Saturday, May 31, 2008

Jimmy's Stars

Jimmy's Stars by Mary Ann Rodman
In 1943, eleven-year-old Ellie is her brother Jimmy's "best girl," and when he leaves Pittsburgh just before Thanksgiving to fight in World War II, he promises he will return, asks her to leave the Christmas tree up until he does, and reminds her to "let the joy out."
Peace: A Novel by Richard Bausch
Set in Italy, 1944, this truly original and inventive work follows the travails of a trio of three American soldiers sent on a reconnaissance mission under the guidance of a 70-year-old man. Throughout this propulsive novel, readers will find themselves engrossed in the subtle action of the soldiers as they rise to new heights in order to complete their mission, despite the treacherous terrain and retaliation from opposing forces who remain unseen. Told in minimalist language and with a profuse imagination, "Peace" ruminates brilliantly on human frailty and mercy. This is an adult novel.

Two for Inspiration

Show & Tell: Exploring the Fine Art of Children's Book Illustration by Dilys Evans For over 30 years, Dilys Evans has been deeply involved in the fine art of children's book illustration. In 1980 she founded The Original Art, an annual exhibition in New York featuring the best children's book illustration of the year. Now, in this fascinating exploration of children's book illustration, she focuses on the work of 12 contemporary illustrators. Looking at the wide variety of artistic genius in children's books, Show and Tell teaches the reader how to look for the perfect marriage of art and text, and is an invaluable guide for anyone interested in children's books and the art of illustration.
River of Words: Young Poets and Artists on the Nature of Things edited by Pamela Michael
The California-based River of Words (ROW) has gained fame as an important nonprofit that trains teachers, park naturalists, grassroots groups, and others to incorporate observation-based nature exploration and the arts into young people’s lives. One of the group’s most important annual projects is to take the youth pulse from the United States and 22 other countries, by asking for writing on water and nature. This anthology collects the best of that writing, with accompanying artwork. Divided into nine geographical areas (California, Pacific Northwest, Inland West, Midwest, Southwest, Northwest, Mid Atlantic, South, and International), the book presents writers from ages six to 18. In poems such as “I Love My Dog,” “Seasons in Our Watershed,” “History of a Cornfield,” and “Swamp Shack,” River of Words exhibits diverse voices, as well as some bilingual poems. A remarkable confluence of K-12 curriculum, children’s literature, environmentalism, and poetry, this thoughtful book, in the words of Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Gary Snyder, gives us “pleasure and hope.”

Anokaberry 2009 Short List #1

Beanball by Gene Fehler
Boy Who Dared by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
Chicken Foot Farm by Anne Estevis
Cicada Summer by Andrea Beaty
Comeback Season by Jennifer E. Smith
Deep Down Popular by Phoebe Stone
The Dragon's Child by Laurence Yep
Facttracker by Jason Carter Eaton
Ghost Letters by Stephen Alter
Go Big or Go Home by Will Hobbs
Greetings from Nowhere by Barbara O'Connor
Grow by Juanita Havill
Honeybee: Poems and Short Prose by Naomi Shibab Nye
I Am Scout: The Biography of Harper Lee by Charles J. Shields
Jeremy Cabbage and the Living Museum of Human Oddballs and Quadruped Delights
by David Elliott
Kaline Klattermaster's Tree House by Haven Kimmel
Keeping Score by Linda Sue Park
Lulu Atlantis and the Quest for True Blue Love by Patricia Martin
Magic Half by Annie Barrows
Mr. Karp's Last Glass by Cary Fagan
Penderwick's on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall
Porcupine by Meg Tilly
The Red-Headed Princess: A Novel by Ann Rinaldi
Rex Zero, King of Nothing by Tim Wynne-Jones
Ringside, 1925: Views from the Scopes Trial by Jen Bryant
Seer of Shadows by Avi
Six Innings by James Preller
Waiting for Normal by Leslie Connor
When the Sergeant Came Marching Home by Don Lemna
Where the Steps Where by Andrea Cheng
The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry

