A touching story of self-reliance and survival. Eleven year old Jack Martel is abandoned by his mom, who is close to him but suffers from episodes of mental illness. He is left alone at their camping site in Acadia National Park in Maine. Jack must find food in any way he can—digging through trash for lobster leftovers, eating carrots from an older lady’s garden, dining on employees’ lunches while spending the night in an L. L. Bean store. He avoids authorities for fear they will permanently separate him from his mom.
The characters from Gordon Korman’s Swindle are back in Zoobreak, a novel about children fighting for animal rights. When the kids visit a floating zoo, they discover that the animals are living in deplorable conditions and decide to break out the animals and bring them to another zoo. A subplot featuring the disappearance of a main character’s pet monkey brings excitement to the story. This moving, yet funny story is recommended for 5th grade and up, and younger for reading aloud.
Gooney Bird Greene loves to be the center of attention (just like most second graders) and only tells absolutely true stories. Gooney Bird is an excellent storyteller and tells a new story to her classroom every day. What's interesting is how Gooney Bird shows that words can mean different things than you might expect, for example, how Gooney Bird moved to her new home from China in a minivan. A good book for second grade students who are ready for short chapter books.
The perfect summer adventure for curious readers who love nature and daring explorations. Owen Jester catches the biggest bullfrog in the pond in Carter, Georgia, and locates the lost Water Wonder 4000 submarine, but must keep both events secret. He miraculously discovers how to drive the sub to explore pond life underwater with the help of his friends. He must learn to trust their annoying acquaintance, Viola, whose knowledge proves crucial to success.
5 year old Lotta becomes angry with her mother when assigned to wear a scratchy sweater. She cuts the sweater up and runs away to find a new home. Her next door neighbor lets her set up a little house in the backyard, and Lotta decides she will live there forever. Lotta ends up going home in the end, of course! I like this short chapter book by the author of Pippi Longstocking, because I think so many children can relate to Lotta's anger.
Recommended for 1st to 3rd grade students, younger for reading aloud.
Stuart is getting ready to start the third grade and is very nervous. Will he make any friends? He decides he needs a cape to make things better and makes one by stapling together his dad's ties (not recommended!). Stuart has several grand adventures and by the end of the book is all ready to start school. This is by the same author as the Clementine series. Stuart is imaginative and uses his creativity wisely. This book has been re-released in 2010 as "The Amazing World of Stuart." Recommended for 2nd-4th grade students.
In The Princess Plot, a German bestseller, Jenna is recruited to play the role of Princess Malena of Scandia in a new movie. She becomes suspicious when she finds herself impersonating the princess at a public event. What has happened to the real princess? A subplot involving rebels looking for equal rights in Scandia adds to the excitement. Recommended for 5th grade and up.
In the fifth book of their adventures, Annie discovers that birds are building a nest on her porch. Every day, Annie and Henry check on the nest to see who lives there. They discover a robin and five eggs residing in the nest! What will happen as Annie continues to check the nest?
Georgina and her family suddenly find themselves homeless. Living out of a car with her mother and little brother while her mother works two jobs makes Georgina think about what she can do to help the situation. She comes up with a wild idea to steal a dog and claim reward money after the owner posts reward signs for the lost dog. As the story unfolds, Georgina and the reader grow fond of a mysterious man named Mookie, an old woman named Carmella, and a little dog named Willy. Sometimes, the best lessons happen in the worst of times.
In the Sisters 8 series, Annie is the oldest of the Huit Family Octuplets. The eight girls and their eight cats discover that their parents have gone missing on New Year’s Eve, and embark on a mysterious adventure to find their parents.
Elska is the first book in the Horse Diaries series. The story starts with the birth of a new foal, Elska, and the story is told in Elska’s voice. Elska is an Icelandic horse, living around 1000 AD in Iceland. The story follows Elska as she meets humans who she learns to love. The story is filled with fascinating facts about horses and Iceland and teaches new vocabulary.
Whose side do you fight for if you're a slave during the American Revolution? While our country is fighting for freedom from Britain, who will fight for the slaves' freedom? The truth is that sometimes the slaves would fight for whoever promised them their freedom after the war. This book of incredibly well researched historical fiction takes the reader through the harrowing times of a slave girl named Isabel, herlittle sister Ruth, and a slave boy named Curzon as they fight for their freedom.
