Thursday, May 5, 2011

Milo, Sticky Notes and Brain Freeze by Alan Silberberg

Get The Book Here

About the Book:  MILO is the funny and poignant story, told through text and cartoons, of a 13-year-old boy's struggle to come to terms with the loss that hit the reset button on his life. Loveable geek Milo Cruikshank finds reasons for frustration at every turn, like people who carve Halloween pumpkins way too soon (the pumpkins just rot and get lopsided) or the fact that the girl of his dreams, Summer, barely acknowledges his existence while next-door neighbor Hilary won't leave him alone. The truth is ? ever since Milo's mother died nothing has gone right. Now, instead of the kitchen being full of music, his whole house has been filled with Fog. Nothing's the same.(Goodreads)

First Line: "Summer Goodman never knew what hit her."

One Great Line: "It's lemon Pledge, which comes in a can and makes things shiny, and it's one of those smells that belongs to my mom and it actually makes me feel happy not sad to smell it again--though I am slightly embarrassed Hillary catches me sniffing things." (113) A great example of Silverberg's ability to mix sadness with humor!

My Favorite Line: "The smallest breeze blows through my mind--a window somewhere is open just a crack, and the fog knows enough to leave us both alone" (238)

What Kids Are Saying:  "Yes, this book has a fun and funky title. Yes, this book has humorous illustrations sprinkled throughout the story. Yes, this book is about a guy who’s trying to figure out friends and school and life and who the heck he is. BUT this is no Diary of a Wimpy Kid. I repeat: Milo is NOT Greg Heffley. The most important difference between Milo and Greg is that whereas many of Greg’s problems are his own darn fault, Milo is facing a much more serious issue: the recent death of his mother. It affects how his dad acts; how he feels about school; and, well, everything." -Karen @ Kidsmomo

What Others Are Saying:    "...combines interstitial comics with a fun text and a gripping story to come up with a book that manages to be all things for all readers. Humor fans will like it, but so too will those kids who need a little extra meat in their fiction. This is a book that isn’t afraid to get a little sad and serious once in a while. A dead mom book that kids will really gravitate towards."      -School Library Journal 

First Twenty: We are immediately swept into Milo's  first day at a new school with characters that jump off the page (or get sneezed on), his hope to make it through the year in one piece, his alter ego, the girl of his dreams and the annoying next door neighbor, all in the first twenty pages.

Other Observations:
Silberberg is a "no-holds-barred" writer that soaks hilarity into every page. If you don't like laughing, this book isn't for you. His delightful cartoons add another layer of humor and keeps you turning the pages. And yet in spite of that you feel deeply for Milo's loss of his mother and struggle to navigate without her. Often in a book about a lost parent, what you learn about that parent is very limited making that character somewhat flat. Not so, we learn cool and quirky things about his mother which gives the story even more depth.

Sid Flieschman Humor Award

Alan Silberberg
Writer Info  
Author's Website

Milo Book Trailer

 Agent:  Jill Grinberg

Who:  " I've been making up stories since I fell out of a tree I wasn't supposed to climb and needed a good excuse for my parents.
     I grew up in Worcester, Massachusetts - on a dead end street with woods behind our house that went on forever. There was a monster in my basement. A swamp across the street. And a family with a car that seemed to run over every cat that dared to go outside.
     Making things up was just something I always did. It was as natural as having to be home when the street lights came on. Even as a kid I found that telling stories was powerful - bullies, friends, teachers gave me space whenever I made stuff up that filled the gaps in my life that needed filling." -Silberberg

When:  "The first story I remember writing was in 5th grade. I didn't mean to create a story. It just jumped out of me in response to an assignment to write an essay on our field trip to the Boston Museum of Science."
"... A lightbulb went on. I wrote the entire essay from the point of view of that alligator, lost in the huge museum." -Silberberg   See more here.

Challenges:   "As I wrote about his junior high experience I realized I was remembering a lot of my own time back then and slowly began to let that part of me seep into the story. It was at that point I realized I wanted to let Milo's story be close to my own experience - and that meant telling the story of what it's like to lose a parent when you're young." -Silberberg

How: "I am inspired by the books I read and by the kids I meet who like good stories. I think most writers get a certain energy from knowing that an audience is out there devouring the words." -Silberberg

Tip: "My main philosophy in writing and in life is:  Whatever works." -Silberberg

First Book: Pond Scum

Newest Book:   "...I am almost done with a new book about two best friends who find a way to get anything they ever wanted. It's more like Pond Scum in that it has a certain amount of magic in it - but like Milo, it will feature text and my cartoons." -Silberberg in Interview on Book Nut 
Marketing: Besides his blog, he took advantage of Twitter Book Parties where fellow authors and others tweet big time on your book birthday. Teacher Vision has study guides available here. Facebook Page 

Next Week's Review: A Sneak Peek at, Skipping Stones at the Center of the Earth by Andy Hueller  Release Date: 8/1/2011

Here are more great reviews from some other Bookanista's:
  • Elana Johnson hosts a blog tour stop for 101 SUCCESS SECRETS FOR GIFTED KIDS with a giveaway!


  1. What a touching story. I think many children who have suffered a huge loss in the family (and even those who haven't) can find refuge, strength and humor in this book.

  2. My son loved this story and read it 2 times in a row!


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