book scavenger

New Books: Book Scavenger

Book Scavenger (The Book Scavenger series)
By Jennifer Chambliss Bertman

If you know me, you know that I am a sucker for books about readers. (See also: Possession, Inkheart, the Thursday Next chronicles.) So when I read the concept for this book — a girl who’s obsessed with a global book-hunting online game and who may have discovered the first clue in its founder's new, hotly anticipated literary game — I was sold. Book Scavenger, you had me at ‘hello.’”

Happily, the book is pretty charming even if you aren’t obsessed with books set in the world of reading. Twelve-year-old Emily has just moved to San Francisco, her family’s ninth move and part of her parents’ blog-chronicled plan to live in all 50 states. Emily, unlike her freewheeling older brother Matthew, yearns to stay in one place long enough to get bored and make real friends — but every time a place starts to feel like home, her parents start loading up the minivan for their next adventure. Fortunately Emily has Book Scavenger wherever she goes, an online game where participants hide books, leaving clues for other Scavengers to find them — the more complicated the clue, the better. In Emily’s mind, the one good thing about moving to San Francisco is that it’s the home of Book Scavenger creator Garrison Griswold, who’s getting ready to announce his next big game. Maybe being in Griswold’s city will give her an edge.

To her surprise, Emily discovers that San Francisco isn’t such a bad place to live. She even makes a friend, her upstairs neighbor James who turns out to be a puzzle-solving pro. After Griswold is attacked at a BART station and hospitalized, Emily finds a curious book near the site of the attack that she thinks might be the first clue in Griswold’s now-delayed new game. With James’s and Matthew’s help, Emily starts to follow to clues, leading her through San Francisco’s literary history. Along the way, she runs into more than one roadblock, including two shady characters determined to get their hands on the Griswold book and the challenges of learning how to be a real friend when she's used to going it alone.

Book Scavenger is a fun read with nicely developed characters and lots of literary inside jokes. (Em’s parents, for instance, named their minivan Sal after a Kerouac character.) It’s targeted at middle grades readers, who will probably appreciate it, but I think younger and older kids who enjoy books like The Mysterious Benedict Society or The Puzzling World of Winston Breen will enjoy it, too.

Monday Pep Talk No. 7

home|school|life magazine's Monday Pep Talk has lots of fun ideas for planning your homeschool week.

Here, without further ado, is your start-the-week dose of inspiration for your homeschool life.  

3 fun things to do this week

What better way to celebrate National Trail Mix Day (Aug. 31) than with a family hike? Whip up a batch of trail mix, and hit the trail at a national park near you.

Start the Stanford class on Behavioral Biology — it’s free online and utterly fascinating.

Make your own invisible ink and leave secret messages for each other.


3 ideas for this week’s dinners

This Thai zucchini soup is full of bright summer flavors — I’d top it with a swirl of pesto, roasted tiny tomatoes, and maybe some picked shallots.

Can’t everyone use more taco recipes? I love the playful combination of these chicken tacos with mango, and I think they’d be great with a quick corn salad on the side.

Zucchini stuffed with lamb, tomatoes, corn, and peppers?Sign me up. (I bet it would be just as good with beef if you don’t have lamb handy.)


one great readaloud

Book Scavenger (The Book Scavenger series)
By Jennifer Chambliss Bertman

Book Scavenger is one of those stories that will utterly delight readers who love books. (And it definitely made me wish Book Scavenger were a real thing.)


one thought to ponder

in case of emergency {because sometimes you need something stronger than inspiration}

frozen negroni