Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Penderwicks on Gardam Street

The Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall
THE Penderwick sisters are home on Gardam Street and ready for an adventure! But the adventure they get isn’t quite what they had in mind. Mr. Penderwick’s sister has decided it’s time for him to start dating—and the girls know that can only mean one thing: disaster. Enter the Save-Daddy Plan—a plot so brilliant, so bold, so funny, that only the Penderwick girls could have come up with it.

The 13th Reality, Book 1: The Journal of Curious Letters

The 13th Reality: Book 1: The Journal of Curious Letters by James Dashner
Atticus Higginbottom (Tick to all who know him) is smart, well-adjusted and something of a loner at school, preferring his family, the library and the Internet to his classmates. So he's surprised to receive a letter postmarked in Macadamia, Alaska, from someone he's never even heard of. But he's intrigued and makes a commitment to join with his correspondent to "save many lives."

Steel Trapp: The Challenge

Steel Trapp: The Challenge by Ridley Pearson
Fourteen-year-old Steven "Steel" Trapp sets off with his mom and their dog, Cairo, on a two-day Amtrak journey to compete in the National Science Competition in Washington, D.C. Steel is both blessed and cursed with a remarkable photographic memory - just one look, and whatever he sees is imprinted for keeps. Trying to be a good Samaritan on the train, he unwittingly becomes embroiled in an ingenious international plot of kidnapping that may have links to terrorists. Federal agents track Steel and his newfound science geek accomplice, Kaileigh Augustine, as they attempt to put together the pieces of a complex puzzle. Using Steel's science contest invention - and with the help of Cairo - Steel and Kaileigh lead listeners on an action-packed chase adventure as they attempt to prevent the unimaginable, before it's too late.

The Calder Game

The Calder Game by Blue Balliett
When Calder Pillay travels with his father to a remote village in England, he finds a mix of mazes and mystery . . . including an unexpected Alexander Calder sculpture in the town square. Calder is strangely drawn to the sculpture, while other people have less-than-friendly feelings towards it. Both the boy and the sculpture seem to be out of place . . . and then, on the same night, they disappear! Calder's friends Petra and Tommy must fly out to help his father find him. But this mystery has more twists and turns than a Calder mobile . . . with more at stake than first meets the eye.

Monday, April 28, 2008

A Curse Dark as Gold

A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce

Cicada Summer

Cicada Summer by Andrea Beaty
Eleven-year-old Lily has a passion for Nancy Drew stories and a secret she is keeping from those she loves. When summer brings lying, stealing, sneaky Tinny Bridges to town, Lily must be on her guard with this perceptive newcomer, or risk having her secret revealed. But Tinny won't leave Lily alone. She takes candy from the general store and blames Lily. She tries to steal Lily's friends and even her father's affection. Then Tinny goes missing, and only watchful, mystery-loving Lily has any idea what happened to her. But for Lily, finding Tinny means confronting her hidden past.


Runemarks by Joanne Harris
Seven o’clock on a Monday morning, five hundred years after the end of the world, and goblins had been at the cellar again. . . . Not that anyone would admit it was goblins. In Maddy Smith’s world, order rules. Chaos, old gods, fairies, goblins, magic, glamours–all of these were supposedly vanquished centuries ago. But Maddy knows that a small bit of magic has survived. The “ruinmark” she was born with on her palm proves it–and makes the other villagers fearful that she is a witch (though helpful in dealing with the goblins-in-the-cellar problem). But the mysterious traveler One-Eye sees Maddy’s mark not as a defect, but as a destiny. And Maddy will need every scrap of forbidden magic One-Eye can teach her if she is to survive that destiny. For more information -- watch a book trailer! - check out this site.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

My Dog May Be a Genius

My Dog May Be a Genius by Jack Prelutsky
Have you ever encountered an underwater marching band, a pig in a bathing suit, a pet orangutan, or a witch in a hardware store? Have you ever sat with a skunk in a courtroom, shopped for a dinosaur, or conversed with a Bupple, a Wosstrus, a Violinnet, or a Celloon? You will have, once you've read this exuberant collaboration from Jack Prelutsky and his "partner in crime" illustrator James Stevenson.

