New Book Reviews
Reading Level: Grades 5 - 8
...until Morgan Sturtz kicks my butt
Sam Lewis and Morgan Sturtz were best friends all through elementary school, but by seventh grade Sam is the brainy, nerdy, small kid while Morgan is is the popular football player who struggles in school. Readers know something has happened to warrant the promised "butt kicking," but don't find out until later in the book. Hask-Lowy takes readers through a boring social studies class, a classic food fight, a fire drill and the cover "butt kicking." Sam is a smart, likeable narrator. "If you know someone was going to kick you someplace, would you not hope for that place to be your butt?"
There are so many books about the changing friendships among girls. Here's one about boys that girls will enjoy, too.
Reading Level: Grades 6 - 8
Sixteen-year-old Dan is thrilled to be spending the summer on a real college campus taking college courses with a bunch of kids who actually CARE about school. When he arrives he learns that the summer students are all going to be housed in an old asylum which is being converted to dorms. Camp start off normal enough, but after Dan and his new friends explore an off limit area, things start getting strange. Dan begins to have strange dreams involving doctors experimenting on mental patients, and then the blackouts start.
Reading Level: Grades 2-4
It was a sweet story when Gran Gran bought it. She wrote a loving inscription circled by a heart, "Happy Birthday, Alexander! To my little birthday bunny on his special day. Love, Gran Gran."
The saccharine book was more than Alexander could take. With pencil in hand he changes the gentle story of a little birthday bunny into the wild, raucous adventures of the villainous Battle Bunny!!!
Books by Jon Scieszka
Books by Mac Barnett
Other subversive stories include:
Chester by Melanie Watt
Killer Koalas From Outer Space by Andy Griffiths and
Tales for the Perfect Child by Florence Parry Heide
Reading Level: Grades 4 - 8
England has always had ghosts, but ever since The Problem began hauntings have become more frequent and much more dangerous, with ghosts being able to kill people with a touch. Most people are born with the ability to sense ghosts, but they lose this skill when they reach adulthood so now children are employed to watch for and hunt ghosts under the supervision of an adult leader.Thirteen-year-old Lucy, who can hear ghosts, joins the rogue pair of ghost hunters known as Lockwood & Co. which has no adult in charge. Needless to say, nobody is terribly surprised when she and Lockwood accidentally burn down a house on one of her first missions. This new supernatural adventure series by the author of the the Bartemaeus books will leave the reader hoping book two comes out soon.
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 . . .
16-year-old Sydney Carton is an orphan. As a baby he was rescued from the eastern wastelands by the Benevolent Society...for a price. Syd must repay the cost of his rescue and education. To recoop their costs the Society sold baby Syd's services to Mr. Brindle, an ultra-wealthy member of the ruling class, as his son's proxy.
16-year-old Knox Brindle only thinks of Syd when he is forced to watch the screen that broadcasts Syd receiving Knox's punishments which range from violent electical shocks to weeks of hard labor.
In two years Syd's debt will be paid and he will never have to worry about suffering for his unknown "patron" again. Syd counts the days until he is free. His hopes are dashed when Knox does the unforgivable, leaving Syd to face years in a brutal maximum security prison. It is a fate Syd is determined to escape.
Other action-packed dystopian tales include:
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Across the Universe by Beth Revis
Coda by Emma Trevayne
Reading Level: Grades 2 - 4
It's not that there's a lack of books about the racial barrier-breaking sports hero. This biography, written by his daughter Sharon, is different. Yes, this book about the racial divide in baseball and how Jackie Robinson was the first black man to play in the major leagues. It also gives a clear and interesting picture of his early years, his family life, his career in the military, and his life after baseball. Family photos throughout this short biography add that personal touch. Sharon Robinson has every reason to be proud of her father and her work.
Reading Level: Grades 6 - 9
A devastating world war has left the Earth ruined, nations destroyed, and survivors scattered in small colonies trying to restore the world. The United Commonwealth (formerly the U.S.A.) chooses the best and brightest to be tested for the University where they will be trained as scientists, educators and leaders. Cia lives in tiny Five Lakes Colony where nobody has been chosen for testing for years, until her graduation day when she and three other students are chosen. Although it is a great honor, being chosen means that Cia will never see her home again. If she passes all the tests she will go to the University and be assigned to a new colony upon graduation, and if she fails she will be removed from the testing and sent to a new colony to live. Or so the students are told...
Fans of the Hunger Games will not want to miss this new dystopian series.
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.