August (Auggie) Pullman is different from other ten year old kids. Born with a rare congenital condition resulting in startling facial deformities, he has a not so ordinary face that invites curiosity and criticism, as well as compassion. He leaves the bubble of his loving and safe home-schooled environment to attend fifth grade at Beecher Prep in New York City. For one year, readers follow Auggie as he stumbles through the minefields of adolescence: vulnerable in a school culture where being different is an oddity not
At thirteen, Tula wonders "how many slaves / Mama will buy with the money / she gains by marrying me to / the highest bidder." Loosely based on the early life of the Cuban novelist and human rights advocate Gertrudis Gmez de Avellaneda (1814-73) who was nicknamed Tula, this novel in verse follows her through a dangerous open rebellion against 19th century slavery in Cuba and a personal fight to resist an arranged marriage. During this time in Cuban history, the most open rebels were poets like Gmez de Avellaneda. This award winning novel is recommended for gra
Jokes about her weight and laughter behind her back as she passes groups of students in the halls replace Hélène’s friends. In her thoughts, Hélène replays each cruel remark from her peers until she believes each statement to be true. There is no one to share how she feels or what is being said. She is alone in a stark gray world.
Is your best never good enough? Do you keep trying and trying and still the people you are trying to help trash your efforts? Then you might find accidental superhero Lin fascinating as she brings her writings to life with the push of a button when she becomes the hero from her books. With flash photography as her superhero weakness, Lin a.k.a. AC makes an interesting if unsure teen champion whose cell phone uses binary code to transform her into a superhero.
I’ve been very interested in Afghanistan since the 1980s and I eagerly devour as much non-fiction as I can on the diverse cultures, complex history and natural beauty of the country. Ellis’s My name is Parvana was created to be a realistic fiction novel based on the lives of multiple children that the author met during her time in Afghanistan. The importance of education and its positive impact on the lives of girls is readily apparent throughout the book.
This story follows where The Shifterended. In Blue Fire, our heroine, 15-year-old Nya, begins with the same goal that she had in The Shifter – to keep the people she loves safe. Unfortunately, because of her unique ability to shift pain from one person to another, this is tougher than it sounds. Tali, Nya’s sister, and the other takers are hiding in Geveg from the evil invading Duke of Baser. He is hunting for Nya and the taker
Imagine being in charge of a jackalope with razor-sharp antlers and being pursued by government agents. Professor Twitchett abandons his animal science experiment in Jeremy’s room and disappears. Where can he hide “Jack”? Not the clothes hamper. Jack shreds clothes, including Jeremy’s underwear. What do you feed a killer bunny? Well, Jack loves whiskey, so Jeremy robs minibars to keep him placated.
In the Perspectives Flip Book series, readers look at critical times in history and in essence read two books, each looking at the time period from a variety of perspectives. In this book, we start with the allies perspective, and when we flip the book we get the axis perspective. The series currently includes a book about the American Revolution, the Civil War and about Westward Expansion.
This psychological thriller was published in 2005, but it remains one of my favorites. Seventeen year old, Doug Hanson lacks social skills, making him a target at school. The only "perfect" relationship he has is with his next door neighbor and boyhood friend, Andy Morrow who is a popular football player.
Amy and Dan Cahill, with their friends, Atticus and Jake Rosenbloom, are on the run from Interpol. They have no choice but to fulfill every demand of Vesper One or else one of the hostages will die. They are ordered to steal the world’s largest diamond from one of Berlin’s famous museums. If they do not succeed, what will become of them or the hostages?
"Mission Unstoppable" is the exciting first book in the Genius Files series by Dan Gutman. Coke and Pepsi are twins who are being chased across the country by people who want to kill them! In the first chapter alone, the twins are jumping off a cliff to save their lives...you want to know more, don't you?
This fun series is recommended for grades 5 and up.
Middle school student and troublemaker Donovan Curtis is well known for his pranks around school. Due to a big mistake and miscommunication, Donovan is transferred from his "normal" middle school to the "Academy for Scholastic Distinction" for highly gifted students. Multiple characters, including adults, take turns telling the story, and it becomes clear than Donovan doesn't belong at ASD due to his ungifted status, but could it be that the students at ASD need Donovan, as he slowly leads them to normalcy?
Another just plain fun read! If you like the Stephanie Plumb books, you'll like this series too. Diesel, one of Ranger's employees, breaks out on his own set of adventures. They are full of the same madcap mayhem we see with Stephanie, Morelli and Ranger, but these add a layer of magic and mystical powers. Lizzy is a pastry chef in Salem Massachusetts who also happens to be a "finder". Her talent is sensing special properties of inanimate objects. Lizzy and Diesel are off on a mission to find another one of a set of magical stones before Wulf or any other bad guys can get it.
A hilarious take on a 7th grade boy's life from the pen of Tim Carvell, head writer at The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. The book is in diary format and follows Tad on various adventures & life lessons throughout the year.
Fourteen-year-old Mike, a mathematically-challenged young man with dyscalculia, unfortunately has a brilliant engineer/professor father. Mike is forced to live with relatives he has never met for six weeks in summer while his father teaches in Romania. Mike’s father hopes that his son will improve his math and engineering skills by working on a local project.
Life wasn't easy for anyone during the Great Depression, but it could be even harder if you were African American. In this work of historical fiction, Hibernia a preacher's daughter, dreams of becoming a singer. Willie is recovering from a burn that will keep him from fulfilling his dream of becoming a boxer. Otis, an orphan, is struggling to find happiness but finds comfort in his family's radio and the sense of humor that was passed down to him from his father.
