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Showing posts from 2020

PICTURE BOOK FICTION: Bird Count by Susan Edwards Richmond & Little Bro, Big Sis by Rocio Bonilla

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BIRD COUNT written by Susan Edwards Richmond, illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman Peachtree Publishing, 2019 ISBN: 978-1-56145-954-4 Source: publisher for review Ages 4-8 All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

A young girl eagerly identifies and counts the birds she observes around her town during the New England Christmas Bird Count.

Young Ava and her mother prepare to participate as "citizen scientists" in the Christmas Bird Count. She is excited when Big Al, the leader of their team, asks her to record the tally this year. Using her most important tools--her eyes and ears--and the birding ID techniques she's learned, Ava eagerly identifies and counts the birds they observe on their assigned route around the town. At the end of the day, they meet up with the other teams in the area for a Christmas Bird Count party, where they combine their totals and share stories about their observations.

This informative story by author Susan Edwards Richmond, co…

MIDDLE GRADE ADVENTURE FICTION: City Spies by James Ponti

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CITY SPIES by James Ponti Aladdin, 2020 ISBN: 9781534414914 Source: publisher for review (Thanks!)
Ages 9-12
All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

Sara Martinez is a hacker. She recently broke into the New York City foster care system to expose her foster parents as cheats and lawbreakers. However, instead of being hailed as a hero, Sara finds herself facing years in a juvenile detention facility and banned from using computers for the same stretch of time. Enter Mother, a British spy who not only gets Sara released from jail but also offers her a chance to make a home for herself within a secret MI6 agency.

Operating out of a base in Scotland, the City Spies are five kids from various parts of the world. When they’re not attending the local boarding school, they’re honing their unique skills, such as sleight of hand, breaking and entering, observation, and explosives. All of these allow them to go places in the world of espionage where adults can’t.

Before she kn…

MIDDLE GRADE FANTASY/HORROR FICTION: Scary Stories for Young Foxes by Christian Heidicker

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SCARY STORIES FOR YOUNG FOXES by Christian Heidicker Henry Holt and Company, 2019 ISBN: 978-1-250-18142-8 Source: purchased Ages 9-12 All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

The haunted season has arrived in the Antler Wood. No fox kit is safe.

When Mia and Uly are separated from their litters, they discover a dangerous world full of monsters. In order to find a den to call home, they must venture through field and forest, facing unspeakable things that dwell in the darkness: a zombie who hungers for their flesh, a witch who tries to steal their skins, a ghost who hunts them through the snow . . . and other things too scary to mention.

Featuring eight interconnected stories and sixteen illustrations.

REVIEW

I'll admit, I've never read a book quite like this one. It's truly unique.  Seven young fox kits sneak out to visit the storyteller in Bog Cavern.  They believe they are ready for the tales she has to tell.  Each of the seven tales revolves around one of two …

PICTURE BOOK NONFICTION: Leave It to Abigail by Barb Rosenstock and Honeybee by Candice Fleming

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LEAVE IT TO ABIGAIL! The Revolutionary Life of Abigail Adams by Barb Rosenstock, illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley Little, Brown and Company, 2020 ISBN: 978-0-316-41571-2 Source: purchased Ages 4-8 All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

Everyone knew Abigail was different.

Instead of keeping quiet, she blurted out questions. Instead of settling down with a wealthy minister, she married a poor country lawyer named John Adams. Instead of running from the Revolutionary War, she managed a farm and fed hungry soldiers. Instead of leaving the governing to men, she insisted they “Remember the Ladies.” Instead of fearing Europe’s kings and queens, she boldly crossed the sea to represent her new country. And when John become President of the United States, Abigail became First Lady, and a powerful advisor.

Leave it to Abigail–an extraordinary woman who surprised the world.

REVIEW

I've long admired Abigail Adams.  Her intelligence and determination as well as her relationship w…

MIDDLE GRADE REALISTIC FICTION: The Wish and the Peacock by Wendy S. Swore

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THE WISH AND THE PEACOCK by Wendy S. Swore Shadow Mountain, 2020 ISBN: 978-1-62972-608-3 Source: ARC from publisher for review Ages 9-12 All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

Paige’s favorite family tradition on the farm is the annual bonfire where everyone tosses in a stone and makes a wish. This time, Paige’s specific wish is one she’s not sure can come true: Don’t let Mom and Grandpa sell the farm.

When Paige’s younger brother finds a wounded peacock in the barn, Paige is sure it’s a sign that if she can keep the bird safe, she’ll keep the farm safe too. Peacocks, after all, are known to be fierce protectors of territory and family.

