Saturday, June 22, 2013

Martin McMillan and the Secret of the Ruby Elephant

A novel for boys (and girls) interested in skateboarding, travel, and adventure:

Thirteen-year-old Martin and his friend Isabel skate their way through another fast-paced adventure. The 15th century Ruby Elephant is stolen from a special Thai art exhibit at the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History, where Martin’s father is curator. The family heads to Thailand with Dr. Sommat, the owner of the statue, and his granddaughter Junya. The figure is part of a mysterious legend that holds the secret to a hidden treasure. With Junya’s help, the friends must decipher a complicated puzzle of clues involving Buddhist symbols and ancient artifacts as they track down an international gang of thieves and try to stay out of harm’s way.

“…The writing is smooth, clear, and entertaining, moving the plot along and coloring in the scenery beautifully without getting bogged down in too much explanation or detail…This is a highly entertaining read, and I look forward to the next in what will hopefully be a long and successful series.”
-- Indie Reader

This unique book is by Elaine Russell.  Visit Elaine’s website for more on the book and be sure to watch the cool slide show by clicking here.

Monday, June 17, 2013


For a good summer skateboard read, try Vertical.  Skateboarder Josh Lowman witnesses one of the best skateboarders in town (the local bully) commit a crime. For days he agonizes over whether to tell anyone. Meanwhile, his friendships with a fellow skater, a girl in his English class, and a cool math tutor (a college student who skates) slowly steer him toward a new kind of courage.


“I think Vertical is awesome! It felt like I was reliving the early years where my passion for skateboarding was so new, fresh, and profound.”

—Danny Way, three-time X Games gold medalist

“Berend captures perfectly the bravado and angst of teenage boys hooked on wanting to risk it all and terrified of losing something they can’t define. A tightly drawn tale of when to speak out and the cost of friendship, Vertical glides in and out of trouble as deftly as Josh Lowman’s skateboard.”

—Sarah Collins Honenberger, author of the bestseller Catcher, Caught

“Vertical gives you the true feeling of what it’s like to have an obsession with skateboarding.”

—Mike McGill, skateboarding legend

“I really felt a connection to this book and all of the skateboarding parts. It just feels real.”

—Mitchie Brusco, youngest athlete to compete in the X Games 2011 Mega Ramp, first person to land the 900 in Mega Ramp competition

“The narrator’s voice is very authentic. Skating details are incredible. . . . The tension builds gradually and becomes a real page-turner. . . . Teens will appreciate the appeal of day-to-day skating challenges overlaid with larger life challenges. Being a teenager often does feel like being at the top of a large half pipe and what kid doesn’t want to feel that exhilaration of soaring above it all?”

—Laurie Stowell, Ph.D., California State University, San Marcos, Literacy Education

Click here for Vertical