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MIDDLE GRADE HISTORICAL/REALISTIC/CONTEMPORARY FICTION : Ground Zero by Alan Gratz

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GROUND ZERO A Novel of 9/11 by Alan Gratz Scholastic Press, 2021 ISBN: 978-1-338-24575-2 Ages 9-12 All opinions expressed are solely my own. ABOUT THE BOOK In time for the 20th anniversary of 9/11, bestselling author Alan Gratz delivers a breathtaking, multifaceted, and resonant look at this singular event in US history -- and how it still impacts us today.   It's September 11, 2001. Brandon, a 9-year-old boy, goes to work for the day with his dad . . . at the World Trade Center in New York City. When two planes hit the towers, Brandon and his father are trapped inside a fiery nightmare as terror and confusion swirl around them. Can they escape -- and what will the world be like when they do? In present-day Afghanistan, Reshmina is an 11-year-old girl who is used to growing up in the shadow of war, but she has dreams of peace and unity. When she ends up harboring a wounded young American soldier, she and her entire family are put in mortal danger. But Reshmina also lea

MIDDLE GRADE SPECULATIVE (FANTASY) FICTION : The Dragon in the Library by Louis Stowell

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THE DRAGON IN THE LIBRARY A Kit the Wizard Book by Louis Stowell, illustrated by Davide Ortu Walker Books US, 2021 ISBN: 978-1-5362-1493-2 Source : publisher for review Ages 9-12 All opinions expressed are solely my own.   ABOUT THE BOOK   In a fast-paced and funny adventure, Kit must use the magic of books to save the library—and its resident dragon—from a power-hungry tycoon. Kit Spencer can’t stand reading. She’d rather be outside playing and getting muddy than stuck inside with a book. But when her best friends, Josh and Alita, drag her to the local library, Kit makes an incredible discovery: she’s a wizard—and books are the key to her abilities. Unfortunately, a greedy businessman wants to tear down the beloved library, destroying all its magic. To make matters worse, there’s a sleeping dragon hidden there, and if she’s awakened, her wild power will wreak havoc. With the help of a friendly dragon-dog hybrid named Dogon, Kit and her companions will have to find a way to

MIDDLE GRADE NONFICTION : The Coolest Stuff on Earth by Brenda Scott Royce

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  THE COOLEST STUFF ON EARTH: A Closer Look at the Weird, Wild, and Wonderful National Geographic, 2020 ISBN : 978-1-4263-3858-8 Source: Media Masters Publicity Ages 9 and up All opinions expressed are solely my own. ABOUT THE BOOK Did you know that dogs can shake off a pound of water in less than a second? That some sand dunes whistle and sing? That the U.S. dollar bill is full of hidden symbols related to the number 13? Our world is filled with strange, bizarre, and weird happenings. But what do they mean? WHY are they important? And what secrets are behind them? These secrets and MORE are revealed through cool stories, action-packed photos, fantastic infographics, and exciting Q&As with in-the-field experts. Discover the secrets of sharkskin, the mysteries behind incredible island animals, the power behind lightning, how a rare gemstone changes color, and more. Kids will be captivated by this fresh way of looking at our amazing planet.   REVIEW    The Coolest Stuff on

GRAPHIC NOVEL ANIMAL FICTION : Doggo and Pupper by Katherine Applegate

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DOGGO AND PUPPER by Katherine Applegate, illustrated by Charlie Alder Feiwel and Friends, 2021 ISBN: 978-1-250-62097-2 Source: purchased Ages 4-8 All opinions expressed are solely my own.   ABOUT THE BOOK   Doggo is used to things being a certain way in his family. He likes routine. Cat says he's become boring. That is, until Pupper shows up! Pupper is playful and messy, and turns the house upside down. Soon, the humans realize that Pupper needs some training, and off he goes to puppy school. When Pupper comes back, he's well-behaved. He's not playful. He's not messy. But Doggo soon realizes that Pupper also isn't happy. So Doggo steps in to help, and rediscovers what it means to have fun. Doggo and Pupper launches a delightful new series by beloved author Katherine Applegate, featuring illustrations by Charlie Alder.   REVIEW   Doggo likes his life.   He enjoys being the cook waker, nap taker, bug stalker, girl walkercrumb eater, mail greeter, and other th

PICTURE BOOK FICTION REVIEW : Keeping the City Going by Brian Floca

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  KEEPING THE CITY GOING by Brian Floca Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2021 ISBN: 978-1-5344-9377-3 Source: publisher for review Ages 4-8 All opinions expressed are solely my own. ABOUT THE BOOK Brian Floca gives a thank you to the essential workers who keep their cities going during COVID-19 quarantine. We are here at home now, watching the world through our windows. Outside we see the city we know, but not as we’ve seen it before. The once hustling and bustling streets are empty. Well, almost empty. Around the city there are still people, some, out and about. These are the people keeping us safe. Keeping us healthy. Keeping our mail and our food delivered. Keeping our grocery stores stocked. Keeping the whole city going.   REVIEW   With his stunningly detailed illustrations and straightforward poem, Brian Floca honors the workers who kept the country running during the various COVID-19 lock downs.  The book points out the way New York City changed during the lock down and h

MIDDLE GRADE NONFICTION : Space Encyclopedia, 2nd Edition by David A. Aguilar

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  SPACE ENCYCLOPEDIA: A Tour of Our Solar System and Beyond, 2nd Edition written & illustrated by David A. Aguilar National Geographic, 2020 ISBN: 978-1-4263-3856-4 Source: Media Masters Publicity Ages 9 and up All opinions expressed are solely my own. ABOUT THE BOOK The updated and expanded edition of the hit Space Encyclopedia presents the most up-to-date findings on space exploration and research and breathtaking views of the universe, as captured by the latest and greatest technology, including the recent first ever image of a black hole. This complete reference contains everything kids need to know about our sun and planets including the new dwarf planets, the formation of the universe, space travel, the possibility of life beyond Earth, and more. Authored by David A. Aguilar, an internationally recognized astronomer and former Director of Science Information and Public Outreach at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, it is an authoritative and beautiful

MIDDLE GRADE HISTORICAL FICTION : Rescue by Jennifer A. Nielsen

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RESCUE by Jennifer A. Nielsen Scholastic Press, 2021 ISBN: 978-1-338-62099-3 Source: purchased Ages 9-12 All opinions expressed are solely my own. ABOUT THE BOOK Six hundred and fifty-seven days ago, Meg Kenyon's father left their home in France to fight for the Allies in World War II, and that was the last time Meg saw him. Recently, she heard he was being held prisoner by the Nazis, a terrible sentence from which Meg fears he'll never return. All she has left of him are the codes he placed in a jar for her to decipher, an affectionate game the two of them shared. But the codes are running low, and soon there'll be nothing left of Papa for Meg to hold on to at all. Suddenly, an impossible chance to save her father falls into Meg's lap. After following a trail of blood in the snow, Meggie finds an injured British spy hiding in her grandmother's barn. Captain Stewart tells her that a family of German refugees must be guided across Nazi-occupied France to