Twelve Beautiful and Inspiring Literary Quotes I Love

Top Ten Tuesday is a regular feature on Pop! Goes The Reader in which I count down my top ten choices on a particular theme. This weekly event is hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is: Twelve Beautiful and Inspiring Literary Quotes.

Due to my various commitments, including my full-time job and my writing, I love to write and schedule posts for Pop! Goes The Reader well ahead of time to lessen my general stress level. While perusing upcoming Top Ten Tuesday topics on That Artsy Reader Girl recently, I was really excited to see this one – “Inspirational/Thought-Provoking Book Quotes”. Because I have a full schedule on the blog next week when that particular topic will be available (Tuesday, April 30) I decided to share my post this week instead. (I hope that’s okay!)

I’ve always loved to save my favourite literary quotes, whether that means scribbling them down in one of the 500 journals or notebooks I have lying around (The first step is admitting you have a problem) or recording them in an ever-growing Pages document on my MacBook. The twelve I’ve shared below are quotes that are very special to me, particularly now, as I struggle to believe in myself creatively and will soon have to make some difficult decisions about what the next stage of my life will hold. These are a few of the passages I’ve found myself returning to again and again over the last few weeks, and I sincerely hope you’ll find some comfort and inspiration in at least one of them, too!

Today’s selection of literary quotes have been listed in no particular order.

GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

Now it’s YOUR turn! Which books are you looking forward to reading this spring? Let me know in the comments – I would love to hear from you!

Do! Judge A Book By Its Cover Issue 106: Middle Grade (Part 31)

Do! Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature on Pop! Goes The Reader in which I pay tribute to some of the best and brightest the publishing world has to offer in the way of book cover design. This feature is inspired by Katie’s feature Cover Love on her blog One Page At A Time. The idea is being used with her gracious permission.

Please Note: I’ve done my best to credit the designers and artists responsible for the beautiful covers below, but was unable to find this information for a number of those listed. If you know of an uncredited designer responsible for any of these book covers, please let me know and I would be happy to include proper attribution in this post. Their work is lovely and deserves to be credited.

01. The Invisible Boy by Alyssa Hollingsworth (Cover design by Cassie Gonzales, Cover art by Deborah Lee)
02. Doc and The Detective In: Graveyard Treasure by Tim Tingle

03. Solving For M by Jennifer Swender
04. The Collectors: A Storm of Wishes by Jacqueline West

05. Emmy In The Key of Code by Aimee Lucido (Cover art by Abigail L. Dela Cruz)
06. Hearts of Ice by Adi Rule

07. The Girl With The Dragon Heart by Stephanie Burgis
08. Forever Neverland by Susan Adrian (Cover design by George Ermos)

09. Lintang and The Pirate Queen by Tamara Moss (Cover design by Joy Ang)
10. Daniel Coldstar: The Betrayer by Stel Pavlou (Cover art by Brian Thompson)

11. The Best At It by Maulik Pancholy (Cover design by Cara Llewellyn, Cover art by Parvati Pillai)
12. The Paris Project by Donna Gephart (Cover design by Lizzy Bromley, Cover art by Bijou Karman)

13. The Whispering Wars by Jaclyn Moriarty
14. The Vanderbeekers To The Rescue by Karina Yan Glaser (Cover art by Katya Longhi)

15. Thunder Girls: Idun and The Apples of Youth by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams
16. Gloom Town by Ronald L. Smith

17. My Life As An Ice Cream Sandwich by Ibi Zoboi (Cover art by Frank Morrison)
18. The Green Children of Woolpit by J. Anderson Coats (Cover art by Victo Ngai)

19. A Talent For Trouble by Natasha Farrant
20. My Jasper June by Laurel Snyder (Cover design by Sarah Nichole Kaufman, Cover art by Ramona Kauliezki)

21. The Distance Between Me and The Cherry Tree by Paola Peretti
22. The Story That Cannot Be Told by J. Kasper Kramer (Cover design and cover art by Isabella Mazzanti)

Now it’s your turn! What are some of your favourite Middle Grade covers? Did I list one of your favourites here or is there one I forgot that just has to be included? Let me know in the comments!

