New Books for Girls
Reading Level: Ages 12 & up
This nonfiction book reads like a fast paced spy thriller. Israeli Mossad agents, German and Israeli government officials, and private citizens worked together to abduct Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichman and bring him to justice. Eichman, responsible for the deaths of six million Jews, disappeared after the war ended. Then there came a report that he was living in Argentina.
All the elements of a spy novel are here: a dangerous mission, false identities, safe houses, and split second timing, but this is a true, well documented history.
Reading Level: Ages 8 - 12
Dad has been left in charge of the house in Mom's absence and there is no milk for his children's cereal. Not much of a plot unless the author is Neil Gaiman. In the ultimate "the dog ate my homework" story, Dad explains why it took so long to get the milk. The story involves alien aduction, pirates, a dinosaur professor in a hot-air balloon, "wumpires," the space-time continuum- oh, you get the idea. Illustrator Skottie Young 's illustrations manage to match the zaniness of the plot. I'd write more, but I think Bigfoot needs help finding a book and there's the spell cast on the Youth Services Department and . . .
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.
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.
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.
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: Grades 9 and up
Franciso is a celebrity in his Spanish Harlem neighborhood. He is a top student, popular, and a gifted basketball player. He has a wonderful girlfriend and loving supportive parents. For his senior year he is offered a scholarship to a prestigious boarding school in upstate New York. Franciso knows this is his ticket out of the 'hood and into a better life for him and those he loves. But his best friend fears that Francisco will leave him behind. A visit home sets in motion events that lead to bad decisions, betrayals, and tested loyalties. This is a riveting book that readers will not want to put down.
Another book about a minority scholarship student is Tequila Worm by Viola Canales.
Reading Level: Grades 4 - 9
Why would anyone want to steal the body of President Abraham Lincoln? The answer involves counterfeiters and the newly fledged Secret Service. Written like a heist caper, Lincoln's Grave Robbers details a little known part of history that really didn't have much impact, but it's sure fun to read about.
Reading Level: Grades 8 and up
This tense well crafted thriller opens with 16-year-old Noa waking up on a metal table in a warehouse with an incision in her chest. Much like a young Dragon Tattoo's Lisbeth Salander Noa is a tough, smart orphan who has been mistreated by the system and was able to use her considerable computer skills to establish a life on the border of society. After her escape, she meets up with wealthy, privileged Peter who has hacked his way into some files in his father's office. Both teens find themselves on the run. Will they elude capture long enough to get some answers? Who are these men who are chasing them and why are they after Noa and Peter? What has done to Noa? What is the connection to Peter's family?
WARNING: This is the first book in a trilogy. Book one leaves you hanging. You'll want to keep reading, but you can't.
Reading Level: Grades 5 - 8
Truth can be much stranger than fiction and fiction based on truth can make a great story. Inspired by the life of Ivan Mishukov, Ivan Andreovich is a five-year-old boy who was orphaned in post-Soviet Russia, left on the streets to fend for himself, and adopted by a pack of wild dogs.
Life for street children is a battle to survive. Hunger, cold, roving gangs of both adults and older children make survival tenuous. Ivan finds his place with a family of dogs. Ivan and the dogs share what food they have and provide warmth and protection for each other. But more than that, the dogs love Ivan as he loves them. Ivan becomes more and more like his dog family. While humans can be uncaring or cruel, it is the dogs who show the most "humanity."
Ultimately, Ivan Andreovich , like the real Ivan, is rescued.
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