New Book Reviews
Reading Level: Grades 3 - 6
Jack and his mother go camping in Maine over Labor Day weekend, but when Jack wakes up on their first morning, his mother is gone, along with her tent and the car. Jack's mother has done this before, so he's worried... but knows she'll come back eventually. But the end of the weekend looms closer, and Jack's food money has long since run out.
Jack knows that if he tells anyone his mother has disappeared again, he'll be taken away from her, so he starts heading home, alone.
Small as an Elephant is a wonderful urban survival story about a boy who loves nothing more than his mother, and elephants.
A few similar stories of kids in charge of themselves:
Reading Level: Grades 3-5
Amelia Earhart was one of the most formidable female pilots of her time, spurring her decision to be the first woman to fly around the world - alone. But a few hours into her flight, Amelia's plane lost radio contact with the ground and became lost. She was never found. Fleming's new biography of Earhart is great for younger readers interested in both the story and the time period.
Other fascinating biographies:
Reading Level: Grades 2-4
If one of your friends came up to you and told you there was a man-eating shark in Lake Michigan, right off the shore of Highland Park, you'd probably laugh at them. That's what happened when Chet, a ten year old boy living in New Jersey in 1916, sees a shark fin in the river near his house. But no one believes him. A few days later, Chet hears about a shark attacking a person just up the coast - but his friends don't believe that either - there's no way a shark would ever attack a person. But Chet knows what he saw in the river, and he believes the newspaper story. How can he stop his friends from continuing to swim in the river?
(Based on a True Story)
More survival stories:
Reading Level: Grades 6+
After accidentally crashing the country's online systems for three days, teenage hacker Sam finds himself recruited and working for Homeland Security - and all he intended to do was use Telecomerica's giant bank account to purchase new state-of-the-art laptops and neuroheadsets for him and his best friend. Suddenly, thrust into the world of professional hacking, Sam begins to unearth information about Telecomerica and the neuro-headsets that go against even his unscrupulous view of privacy.
A few other suspenseful digital adventures:
Reading Level: Grades 7+
Love, aka deleria is the reason for all problems in the world, which is why upon every citizen's eighteenth birthday, a cure is administered, severing the receiver from potential infection. Boys and girls under the age of eighteen, of course, are separated, lest interaction between two uncureds causes an infection. 17 year-old Lena Haloway, like all other teens her age, can't wait to get the vaccine and be cured of the deleria - she hopes that becoming cured will finally sever her from the stigma of her uncured mother's suicide. Just a few months before her scheduled cure, Lena meets Alex, somewhat by accident, and becomes infected. Headstrong and in love, Lena begins to question the cure, as well as everything her society stands for and has taught her; yet her cure date looms ever-closer, promising to destroy herself and Alex.
A few other dystopian love stories:
Older readers will also enjoy:
Reading Level: Grade 2-4
It is not easy for Hildegarde, the Mouse Mistress of Saint Bartholemew's Church, to keep the more than two hundred church mice who dwell in the church safe and away from human eyes. But try she must for each mouse sighting by a human increases the chances of the dreaded GREAT X
Other tales of hidden creatures include:
Reading Level: Ages 3 - 8
Bud the dog has a good life. He has his things and his routine and he likes it that way. Then Zorro comes along. Zorro is bossy and doesn't share (but Bud can be grumpy and selfish too). Can these two dogs find ANYTHING they have in common and become friends?
Reading Level: Grade 5-7
Six-year-old Mouse, twelve-year-old Finn and their unfriendly older sister India are sent to live with their uncle in Colorado after their mother loses the family home. Instead rendezvousing with their Uncle Red at the airport, they are met by a man driving a feather covered car who takes them to Falling Bird a world that seems, a first, much better than the life they left behind.
If you enjoyed this story try:
Reading Level: Grades 3 - 7
When Lisa’s best friend moves from Norway across the world, she prepares herself for an unpleasant school year. Of course, that’s before Nilly, the smallest red-headed boy she’s ever seen, moves in next door. Nilly, a courageous, outspoken boy, quickly befriends both Lisa and Doctor Proctor, a pleasantly mad scientist who lives on the other side of Nilly’s new house. Doctor Proctor, a frustrated inventor who never seems to invent anything quite useful enough for anyone, finds Nilly’s creativity a helpful asset to his inventions, especially his latest one – Fart Powder.
A few other flatulent adventures
Reading Level: Grade 8+
Veronica Roth has created a dystopian setting as gritty as the world of the Hunger Games.
In Chicago, the city on the swamp, people belong to one of five factions, each dedicated to a virtue: Erudite (intelligence), Dauntless (brave), Candor (honesty), Amity (peacefulness) and Abnegation (the selfless). At age 16 all must declare their faction. While most chose the faction they were raised in, a few forsake their families and cross to another faction.
16-year-old Beatrice dreads the Choosing Ceremony. Her family is Abnegation. Beatrice has never been able to suppress all her selfish impulses. But if she is not Abnegation, what is she?
At the Choosing Ceremony Beatrice makes a shocking choice. Now she must turn her back on all she knows and loves to make it through the brutal initiation. Only the top ten initiates will be accepted...all others will be forced to live out their lives as one of the factionless.