Kid Reads New Book Reviews

Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family's Fight for Desegregation

Author: 
Duncan Tonatiuh

Reading Level: Grades 2 - 5

When Sylvia's family moved to a new town in California, her aunt took her and her brothers along with her cousins to register for school. The school secretary gave enrollment forms to her two light skinned, light haired cousins, but informed Sylvia and her brothers that they would have to attend the Mexican school. After getting the runaround from every branch of the local government in a town where it was not unusual to see signs that read, "No dogs or Mexicans allowed" Sylvia's father decided the only thing to do was sue the Westminster School District to prove that segregation was unfair; a point that had to be proven seven years later by the more famous Brown vs. The Board of Education case.

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Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas

Author: 
Lynne Cox
Illustrator: 
Brian Floca

Reading Level: Grades K - 4

Elizabeth the elephant seal lived in a park in the middle of a busy city. The residents all loved her, but drivers did not because she had a tendency to take naps in the middle of the road. Eventually the government decided that Elizabeth needed to be relocated to an elephant seal colony well away from the city where she would be happy. However, Elizabeth had a different opinion about what would make her happy.

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Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress

Author: 
Christine Baldacchino
Illustrator: 
Isabelle Malenfant

Reading Level: Ages 3-7

Morris Micklewhite likes Sundays when his mother makes him pancakes. He also loves Mondays because he gets to to go school, and there are lots of activities he likes there: painting, singing, snack time, the list goes on. The very best thing about school is the dress up box, where he always finds his favorite bright tangerine dress to put on. The other kids aren't very accepting of Morris wearing a dress, but he is able to find solace at home where he paints pictures inspired by his dreams and imagination.

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This is a Moose

Author: 
Richard T. Morris
Illustrator: 
Tom Lichtenheld

Reading Level: Ages 3 - 7

A director is trying to make a documentary about the mighty moose in his natural environment, but the moose wants to be an astronaut.

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The Forbidden Library

Author: 
Django Wexler

Reading Level: Grades 4 - 6

Alice is up past her bedtime when she hears her father arguing with someone about her. Peeking through the crack in the door she sees that the person he is arguing with is not a person at all, but rather a large, ugly yellow and black fairy. Four days later Alice is orphaned and is informed that she is to go live with her Uncle Jerry. Alice knows she doesn't have an Uncle Jerry, but what can she do other than move to a spooky old mansion with scary servants she can see, mysterious servants she can't, and a gigantic library she is forbidden to enter without an escort.

If you liked the Inkheart series you will enjoy this book.

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Death's Academy

Author: 
Michael Bast

Reading Level: Grades 4 - 6

Midnight "Night" Smith is the son of the most infamous Death ever. Because of his father's bad reputation most other young hoodies (Deaths) are not allowed to associate with Night and he also cannot get a sponsor to help him practice for his entrance exams for Death's Academy. After being caught trying to illegally kill a chipmunk by a halo (Guardian Angel) Night ends up grounded. While sneaking out one evening Night accidentally stumbles across evil unicorns and overhears their plan to attack the Death's headquarters, but who will believe the son of a disgraced criminal?

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Constable & Toop

Author: 
Gareth P. Jones

Reading Level: Grades 4 - 7

Sam Toop has lived all his life above Constable & Toop. His father builds caskets for Mr. Constable, the mortician. Perhaps his close association with death is the reason Sam is a Talker (someone who can see and hear ghosts). Meanwhile the ghost Lapsewood has worked for many years filling out forms in the bureaucratic monstrosity of the afterlife. Little do they know that Sam's life and Lapsewood's afterlife will be forever changed by a mysterious disappearing of ghosts from haunted houses.

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The Carpet People

Author: 
Terry Pratchett

Reading Level: Grades 3 and older

When the mythical Fray returns and destroys the Munrung's village with its terrible winds the entire tribe must make a perilous journey across the Carpet, battling the mouls who are said to control Fray, as they search for a safe new place to live. If you liked the Borrowers or the Littles you will enjoy this book about the microscopic beings that live in the wild jungle beneath your feet. (and it will make you look at your vacuum cleaner differently too.).

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The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights

Author: 
Steve Sheikin

Reading Level: Ages 10 - 14

On July 17, 1944, an explosion at the Port Chicago naval base in California killed over 300 people and sank two ships.  All the men loading bombs and ammunition onto ships were black.  All supervising officers were white.  Black sailors who had never received proper training in the handling of munitions were afraid and refused to go back to work on the docks.  Some gave in under pressure from the navy until only 50 men held fast.  They were brought up on charges of mutiny, a charge that could mean the death penalty.  Sheinkin has crafted another book that brings history to life.  You'll be outraged, but you'll cheer for 50 new heroes in the fight for equal rights.

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Nick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab: A Mystery With Eletromagnets, Burglar Alarms, and Other Gadgets You Can Build Yourself

Author: 
"Science Bob" Pflugfelder
Steve Hockensmith

Reading Level:  Ages 9 - 12

Eleven-year-old twins, Nick and Tesla, are sent to spend the summer with their comical, mad scientist uncle while their parents are out of the country.   Instead of the boring time they expect, they encounter a spooky deserted mansion guarded by ravenous dogs, a mysterious girl at the window holding a "GO AWAY" sign, ill-tempered construction workers, and black van that keeps following them.  The twins are science geeks themselves who use everyday objects to build what they need to solve the mystery and survive.  Interspersed in the book are great directions for building the gadgets.  Have fun!

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