With determination and hard work, Paige tries to prove she can save the farm on her own, but when a real estate agent stakes a “For Sale” sign at the end of the driveway and threatens everything Paige loves, she calls on her younger brother and her best friends, Mateo and Kimana, to help battle this new menace. They may not have str…

PICTURE BOOK NONFICTION: Dancing Hands by Margarita Engle & Honey: The Dog Who Saved Abe Lincoln by Shari Swanson

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DANCING HANDS: How Teresa Carreno Played the Piano for President Lincoln by Margarita Engle, illustrated by Rafael Lopez Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2019 ISBN: 978-1-4814-8740-5 Source: publisher for review (Thanks!)
Ages 4-8
All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

As a little girl, Teresa CarreƱo loved to let her hands dance across the beautiful keys of the piano. If she felt sad, music cheered her up, and when she was happy, the piano helped her share that joy. Soon she was writing her own songs and performing in grand cathedrals. Then a revolution in Venezuela forced her family to flee to the United States. Teresa felt lonely in this unfamiliar place, where few of the people she met spoke Spanish. Worst of all, there was fighting in her new home, too—the Civil War.

Still, Teresa kept playing, and soon she grew famous as the talented Piano Girl who could play anything from a folk song to a sonata. So famous, in fact, that President Abraham Lincoln wanted her t…

MIDDLE GRADE GRAPHIC NOVEL REVIEWS : Green Lantern: Legacy by Minh Le and Shadow of the Batgirl by Sarah Kuhn & Nicole Goux

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GREEN LANTERN : LEGACY by Minh Le and Andie Tong DC ZOOM, 2020 ISBN: 978-1-4012-8355-1 Source: purchased Ages 9-12 All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

Thirteen-year-old Tai Pham lives in the apartment above his grandmother's store, where his bedroom is crammed with sketchpads and comic books. But not even his most imaginative drawings could compare to the colorful adventure he's about to embark on.

When Tai inherits his grandmother's jade ring, he soon finds out it's more than it appears. Suddenly he's being inducted into a group of space cops known as the Green Lanterns, his neighborhood is being overrun by some racist bullies, and every time he puts pen to paper, he's forced to confront that he might not be creative enough or strong enough to uphold his Ba's legacy.

Now Tai must decide what kind of hero he wants to be: will he learn to soar above his insecurities or will the past keep him grounded?

REVIEW

I was excited when I first dis…

MIDDLE GRADE REALISTIC FICTION: We Could Be Heroes by Margaret Finnegan

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WE COULD BE HEROES by Margaret Finnegan Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2020 ISBN: 978-1-5344-5683-9 Source: ARC from Blue Slip Media (Thanks!) Ages 9-12 All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

Hank Hudson is in a bit of trouble. After an incident involving the boy’s bathroom and a terribly sad book his teacher is forcing them to read, Hank is left with a week’s suspension and a slightly charred hardcover—and, it turns out, the attention of new girl Maisie Huang.

Maisie has been on the lookout for a kid with the meatballs to help her with a very important mission: Saving her neighbor’s dog, Booler. Booler has seizures, and his owner, Mr. Jorgensen, keeps him tied to a tree all day and night because of them. It’s enough to make Hank even sadder than that book does—he has autism, and he knows what it’s like to be treated poorly because of something that makes you different.

But different is not less. And Hank is willing to get into even more trouble to prove it. Soon…

MIDDLE GRADE GRAPHIC NOVEL (FICTION) REVIEWS: Pilu of the Woods by Mai K. Nguyen & The Singing Rock by Nathaniel Lachenmeyer

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PILU OF THE WOODS by Mai K. Nguyen Oni Press, Inc., 2019 ISBN: 978-1-62010-551-1 Source: school library Ages 9-12 All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

A heartwarming story of friendship, loss, and finding your way home from debut author/illustrator Mai K. Nguyen!

Willow loves the woods near her house. They’re calm and quiet, so different from her own turbulent emotions, which she keeps locked away. When her emotions get the better of her one day, she decides to run away into the woods.

There, she meets Pilu, a lost tree spirit who can’t find her way back home—which turns out to be the magnolia grove Willow’s mom used to take her to. Willow offers to help Pilu, and the two quickly become friends.

But the journey is long, and Pilu isn’t sure she’s ready to return home yet—which infuriates Willow, who’s determined to make up for her own mistakes by getting Pilu back safely. As a storm rages and Willow’s emotions bubble to the surface, they suddenly take on a physical …

MIDDLE GRADE FANTASY FICTION: Hollow Dolls by MarcyKate Connolly

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HOLLOW DOLLS by MarcyKate Connolly Sourcebooks Young Readers, 2020 ISBN: 978-1-4926-8819-8 Source: eARC from NetGalley/purchased copy Ages 9-12 All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

Simone is a mind reader. She knows a great many things about everyone she meets, but she can’t seem to remember anything about her past or where she came from. After finally being free for the first time in a long time, she sets off, determined to find her home.

