Friday, December 23, 2011

Liesl is locked in the attic by her mean stepmother when the ghost Po appears. Po brings news from the Other World of Liesl's dead father and Liesl knows she must escape and take her father's ashes to their old home. Will watches Liesl in her attic window and dreams of becoming her friend. When Will messes up a delivery for his boss, the magician he has to run. At the train station, Will sees the girl from the attic and decides it's a sign. He should go where ever she's headed. Magic, adventure, suspense and friendship, it's all in Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver.
Recommended for grades 4 - 6.
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Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick. Ben needs to find his father so with a name and an address he travels from Minnesota to New York City. Once in the city, Ben finds a friend and some familiar wolves at the Museum of Natural History. Along with this story is another told entirely in pictures. Recommended for grades 3 - 6.
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Thursday, December 01, 2011

Join the newsies on the streets of New York City for adventure, mystery and murder in City of Orphans by Avi.

The year is 1893 and Maks is helping his family survive by selling newspapers. If he sells them all, he makes eight cents. And while selling the papers, he needs to stay away from Bruno and the Plug Uglies who beat him to a pulp and steal his money and get his sister out of jail where she is being held after she's accused of stealing a watch at the Waldorf. Recommended for grades 4 - 6.
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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Young Fredle by Cynthia Voigt
Fredle, a kitchen mouse finds himself outside and no mouse ever returns from outside. Should he just wait for the cat to come get him, should he try to find his way back to the kitchen or should he forget what he's been told and explore the new world before him.
Recommended for grades 3 - 6
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Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George
King and Queen Glower have been ambushed and the surrounding kingdoms are wondering if they should invade. Surely they could take the kingdom away from three kids. What they don't know is that they have to conquer the castle too which adds rooms, staircases and even wings on Tuesday and seems to have a mind of it's own.
Recommended for grades 3 - 6.
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Sunday, October 02, 2011

The Adventures of Sir Gawain the True by Gerald Morris.
What's the most important trait if you are a knight of King Arthur's Round Table? courage? bravery? strength? Find at as Sir Gawain tries to stay undefeated and keep his head attached to his shoulders. (This is the third in the series so you might want to check out the first two. Recommended for Grades 2 - 4.
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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Floors by Patrick Carman
Think Charlie and the Chocolate Factory but in a crazy hotel. Each floor is different, one's full of cupcakes, another is a giant pinball game and one's a cave and you don't travel in normal elevators. Leo, the janitor's son has to solve the four puzzles and save the hotel after his friend, the owner and designer of the hotel disappears. And, yeah, always take a duck... Recommended for grades 4 - 6.
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Friday, September 02, 2011

The Dragon of Cripple Creek by Troy Howell
On the way to San Francisco, where her Dad has a new job, Kat convinces him to stop in Cripple Creek so they can visit the Molly Kathleen Gold Mine. Kat loves all things gold - she even has a gold tooth. Kat turns the world upside down, when she wanders off the marked tour and steals a large gold nugget from a dragon.
Recommended for grades 4 - 6
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Monday, August 29, 2011

Emmy and the Rats in the Belfry by Lynne Jonell
This is book 3 about Emmy and her rat friend Raston who can change a person into a rat and his sister Cecelia who can make them human again. Of course the evil Miss Barny is back and wants revenge, and to be a beautiful human again. Emmy, her rat friends, her human friends and even her elderly aunts are all in trouble if Miss Barny and her patsy Cheswick Vole aren't stopped.
Recommended for grades 4 - 6 (but you should really start with Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat)
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The Ogre of Oglefort by Eva Ibbotson
A hag, a troll, a wizard and a boy are sent on a quest to save a princess from an ogre, but when they get to the castle, they discover that it's the ogre who needs to be saved.
Recommended for grades 3 - 5, younger for reading aloud
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The One and Only Stuey Lewis by Jane Schoenberg
Stuey Lewis is starting second grade with his best friend Will and major pain in the neck Lilly. In these four stories, Stuey shares a secret, has an awesome Halloween plan, joins a soccer team and decides second grade is great.
Recommended for first - third graders ready for a short chapter book and to be read aloud to ages 5 and up.
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Monday, August 22, 2011

