Category Archives: Giveaway Schmiveaway

The Human Experience: Stick Review & Giveaway Winners

Review by Nōn Wels: Check out his writing/political/philosophy blog, A Thousand Screaming Rabbits.

I’m drawn to stories about family-life. Stories so lush with genuine character that I start to use the framework of the story to emphasize, or explain, or dramatize aspects of my life, my story. I live within the story, however fabricated. As readers, we love this. We live for it.

At the end of the day, we yearn for the relatable, the real, the story that will speak directly to us. Whether that’s within the world of fantasy or science fiction or romance or contemporary fiction, it doesn’t matter. They all—the lot of them—in one way or another, and on varying levels, hold some invariable truth that is uniquely relatable and salient to us as humans—readers, bibliophiles, book junkies.

Andrew Smith’s books take this concept to an entirely new level. Not only do they provide the reader with characters to love and to relate to, they also inspire us to think differently about the world.

In Stick, Smith’s most recent novel, the world he creates is very much our own. It’s recognizable. And the characters themselves, they are people we know, or apt representations of people we know of.

Stick, the main protagonist of the story, is disfigured. His ear is a mess of mangled cartilage and dulled hearing. And he lives with it. It’s part of who he is. Bosten, Stick’s older brother, is the more raucous of the two. And he loves his brother, and would do anything for him. Emily is Stick’s best friend, the two of them sharing an important bond. The rest of the story is replete with both the highs and the lows: characters that support and provide care for the protagonists and characters that hinder and harm.

It’s these latter kind that inspires Bosten to leave home. And it’s his absence that inspires Stick to find him. Over the course of the story, the brothers take part in their own unique journey—to escape the pain caused by parents that either relish in or pay no mind to said pain, and experience something that will build character out of the goodness and joy and revelation.

We know this world. It’s here, it’s there. It’s us and it’s those people there. It’s a world in which people exist as unique individuals, journeying to find out what it means to overcome, what it means to glean, what it means to live.

Readers, Stick is the type of book we live for. It is the human experience. In these words and these characters, we learn and we relate and we love.

Bosten and Stick know this. They lived it.


And the winners of the Andrew Smith Giveaway are:

Doppelganger – Stick – Ghost Medicine

Charles DeMoss, – In The Path of Falling Objects

Winners were chosen randomly using Rafflecopter. Please email your mailing addresses to ReadSchmead at Yahoo dot com. If I do not hear from you by December 15th then a new winner will be chosen. Thank you so very much for all of the love and support.



Filed under Giveaway Schmiveaway, Nōn Talbot Wels, Young Adult Books

Giveaways are Crazy – Andrew Smith

Thank you to all that participated in the last Giveaway Schmiveaway!  Now it is time for the new one!!!

This Giveaway is a doozy:  Win a signed Andrew Smith book!!

This contest allows for three winners who will be picked randomly.  Enter into the contest by being a subscriber and get an additional entry by posting a comment (or comments) from now until December 10th!!!  The more comments the more entries!

Check out Non’s review of Ghost Medicine and soon there will be a review of Stick.  If you haven’t read anything by Andrew Smith then you are seriously missing out on some amazing storytelling.  Now is the time give him a try.


Filed under Giveaway Schmiveaway

The Winner of the Jeffers’ Book is . . .

JoLiao!  The winner is a subscriber and was chosen using  If you could email me your physical address (to readschmead @ yahoo dot com) I will gladly mail you the signed copy of The Way Back Home by Oliver Jeffers!!!  Congrats and thank you so much to all that have subscribed and made comments!  Keep checking back because I will continue to giveaway some pretty awesome books or book-related stuff.

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Filed under Book-Related Stuff, Giveaway Schmiveaway

Oliver Jeffers’ New Book, Stuck, & The Giveaway Schmiveaway

Have I mentioned that I love EVERYTHING JEFFERS!!  Well, I do.  Recently, Non and I got the chance to meet Oliver Jeffers at the SCIBA Author Feast and Trade Show in Long Beach, California.  It was fantastic! Jeffers spoke and presented a slide show about his life that was perfectly him and hilarious.  It read like one of his picture books and the audience was enthralled.  Afterward, Oliver Jeffers was kind enough to sign my iPhone case which has an image from another one of his books, Lost and Found.