3 Picture Books: How I Learned Geography,In a Blue Room, Ladybug Girl

How I Learned Geography by Uri Shulevitz
Having fled from war in their troubled homeland, a boy and his family are living in poverty in a strange country. Food is scarce, so when the boy's father brings home a map instead of bread for supper, at first the boy is furious. But when the map is hung on the wall, it floods their cheerless room with color. As the boy studies its every detail, he is transported to exotic places without ever leaving the room, and he eventually comes to realize that the map feeds him in a way that bread never could.

In a Blue Room by Jim Averbeck
Alice is wide, wide awake. Mama brings flowers, tea, a quilt, even lullaby bells to help her sleep. But none of these things are blue, and Alice can sleep only in a blue room. Yet when the light goes out, a bit of magic is stirred up. Pale blue moonlight swirls into her bedroom window. Then the night swirls out, around the moon and into the universe, leaving Alice fast alseep in a most celestial blue room.
Lulu's older brother says she is too little to play with him. Her mama and papa are busy too, so Lulu has to make her own fun. This is a situation for Ladybug Girl!
Ladybug Girl saves ants in distress, jumps through shark-infested puddles, and even skips along the great dark twisty tree trunk-all by herself. It doesn't matter what her brother says, Ladybug Girl is definitely not too little!

Jeremy Cabbage and the Living Museum of Human Oddballs and Quadruped Delights

Jeremy Cabbage and the Living Museum of Human Oddballs and Quadruped Delights by David Elliott
Jeremy Cabbage is an orphan stuck at Harpwitch’s Home for Mean Dogs, Ugly Cats, and Strey Children, where the dogs are treated better than the kids. And things aren’t much better on the outside: the city is ruled by the arrogant and foolish Baron Ignatius von StrompiĆ©, whose Wisdom Wagons ride the streets blaring out gems like “Ignorance is bliss,” and who’s on a campaign to stamp out anyone different. At the top of his list are the cloons, outlandish people who look and act like clowns. Jeremy’s only chance is a good adoption–but who would possibly adopt Jeremy, an unloved, unwanted 11-year-old? The answer sets Jeremy off on an outrageous, comical adventure that could bring him face to face with the Baron himself.
For more about this author and his books see David Elliott's Web Site

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Grow: A Novel in Verse

Grow: A Novel in Verse by Juanita Havill
Everything about Berneetha is big her mouth, her size, and especially her dreams. And when Berneetha decides to create a community garden on a vacant lot, twelve-year-old Kate Sibley's just got to help make that dream a reality. At first the neighbors think Kate and Berneetha are crazy, but slowly they begin to come around. Graffiti gangster Harlan turns out to be pretty good with a rented tiller. Dr. Chitra Arockiasamy is willing to be in charge of tomatoes. Hank Glover would like to grow corn. And unsmiling Jacob Wasserman somehow manages to get some manure. Slowly, a community begins to grow, just as the garden does.But just as the garden and Kate are both beginning to bloom, a sign goes up; a parking garage will be built on the lot. Can Kate and Berneetha and their friends keep the garden and the dream alive?

Friday, April 25, 2008

All the Lovely Bad Ones: A Ghost Story

All the Lovely Bad Ones: A Ghost Story by Mary Downing Hahn
Travis and his sister, Corey, can't resist a good trick—so when they learn that their grandmother's sleepy Vermont inn has a history of ghost sightings, they decide to do a little "haunting" of their own. Scaring the guests proves to be great fun, and before long, the inn is filled with tourists and ghost hunters eager for a glimpse of the supernatural.But Travis and Corey soon find out that they aren't the only ghosts at Fox Hill Inn. Their thoughtless games have awakened something dangerous, something that should have stayed asleep. Restless, spiteful spirits swarm the inn, while a dark and terrifying presence stalks the halls and the old oak grove on the inn's grounds. To lay the ghosts to rest, Travis and Corey must first discover the dark history of Fox Hill and the horrors visited on its inhabitants years earlier.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Mazes Around the World

Mazes Around the World by Mary D. Lankford
Puzzling and mysterious, mazes and labyrinths have fascinated people around the world for centuries. From England to Egypt, Greece to South Africa and beyond, travel on an exciting journey as you discover the secrets of these intriguing patterns. In this book you'll learn about the many varieties of mazes, from stone to hedge to turf, and you'll hear about the legends surrounding some of the most famous labyrinths of all time. This is a picture book.

