Kate DiCamillo Returns: RAYMIE NIGHTINGALE

Kate DiCamillo Returns: RAYMIE NIGHTINGALERaymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo
Published by Candlewick Press on April 12th 2016
Genres: Middle Grade, Realistic
Pages: 272

Raymie Clarke has come to realize that everything, absolutely everything, depends on her. And she has a plan. If Raymie can win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition, then her father, who left town two days ago with a dental hygienist, will see Raymie's picture in the paper and (maybe) come home. To win, not only does Raymie have to do good deeds and learn how to twirl a baton; she also has to contend with the wispy, frequently fainting Louisiana Elefante, who has a show-business background, and the fiery, stubborn Beverly Tapinski, who’s determined to sabotage the contest. But as the competition approaches, loneliness, loss, and unanswerable questions draw the three girls into an unlikely friendship — and challenge each of them to come to the rescue in unexpected ways.

It’s high time I shared my thoughts with you about the new Kate DiCamillo book. Let me say this—when I heard a new book by Kate was coming out, my level of excitement spiked! You know that I adore her books, including THE MIRACULOUS JOURNEY OF EDWARD TULANE, THE MAGICIAN’S ELEPHANT, and THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX, among others.


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It’s true. Kate DiCamillo has created another endearing and delightful character that will remain in the hearts of readers for many days to come after they have turned the page of the newest book from Kate, published this past April.

I was lucky enough to borrow an ARC from Porter Square Books, and had to stop myself from devouring the book in one sitting. I wanted it to last so tried to take my time (I probably read it in three days!).

I can safely say, it’s wonderful! The story was everything I hoped it to be…and even more. Kate’s storytelling is masterful, and I would venture to say this is a strong contender for the Newbery…

The story is inspired by Kate’s own life, and though this is certainly a “made up” narrative as Kate says in the beginning of the book, it is “the absolutely true story of my heart.” In other words, this book gives us a glimpse even further into the author’s mind and heart, and I would say that the book carries a spiritual aspect for that very reason. In reading this book, I felt like I was connecting with Kate in a new way, and that can be a profound thing!

Quotes that Made Me Think

(Beverly) “I tell you what: Fear is a big waste of time. I’m not afraid of anything.”

“Just then, the sun managed to come around the corner of Isabelle’s window and throw itself into a small square of light on the floor. It was very bright. It shimmered. It looked like the window to another universe.”

“She could feel her soul. It was a tiny little spark somewhere deep inside of her. It was glowing.”

“For just a minute, she understood everything in the whole world.”

The story highlights the friendship among three girls—Raymie, Louisiana, and Beverly. Let me tell you: I love this trio! Beverly is snarky and interesting, Louisiana is surprising and persistent, and Raymie is seeking to fill up her soul. You can imagine that there are mishaps galore, but at the heart of it is a girl who wishes she could win a pageant so that her father will take note and return home. Along with this, though, and even more, is the desire of Raymie’s to fill up her soul. The language that Kate uses in the story to reflect what Raymie is thinking about and wondering reflects a spirituality that I found thought-provoking and authentic. I love the way Kate’s books get to the heart of the big questions in life, all through the window of these endearing child characters.

I don’t want to give away a lot from the story, because it’s just too much of a gem, so this review will be a bit short.

The fact is: you really need to buy a copy and read it. So…Tell me what you think when you do!

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This one is worthy of all the STARS!

What Katie Read

Read-a-thon Alert!! #BoutofBooks 16: May 9th-15th

bout of books 16

HEY THERE! I know I’ve been MIA lately because of: busy School Librarian job, moving, going to Library School at the same time, moving, and trying to remain sane! But here I am, and I have been reading loads of books. The challenge is keeping up with the blog, but I’ve got some wonderful posts planned and lots of mini reviews in the future. And….I’m going to jump into BOUT OF BOOKS 16!! I have no choice–I simply must participate!!

you go girl sherlock

So, here are the details, and guess what?!? There still time to sign up!

