Outdoor Adventures

Hello, Sweeteas,


Happy first day of summer vacation!

I’ve put together a great list of juvenile books about outdoor adventures. Check them out!

Bears of Blue River (The) by Charles Major
Bearwalker by Joseph Bruchac
Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk
Call It Courage by Armstrong Sperry
Call of the Wild & others by Jack London
Cay (The) by Theodore Taylor
Chasing at the Surface by Sharon Mentyka
Downriver & others by Will Hobbs
End of the Wild (The) by Nicole Helget
Evolution of Calpurnia Tate (The) by Jacqueline Kelly
Explorer (The) by Catherine Rundell
Gentle Ben by Walt Morey
Girl Named Disaster (A) by Nancy Farmer
Gone-Away Lake & sequel by Elizabeth Enright
Hatchet & others by Gary Paulsen
Heart and Mind of Frances Pauley (The) by April Stevens
Here Where the Sunbeams Are Green by Helen Phillips
Hoot & others by Carl Hiaasen
Ice Dogs by Terry Lynn Johnson
Incident at Hawk’s Hill by Allan W. Eckert
Island of the Blue Dolphins & others by Scott O’Dell
Island Series by Gordon Korman
Julie of the Wolves & sequels by Jean Craighead George
Jungle of Bones & others by Ben Mikaelsen
Keeper by Kathi Appelt
Kensuke’s Kingdom by Michael Morpurgo
Leepike Ridge by N.D. Wilson
Lemons by Melissa Savage
Little Savages (The) by Ernest Thompson Seton
Lost in the Barrens and others by Farley Mowat
Lumberjanes Series by Mariko Tamaki
Maybe a Fox by Kathi Appelt and Alison McGee
My Side of the Mountain & others by Jean Craighead George
Nature Girl by Jane Kelley
Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool
Night of the Howling Dogs by Graham Salisbury
Operation Redwood by S Terrell French
Paddle-to-the-Sea by Holling C.Holling
Pax by Sara Pennypacker
Quicksand Pond by Janet Taylor Lisle
Rascal by Sterling North
Sign of the Beaver (The) by Elizabeth George Speare
Skeleton Tree (The) by Iain Lawrence
Small as an Elephant by Jennifer Richard Jacobson
Someday Birds (The) by Sally Pla
Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner
Stranded Series by Jeff Probst
Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls
Swiss Family Robinson (The) by Johann D. Wyss
Treasure at Lure Lake by Shari L.Schwartz
True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp (The) by Kathi Appelt
Walkabout by J.V. Marshall
Week in the Woods (A) by Andrew Clements
Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
Wild Life by Cynthia DeFelice
Wild Robot (The) by Peter Brown
Wilder Boys Series by Brandon Wallace
Wilderness by Roddy Doyle
Winter Camp by Kirkpatrick Hill
Wonder at the Edge of the World by Nicole Helget

My favorite from the list? The Wild Robot by Peter Brown:

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. An unusual and tender story about family and community values. The sequel, The Wild Robot Escapes, is now available.

Have a wonderful summer full of awesome books and adventures!

“Would you like an adventure now, or shall we have our tea first?” ~from Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie


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Asian / Asian American Characters

Hello, Sweeteas,

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Here’s a website with some great middle school books that feature Asian or Asian American characters.

Middle School books featuring Asian or Asian American characters

And here are two of my favorites books by Grace Lin (both inspired by Chinese folklore):

Happy reading!

“There is something in the nature of tea that leads us into a world of quiet contemplation of life.” –Lin Yutang





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For Women’s History Month

Hello, Sweeteas,

I don’t want Women’s History Month to end without a few book recommendations. Here are some of my favorite classics/modern classics written by female authors and featuring strong female protagonists.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Heidi by Johanna Spyri

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery


Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George

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

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata

Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan

From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Patterson

Happy reading!