In the first novel of this series, amateur detectives Sophie, Margaret, and Rebecca (the Red Blazer Girls) band together to discover the location of the Ring of Rocamadour. They meet Ms. Harriman, who delivers the challenge to the three—they must follow clues and solve puzzles to discern the secret of the Ring. The puzzles are given to the reader to try to solve before reading ahead.
This humorous chapter book takes us in the life of 3rd grade student Sophie Simon. While Sophie is incredibly smart, she struggles with making friends. Sophie finds herself solving problems for her classmates that they have with their parents. The book includes “Sophie Simon’s Encyclopedia of Things She Can’t Believe You Don’t Know Already” and a recipe for Madagascar Ground Boa Taffy. For students in 3rd thru 5th grade.
It's 1872 in New York City and Horace Carpetine is a photography apprentice. Horace and a black servant girl named Peggy discover that his photographs for Mrs. Von Macht are evoking the ghost of her deceased daughter, Eleanora. Things really heat up when Horace and Peggy discover that the ghost of Eleanora is out for revenge. This book is a great chiller for those who liked to get spooked; recommended for grades 5-8.
Meet spunky Abilene Tucker, 12 year old daughter of a drifter, who puts her on a train to Manifest, Kansas, to spend the summer of 1936 with colorful people from his past. A local diviner reveals stories from the days of World War I (1917-1918) in flashbacks that parallel life in 1936, as Abilene searches for a connection to her father. Mystery, adventure, spy hunting, secrets, and humor slowly form a memorable story of family and community.
This is really a unique book for James Patterson. It's not a graphic novel, by definition, but it is full of sketches and doodles that add a graphic novel quality to the book. This is a story about a boy named Rafe who is starting middle school and seems to only be noticed by the school bully, "Miller the Killer." After the first school assembly, Rafe makes a promise to break all the rules in the student handbook (without hurting anyone) by the end of the school year. While the story deals with some heavy issues, it does it with great humor and fun drawings along the way.
The picture books series about Pinkalicious is available as part of the “I Can Read” series. This Level 1 reader tells about Pinkalicious’ time at school. While Pinkalicious enjoys school, she thinks she would enjoy it more if Goldilicious, her unicorn, came to school with her. What will happen when Goldilicious visits the classroom? Kindergarten and 1st grade students will enjoy read about Pinkalicious and Goldilicious.
The story starts with orphans, Dan and Amy, left with a decision to make. Their Grandmother, Grace Cahill, dies and leaves a very interesting will. Her descendants have the choice to take a million dollars or take up the family hunt for the 39 clues that will make them extremely powerful. The descendants that take up this hunt will travel all over the world in search of the 39 clues to the family’s fortune. As Amy and Dan compete with other members of the Cahill clan they learn about their dead parents and some world history.
This series, Ballpark Mysteries, is for both baseball fans and mystery fans. In Fenway Foul-Up, a lucky bat is stolen, and Mike and Kate are on the case. Lots of baseball trivia for those who enjoy baseball. A second book in the series was released simultaneously. For students in 2nd to 4th grade.
Eleven year old Delly has an impulsive nature that constantly gets her in trouble for fighting, skipping class, hacking spitballs, and more. The fact that she creates her own words like, “mysturiosity” and “bawlgrammit” is entertaining for the reader, but it also reflects a certain independent quality in Delly’s character. Unfortunately for Delly, if she does one more thing wrong, she’s going to get sent off to a school for troubled kids. To avoid more outbursts, Delly first tries counting in her head when she’s upset. Then, her attention turns to a new
This book by Newbery winning author Lois Lowry features Princess Patricia Priscilla, who will soon turn sixteen and choose a suitor to marry. The Princess is bored with her life and disguises herself as Pat, a poor peasant girl. Pat discovers a love for school and is disappointed that she will not be able to continue. This book is filled with alliteration, rhymes, and wordplay.
This installment in the Bad Kitty series which began as a picture book series and then morphed into chapter books, is a look at Bad Kitty’s birthday party. We meet many different breeds of cats all coming to the party bearing gifts, none of which make Bad Kitty happy. Interspersed with scientific facts about cats, this heavily illustrated book is laugh out loud funny, and is recommended for 3rd grade and up.
