September/October Reads

Hello, Sweeteas,

I trust you’ve all had a wonderful beginning of the new school year.

September is Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15 – Oct. 15), so here’s a fantastic website on latinx YA, middle grade, and children’s literature:

www.latinosinkidlit.com

And here’s the link to the Young People’s Literature National Book Award longlist (scroll to the bottom of the page.)

www.nationalbook.org

Also, it’s Banned Books Week (Sept. 24-30).

You can participate by reading books from this list:

Frequently Challenged Children’s Books

Finally, here are five book recommendations:

The Evil Wizard Smallbone by Delia Sherman ****

Twelve-year-old Nick runs away from his unpleasant uncle and ends up an apprentice to the bewildering and powerful Wizard Smallbone. Magical adventures follow!

Quicksand Pond by Janet Taylor Lisle ****

Quicksand Pond has a history of murders and disappearances. That’s where troubled Terri lives with her problem family. When twelve-year-old Jessie comes with her family to spend the summer, the two girls form an unlikely friendship that deeply affects both their lives.

Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder ****

Six children live on a mysterious island that provides for all their needs. Once a year, a boat appears, bringing a new child to join them and taking the eldest away. What will happen if one year the eldest refuses to leave?

Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk *****

When she was but a newborn baby, twelve-year-old Crow was set adrift in a small boat from one of the tiny Elizabeth Islands in Massachusetts. She was rescued and raised by Osh, a solitary man living on another one of the islands, with the help of his neighbor, Miss Maggie. An unexpected sighting prompts Crow to investigate the mystery of her birth.

Brilliant by Roddy Doyle and Emily Hughes ****

The Black Dog of Depression has descended over Dublin and only the children can stop it. One night, siblings Raymond and Gloria decide to run after the elusive dog. As they chase the dog, they are joined by dozens, then hundreds, and finally thousands of other children. They have one weapon against the dog’s negative power: the word “brilliant.”

Happy reading!

“If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee.” -Abraham Lincoln

 

 

 

 

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100 Juvenile Books That Take Place in the Summer

Hello, Sweeteas,

Wondering what else to read this summer? Here’s an awesome list of books that take place in the summer:

