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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