Five star book list top 120 books

publicationDate author bookTitle genre themes WebComments
1958 Elizabeth George Speare The Witch of Blackbird Pond historical realistic fiction Courage Conn. America multicultural religious persecution witches Kit was raised in Barbados by her grandfather after her parents died when she was 3. His liberal ideas afforded her an education, encouraged her to be a free thinker, and allowed her to explore her environment which included the beaches where she learned how to swim. On her grandfathers death she was left without a home and headed north to New England where her Aunt lived in a very Puritanical community. Kits life is dramatically changed from one of leisure to having to learn how to endure a way of life that is demanding physically and mentally with structured thinking that she rebels against. Among those she befriends is Widow Tuper who is an eccentric lady that lives by herself. Anyone familiar with the history of New England and the witch trials can foresee a conflict in the making. The author writes about this historical time period with eloquent detail of the environment, the artifacts, and the religious and philosophical differences that people capable of questioning and taking risks surely were wondering about if they weren t capable to speaking up. Fortunately Kit is willing to take action and she is able to find cohorts of similar mind willing to risk action for positive change.
1983 Elizabeth George Speare The Sign of the Beaver historical fiction Native Americans prejudice Outstanding historical fiction about a Matt (13) who travels with his father into the frontier to clear land, build a cabin, and begin to set up their family homestead. When the father determines that he can not wait any longer to fetch his wife and younger children he leaves Matt to await his return. While he is away his return will be delayed till the coming spring. Matt unaware of what lies ahead has a mishap with bees and is saved by Attean and his grandfather (Native Americans). Matt wants to give the boy his book Swiss Fmaily Robinson , but the grandfather has a better idea. He wants Matt to teach Attean to read. Neither of the boys are thrilled with the arrangement, but over the subsequent days that exend into the winter and spring the boys build a strong relationship where Attean teaches Matt Native American ways that become critical for his survival and Attean learns English and how to read. An accurate slice of history and a tribute to humanness that when individuals are involved in shared experiences they can overcome prejudices.
1990, 1991 Jerry Spinelli Maniac Magee fantasy fiction
Maniac Magee is a folk tale about Jeffrey Lionel - a very special kid. According to the author he - ... is one part fact, two parts legend, and three parts snowball. His desire to bring people together and to find a to bridge differences between race and find a place without racism.
1989 Ellen Stoll Walsh Mouse Paint picture book fantasy colors mouse creativity A whimsical picture book of three creative mice that get into three open containers of paint and pitter-patter through the story. Created as a paper collage and red, blue, and yellow that is supposedly made from the mice s haphazard and creative interactions with the paint. A delightful story with interesting results that children can explore on their own if the are fortunate enough to have an adult provide them with their own personal paint mixing experiences.
1945, 1973 E. B. White Stuart Little fantasy fiction being little A classic adventure of a mouse (Stuart) born to a family of humans - his parents, brother - George , and cat - Snowball who all live in New York City. Stuart is shy and reserved, but likes a good adventure. His first adventure away from home finds him plenty of adventure, but will he make it back home?
1952 White, E. B. Charlotte's Web fantasy fiction Death life cycle friendship giving One of the greatest children s story ever written. Hopefully every child either reads it or has it read aloud to him or her. It is truly a masterpiece of character and plot development that enthralls it readers and listeners.
1992 Jane Yolen Letting Swift River Go historical fiction picture book letting go moving on sacrifice for the good of many A story based on the creation of the Quabbin Reservoir from the Swift River for the demand of water in the town of Boston. A story where the main character grows up in a town on the river and has to relocate because of the flooding of her town. She later returns in a boat to view her past under water and realizes the past is gone and its time to move on. A thought provoking book on how to reconcile past and present and the needs of different groups of people.
1989 Ed Young Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China picture book fiction fairy tale fantasy responsibility fear A delightful water color picture book that depicts and tells the story of a big bad wolf disguised as the three sisters grandmother. A three panel Chinese layout along with light and dark colors is used to depict realistic and imaginary frames of this fairy tale displayed across a two page layout. The fate of this wolf is sealed when the three girls coax him into a basket to raise him into the tree in which they are hiding with the promise of ginkgo nuts to eat. Not likely as the sisters let the poor wolf in grandma clothing fall to her death.
1969 Theodore Taylor The Cay realistic fiction Survival race black adventure Adventure story of Phillip (11) who lives on an Island with his mother during World War II. His mother decides to move back to the safety of Virginia and he is separated from her during when the ship they are on is sunk. He sustains a head injury that results in his lose of sight and wakes to find himself on a raft with a black man - a member of the ship s crew and a big tomcat. Days on the raft and months on a deserted island have Philip loosing his prejudice and learning to deal with his sightlessness. A great adventure story and story about overcoming fears.
1997 Gail Carson Levine Ella Enchanted fairy tale fantasy responsibility fair good evil growing up An interesting twist on the Cinderella story. Bewitched at birth by the fairy Lucinda whose spell makes her do exactly what she is told. Her mother dies and her indifferent father relies on her stepmother and two stepsisters to care for her. Ella is clever and full of desire to track down Lucinda and seek her freedom so she might discover who she really is. There are ogres, elves, a prince, and of course a fairy godmother. However, Levine twists the usual fairy tale female stereotypes and provides Ella enough moxie to take the usual stereotypical female role and twist and turn it to empower Ella and create relationships of mutual respect.

Chris Van Allsburg Polar Express fantasy fiction picture book Christmas The tale of believing told with stunning realistic illustrations that only Chris Van Allsburg brings to picture books.
1993 Lois Lowry The Giver science fiction fantasy Becoming an adult society growing up social A novel that draws readers into it with determination to explain what is happening and to use all available means to discover along with Jonas the workings of the community. What is going on? Does Jonas have special powers? are they gifts or not? Can he change or is change impossible? What must he do to have his freedom? Must he escape or adapt? What are possibilities of a better future depending on the choices he makes?
2006 susan patron The Higher Power of Lucky fiction abandoned children interpersonal relations runaway Lucky (10) lives with her mother until she is electrocuted by a power line downed in a storm. Her father, who doesn t want to care for her, arranges for - Brigitte, his ex-wife, to leave France and take residence in Hard Pan California to care for the child. Hard Pan (pop. 42) is in the middle of the California desert. Lucky's choice of activities and friends is very limited to say the least. She likes to listen to addicts tell their stories of addiction, has an unusual friend who is a genius for tying intricate knots, and often looks after an attention starved little boy. She is worried that Brigitte will up and leave, but has been able to keep her fears in check with the creation of a survival kit backpack and searching for her Higher Power. The colorful characters, language, and impending plot move the reader forward with a desire to understand Lucky and know how various conflicts in her life will be resolved.
