Greenhorn by Anna Olswanger and Audubon Zoo WINNERS!!

HELLO blogosphere! I’ve missed you while I was away camping – okay not really the blogosphere but the awesome people I get to talk to on it. πŸ™‚

So the big question was – how many books will I read while I was away camping for a whole week –

Here is the run down –

12 middle grade books and 2 graphic novellas (so I am not sure if I should say I read 12 or 14) and yes I did go fishing, hiking, bike riding, visited touristy things, roasted marshmallows and got bit by misquotesΒ had a really great time! πŸ™‚


What books did I read?

1. Spirit Animals #3 Blood Ties by Garth Nix and Sean Williams

2. Cassidy Jones and the Luminous by Elise Stokes

4. Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick

5. After Ever After by Jordan Sonnenblick

6. Greenhorn by Anna Olswanger

7. Hardy Belch and the Internet Predator by William G Bentrim

8. Choice of Twilight by Tyler Wise

9. Ollie and the Science of Treasure Hunting by Erin Dionne

10. The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson

11. Mystery on a Church Hill by Steven K. Smith

12. Emperor Pickletine Rides the Bus by Tom Angleberger

13. Toto Trouble by Thierry Coppee

14. The Legend of Chima: The Right Decision

Guess what else I found on vacation? A LITTLE FREE LIBRARY! It was right in Lackawanna State Park where we were camping! How cool!



Now for a review of a great book I read while I was away!



ByΒ Anna Olswanger

Illustrated by Miriam Nerlove

48 pages – ages Middle grade

Published by NewSouth Books on December 3, 2012

Aaron, a young Jewish boy living in 1946 Brooklyn, attends a yeshiva (boarding school for Jewish boys). When 20 boys who survived the holocaust and came from a concentration camp arrive at the yeshiva, they fit right in. All except one. Daniel barely talked, and he always kept a hold of a small tin box. Daniel goes through relentless teasing from the other boys (except Aaron, who is also teased because of his stutter, and became a friend of Daniel’s) because he would not say what it contained. When the boys get fed up, they manhandle the box away from Daniel. When the rebbe (teacher) walks in on this, he has Daniel open the box (after stopping the boys, of course). It contains a bar of soap. Not a big deal, right? Not quite. Apparently, the Nazis had experimented making soap in the concentration camps. Daniel has it to remember his deceased parents.

This was a well-written nonfiction story about a holocaust concentration camp survivor and the friend he makes in Aaron. But, it is also about so much more. The story is for middle grade readers but it is only 48 pages (with illustrations). The writing was solid and the story was incredible but I would have liked the story to be expanded into a full novel – it was that good and it would be better for kids my age to have more details/backstory.Β  The book is based on a true story. Aaron is a real person (with a different name of course) and I think that I would’ve liked to have met the young Rabbi Rafael Grossman (AKA Aaron). The color illustrations were a nice addition to the story and went well with it. The history taught in the book and the message – is very important. I’d just love to see this as a novel. The publisher has a parent and teacher guide to go along with the story. You can find it HERE.


To learn more about Ms. Olswanger, Greenhorn and the film that the book is being turned into, please visit her website HERE.

I give this book 4 out of 5 bookworms.fourbooks


And, remember that post 2 weeks ago?Β What the Sleepy Animals Do at the Audubon Zoo? Well, remember the giveaway? Guess what?


I get to give away 2 copies of the awesome picture book “What the Sleepy Animals do at the Audubon Zoo!”


They are –

Anne McKernan of the Itsy Bitsy Mom blog HERE

Donna Marie from The Writer Side Up blog (click HERE)


Β I will send you an email to get your mailing address!

Categories: Age 12+, Age 9+

Tags: , , , , , ,

57 replies

  1. That’s a lot of books! We watched the movie “Ever After” last night. It’s very good. I wonder if it’s based on that book?? I haven’t read that Cassidy Jones book yet. I will…eventually. This one you feature looks super.

  2. Glad you had a lot of fun camping – we hope to put up our tent in a few weeks too. Looks like a beautiful book with a touching story. Congrats to the book winners!