Ironhand (Stoneheart Trilogy Book Two)

Ironhand (Stoneheart Trilogy Book Two) by Charlie Fletcher
Edie and the Gunner, a statue of a World War I soldier, have been captured by the Walker, and it’s up to George to save them. But first he must deal with the three strange veins, made of marble, bronze and stone, that have begun to grow out of his hand and curl around his wrist. Legend has it that unless he successfully completes three challenges, the veins will continue up his forearm, and eventually pierce through his heart. As George struggles to face the choice he has made, he is determined to use his power for good, even as others wish to harness it for evil. Listen to the author talk about the first book in the series.

The Trouble with Rules

The Trouble with Rules by Leslie Bulion
Now that she is in fourth grade and is not supposed to be friends with boys anymore, Nadie must hide her friendship with Nick, her neighbor and lifelong best friend, but when a new girl arrives who believes that some rules need to be broken, Nadie learns a lot from her.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Chicken Foot Farm

Chicken Foot Farm by Anne Estevis
Set against the backdrop of WWII, young Alejandro comes of age on his family's South Texas "Chicken Foot Farm." Rich with the customs and traditions of rural, Mexican-American life, this book depicts a multi-generational family in flux as change comes to their land and alters their lifestyle.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Little Brother

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
Marcus, a.k.a “w1n5t0n,” is only seventeen years old, but he figures he already knows how the system works–and how to work the system. Smart, fast, and wise to the ways of the networked world, he has no trouble outwitting his high school’s intrusive but clumsy surveillance systems. But his whole world changes when he and his friends find themselves caught in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack on San Francisco. In the wrong place at the wrong time, Marcus and his crew are apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security and whisked away to a secret prison where they’re mercilessly interrogated for days.When the DHS finally releases them, Marcus discovers that his city has become a police state where every citizen is treated like a potential terrorist. He knows that no one will believe his story, which leaves him only one option: to take down the DHS himself.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules

Rodrick Rules (Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series #2) by Jeff Kinney
Secrets have a way of getting out, especially when a diary is involved. Whatever you do, don't ask Greg Heffley how he spent his summer vacation, because he definitely doesn't want to talk about it. As Greg enters the new school year, he's eager to put the past three months behind him . . . and one event in particular. Unfortunately for Greg, his older brother, Rodrick, knows all about the incident Greg wants to keep under wraps. But secrets have a way of getting out . . . especially when a diary is involved.

Monday, May 26, 2008


Savvy by Ingrid Law
For generations, the Beaumont family has harbored a magical secret. They each possess a "savvy"-a special supernatural power that strikes when they turn thirteen.
Grandpa Bomba moves mountains, her older brothers create hurricanes and spark electricity . . . and now it's the eve of Mibs's big day. As if waiting weren't hard enough, the family gets scary news two days before Mibs's birthday: Poppa has been in a terrible accident. Mibs develops the singular mission to get to the hospital and prove that her new power can save her dad. So she sneaks onto a salesman's bus . . . only to find the bus heading in the opposite direction. Suddenly Mibs finds herself on an unforgettable odyssey that will force her to make sense of growing up-and of other people, who might also have a few secrets hidden just beneath the skin.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Joys of Love

The Joys of Love by Madeleine L'Engle
Determined to be an actress, 20-year-old Elizabeth apprentices with a summer-stock company, where over one pivotal weekend she learns about acting, friendship, betrayal and determination. She loves Kurt, who sees her only as a possible conquest, while her friend Ben waits patiently and protectively for her to face the truth.