2006 Esme Rai Codell Vive La Paris realistic fiction bullies holocaust brothers and sisters family African American Jewish Esme Rai Codell is a master of the story. She has done it again. A story about a young girl Paris, whose father is a drummer, and wants all of his children to be able to play an instrument, sends her off to piano lessons with one of her brothers. While Paris s relationship with her piano teacher is central to the story so too is her family with five brothers and a few classmates of hers and her brothers. These characters are intertwined in a powerful story about abuse, bullying, dreams, being Jewish in World War II and concentration camps. Out of which comes an inheritance accompanied by a deeper understanding of human nature that enables Paris to make decisions that all people make to help one another. Powerful use of language to create a beautiful story.
1960 Sheila Burnford The Incredible Journey animal fiction
A very well told story about three animals, two dogs and a cat, that travel thousands of miles to be reunited with their owners. The author s tone and style describes the animals and their journey without resorting to trivializing their existence as animals by having them assume human personas. Instead Burnford relies on her vivid description of the Canadian wilderness and the animal s actions as they negotiated one obstacle after another and out maneuvered wild animals and humans to successfully complete their journey.
1987 Louis Sacher There s A Boy in the Girl s Bathroom fiction special education self control caring friendships classroom management acceptance Bradley (fifth grade) is a special student that no one in his class likes. Even the reader can agree that he is a bully, is angry, and not the kid to hang with. Small triumphs arise as a new school counselor and a new boy at school provide new opportunities. The book is well written and audiences of fourth grade students seem to relate to the situations which are serious, but Sacher has established a style and tone that mixes humor into the seriousness that encourages students to not only relate to the story, but wanting to talk about it and even to go so far as change their own personal behaviors. Which can be advantageous within an environment that adults who are aware and capable of supporting and sustaining lasting change.
1986 Wendy Tokuda and Richard Hall Humphrey the Lost Whale nonfiction whales survival helping caring The true story about Humphrey the whale that swam into a river and how the people along the river worked to help him make it back to the ocean. Well written description of the whale and the actual story to motivate the reader through the story without resorting to sentimentality.
2001 Andrew Clements Jake Drake - Bully Buster series ready - for - chapters bully classroom management self help skills A creative story of Jake (fourth grade) who has made it his life ambition to study the bully and the bully bait to help both to learn how to coexist. Well it isn t quite that simple. It takes a little under a hundred pages for him to discover it. Language, character development, and plot is strong enough to keep readers reading to the end.
2008 Kevin Henkes Bird Lake Moon fiction divorce friends family death grief Wisconsin This is two compelling stories with plots intersecting when Mitch Sinclair (12) and Spencer Stone (10) meet. Mitch is suffering from the recent announcement of his parent s divorce. Afraid of the unknown it causes him to act out in ways he never would have. Spencer along with Lolly, his younger sister, and both of their parents are attempting to recover from the lose of Matty who drowned in Bird Lake. Suspense, characterization, and altering point of view by chapter from Mitch s perspective to Spencer s perspective makes this an outstanding novel.
Lolly creative antics of talking in different dialects and deciding to give each voice a name.
Language such as - yesterday you were soaked in sunshine . Today - rain. - His mind was an aquarium , and his thoughts were darting around, this way and that, like little fish. -
... all its lines, angles, and corners were softened like the edges on a well-used bar of soap.
2002 Eric Carle Slowly, Slowly, Slowly, said the Sloth fiction jungle animals sloth art slow peaceful Picture book where Eric Carle celebrates the slowness and peacefulnees.
1995 Morris, Ann Shoes, Shoes, Shoes picture book mathematics patterns multicultural 28 Illustrations shoes from around world
2008 Robert Paul Weston Zorgamazoo verse fiction fantasy
281 pages In rhymed verse with a sing song rhythm. Creative use of fonts and lettering size and orientation throughout as well as a smattering of ink drawings of the zany characters. It is an engagingly enchanting story of Katrina Katrell and her zany romp with Mortimer Yorgle a zorgle and their zany and suspense filled adventure.
1995 Cynthia Rylant The Van Gogh Cafe realistic fiction short stories creative writing, small town, A collection of short stories centered on a Cafe in Kansas. Each story seems to be more creative and profound that the previous. A must read for middle school or junior high if you can find it.
2002 Ron Koertge Stoner and Spaz realistic fiction Cerebal palsy physical handicapped drug abuse self-acceptance school video film making A compelling story about Benjamin, a troubled youth with CP, who struggles toward self-acceptance with the help of a drug-addicted young women. This story has everything that reality TV on MTV and VH1 has, and maybe more detail.
2003 Judy Schachner Skippyjon Jones fiction picture book Siamese cat kitten Spanish Chihuahua A delightfully creative picture book with the main character - a Siamese cat who is scolded for going to the birds. So in his room a quick look in the mirror and ... a Chihuahua!! Well not just any Chihuahua. Skippito Friskito a masked mouse ridder with a sword by his side off to join a band of Chihuahuas for a little sword play with El Blimpo Bumblebeeto Bandito. Pop - beans everywhere. Nice play on words, rhythm and rhyme and foreshadowing, and just a lot of nutty fun. Thanks - Michelle
1994 Bryan Jeffery Leech John Jeremy Colton picture book poetry relationships, friendship, acceptance, stereotypes A great story told in verse about John Jeremy Colton who is an eccentric that the children of Bolten learn to love and enjoy. However, because of his being different some parents begin to fear his relationship with their children and demand their children not go to his house. John becomes depressed until the people realize the error of their ways and Bolten becomes a very different place. Delightful story that is illustrated in the most strange and unusual manner. The text meanders around the pages in all sorts of ways and makes it nearly impossible to to follow the story at times. However, the determined reader will find it worth the struggle.
2006 Tony Abbott Firegirl fiction Coming of age, burns and scalds, disfigured persons A middle school boy's life is changed when a new girl Jessica, a girl disfigured by burns, starts attending his Catholic school while receiving treatment at a local hospital. This is a powerful book about friendship and personal relationships easily among Ida B, Bridge to Terrabithia,
2006 Shaun Tan Arrival picture book historical fiction immigration wordless books cartoons A picture book or a graphic novel that includes images so the viewer feels both an apprehensiveness and strangeness as well as a sense of adventure and wonder that flip-flops through the viewers mind as scenes of family, family goodbyes, standing alone, reflecting, longing, waiting, anticipating, among crowds of immigrants as they travel, arrive, and begin a new life in an unfamiliar, strange, and hopeful place. Tan s pictures both urge the viewer on and ask them to linger and interpret the story in this wordless book.
2003 Walter Dean Myers The Dream Bearer fantasy fiction father son African American family Harlem New York mental health great imagery. A story about a family that centers on a father son relationship and finding ones place in the world that balances family and cultural histories with the realities that a young adolescent faces in his present world to create his own life. Intriguing three stories within the story told the dream bearer and how they relate to David s life and suggest directions he might choose. Includes great imagery... It was as if sadness had just come in and was living with our family. (36) and ... When I dream of him sometimes I think I see him peering through his darkness looking for something he ain t never seen. And it makes me laugh, and sometimes I think I see it and it fills my cup with tears.