Giveaway: Aladdin: Far from Agrabah by Aisha Saeed

Hi everyone! Today I’m so thrilled to be partnering with Disney Book Group in order to give one lucky reader the opportunity to win an Aladdin: Far From Agrabah prize package, which includes a beautiful hardcover edition of Aisha Saeed’s new novel and a magic carpet blanket sure to transport you to a whole new world!

One (1) winner receives:

● A copy of Aladdin: Far from Agrabah

● A magic carpet blanket to read adventures of suspense and wonder.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway open to US addresses only. Prizing and samples provided by Disney Book Group.

Aladdin: Far from Agrabah is an original novel set in the world of the upcoming Aladdin live-action film from Walt Disney Studios, which is scheduled to be released May 24th 2019!

While Aladdin: Far from Agrabah begins in a manner similar to the events present in the 1992 animated film, Aisha Saeed quickly makes the story of Aladdin her own, crafting a vibrant, colourful and wholly original story that fans of Aladdin will be sure to want to explore.

When Princess Jasmine first met Prince Ali of Ababwa, she was convinced he was no different from the countless other pompous, arrogant and selfish potential suitors her father had introduced her time and time again. Despite her initial misgivings, however, she can’t help but be drawn to Prince Ali, particularly because there are moments, however fleeting, when he reminds her of Aladdin, a dark-haired boy she met and connected with when she was exploring the kingdom of Agrabah disguised as her handmaiden. Jasmine becomes even more enchanted with Prince Ali when he introduces her to his magic carpet, which allows the pair to travel not only to the distant deserts, forests and islands Jasmine has always longed to see, but also to Price Ali’s kingdom, Ababwa. When Aladdin’s magic carpet is stolen and the pair are potentially stranded at Ababwa forever, they must work together as a team to save the carpet and return to Agrabah before it’s too late.

While all of Saeed’s characters are thoroughly loveable, Jasmine is easily the character who shines the brightest. Jasmine is smart, ambitious, and eager to help improve the kingdom of Agrabah and the lives of her citizens. Having grown up watching the strong example of leadership and responsibility exhibited by her mother, a beloved and respected sultana, Jasmine wishes to follow in her footsteps, and longs to have her opinions and advice taken seriously by her father and his advisor, Jafar. It is with Aladdin in Ababwa that Jasmine is treated as an equal for the first time, free from her gilded cage and able to envision a future where she is able to express herself and be taken seriously. This is not the only area in which Saeed’s writing excels. Aladdin: Far from Agrabah sparkles with rich detail, as the author describes everything from buttery baklava to creamy pistachio pudding in mouth-watering detail. Aisha Saeed’s sense of setting is equally immersive and enchanting, as Aladdin shows Jasmine the world on his magic carpet, complete with glimpses of bioluminescent fish, thundering waterfalls and a glimpse of the aurora borealis. The real magic lies not in Aladdin’s lamp, but in the author’s prose.

Aladdin was my favourite Disney film as a child, and being able to re-visit a familiar story and characters while following them on an entirely new journey was a delight. I’m so excited I was able to partner with Disney Book Group today to offer another reader the opportunity to on on this magical journey with me. While I haven’t always been thrilled with Disney’s decision to re-make all of their beloved classics in live-action, Aisha Saeed’s latest novel now has me eager to see Agrabah on the big screen!

About Aisha Saeed

Aisha Saeed is the author of Written In The Stars which was listed as a best book of 2015 by Bank Street Books, a 2016 YALSA Quick Pick For Reluctant Readers, and named one of the top ten books all Young Georgians Should Read in 2016. She is also the author of the middle grade novel Amal Unbound which has received starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus and is a Global Read Aloud for 2018. Aisha is also a founding member of the nonprofit We Need Diverse Books™. She has been featured on MTV, the Huffington Post, NBC, and the BBC, and her writings have appeared in publications including the journal ALAN and the Orlando Sentinel.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramFacebookGoodreads

Title Aladdin: Far From Agrabah
Author Aisha Saeed
Pages 336 Pages
Intended Target Audience Recommended For Ages 10-14
Genre Fantasy, Adventure
Publication Date April 2nd 2019 by Disney Book Group
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChaptersThe Book Depository

This stunning original novel will tell an all-new story set in the world of the new film, featuring Aladdin and Jasmine.

