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Showing posts from February, 2016

NONFICTION MONDAY: Most Dangerous by Steve Sheinkin

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MOST DANGEROUS: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War by Steve Sheinkin Roaring Brook Press, 2015 ISBN: 9781596439528 Source: purchased All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

From Steve Sheinkin, the award-winning author of The Port Chicago 50 and Bomb comes a tense, exciting exploration of what the Times deemed "the greatest story of the century": how Daniel Ellsberg transformed from obscure government analyst into "the most dangerous man in America," and risked everything to expose the government's deceit. On June 13, 1971, the front page of the New York Times announced the existence of a 7,000-page collection of documents containing a secret history of the Vietnam War. Known as The Pentagon Papers, these documents had been comissioned by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. Chronicling every action the government had taken in the Vietnam War, they revealed a pattern of deception spanning over twenty years and four pr…

FANTASTIC FRIDAY: Darkmouth, the legend begins by Shane Hegarty

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DARKMOUTH: The Legend Begins by Shane Hegarty Harper, 2015 ISBN: 978-0-06-231125-2 Middle Grade Spec Fic/Fantasy Source: SLJ Reviewing All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

Darkmouth: The Legends Begin is the first book in a spirited tween fantasy series that Kirkus Reviews called “Ghostbusters meets Percy Jackson as written by Terry Pratchett.”

For generations, Finn’s family has protected Darkmouth from the fierce magical creatures known as Legends. Now the Legends are plotting a major attack, and it’s Finn’s turn to defend his hometown. So it’s too bad he’s the worst Legend Hunter in history.

The world’s unlikeliest hero is also its only hope in this middle grade series full of madcap adventure and mythological creatures—perfect for fans of How to Train Your Dragon and The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom.

REVIEW


In training to become Darkmouth's next Legend hunter, Finn fails over and over again.  He doesn't even want to be a Legend hunter, he wants to be a ve…

WILD & WONDERFUL WEDNESDAY: Edible Science by Jodi Wheeler-Toppen and Carol Tennant

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EDIBLE SCIENCE Experiments You Can Eat by Jodi Wheeler-Toppen and Carol Tennant National Geographic Kids, 2015 ISBN: 978-1-4263-2111-5 MG/YA Nonfiction Ages 8 and up Source: publisher for review All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

Grab a beaker, pick up your whisk, and get ready to cook up some solid science. Using food as our tools (or ingredients!) curious kids become saucy scientists that measure, weigh, combine, and craft their way through the kitchen. Discover dozens of thoroughly-tested, fun, edible experiments, sprinkled with helpful photos, diagrams, scientific facts, sub-experiments, and more. And the best news is when all the mad-science is done, you're invited to grab a spoon and take a bite -- and share your results with friends and family.

REVIEW

If you know young readers who enjoy experimenting and food this is a great book for them.  The book is beautifully organized and easy to use.  The experiments all involve food and so most of results can be ea…

BLOG TOUR w/ INTERVIEWS: The Knowing Book by Rebecca Kai Dotlich

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THE KNOWING BOOK by Rebecca Kai Dotlich, illustrated by Matthew Cordell Boyds Mills Press, 2016 ISBN; 978-1-59078-926-1 Picture Book Ages 4-8 Source: publisher for review All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

Inspiring and wise, this story begins and ends with the sky that is always above you. In between, a young rabbit travels through the wide world, experiencing joy and sorrow and all the wonder that the world has to offer. Along the way he chooses a path, explores the unknown, and ventures along trails on and off the map. And at the end of the journey, braver and more confident, he returns home, the place he can always count on and will always know. This beautiful celebration of life is the perfect gift to mark any milestone in a child’s life from birth to graduation.

REVIEW

The young rabbit who is the main character of this story explores the world around him and then returns safely home to the loving parents who are waiting for him.  The symbolism and message her …

CYBILS MG Spec Fiction WINNER! The Fog Diver by Joel Ross

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I've really enjoyed serving as a second round judge in the Middle Grade Speculative Fiction category this year.  Here are my thoughts on the book we chose as this year's winner.  Be sure to check out the rest of the winners here because they are all great choices! I was especially excited to see one of my nominations win (Easy Reader category)--Yeah for Ling and Ting!

THE FOG DIVER by Joel Ross Harper, 2015 ISBN: 978-0-06-235293-4 Ages 9-12 Source: purchased All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

A deadly white mist has cloaked the earth for hundreds of years. Humanity clings to the highest mountain peaks, where the wealthy Five Families rule over the teeming lower slopes and rambling junkyards. As the ruthless Lord Kodoc patrols the skies to enforce order, thirteen-year-old Chess and his crew scavenge in the Fog-shrouded ruins for anything they can sell to survive.