The Notorius Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism and Treachery by Steve Sheinkin
When the American Revolution started Benedict Arnold was ready to fight for his new country. He led the fight on Lake Champlin and turned away the powerful British Navy. He led the charge in the Battle of Saratoga and sent the British back to Canada. He spent most of his money on the war effort and was crippled by a bullet in the leg. So what happened that made him offer his services to the British as a spy and become hated by the Americans and the British? Recommended for grades 5 - 8.
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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Fires Beneath the Sea by Lydia Millet
Cara's mother has disappeared. The police haven't been called. Her father won't talk about it. But, when an otter appears off the coast of a Cape and a watery man shows up at their house, Cara and her genius brother Jackson realize they are the ones who must find their mother. Recommended for grades 4 - 6.
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Friday, July 22, 2011

Vincent Shadow: Toy Inventor by Tim Kehoe
Vincent has invented toys most of his life. He and his mom built a secret lab behind his closet door and created (or tried to create) all kinds of cool stuff. But, now his mother is dead and his Dad has married an evil stepmother he met on the Internet. His life as toy inventor seems to be over since they've moved from New York City Minneapolis. But, maybe not, when his teacher encourages them all to enter a toy contest. Recommended for grades 3 - 6

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Missing On Superstition Mountain by Elise Broach. The Barkers have just moved to Arizona and their parents have told them not to go into the mountains behind their home. The desert is too dangerous. But, when their cat runs into the mountains, they have to follow him to protect him from mountain lions. And when they find three human skulls, they know they will have to go back.
Recommended for grades 4 and up.
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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Penderwicks are back, but not together. Mr. Penderwick and his new wife Iantha are off to London. Rosalind, the oldest of the four girls, is going to the beach with a friend. Leaving the 3 remaining Penderwicks and their friend Jeffrey, in the care of Aunt Claire at a beach house in Maine. Skye as the OAP (oldest available Penderwick) is charged with keeping the girls safe and together. It should be easy, but when Aunt Claire is injured and Jeffrey doesn't come, Skye starts having doubts. And what was it Rosalind told her about Batty blowing up? Read this one as a family.

Doug's dad lost his job, so he's moving the family to a small town called Marysville, so he can start a new one. This means Doug has to start 8th grade in a new town with no friends. They move into "THE DUMP", a lousy little house that is filled with his dad's anger and the family's fear of what dad might do. This is why Doug has developed a bit of a wise guy attitude. The first person he meets, Lil Spicer, fortunately sees through his act, and she becomes his first friend.
The only place to go in stupid Marysville is the library. Here, Doug was looking for cool relief from the sweltering sun; what he found was a kind librarian and the biggest, most amazing drawing of a bird. It's a painting from John James Audubon's book, Birds of America. The discovery of this book, with help from the patient, yet persistent librarian, Doug finds a talent for drawing and composition. He also begins to find his place in the community when he discovers the value in himself. Other members in the community discover it too. Doug's straight forward narration takes you into the heart and mind of this memorable character.
Recommended for grades 5-8

Friday, May 20, 2011

Emma Freke is almost 12 years old, almost 6 feet tall, and almost the smartest person in her school. Obviously, her mother didn't say her name outloud before she choose it. But, it appears to Emma that her mother doesn't think about many things beyond who she's going out with and what she should wear. When her mother decides Emma should attend the Freke Family Reunion in Wisconsin and meet the other half of her family, Emma learns that appearances can be misleading. I, Emma Freke by Elizabeth Atkinson is a recommended for students in grades 4 - 6 who like self-discovery in their realistic fiction.
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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Calli is the third Gold child and her brother Alex who is the star on his high school basketball team and her sister Becca who is on a synchronized skating team, Calli is not good at anything. She's tried violin, gymnastics, soccer, baton twirling, but didn't like any of them. She may never live up to the family motto of "Be Gold!" Calli Be Gold by Michele Weber Hurwitz is recommended for grades 4 - 6.
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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Bird in a Box by Andrea Davis Pinkney
Hibernia, Willie, and Otis -- are about to meet. Hibernia dreams of becoming a famous singer and performing at Harlem's swanky Savoy Ballroom. Willie is recovering from a tragedy that prevents him from becoming a junior boxing champ. Otis spends every night glued to the radio, listening to the voices that remind him of Daddy and Ma.

