Review (Plus): Emily and the Spellstone

Bookshelf Blurb: All Emily wants for her birthday is a phone, but not resembling an iPhone with apps that destroy things that go bump in the night! She didn’t realize wishes can come (sorta) true.

Ms. America’s Review:

Poor Emily just wants a phone for her birthday; she isn’t even asking for a certain kind or data plan, but since her sister has to go to physical therapy for texting fingers, it is a lost cause. As she wanders angrily away from her family birthday party at the beach, muttering notions of destroying her family, she discovers a rock…

Emily and the Spellstone by Michael Rubens gives us a character who is suffering from the angst of not fitting in. She wants to be normal, but even her parents forget her true age on her birthday! She thinks all of her woes will become rainbows if she could just have a phone. Most preteen kids can relate to Emily, and they will commiserate with her immediately. Emily’s unique hobby of collecting rocks–or more of a habit at this point in her life–becomes her undoing as she finds an Iphone looking rock on the beach. She picks it up declaring to herself this is as good as life is going to get. She puts it haphazardly on her windowsill that evening, not realizing the moon was the charger it needed to power on.

Along with the phone comes a demon protector who must do as Emily bids, but the minute he is released he will eat her. Just when Emily feels life cannot get any worse, it does. She learns she is the spellstone master and must learn the ‘apps’ in order to save her brother who has been kidnapped by the ultimate evil family in another dimension.

Michael Ruben is a former producer of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and his book’s wit and comical situations will appeal to any middle grade reader. Emily and the Spellstone is quite comical, and the puns do not stop. Unusually, it is a book which has no mature content which is written at a higher reading level, so it’s a perfect option for those seven- and eight-year-olds who can read at a higher level. This is a start of a series. Introduce to your second and third graders, and they’ll keep reading it into sixth grade.

In the classroom:

Use electronics in the classroom. There are many amazing, free tools to use in your classroom. One of my favorite ones is It has a multitude of Powerpoint presentations already created for you to use in your classroom. Or you can use their software for free to let your students create a report. It’s super easy to use and navigate. Make your presentations fancy to show off your techy skills or simple and to the point.

Another favorite classroom tool is Khan Academy. It is wonderful for science and math. It allows your students to create accounts and invite a teacher (or parent) to be their coach. My last tech tool lifesaver is It allows you to mass text or email your parents to stay in communication with them. Parents also cannot email you back through this service, so they are forced to email you or talk with their child about your message. This is a great tool to allow your parents to know about upcoming events and no one can say, “We didn’t know….”

Emily and the Spellstone by Michael Rubens (Clarion Books | 9780544790865 | June 13, 2017)

America Grelinger

America Grelinger doesn’t mind if you call her Ms. America. It makes her head swell and she loves the title. America is a former English teacher and has a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction, now retired to raise two crazy little boys who think the funniest thing on the planet is to burp and toot… which is why she reads. Because it’s cheaper than counseling. Amy and her husband live with those two crazy little boys in Derby, Kansas.