Hazel is the captain of their salvage raft: bold and daring. Swedish is the pilot: suspicious a…

ORBITING JUPITER by Gary D. Schmidt

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ORBITING JUPITER by Gary D. Schmidt Clarion Books, 2015 ISBN: 978-0-544-46222-9 MG/YA Contemporary Ages 12 and up Source: public library  All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

When Jack meets his new foster brother, he already knows three things about him:

Joseph almost killed a teacher.

He was incarcerated at a place called Stone Mountain.

He has a daughter. Her name is Jupiter. And he has never seen her.

What Jack doesn’t know, at first, is how desperate Joseph is to find his baby girl.

Or how urgently he, Jack, will want to help.

But the past can’t be shaken off. Even as new bonds form, old wounds reopen. The search for Jupiter demands more from Jack than he can imagine.

This tender, heartbreaking novel is Gary D. Schmidt at his best.

REVIEW

Gary Schmidt is one of those authors whose books I feel compelled to read because they open doors to worlds I've never seen or experienced before. I knew going in that this one was a tearjerker and sure enough it was. Neverthel…

CYBILS MG Spec FICTION FINALIST: Mars Evacuees by Sophia McDougall

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MARS EVACUEES by Sophia McDougall Harper, 2015 ISBN: 978-0-06-229399-2 Ages 9-12 Source: purchased All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

From bestselling UK author Sophia McDougall comes one fresh and funny adventure-filled tween debut about a group of kids evacuated to Mars! Perfect for fans of Artemis Fowl, this laugh-out-loud series is packed with nonstop fun.

When Earth comes under attack by aliens, hilarious heroine Alice Dare and a select group of kids are sent to Mars. But things get very strange when the adults disappear into thin air, the kids face down an alien named Thsaaa, and Alice and her friends must save the galaxy!

For when plucky twelve-year-old Alice Dare learns she's being taken out of the Muckling Abbott School for Girls and sent to another planet, no one knows what to expect. This is one wild ride that will have kids chuckling the whole way through.

REVIEW

Science fiction is a genre that isn't as common for middle graders as it is for adul…

CYBILS MG Spec Fiction FINALIST: Moon Rising by Tui T. Sutherland

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MOON RISING Wings of Fire, #6 by Tui T. Sutherland Scholastic, 2015 ISBN: 978-0-545-68534-4 Ages 9-14 Source: purchased All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

The New York Times-bestselling series soars to even greater heights with a new prophecy and five new dragonets ready to claim their destiny!

Peace has come to Pyrrhia . . . for now.

The war between the tribes is finally over, and now the dragonets of the prophecy have a plan for lasting peace: Jade Mountain Academy, a school that will gather dragonets from all the tribes and teach them to live together, perhaps even as friends.

Moonwatcher isn’t sure how she feels about school, however. Hidden in the rainforest for most of her life, the young NightWing has an awful secret. She can read minds, and even see the future. Living in a cave with dozens of other dragons is noisy, exhausting--and dangerous.

In just a few days, Moon finds herself overwhelmed by her secret powers and bombarded by strange thoughts, incl…

CYBILS MG Spec Fiction FINALIST: The Dungeoneers by John David Anderson

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THE DUNGEONEERS by John David Anderson Walden Pond Press, 2015 ISBN: 978-0-06-233814-3 Ages 10-14 Source: purchased All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

The Dungeoneers is an action-packed, funny, and heartbreaking middle grade fantasy-adventure from the author of the acclaimed Sidekicked and Minion, John David Anderson.

The world is not a fair place, and Colm Candorly knows it. While his parents and eight sisters seem content living on a lowly cobbler's earnings, Colm can't help but feel that everyone has the right to a more comfortable life. It's just a question of how far you're willing to go to get it.

In an effort to help make ends meet, Colm uses his natural gift for pickpocketing to pilfer a pile of gold from the richer residents of town, but his actions place him at the mercy of a mysterious man named Finn Argos, a gilded-toothed, smooth-tongued rogue who gives Colm a choice: he can be punished for his thievery, or he can become a member of Thwodin…

CYBILS FINALIST MG Spec FICTION: Bayou Magic by Jewell Parker Rhodes

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BAYOU MAGIC by Jewell Parker Rhodes Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2015 ISBN; 978-0-316-22484-0 Source: ARC from publisher All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

If only Maddy sees the mermaid, can it be real?