  3. I was wondering why it was so quiet Eric πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

  4. Yay, Anne! Yay, me! I got all excited when I received Erik’s email πŸ™‚ THANK you, Erik!

    And I can’t help but wonder if you did anything ELSE on your camping trip besides read! That is one long list of books, my friend! Amazing! πŸ˜€

  5. Sounds like a great camping trip with right amount of things to do. Glad you hiked because reading 12-14 books is a lot of sitting. Enjoyed your book review. I love stories about the strength of the human spirit. You indicated it was a MG, but it really sounds like more of a chapter book to introduce kids to the Holocaust with out a lot of detail. If it was MG, I’d be a bit disappointed.

    • The publisher lists it as a middle grade reader and that is what I was expecting. The story is excellent but the story behind the soap is a bit hard to wrap my head around so I think that the plot is meant for MG kids not little kids.

  6. *waves a donut* It seems to moi that you had a great camping trip. How can you go wrong with a mini library?? YANNO? I MUST, I simply MUST read Greenhorn. That’s it! You read a lot of books on the trip. SO PROUD OF YOU!! πŸ™‚

    Congrads to the winners. YEAH!

    MISSED YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. That’s an impressive reading list, Erik! Glad you read Jordan Sonnenblick’s books. They’re wonderful.

    And guess what? I saw a Little Free Library while I was on vacation in Maine.

  8. Congrats to Anne & Donna for winning! So many books in such a short time period. Hard to imagine you having time to do anything else, but then again you are Superkid….faster than a speeding reader or make that……a speed reader. Ha! Nice review!

  9. Sounds like you had a great camping trip! Did you see any wild critters? Did Clyde go camping with you? Did you leave any books in the Free Library?

    • Sadly, Clyde couldn’t come. We didn’t want to leave him alone at the campsite when we went to do touristy things. My grandparents watched him. We did see lots of squirrels, and a really plump chipmunk. We also saw the two raccoons who were…VISITING…our camp site (seeing them was actually pretty cool, but what they do isn’t). πŸ˜€ I didn’t get a chance to leave any books in the library (I couldn’t give the ones I had brought away, for reviewing reasons. πŸ˜‰ ) But Josie left a comic book of hers there and she borrowed a chapter book. πŸ™‚

  10. Welcome back. Wow! You read so many good books. I believe I’ve read The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson. Greenhorne sounds very good and I too think it could be a full length novel. I love the mini library! How clever.

  11. Wow, plenty of reading there, Erik.
    I’ve read Greenhorn too. Did you know that Anna is making a movie based on the book. I’ve been following its progress since she started her crowd-funding for it. In her most recent newsletter she mentioned that it’s hopefully only a couple of months away from being finished. The premiere will be in New York, I think.

  12. Congrats to the winners! Wow, Erik. You read an awful lot for one week. Do you speed read? What is your secret? Glad you had fun on your trip. Now it should be about time for school to start. Glad your back, missed your posts.

  13. That’s an impressive amount of books, Erik! Glad you had a fun camping trip. The holocaust book sounds very interesting.

  14. Thanks Erik! I am so excited! And congrats to Donna too! Glad you had fun on vacation! Have a great start to the school year!

  15. We missed you Erik. I am glad you had a great trip.

  16. I wish I could find a little free library here! It’s such a wonderful project!
    I can hardly read one book during my holidays, you’ve read tons!
    Best regards from a reader from Barcelona,
    A Bilingual Baby

  17. Well, I received my book today, and it’s adorable! So much fun and, as Tony the Tiger would say, “The illustrations are GRRRRRRREAT!!!” πŸ™‚ Thanks Erik, Grace, Ryan, John and Alyson, for your terrific picture book What the Sleepy Animals Do at the Audubon Zoo πŸ˜€

  18. It does seem like books follow you everywhere. Even when you’re camping! What are the chances of finding a lovely free library in the middle of nowhere?! It must be you, dear Erik! πŸ™‚ And you’ve been very busy too! Lots of reading!

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