This beginning reader is a continuation of the Stinky Face picture book series. The main character, Stinky Face, asks “what if” questions to his mother about going to Kindergarten. The questions get sillier and sillier as the book progresses, including a question about a hungry armadillo and art class.
Dan Gutman (author of "Babe and Me" and "Return of the Homework Machine") offers a humorous look at the lives of elementary age students in The Talent Show. After a tornado rips through the small town of Cape Bluff, Kansas, the residents need a way to raise money to rebuild their town and raise morale. The town decides to put on a talent show, with students from the elementary school providing the talent. Everyone wants to get in on the action, talent or no talent!
Forge is book two of an impressive trilogy about the African American experience during the American Revolutionary War. While this is not a subject that is typically well developed in our history lessons, it is meticulously well researched by this author and impressively executed with unforgettable characters. In book one,
Ninth Ward is a perfect choice for both avid readers and reluctant readers. Set in the ill-fated 9th Ward of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, this story develops unique and beautiful characters while invoking a regional history of belief in magic and mysticism. Nine year old Lanesha is about to have the fight of her life. Lanesha was born with the gift of “sight”, the ability to communicate with ghosts, but has trouble communicating with her mother, who died during child birth. Mama Ya Ya, the elderly woman who has raised Lanesha, has the ability to see into the future.
Eleven year old Meli Lleshi is living a happy life with her Muslim Albanian family in Kosovo in 1998 when her life is turned upside down by the Kosovo War between the Serbs and the Albanians. The murder of fellow Albanians and the brief but terrifying disappearance of Meli's 13 year old brother, Mehmet, mark the beginning of this story. On the run from ethnic cleansing, Meli's family will abandon their home and business on a journey to escape. This journey will take them to the mountains, Uncle's farm, miles of traveling on foot while pushing Grandma in a wheelbarrow,
Thirteen year old Gen doesn't want to spend her entire summer vacation with her family at an 1890's styled frontier camp. It's her mother's idea to commit the family to this experience in living history and the owners of this camp take their social experiment very seriously. To preserve her sanity, Gen smuggles in a cell phone so that she can text her friends about every painful experience of forced frontier life, including the details of meeting Caleb, a very cute fellow camper, and Nora, the very jealous and bitter daughter of the camp owners. Gen discovers that th
Minli lives with her mother and father, passing their days trying to eke out a living in rice fields on Fruitless Mountain. At night, her father, a great storyteller, tells Minli adventures and magical folktales. Mother, unhappy with the family's difficult life, does not approve of Father filling Minli's head with such nonsense. After a chance encounter with a goldfish peddler, Minli decides to go on a quest to find The Old Man of the Moon to change their family fortune. Along the way, Minli befriends a dragon, encounters a talking fish and learns about the "tangled
The middle child between two sets of twins, Miri feels overlooked and out of place even in her own family. Not only that, but, unlike most of her friends, she still likes to play pretend games and still wants to believe that magic is real even though nothing magical has ever happened to her. Miri and family have just moved into an old house, and her small bedroom, with its worn and ugly wallpaper, seems strange to her. Sent to her bedroom after hitting her brother, Miri discovers a glasses lens taped to one of the walls.
A story told from the animal's point of view, a female gopher snake is captured by a "filthy, fleshy human child" named Gunnar. The boy calls the snake "Crusher," and puts his new "pet" in a terrarium in his bedroom, next to cages occupied by wild animals that Gunnar has captured but since lost interest in. While looking for her chance to escape, Crusher observes Gunnar and his habits, his family, friends, and his love of video games.
I liked Meg Rosoff's There is No Dog. It's a funny, somewhat scattered, odd little story that I wasn't expecting. I think when you read the blurb on a book that tells you God is a stereotypical teen boy, you get some expectations--like seeing a preview for a Will Farrel movie. I expected much more zaniness than this story brought, and I appreciate that the humor was more understated.
Susannah Delaney‘s life is unraveling. Her son Quinn, a quiet, cerebral child is being severely bullied at school and her high-spirited, 14 year-old daughter Katie is spiraling out of control. Susannah makes the drastic decision to move her family thousands of miles away from home to an isolated island off the coast of Washington, where there is no electricity, only a one-room school and any resemblance of a store is an hour boat ride to the mainland. Life on the island is anything but easy and Susannah must also deal with Katie’s hostile attitude towards her.