100 Juvenile Books That Take Place in the Summer:
Amelia’s Summer Survival Guide by Marissa Moss
Applewhites at Wit’s End (The) by Stephanie S. Tolan
Aquamarine by Alice Hoffman
Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
Bluffton: My Summer with Buster Keaton by Matt Phelan
Book of Bad Things (The) by Dan Poblocki
Brendan Buckley’s Universe and Everything in It by Sundee T. Frazier
Camp Confidential by Mellissa J. Morgan
Camp Dork (Pack of Dorks) by Beth Vrabel
Camp Rolling Hills: Book One by Stacy Davidowitz
Chiggers by Hope Larson
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days by Jeff Kinney
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul by Jeff Kinney
Effie Starr Zook Has One More Question by Martha Freeman
Eleven and Holding by Mary Penney
Ellie McDoodle: Have Pen, Will Travel by Ruth McNally Barshaw
Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora (The) by Pablo Cartaya
Fair Weather by Richard Peck
First Last Day (The) by Dorian Cirrone
Five Go Off to Camp by Enid Blyton
Flush by Carl Hiassen
Freedom Summer by Deborah Wiles
Gilda Joyce, Psychic Investigator by J. Allison
Glory Be by Augusta Scattergood
Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright
Goosebumps: Scary Summer by R. L. Stine
Great Good Summer (The) by Liz Garton Scanlon
Half a Chance by Cynthia Lord
Harlem Summer by Walter Dean Myers
Harris & Me: A Summer Remembered by Gary Paulsen
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
Hidden Summer (The) by Gin Phillips
Holes by Louis Sachar
Jelly Bean Summer by Joyce Magnin
Joey Pigza Loses Control by Jack Gantos
Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer by Megan McDonald
Junior Lifeguards by Elizabeth Doyle Carey
Justin Case: Shells, Smells, and the Horrible Flip-Flops of Doom by Rachel Vail
King of the Mound: My Summer with Satchel Paige by Wes Tooke
Last Best Days of Summer (The) by Valerie Hobbs
Lawn Boy by Gary Paulsen
Lemons by Melissa Savage
Lightning Thief (The) by Rick Riordan
Long Way from Chicago (A) by Richard Peck
Love, Ruby Lavender by Deborah Wiles
Matchstick Castle (The) by Keir Graff
Maximilian and the Mystery of the Guardian Angel by Javier Garza Margarito
Middle School: How I Survived Bullies, Broccoli, and Snake Hill by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts
Midnight Without a Moon by Linda Williams Jackson
Millicent Min, Girl Genius by Lisa Yee
Million Miles from Boston (A) by Karen Day
Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool
My Life as a Book by Janet Tashjian
My One Hundred Adventures by Polly Horvath
Nature Girl by Jane Kelley
Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt
One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams Garcia
One Fat Summer by Robert Lipsyte
Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great by Judy Blume
Penderwicks (The): A Summer Tale of Four Sisters Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall
Rambler Steals Home (A) by Carter Higgins
Roll by Darcy Miller
Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan
Sammy Keyes and the Wild Things by Wendelin Van Draanen
Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan
Sisters by Raina Telgemeier
Some Kind of Happiness by Claire Legrand
Spy Camp by Stuart Gibbs
Stars of Summer (The) by Tara Dairman
Summer According to Humphrey by Betty Birney
Summer at Forsaken Lake by Michael D. Beil
Summer Ball by Mike Lupica
Summer before Boys (The) by Nora Raleigh Baskin
Summer Experiment (The) by Cathie Pelletier
Summer I Saved the World…in 65 Days (The) by Michele Weber Hurwitz
Summer of Fear by Lois Duncan
Summer of Lost and Found by Rebecca Behrens
Summer of Moonlit Secrets (The) by Danette Haworth
Summer of Riley (The) by Eve Bunting
Summer of the Gypsy Moths by Sara Pennypacker
Summer of the Mariposas by Guadalupe Garcia McCall
Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls
Summer of the Swans by Betsy Cromer Byars
Summer on the Moon by Adrian Fogelin
Summer on Wheels by Gary Soto
Summerland by Michael Chabon
Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm
T-Backs, T-shirts, Coat, and Suit by E.L. Konigsburg
Take Me to the River by Will Hobbs
This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki
This Would Make a Good Story Someday by Dana Alison Levy
Three Bird Summer by Sara St. Antoine
Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage
True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp (The) by Kathy Appelt
Truth About My Unbelievable Summer (The) by Davide Cali and Benjamin Chaud
Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
Turn of the Tide (The) by Rosanne Parry
Umbrella Summer by Lisa Graff
Watsons Go to Birmingham (The) by Christopher Paul Curtis
Wild Girls (The) by Pat Murphy

 

And here’s the opening paragraph of one of my favorites from the list: Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt.

“The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless, and hot. It is curiously silent, too, with blank white dawns and glaring noons, and sunsets smeared with too much color. Often at night there is lightning, but it quivers all alone. There is no thunder, no relieving rain. These are strange and breathless days, the dog days, when people are led to do things they are sure to be sorry for after.”

Happy reading!

“Imagine a delicious glass of summer iced tea. Take a long cool sip. Listen to the ice crackle and clink. Is the glass part full or part empty? Take another sip. And now?” –Vera Nazarian

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National Poetry Month Book Recommendations

Hello, Sweeteas,

A few recommendations (upper elementary and middle school) for National Poetry Month:

When Green Becomes Tomatoes by Julie Fogliano

The White Cat and the Monk by Jo Ellen Bogart

When the Sun Shines on Antarctica by Irene Latham

The Death of a Hat – Selected by Paul B. Janeczko

National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry – Edited by J. Patrick Lewis (great for Earth Day – April 22)

A Child’s Anthology of Poetry – Edited by Elizabeth Hague Sword

Out of Wonder by Kuame Alexander

And a great list:

http://bookriot.com/2016/04/01/thirty-books-of-poetry-for-young-readers-for-national-poetry-month/

Happy reading!