1991 Conrad, Pam Prairie Vision The Life and Times of Solomon Butcher nonfiction Nebraska history, pictures photography A story about a photographer who photographed Nebraska. If you have seen pictures of Nebraska and Kansas frontier life during the time of the sod houses, then the pictures you were looking at were probably taken by Butcher. Read the tales that go with the pictures and events that preceded and followed the click of the shutter. An important source for not only a look at this period in time, but the often overlooked significance of photography and how it changed culture and the way people looked at and wanted to be looked at by themselves and others
1992 Katherine Paterson The King's Equal fairy tale fantasy Relationships, male, female, equals, classroom management, personal relationships A twist in the stereotypical fairy tale where the princess is rescued by the handsome prince and they marry and live happily ever after. This Princess is truly the King s Equal.
2002 Nancy Farmer The House of the Scorpion science fiction fantasy cloning Mexico drug companies adventure Action adventure, drug king El Patron and Matt a young adolescent has known as long as he can remember that he has a mysterious relationship to El Patron. Sometimes it is great and others it is worse than being an animal on the ranch. When Matt finally discovers El Patron s true intentions he acts to thwart his plans. However, circumstances put Matt s life in danger and he has no choice but to run. Where does one run and hide from a drug lord? Is it possible that Matt can escape with his life? And if he does how long can he live before be is discovered and returned to El Patron?
1989 Martin, Bill Jr. andArchambault, John Chicka Chicka Boom Boom concept book alphabet picture book
Alphabet book in rhyme and rhythm that children enjoy over and over again.
2008 Wendy Mass 11 Birthdays fantasy fiction birthday time friendship interpersonal relationships Amanda and Leo, unbeknownst to them, have been linked at birth by an ancient spell that has been around unsuspectingly for years. An unknown protector has arranged for them to spend their birthday s together since birth to protect them from being enchanted by the spell. Unaware of the dangers that could be fall them if they don t celebrate together they independently celebrate apart. Entranced or bewitched Amanda continues to wake up to a Sponge Bob balloon and has to relive her present and worst ever birthday - her eleventh birthday. A ... Really clever way to see the consequences of ones actions and how one s actions sometimes work the way we expect and other times don t. Groundhogs Day for young readers.
1990 Ann Durell & Marilyn Sachs The Big Book for Peace anthology realistic fiction Peace An anthology of stories for the purpose to contribute to the celebration of peace. While there have been numerous books and stories that celebrate war and acts of violence there have been less that celebrate ideas and actions that contribute to the maintenance of peace and a peaceful state. This book is an initial start to initiate a change in this condition with stories that one after another powerfully tell a story of discoveries of peace.
1937 / 1965 Kate Seredy The White Stag legend myth fiction Survival Legend Myth history A 94 page illustrated epic told in the best traditions of Greek and Roman mythologies. The story unfolds the origins of a prophecy with all the trappings of gods and mortals, mystical creatures and fantastic animals all positioning to gain favor for their kind to so they might have a better life. The quest for this better life for the Huns and Magyars leads to the rise of Atilla who leads them in a migration from Asia to Europe and into their promised land.
1995 Andrea Davis Pinkney Hold Fast to Dreams realistic fiction black experience, prejudice, family relationships, black an d white relationships excellent read Andrea Davis Pinkney tells a powerful story about good and bad relationships between people and particularly this family of four. The setting is a Connecticut town and the plot is about a black family that moves into this town of Wexford where everyone is white. Pinkney tells their struggle to belong by describing the characters experiences and feelings as they go about their daily lives at school, work, and in the community. The tone and style that is totally realistic and believable, without succumbing to the use of sensationalism, yet compels you to read and leaves you with an emotional transaction and understanding of the character s feelings as they struggle to find a place.

Miles, Miska Annie and the Old One fantasy fiction ageism Native American accepting death Annie becomes deeply concerned when her grandmother tells that she will return to the Earth when she finishes the rug that is presently on the loom. Annie takes all kinds of measures to postpone the inevitable until she learns to accept her grandmother s beliefs and wishes and move forward in time.
2004 Esme Raji Codell Sahara Special realistic fiction view of inside a fifth grade classsroom from a student s perspective single family retention special ed writing figurative language Another nonstop read by Esme. Every page is more compelling than the one before. no question you will turn these pages to the end. A must read for teachers. Particularly in grade 4-6. Sahara a fifth grade girl struggles with the loss of her father while maturing emotionally and intellectually in a Chicago neighborhood. language use is incredible. I felt like I was floating on the ceiling, like smoke from something burning. It s like they re walking on ice, and the ice is made of other people s opinions. The only reason a girl your age should wear makeup is if she s a rock star or a hooker, and the minute you start showing promise in either of those areas we ll hop on down to Target and stock you up with everything you need, she promised. Don t tell auntie I said that, now.
Loving children is what teachers do for extra credit. It s not the main assignment.
1990 Mathew Price One Gorilla: A Counting Book picture book counting Mathematics counting book number value Beautifully illustrated highly colorful counting book where young children are mildly challenged to find the different numbers of animals within their realistic habits. That is for all the animals depicted except for the gorilla that meanders through the entire story encouraging the children to count the the other animals.
2007 Brian Selznick The Invention of Hugo Cabret realistic historical fiction picture book? robots orphan automatons Paris France railroad stations history Brian Selznick created a novel that reads as if you are experiencing it from a front row seat of an early Parisian movie theater. Words and pictures combine to create a unique experience for the viewer/reader that tell the story of two orphans, The story is one of survival and discovery for Hugo and other characters in the book. Action packed mystery and story of Hugo s survival and desire to understand his life and have some control on his future. As he seeks answers to this he discovers that his past is entangled with Isabelle and Papa Georges. A great story about fictional characters while simultaneously providing a historical view of Paris and the birth of motion pictures.
2006 Cynthia Lord Rules realistic fiction autism paraplegic brothers sisters disabilities Catherine and her autistic brother David have a Frog and Toad relationship. Any brother would be proud to have a sister as insightful as Catherine. She sees the depth in most situations, which isn t always helpful in making decisions. I m torn between all losing choices. David will scream if I make him go inside now. Mom ll think I m selfish if I beg her to take him with her. Then there is Ryan. I cross my arms and pick the one maybe choice. Maybe Ryan doesn t want to look bad in front of Kristi any more than I do. Lord tells a story that not only captures the special bonds between brother and sister and how Catherine has learned to cope with his special problems, but additionally Lord opens new doors for Catherine with the introduction of adolescence and coping with peer pressures as she becomes entwined in Jason s life. Jason is about 14-15, wheelchair bound, and communicates with a speech book. Catherine uses her experiences, her insight, and her creativity to cope with her adolescent peers and create winning situations. A compelling story about a really remarkable girl as well as giving a genuine glimpse into special populations and their families.
1995 Jim Murphy The Great Fire nonfiction Chicago fire Chicago, Old Lady Leary, and a lantern in the shed... Truth or ... Great story that goes back to try to answer the proverbial question with facts.