Found (Missing Series #1)

Found (Missing Series #1) by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Thirteen-year-old Jonah has always known that he was adopted, and he's never thought it was any big deal. Then he and a new friend, Chip, who's also adopted, begin receiving mysterious letters. The first one says, "You are one of the missing." The second one says, "Beware! They're coming back to get you." Jonah, Chip, and Jonah's sister, Katherine, are plunged into a mystery that involves the FBI, a vast smuggling operation, an airplane that appeared out of nowhere -- and people who seem to appear and disappear at will. The kids discover they are caught in a battle between two opposing forces that want very different things for Jonah and Chip's lives. Do Jonah and Chip have any choice in the matter? And what should they choose when both alternatives are horrifying?

When the Sergeant Came Marching Home

When the Sergeant Came Marching Home by Don Lemna
In 1946 when his father returns from the war, a ten year old boy and his family move from the Montana town where they had been living to an old, run-down farm in the middle of nowhere, where they work hard trying to make ends meet.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Don't Talk to Me About the War

Don't Talk to Me About the War by David A. Adler
Thirteen-year-old Tommy Duncan just wants to root for the Brooklyn Dodgers and listen to the radio. But it's 1940 and the world is changing. His friend Beth just wants to talk about the war in Europe. That's an ocean away, though, and Tommy has more immediate concerns-like Beth looking pretty and his mother's declining health. The stories of a Jewish friend at school, however, begin to make the war more real to him. Set in the Isolationist period-a time in U.S. history rarely explored in children's literature-this moving novel features a hero who struggles with first love, family responsibilities, and America's role in the world.

Friday, May 23, 2008

There Was a Man Who Loved a Rat and Other VILE Little Poems

There Was a Man Who Loved a Rat and Other VILE Little Poems by Gerda Rovetch, Illustrated by Lissa Rovetch
While calling the 14 offerings in this thin collection "vile" is a bit of a stretch, the subjects are certainly unusual. Ranging from a man who keeps his beloved lima bean "in a velvet bag/and only took it out to brag" to an individual who stores sardines in his jeans ("And when some slipped down on the floor-/that man would just stuff in some more"), there's an eccentric story on every spread. While the content is entertaining, the opening lines do make the four-line verses easy to confuse with limericks: "There was a man who lived in Sydney/who found a large abandoned kidney./And at a loss of what to do,/he slowly stuffed it in his shoe." Each poem is paired with a witty cartoon on the facing page that brings its nonsense to life. These black-ink line drawings, done on white paper plates with a single note of color, pop from their bright circular borders. Review from School Library Journal.
This is a picture book.

The London Eye Mystery

The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd
Ted and Kat watched their cousin Salim board the London Eye. But after half an hour it landed and everyone trooped off–except Salim. Where could he have gone? How on earth could he have disappeared into thin air? Ted and his older sister, Kat, become sleuthing partners, since the police are having no luck. Despite their prickly relationship, they overcome their differences to follow a trail of clues across London in a desperate bid to find their cousin. And ultimately it comes down to Ted, whose brain works in its own very unique way, to find the key to the mystery.

Mr. Karp's Last Glass

Mr. Karp's Last Glass by Cary Fagan
Young Randolph is a collector. When his family rents out part of their house, Mr. Karp takes over two rooms on the third floor, and Randolph soon learns that the new boarder is a collector too. It turns out that Mr. Karp collects water -- samples that he keeps in glass containers, each one carefully labeled: "Ditch water from St. Louis, Missouri, after the tornado of 1896." "Pitcher used by Benito Mussolini to throw water in face of army private during tantrum, 1941." Randolph is astonished to learn that Mr. Karp is just one of many water collectors, and the only thing preventing him from being the foremost water collector in his region is a rival named Ravelson. To beat Ravelson, Mr. Karp heads to Japan to obtain a unique sample -- melted snow taken from the upturned hat of Napoleon Bonaparte during the Russian campaign.

Deep Down Popular: A Novel

Deep Down Popular: A Novel by Phoebe Stone
In a small, Virginia town, sixth-grader Jessie Lou Ferguson has a crush on the hugely popular Conrad Parker Smith, and when he suddenly develops a medical problem and the teacher asks Jessie Lou to help him, they become friends, to her surprise.
Find out more about the author Phoebe Stone.