When she stumbles across a man with two minds inside him – the real one, shoved deep down, and one of a body walker, someone who can take over a person’s body against their will – Simone is even more eager to leave her old life behind.

As Simone dives deeper into her history, she learns truths she never could have imagined. But when those she loves start disappearing around her, Simone knows only she can stop the evil.

Set in the same fantasy world as the Shadow Weaver duology, this series starter weaves a tale of secrets, power, …

PICTURE BOOK FICTION REVIEWS: Lali's Feather by Farhana Zia & Izzy Gizmo and the Invention Convention by Pip Jones

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LALI'S FEATHER by Farhana Zia, illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman Peachtree Publishers, 2020 Available in April 2020 ISBN: 978-1-68263-129-4 Source: ARC from publisher for review Ages 4-8 All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

This endearing story of identification and values shows the rewards in looking closely and thinking imaginatively.

Lali finds a little feather in the field. Is it lost? Lali sets out to find feather a home, but one bird after another rejects it. The feather is too small for Rooster, too slow for Crow, and too plain for Peacock. Once Lali decides to keep the little feather and discovers all the things she can do with it, the other birds begin to recognize its value.

Farahan Zia's charming tale employs an inventive circular structure that reveals the importance of looking beyond first impressions. Illustrator Stephanie Fizer Coleman brings this delightful story of imagination and inspiration to life.

REVIEW

Lali finds a feather in a field.  Wh…

MIDDLE GRADE REALISTIC FICTION: Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly

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SONG FOR A WHALE by Lynne Kelly Delacourte Press, 2019 ISBN: 978-1-5247-7023-5 Source: purchased Ages 9-12 All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

The story of a deaf girl's connection to a whale whose song can't be heard by his species, and the journey she takes to help him.

From fixing the class computer to repairing old radios, twelve-year-old Iris is a tech genius. But she's the only deaf person in her school, so people often treat her like she's not very smart. If you've ever felt like no one was listening to you, then you know how hard that can be.

When she learns about Blue 55, a real whale who is unable to speak to other whales, Iris understands how he must feel. Then she has an idea: she should invent a way to "sing" to him! But he's three thousand miles away. How will she play her song for him?

REVIEW

Song for a Whale is a beautifully-written tale involving a young girl who is deaf, a whale with an unusual song, and the connection be…

EARLY CHAPTER BOOKS FICTION: Surf's up! by Luke Flowers & Don't Worry, BEE Happy by Ross Burach

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SURF'S UP! Moby Shinobi and Toby Too! #1 by Luke Flowers Scholastic, 2020 ISBN: 978-1-338-54752-8 Source: purchased Ages 4-8 All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

Moby Shinobi and his dog Toby are excited for a day at the beach! Moby tries to use his ninja skills to build a huge sand castle, catch some fish, and save a leaking sailboat... but each try ends in a mess! What if Moby isn't right for the job? But with some help from Toby, he discovers that teamwork makes every job easier! With easy-to-read rhyming text and full-color artwork throughout, this early reader series is sure to be a hit with beginning readers!

REVIEW

Having read a couple of the early reader Moby Shinobi books, I was looking forward to reading this longer chapter book story about Moby.  And while the book is cute enough, I didn't love it.  Moby heads to the beach with his dog, Toby.  In the first chapter, they pack the supplies they think they'll need.  Once at the beach, Moby is pr…

YOUNG ADULT NONFICTION: A Thousand Sisters by Elizabeth Wein & A Light in the Darkness by Albert Marrin

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A THOUSAND SISTERS: The Heroic Airwomen of The Soviet Union in World War II by Elizabeth Wein Balzer + Bray, 2019 ISBN: 978-0-06-245301-3 Source: purchased Ages 14 and up All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

The true story of the only women to fly in combat in World War II

In the early years of World War II, Josef Stalin issued an order that made the Soviet Union the first country in the world to allow female pilots to fly in combat. Led by Marina Raskova, these three regiments, including the 588th Night Bomber Regiment—nicknamed the “night witches”—faced intense pressure and obstacles both in the sky and on the ground. Some of these young women perished in flames. Many of them were in their teens when they went to war.

This is the story of Raskova’s three regiments, women who enlisted and were deployed on the front lines of battle as navigators, pilots, and mechanics. It is the story of a thousand young women who wanted to take flight to defend their country, and …