I am a fan of Roland Smith. He is a great writer and really nice man. When I lived in Denver I volunteered to help an author at the CCIRA, a large state wide reading conference. I was assigned to Roland Smith, and I was excited. While volunteering I also got to meet Jon Scieszka at the event. Scieszka was funny and personable in real life just like he is in his books. Scieszka and I had a constant joke about texting. He said his thumbs were too fat for both of them to fit on the iPhone screen; therefore he was handicapped in regards to texting. However, I was pretty darn speedy b/c my thumbs were just the right size, so I could smoke him in a texting contest, but it isn't nice to pick on him b/c of his thumb handicap.
Anyway, enough of that side story. I love meeting authors and getting a chance to get tho know them a bit better than their bios or what you read on their websites. Authors are much bigger celebrities to me than the ones we see on the silver screen. However, I am a librarian and a lover of books; therefore, authors are my kind of celebrities. While I was the CCIRA conference I was assigned to Roland Smith. I went to his book signings and helped him with various things like water and snakes. I went to his lectures to make sure everything was set up and he was good to go with the projector and whatnot. It was easy, and fun to talk with him. I would highly suggest you taking up the opportunity to volunteer in such a position if it is possible. Through volunteering I met Roland Smith. We talked about his books, and he signed (with a personal message) many of the books I owned and bought. He is awesome that way.
I like Smith b/c he is a nice guy, a great author, and writes books that both boys and girls can enjoy. Plus, he writes with just enough detail to really teach you a thing or two about the topic. You can tell Smith knows a lot about the topic he writes; and from talking and listening to his lectures he does a lot of research for each and every book. For example, if you ever read Peak you will learn so much about the equipment needed to climb Mt. Everest that you will feel you are able to go and do it yourself. You won't be able to, but you will think you can. Peak also includes so many details about the horrendous weather conditions found on Everest. Theway Smith writes makes you feel like you are a part of it all; I think that is a sign of a good author.
I just finished re-reading I.Q: Independence Hall. It is the first in his I.Q series. The Books are as follows: Independence Hall, The White House, Kitty Hawk, and Alamo. The fourth in the series, Alamo has just recently been published. If you are teacher looking for a good read-aloud book for you class this one is great. I think third grade through 6th grade could enjoy this book as a read aloud. As far as reading and interest levels of this book for independent reading purposes I would say I.Q. Independence Hall is great for 4th-8th grade. You could probably get away with some 9th graders reading it, but it is definitely better for the upper elementary and middle schools. I think this is a great middle school spy novel for both boys and girls. Those girls that love the Gallagher series will enjoy this one. Those boys that love Anthony Horowitz's books will enjoy this I.Q. series. It's an all around enjoyable spy fiction book that both parents, teachers, and kids will enjoy. Plus, there is a really great website for the book that teachers, students, parents, and kids can enjoy the content, get some lesson ideas, play games, listen to the music of "Match" (mentioned in the book), and more. Overall, I'm going to give it a 4.5 out of 5 stars.
I'm pretty stringent with my star system. I can't give around 5 stars to every book. In my rating system a 5 star book is absolutely amazing; it must be clean, have original content and storyline, a page turner, great character development, and everyone, boys, girls, young, and old can enjoy it. A five star book is a book that you won't soon forget, and it leaves you with that happy and satisfied feeling. With that being said, I did say that I enjoyed this book, and that is 100% correct. I did say that it is good for both boys and girls and a range of ages. I will say that the book is action driven, but there is enough character development to keep the reader attached and involved with the characters. I do appreciate I.Q: Independence Hall being completely free of bad language and sexual content. However, there is a smidgen of violence if you are super picky but it is mostly tae kwon do kicks and a car crash. Basically this book is clean and parents and teachers should have no concerns about children reading it. The only reason I would say that the book lost a half a point is b/c it was a bit slow at first, and I felt that the book didn't grab me to turn to the page as drastically as a 5 star book does/should. However, I'm being pretty picky here. This book is great!
Goodreads had the best book summary I could find:
"Fame has arrived for rockers Blaze and Roger! Just married, leaving Los Angeles, and touring the United States with teenagers Q (Quest) and Angela in tow, the excitement heightens in Philadelphia when Angela realizes she's being followed. Q soon learns the secret about Angela's real mother - a former Secret Service agent.
Readers are thrust into current issues affecting the world in this edge-of- your-seat, modern-day mystery adventure. I, Q readers will be immersed in the work of U.S. Secret Service, the Mossad, and the MI5. But who are the good guys and who are the bad guys? What happens to this newly formed family if Angela's mom is not dead?"
If you are looking for a great read-aloud in your classroom, a new book to read with your son or daughter, or you just want a fun but fast read check out I.Q: Independence Hall. It'll meet and exceed all of your expectations. If you like this book, check out his many other books encompassing a wide array genres. Also, check out his website, and like him on Facebook. He has a great presence there and does contests for free books every month on his website. I've also read/heard that he is wonderful at school visits as well as Skype talks. Go check him out. He's pretty awesome as well as his books!