P. S. Happy Easter too!

“Every clever bunny knows that tea refreshes – top to toes. So put the kettle on and brew, a lovely cup for me and you.”  -Found on Pinterest




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Five 2017 Gems

Hello, Sweeteas,

Here are five delightful 2017 books I recently enjoyed:

The Explorer by Katherine Rundell (2017) *****

Fred, Con, Lila, and Max are flying back to England from Manaus, Brazil. The small plane they’re on crashes in the Amazon, and the pilot dies. They must learn to get along, figure out how to survive in the jungle, and try to find their way back to civilization. Just as they’re running out of luck, Fred finds a map that leads them to an abandoned ancient city and its one mysterious inhabitant. Explorer is a thrilling survival story with interesting characters!

The Secret of Nightingale Wood by Lucy Strange (2017) *****

It’s 1919, Henrietta’s brother has died in a fire, her mother is severely depressed, and her father has taken a job abroad. She, her mother, nanny, and baby sister are now living in a new house full of strange secrets. Things start to get difficult when a doctor wants to place her mother in a mental hospital and his wife wants to take away her sister. How can Henrietta—who’s just a child— save her mother and baby sister and restore her family? Help comes from her brother’s lingering presence and the mysterious woman living in Nightingale Wood. This is a wonderful story of courage and perseverance in the face of overwhelmingly negative circumstances.

Molly and Pim and the Millions of Stars by Martine Murray (2017) ****

Molly thinks her mother, a potion maker, and her unusual family life are too different from her classmates’. She longs to be “normal” like her best friend Ellen. Molly’s grumpy neighbors are angry because of her mother’s noisy rooster, so her mother decides to make a potion that will quickly grow a tree between their houses. Unfortunately, she accidentally drinks the potion and turns into the tree. Now Molly must figure out how to save her mother before the neighbors start cutting down the tree branches that are reaching onto their property.  With the help of her inquisitive classmate Pim, she starts to appreciate the value of both the normal and the wondrous.

The Doorman’s Repose by Chris Raschka (2017) *****

Have you ever wondered what the lives of people living in a New York City’s posh apartment building are like? Here are ten fascinating stories about the inhabitants (including the mice) of one of those old buildings. The book gives young people a glimpse of adult life and an awareness of how people (and mice) living in close proximity affect each other. And did I mention that the elevator has feelings? A fun and poignant read!

The Murderer’s Ape by Jacob Wegelius (2017 English Translation) *****

Sally Jones, an extraordinary and super-talented gorilla, and the Chief are friends and partners. They operate a cargo boat business and live a pleasant and carefree life traveling from port to port. Unfortunately, their way of life is upended when one of their jobs turns out to be a dangerous con that ends badly, their boat sinks to the bottom of a river, and the Chief is falsely convicted of murder. Sally Jones escapes and embarks on a quest to prove the Chief’s innocence. Her talents and good heart win her some good friends, but there are many–especially the ones behind the botched job–who seek to destroy her. This fabulous story is told from the gorilla’s point of view and contains wonderful characters, exotic settings, and exciting adventures.

Happy reading!

“If I were a wizard, I’m pretty sure my Patronus would be a steaming cup of coffee.” –Anonymous

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Holiday Books

Hi, Sweeteas,

Happy Hanukkah! Merry Christmas! Joyous Kwanzaa! There’s still time to ask Santa for a few awesome holiday books. Or you could borrow them from your local library. 🙂

Some suggestions:

All-of-a-Kind Family Uptown by Sydney Taylor

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson

A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig

Cabin Fever (Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Book 6) by Jeff Kinney

The Doldrums and the Helmsley Curse by Nicholas Gannon

The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson

Dreidels on the Brain by Joel ben Izzy

Father Christmas and Me by Matt Haig

The Girl Who Saved Christmas by Matt Haig

Greenglass House by Kate Milford

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

The Naughty List by Michael Fry

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee

Santa’s Kwanzaa by Garen Eileen Thomas and Guy Francis

Top Elf by Caleb Zane Huett

Tru and Nelle: A Christmas Tale by G. Neri

The Vanderbeekers of 141st St. by Karina Yan Glaser

When Santa Fell to Earth by Cornelia Funke

Winterfrost by Michelle Houts

Young Scrooge by R.L.Stine

Happy reading!

“Daughter of Eve from the far land of Spare Oom where eternal summer reigns around the bright city of War Drobe, how would it be if you came and had tea with me?” ~from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

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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:


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


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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