Dog Gone

Dog Gone by Cynthia Chapman Willis
Twelve-year-old Dill (short for Dylan) is desperately trying to keep her family from falling apart. Her father is always at work, her mother is gone, and their dog, Dead End, seems to be here one moment and missing the next. And big trouble is brewing. A wild pack of dogs is destroying local livestock and property, and the sheriff has ordered them to be shot. Is this where Dead End has been disappearing to? How far will Dill and her best friend, a boy nicknamed Cub, go to uncover the truth, and hold together the last strands of a family that seems to be unraveling?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Bronte's Book Club

Bronte's Book Club by Kristiana Gregory
Twelve-year-old Bronte Bella has just moved to sunny California from her mountain town in New Mexico. Living right by a beach is wonderful, but word-loving, quirky Bronte is worried that she won't fit in. She decides to start a book club to make new friends, but at first, no one comes! When three other girls do start to show up, Bronte fears that the club will be a disaster. Two of the girls hate each other, secrets and gossip threaten to ruin the group, and they aren't even talking about the book, Bronte's favorite: Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell. Was this book club a really bad idea? Or can the girls trust each other enough to become true friends?

Monday, May 19, 2008


Swindle by Gordon Korman
After a mean collector named S. Wendell (Swindle) Palomino cons him out of his most valuable baseball card, Griffin Bing must put together a band of misfits to break into Palomino's compound and recapture the card. There are many things standing in their way -- a menacing guard dog, a high-tech security system, a very secret hiding place, and their general inability to drive -- but Griffin and his team are going to get back what's rightfully his . . . even if hijinks ensue.

Otto's Orange Day: A Toon Book

Otto's Orange Day: A Toon Book by Frank Cammuso & Jay Lynch
When Otto the cat meets a magical genie, he knows just what to wish for: he makes the whole world orange! At first, this new, bright world seems like a lot of fun, but when his mom serves orange spinach for lunch, Otto realizes that his favorite color isn't the best color for everything. Fixing this mixed-up world won't be easy, though, because Otto already used up his only wish. To save the day, Otto will need his family's help, some quick thinking, and...a pizza?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Magic Pickle

Magic Pickle by Scott Morse
Magic Pickle, or "Weapon Kosher," as his creator, Dr. Jekkel Formaldehyde likes to call him, is the product of a top-secret U. S. Army lab. Unfortunately, the 1950s experiments to turn vegetables into soldiers went wrong. Sure, they created Magic Pickle, the flying dill soldier, but they also let loose a bunch of rotten vegetables, like the Romaine Gladiator, Chili Chili Bang Bang, the Phantom Carrot, and Peashooter. This Brotherhood of Evil Produce is out to take over the world and they've started with art museum heists and bank robberies. Play around with JoJo and Magic Pickle at Scholastic!

The Big Field

The Big Field by Mike Lupica
For Hutch, shortstop has always been home. It's where his father once played professionally, before injuries relegated him to watching games on TV instead of playing them. And it's where Hutch himself has always played and starred. Until now. The arrival of Darryl "D-Will" Williams, the top shortstop prospect from Florida since A-Rod, means Hutch is displaced, in more ways than one. Second base feels like second fiddle, and when he sees his father giving fielding tips to D-Will-the same father who can't be bothered to show up to watch his son play-Hutch feels betrayed. With the summer league championship on the line, just how far is Hutch willing to bend to be a good teammate?