“Some people will tell you there is a great deal of poetry and fine sentiment in a chest of tea.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

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Girl Protagonists with Scientific/Detective Minds

Hello, Sweeteas,

To culminate Women’s History Month, here’s a list of books with girl protagonists with scientific and/or detective minds:

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

12-year-old Willow Chance is a genius with an obsessive-compulsive personality and an extraordinary knowledge of nature and medical conditions who’s in need of a family.

Echo Falls Mystery Series by Peter Abrahams

13-year-old Ingrid Levin-Hill is an amateur sleuth and a budding thespian. Not surprisingly, she’s also a devoted fan of Sherlock Holmes.

Enola Holmes Mystery Series by Nancy Springer

Enola is the 14-year-old sister of much-older and famous Sherlock Holmes. Throughout her investigative adventures she proves that she’s as–if not more– intelligent, talented, and resourceful as her brother.

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate and The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly

11-year-old Calpurnia Tate is happiest when making scientific observations with her grandfather. Her mother, however, wants her to conform to the social expectations of the time period.

Flavia De Luce Mystery Series by Alan Bradley

11-year-old Flavia de Luce has an extraordinary knowledge of chemistry, a fascination with death, and a talent for solving murder mysteries.

The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm

11-year-old Ellie Cruz’s grandfather is a scientist who has discovered how to reverse aging and has now returned to being 13. As Ellie helps him with his discovery and predicament, she becomes more and more interested in science.

The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron

10-year-old Lucky has a brain full of questions, which is why she wants to be a scientist. She also wants to find her Higher Power so she can gain special insight into the uncertainties of life.

Hold Fast by Blue Balliett

11-year-old Early’s father has vanished, and she, her mom, and her brother are forced to move into a homeless shelter. Early uses her talent for recognizing patterns and rhythms to solve the mystery of her father’s disappearance.

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee

11-year-old Ophelia doesn’t believe in things that science can’t explain. After her mother’s death, her father takes a job at a museum, where she discovers a marvelous boy who’s a prisoner of the magical and evil Snow Queen.

A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

14-year-old Violet is the oldest of the Baudelaire children. Her talent as an inventor helps her and her two siblings escape many dangerous situations.

Three Times Lucky and sequels by Sheila Turnage

11-year old Mo LoBeau has a wild imagination and is always up for an adventure. With the help of her best friend Dale, she starts the Desperado Detective Agency.

The Westing Game by Erskine

Tabitha-Ruth (Turtle) Wexler, one of the heirs chosen to solve the book’s mystery, is an intelligent and underestimated 13-year-old girl who excels at playing the stock market.

The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency Series by Jordan Stratford

11-year-old genius Augusta Ada Byron (better known as Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer) and 14-year-old adventurer Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin (better known as Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein) combine their talents and abilities and set up the Wollstonecraft Detective Agency.

Wonder at the Edge of the World by Nicole Helget

13-year-old Lu Wonder has a thirst for knowledge of the mysteries of the natural world and wants to be a scientific explorer like her father. She embarks on a life-changing quest with her friend Eustace.

A Wrinkle in Time and sequels by Madeleine L’Engle

Meg, the heroine of the story, is an extremely intelligent twelve-year-old girl who has a hard time fitting in at school. Her parents are scientists and her youngest brother–with whom she has a special bond–is a genius.

Lastly, two classic series:

Nancy Drew Mystery Stories by various authors

Nancy Drew is a rich, talented, and intelligent teenager who enjoys spending her time solving mysteries.

Trixie Belden Series by various authors

Trixie is a farm girl who manages to discover mysteries all around her. She solves them with the help of her brothers and friends, who together form a good-Samaritan club called the Bob-Whites of the Glen.

Happy reading!

“There was a teapot, in which Mma Ramotswe — the only lady private detective in Botswana — brewed tea. And three mugs — one for herself, one for her secretary, and one for the client. What else does a detective agency really need?” –Alexander McCall Smith, The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency

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Black History Month / I Love to Read Month

Hello, Sweeteas,

February is Black History Month as well as I Love to Read Month. Awesome.

