Monday, June 30, 2014

Helen Keller

Helen Keller By: Grace Norwich Illustrated By: Mark Elliot

This is a biography of Helen Keller. It tells the hard times and the amazing things that Helen went through in her life.  It explains the events of her life and gives details of what she went through. It is a perfect read for upper elementary and middle school readers.  With illustrations and little informational facts sections you really learn a lot about her and the time in which she lived.

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 978-0-545-44779-9

Mermaid Queen

Mermaid Queen By: Shana Corey Illustrated By: Edwin Fotheringham

Annette Kellerman was born in Australia and lived with her parents who were music teachers.  Annette loved music, but was unable to dance because she had a problem with her legs that prevented her from walking.  Her father taught her how to swim, and she loved it She started performing her swimming and dancing routine when she was a teen When they moved to England people were appalled by her swim attire, and she was shocked when she came to America to see that women were swimming in their clothing. Annette was arrested for not being properly dressed, and when she went to court she told the judge that swimming was a great sport, but women needed to be able to move in the water.  Because of what Annette did, women were able to change their swimming clothes and enjoy the water.

This is a great non fiction picture book.  I had never heard of Annette before and am glad I read it.  She is truly an inspiring person, having the courage to stand up for what she was doing when she lived in a time that told her not to do it.  Great read for elementary readers.

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 978-0-439-69835-1

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Destined to Live: A True Story of a Child in the Holocaust

Destined to Live: A True Story of a Child in the Holocaust By: Ruth Gruener

Ruth lived with her parents, who owned a candy shop in Poland.  Her family had a good life, that is until the Nazi party came through her town.  Her family was sent to live in a ghetto with the rest of the Jewish people in her town.  But unfortunately even there they were not safe. Her family hid under the porch during one time when the soldiers came to take them, and escaped to  a cave.  Then a women came to her parents to tell them that she would take Ruth and keep her safe. Ruth had to go and leave her parents, not knowing if they would ever see each other again.

This was a wonderful book.  The story that Ruth tells is so sad, and it is amazing what her family went through.  My heart broke for her with each new thing, and the fear that all the Jewish people went through was so tragic. Great read for any upper elementary and middle school reader.

I purchased
this from Scholastic.
ISBN: 978-0-439-89204-9

Friday, June 27, 2014

You Choose

The Revolutionary War Experience & The Civil War Experience
By: You Choose Books, Capstone Press

These are two great books for upper elementary and middle school readers.  They are historical fiction books, but with a new twist. They are choose your own adventure books. In each book you choose your path through the war. You can be a soldier, a civilian, and make your own way.  What I liked about these is that readers learn a ton of information, from the eyes of someone in history.  Great books!!

I purchased these books at Costco
ISBN: 978-1-4914-1712-6 & 978-1-4914-1710-2

The Scorch Trials & The Death Cure

The Scorch Trials & The Death Cure  By: James Dashner

Books two and three in  The Maze Runner series continue to follow Thomas and his collection of Glade friends on their journey after leaving the Maze. In the second book The Scorch Trials, Thomas and the others must find their way through the desert and away from those who are infected with the Flare.  And they only have two weeks to complete this task given to them by the people of Wicked.  In book three The Death Cure Thomas doesn't think things could get any worse then what they have been through. But of course he is wrong.  Wicked is not done with them yet, and will do anything to stop them from escape.  The one thing Thomas learns is that finding who you can really trust may be his biggest challenge yet.

The last two books in this series were just as good as the first. With constant action, and twists in the story, you have to stay on your toes to keep up.  This is a great series in young adult science fiction.

I purchased these books at Barnes and Nobel.
ISBN: 978-0-385-73576-7 & 978-0-385-73878-1

Thursday, June 19, 2014

back home

back home By: Julia Keller

Rachel knows that something is wrong when her mother sits her and her brother and sister down to talk.  Their mother tells them that the good news is that their dad is coming home from Iraq, but the bad news is that there was an accident, and their father was badly hurt. Rachel doesn't know how she feels about everything that is happening to her family.  But when dad comes home, she knows that he is not the same, and this takes it's toll on her family.