2002 Carol Plum- Ucci What Happened to Lani Garver fiction realistic Emotional problems cancer prejudice alcoholism homosexuality adventure mystery Claire unable to face her fears about a recurrence of her leukemia, her eating disorder, her need to hang with the crowd on Hackett Island, and her mother s alcoholism is helped by Lani Garver who risks his life to save her.
1988 Helen Lester Tacky the Penguin fantasy fiction picture book Classroom management, being different, relationships Classic children s picture book of Tacky the penguin that is different than all the other penguins. Who just can t tolerate his differences. Until one day a series of events unfold that could be the end of their existence. However, Tacky s bizare behjaviors saves the day.
2003 Hans Christian Andersen translated by Dianna Crone Frank and Jeffrey Frank The Stories of Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales fantasy fiction anthology Denmark delightful must read Classic literature needs to be read to all children as it was written by the author. This translation captures the richness of language and imagery of Andersen. One delighful example is Andersen s story of The Little Mermaid totally different than the Disney version or A Fish Called Wanda with Tom Hanks ... and probably all the others you ve ever read, unless of course you ve read Andersen or have had him read to you.
1962 L'Engle, Madeleine A Wrinkle in Time science fiction fantasy science, time travel, mathematics, three dimensions, family, being smart Classic science fiction that predates or is the dawn of children and adolescent science fiction the quality of which has seldom been exceeded. The story explores the strength of family, friends, society, time travel, supernatural beings, among a balance of good and evil.

Natalie Babbitt Tuck Everlasting fantasy fiction Everlasting Life Classic story about immortality. Winnie (11) is mysteriously introduced to the Tuck family. Who have discovered a spring that can impart immortality. She is befriended by a male family member - Jesse (17). The story is a philosophic expedition of the struggles of making choices and balancing emotions, spontaneity, common sense, desires, fear of the unknown, and everlasting life. The imagery with which the story is written is powerful enough to make this story a classic that deeply peruses the eternal subject of life and death and what choices we might make if we were able to choose.
2006 John Green An Abundance of Katherines realistic fiction interpersonal relations self perception graphic methods Colin Singleton is not your ordinary high school prodigy and he is not going to become one or even become ordinary anytime soon. Far from it. He and his high school friend, Hassan, embark on a road trip that becomes one soul searching and eye popping adventure. The reader discovers how 19 different Katherines have edged Colin to obsess about having a Kathrine in his life. However, that doesn t mean there isn t action in this story. Plenty of action from wild boar attacks, to alcohol, tobacco, characters frolicking in the woods naked, mysteries about who is buried where, and what is grandma up to anyway? This is probably not a book to read aloud in school and it might even have trouble making some reading lists, but for those that like adventure, sex, and hoping for the days that the nerds dominate, this is a read for you. I really want to know what others think about it. Anyone read it, let me know
1999 ? Rosemary Stones (compiler) More to Life Than Mr. Right anthology realistic fiction female relationships adolescent coming of age growing up Collection of short stories to empower the adolescent female reader.
2006 Andy Griffiths The Cat On the Mat Is Flat fiction picture book poems humor Collection of stories for beginning readers. Illustrated with pencil sketches. Outragous read! Simple pencil drawings to inspire young artists!
2002 Gaiman, Neil Coraline fantasy fiction supernatural adventure excitement Coraline finds a door with a brick wall or door way into a parallel disturbing world of people with black button eyes. Let the games begin. Scarry movies, supernatural adventure, witch craft, romps through a dungeon, missing parents, mystery and suspense; masterfully written this story will enthrall all readers.
2005 Patricia Santos Marcantonio Red Ridin in the Hood: and Other Cuentos Fairy tales Hispanic Americans tales red riding hood, snow white, pied piper jack and the beanstalk emperors new clothes three pigs sleeping beauty Creative modern fairy tales told from a Hispanic perspective. Fantastic read aloud or read alone for that matter.
2001 David Wiesner The Three Pigs picture book fantasy three pigs David s story starts as the usual Three Little Pigs story, but a fortunate huff and puff blows the first little pig out of the story book. The story book says ... and ate the pig up. However, the first pig has found a life outside the pages of the book and coaxes the second little pig into this world. So it is on to the next little pig and further exploits beyond the pages. A chance meeting with the Cat and the Fiddle and a Dragon soon to be slayed how our three snout faced friends choose to arrange the rest of their story? Super creative exploration of the possibilities when the figurative and literal interpretations are intertwined.
1988 Graeme Base The Eleventh Hour: A Curious Mystery picture book Mystery Puzzles problem solving Delicately illustrated story of Horace the Elephant s eleventh birthday party. While the main mystery is who stole the birthday cake there are puzzles on each page and throughout the story. There is a sealed solution section at the back, but knowing that once opened the fun and curiosity ends, who would want to break the seal?
1973 Paula Fox The Slave Dancer historical fiction Prejudice, black experience, African, slavery During the the 1840 s in New Orleans Jessie Bollier is playing his flute in the market. Afterward he is kidnapped and smuggled out to sea. Later he discovers his reason for being targeted is so he can play while the human cargo of slaves exercise on the ships return trip from Africa. Fox uses Jessie s experience to write about the atrocities that befell slaves on board such ships as they are transported to America. Not only does she write about the conditions of the slaves, but about the thoughts and feelings of the sailors who were willing or unwilling participants in this passage. While the story is realistic fiction and very plausible up to the ending. It is a children s book which usually requires a positive ending, however there are situations toward the end that move from plausible toward maybe possible. Still an easy read for middle school, a history everyone should know, and a story with a compelling plot and well developed characters where their struggle with their circumstances provide important insight into human nature.
2007 Christopher Paul Curtis Elijah of Buxton historical fiction
Elijah of Buxton is the first freeborn child of Buxton a settlement on Lake Erie in Canada created by escaped slaves in the mid 1800 s. Elijah tells the story of his ordinary life who his momma is continually telling him that he is too frag - ile. However, as we travel with him as he does his chores, does odd jobs in the settlement, interacts with the characters that have become central in his life, and of course going to school we find that Elijah is not an ordinary boy at all. He has a gift of story telling and creative exaggeration with explanations that achieve and surpass the best metaphors and similes penned by even the classic tall tale authors of all times. While the literary style and tone is expertly done with subtle events and happenings being wove together for a powerful climax the plot is agonizingly slow moving. The first chapters are more like short stories tied together with the passing of time and Elijah s struggle for recognition as an adult as his values and character is discovered by the reader. It might be a good read aloud, but I wonder how many young readers will maintain enough interest to read through most of the book. It isn t until the reader is closing in on the end that the plot finally unfolds a multi chapter event with enough excitement to propel the reader to a compelling ending. An ending that can only be achieved by a character who has gained enough insight into the complicated decisions of an adult world and a reader that has gained insight into the complications of slavery in the United States in the 1860 s.