Keep Your Eye on the Kid

Keep Your Eye on the Kid: The Early Years of Buster Keaton by Catherine Brighton
Born on the road to vaudevillian parents, "Buster" Keaton earned his nickname from fellow performer Harry Houdini after falling down several flights of stairs as a young child. That was but the beginning of a notable stage and film career highlighted by often-elaborate stunts that made him one of the first and greatest comic movie stars ever. This is a picture book.

Brett McCarthy: Work in Progress

Brett McCarthy: Work in Progress by Maria Padian
Eighth-grader Brett McCarthy--once good student and best-friend-to-Diane, now suspended and friendless--faces school and family troubles as she grapples with her redefined life.

A People's History of American Empire: A Graphic Adaptation

A People's History of American Empire: A Graphic Adaptation by Howard Zinn, Mike Konopacki and Paul Buhle
Howard Zinn, historian Paul Buhle, and cartoonist Mike Konopacki have collaborated to retell, in vibrant comics form, a most immediate and relevant chapter of A People's History: the centuries-long story of America's actions in the world. Narrated by Zinn, this version opens with the events of 9/11 and then jumps back to explore the cycles of U.S. expansionism from Wounded Knee to Iraq, stopping along the way at World War I, Central America, Vietnam, and the Iranian revolution. The book also follows the story of Zinn, the son of poor Jewish immigrants, from his childhood in the Brooklyn slums to his role as one of America's leading historians.

My Most Excellent Year: A Novel of Love, Mary Poppins & Fenway Park

My Most Excellent Year: A Novel of Love, Mary Poppins & Fenway Park by Steve Kluger
Three teens complete an English assignment detailing their "most excellent year" in this big, warmhearted tale about musical theater, political organizing, baseball, friendship and love.

Snow Falling in Spring: Coming of Age in China during the Cultural Revolution

Snow Falling in Spring: Coming of Age in China during the Cultural Revolution by Moying Li
Moying Li is twelve years old when the Cultural Revolution sweeps across China. Studying at a prestigious language school in Beijing, she seems destined for a promising future. But everything changes when student Red Guards orchestrate brutal assaults, public humiliations, and forced confessions throughout the country. After watching her headmasters beaten in public, Moying flees school for the safety of home, only to find her beloved grandmother denounced, her house ransacked, and her baba taken away - along with his precious books. Struggling to make sense of her crumbling world, she finds sanctuary in literature. But with many schools shut down and most books forbidden, how can she keep her passion for learning alive?" This memoir illuminates a dark time in China's history as it tells the compelling story of one girl's difficult but determined coming-of-age.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Ringside 1925: Views from the Scopes Trial

Ringside 1925: Views from the Scopes Trial: A Novel by Jen Bryant

Dragon's Child: A Story of Angel Island

Dragon's Child: A Story of Angel Island by Laurence Yep with Dr. Kathleen S. Yep
Ten-year-old Gim Lew Yep knows that he must leave his home in China and travel to America with the father who is a stranger to him. Gim Lew doesn't want to leave behind everything that he's ever known. But he is even more scared of disappointing his father. He uses his left hand, rather than the "correct" right hand; he stutters; and most of all, he worries about not passing the strict immigration test administered at Angel Island.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Jellaby, Volume 1

Jellaby by Kean Soo
Quiet, brilliant Portia has just moved to a new neighborhood with her mom. Adjusting to life without a father is hard enough, but school is boring and her classmates are standoffish—and even Portia's mom is strangely distant. But things start looking up when Portia mounts a late-night excursion into the woods behind her house and discovers a shy, sweet-natured purple monster. Life with Jellaby is a lot more exciting, but Portia's purple friend has secrets of his own; secrets that may even lead to the mystery of Portia's father's disappearance!

The Seer of Shadows

The Seer of Shadows by Avi
In New York City in 1872, fourteen-year-old Horace, a photographer's apprentice, becomes entangled in a plot to create fraudulent spirit photographs, but when Horace accidentally frees the real ghost of a dead girl bent on revenge, his life takes a frightening turn.

Friday, April 18, 2008

My Dad's a Birdman

My Dad's a Birdman by David Almond
In a rainy town in the north of England, there are strange goings-on. Dad is building a pair of wings, eating flies, and feathering his nest. Auntie Doreen is getting cross and making dumplings. Contest barker Mr. Poop is parading the streets shouting louder and louder, and even Mr. Mint, the headmaster, is not quite himself. And watching it all is Lizzie, missing her mam and looking after Dad by letting him follow his newfound whimsy.

