Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Prisoner B-3087

Prisoner B-3087 By: Alan Gratz

This is the story of Jack Gruener.  Jack was 10 when his family was taken by the Nazis to a concentration camp. He spent six years in ten different camps, and witnessed the horrors of being a Jew during the Holocaust.  His story is an amazing tale of survival and sadness.  It will break your heart and open your eyes to the evil of hatred. 

This was a fantastic book. While this story is a work of fiction, it is based on the real life of Jack Gruener.  To think that a boy at 10 is taken away from his family never to see them again, and then to survive six years, transfers to different labor camps, watching many of the people around him die or be killed is sad and amazing.  Great book, and perfect for I would say mature fifth to eighth grade readers.

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 978-0-545-45901-3

Monday, July 29, 2013

Star Wars A Galactic Pop-Up Adventure

Star Wars A Galactic Pop-Up Adventure By: Matthew Reinhart

My boys LOVE Star Wars.  They are very interested in all things about it.  This book is the coolest book I have seen.  It is a pop up book all about Star Wars. It has the neatest pages and different flaps that have more pop-up action.  There is even a page with a light up light saber.  My boys have spent an hour looking at this book.  I recommend to any Star Wars fan!

This book was purchased from amazon.com
ISBN: 978-0545176163

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Mrs. Spitzer's Garden

Mrs. Spitzer's Garden By Edith Pattou Illustrated By: Tricia Tusa

Mrs. Spizter loves her garden and cares for it every day.  Each day she takes care of the needs of each of her plants and helps them grow to their full potential.  Her garden actually ends up not being a garden of plants but a garden of children.  I love this book. It is a short book with a huge message. This book is a perfect thing to give a teacher and a wonderful image of what a teacher does each day each year for each student.
As I head back to school tomorrow this was a perfect read to make  me smile .

I bought this book a while ago somewhere

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Quiltmaker's Gift

The Quiltmaker's Gift By: Jeff Brumbeau and Gail de Marcken

The Quiltmaker makes the most beautiful quilts, and she only gives them to those that need them most. The poorest people she can find, she spends nights looking for these people to give one of her beautiful quilts to. But there is a powerful greedy king who wants one of these quilts for himself. The quiltmaker says that he cannot have one unless he gives away everything he owns. He is furious and so he finds ways to torment the quiltmaker hoping that she will give in and give him a quilt.  But she holds strong and he learns a very important lesson.

I love this book. What a wonderful lesson, read aloud, and just an all around beautiful book to read.

I was given this book as a gift
ISBN: 1-57025-199-1

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Zero Tolerance

Zero Tolerance By: Claudia Mills

Sierra is an example to her fellow students. She is super involved and is extremely interested in keeping her school safe and making sure that she gets good grades.  She has never been in trouble and tops the Honor Roll list. That is until the day she accidentally takes her mother's lunch to school. In this lunch is a knife to cut up the apple that her mother packed. Not knowing what to do and feeling she is doing the right thing, Sierra decides to take the knife to the lunch lady, and turn it in.  Well things spiral out of control as she is now in danger of being expelled from school because of the zero tolerance policy. As she battles to get back into school Sierra meets a friend that she never would have dreamed becoming friends with and learns a lot about some things she never knew.

This was a very captivating book. I believe that it makes a very important and very interesting discussion topic of when do you make exceptions and when do you draw the line. In this time in education when we need to keep our students protected but where is the line drawn. I can see book being used in  a classroom as a group discussion. And it is a good book to read.

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 978-0-374-33312-6

The Hostage Prince

The Hostage Prince By: Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple

Snail is a midwife's apprentice and she tries her hardest to do the best job that she can.  Prince Aspen is the prince that has been held hostage since he was a little boy and he just lives everyday hoping that he will be able to go home again. On the day the Queen is supposed to have her baby, Snail finds herself in the dungeon because someone has killed the Queen.  That same day Prince Aspen is told by his closest friend that war is upon them and that he would be better to run away so that he is not killed first as the hostage.  So Snail and Aspen find them selves running together on a strange journey to his home.  But their journey is not quite as safe as they thought.