Me, Oliver Jeffers, Non

My signed iPhone Case

We also received his newest book, Stuck!

Stuck is amazing!  The book is about a boy named Floyd who gets his kite stuck in a tree.  Well, naturally, Floyd throws his shoe into the tree to knock down the kite, then his other shoe to knock down his shoe, then Mitch the cat gets tossed up in order to get the shoe down, and, in proper Jeffers humor, Floyd fetches a ladder which he chucks into the tree to get Mitch out.  The result is, as you would imagine, a whole lot of stuff stuck in a tree.

My new Giveaway Schmiveaway is a SIGNED copy of Oliver Jeffers’ book, The Way Back Home!!!  It is a great book about two unlikely allies trying to find their way home.

Enter to win by subscribing to Read Schmead and by posting comments. Every current and new subscriber is entered into the contest automatically. If you happen to leave comments on posts then those will count as additional entries. Winners will be picked randomly.

All Jeffers Books:

Age Group: Embryo and up
Genre: Picture Book, Friendship, Home
Themes: Family, Friendship
Publisher: Philomel Books, Division of Penguin Young Readers Group


Filed under Giveaway Schmiveaway, Picture Books

Wonderstruck & The Giveaway

I read Brian Selznick’s newest book, Wonderstruck, in a matter of days.  I could have read it in a sitting but I happened to have a lot on my plate that weekend.  Selznick creates a wonderful new book.  This time he experiments with the idea of telling two different (but in many ways parallel) stories: one in text and one in pictures.  The story told in all words is set in 1977 and is about a young boy, Ben, searching for his father.  The story told in all illustrations follows a young deaf girl named Rose, set in 1927.  The two kids, at different times, runaway to The Museum of Natural History in search of meaning, answers, and most importantly, family.  The illustrations are amazing and captivating.  Reading/understanding a story in illustration about a deaf girl forced me to listen to the silence.  I don’t know if that makes sense so let me try to explain:

When I read I tend to listen to words being said in my head.  This might be why I read so slow, but I can’t help it – I just read that way.  When I look at images, specifically ones that come together to tell a story, I hear nothing in my head.  There is silence.  I discovered this to be the case with the amazing illustrative story The Arrival by Shaun Tan.  By reading a story through illustration, completely void of words, I was able to inhabit the mind and world of the deaf, specifically of one deaf girl, Rose.  I saw the museum and the city the way she did and it was quiet.

Rose and Ben’s stories merge together in an unforeseeable twist that speaks of family, redemption, and love.  I really enjoyed this book.  Brian Selznick is a gifted illustrator and his research into Deaf Culture created a realistic story.  I only have one concern when it comes to Brian Selznick and his storytelling, specifically in Wonderstruck, and that is with his text.  I love the parallel stories in this book, but I did gravitate towards the illustrative story.  I felt quite sympathetic towards Ben, but looking back I felt Ben and the characters (literally) written fell a little flat.  Just a little!  I wanted more character from these characters.  I already cared about their story and so I wanted Ben to have a bit more personality.  Sometimes I felt like I wanted to rush to Rose’s story and perhaps Selznick wanted to rush to her story as well.  I actually would have loved an entire book about her life and about Deaf Culture all told in illustrations.  I am being a little hard on Wonderstruck, but that is only because I did enjoy it so much and, therefore, I scrutinized the parts I wanted more from.

It could also have been because I was listening to an audiobook about two other museum runaway kids — From the Mixed-Up FIles of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg.  Oh, man, was this book fantastic!!  Konigsburg is a master storyteller and she creates some darn wonderful characters.  The kids in this book are smart, hilarious, and complicated.  The book came out in 1967 and, aside from some outdated references to the cost of goods, it has held the test of time.  I adored the brother, Jaime, and sister, Claudia, relationship.  The two were smarter beyond their years.  They run away and live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art where they sleep in antique beds and bathe in the fountain.  If you have not read this book yet, then you really, really must!!  You should also read Wonderstruck!  Other than that one, tiny minor critique, I adored Selznick’s newest book.  I also can’t wait to see the movie Hugo.