2008 Jason Robert Brown & Dan Elish 13: A Novel realistic fiction interpersonal relations peer pressure Bar Mitzcvah Indiana divorce school 13 moving, popularity friendship fitting in growing up family Evan Goldman, almost thirteen, learns what it means to be a man when his parents separate and he and his mother move from New York City to Appleton, Indiana, right before his bar mitzvah. Knowing no one he mysteriously is befriended by two people: Patrice and Bret. Bret the superstar of the school and Patrice not part of of the cool crowd. I am sure you are beginning to connect a pretty transparent plot where the main character is conflicted by his desires to have a big in crowd at his party and also not wanting to be part of a crowd that ostracize, Patrice, someone whom you care about. Normally a plot this transparent might cause me to rate such a story much lower. However, the dialogue the author has Evan use is creative, humorous, and entrances you to keep reading to see in what interesting manner Evan is going to tell his story. A very good read for students in middle school interested in peer relations. Isn t that about all of them?
1994 Mary Ann Fraser Sanctuary The Story of Three Arch Rocks nonfiction Science birds sanctuary Ever wonder how nature preserves or animal sanctuaries come into existence? It literally takes years and a dedicated team of people (usually scientists of some sort) to catalogue every living thing within the boundaries of the area that is to become a sanctuary. Sanctuary The Story of Three Arch Rocks tells the story of how it became the first bird sanctuary in the United States. The text is supported with photographs and sketches to convey a little of what it must be like to create a protected area for wildlife.
1999 Neil Gaiman Stardust fantasy fiction movie love good evil Every bit as good as the movie or is the movie every bit as good as the book?
1991 Russell Freedman The Wright Brothers nonfiction Airplane, Engineering, Persistence and Family Economics History Excellent story about engineering of airplanes and how time and scientific data was used to develop it. Whole story of development over years to marketing the plane and winning a government contract to personal, family, and travel of Wright Brothers through their life.
1995 Brandenburg, Jim An American Safari picture book nonfiction nature wildlife animals nonfiction prairie Fantastic illustrated story of North American prairie. Beautifully accurate photos of plants and animals in their natural habitat. Interesting information that selected animals and plants from e prairie habitat that will be or should be familiar to anyone who has lived on the prairie. However, the illustrations, story,, and history of both is woven together into a seamless comprehensive tale that compels the reader to take this safari through the North America states of Nebraska, the Dakotas, and Minnesota. Illustrated with incredibly clear up close photographs of animals in their native habit. As if the animals let him walk right up to them and take their pictures doing what they do naturally.
2004 Balliett, Blue Chasing Vermeer fantasy fiction Vermeer art mystery detective story friendship pentominoes Chicago University frog Fantastic story of intrigue, art theft, and problem solving to recover a master piece. Calder, sixth grade girl mysteriously finds a book. Suddenly this book seems to be getting more involved in her life than any ordinary lost item should. Class assignments, people she meets, and other happenings seem to be related somehow to this book. Trying to understand unusual people, hidden messages in pictures with frogs and codes to decipher messages, and solve the mystery becomes her obsession. WIthin the story the reader is introduced to pentominoes, different views of art, and the University of Chicago as the setting. Great mystery and use of problem solving. Other people that I have talked to that have read this book agree.
2006 Adam Selzer How to Get Suspended and Influence People realistic fiction realistic fiction adolescent sex masturbation middle school production movie video gifted motion pictures Gifted eighth grader, Leon Harris, becomes an overnight phenomena when his class project is declared too risqué and censored by the school power brokers. The dialogue and conversation of the characters is humorous and right on with feelings that 13 year olds can experience in junior high or middle school. Selzer has written a very creative and imaginative novel.
2007 Lucy and Stephen Hawking George s Secret Key to the Universe science fiction fantasy space universe solar system black holes Great adventure story about Annie and George who meet, fine they have a mutual love of science, and adventure through the solar system with the assistance of a super-computer. Their educational adventures soon take a turn to life and death situations for their father as an old rival - Dr. Reeper takes control. Will George and Annie be able to save her father? Will George win the science contest? Will George every have his computer? The story coauthored by Stephen Hawking, some claim to be the best physicist since Einstein, incorporates accurate information within the story for readers to learn about planets, the solar system, time, the universe, and other astronomical mysteries. A great read or read aloud to motivate science discussion in middle school and a pretty darn good adventure story at that.
2000 Diane Stanley Michelangelo nonfiction or historical fiction art artist Michelangelo sculpture design Great story about Michelangelo. Enough detail to bring him to life and respect him as an artist and person.
2001 Windsor Chorlton Wooly Mammoth: Life, Death, and Rediscovery nonfiction Mammoth archeology, reference Great story and reference about a wooly mammoth found frozen in Siberia...
2003 Alice Hoffman Green Angel fiction realistic death destruction grief gardening Gothic Green loses her family at fifteen and retreats into her ruined garden. She struggles to survive emotionally and physically. Imagery from 9-11 or the journey through adolescence and the struggle to finding yourself as an adult. Creative, thought provoking, and incredibly profound vivid and emotional imagery.
2004 Gary D. Schmidt Lizzie Bright and The Buckminster Boy historical fiction slavery injustice stereotypes prejudice Maine history 20th century minister Phippsburg race human relations multicultural moving family friends clergy Historical fiction about race relations and injustice resulting from prejudice in a 20th century small Maine town. The main character struggles to deal with several conflicts beyond the obvious prejudicial ones as he grows to manhood. Black and white relations, minister s son and trying to fit into an adolescent culture, male and female, family responsibilities and personal desires, good and bad. The author s use of language makes a powerful story even more powerful with numerous insightful descriptions:
...seemed about as surprised at each other as new hope drying a last tear. - Books can be fire. Books can ignite fires in your mind, because they carry ideas for kindling, and art for matches. - Should a minister s son be reading this? Who better.
... everything in the world rejoices in the touch, and everything in the world laments in the losing. And with his hand still on the whale he...
1990 Jim Murphy The Boys' War Confederate & Union Soldiers Talk About the Civil War nonfiction War, children, Civil War Historically accurate information about the often times forgotten boys that fought in the American Civil War. Well written with pictures and cohesive story that can move the reader through the book.
1997 Mia Amalia Kanner Shattered Crystals nonfiction holocaust diaries Holocaust survivor story. Life experiences of Mia as she was uprooted, relocated, and hounded time and time again by the Nazis as she and her family moved through Europe trying to escape. Her story describes what the war meant to the people of Germany and France.
2000 Jerry Spinelli Stargirl realistic fiction unusual girl accepting different friendship popularity being popular being yourself home school I liked the feeling the moonlight gave me, as if it wasn't the opposite of day, but its underside, its private side, when the fabulous purred on my snow-white sheet like some dark cat come in from the desert. It was during one of these night moon times that it came to me that Hillari Kimble was wrong. Stargirl was real. - Creative, giving - Stargirl is accepted and rejected and loved by Leo who can t deal with rejection. The adolescent struggle with friendship, love, acceptance and all the pressures they bring. A story that every adult can relate to and every adolescent needs to know.
