Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Announcing the Lucky Winner of AIM by Joyce Moyer Hostetter + A Great Review and more!

Dear Friends,

Thanks for the great response and wonderful comments for the final post in the Back to School Book Giveaway series. So, who is the lucky winner of AIM? This time, the winner is announced at the end of the post, but WAIT! First, read this great review from Kirkus and find more links where you can leave comments for a chance to win a copy of AIM--if you weren't the lucky winner today.

Author: Joyce Moyer Hostetter
Kirkus Review Issue Date: August 15, 2016
Publisher: Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills
Publication Date: October 4, 2016
Category: Fiction

In this pre-World War II companion to the novels Blue (2006) and Comfort (2009), 14-year- old Junior Bledsoe fights personal battles at home as America's entry into the war grows imminent. Junior struggles with school and to control his anger at his alcoholic father, his insufferable grandfather, his neighbors, and himself. When his father dies after another night of drinking, Junior feels ever more desperate to understand himself and find his own aim in life. He finds relief from his troubles in escapes to the nearby woods and tinkering with cars. A fatherly neighbor provides some much-needed guidance, and a challenging teacher and troubled classmate help him find some direction. Hostetter creates a vivid sense of time and place in her early-1940s rural North Carolina setting and a fully realized, sympathetic character in Junior. She makes Junior choose how to handle the hard things that come his way, whether to be shaped negatively or positively by them. Over the course of the novel, a year passes after Junior's father dies, and the story satisfyingly concludes with him confident and looking forward to the future. An author's note explains the stories historical context. An absorbing, well-crafted coming-of-age story with finely detailed historical background. (bibliography, further reading) (Historical fiction. 9-12) Kirkus 
Joyce Moyer Hostetter will be sharing more about her work and giving away more books in the weeks to come on other blogs:

September 22 – Writing and Illustrating (Kathy Temean) - https://kathytemean.wordpress.com/
October 3 – Carol Baldwin’s Blog - http://carolbaldwinblog.blogspot.com/
October 4 Joyce's Blog – The 3 R’s:  Reading, ‘Riting, and Research - http://joycemoyerhostetter.blogspot.com/

Don't forget to follow Joyce on Facebook and Twitter:


Check out her website www.joycemoyerhostetter.com for finding information about: 
  • Joyce
  • Her books
  • School visit and author events
  • Learning activities related to her books
  • Information related to the
    historical topics in her books. 

The WINNER of AIM, picked by Random.org, is: Bish Denham 
                   Congratulations, BISH!!!!
Bish, please send your mailing address and how you'd like your book personalized to me: claragillowclark(dot)gmail(dot)com

 So what's coming in the weeks ahead? More authors, more books, more giveaways! Next up is historical fiction for older readers--Adults--so get ready for that one next week! Then we'll get into the spirit of Halloween for some spooky treats! Back soon! ~Clara

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


Dear Friends,

Thanks for all the great support for the Back To School Book Giveaway! I'm delighted to share  insights of another good friend, the talented Joyce Moyer Hostetter, who talks about school days in the context of her middle grade historical fiction.

Joyce has generously donated a copy of her new book, AIM, and will personalize it for the winner of the comment contest! All you have to do for a chance to win a copy of Joyce's new book, AIM, is to leave a comment below. The winner will be announced in one week.


Joyce Moyer Hostetter lives right where many of her characters do –in rural North Carolina. In fact she’s always on the lookout—hoping to bump into them. In the absence of a time machine that could take her to the 1940’s she immerses herself in research to discover what her characters’ world was like. 
Her book, BLUE won the International Reading Association Award, The NC Juvenile Literature Award, and Parent’s Choice Silver Honor.  It is used widely in North Carolina schools. AIM is a prequel to BLUE.  COMFORT is a sequel. HEALING WATER, set in Hawaii’s leprosy settlement is available via E-book.
www.joycemoyerhostetter.blogspot.com (The 3 R’s:  Reading ‘Riting and Research)

In my first book, Best Friends Forever, Rhoda Landis faces a classroom full of unfamiliar students. Her grandmother hands Rhoda’s birth certificate to the teacher while Rhoda takes in the shiny floors, the strange children, and the sound of the school bell. Everything is new and Rhoda feels weird and set apart.

Exchange the grandmother for mother and fifth grade for first and that memory becomes mine. Perhaps, at some level, it is every child’s memory of a first day at any school.

This leads me to a bit of wisdom I learned at my first writer’s conference. “The more personally you write,” said Editor Katie Funk Weibe, “the more universal it will be.” And what is more universal than the classroom? After all, school is a child’s occupation. In fact, it’s difficult to write a middle grade novel that doesn’t take place partially at school. I, however, have managed to do so twice. In both cases, my characters had extended illnesses.

However, when a character’s father dies, an excuse written by mom will not exempt him from a whole year of school. Such is the case in my forthcoming historical novel, AIM. Junior Bledsoe’s father dies unexpectedly, leaving Junior with extra responsibilities, a cantankerous grandfather, and a swirl of confusing emotions. One of the last things Pop tells Junior is to quit school and get a job. Junior argues but, after Pop’s death, his advice makes as much sense as anything else in Junior’s world. Momma, however, insists he must go on to high school. Junior, arriving with a busload of conflicted feelings, finds 9th grade to be more challenging than any previous year. There’s his teacher who is also his neighbor, the pretty girl who sits just ahead of him, Dudley Walker who snickers at him from the back of the room, and the announcement of war at a school assembly after Pearl Harbor is attacked.

That announcement is reminiscent of an event in my own life—that moment in 6th grade when I stood in line at a school water fountain and learned that JFK had been shot. At school, a child learns just how harsh the world really is. His home life may or may not be secure but come kindergarten, he will encounter new challenges—a difficult teacher, a jealous classmate, or a breaking bit of world news. Thank goodness our schools have libraries and wonderful media specialists who provide books for students in crisis. My friend, Kerry O’Malley Cerra has compiled this amazing resource for teachers and librarians— a list of more than 160 books that tackle tough topics. Here's the link: http://www.kerryomalleycerra.com/mggetsreal/

Other books I’ve published include BLUE, (protagonist has polio/does not go to school) COMFORT, (protagonist goes to school with a disability) and HEALING WATER, (protagonist has leprosy/does not go to school).
And I am currently working on a book that involves twins finding their individuality in the context of a brand new consolidated high school. That is a fun one to write. 

Meanwhile I’m thrilled about AIM’s release on October 4. I’ll be blogging about that at The 3 R’s:  Reading ‘Riting and Research--find it here--www.joycemoyerhostetter.blogspot.com, and posting lots of woohoos at Facebook and Twitter. (See the links above to follow Joyce on FB and Twitter)

Thanks so much, Clara, for hosting me here at your blog. Always a pleasure, Joyce!
3 Friends: Leslie, Joyce, and Me! 

So that's it for now, dear readers. Please stop by to leave a comment! You know how much we love to hear from you!

I'll be back next week to announce the winner, share a little more about AIM, and what's coming next!