Speaking of the movie, Hugo, it is time for me to announce the winner of my first Giveaway Schmiveaway!!!  All contestants were placed in a hat and then one lucky individual was chosen at random.

And the winner is………

Erik!  The blogger of This Kid Reviews Books!

Erik, please email me at with your address so that I can send you the signed Hugo poster.

Thank you so much to everyone who left comments and subscribed!  Don’t worry if you didn’t win because I have a bunch of other goodies to giveaway for the next few months.  Giveaways to come in no particular order: an Oliver Jeffers book, signed copy of Maggie Stiefvater’s book The Scorpio Races, signed books by Andrew Smith, and many more!!


Age Group: 9 and up
Genre: Middle Grade, Contemporary Fiction
Themes: Family, Friendship, Loss, Deaf Culture
Publisher: Scholastic

From The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler:

Age Group: 9 and up
Genre: Middle Grade, Contemporary Fiction
Themes: Family, Friendship, Discovery
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers


Filed under Giveaway Schmiveaway, Middle Grade Books

A Few More Days to Win Brian Selznick Signed HUGO Poster!

Don’t forget to comment and/or follow for a chance to win a signed copy of the poster for the film adaptation of Brian Selznick’s book The Invention of Hugo Cabret. The movie is coming out November 23rd and is directed by Martin Scorsese. If you have not read Hugo, you should. It’s quite wonderful. An illustrator first, Selznick brings to life such a magical, adventurous story with compelling and heartfelt artwork. It’s a great story both kids and adults can love.  Contest ends Monday at midnight (PST).

Also, don’t forget to pick up a copy of Brian Selznick’s new book Wonderstruck. I recently read this, and enjoyed it thoroughly! Review forthcoming.

Happy reading.


Follow me on Twitter! @ReadSchmead


Filed under Book-Related Stuff, Giveaway Schmiveaway

Brian Selznick and My First Giveaway Schmiveaway!

On Thursday, October 20th, I worked the Brian Selznick book event for A Whale of a Tale Children’s Bookshoppe.  Selznick was wonderful!  He gave a captivating presentation about his writing process, specifically in regards to his latest book Wonderstruck (review to come soon).  The entire event was loads of fun.  If Brian Selznick is EVER in your area and you have a chance to listen to him speak about books and writing then I INSIST you go!!  One audience member asked Selznick, “What is your favorite book?”  He answered, “Fortunately” by Remy Charlip.”  He then began quoting the book and the entire audience, including myself, could see why he loves this book — it sounds hilarious.  Here is an excerpt:

Fortunately, Ned was invited to a surprise party.

Unfortunately, the party was a thousand miles away.

Fortunately, a friend loaned Ned an airplane.

Unfortunately, the motor exploded.

Fortunately, there was a parachute in the airplane.

Unfortunately, there was a hole in the parachute.

Selznick also showed us a quick behind-the-scenes/trailer for the movie Hugo.  It looks so amazing.  It actually gives me chills.  I know.  I am a weirdo.  But just watch it and tell me you don’t get all tingly when that thematic song plays in the background and the images of Hugo Cabret come to life!  You are made of steel and cold-hearted if you don’t get chills.

I was able to have Brian Selznick sign both of my books along with a Hugo movie poster.  This leads me to my first GIVEAWAY!!!  I will be selecting one lucky individual to receive the Hugo movie poster signed by Brian Selznick!

I have already started accepting entries into the Giveaway.  You can enter by subscribing to Read Schmead and by posting comments.  Basically every subscriber is automatically entered into the contest.  For every comment you post I will enter your name into the contest again.

Here are some more photos from the event:

Most the seats were full at The Murray Center in Mission Viejo, CA

Myself, Brian Selznick, and Alex


Also, don’t forget you can buy signed copies of Brian Selznick’s books at A Whale of a Tale Children’s Bookshoppe!  Call us at 949-854-8288!!


Filed under Events, Giveaway Schmiveaway, Middle Grade Books