Each of them is looking for hope, and they all find it in the thrilling boxing matches of young Joe Louis. They know Joe has a good chance of becoming the country's next heavyweight champion. What they don't know is that during this unforgettable year, the three of them will become friends.

Thoughtful historical fiction for grades 5 - 7.

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Cheesie Mack is an ordinary fifth grader, with a best friend who has "good" ideas (like realizing a dozen mice during fifth grade graduation), a pain in the neck sister (who loves to get him in trouble), a granpa who likes to tell stories about when he was a boy, and there was no fifth grade graduation, and a couple of normal parents. Cheesie Mack is Not A Genius or Anything by Steve Cotler will appeal to Wimpy Kid fans. Recommended for grades 3 - 6.
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Friday, April 15, 2011

Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie by Julie Sternberg
Eleanor is having a bad August. Her very first babysitter she had since she was a baby is moving. Now she has a new babysitter who seems nice, but Eleanor just can't help being a grump. Without really noticing, Eleanor starts to enjoy her new sitter. August turns to September, and Eleanor heads to third grade feeling happy.
Recommended for grades 2-4.
Midnight Tunnel by Angie Frazier
Suzanna Snow's parents run an inn on the coast that caters to wealthy families from Boston and they are trying to train Suzanna to run the business. Suzanna however wants to be a detective like her famous uncle. When a young girl disappears from the inn, Suzanna starts to investigate. She is excited to share her thoughts with her uncle, but he won't listen to the ramblings of a child. Suzanna won't give up. She is determined to find out what happened the night Maddie disappeared.
Recommended for grades 3 - 6.
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Monday, April 11, 2011

Amelia Earhart attempted to fly around the world in 1937. She was scheduled to land on tiny Howland Island in the Pacific Ocean, but never got there. The Itasca, a coast guard cutter was waiting nearby to help her find the airfield. They and people as far away as Montana claimed to hear Amelia asking for help, but no one found her, her navigator, or her plane. This is the story of America's most famous female aviator from her childhood to her disappearance. Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart by Candace Fleming is recommended for students in grades 4 - 8.
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The Trouble with Chickens by Doreen Cronin
J.J. Tully is a former search and rescue dog who has retired to a farm. So when the resident hen complains that two of her chicks are missing, J.J. is not impressed and not inclined to help until she offers a cheeseburger.
Recommended for Grades 2 - 4
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Friday, March 11, 2011

If you've read A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett and wondered what happened next, you'll want to read Wishing for Tomorrow by Hilary McKay. Sara (rich girl, poor maid, rich girl) has left the boarding school. Her friend Eremengarde has no one to confide in and little Lottie has no one to keep her out of trouble. Then there's Miss Minchin the head mistress who has always ruled the school with an iron fist spending days in her room and Alice, the new maid refusing to keep the school clean and talking about them needing fresh air.

Of course it's all Sara's fault, but she's not there to make it right. Recommended for grades 3 - 6.

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Romeo and Juliet Code by Phoebe Stone

As the bombs continue to fall in London during WW II, Felicity's parents bring her to Maine to live with her father's mother, brother and sister. She knows it will be strange, but doesn't understand why her uncle brushes off her father's embrace and neither he or her grandmother will talk to her mother.

When her uncle receives letters from her father in Portugal and insists they are from someone else, Felicity knows she must find a way to see those letters and try to figure out where her parents are and what they are doing. Recommended for grades 4 - 7.

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Saturday, February 26, 2011

When Manjiro was 14 the small fishing boat he was working on was swept away from Japan and onto an island in the open sea. In 1841, Japan was extremely isolated. The people feared the world so much that anyone who left the island was not allowed to return, even from a rocky island in the middle of the ocean. So when Manjiro first sees the blue eyed New England whaler he is filled with fear. These are barbarians who will surely kill them.

The Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus is based on the true story of Manjiro and his friends. The barbarains did not kill them, but they had some very strange habits. Recommended for grades 4 and up.

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Close to Famous by Joan Bauer
Foster loves to bake. Cupcakes and muffins are or specialty. Her dream is to have her own show on the Food Network. When she and her mother arrive in Culpepper, West Virginia, Foster is afraid there is no where to pursue her dream. But, Culpepper, like every other place in America is fully of people pursuing dreams. Recommended for grades 5 - 8.