I really liked this book.  I saw it at the library on the new children's shelf and I am glad I picked it up.  I was instantly drawn into this book as the characters are truly likeable.  I enjoyed how Snail and Aspen didn't get along very well, but they knew they needed each other and ended up friends anyway.  I was surprised by what happens at the end, and I think you will be too.  This is the first in a trilogy ans so now I am left frustrated to hear what happens to the two of them next! Perfect choice for a boy or girl reader about fourth or fifth grade to start but I know older readers will like it too.

I borrowed this from the public library.
ISBN: 978-0-670-01434-7

Monday, July 22, 2013

Sailor Moo Cow at Sea

Sailor Moo Cow at Sea By: Lisa Wheeler Illustrated By: Ponder Goembel

Moo spends her time like the other cows, eating in the pasture, but Moo dreams of the sea. One day she decides to find the sea and leaves the pasture behind.  Moo finds a ship owned by Captain Silver Claw and joins the crew of cats.  Moo loves sea life and makes many friends with the manatee. One day there is a terrible storm and Moo is tossed off the boat, she is saved by her manatee friends and she meets a crew of cow pirates.  She joins there crew and tries to get them to change their pirate ways. 

This is a funny picture book that made me laugh. Perfect read a loud and a fun story.

I was given this book.
ISBN: 0-689-84219-8

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Best School Year Ever

The Best School Year Ever By: Barbara Robinson

The Herdmans are always causing some kind of trouble.  Everyone in town knows about them, and watches out for them. They are banded from many places in town for their crazy behavior.  This year at school they are asked to make a book that has a complement for every student.  No one knows what they are going to say about a Herdman, there is nothing good about them.

I love this book.  I was first hooked on the Herdmans in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever and this book continues the Herdman fun.  I love how by the end everyone always knows that there is something nice about the large, loud, and prankster family.    Great read for second and third grade readers, and also a quick fun read a loud.

I bought this from Scholastic.
ISBN: 978-0-06-440492-1

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Walk Two Moons

Walk Two Moons By: Sharon Creech

Sal is headed with her grandparents to find her mother.  Her mother left one day and Sal wants to bring her back. Along the rode trip Sal tells her grandparents the story of Phoebe, Phoebe has the same type of problem, her mother left too.  As Sal tells the story, you get a little of her story too, she misses her mother, and wants to find out where she is and why she left. But Phoebe's story is slightly different and as they hunt for her mom some interesting things happen to them.

This is a story of finding out who you are and accepting the things that happen in life. Sal wants her mom to come back but in her heart knows that she is not going to.  I loved this book when I first read it as a young adult and still love it.  It shows that you can move on, that by talking to others about your feelings you can cope with the things in your life.  I have my 5th graders read this book and they really enjoy it too.

I bought this many years ago somewhere
ISBN: 0-06-023334-6

Friday, July 19, 2013


Stranded By: Jeff Probst and Chris Tebbetts

Carter is not thrilled that his new step siblings are on this boat trip with him.  He does not get along with them well, and just wanted to spend time with his Uncle Dexter.  But his mom and step dad are taking their honeymoon and thought it would be a chance for Carter, Jane, Buzz, and Vanessa to bond more.  Everything is going good until they hit a massive storm.  During the storm the boat begins to take on water and Uncle Dexter and his first mate, Joe, try to deploy the life raft, unfortunately before the kids can get on the life raft it is swept away.  The four are left on a boat that might possibly sink.  They end up stranded on an island alone. The four are able to make one call before the satellite phone stops working and the four are left to fend for themselves on this deserted island hoping that they just might be rescued and hoping that Dexter and Joe are safe.

This was a pretty good book. Full of fast paced action, and the fear of the worst.  I thought the relationship between the two sets of siblings was good, because I assume there might be issues when two families blend.  It was an interesting perspective to have, what would you do if you were a kid stranded on an island. I enjoyed it, there are two more in the series which is good as the book couldn't end the way it does!

I bought this from the Scholastic Book Order
ISBN: 978-0-545-56255-3

Thursday, July 18, 2013


Bliss By: Kathryn Littlewood

Rose's family runs a bakery out of their home. Where most people have a living room they have a shop.  Rose loves that her family bakes and knows that she wants to start helping.  Her parent's baked goods a more special than other bakeries because Rose knows they add a little magic to them.  When her parents are called upon by the mayor of another town to come work for them for a week to help cure a flu epidemic, Rose and her siblings are put to work to keep the bakery going.  Rose is excited, but when a mysterious Aunt Lily shows up, her brothers start acting strange, and she just can't seem to tell her parents that Lily is there. Rose knows something is wrong, and she tries her best to keep the family's special cookbook a secret.