This fractured version of "The Princess and the Pea" stars Prince Henrik, who is ready to get married. He wants a girl who likes hockey and camping, plus has a nice smile. He asks his brother, Prince Hans, for advice, and observes his sister-in-law Princess Eva, a sensitive (read: whiny) princess. Henrik decides he wants the very opposite of Princess Eva, and performs the opposite of the typical princess test by putting a full bag of frozen peas under a thin mattress.
Baby Bat never wants to leave his cozy cave where thousands of little bats and their mothers sleep together like a huge furry coat and where Mother Bat provides warmth and milk. But Baby Bat grows bigger and must soon practice wing-flapping to learn to fly and hunt in the outside world. One night when he practices wing-flapping, he takes to the air, but falls down into the nest of Pluribus Packrat. P.
Two strong young women are traveling through the dangerous Wild West of the late 1800s. Jett came from a wealthy New Orleans family, whose wealth and home were destroyed during the Civil War, so she hates Yankees. She doesn’t believe her twin brother Philip is dead, and is traveling the West by horseback to find him. In order to be safe she dresses like a male gunslinger, and earns her way by gambling, though she longs to return to her old life.
I got hooked on Kristin Hannah years ago after reading Angel Falls and have been an avid fan of hers ever since. Her books tend to be warm, romantic reads and the plots usually have strong family ties. In 2010 she published the book, Winter Garden. I anticipated a nice, heart-warming story as always, but this book went far beyond her usual charm. The book chronicles the lives of sisters, Nina and Meredith. The story opens with Nina and Meredith as adult children of a warm-hearted father and a seemingly distant mother.
The question on everyone's mind these days: Which is better, Zombies or Unicorns? This unique short story collection pits the walking dead against magic glitter in a grudge match unlike any other. Edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier, this collection features some of the best teen authors writing today, including Libba Bray, Garth Nix, and Cassandra Clare.
The first title in a new series, this is a stitch from beginning to end! (Pun intended) The heroine, Anastasia Pollack, is the crafts editor at what she describes as a"medium classy" national women's magazine. She has just been informed her husband was not out of town at a work meeting, but gambling in Las Vegas, keeled over and died. Sounds funny so far, right? Suddenly she is a widow, with enormous debts, no assets, and a self-proclaimed communist mother in law (and devil-dog) permanently living with her. But the surprises just keep on coming!
Every single one of this author's books has made me cry! Sparks continues his normal style of getting to a place in your life where either you must make a big decision, or you have one forced upon you. The consequences are never quite what you expect. He makes you examine your choice, and makes you think about how your life, or someone else's, would be if circumstances were different. If only you didn't have to choose. If only you could go back and change a choice. If only you could have it both ways. This particular story brings Amanda and Dawson together after many years.
I really liked this book! The title is absolutely perfect, and says it all. The characters and their interactions are very real; you are smack dab in the middle of this family’s life. Mom and dad are divorced, the kids live with dad, and he is engaged to a woman they barely know, much less trust. You feel their hopes, share their dreams and hurts with each disappointment. The story is told through the voice of one character at a time; each character gets their turn to talk, but they talk only to you and not each other. And that, dear reader, is the proble
Will we ever truly understand what it was like to be Jewish in World War II? Probably not, but this book adds another perspective. Just like in the fairy tale you remember, two children are abandoned in the woods and if you pay close attention there is even a trail of breadcrumbs. But it isn't because the stepmother doesn't like them. The family is running for their very lives. They must all lose their identities in order to survive. Even their names have to change. There is a cottage in the woods, a mysterious and frightening old woman, and a big oven.
Our memories are what make us who we are. Imagine waking up in the morning and having absolutely no memory of your life. Now imagine doing that every day, for years. This is the situation for Christine, who has a rare form of amnesia. Each day is a blank slate. A first novel from British author S. J. Watson, I found this to be an exciting and haunting story. There are a few terms that give it a British flavor, but it could easily take place anywhere. The main character is someone you care about from page one, as she shares her life, one day at a time.