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Abby is going to have to repeat 6th grade if she doesn't do something fast. She agrees to do a special project on Afghanistan because she likes mountains as opposed to her flat home in Illinois. Writing letters to a kid in Afghanistan is just a pain in the neck for her, answering the letters is dangerous for the writer in Bahar-Lan.
Recommended for grades 4 - 6

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Words in the Dust by Trent Reedy is set in Afghanistan in 2005 and 2006. Zulaikha, the main character, is based on the girls the author met while he was serving in Afghanistan. Being a girl in Afghanistan is not easy and Zulaikha's life is complicated by a cleft lip. This is a condition that in the United States is corrected in infancy, but there are no doctors in her smile village. The military hopes they can convince Zulaikha's father that they can help her.
Recommended for grades 5 - 8

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Turtle's mom has always been a housekeeper and Turtle has moved with her from job to job, rich lady to rich lady. But her mom's latest employer doesn't like kids so Turtle is sent to Key West to live with her mother's sister. The house is tiny. Her aunt has three boys who don't like girls and it's unbelievably hot. (This story is set before air conditioning.) How long will her mom make her stay in "paradise"?
Recommended for students in grades 4 - 6.

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Friday, February 04, 2011

Nancy and Plum by Betty MacDonald is for all readers who like orphans who are mistreated by the woman who runs the boarding house where they have been placed and forgotten. But, like all good orphans, Nancy and Plum are brave, kind, honest and able to outsmart the mean person who cares for them and end up in a place where they are loved for being the great kids they are.
A good read aloud for grades K - 3. Can be read by kids in grades 3 and up.

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Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Small Persons with Wings by Ellen Booraem

When Mellie was little she had a friend who was small and had wings. When Mellie was in kindergarten, she offered to bring him in for show and tell. He disappeared and Mellie suffered at the hands of her classmates. When Mellie was in junior high, her grandfather died and her parents inherited his inn. Mellie was hoping the move would let her start over in a new place. Unfortunately, in the new places there were lots of little persons with wings. Recommended for Grades 4 - 6
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Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Death-Defying Pepper Roux by Geraldine McCaughrean
When Pepper was just a baby his aunt had a vision from St. Constance that he would die before he turned 14. But, Pepper doesn't want to die so on his 14th birthday, he runs away. First he becomes the Captain of his father's ship, but when it sinks, he works at a deli. When he gets in trouble there, he becomes a journalist. Pepper finds a new adventure around every corner, and death always seems to be just one step behind. Grades 5 - 8
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The Other Half of My Heart by Sundee t. Frazier
Minnie and Keira are twins. Their mom is black and their dad is white. Keira looks like her mom and Minnie looks like her dad. Keira is outgoing and popular. Minnie is shy and clumsy. Minnie wishes she was more like her sister. When they spend a week with Grandma Johnson it North Carolina and compete in the Miss Black Pearl Preteen of America, Minnie realizes that being Keira isn't always easy. Grades 5 - 8

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Everyone knows the story of Hansel and Gretel, but few know the whole story. In A Tale Dark & Grimm, Adam Gidwitz tells everything: fathers, cutting off heads, servants turning to stone, sons turning to birds, a trip to the Devil and more. Read it if you dare. Grades 4 - 6.
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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool is the 2011 Newbery Winner. Abilene Tucker has been raised by her father since her mother took off when she was young. She knows how to get on and off moving trains, how to get free food, and how to make do - all things her father has taught her. When Abilene turned 12, her father seemed different and now he's sent her off to Manifest to live with a preacher.

Abilene hopes the preacher will take her in, they only did church when there was a free meal. She hopes Manifest can teach her about her father. She hopes that he will come pick her up at the end of the summer like he said. Grades 4 and up
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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Penny Dreadful by Laurel Snyder is the story of a girl who is bored. She has nice parents, a good chef, a nice tutor and two friends who her mom arranges playdates with, but none of it is interesting or adventuresome like the books she reads.

So Penny writes a wish on a piece of paper and throws it in a well, just like she read in a book. She doesn't really believe in magic, but things are definitely becoming more interesting and she's not sure that's a good thing. For grades 3 - 5.
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