Here’s a fantastic website to help you find books by African American authors:

http://weneeddiversebooks.org/where-to-find-diverse-books/

And you’ll find the Coretta Scott King award winners here:

http://www.ala.org/emiert/cskbookawards

The list of award winners includes March: Book Three by Congressman John Lewis and Andrew Aydin and illustrated by Nate Powell:

March: Book Three is the final installment of the March Trilogy, a black and white graphic novel about the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, told from the point of view of Congressman John Lewis. It has won several awards including the Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award, the Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in young-adult literature, the Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award, and the YALSA Award for excellence in young-adult nonfiction.

Also, here’s the list of Newbery Award winners:

http://www.ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/bookmedia/newberymedal/newberymedal

And last, but not least, three book recommendations from different genres:

1- Historical Fiction: Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis:

Of all of Christopher Paul Lewis’s books, Elijah of Buxton is my favorite. It made me laugh and it made me cry. This is the story of eleven-year-old Elijah Freeman, the first free child born in Buxton, Canada, a settlement of runaway African American slaves just over the border from Detroit. The book won a 2008 Newbery Honor Award, the 2008 Coretta Scott King Award, the 2008 Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction, and the 2008 Canadian Library Association Book of the Year for Children Award.

2- Poetry: Poetry for Young People: Langston Hughes edited by David Roessel and Arnold Rampersad and illustrated by Benny Andrews:

Langston Hughes (1902-1967) was an American writer considered to be a primary contributor of the Harlem Reinassance. This is an illustrated collection of some of his best-known poems. It won the 2007 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Award.

3- Folktales: The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales told by Virginia Hamilton:

The People Could Fly is a beautiful illustrated collection of folktale retellings. It won the 1986 Coretta Scott King Award.

Happy reading!

Why hasn’t someone invented an alarm clock that just hands you a cup of coffee? –Anonymous

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2016 Favorites

Hi, Sweeteas,

Happy 2017! I counted the books I read in 2016 to see if I met my goal of approximately 1-2 books read per week (52-100). I read 76 books, so, yes, I met my goal!

Here are my favorites and why:

The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell 2016 *****

In Russia during the reign of the Tsars, twelve-year-old Feodora and her mother teach tamed wolves to fend for themselves in the wild. Then soldiers come, burn down their cottage, and take Feodora’s mother prisoner. It’s now up to Feodora and the wolves to rescue her. Rundell’s writing style is gorgeous, and the story line is riveting.

Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo 2016 *****

Three unlikely friends each have an important personal reason for learning to twirl a baton and winning the Little Miss Central Florida Tire Competition. But, of course, only one can be the winner. A beautifully-written story with themes of friendship, perseverance, and self-discovery.

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown 2016 *****

A stranded robot learns about life by caring for an orphaned gosling and becoming an integral part of an island’s community of wild animals. But then her makers find her. An unusual and tender story about family and community values.

The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley 2016 *****

Nine-year-old Ada was born with a twisted foot and can barely walk. Her abusive mother has not sought treatment for her and has never allowed her to leave their apartment. But when her brother is sent out of London to escape the war, Ada does something extraordinary: she sneaks out and joins him. What follows is the story of the difficult and tender relationship between Ada and her brother and the woman who is forced to take in the two children. The question is, what will happen after the war ends? Will the children have to return to their cruel mother? An inspiring story about family, courage, perseverance, and hope.

Maybe a Fox by Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee 2016 *****

Two close-knit sisters, Jules and Sylvie, are separated when one slips into a fast-moving river and disappears. Jules is brokenhearted and refuses to believe that her sister is gone forever. But as fate would have it, at the moment of Sylvie’s disappearance a “shadow fox”–half of the spirit world and half of the animal world–is born. A fox with a special connection to Jules. This is a beautifully-written mystical and poignant story about coming to terms with loss.

