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Powerful Middle Grade Fiction December 3, 2012

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in Christian fiction, historical fiction, multi-cultural fiction.
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MediaMonday for December 3, 2012: Philip Roth Calls it  Quits, from New York Times By the Book interview, November 17, 2012.

Christina Diaz Gonzalez in #litchatNever underestimate the zest of middle grade readers. The success of such series as Harry Potter, Wimpy Kid, Artemis Fowl, Percy Jackson and the Olympians have kept their publishers in the black and made household names of their authors. This Wednesday in #litchat we’ll discuss the power of middle grade fiction, then on Friday, award-winning author Christina Diaz Gonzalez joins us as guest host to discuss her newest middle grade historical novel, A Thunderous Whisper.

In A Thunderous Whisper, Ani believes she is just an insignificant whisper of a 12-year-old girl in a loud world. This is what her mother tells her anyway. Her father made her feel important, but he’s been off fighting in Spain’s Civil War, and his voice in her head is fading. Then she meets Mathias. His family has just moved to Guernica and he’s as far from a whisper as a 14-year-old boy can be. Ani thinks Mathias is more like lightning. A boy of action. Mathias’s father is part of a spy network and soon Ani finds herself helping him deliver messages to other members of the underground. She’s actually making a difference in the world. And then her world explodes. A Thunderous WhisperThe sleepy little market town of Guernica is destroyed by Nazi bombers. In one afternoon Ani loses her city, her home, and more. But in helping the other survivors, Ani gains a sense of her own strength. And she and Mathias make plans to fight back in their own unique way.

Christina Diaz Gonzalez is the author of the award-winning and best-selling children’s novel, The Red Umbrella. Gonzalez’s debut novel (the story of a 14 year old Cuban girl who is sent to the U.S. in 1961 as part of Operation Pedro Pan) showcases the generosity of the American spirit and highlights the pain of losing one’s homeland. Reviewers from publications such as The Washington Post, Publisher’s Weekly and School Library Journal have praised the book as being exceptional, compelling and inspirational.

Follow Christina Diaz Gonzalez on Twitter: @ChristinaDG.


Second Chances September 20, 2010

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in Christian fiction, faith, fiction, inspirational fiction, religion and mysticism, winners.
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Charlene Ann Baumbich


Starting over. Life is full of times when people leave behind one way of life to assume another. Whether a deliberate choice, an unconscious gravitation to what is needed/missing/wanting, or a life-altering event thrust upon a person without preference or desire, stories of second chances are excellent reading. This week in #litchat we’ll discuss books with themes of second chances.

Guest host on Friday, September 24, is Charlene Ann Baumbich. Divine Appointments, the second in her Snow Globe series, features a theme of second chances for more than one character in the novel.  In its July 26 review of Divine Appointments, Publisher’s Weekly wrote, “Josie Brooks [protagonist] is not interested in disruption. Everything in her life is organized, minimal, and efficient. A successful business consultant in Chicago with a type-A personality, she ruthlessly identifies and slashes any source of economic wastefulness with complete disregard for the employees themselves. Soon, everyone at Diamond Mutual calls her “The Dragon” as she orders the termination of decent, hardworking people for the sake of profit. Josie’s rigid life, however, mysteriously begins to unravel when a strangely alluring snow globe appears at her apartment. Soon afterward, Josie is forced to confront her own flaws and fears, beginning an emotional journey toward love, friendship, mourning, and new beginnings. A wide range of characters flesh out this latest installment of Baumbich’s (Stray Affections) Snow Globe series, most emerging impressively from the narrative. Particularly noteworthy is Baumbich’s ability to make Josie likable even at the height of her self-centeredness [LitChat emphasis]. Readers familiar with the first book in the series will note that the place, plot, and characters in the second book are all new, but having a second chance is still a central theme.”

Baumbich is an award-winning journalist who speaks and writes about the layers of life as she sees them, which is often slightly off center, mostly dead-on, and always through lenses of grace. Her highly successful Dearest Dorothy series of novels celebrate octogenarian spitfire Dorothy Jean Wetstra and the residents of small-town Bartonville. Her nonfiction titles range from Mama Said There’d Be Days Like This to Don’t Miss Your Kids!. Charlene speaks to the heart, the funny bone, and a broad age span. For more than a decade, Charlene has presented her most requested talk–“Don’t Miss Your Life!”–to audiences across the country and in Canada. Her creative pedal is to the floor, her energized words are ripe, her cranky gallbladder has been “left behind,” and her message is right on time.


Read chatscripts from this week’s discussions:

September 20 & 22, 2010:  Second Chances

September 24, 2010: author Charlene Ann Baumbich, topic Second Chances

Follow Charlene Ann Baumbich on Twitter: @TwinkleChar.