First Light by Rebecca Stead
Jun29

First Light by Rebecca Stead

Thea has never seen the sun. Generations ago, her people were labeled as witches and threatened with extinction. To survive, they created an arctic, underground civilization where they have lived ever since. However, space and food are now dwindling. Thea dreams of exploring the world above to help her people expand their home, but the Council opposes her plans. Peter longs for adventure and finds it when he joins his parents on an...

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Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein
Jan26

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library has something of interest for nearly all elementary school and tween readers—mystery, adventure, humor, logic puzzles, and really cool gadgets.  Mr. Lemoncello is a modern Willa Wonka with a specialty for games instead of candy.  Because his first ideas and encouragement started in a public library, Mr. Lemoncello creates an amazing public library for Alexandriaville.  Before the library opens,...

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The Mysterious Howling:  The Incorribible Children of Ashton Place #1 by Maryrose Wood
Jan13

The Mysterious Howling: The Incorribible Children of Ashton Place #1 by Maryrose Wood

Penelope Lumley anticipates a bright future in her first position as a governess for a family of quality.  She dreams of teaching Latin, geography, and poetry to children who are bright and eager to learn.  The children are eager to learn, but they were also literally raised by wolves.  Alexander and Beowulf must learn how to fasten trousers.  Cassiopeia must stop howling and barking.  All three children must learn to observe...

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The Lost Kingdom by Matthew J. Kirby
Dec20

The Lost Kingdom by Matthew J. Kirby

Billy Bartram dreams of accompanying his father on one of his expeditions through the American wilderness, but when the invitation comes, the adventure is not what Billy expected.  Traveling in a flying aeroship, Billy joins his father’s secret society of philosophers and scientist on a special quest.  They are searching for the lost kingdom of the Welsh Prince Madoc to seek help in an oncoming war against the French.  However, a host...

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Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo
Dec10

Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo

This delightfully whimsical book is one of my new favorites.  Flora Belle, a self-proclaimed cynic, is a lonely ten-year-old girl obsessed with comic books.  Ignored by her mother and separated from her father, Flora is looking for friendship and meaning in her life.  When a neighborhood squirrel is sucked up by a runaway vacuum, Flora finds her friend.  Ulysses emerges from the vacuum with super strength, enhanced intelligence, and...

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Mister Max:  The Book of Lost Things by Cynthia Voigt
Nov24

Mister Max: The Book of Lost Things by Cynthia Voigt

Max Starling lives happily with his actor parents in their home connected to the Starling Theater, but a strange invitation changes everything. William and Mary Starling, Max’s parents, are invited to India to spend several months with the Maharajah of Kashmir. Max intends to go with them, but when he goes to meet his parents aboard The Flower of Kashmir, his parents have disappeared and no one remembers the ship or his parents....

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The Great Unexpected, by Sharon Creech
Feb13

The Great Unexpected, by Sharon Creech

Once again, Sharon Creech uses poetic writing and endearing characters to create a heartwarming story. Naomi Deane and Lizzie Scatterding are two orphan girls living in the town of Blackbird Tree. One summer day, a mysterious boy falls from a tree and into their lives. With the appearance of the ‘Finn boy,’ unexpected happenings and curious surprises begin to occur. Through these events and a wide variety of characters, Creech shares...

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Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer, by John Grisham
Nov24

Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer, by John Grisham

The son of two attorneys, Theodore Boone knows every lawyer, judge, and police officer in his small town. He also knows more about the law than any thirteen year old and is the first choice for kids (and even some adults) seeking legal advice. However, when Theo learns of an unknown witness for the town’s current murder trial, he finds even his legal knowledge has limits. How does he make sure the truth is known without endangering...

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Roberto & Me, by Dan Gutman
Oct01

Roberto & Me, by Dan Gutman

Stosh has the unique ability to travel through time using only a baseball card. He holds a card from the year he wants to visit, and suddenly he is there. In Roberto & Me, Stosh travels to 1969 to meet baseball star and humanitarian Roberto Clemente. His goal is to warn Roberto not to take the tragic plane flight that cut his life so short. However, Stosh soon learns changing the future is more difficult than he expected. This...

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The Clockwork Three, by Matthew J. Kirby
Oct01

The Clockwork Three, by Matthew J. Kirby

The streets of cities in the American Industrial Era are filled with hardship and struggles, especially for young people saddled with heavy responsibilities. Giuseppe is an orphaned street musician, forced to use his talent to support a cruel master. Hannah, a maid in a fancy hotel, is the sole supporter of her family of five. Frederick is an apprenticed clockmaker struggling to create something amazing. Their situations are all...