2004 Peter H. Reynolds The Dot picture book fiction picture book art creativity The mood and message of this book inspires the reader to do as the main character and rise above her inhibitions and begin to draw. With the first dot put to the page there is an excitement and realization that propels her to continue draw and encourage others to draw.
2007 Trenton Lee Stewart The Mysterious Benedict Society science fiction fantasy puzzles riddles problem solving mystery future mind control adventure school Imagine being gifted, creative, and an orphan with no one to relate to. Then one day an invitation to enter a contest arrives. Riddles and puzzles await many, but only four survive and become the Mysterious Benedict Society. How ever intriguing, interesting, and exciting the contest was these four soon discover that they have been selected to save the world s population from being brought under the control of one ambitious person. Soon there are more puzzles and mind games that need to be solved for higher stakes than winning a contest. A scheme is about to be initiated with a new stronger formula and a more powerful secret device that will make it impossible for anyone to resist. Making it too late to save the world from this evil fate. The puzzles and problems are interesting and Stewart make them more interesting by having multiple creative solutions. Very mysterious futuristic reading.
April 2005 Peter Abrahams Down the Rabbit Hole: An Echo Falls mystery realistic fiction mystery detective Ingrid, an eighth student, is challenged from a variety of directions. Her algebra teacher, soccer coaches, brother, parents, friends, desire to be an actress, are making life more complicated everyday. How can she deal with all of them when an even greater concern is what the sheriff might know about her and her shoes being at a murder scene. Will she be able to save herself with the use of her intellect, as her idol Sherlock Holmes did?
This is the best children s murder mystery I ve ever read. If you like adventure movies like the Goonies, Ferris Bueller s Day Off, and Home Alone (without the slapstick) you ll find this story compelling.
1973 William Goldman The Princess Bride fantasy fiction romance good evil fantasy multimedia It is every bit as good as the movie. A classic.
2005 Lois Lowry Gooney Bird and the Room Mother Picture book fiction Thanksgiving school true stories story telling vocabulary It was early November in Mrs. Pidgeon s seconod grade with students hard at work on their Pilgrim mural and of course - Gooney Bird Green who likes to be in the middle of it all, is indefatigable, and feels ennui when she wears matching socks. An entertaining story about class life that incorporates vocabulary, dictionary skills, a unique way to introduce foreshadowing, predicting, and reasoning with Gooney s stories and second grade students literal interpretations. Gooney seems to be a model student and class leader. But, will Gooney solve the problem of finding a room mother so she can be rewarded with the role she want for the Thanksgiving Pageant?
2004 Katherine Hannigan Ida B...and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World realistic fiction family cancer home-schooled Wisconsin apple orchards saying sorry apologizing conflict resolution It was one of those days that start right and just keep heading toward perfect until you go to sleep.
My insides started itching and my feet started hopin, one then the other, because they were ten minutes past ready to go. So I decided to speed things up a bit.
These are quotes from Ida B. The book is filled with interesting descriptive language as well as a great story about Ida B and her struggle to accept change and how people that believe in children can make a difference by believing in goodness will prevail. Also very supportive of reading and writing. Great story particularly for teachers.
2001 Jane Goodall The Chimpanzees I Love: Saving Their World and Ours nonfiction Chimpanzees environmental concerns endangered species arthropologist life science Jane Goodall - introduces the reader to the chimpanzees she documented and see how she uses ethnographic scientific inquiry method to teach the world about chimpanzees. Big word, but basically means she had the curiosity and desire to wake up early one morning, sneak out of the house and into the chicken coop to sit patiently and discover where eggs came from.
2006 Jean-Claude Mourlevat The Pull of the Ocean
Loosely based on Charles. Perrault's "Tom Thumb; seven brothers in modern day France flee their poor parents farm, led by the youngest who, although mute and exceptionally small, is exceptionally wise. Jean-Claude Mourlevat brings Charles Perrault s character Tom Thumb and seven brothers into modern day France. Tom, the youngest, convinces his brothers to flea their parents and head for the Ocean. The story is told by the accounts of the different characters as they experienced the boys. A very creative story for children who enjoy self-reliant and industrious characters in an adventure.
2004 E. L. Konigsburg The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place realistic fiction family summer camp art social activism individuality Hungarian Americans
clever play on words
Margaret Rose Kane is sent to summer Camp Talequa by her parents as they head off to Peru. Margret would rather have stayed with her Uncles Alex and Morris Rose. Unknow to her there reason to seemingly reject her was their concern for her as they didn t want her present as their towers were being demolished. Great story of family, free will, persistence in maintaining ones values, creative expression, use of words, particularly clever play on words, and social activism. Other people s response from this book agree it s - fantastic Konigsburg know how to write a story.
1956Newberry Winner Virginia Sorensen Miracles on Maple Hill realistic fiction war trauma Pennsylvania year of nature Marley's father returns home from World War II a broken man physically and spiritually, mother decides the family needs to leave Pittsburgh for Grandma's house near Somerset, PA. A place where miracles can happen. The story of young Marley gaining confidence as she grows, father slowly regaining his strength and the family coming back together as a family. The year is filled with struggles and miracles as the author vividly describes the characters and the natural landscapes through the year. As the family regains its health the beloved neighbor, Mr. Chris, who has been the stabilizing element encounters problems of his own which brings the story to a climax and an inevitable resolution of final miracles.
1975 Sharon Bell Mathis The Hundred Penny Box fantasy fiction Elderly, death, family Michael loves his great great aunt Dew and the stories she tells of her life as she reminisces with her old box of pennies. The survival of the box comes into question when Michael s mother questions its value. Timeless story about family relationships.
1972 Jean Craighead George Julie of the Wolves fantasy fiction Sex roles, growing up, Native Americans, survival, Miyax or Julie? Thirteen - orphaned and unhappily married she runs away. Hoping to become a modern teenager she is instead cast the fate of being lost on the harsh Alaska Tundra where she must remember a rely on the Eskimo ways to survive. However, the bleak landscape isn t enough to insure her survival without her reliance on a pack of wolves. This and later novel - Julie 1994 explore a struggle between modern and traditional Eskimo lives.
1971 Robert C. O' Brien Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh fantasy fiction science fiction Adventure, fantasy, working together Science Fiction NIMH has developed super rats capable of human qualities. The struggle of these superior endowed rats to find their way in the world to create their civilization is a classic animal tale with a science fiction flare.
2007 Janet Lee Carey Dragons Keep fiction fantasy fairy tale differences family being different fantasy getting along friendship No one must know her terrible secret. Her mother, the queen has forced her to wear gloves to hide her shame until a cure can be found. Rosalind, a princess who is destined to become queen and fulfill Merlin s six hundred year old prophecy that will restore the royal family to its rightful throne.
So what does this have to do with dragons? Rosalind s curse is entwined with the fate of the bloodthirsty dragons that have been the bane of the kingdom for years. Rosalind discovers the bond between her and the dragons and through her actions discovers how her terrible secret has bound her to the dragons. How she discovers herself and is able to change her point of view for her kingdoms advantage is an outstanding fantasy adventure and story of compassion and change. The story presents opportunities to reflect on differences and how people choose to accept or not accept them and how those decisions can affect their lives.