This book was hard to read.  It truly showed the side of war that we know happens, but we don't all experience.  It was interesting and heartbreaking to see it from a child's perspective. This book is for middle school readers.  I am so thankful for all the men and women that serve our country, and for their families that serve from home.

I purchased this book from the Scholastic Book Order
ISBN:  978-0-545-26010-7

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Pencil

The Pencil By: Allan Ahlberg & Bruce Ingman

This is the story of a pencil who began to draw, he drew a boy, a dog, and then just kept going. His characters asked for some color. so he draws a paintbrush. He fills his world with people and things, and the paintbrush paints it.  One day the people say that they do not like some things, so the pencil draws an eraser. The eraser goes out of control, erasing everything it can. The pencil has to find a way to stop him. I thought this was a great book.  It had a wonderful fun story, and my boys loved listening to it.

I borrowed this book from the public library
ISBN: 978-0-7636-3894-8

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Friendship Doll

The Friendship Doll By: Kirby Larson

Miss Kanagawa is a doll that was sent to the United States in 1927 as a gift to the United States from Japan.  These dolls were taken around the United States and shown to different people.  What is different about them, is that they are truly able to see and experience those around them, and Miss Kanagawa tells us the story of four girls that live through hard times in our history.  We see how different people were affected by The Great Depression.  Each child that she meets Miss Kanagawa, finds herself a part of their life, and she never forgets them.

This was a great book.  I loved learning about so many different characters, and it was interesting to see them through the eyes of a doll.  I enjoyed the actual history of the dolls from Japan in the back of the book. This is a great read for upper elementary and middle school girls.

I purchased this book from the Scholastic Book Fair.
ISBN: 978-0-545-49233-1

Friday, June 13, 2014

The Maze Runner

The Maze Runner By: James Dashner

Thomas wakes up and has no idea where he is. All he knows is that he is now with a bunch of other boys, and they are all calling him the "Greenie". Thomas finds out that he is in a strange place, where the group of boys has made a society, each having their own jobs. But the big thing looming in this world is the maze.  The Runners spend their days trying to find a way out of the maze, but don't get locked inside, because at night the Grievers come out, and they only kill.  Another strange thing is that the next day, a girl comes out of the hole, and she claims to know Thomas, and he doesn't remember her.  The others are suspicious of Thomas, and he makes things worse when he goes into the maze as the doors are closing to help two other runners. He makes it out alive, but those around him know that something is going on and things are different. They have to figure out what is happening, but they all know they have to get out fast.

This was an interesting science fiction read. A colony of boys, who have banded together to make a home, and a civilization of their own, knowing that their purpose is to work on the maze and get out.  I thought the concept of the book was one I had never read before, which made it really different.  This is a great young adult read, and not only are there more books in the series, but this book has been made into a movie.

I purchased this book from Barnes and Noble.
ISBN: 978-0-385-73795-1


Victory By: Susan Cooper

Molly is not happy to be living in the United States, she really wants to go back to her home in London. But her mother and step father have decided that Connecticut is where they should be. Sam didn't choose to be a sailor, he was snatched up and signed into service. He misses his home, but knows that this is probably a better life for him.  Neither of the two living 200 years apart know each other, but a chance find in an old store, Molly has a piece of Sam's life in her hands.  This piece of cloth, sends Molly on an adventure, and through Sam's life we see how the cloth got there.

I thought this book was really great. Perfect for upper elementary and middle school readers. It was packed with historical details, and told in a catching way.  I liked how the two character's lives were intertwined, even though they were so far apart.  Great read.

I purchased this book from the Scholastic Book Order
ISBN: 978-0-545-07438-4

The Raft

The Raft By: S. A. Bodeen

Robie is visiting her aunt in Hawaii, and having a great time.  She normally lives on the secluded Midway Atoll, and always likes to be a part of real life when visiting her aunt. Unexpectedly her aunt must go on a trip, but Robie thinks she can handle staying alone. One her first night alone, she is scared, so she decides to hop on the next cargo plane home.  The plane goes down in bad weather, but Max, the copilot saves Robie's life.  She is thankful that he is with her,as they float endlessly on the raft in the ocean, not knowing just what to do.  Finally Robie washes up on an island, where she tries to make the best of things, and encounters very terrifying things, she just hopes she can get rescued soon.

