Sunday, June 24, 2012

Two Books Set In Israel

I recently read two novels set in Israel. The first, THE VOICE OF THUNDER, is a middle grade novel. It tells the story of the 1967 Arab-Israeli War from the viewpoint of ten-year-old Mira Levy. The novel doesn't offer any easy answers, but shows the harsh realities of war. One image that has stayed with me was of Mira's uncle, an Israeli soldier, who looted an Arab home and took a young girl's doll.

The second novel, NEXT YEAR IN ISRAEL, is a Young Adult book with a timely theme. Sixteen-year-old Rebecca Levine has attempted suicide because of being bullied at school. After she survives the attempt, Rebecca decides to start her life over at an Israeli boarding school. I enjoyed the uniqueness of the setting, particularly that the students had to attend bootcamp and learn to fire a rifle. It's a totally different take on the typical boarding school novel.

Both books provided a "Calgon Moment." They took me away from my everyday life here in Florida. What books have taken you to a different time or place this summer? Leave a comment and let me know.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

RAPE GIRL by Alina Klein

Author Alina Klein was raped as a teenager, but rather than bury that experience and pretend it never happened, she wrote a novel full of emotional truth.

I highlighted several passages on my Kindle that spoke to me. The first says, "They say that rape is the only crime in which the victim has to prove her innocence."

When our protagonist, Valerie, is attending a group counseling session, she can't help but compare her rape to that of another young woman who was burned with a cigarette. Valerie says, "I just felt less raped than you, and I think I might have ruined my life, (by telling), for nothing."

Another rape victim says to Valerie, "We wonder why it happened and how it happened, and blame ourselves just like you do, because all of us probably could have done something different."

Valerie's rape affected not only her, but her younger sister, older brother, and her mother. The author skillfully shows how each member of Valerie's family blames themselves for what happened.

I found myself wanting to slap the clueless school principal who treated Valerie as the guilty party. I shook my head in sympathy when Mimi, Valerie's best friend, abandoned her. But this book is not without hope. Valerie is a survivor, and by the end, I felt she could make a happy life for herself despite what happened.

I called my best friend after reading this book because I wanted to pose a question to her. It was, "If every woman we knew were completely honest, do you think each one would admit to being forced into sex, though sometimes subtly, as a child or teenager?" Sue's answer was "Absolutely." That's why this book is so important for teen readers. No means no.  

Friday, June 1, 2012

How To Promote Your Children's Book by Katie Davis

As a soon to be debut author, I am passionately interested in how to promote my forthcoming book. Fortunately for me, Katie Davis has already been down this path and recorded lots of tips in an easy to read style.

I highlighted text on my Kindle, but also took copious notes. Here is just a sampling of some of Katie's wisdom:

  1. Buy the domain for your book title, then forward it to your main website. That way anyone who googles your book title, will be sent to your site.
  2. Katie recommends working with a website designer separate from your website programmer. I'm intrigued by this notion, but need to research it further.
  3. The book is chocked full of helpful links. One I found especially good is Darcy Pattison's "Tips for Skype Author Visits: Be Prepared."
  4. Katie advises posting your book trailer on both YouTube and TeacherTube. I had never even heard of TeacherTube before, but Katie says she got more hits to her book trailer from TeacherTube than YouTube.
  5. When being interviewed, know in advance the top three points you want to make and make them early.
I've read other books on marketing, but this is by far the best of the bunch. I'm collecting promotion tips so I hope you'll share yours in the comments section.