I loved this book.  It was a perfect mix of family and sneakiness.  I thought the idea of mixing magic and baking made this book special. Rose was a perfect character that just wanted to be just like her parents and tried her best to out smart Lily.  The adventure that happened when Rose and her brother tried to bake something up was classic.
Great read!

I borrowed this from the public library.
ISBN: 978-0-06-208423-1

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library

Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library By: Chris Grabenstein

Kyle loves to play games.  His two older brother's and him especially love to play the games that Mr. Lemoncello creates.  When Kyle finds out that his game idol is judging a contest and the winners get to spend the first 24 hours the new library is open lock in, he knows he has to win.  After being chosen along with his best friend Akimi, he gets more then he bargains for when they find out they are going to be part of a even bigger game. They become players in the game to escape from the library.

This was one of my favorite books this summer!  I loved the characters and I loved the idea.  Who wouldn't want to play a life size game in a library filled with books, state of the art games, and win a really cool prize.  I really enjoyed the way the characters in the book work to solve the mystery and end up helping each other out.  Great read for any one.

I borrowed this from the public library.
ISBN: 978-0-375-87089-7


Titanic By: Gordon Korman

This is a trilogy about four young adults that find themselves aboard the Titanic.  Paddy is a thief and he finds himself in a sticky situation when he pick pockets the wrong man.  Now he is being chased by one of the most vicious gangster families.  He finds refuge on the Titanic, but he is not safe there either.  Here he meets Sophie (who has been put on the Titanic by the police) , Alfie (a steward with a big secret), and Juliana (a wealthy girl with a crazy father).  They know that there is a killer on the loose on board the Titanic and they are trying to find out who, stay alive, and make sure others are safe.  A terrible thing when we all know what is going to happen to the ship!

This was an exciting adventure book.  I love historical fiction, and this book makes it even better with a bit of a twist about who is on the Titanic.  I liked how the characters interacted and how they tried to help each other out. We all know what happens to the ship, so I found myself waiting for that terrible moment to see if the characters survive what is a worse fate than the killer they are looking for.

I purchased these from the Scholastic Book Order
1st Book ISBN: 978-0-545-12331-0

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

100 Cupboards

100 Cupboards By: N. D. Wilson

Henry is going to live with his aunt, uncle, and cousins. His parents has disappeared on their trip to South America.  He is not excited about it, but when the mysteries begin he thinks that he could live there. The first mystery is that his grandfather's bedroom is still locked from the inside two years after his death.  Then the plaster comes off of his attic bedroom's wall and he finds that there are different cupboards hidden behind the wall.  His cousin Henrietta and him discover 100 of them, and each time they are opened strange things are behind the doors.  Henry and Henrietta are in for a peculiar adventure that they must figure out how to solve together or get lost forever.

This was an interesting mysterious book.  One of my students suggested it this last school year and I finally got around to it.  Perfect book for fifth grade and up.  I really liked how the cousins ended up working together and that Henry felt like he was needed.  I thought that the mystery of why the cupboards were there and that they got to  learn from their grandfather was perfect. I wish I had a magical wall of cupboards to explore! Great read!!

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 978-0-375-83882-8

Whooo's There?

Whooo's There? By Mary Serfozo Illustrated By: Jeffrey Scherer

This is a short cute picture book about the animals in the night.  The owl is bothered by the noises that he hears and is trying to figure out who is there.  This is a great book for little readers as it has the same pattern to the text and tells about animals that are out in the night. It has great illustrations too, I love the owl's face.

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 978-0-375-84050-0

Monday, July 15, 2013

Love, Chickens, and a Taste of Peculiar Cake

Love, Chickens, and a Taste of Peculiar Cake By: Joyce Magnin

Wilma Sue is headed to her third foster home. She is nervous and sad because she knows that the other families did not want her.  As she pulls up to the house that she is to live in with two sisters, Ruth and Naomi, she doesn't know if she will like it there.   Ruth and Naomi are very nice, and Wilma Sue knows that something is going on in the house, she finds a goldfish in her lemonade and black birds fly out of the cake.  But as Wilma Sue gets to know these ladies, she realizes that she just may belong here.