Cherry Heaven

Cherry Heaven by L.J. Adlington

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Before Green Gables

Before Green Gables: the prequel to Anne of Green Gables by Budge Wilson
Before Green Gables is the story of Anne Shirley's life before her arrival at Green Gables-a heartwarming tale of a precocious child whose lively imagination and relentless spirit help her to overcome difficult circumstances and of a young girl's ability to love, learn, and above all, dream.


Thirteen by Lauren Myracle
Winnie Perry is a teenager-at last! And it's a really big deal. A ginormous deal, which, wouldn't you know it, brings ginormous problems along with it. Winnie's bff #1 is growing up too slowly, while her bff #2 is growing up too fast, leaving Winnie stuck in the middle. Winnie's boyfriend, Lars, is fabulous-except when he's not. And as for Winnie's family, well, BIG changes are in the air.

Jessie's Mountain

Jessie's Mountain by Kerry Madden
Livy Two has always dreamed of becoming a singer, and her decision to run off to Nashville's Music Row is made with confidence-she figures the money she'll bring home will buy the family's house as well as forgiveness for running away. The Nashville adventure is a disaster, though; even her cherished guitar is stolen. Livy Two takes her failure hard, but finds comfort in the girlhood diary of her mother, Jessie. Outraged to discover that young Jessie had dreams now long-forgotten, Livy Two puts the whole family to work and makes Mama's ultimate dream come true.

The Fortunes of Indigo Skye

The Fortunes of Indigo Skye by Deb Caletti
Eighteen-year-old Indigo Skye feels like she has it all - a waitress job she loves, an adorable refrigerator-delivery-guy boyfriend, and a home life that's slightly crazed but rich in love. Until a mysterious man at the restaurant leaves her a 2.5 million-dollar tip, and her life as she knew it is transformed.

Chanda's Wars

Chanda's Wars by Allan Stratton
It's been six months since Mama died, and Chanda is struggling to raise her little brother and sister. Determined to end a family feud, she takes them to her relatives' remote rural village.
But across the nearby border, a brutal civil war is spreading. Rebels led by the ruthless General Mandiki attack at night, stealing children. All that separates Chanda from the horror is a stretch of rugged bush and a national park alive with predators. Soon, not even that. Before she knows it, Chanda must face the unthinkable, with a troubled young tracker as her unlikely ally.


Exodus by Julie Bertagna
Less than a hundred years from now, the world as we know it no longer exists. Cities have disappeared beneath the sea, technology no longer functions, and human civilization has reverted to a much more primitive state On an isolated northern island, the people of Wing are trying to hold onto their way of life—even as the sea continues to claim precious acres and threatens to claim their very lives Only fifteen-year-old Mara has the vision and the will to lead her people in search of a new beginning in this harsh, unfamiliar world.

The Kayla Chronicles

The Kayla Chronicles: a Novel by Sherri Winston
Kayla transforms herself from mild-mannered journalist to hot-trotting dance diva in order to properly investigate her high school's dance team, and has a hard time remaining true to her real self while in the role.


Dingo by Charles de Lint
High school senior Miguel's life is turned upside down when he meets new girl Lainey, whose family has just moved from Australia. With her tumbled red-gold hair, her instant understanding of who he is, and her unusual dog-a real Australian dingo-she's unforgettable. And, as he quickly learns, she is on the run from an ancient bargain made by her ancestors. There's no question that Miguel will do whatever he can to help her-but what price will each of them have to pay?

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Comeback Season

The Comeback Season by Jennifer E. Smith
Hope springs eternal for one Chicago Cubs fan even as she struggles to come to terms with her father's death. Though ninth-grader Ryan Walsh's father died five years ago, she still clings to his memory and their shared passion for the biggest losers in baseball. Then she meets kind, confident Nick, also a Cubs lover, and the two fall into an easy friendship that revolves around Wrigley Field. But when Nick reluctantly reveals he is in remission for bone cancer, Ryan has to decide if she is willing to risk loving someone who, unlike her favorite team, may not have a "next year."