“The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 9th and runs through Sunday, May 15th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 16 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team”

I’m planning to share my stack of Bout of Books titles soon, but in the meantime, know that one book I’ll be finishing up is THE MIRROR KING by Jodi Meadows. I am loving this sequel, and have been reading it on the train to and from work. I figure that I’ll finish it in the next day as things are getting pretty exciting, but also scary…The wraith!!!


But even the scary bits won’t keep me from reading onwards to find out if the Orphan Queen and the Mirror King will be reunited….

I’ll be sharing more of my reading plans soon so stay tuned! And I’m happy to be back in the blogging world with you all where I plan to share my thoughts on some absolutely wonderful books. Think…Raymie Nightingale and Traitor Angels….

belle and books


What Katie Read

#TopTenTuesday: Ten Books I Love and Haven’t Talked about In Awhile…

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It’s the day to discuss the books we all adore but just haven’t chatted about enough lately…this isn’t hard to do and I hope you enjoy my post on ten books that are close to my heart…and now…not far from my mind.

This weekly meme is hosted by The Broke and Bookish—check out their blog and join in the TOP TEN TUESDAY FUN!

Here’s what they have to say about Top Ten Tuesday: “Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly link-up in the community where we provide a prompt and other lovers of listmaking join in on it with their own top ten list. Feel free to have less than 10 or more if you need to at times and put a spin on the topic if you need to! Just please link back to us if you are participating :)”

The Book Thief


When this book came out, I purchased a copy from The Strand in NYC, and I’ve never looked back. I fell in love with this book hard and I went on to make it required reading for my Freshman Composition course I taught for many years. My students loved it, as I suspected they would. I adore Liesel and this story makes me laugh and cry every time. I’ll never stop having it as a favorite. It celebrates the power of words and the redemption of story and the price of courage.

cover when you reach me


It is no surprise to me that Rebecca Stead’s Middle Grade novel won the Newbery Award, and if you haven’t read WHEN YOU REACH ME, you’re in for a treat. This is a lovely story that qualifies as both historical fiction and fantasy! But I won’t say more–it’s just too good.



I actually read an e-ARC of this on my kindle while in Jerusalem a few summers ago and it was such a delightful experience to be reading it while abroad. I adored THE UNLIKELY PILGRIMAGE OF HAROLD FRYE, and this represented a companion novel of sorts. I loved it just as much, perhaps even more, and than HAROLD FRYE.



You probably know I love the British author, Wilkie Collins. Well, THE MEANING OF NIGHT is by a contemporary author who created an absolutely fabulous mystery with a flavor similar to Collins’ work. I was swept up into this book, and the good news is that there is a sequel (which I’ve started but haven’t finished yet!).



There’s too much to say about this book, and this story brings up all the emotions! And it’s so GOOD! I really need to re-read this because the first time I read it, I just couldn’t stop thinking about it afterwards. These characters will stick with you for awhile. And that’s a good thing.



This is a companion novel to CODE NAME VERITY, and I loved this one just as much. Maybe even more. Elizabeth Wein’s historical fiction is top notch, and I can’t get enough of it.

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This classic fantasy was a childhood favorite, and I still adore it today. This one needs a re-read, especially because I’m getting ready to dive into my ARC of FIVE CHILDREN ON THE WESTERN FRONT, which you’ll find, is related to Nesbit’s classic. A sand fairy that grants wishes?!?! Yes, please!

love affair england


The first time I read this book, I was getting ready to travel to England myself, and I truly fell in love with the story. I have a used copy and it is well read and worn…and I love it! I often pull this one off the bookshelf just to gaze at the cover and flip through it, remembering all my favorite parts. This charts the journey of the author during her first visit to England, and her subsequent travels there. She fell in love with England (as many of us do) and she never looked back!

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This is another travel memoir that I loved–and this author travels to Europe, sharing her adventures and experiences as a solo woman journeying abroad. It’s fantastic, and there’s a sequel as well.



I need to re-read this adult fantasy soon–I loved THE NIGHT CIRCUS so much, and it was such a unique story. I hadn’t really encountered anything quite like it before. There’s fantasy and romance in this one, and the world of this story is one you can get lost in– I would love for this author to write something else–I guarantee it would be a highly anticipated novel.

What are some of your favorite book that you haven’t talked about in awhile? Are any of mine on your list?

What Katie Read
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