New Book Reviews for Kids

New Book Reviews

Weight of Water

by Sarah Crossan

Reading Level:  Grades 6 -9

Told in free verse, this is the story of Kasienka, who has just left her native Poland for a tenament in England.  Her mother was determined to follow her father who left the family two years before and hasn't been heard from since.  Kasienka is miserable in her new life.  At her middle school the popular girls bully her and at home her mother is determined to continue the exhausting, fruitless search for her father.  Only when she's swimming does Kasienka feel good and empowered.

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Also by Sarah Crossan

Reading Level: 6th Grade,7th Grade,8th Grade,High Schoolers Subjects: Books for Girls, Non-Prose, Realistic Fiction, Self Image Location: JY Fiction
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The Lightning Dreamer: Cuba's Greatest Abolotionist

by Margarita Engle

Reading Level:  Ages 12 and up

This inspiring free verse novel is the fictionalized story of the early teen years of  Cuban poet/abollitionist Gertrudis Gomez de Avellaneda (1814-1873.)  At thirteen, Tula uses her poetry and plays to express her views about freedom, both for the slaves of Cuba and for the young girls who are sold into arranged marriages to the highest bidder.  In defiance of her family's wishes  Tula is determined to live a free life.  Other poems give added dimension as the reader hear from her supportive brother, the nuns who nuture Tula, her disgusted mother, and the freed slave who has not  had the courage to leave. Tula's is a beautiful and powerful story.

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Other books by Margarita Engle

Reading Level: 6th Grade,7th Grade,8th Grade,High Schoolers Subjects: Books for Girls, Historical Fiction, In Other Lands, Non-Prose, Social Issues Location: JY Fiction
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Gone Fishing: A Novel in Verse

by Tamara Will Wissinger

Reading Level: Grades 2-4

It's obvious just from the cover that this book is going to be fun to read.  And it's all in poems so you can impress your teacher or your parents with your knowledge of different types of poems.  (Each one is labeled with the type of poem and at the back there's an explanation of what each type is.) The story is simple.  Sam has been looking forward to a father-son fishing trip, but then his pesky little sister horns in.  Tamera Will Wissinger's first book will have you hooked.

 

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Reading Level: 2nd Grade,3rd Grade,4th Grade Subjects: Books for Boys, Books for Girls, Family, Humor, Non-Prose, Realistic Fiction Location: J Fiction
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Cameron and the Girls

by Edward Averett

Reading Level: Grades 7 - 10

Cameron has schiophreniform disorder, a form of schizophrenia.  At fourteen, he decides he's old enough to make the decision to go off his meds.   Without medication Cameron hears voices.  He hears The Professor who gives good solid advice.  Then there's The Girl who is everything Cameron could want in a relationship except that she's not real.  Then a new voice called The Other Guy tells Cameron to be more macho and take risks.  When a girl in his special ed class shows an interest in Cameron an unusual love triangle develops. 

 

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Reading Level: 7th Grade,8th Grade,High Schoolers Subjects: Books for Boys, Books for Girls, Misfits, Realistic Fiction, Self Image Location: JY Fiction
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Golden Boy

by Tara Sullivan

Reading Level:  Age 12 and up

In modern day Tanzania, the word for albino and nothing is the same.  13-year-old Habo is an albino who feels that he is nothing but a freak of nature that brings bad luck to his family.  When the fatherless family loses their farm, they journey to a region where Habo learns that albinos are hunted and killed for their body parts. Albino's body parts are used by witch doctors to make good luck charms.  Pursued by a bounty hunter Habo runs for his life.  In the Dar Es Salaam, he meets a kind, blind sculptor who shows Habo the possibility of a new life.

In her riveting, realistic debut novel, Sullivan focuses on the treatment of albinos as she portrays the thoughts and feelings of a wonderful boy who comes to realize his worth.   The appendix includes a list of organization who help albinos in East African countries.

Reading Level: 6th Grade,7th Grade,8th Grade,High Schoolers Subjects: Adventure, Books for Boys, Books for Girls, In Other Lands, Misfits, Realistic Fiction, Self Image, Social Issues Location: JY Fiction
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Absent

by Katie Williams

Reading Level: Grades 6 - 8

One minute Paige is up on the school roof getting ready to test her egg drop experiment and the next she is waking up a ghost in the basement of the school. Luckily there are two other dead students, Evan and Brooke to keep her company, but she can't stand that everyone alive at the school, including her best friend, is insisting that she killed herself. How can she clear her name when nobody knows she is there and she can't even leave school property?

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More books by Katie Williams

Reading Level: 6th Grade,7th Grade,8th Grade Subjects: Adventure, Friends, Misfits, Mysteries, Relationships, School, Supernatural Location: JY Fiction
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You're Wearing THAT to School?!

by Lynn Plourde

Reading Level: Ages 4 - 6

Penelope Hippo is very excited about her first day of school, until her older, jaded friend, Tiny Mouse, helps her pick out what to wear, bring and eat to make sure she conforms on that special day.

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More books by Sue Cornelison

Illustrator: Sue Cornelison Reading Level: Preschoolers,Kindergarteners,1st Grade Subjects: Animals--Talking, Friends, Humor, Misfits, School Location: Picture Books
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Count the Monkeys

by Mac Barnett

Reading Level: Ages 3 - 6

All the author wants you to do is count the monkeys, but other things keep getting in the way in this amusingly chaotic counting book.

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More books by Kevin Cornell

Illustrator: Kevin Cornell Reading Level: Preschoolers,Kindergarteners,1st Grade,2nd Grade Subjects: Humor, Read-Alouds Location: Picture Books
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Sam and Charlie (and Sam Too!)

by Leslie Kimmelman

Grades 1-3

Sam is excited about his new neighbors, especially when he overhears someone yelling "Charlie, don't forget your baseball mitt!"

Sam runs over to meet his new neighbors, Charlie (short for Charlene, but never call her that) and Sam Too, Charlie's little sister. The three new friends have a lot in common other than their names and their love of baseball and hamentaschen. 

In this fun beginning chapter book, play baseball, celebrate Purim, sneeze on a sick day, and much more with new friends Sam and Charlie (and Sam Too!).

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More books by Leslie Kimmelman and Stefano Tambellini.

For other early chapter books about good friends, try:

Pinky and Rex by James Howe (series)

Iris and Walter by Elissa Hadden Guest (series)

Mimi and Mati to the Rescue: Roger the Rat is on the Loose! by Brooke Smith

Bink and Gollie by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee

Illustrator: Stefano Tambellini Reading Level: 1st Grade,2nd Grade,3rd Grade Subjects: Books for Boys, Books for Girls, Friends, Read-Alouds, Realistic Fiction, Sports Location: JP Fiction
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The Watermelon Seed

by Greg Pizzoli

Ages 4+

There is almost nothing better during a hot summer than eating a slice of watermelon. Yum, yum, yum. Watermelon is Crocodile's favorite thing to eat. It's so juicy, and sweet, and -

 

Uh oh. 

 

He swallowed a seed. 

 

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Reading Level: 1st Grade,2nd Grade Subjects: Animals--Talking, Humor, Read-Alouds, Self Image Location: Picture Books
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