This book is definitely for older readers.  It was very intense and at times scary.  I kept thinking in my head, please let her live, and what if that happened.  Robie is one strong character to make it through the things she does in this book.  Great book

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 978-1-250-02739-9

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Ruby's Slippers

Ruby's Slippers By: Tricia Rayburn

Ruby does not want to leave her home town. She loves where she lives in Kansas, and is sad to leave, she must though because her mother says they  need to go live with her grandmother.  When they get to Florida, Ruby knows she is not going to fit in. Worst of all is that she has to start middle school, and is very different than the others.  When the annual mandatory Talent Show comes around, and she is forced to be in a group with one of the meanest girls she has met, Ruby is ready to throw in the towel and leave.

This was a great read for girls entering middle school.  It shows that you just need to be yourself, even when others are not kind to you.  Never loose sight of who you are.  I enjoyed the characters of Ruby and her mother.  Ruby's mom was definitely different, in that she was stuck in the past, it took Ruby's grandmother to help her get out of her old ways.

I purchased this book from the Scholastic Book Order
ISBN: 978-0-545-37899-0

Monday, June 9, 2014

Woods Runner

Woods Runner By: Gary Paulsen

Samuel and his family live in the forest.  They and the others know the dangers, Native Americans and British soldiers can come at any time. And they do, Samuel is out hunting and comes back to find his family's camp destroyed. He cannot find his parent's bodies, so he knows that they were taken.  Samuel vows to find them, and begins to track the hunting party.  Throughout his search, he sees the horrors of war, and gains a sister.

This was an interesting story of the American Revolution.  It shows what it would have been like for someone like Samuel.  Throughout the book, there is also factual information about what happened during the war. The way in which the people were hunted and killed was horrible, and it is amazing the hard fought war that gave us our independence lasted that long and killed so many.  This is a great book for any historical fiction fan.

I purchased this book from the Scholastic Book Order.
ISBN: 978-0-545-33677-2

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Keeping Safe The Stars

Keeping Safe The Stars By: Sheila O'Connor

Pride, Nightingale, and Baby are doing what Old Finn told them to do, they are with Miss. Addie, but none of them are prepared for Old Finn to not be coming home.  Old Finn is their grandfather, and the only family the kids have.  He goes to town to see the doctor about a fever, and is placed in the hospital. Pride knows they cannot tell anyone they are being left alone, and wonders how they are going to care for each other and visit Old Finn.  The kids do a great job of working together to cook, make money, and help care for Miss Addie too. They all just want one thing, for Old Finn to come home, but sometimes when wishes come true it is not quite what you hoped.

I thought this was a great book for upper elementary and middle school readers. I loved the characters Pride, Nightingale, and Baby.  They were a strong family that worked together to solve life's problems.  I also thought that this book taught a lot about how family should stick together in hard times and help each other. Great lessons for readers.

I bought this from the Scholastic Book Order
ISBN: 978-0-545-73241-3

Friday, June 6, 2014

Love Monster

Love Monster By: Rachel Bright

This is the story of a slightly hairy, googly-eyed monster.  He cannot find anyone that loves him, everyone likes cute, fluffy things.  He sets off to find love, and finds that it is harder than he thinks. Just when he is about to give up love finds him. A cute fun story about finding love.  I thought the illustrations in this book were really cute. And who doesn't love a story about a monster who finds love.  Perfect for reading aloud to elementary age kiddos.

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 978-0-374-34646-1

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Counting By 7s

Counting By 7s By: Holly Goldberg Sloan

Willow loves the number 7, it helps her keep order in her life.  She was adopted by her parents and loves them very much. She is a genius, and loves to garden, learn, and tells things like they are. When she is given a test in middle school, she scores perfect, the school accuses her of cheating.  They cannot prove this, but order her to see Mr. Dell Duke for counseling. Dell is a little odd himself, and when he realizes that Willow is a genius he gets excited. When Willow meets a pair of Dell's other cases, she forms a bond with them.  Willow gets some tragic news, her parents are killed in a car accident, Mai tells the police that Willow will stay with them.  In the events that unfold, Willow and all the characters find that they can find a family when they are in the worst places.