Author, Helen Frost elegantly hides poetic verse within a three part story told through the internal monologues of two girls whose paths will coincidentally cross twice in life. Darra and Wren, both ages 14, recognize each other at summer camp.
This is a tragic story of a wild, white Manchurian pony’s capture by men and his forced life of serving cruel owners, and later becoming part of an historic journey--the 1910 Terra Nova polar expedition to the South Pole led by Captain Robert Scott. James Pigg, as he is named after a book character, tells his story from his pony point of view. He finds kindness and friendship in Patrick, one of Scott’s men, and decides to work hard to help men accomplish their goal.
Illustrator Ed Young, winner of the Caldecott Medal for his book Lon Po Po, tells the unique story of his childhood in wartime China through award-winning author Libby Koponen. Young’s father, Baba, an engineer, devises a way of protecting his wife and five children and numerous other relatives and friends by constructing a bomb-proof house that becomes a playground for the children complete with a swimming pool.
Turning thirteen is not just about becoming a teenager for Mibs Beaumont. It is a milestone for her family members who turn the magical thirteen because it is the beginning of their unique savvy. Grandma Bomba can move mountains. Grandma cans radio waves to preserve her favorite songs in mason jars. Mother is perfect. Brother Fish creates wind, rain and hurricanes equal to the intensity of his anger and brother Rocket can spark electricity. What will Mibs’ special supernatural gift be?
Georgina and her family suddenly find themselves homeless. Living out of a car with her mother and little brother while her mother works two jobs makes Georgina think about what she can do to help the situation. She comes up with a wild idea to steal a dog and claim reward money after the owner posts reward signs for the lost dog. As the story unfolds, Georgina and the reader grow fond of a mysterious man named Mookie, an old woman named Carmella, and a little dog named Willy. Sometimes, the best lessons happen in the worst of times.
Whose side do you fight for if you're a slave during the American Revolution? While our country is fighting for freedom from Britain, who will fight for the slaves' freedom? The truth is that sometimes the slaves would fight for whoever promised them their freedom after the war. This book of incredibly well researched historical fiction takes the reader through the harrowing times of a slave girl named Isabel, herlittle sister Ruth, and a slave boy named Curzon as they fight for their freedom.
It's 1872 in New York City and Horace Carpetine is a photography apprentice. Horace and a black servant girl named Peggy discover that his photographs for Mrs. Von Macht are evoking the ghost of her deceased daughter, Eleanora. Things really heat up when Horace and Peggy discover that the ghost of Eleanora is out for revenge. This book is a great chiller for those who liked to get spooked; recommended for grades 5-8.
Meet spunky Abilene Tucker, 12 year old daughter of a drifter, who puts her on a train to Manifest, Kansas, to spend the summer of 1936 with colorful people from his past. A local diviner reveals stories from the days of World War I (1917-1918) in flashbacks that parallel life in 1936, as Abilene searches for a connection to her father. Mystery, adventure, spy hunting, secrets, and humor slowly form a memorable story of family and community.
This is really a unique book for James Patterson. It's not a graphic novel, by definition, but it is full of sketches and doodles that add a graphic novel quality to the book. This is a story about a boy named Rafe who is starting middle school and seems to only be noticed by the school bully, "Miller the Killer." After the first school assembly, Rafe makes a promise to break all the rules in the student handbook (without hurting anyone) by the end of the school year. While the story deals with some heavy issues, it does it with great humor and fun drawings along the way.
Forge is book two of an impressive trilogy about the African American experience during the American Revolutionary War. While this is not a subject that is typically well developed in our history lessons, it is meticulously well researched by this author and impressively executed with unforgettable characters. In book one,
Ninth Ward is a perfect choice for both avid readers and reluctant readers. Set in the ill-fated 9th Ward of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, this story develops unique and beautiful characters while invoking a regional history of belief in magic and mysticism. Nine year old Lanesha is about to have the fight of her life. Lanesha was born with the gift of “sight”, the ability to communicate with ghosts, but has trouble communicating with her mother, who died during child birth. Mama Ya Ya, the elderly woman who has raised Lanesha, has the ability to see into the future.
Eleven year old Meli Lleshi is living a happy life with her Muslim Albanian family in Kosovo in 1998 when her life is turned upside down by the Kosovo War between the Serbs and the Albanians. The murder of fellow Albanians and the brief but terrifying disappearance of Meli's 13 year old brother, Mehmet, mark the beginning of this story. On the run from ethnic cleansing, Meli's family will abandon their home and business on a journey to escape. This journey will take them to the mountains, Uncle's farm, miles of traveling on foot while pushing Grandma in a wheelbarrow,
Thirteen year old Gen doesn't want to spend her entire summer vacation with her family at an 1890's styled frontier camp. It's her mother's idea to commit the family to this experience in living history and the owners of this camp take their social experiment very seriously. To preserve her sanity, Gen smuggles in a cell phone so that she can text her friends about every painful experience of forced frontier life, including the details of meeting Caleb, a very cute fellow camper, and Nora, the very jealous and bitter daughter of the camp owners. Gen discovers that th
I know, I know, we all cried when we read or saw Marley and Me. Do you really want to read another book about a man and his dog? I say yes, you do -- this one is different. By now you have figured out that I am a sucker for any animal story.