Friday, May 16, 2008

Someday When My Cat Can Talk

Someday When My Cat Can Talk by Caroline Lazo, Illustrated by Kyrsten Brooker
Collage and oil paint whimsically animate this clever concoction of story-in-rhyme, geography, a young girl's fantasy and a traveling cat. "Someday when my cat can talk . . . . / He'll tell me how he hopped a ship / and where he stowed away. / He'll describe the wind that blew his fur / as he sailed beyond the bay." The endpapers list the 13 places on the cat's itinerary as he recalls the fog on England's coast, boasts of winning a prize for art in France, complains of the rabbits that chased him into Rome, crows about gondolas, salutes Greek athletes and remembers Holland's tulips; backmatter adds "Facts Behind the Story" for seven countries. Kirkus Reviews

Simon's Dream: The Fog Mound Series #3

Simon's Dream: The Fog Mound Series #3 by Susan Schade, Jon Buller (Illustrator)
Thelonious Chipmunk and his friends face a whole new series of adventures after they reach the mysterious Mattakeunk Institute and discover...a time machine! Will the time machine lead them to the answers they seek? Perhaps some of the answers will come when the animals' traveling companion, Bill the Human, regains his ability to speak. However, there is one pressing need above all others -- the need to save their beloved Fog Mound from the Dragon Lady herself, and her evil ratmink assistants. Find out more about the author and illustrator here.

The Bloodwater Mysteries #3: Doppelganger

The Bloodwater Mysteries #3: Doppelganger by Pete Hautman and Mary Logue
Brian and Roni are looking for another case to crack when Roni finds an age-progressed picture of a boy who looks alarmingly like Brian on a missing children website. Brian is sure it is only a coincidence-after all, he's lived happily with his adoptive parents for as long as he can remember. But then again, his parents have never really told him about his adoption . . . Could there be more to his family history than he knows? As Roni and Brian piece together the clues, other people emerge from the shadows of the past and suddenly Brian isn't just a detective on the case-he's the key to a mystery that everyone is after. Can he and Roni uncover the truth before it's too late?

Lost Boy

Lost Boy by Linda Newbery
New house, new school, new friends–but Matt Lanchester knows it won’t all be that easy when he moves to the town of Hay-on-Wye. Almost as soon as he arrives, he is drawn into a mystery when he sees a roadside memorial marked by a little wooden cross with the initials M.L. carved into it. His initials! Then he meets Robbo and Tig and Old Wil Jones and his wife, Gwynnie. There’s history here and a well-kept village secret–and Matt is desperate to find out more.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Case of the Bizarre Bouquets: Enola Holmes Mystery #3

Case of the Bizarre Bouquets: Enola Holmes Mystery #3 by Nancy Springer
It is March, 1889, in London, and Enola is still lodging in the East End and evading her brothers, Mycroft and Sherlock, so as to avoid boarding school. For six months, she has been using the alias Ivy Meshle and pursuing her "life's calling" as a Perditorian ("finder of the lost") but, afraid that she has been discovered, she must choose a new identity: Viola Everseau. Her new disguise: a beautiful woman. Her new case: finding the missing Dr. Watson. Her first act is to visit Dr. Watson's wife, and her first clue is a bizarre bouquet the frantic woman has received. Want to read about other books in the Enola Holmes Series?

Twice Upon a Marigold: Part Comedy, Part Tragedy, Part Two

Twice Upon a Marigold: Part Comedy, Part Tragedy, Part Two by Jean Ferris
Since Queen Olympia's fateful fall into the river, newlyweds Christian and Marigold have been living happily ever after. And they had every intention of keeping it that way--until they find out that Olympia may not be as gone as they thought. Turns out Olympia is alive and well in a faraway village, having lost her memory after her ill-timed tumble. But one day she awakes and remembers her previous glory as queen. Accompanied by Lazy Susan (Sleeping Beauty's slacker sister) and Stan Lucasa (a gentleman with a surprising destiny), Olympia returns, determined to take back the kingdom. Yet, thanks to a cast of familiar characters, grabbing the throne may not be as easy as Olympia thinks! For full appreciation, readers should start with the opener.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Honeybee: Poems and Short Prose