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Museum of Thieves (Keepers Trilogy #1), by Lian Tanner
Jul24

Museum of Thieves (Keepers Trilogy #1), by Lian Tanner

Goldie lives in a world where children are safe-guarded treasures. They are literally guarded and chained to their Blessed Guardians until they reach the age of Separation. Instead of feeling protected, Goldie chafes at these restrictions and longs for freedom. When her day of Separation is interrupted by a bomb threat, Goldie escapes and is branded as a runaway. She soon finds a strange group of rebels in the city museum. As she...

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The Humming Room, by Ellen Potter
May21

The Humming Room, by Ellen Potter

A brilliant, modern rendering of Francis Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden. Ellen Potter manages to capture nearly all the elements of the classic children’s story, but weaves her details so deftly that the story remains alive and new. Like the garden in the story, Potter breathes life into a wonderful tale of hope and healing. After the death of her dysfunctional family, Roo Fanshaw is sent to live with a rich uncle she never knew...

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Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief, by Wendelin Van Draanen
May21

Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief, by Wendelin Van Draanen

Sammy Keyes amuses herself by observing the world outside her Gram’s apartment through binoculars. Her sightings are common until one day Sammy witnesses a burglary in the Heavenly Hotel across the street. When she tries to report her findings, no one wants to listen to a middle schooler turned sleuth. However, the burglar is on to Sammy and she has to use her wits to solve the crime and prove her evidence. This modern-day Nancy Drew...

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William S. and the Great Escape, by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
Apr02

William S. and the Great Escape, by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

Zilpha Keatley Snyder writes great stories for readers between 8 and tween. Her stories feature strong, child heroes having fast-paced and intriguing adventures. However, she keeps the stories appropriate for young audiences in subject and content. Another great thing about Snyder is the number of books she has written. If you enjoy one, there are many more to choose. In William S. and the Great Escape, William Baggett is a precocious...

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Smart Dog, by Vivian Vande Velde
Apr02

Smart Dog, by Vivian Vande Velde

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed Smart Dog by Vivian Vande Velde. I grabbed it on a whim, because we needed another read aloud book for my 4 and 5 year old boys. As it turned out, they were hooked along with me, my husband, and my 9-year-old daughter. My boys have a problem with intense conflict, so a lot of the books they like are a little slow. However, this book was gentle enough for them and interesting enough for...

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A Tale of Two Castles, by Gail Carson Levine
Mar13

A Tale of Two Castles, by Gail Carson Levine

“Beware the whited sepulcher,” are the last words of advice Elodie hears from her mother when leaving home for a ten year apprenticeship. This charge to trust only those who deserve trust becomes quite a challenge as Elodie begins her adventure in the town of Two Castles. A dragon detective, a shape-shifting ogre, a handsome cat trainer, a flighty princess, and a greedy king…these are just some of the characters Elodie must decide are...

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The Dark Hills Divide (The Land of Elyon #1), by Patrick Carman
Feb27

The Dark Hills Divide (The Land of Elyon #1), by Patrick Carman

Twelve-year-old Alexa Daley has grown up surrounded by walls, but unlike most villagers she knows, Alexa wants to find a way out. As a protection from the unknown evils of the Dark Hills, a man named Warvold created a series of walled cities connected by walled roads. However, the walls meant to be a protection might have trapped danger inside. When Alexa begins searching for a way outside the wall, she finds adventure and truth that...

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Walk Two Moons, by Sharon Creech
Feb20

Walk Two Moons, by Sharon Creech

This is one of my all-time favorites because of the beautiful writing, entertaining characters, and profound life lessons. After her mother leaves, Salamanca Hiddle has a hard time adjusting to life. Her Gram and Gramps take her on a road trip across the country to follow in her mother’s footsteps. As they travel, Sal entertains her grandparents with stories from her previous school year. Current stories are mixed with memories, all...

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Zorgamazoo, by Robert Paul Weston
Nov23

Zorgamazoo, by Robert Paul Weston

This is the tale of Katrina Katrell and her fabulous adventure with Morty the Zorgle. Together, they try to find the missing Zorgles of Zorgamazoo. Written entirely in Dr. Suess-like rhyme, this light story captures the importance of imagination and magical creatures. My family listened to the audio book and the reader is marvelous. However, you won’t want to miss the paper version and Weston’s inventive illustrations....

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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, by Roald Dahl
Nov23

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, by Roald Dahl

I love this book, because it entertained all three of my children (ages 3, 5, and 9) when we read it out loud together. Willy Wonka opens his mysterious chocolate factory to five lucky children. His tour shows these children the magical world of chocolate making, but it is also a test. One lucky child will win much more than a tour, the most magical prize of all....

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