1994 Sherry Garland I Never Knew Your Name picture book realistic fiction suicide, relationships, classroom management friendship Picture book written in verse where a younger boy tells his view of the story of an adolescent boy who committed suicide who he knew, but never knew his name. Sheldon Greenberg illustrated it with oil paints and capture the moods of the story in style and color. A powerful story of the inhumanity that going about our lives everyday can create.
1995 Alice Schertle Down the Road picture book realistic fiction parenting making the best of a worse situation classroom management families apples Picture story about a young girl who begs her parents to let her go to the store on her own. When she does instead of coming home with eggs she ends up with apples. A very touching story where the parents deal with a problem in a most creative and appropriate way to foster growth.
2008 Walter Dean Myers Sunrise over Fallujah historical fiction Irag war 2003 African Americans Robin Perry who felt compelled to enlist as a result of his experiences of 9-11 joins the service and is sent from Harlem to Iraq in 2003 as a member of the Civil Affairs Battalion. Robin nicknamed Birdy by his comrades - Marla: a tough talking wisecracking blonde gunner and Jonesy, a guitar-player who just wants to open a blues club become comrades in arms. This trio struggles to find meaning in their service to secure, stabilize and win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people. Robin s time there profoundly changes him as his innocence and intentions of good will are overcome by a need to survive and question why he is there. An important book that offers insight to the intense relationships and profound implications that result during a war and more specific for today s youth - Iraq.
1969 Betsy Byars Summer of the Swans realistic fiction Mentally handicapped, growing up, responsibility, relationships Sara Godfrey is going through the worst summer of her life. She thinks everything is all wrong with her, her big feet, her orange tennis shoes, and the responsibility of looking after her brother. A powerful story about strained relationships with family and peers and an added responsibility of a special brother. As if adolescence isn t troubling enough without having an added concern and responsibility for Charlie. While this novel was written and set in the sixty s the issues are timeless and it represents a classic that has had enormous popularity over the years. A quick, easy, and heart touching read.
2006 Meghan Nuttall Sayers Anahita s Woven Riddle fiction realistic historical Iran nomads family marriage eternal love Set in Northern Iran in the 1880 s Anahita is informed that at this time next year she will be old enough to wed. She wants doesn t want to be married to someone that doesn t match what she is. From her love of riddles she decides that it must be someone the enjoys riddles and if they do, then they would be able to solve the riddle that she would weave into her rug. However, not everyone thinks her idea is a very good one. The story is a year of controversy between her family, tribe members, and even herself as she struggles with her decision set in the 1880 s of Northern Iran. Suggestion while reading - As the characters are introduced in the book take notes on what what the character traits are for each character - what they value, and what they believe. Use the notes about the character to predict what their interpretation of the riddle might be. How do your ideas compare with the answer to the riddle that each gives in the book? How does each character s personality match their interpretation of the riddle?
1980 Katherine Paterson Jacob Have I Loved realistic fiction historical Relationships, Story about a girl that grows up in a fishing community on Chesapeake Bay.
1977 Macaulay, David Castle nonfiction Europe, medieval, building, architecture, structures Story and sketches that accurately and with detail describe the construction of a medieval castle.
1974 Macaulay, David City nonfiction Europe, Roman, building, architecture, structures Story and sketches that accurately and with detail describe the construction of a Roman City.
1985 Blegvad, Lenore Anna Banana and Me fiction curiosity, self esteem, classroom management, dream, ability Story of a how young girl teaches a boy how to dream and live above your fears. A friend once told me this was a Bridge to Terabithia for young readers.
1989 Lois Lowry Number The Stars historical fiction World War II, Jewish, holocaust problem solving Story of how Annemarie Johannese (10) and her family harbors her best friend Ellen Rosen in Denmark as the Danish resistance and population smuggle Jews from Nazi occupation to Sweden. Action packed adventure that captures the intensity and seriousness of what the characters were attempting and the Danes actions during World War II.
1977 Paterson, Katherine Bridge to Terabithia realistic fiction Death of a friend, relationships, fantasy, growing, maturation Story where Jess (10) learns about possibilities beyond his own backyard when he is meets Leslie. A true story about friendship, dreaming, creativity, and how we can become what we experience.
2006 Anna Myers Confessions from the Principal s Chair Fiction Bullying school friendship mothers daughters Oklahoma classroom management After Bird ( 14 year old Robin) participates in a cruel prank, her mother moves them to Oklahoma, where fourteen-year-old Robin wants to each her mother a lesson which leads to helping the middle school students as a result of her being mistaken for the substitute principal. While it is realistic fiction their are parts that require a bit of readership willingness to go along with the story. If they are, they will get to see a new perspective on bullying,
1960 Scott O' Dell Island of the Blue Dolphins historical fiction Siblings, survival, Survival adventure set in the Pacific. Based on a true story about a girl that survives through the seasons until she is rescued. It is more than a survival adventure as she develops her personal understanding of her plight.
2007 Royce Buckingham Demonkeeper fiction Demonology supernatural The beast moved to the feeding chute. With a new Keeper there might be an opportunity to get out into Seattle and the world of humans. Where there would be plenty of lost children to eat. Nat and his minions who just recently acquired sole care for a house full of strange entities the demon being the worst of the lot. Seeking information from an ancient book he travels to the library and meets Sandy who turn out to be more help than he can imagine at the time. Mean while two street teens, and the Thin Man converge on his home with foul intentions of their own. However, the beast itself has intentions of its own and plans on not letting anyone else get in his way. Unless they are taste young children. Will things ever be the same for Nat? Will the beast escape its chamber and have a tasty meal? Once it escapes will it ever be returned to the basement ? And what is the deal about this Thin Man? Slapstick humor, fast action high spirited romp of an unlikely hero in true misadventure -fast paced action worthy of any teen movie.
1989 Jon Scieszka The True Story of The 3 Little Pigs folk tale picture book Retelling wolf three little pigs started retellings The delightful picture story that started an avalanche of retellings of fairy tales. Just think of those pigs lying there as a juicy hamburger, what would you do?
1992 Cherry, Lynne A River Ran Wild nonfiction Environment, historical, technology The history of a New England Nashua River and the effect it had on people and the effect people had on the river. The book is illustrated with the life along the river as well as the technology of the people through time. From the rivers first encounter with Native Americans up to present day. Not only is the story of the river and its relationship with humans told both in text and beautiful illustrations, but borders are embedded with color pencil drawings of the cultural artifacts of the people during the time being depicted. A great story with enough detail and inspiration stirrings to motivate readers to deeper research into history of this river or other more personal histories of the reader. while the story has utility for historical research and historical understanding the book is more significant in its contribution for being a ground breaking children s story about water pollution.
1974 Shel Silverstein Where the Sidewalk Ends poetry
The most loved children s anthology of poems ever written.