Honeybee: Poems and Short Prose by Naomi Shihab Nye
Honey. Beeswax. Pollinate. Hive. Colony. Work. Dance. Communicate. Industrious. Buzz. Sting. Cooperate. Where would we be without them? Where would we be without one another? In eighty-two poems and paragraphs, Naomi Shihab Nye alights on the essentials of our time—our loved ones, our dense air, our wars, our memories, our planet—and leaves us feeling curiously sweeter and profoundly soothed. If you like "Honeybee" try "I'll ask you three times, are you OK?" Listen to Naomi read a poem.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

One Hundred Young Americans

One Hundred Young Americans by Michael Franzini
You will meet every kind of teenager in this book -the cheerleaders, football jocks, student body presidents, prom queens and other popular kids - the nerds, band geeks, gamers and other not-so-popular kids. Also the skaters, stoners, goths, punks, druggies and a lot of kids whose uniqueness defies labels. What they ultimately have in common is that they are struggling to find their identity and become independent. Check out the website.

The Postcard

The Postcard by Tony Abbott
One phone call changes Jason’s summer vacation–and life!–forever. When Jason’s grandmother dies, he’s sent down to her home in Florida to help his father sort through her things. At first he gripes about spending the summer miles away from his best friend, doing chores, and sweating in the Florida heat, but he soon discovers a mystery surrounding his grandmother’s murky past.An old, yellowed postcard . . . a creepy phone call with a raspy voice at the other end asking, “So how smart are you?” . . . an entourage of freakish funeral-goers . . . a bizarre magazine story–all contain clues that will send Jason on a thrilling journey to uncover family secrets. Visit Tony Abbott's website!


Oops! Poems by Alan Katz, Drawings by Edward Koren
These 100 light verses contain references to stale gum, troublesome siblings, outwitted parents, dirty underwear, farting in church, belly buttons and enough smelly things to make a fourth-grade boy laugh out loud in the library. Although the meter frequently stumbles, the topics are quirky ("I'm writing a love song to eggs./ They don't have eyes,/ they don't have legs./ They cannot sing,/ they cannot dance. / You cannot keep them / in your pants./ But they're my friends..."). They're often contemporary, too, as in a poem that begins, "I put my brother on eBay,/ but nobody made a bid."

The House of Djinn

The House of Djinn by Suzanne Fisher Staples
It has been ten years since Shabanu staged her death to secure the safety of her daughter, Mumtaz, from her husband's murderous brother. Mumtaz has been raised by her father's family with the education and security her mother desired for her, but with little understanding and love. Only her American cousin Jameel, her closest confidant and friend, and the beloved family patriarch, Baba, understand the pain of her loneliness. When Baba unexpectedly dies, Jameel's succession as the Amirzai tribal leader and the arrangement of his marriage to Mumtaz are revealed, causing both to question whether fulfilling their duty to the family is worth giving up their dreams for the future.

Stuck in the Mud

Stuck in the Mud by Jane Clarke, Illustrated by Garry Parsons
A hysterical hen is convinced that her beloved chick is meeting his doom in the farmyard's deep, thick mud. After getting stuck herself trying to free him, she enlists the entire farm population to help her; one by one, each gets entrapped in the mud as well. The chain of pullers and pushers grows long enough to require a gatefold spread, at which point the cheeky chick reveals that he was never in any danger: "It's time I got out," he announces. "And with a small plop,/ Chick jumped off the mud/ with a skip and hop." This is a picture book.

Barack Obama: The Politics of Hope

Barack Obama: The Politics of Hope by William Michael Davis
Drawing on Barack Obama's memoirs as well as diverse interviews from newspapers, television shows, radio programs, and magazines, this biography begins with his birth in Hawaii and ends with the beginning of his 2008 presidential campaign. Each chapter highlights life-defining moments and experiences. Stages of his life, education, and career are examined. Impressions from friends and colleagues help round out the factual narrative.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Trout Are Made of Trees