This was a wonderful book.  It is really hard to explain, but the journey that each character goes through in these pages was heartbreaking and heartwarming throughout.  I loved how they all bound together to make a home for Willow, and with her in their lives they are able to do things that they never thought possible. Wow.

I bought this from the Scholastic Book Order.
ISBN: 978-0-545-67401-0


Legend By: Marie Lu

No one really knows who Day is, and that is the way he wants it to stay.  He escaped when he was ten, and now is just trying to stay alive, and get enough money to help his family.  June is a prodigy, and she believes in working with the government.  She knows that Day has killed her brother, and will stop at nothing to catch this criminal.  But by chance Day and June meet, and she sees a different side of everything. Day just wants to make sure his family is ok, and is trying to piece it all together before it is to late.

I really liked this book. It was written from both characters perspectives and that is what made it great. As the reader you know both stories, and it is interesting to watch the characters figure things out.  This book is perfect for middle and high school readers. I cannot wait to get the nest in the series.

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Monday, June 2, 2014

Cromwell Dixon's Sky-Cycle

Cromwell Dixon's Sky-Cycle By: John Abbot Nez

This is the story of Cromwell Dixon's life.  Dixon was an inventor from the time he was young, he loved building and creating new things. He read about all the different things that were being invented, but he went flying in 1904 in a hot air balloon, he then knew he wanted to fly.  He invented a sky-cycle, and on August 9, 1907 he took it to the air for the first time.

This is a terrific non fiction picture book for kids. It would go great with any unit on inventions. It has great illustrations and the facts in it tell Dixon's story well.  I loved reading it to my kids, because they thought it was amazing that someone would invent a bike for the sky!  Great read

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 978-0-399-25041-5


Redwoods By: Jason Chin

This is about a boy who is reading this story while he travels home on the subway.  He reads about how redwood trees can live for 2,000 years, and can grow to 200 feet tall. While he is reading the world around him turns into the forest.  He has many adventures learning about the forest while he is in there.  He finds out that there is a record for the tallest redwood, 379 feet tall!  When he is done with the book, he leaves it on a park bench, where a girl finds it and opens it up.

I loved this book, it has beautiful illustrations and is packed with information about redwood forests. Kids will love the adventure that the boy takes and will learn so much by reading it.

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 978-1-59643-430-1

Winston and George

Winston & George By: John Miller and Giuliano Cucco

Winston is a patient crocodile and he has a good friend named George who is a bird.  They love to go fishing and George looks out for danger and fish.  But George also likes to play tricks on Winston and his friends, pretending that their is danger.  One day when Winston is really in trouble, none of the other crocodiles believed George.  George learned a very important lesson.

This was a cute book, retelling the boy who cried wolf. My boys loved this book and we read it over and over.  I thought that the illustrations were great and the word choice was terrific. Great read aloud for elementary age readers.

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 978-1-59270-145-2

Sea of Shadows

Sea of Shadows By: Kelley Armstrong

Moria and her twin Ashyn are the Keeper and Seeker of the Forest of the Undead. It is their job to protect their village and to lead the souls of the dead away.  This is Ashyn's first time performing the ritual on her own, and things do not go as planned. There is something stalking the forest, and causing havoc all around.  The shadows do not usually come out of the forest, but this time they are not playing by the rules and they attack the village.  Ashyn and Moria must seek help and each other, but the path is not an easy one, and they are hunted along the way.

This book was suspenseful and creepy.  It would make a great movie, because there is danger at every turn and it is unseen.  I really enjoyed this book, the characters were each really special in their own way, and I was instantly hooked on their story.  I could not put the book down, and was frustrated at the end because I was not ready for it to be over.  

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 978-0-06-207124-8