A magic carpet ride full of adventure, suspense, and wonder written by New York Times best-selling author Aisha Saeed, this story will be a must-read for any Aladdin fans who find themselves drawn into and enchanted by the magical world of Agrabah and beyond.

Cover Reveal: Random Acts of Kittens by Yamile Saied Méndez

About Yamile Saied Méndez

Yamile (sha-MEE-lay) Saied Méndez is a fútbol-obsessed Argentine-American who loves meteor showers, summer, astrology, and pizza. She lives in Utah with her Puerto Rican husband and their five kids, two adorable dogs, and one majestic cat. An inaugural Walter Dean Myers Grant recipient, she’s also a graduate of Voices of Our Nations (VONA) and the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA Writing for Children’s and Young Adult program. She’s a PB, MG, and YA author. Yamile is also part of Las Musas, the first collective of women and nonbinary Latinx MG and YA authors. She’s represented by Linda Camacho at Gallt & Zacker Literary.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramGoodreads

Mami looked at me, then at the bin at my feet. “What’s going on?” Her urgent tone frightened me. “What happened?”

“Mami,” I started saying, but then the mamacat peeked out of the bin as if she wanted to see who was talking. Beli and Juli saw the cat at the same time. Their reactions couldn’t have been more different. Julieta screamed like a banshee, and Beli exclaimed, “Un gatito? Ay, qué cute!” and walked briskly to me, her scarf trailing behind her. When she saw what was in the tub, she gasped and covered her mouth with her hands.

“Six gatitos!” she mumbled.

“Gatitos?” my mom shrieked. “Mami, for the love of summer, what do you mean?” “Shhh,” I said, not necessarily shushing my mom and my sister, but calming the mamacat, whose back was bristled up, prepared to attack these loud, menacing humans.

When I didn’t reply, Mami came over and looked down at the bin. Melting snow was already pooling at her feet. It was proof of how unexpected this was for her that she hadn’t even taken her boots off or demanded that Beli and Julieta did the same.

Mami was speechless. She just looked at me.

“I found them in the shed,” I said, standing between the cats and my mom. “There was a raccoon, and it was after them, Mami. What was I supposed to do? I couldn’t let it eat the poor creatures.”

My heart pounded in my ears, and my throat felt so tight I couldn’t breathe right.

“Ay, mi amor,” Mami sighed, plopping on the sofa in the living room. She put her hands through her long hair that was wet and plastered on her head. “Cats? Six of them!”

“I hate cats!” said Julieta. “They’re like vampires with their claws and fangs. And all the hair!”

“They’re tiny,” I said in an even tinier voice.

Beli was kneeling next to the tub, petting the mamacat’s head. This was progress. My mom hardly ever said no to my sister, but to Beli? Anything my grandma said was the law.

“Let me explain,” I said in the calmest voice I could manage.

To her credit, Julieta didn’t interrupt me. Instead, after a cautious look at the kittens, she put the kettle on, and while I told the story of how I’d found the cats, she made hot chocolate for all, even for me.

Not wanting to ruin the moment, I left out crucial details, like how I had fed the mamacat the day before, and how I’d left the shed door open. Mami was smart, and eventually she’d put two and two together. For now, I needed time and the chance to prove I could help these poor gatos.

Title Random Acts of Kittens: A Wish Novel
Author Yamile Saied Méndez
Pages 272 Pages
Intended Target Audience Middle Grade
Publication Date December 26th 2019 by Scholastic Inc.
Find It On GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

When Natalia finds a lost cat with newborn kittens, she desperately wants to keep one. Whether or not her mami agrees to a new pet, Natalia will have to find homes for the rest of the litter. So she and her friend Reuben hatch the perfect plan: Using an anonymous account, Natalia announces to her classmates that she’ll be gifting kittens on Valentine’s Day.

