Tag Archives: book recommendations

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

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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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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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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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