2005 Janet Elizabeth Mc Naughton The Secret Under My Skin science fiction future 2368 science work camps education environmental degradation orphans forced child labor The Secret Under My Skin is a futuristic story that takes place as the earth is recovering from a global ecological disaster. The main character, a teenager, orphaned at age six as a result of a power struggle for government control. As she grows her curiosity and love of reading open doors of opportunities. However, she is concerned and confused by her perceived obligations to others and her obligation to herself. The author sets her struggle against the struggle of another major character. The contrast of the way these two girls work differently ignoring each sometimes and working together makes an interesting story of intellectual and emotional development about adolescent girls.
2004 Karen Levine Hana s Suitcase nonfiction holocaust Germany Japan girl The story of Hana Brady, a girl killed at Auschwitz, and how her suitcase came to be a part of the Tokyo Holocaust Education Resource Center. A CD recording of the radio program is available and adds to the impact and power of the book. The story ends on a positive note by uniting Japanese schoolchildren fascinated by Hana's story with her brother George Brady. The setting alternates between past and present, the Czechoslovakian resort town of Nove Mesto, and Fumiko Ishioka, a teacher in Japan educating her students about the horrors of the Holocaust. Black-and-white photographs accompany each chapter. The narrative moves quickly, though the writing is oversimplified. One can assume the direct quotes come from Hana's brother, George Brady, and Fumiko Ishioka, the original narrators of the radio program, but no notes state it.
2006 Nikki Grimes The Road to Paris realistic fiction biracial broken home runaway mother growing up accepting self concept The struggles of a biracial girl in a predominantly white town. Her mother has left her often enough that she and her brother are part of the system. Changing from home to foster care back and forth, but at least she has always had her brother, David, However, this time was going to be different. The system was separating them. A story told with the intensity and feelings that is becoming associated with the writing of Nikki Grimes. 153 page story about the struggle, growth, and empowerment that Paris attains when conditions finally provide her the support necessary for her to be able to take risks and seek positive change.
2007 Sara Lewis Holmes Letters from Rapunzel realistic fiction parents depression school gifted fairy tales Thirteen year old Cadence Rae Brogan (Rapunzel) is trapped in her own tower as her father s world turns black, her mother s world becomes overwhelmed, and Cadence s world is collapsing at a most difficult time of of life - Junior High! Sara Holmes has created a character that you can t help wanting to know what and when things are going to Additionally Holmes use of fairy tales and fairly tale characters is delightfully creative. Of course any adolescent tale must include strong references to school; Homes story does not exclude that rule. Share what you think about this book. What is most compelling for you? How did you relate to Rapunzel? How do you believe middle school students would respond to this story?
Winner of the Ursula Nordstrom First Fiction Contest
2007 Colfer, Eoin and Andrew Donkin Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel fantasy fiction child prodigy adventure graphic novel This creatively designed graphic novel tells the complete first story of Artemis Fowl in a way that was not possible in the mere novel. The authors, Colfer and Donkin, collaborated with the illustrators, Rigano and Lamanna to combine text and illustrations in a format that includes detailed character information in illustrations, text, and in character files physically embedded in the graphic novel. The combination of these three elements create a style and tone for the story that may provide more detail and a richer experience than the original novel.
1987 Russell Freedman Lincoln A Photo Biography nonfiction Lincoln This is by far the best and most accurate story about Lincoln, that doesn t go above 160 pages, and includes actual photographs and drawings.
1993 David Macaulay Ship nonfiction historical fiction Europe, medieval, building, architecture, structures, archeology, record keeping This is two books in one. A fictionalize story of a ship and its construction in medieval Europe as described by the main character who visits the shipyard during its construction. The second part of the book describes an archeological expedition and its recovery of the same ship. Accurate descriptions provide insight into the vessel as well as how archeology can help uncover our history previously forgotten.
2006 Audrey Shafer The Mailbox fiction foster care home Vietnam veterans Twelve year old Gabe is down on his luck. Can t be any one more down. His mother and father are gone and he is living with his Uncle who is in the process of changing his life because of Gabe. One day when Gabe comes home he finds his uncle dead. Aftraid he will be sent away he hides his uncle s death from the local authorities, he is not prepared for what happens when this secret is discovered. An excellent story about how a friend of his Uncles a Vietnam veteran and other characters work together to try to do what s best for Gabe. A scared young boy who needs to find himself and how others that help each him end up helping themselves in return. A frustrating, but real story that gets below the surface of the different troubles the more significant characters in the book have and how more people work to help them, instead of so many being jerks as is usually portrayed in many television programs.
1994 Nikki Grimes Meet Danitra Brown poetry African American, black experience, relationships, friends poem collection Two bubbly vivacious young girls are the center piece of this marvelous collection of poems that fit together within this volume. It is beautifully illustrated in warm dreamy oils that stir feelings of hope and goodness two girls have about being black, female, and confident, as well as family, friendship, art, and education.
2003 Katie Di Camillo The Tale of Despereaux fantasy fiction graphic novel Good bad evil living happily ever after vocabulary story elements Well written very engaging fantasy adventure to read aloud in primary grades. The author plays with the reader by using the word reader . Makes comments about the meaning of some word (perfidy). And uses a generally delightful tone - With a rope made of mice whiskers, He went up to see the light and ended in the Queen s soup... As he was running away he looked back and saw... the Princess s look that broke his heart...
2008 James Lincoln Collier The Dreadful Revenge of Ernest Gallen supernatural fiction horror story depressions When Eugene starts to hear voices inside his head telling him to do awful things, it leads him to look into his small town s past during the early 1900 s. He and Sonny discover long-hidden secrets about his neighbors and his town.
2005 Susan Campell Bartoletti Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler s Shadow nonfiction war Germany Hitler With a focus on the years between 1933 and the end of the war in 1945, Bartoletti explains the roles that millions of boys and girls unwittingly played in the horrors of the Third Reich. The book is structured around 12 young individuals and their experiences, which clearly demonstrate how they were victims of leaders who took advantage of their innocence and enthusiasm for evil means. Their stories evolve from patriotic devotion to Hitler and zeal to join, to doubt, confusion, and disillusion. Andrew Medlar
An audio version is also available with a slideshow of photographs (to be viewed on a computer) adds an important dimension to the narrative and demonstrates a meaningful innovation for audiobooks. Also includes an introduction and epilogue spoken by the author, which adds to the presentation.
2003 elisa carbone The Pack realistic fiction
Wolves, growing up with wolves, bullying, violence, school violence, friendship, guns, bombs, invisible students, belonging, and not belonging. The author created a powerful story relevant for today s middle school students and above. It has to be read to see how such a compact book could be authored that brings together these ideas in a compelling powerfully important story for these times. Here is a sample from the beginning.
WHEN AKHIL VYAS showed up at school in early October, I thought he was, without a doubt, the weirdest person on earth. But on that cold December day, by the time the last police car left and the last ambulance pulled out of the school parking lot with tires screeching and siren wailing, I had begun to believe that he was the first truly sane person I d ever know.