Allison's Book Bag

Posts Tagged ‘young people’s journals

MomMadeUsWriteThisSummerPart of the fun of reviewing Advanced Reader Copies is having the opportunity to read books by authors whom I may not have otherwise discovered. Such is the case with Mom Made Us Write This in the Summer by Ali Maier. This he-said, she-said journal-style book by 10-year-old twins appeals both in the writing and in the design.

I’ll start with the design. When one is flipping through a stack of books trying to decide what to read, appearance truly is worth a thousand words. The cover of Mom Made Us Write This in the Summer has the look of a young person’s journal, from the use of colorful block stencils for the title to the illusion of tape on the side. Sticker and refrigerator art also decorate the cover. The inside pages are just as believable, from the use of lined inside pages to the handwritten-style font. Doodles, maps, and cross-outs further enhance the inside pages. After I scanned my pile of books looking for a light read, Mom Made Us Write This in the Summer was a perfect top pick.


Next, I’ll turn to the writing. As with the artwork, there was no one single mode used. There were lists, scribbles, and journal entries. Even the latter varied greatly in style. Some read like narratives and others like descriptions, essays, or even research. Most important, the he-said entries in Mom Made Us Write This in the Summer actually felt as if written by a ten-year-old boy and the she-said entries felt as if written by a ten-year-old girl. Max loves pranks, humor, and sports, while Maggie loves to read, write, and go to the mall. Before you start thinking the twins are stereotypes of their gender, let me reassure that they also have other sides to them. Max is an A-student and gets bullied, while Maggie loves animals and ice-cream. In addition, Max dislikes heights, while Maggie dislikes babies. So, you can see, the two are complex individuals too. Anyone who likes humorous chapter books will find this title an equal delight.

Through the dual journal entries, the twins share their summer adventures and learn more about each other along the way. Nothing earth-shaking happens, but instead the plot consists of small moments, and Maier has an entertaining style that makes this action mostly work. On occasion, such as when the family stayed at a hotel, I did find myself wishing for dialog and other literary elements one often finds lacking in a journal.

The twins don’t even dramatically change, but again Maier has created endearing enough characters that we still end up liking and rooting for Max and Maggie. Maier even set readers up for a sequel because, while the twins did gain some appreciation of one another, they also still squabble and have the kind of moments that led to the journal assignment in the first place.

I enjoyed my leisurely read of Mom Made Us Write This in the Summer this past weekend on a car drive. If you like graphic novels, chapter books, and humor, you should give the title a chance. It might even inspire your own journal!

Ali Maier wrote Mom Made Us This in The Summer to encourage young readers to read and write, two things that she herself loves to do. For fans, Maier has created two accompanying books, one is a quiz book and the other is a shared journal. Her website also includes journal resource. I’m reviewing the first book tomorrow. Save the date: August 12!

AliMaierBorn in Pennsylvania, Maier moved a few times in the state while growing up. In high school, she spent a lot of time with children, working as a summer camp counselor for many years, volunteering to teach Sunday school at church, working in the local day-care center, and working as a kindergarten aide.

After high school, she relocated to Ohio to attend college. There, she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and intended to become a teacher. In addition, Maier worked at a local toy store and later in product development at a company making art and craft kits for kids. Eventually, Maier married and left her job to work start-up a marketing company with her husband.

While Maier continues to support the company, she also now stays at home to raise their children. And, of course, Maier writes.

The family have a rabbit, whom Maier describes as: “the world’s most adorable mini-lop bunny. Her name is Angel, and I talk to her like she’s a baby – then my kids tease me. She thinks she’s a cat. She has a litter box and spends most of the day hopping around the house. I love when she lays under my chair when I’m writing at my computer. Before we got her, I had no idea what a great pet a bun could be!”

Maier loves to read, write, and spend time with her family. By far, their favorite place to travel is Lake Erie! Maier and her husband love being able to teach their children about the world with hands-on adventures. She also enjoys paddle boarding on Lake Erie.

Book Publicity Services describes Mom Mad Us Write This In The Summer as a “funny he-said, she-said journal-style book by 10-year-old twins, Maggie and Max Pruitt. When their Mom comes up with a plan for a summer journal, Max and Maggie Pruitt cannot believe it! Worse yet, they have to SHARE! The book is full of back and forth comments of the kids that highlight the joys and challenges of siblings. Anyone with a brother or sister will identify with the fun and struggles that Max and Maggie experience.”

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