The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge 2016 *****

Faith is a smart and knowledge-hungry girl in a time when girls either understood and accepted their place in society, or figured out how to manipulate the system, or rebelled and endured the consequences. Faith’s pursuit of justice and revenge for her murdered father leads her to discover a tree that reveals truth when fed lies. Her decision to use the tree proves to be life-threatening, but as a result of her ordeal, Faith learns empathy and self-respect. An exciting and thought-provoking book.

Chocky by John John Wyndham 2015 *****

Matthew has an imaginary friend. At least that’s what Matthew’s parents initially believe. But then Matthew tells them about Chocky, the being who lives in his head, and things get weird. The story is told from the point of view of the father and explores themes such as environmental stewardship and what it means to be human.

Breaking Stalin’s Nose by Eugene Yelchin 2013 *****

Sacha is a 10-year devoted Young Pioneer in the Soviet Union during Stalin’s Reign of Terror. His world shatters when his father, the best Communist he knows, is arrested. Sacha is suddenly forced to face the cruel realities of life under Stalin’s regime. A simple but powerful story about political indoctrination and oppression.

The Best Man by Richard Peck 2016 *****

Archer, a middle school student, has a bit of a hard time  understanding the complicated world of adults. He has four grown-up models: his grandpa, his dad, his uncle, and his new teacher. Two of his role models are getting married, and he will be the Best Man at the wedding. Archer wants to be the best Best Man he can possibly be. A humorous family and coming-of-age story.

Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk 2016 *****

12-year-old Annabelle is being bullied by the new girl at school. Betty, the new girl, is more than just mean; she’s also cruel, manipulative, and a skilled liar. When Betty turns her attention to Toby, a traumatized WWII veteran, Annabelle knows she has to do something about it. Lying seems to be the only option. But lies, even when told with good intentions, can have unintended consequences. A grim but powerful story about the prejudices that cause people to believe certain lies and the dangerous consequences of lying.

Happy reading!

“It’s coffee time! Coffee! Coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee!” –from the movie Dante’s Peak

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Reading about Human Rights

Hi, Sweeteas,

December is Human Rights Month. Here’s a link to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (check out the cool illustrated version).

http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/

Many outstanding middle grade books explore human rights topics.

For example:

1- Historical fiction books such as:

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor

Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis

Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt

Revolution by Deborah Wiles

Geronimo by Joseph Bruchac

The Game of Silence by Louise Erdrich

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli

The Devil’s Arithmetic by Jane Yolen

Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan

I Lived on Butterfly Hill by Marjorie Agosín

Red Scarf Girl by Ji-Li Jiang

Weedflower by Cynthia Kadohata

Breaking Stalin’s Nose by Eugene Yelchin

2- Books about current human rights issues such as:

Sold by Patricia McCormick

Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins

Shooting Kabul by N.H. Senzai

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafsai

The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney

George by Alex Gino

3- Dystopian novels such as:

The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Unwind by Neal Shusterman

4- And many more:

http://www.amightygirl.com/books/general-interest/civics-government/human-rights

http://www.janeaddamspeace.org/jacba/docs/JACBAawards.pdf

One of my favorites from the historical fiction list is Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt, a novel based on a dark chapter in the history of Maine:

In 1911, the racially-mixed residents of Malaga Island were cruelly evicted from their homes. All evidence of inhabitation was promptly removed or destroyed, including the village’s cemetery. Some villagers perished during the process of floating their homes downriver, searching for a place to relocate, and some others were sent to a home for the “feeble-minded,” where they soon died. The whole ordeal was a shameful tragedy. Schmidt does an excellent job of presenting this sad historical incident in a way that’s appropriate for the middle grade audience. When asked why he writes books that are very serious, Schmidt answers: “Living is a serious business. Funny is good, of course. We all like to laugh. But I want more than that. Much more.”

Perhaps we could take a little break from all the fun and laughter of the holiday season and learn about how people all over the world–including here in our own country–have suffered and are suffering from human rights violations, and about how we can participate in the promotion and protection of human rights.

http://www.humanrights.com/voices-for-human-rights/human-rights-organizations/non-governmental.html

Happy holidays!

“Tea and honey is a Very Grand Thing.” –from Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne

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