It's Maddy's turn to have a bayou summer. At first she misses life back home in the city, but soon she grows to love everything about her new surroundings -- the glimmering fireflies, the glorious landscape, and something else, deep within the water, that only Maddy sees. Could it be a mermaid? As her grandmother shares wisdom about sayings and signs, Maddy realizes she may be only the sibling to carry on her family's magical legacy. And when a disastrous oil leak threatens the bayou, she knows she may also be the only one who can help. Does she have what it takes to be a hero?

A coming-of-age tale rich with folk magic, set in the wake of the Gulf oil spill, Bayou Magic celebrates hope, friendship, and family, and captures the wonder of life in the …

CYBILS FINALIST REVIEW: Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge

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CUCKOO SONG by Frances Hardinge Amulet Books, 2015 ISBN: 978-1-4197-1480-1 Elementary/Middle Grade Spec Fiction/Fantasy Ages 10-14 Source: public library All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

When Triss wakes up after an accident, she knows something is very wrong. She is insatiably hungry, her sister seems scared of her, and her parents whisper behind closed doors. She looks through her diary to try to remember, but the pages have been ripped out. Soon Triss discovers that what happened to her is more strange and terrible than she could ever have imagined, and that she is quite literally not herself. In a quest to find the truth she must travel into the terrifying underbelly of the city to meet a twisted architect who has dark designs on her family-before it's too late . . .

Set in England after World War I, this is a brilliantly creepy but ultimately loving story of the relationship between two sisters who have to band together against a world where nothing is as it se…

DONORS CHOOSE PROJECT!

I don't normally post things like this on my blog.  But I thought I would try it.

I am working on raising money to purchase some STEAM/STEM kits to use with my students.  See further information below.

Fairy Tales and STEM My students need two STEM/STEAM Kits. My Students A typical day in a school library involves reading a poem or completing a library review sheet. A mini-lesson introduces or reinforces library curriculum such as story elements, book awards, informational and digital literacy. I see 540 students a week made up of a wide variety of personalities and abilities. Some of them love to read, some of them avoid it like the plague. I always cheer when I can find a book for a reluctant reader that turns them on to reading. Like most children, they love to talk and I'm always thrilled when I get thoughtful responses that show they've been truly involved in an activity. Their enthusiasm for a good read-aloud is truly the best part of working with children. My Project…

PICTURE BOOK NONFICTION: Aaron and Alexander by Don Brown/How Kate Warne Saved President Lincoln by Elizabeth Van Steenwyk

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HOW KATE WARNE SAVED PRESIDENT LINCOLN by Elizabeth Van Steenwyk, pictures by Valentina Belloni Albert Whitman and Company, 2016 Ages 4-8 978-0-8075-4117-3 Source: purchased All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

In 1856, when Kate Warne went to see Allan Pinkerton, only men were detectives. But Kate convinced Allan to hire her for his detective agency. She explained that she could worm out secrets where men could not go--in disguise as a society lady! Join Kate on her most important mission--to thwart a plot to assassinate Abraham Lincoln on the way to his inauguration.

REVIEW

 Picture book nonfiction is a rather unique genre in that it tries to tell rather complicated stories in as simplified a form as possible.  And while I've read some great picture book nonfiction, there are occasion problems with text conveying things that aren't quite accurate. And there is a bit of that here.  The author is focused on Kate Warne and the remarkable things she did as a female …

BLOG TOUR: Last in a Long Line of Rebels by Lisa Lewis Tyre

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LAST IN A LONG LINE OF REBELS by Lisa Lewis Tyre Nancy Paulsen Books, 2015 ISBN: 978-0-399-16838-3 Middle Grade Contemporary/Mystery Ages 9-12 Source: author for review All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

Debut novelist Lisa Lewis Tyre vibrantly brings a small town and its outspoken characters to life, as she explores race and other community issues from both the Civil War and the present day.

Lou might be only twelve, but she’s never been one to take things sitting down. So when her Civil War-era house is about to be condemned, she’s determined to save it—either by getting it deemed a historic landmark or by finding the stash of gold rumored to be hidden nearby during the war. As Lou digs into the past, her eyes are opened when she finds that her ancestors ran the gamut of slave owners, renegades, thieves and abolitionists. Meanwhile, some incidents in her town show her that many Civil War era prejudices still survive and that the past can keep repeating itself if we le…