I loved this book. I thought it was a perfect book about how a foster child might feel, and shows that there is hope that they will find a family that loves them.  The mysteries in the book that Wilma Sue is trying to figure out, what is so special about those cakes, also make this a fun read.  Perfect for fourth or fifth grade readers and up.

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 978-0-310-73333-1

Friday, July 12, 2013

Me and My Dragon

Me and My Dragon By: David Biedrzycki

This is a cute book about a boy that wants a dragon for a pet. He describes what he would do with the dragon and why the dragon would be a great pet.  The illustrations are great and the dragons face is really cute.  I could see using this book with a class, and then having the kids write about what pet they would like to have and what they would do with their pet.  My favorite reason was that if you have a dragon you don't need to worry about bullies!  Cute book!!

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 978-1-28089-278-0

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Dog Loves Drawing

Dog Loves Drawing By: Louise Yates

Dog loves books very much.  He has his own bookstore.  But one day his aunt sends him a book that has nothing in it!  Dog realizes that it is a book that he can make for himself.  Dog begins to draw and his drawings have a wonderful and exciting time with all the things that he does for them.  This book has the best illustrations.  I love how Dog's sketches come to life on the pages and how dog interacts with his story.  A great book to show how a story can start and take itself to another place.  This book is great for any age.

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 978-0-375-87067-5

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Sasquatch Escape

The Sasquatch Escape The Imaginary Veterinary Book 1 By: Suzanne Selfors Illustrated By: Dan Santat

Ben is really bummed, he has to spend the summer with his grandfather in the boring town of Buttonville.  A run down town where he knows the summer will be horrible. That is until unexpectedly he finds a baby dragon in his room.  He takes the dragon to Pearl and they set off to find someone that will help.  They find Mr. Tabby who runs a hospital for creatures that nobody think really exist. But when Ben accidentally leaves the front door unlocked and the Sasquatch escapes they have a lot more fun then he ever thought he would have.

This is a quirky funny book for anyone who loves creatures.  I know that any elementary school readers would love reading this book, I really enjoyed it too! Ben is having a hard time since his parents send him away and tell him that they need to work on their relationship. He is worried about what is going to happen to his parents and is angry that they send him away. I know many kiddos can relate to feeling this way about their families.  I think that it is great that kids can see that things can be better then you think and that even when you are worried about your life, you can still find things to feel good about.

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 978-0-316-20934-2

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Whose Tail on the Trail at Grand Canyon?

Whose Tail on the Trail at Grand Canyon? By: Midji Stephenson  Illustrated By: Kenneth Spengler

This is a perfect rhyming book about the animals in the Grand Canyon. It follows and easy pattern, that will help early readers follow along.  It also has great illustrations that make all readers stay interested. The book shows what types of animals live in the Grand Canyon for those that may not know, and has a very funny ending. Perfect for young kiddos!

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 978-1-934656-35-8

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden By: Frances Hodgson Burnett Illustrated By: Graham Rust

This is the story of Mary and Colin.  Mary is an orphan who is sent to live in the Manor. No body pays any attention to her and she is left pretty much alone, she spends many  hours outside in the gardens around the Manor. One day she finds the key to the secret garden that no one is allowed to go into.  Mary decides that she is going to fix the overgrown and neglected garden up.  Her housekeeper friend, Martha tells her that her brother Dickon is a great help.  One night Mary is tired of the crying she hears in the house and sets out to investigate.  She meets Colin who has many illnesses and believes that he cannot walk.  Together they both learn to trust others and they become better people.

While I just gave a terrible description of this book, it is one of my favorites.  I was given this book when I was nine and loved it then to.  This is a classic story that never gets old. I loved each character and how by the end they had changed into better people.  I love reading it over and over again.