As students vie to be matched with a cat, Natalia’s secrets pile up. Then, her former best friend, Meera, applies for a kitten. Suddenly, playing kitty match-maker gets a lot more complicated. Will her attempts to spread kindness help heal her friendships, or simply tear them farther apart?

New Kids On The Block with Shauna Holyoak

New Kids On The Block is a year-long series on Pop! Goes The Reader meant to welcome and celebrate new voices and debut authors in the literary community.

Are you a debut author whose book is being published in 2019? It’s not too late to sign-up! If you want to participate in New Kids On The Block this year, please don’t hesitate to get in touch! You can send a tweet or DM on Twitter to @Pop_Reader or email me at I would love to collaborate with you!

About Shauna Holyoak

Shauna Holyoak is a middle-grade author, and her debut Kazu Jones and the Denver Dognappers will be released by Disney-Hyperion on April 23, 2019. This is the first book in a new mystery series following the spunky papergirl, Kazu Jones.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramFacebookGoodreads

Why Mysteries Matter

When my daughter was in the fourth grade, I got a phone call from her teacher notifying me that my girl had fallen asleep in class. The teacher expressed concern over what would cause a 9-year old to be so sleepy. But I knew exactly what had stolen those restful hours from her the night before: The Box Car Children.

The girl was obsessed. Mystery had become her favorite genre and she couldn’t get enough. So when I found a huge stack of Box Car Children books at a thrift store, I got them for her, and she promptly set off to read the night away, apparently.

Since then I’ve thought a lot about why mysteries matter, to people in general, but to kids in particular, and it’s reminded me of my eight-year old self.

I grew up in Palo Alto, California, and Mandy was my third-grade best friend. In addition to believing I was Wonder Woman’s real daughter, surrendered at birth so she could fight crime, I also believed Mandy and I were destined to be world-renowned detectives. I have vague memories of the two of us tailing a businessman through a small park that was shrouded in greenery. On his way out, he tossed something into the trash, and we dug through the garbage can to extract the bag he had discarded, only to discover a lone bakery tissue inside.

Why had it been so important for me and Mandy to track down clues and unpuzzle leads that would solve some grand (and imaginary) mystery?

By that time, my parents had been divorced for five years. My bio dad didn’t call much, and I couldn’t understand why. Mom had remarried, and the baby her and my stepfather welcomed into our family had changed things, so much so that I felt a little lost and untethered. We were also making plans to move from California to somewhere more affordable. To somewhere completely foreign.

Obviously, there were mysteries in my life I couldn’t begin to solve, but I felt powerful pretending there were other mysteries that I could.

Stephen King said, “Books are uniquely portable magic.” They transport readers to settings and scenarios that are often more appealing than their own. It’s that magic that draws readers in, and then enables them to safely experience conflict and practice managing it. And a well-written mystery empowers young readers to feel like they have a hand in solving it.

Middle-graders have little control over their lives, and some may even have their own unsolvable mysteries. But with mystery novels, kids can enjoy the unknowing — float in confusion and bewilderment — confidant that in the end, all mysteries will be solved with complete closure. Kids can tolerate this real-world uncertainty while reading, practicing the fine art of resolution, so that when they do have a bit more control, they can use it to solve mysteries of their own. 

Title Kazu Jones and The Denver Dognappers
Author Shauna Holyoak
Pages 320 Pages
Intended Target Audience Middle Grade
Genre Mystery
Publication Date April 23rd 2019 by Disney Hyperion
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChaptersThe Book Depository

Packed with high stakes mystery and tons of heart, this first installment in a new series introduces Kazu Jone – a spunky, scrappy detective who’s this generation’s Harriet the Spy.

When a string of dognappings grips her Denver neighborhood, Kazu Jones vows to track down the culprits. She can’t stand to see more dogs go missing – especially once her neighbors’ beloved pet is taken because of her gigantic mistake.

With the help of her gang-including her best friend and expert hacker, March; and her ginormous, socially anxious pup, Genki-Kazu uncovers evidence that suggests the dognapping ring is bigger than she ever imagined. But the more she digs, the more dangerous her investigation becomes. The dognappers are getting bolder, and Genki could be next…