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Ugly Duckling

The Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Andersen, retold by Stephen Mitchell, illustrated by Steve Johnson A mother duck hatches a brood of ducklings. All are sweet little yellow babies — all but one, who is very large, very gray, and very ugly. The poor ugly duckling is teased and tormented by everyone he meets, even his own mother, brothers, and sisters. Driven from his home in the barnyard, the unhappy duckling wanders the world alone, suffering hardships, cruelty, and ridicule wherever he goes. This exquisite tale of rejection and redemption has been a favorite with children since its first publication in 1845. The hapless duck’s plight, and his ultimate triumph, is especially relevant in today’s image-conscious world. This is a picture book, 40 pages.

Where the Steps Were

Where the Steps Were by Andrea Cheng
Verse from the perspectives of five students in Miss D.'s third grade class details the children's last year together before their inner city school is to be torn down.
Nobody forgot
their lines
and those stepsisters
were wicked.
You can't believe
all the clapping
in 103.
We had to come out and bow
four times
before they stopped....

Good Enough

Good Enough by Paula Yoo
Senior Patti Yoon is stressed. Almost every class period consists of Advanced Placement courses, and her free time is full of practice SAT tests, college application essays, and church youth-group meetings. She is co-valedictorian and has been the concertmaster of the Connecticut All-State Orchestra since her freshman year, even though her parents started her on the violin only because it would look good on her college applications. But this year is different. A cute trumpet player serves as the catalyst for change in Patti's life. She jams with a guitarist, sneaks out of the house for good clean fun, and does not complete bonus assignments. Patti finally grows a backbone and defends her Korean heritage. Patti's parents dream about "HarvardYalePrinceton," but Patti must decide if money equals happiness.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Women Daredevils: Thrills, Chills, and Frills

Women Daredevils: Thrills, Chills, and Frills by Julie Cummins
Annie Edson Taylor went over Niagara Falls in a barrel. Mabel Stark wrestled with tigers. Sonora Webster Carver plummeted forty feet on horseback into a tank of water. These and the eleven other women profiled in this book performed between 1880 and 1929, when females were expected to stay home and raise families, not entertain crowds with acts of derring-do. Their bravado, equal to that of any male thrill-seeker, made them inspiring at a time when women were testing the waters of equality and freedom. 48 pages.

Ghost Letters

Ghost Letters by Stephen Alter
When two modern-day kids discover a grotesque secret in an abandoned mailbox, they have no idea they are about to be drawn into a mystery that began on the other side of the world. Through the help of an English genie and a phantom postman, the two children begin to communicate with a young calligrapher’s apprentice who lived 125 years ago in a small, Himalayan village. Writing back and forth, across continents and centuries, the three children eventually realize the possibility of changing history by delivering three letters that were never received.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


Tennyson by Leslie M. M. Blume
After their mother abandons them during the Great Depression, eleven-year-old Tennyson Fontaine and her little sister Hattie are sent to live with their eccentric Aunt Henrietta in a decaying plantation house outside of New Orleans.

A Beginning, a Muddle, and an End: The Right Way to Write Writing

A Beginning, a Muddle, and an End: The Right Way to Write Writing by Avi
Avon the snail and Edward the ant are back for another funny--and philosophical--adventure. This time, Avon has decided he wants to be a writer, only to discover that writing is way more difficult than he ever imagined. He finally gets the word Something written down, but there's a problem: What to write next? Luckily, his friend Edward is there to advise.

The Other Book

The Other Book by Philip Womack
Edward Pollock lives an ordinary life at his ordinary boarding school, where the food is bad and the teachers are way too serious. But one day he’s inexplicably drawn to a strange and powerful book, and suddenly the boarding school isn’t quite so ordinary anymore. Capable of boosting men to heroism or destroying them in malice and evil, The Other Book has laid dormant for 400 years, waiting for someone to restore it to its original glory. While Edward must do his best to keep The Other book safe, a mysterious new teacher at the school becomes intent of getting a hold of the Book for her own sinister purposes.

As If Being 12 3/4 Isn't Bad Enough, My Mother Is Running for President! by Donna Gephart

As If Being 12 3/4 Isn't Bad Enough, My Mother Is Running for President! by Donna Gephart
Preparing for spelling bees, having a secret admirer, and waiting for her chest size to catch up with her enormous feet are pressure enough, but twelve-year-old Vanessa must also deal with loneliness and very real fears as her mother, Florida's Governor, runs for President of the United States.