I was given this book as a gift many years ago
ISBN: 0-87923-649-3

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Mrs. Fiisby and the Rats of NIMH

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH By: Robert C. O'Brien

Mrs. Frisby and her children live in the garden of Mr. Fitzgibbon's farm.  It is almost summer time, the time they need to move down by the river to be safe from the plow.  But unfortunately Mrs. Frisby's youngest son, Timothy, is ill.  Mrs. Frisby needs help, and she finds that help with the rats on the farm.  The rats are a strange group and always seem to be busy. As Mrs. Frisby seeks help from them, she learns more about their strange ways, and more about her family than she ever imagined.

This is one of my all time favorite books.  I read it every year to my class, and I picked it up today to start reading it with my children.  It is a classic tale of trusting those around you and that things are not always as they seem.  Love it.  There is a movie based on this book, it is not worth it, I found the movie terrible. 

I was given this book as a gift.
ISBN: 978-0-689-71068-1

Friday, July 5, 2013

Eight Keys

Eight Keys By: Suzanne LaFleur

Elise does not want to go back to school. She is not quite ready for middle school, and unfortunately her fears are not unfounded. The first day she finds that one other student, who happens to share a locker with her, is not going to be nice, and smashes her lunch every day. Elise has trouble doing homework and her teachers are not very nice about it, and her friends Franklin is still acting like a baby.  Elise is having a hard time dealing with everything and starts to act unlike herself. On her twelfth birthday in her note from her father, who has died, she finds a key and this key is the beginning of Elise getting herself back on track.

I loved this story. A brave young girl still missing both her parents, starting middle school, and just trying to figure out who she is.  This is a perfect read for those entering sixth grade and will help them know that they are not alone.

I was given this book as a gift
ISBN: 978-0-545-48797-9

The Girl With The Pearl Earring

The Girl With The Pearl Earring By: Tracy Chevalier

This is the story of Griet. Griet's father is an artist that has gone blind in an accident. She is sent to be a maid in the home of the artist Vermeer.  But from the beginning Vermeer's wife is not fond of her.  Griet works very hard and does what she is asked, while she is working there she gains the attention of the butcher's son, who would love for her to be his.  The turning point in this story is when Vermeer decides that he would like to paint Griet, and he tells her to wear his wife's earrings.  Things are not good for her now and she must make a decision.

This was a story of a girl who is placed in a situation that she cannot control. Forced to do what her master asks of her, knowing that it is not a good idea.  A wonderful historical fiction about what may have happened to the girl in the painting.  This was a great choice by my book club.

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 0-452-28215-2

Code Name Verity

Code Name Verity By: Elizabeth Wein

This is the story of  a spy who is captured by the Gestapo. She is forced to spill her secrets while she is being held prisoner.  She is able to weave a wonderful story about herself and her friends Maddie and tells the secrets while she is doing so.  The story that she writes is a beautiful tale of friendship, and each day she writes she is given more time to live.  Throughout it all she is just hoping to get home.

This was a beautiful story. The horrible things that happen to Verity as she is being held breaks my heart. This is a wonderful historical fiction novel, that shows how close people can get and that through torment and imprisonment there is always a way to survive. Great middle school and up read.

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 978-142315219-4

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Book Whisperer

The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child By: Donalyn Miller

This is Donalyn's personal story about how she teaches her students to be readers. The book outlines how she has her students read 40 books each year and how she allows them to read what they want to read.  I loved every minute of this book and only hope that someday I can have students that love to read as much as she is able to help her students do so. This was the best teacher book I have ever read.

I borrowed this from the public library, and hope to get my own copy soon
ISBN: 978-0-470-37227-2

Monday, July 1, 2013

James Potter

James Potter By: G. Norman Lippert

This series is the adventures of James Potter, Harry Potter's son.  There are three books in the series James Potter and the Vault of Destinies, James Potter and the Curse of the Gate Keeper, and James Potter and the Hall of Elders' Crossing.  In these stories James is faced with the same types of mysteries and adventure that his father Harry had.  James is his own person, with his own gifts, but at times feels like he is living in the shadow of his father, but is able to find his own way in these stories.  Using the same setting and some of the same characters the world of Harry Potter is able to live on in these stories. Being a Harry Potter fan, I though that these stories were fun, and it was interesting to get a different author's take on the world of magic.  I found these books for free to read on Goodreads. I recommend any Harry Potter fan check them out. Who knows, a whole new generation of Potter fans could start!