, The Hunger Games Trilogy, Divergent Trilogy

This review originally appeared on A Book and a Hug.

Filed under A Book and a Hug Hungry H.A. Swain book review books reading YA dystopian tumblarians librarians teen books

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For Real For Real?

I'm so syked that you guys have The Walking Dead! Have you seen it yet?
I haven't yet, but I really should.
Because it's so good, right?
That's what I hear! Plus, I used to work with the actress who plays Michonne, so it's pretty bad that I haven't watched her in it yet.
Wait. Whoa. Like, for real you know her? For real?
For real for real. She's a cool lady. We were both part of a theatre workshop in Philadelphia a few summers ago.
That officially makes you the coolest person I've met today. Congratulations.

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National Book Festival 2014 Authors

From the Library of Congress, here is the list of authors for this year’s festival:
























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A Book and a Hug - Sisters

Raina Telgemeier is back in action with a new graphic memoir!

Sisters, the sequel to her hit Smile, is a sweet story about how it is to grow up with younger siblings. Raina and her kid sister Amara don’t always see eye to eye (like, ever)—Raina is quiet and artistic and prefers to tune everybody out with her ever-present Walkman, and Amara is loud and wild and opinionated and loves to freak her sister out. Raina is beginning to wonder why on earth she ever begged her parents to have another kid anyway!

As the Telgemeier family dynamic starts to shift, though, with the arrival of a younger brother, and the looming threat of their parents getting separated, Raina and Amara start to realize that they need each other more than they ever thought.

Cutting back and forth between the present day and flashbacks to her childhood, Telgemeier weaves a winning story of family and friendship that all comes to a head on an ill-fated family road trip. Spoiler alert: there are car break-downs and snakes! As always, her style of illustration is wonderful and her story is relatable and realistic. Sisters will definitely appeal to older readers (especially anyone who has a sister of their own). It, along with her other titles Smile and Drama, would also serve as great introductions to graphic novels and comics for anyone who isn’t sure about them yet.

This review originally appeared online at A Book and a Hug.

Filed under a book and a hug Sisters Raina Telgemeier book review graphic novel graphic memoir comics books reading tumblarians librarian librarians comics for kids children's books

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A Book and a Hug - Breathe, Annie, Breathe

Annie Winters is probably the last girl you’d expect to see training for a marathon (she hates running, for one thing), but she has her reasons.

Reason one: She’s running away from her past.

Reason two: Her past includes her beloved boyfriend Kyle dying before he could achieve his dream of completing a marathon.

Reason three: She might be the reason he’s dead.

With high school coming to a close and a new start at college on the horizon, Annie is just trying to get by. School, work, run. School, work, run. Breathe, Annie, breathe. That’s her plan, and she’s sticking to it until a very cute and very determined distraction named Jeremiah enters her life. He’s her running coach’s reckless adrenaline-junkie little brother, and she can’t get him to leave her alone. Soon, of course, she finds that she might not really want him to leave her alone.

As Annie begins her freshman year, she has a lot of decisions to make. Is she ready to start dating again so soon after losing Kyle? Can she forgive herself for what happened to him? Will she be able to push herself hard enough to finish the marathon in his honor?

Miranda Kenneally is a master of realistic sports fiction, and this might be her best book yet. Mature readers will cheer as Annie runs a little bit further every chapter, and they’ll swoon over her budding romance with Jeremiah. Fans of her other works in the Hundred Oaks series will enjoy seeing some familiar characters pop up throughout and will no doubt look forward to the next installment.

This review originally appeared on A Book and a Hug.

Filed under a book and a hug book review Breathe Annie Breathe Miranda Kenneally books reading YA Hundred Oaks Hundred Oaks series series teen books fiction tumblarians librarian librarians