Trout Are Made of Trees by April Pulley Sayre
"In fall, trees let go of leaves,/ which swirl and twirl/ and slip into streams." Beginning with the leaves that fall off into streams, the cycle continues as bacteria feed on the leaves, and algae grow. Creatures eat these, and are in turn eaten by predators. Then come the trout that eat them, and produce more trout. And then "the people…catch the trout and eat them." The brief, brisk text joins all into the circle of life. This is a picture book.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Great Race: The Amazing Round-the-World Auto Race of 1908

The Great Race: The Amazing Round-the-World Auto Race of 1908 by Gary L. Blackwood
On February 12, 1908, a group of auto-industry pioneers and self-proclaimed madmen set off on an unthinkable journey-the first automobile race around the world. Six cars-including only one from the United States, the Thomas Flyer-left New York City for Alaska and drove straight into a blizzard toward Paris, France, the final destination. The race was followed worldwide via telegraph and newspaper for the next six months: They crossed rivers on ferry boats and rickety wooden bridges; dug foot-by-foot through snow drifts that threatened to bury them; ate and slept in lean-tos at the side of the railroad tracks they used when there were no paved roads; and waited for days for parts or fuel to arrive in villages that had never seen a motor vehicle. The obstacles and battles they fought were epic, as were the personalities of the racers and their cars. In the end, even what should have been a clear victory was muddled by the egotistical claims by some of the drivers.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Uh-oh, Cleo

Uh-oh, Cleo by Jessica Harper
Saturdays are usually nothing but fun in the Small household. Cleo and her twin brother, Jack, always play games, torture their older sister, and then bike to the best Candy store in town. But this Saturday is different. Jack decided to Spider-Man up the toy shelf and made the whole thing tip over. And one of the things that flew off hit Cleo in the head, making her bleed and everything.

Sunrise Over Fallujah

Sunrise Over Fallujah by Walter Dean Myers
Robin's parents aspire for him to go to college, but following September 11, he feels compelled to join the Army instead. By early 2003, Robin has completed Basic Training and is deployed to Iraq where he becomes part of a Civil Affairs Unit charged with building the trust of the Iraqi people to minimize fighting. Civil Affairs soldiers are often put into deadly situations to test the waters, and Robin finds that the people in his unit, who nickname him "Birdy," are the only ones he can trust. Robin quickly learns that the situation in Iraq will not be resolved easily and that much of what is happening there will never make the news. Facing the horrors of war, Robin tries to remain hopeful and comforting in his letters to his family, never showing his fear or the danger he actually faces.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

I Am Scout: The Biography of Harper Lee

I Am Scout: The Biography of Harper Lee by Charles J. Shields
Archival records, correspondence, newspaper articles, and interviews have all been mined to add personal color to this story of a very unorthodox young girl and woman. Nelle Harper Lee befriended Truman Capote at age seven. Together they create a world filled with literature, immersing themselves in books, and after Lee's father gave them a typewriter jumping into writing as well. Truman's mother resurfaces a few years later and takes him to New York City, but they continue to see each other during the summers and then reconnect when she moves to the city as an adult. A thinly disguised Monroeville, the small Alabama town where she grew up and to which she returned in later life, served as the setting of her Pulitzer prize winning book, To Kill a Mockingbird. Her family relationships also shaped her work, and the main character is clearly modeled on her adored father.

Once Upon a Time in the North

Once Upon a Time in the North by Philip Pullman
Another glimpse into the world of His Dark Materials - it's 35 years before the trilogy, and young aeronaut Lee Scoresby has put down on Novy Odense in the North, looking for work and adventure. He finds the latter in spades. A corrupt corporation and a sleazy politician are obstructing a schooner's Captain from claiming his own cargo. Lee throws himself recklessly onto the side of good, operating on instinct and fearlessness. A bear-whom Lee thinks is named York Burningson-joins the deadly skirmish, shoving an enemy tanker-gun into the harbor while Lee engages in a gunfight in a warehouse. Scrawny, sardonic Hester-Lee's daemon-plays a key role in defeating a vicious hired gun.