Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sarah Bishop

Sarah Bishop is by Scott O'Dell. Sarah is 15 and the American Revolution is underway. The Patriots kill her father and burn her home. The British kill her brother and threaten her with death for a crime she didn't commit. As she runs for her life she vows never to trust anyone ever again. She finds a cave in the woods and decides to live alone for the rest of her life. Will Sarah ever learn to trust again and find peace? A good story, but nowhere near as good as The Island of the Blue Dolphins.

Ratings: 6th grade - 7 out of 10.

Elijah of Buxton

Elijah of Buxton is by Christopher Paul Curtis. 11-year-old Elijah is the first child born free in Buxton, a settlement of runaway slaves in Canada. Most people see him as a "fra-gile" boy who's scared of everything and cries easily. But when a friend who has been saving money to buy his family out of slavery has his money stolen, Elijah must step up and become a hero. Great historical fiction!

Ratings: 6th grade - 9 out of 10.


Masquerade is by Melissa de la Cruz. The second book in the Blue Bloods series. Schuyler and Oliver head for Venice to find her grandfather. She believes he can help them fight the Silver Bloods who are attacking young Blue Bloods in New York. But is a Silver Blood already infiltrating Blue Blood society? Mimi's masquerade ball hides a revelation that will change them all forever.

Ratings: 9th grade - 8 out of 10 - P (Profanity).

Baseball, Snakes, and Summer Squash: Poems About Growing Up

Baseball, Snakes, and Summer Squash: Poems About Growing Up is by Donald Graves. A great little book of poems about boys growing up in America as it was. A wonderful collection of poems to get boys into poetry and to allow adults to reminisce about their own childhood.

Ratings: 6th grade - 10 out of 10.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Elephant Run

Elephant Run is by Roland Smith. A great historical adventure set in Burma (today's Myanmar). When London is bombed 14-year-old Nick Freestone is sent by his mother to stay with his father on the family teak plantation in Burma where he will be safe. Then the Japanese take the country and his father is captured and taken to a P.O.W. camp. Nick and his friend Mya are kept to work as servants on the plantation. Nick must escape and rescue his father and Mya's brother and somehow get to safety in Australia. A wonderful tale of courage, survival, and family in the midst of WWII.

Ratings: 7th grade - 8 out of 10 - V (violence).

The Sorcerer of the North

The Sorcerer of the North is by John Flanagan. Book five in the Ranger's Apprentice series finds Will headed north. Now a full-fledged Ranger, Will is chosen to investigate rumors of sorcery surrounding the mysterious illness of Lord Syron from Castle Macindaw. Disguised as a traveling minstrel he battles fear, superstition, sorcery, and traitors. When his friend Alyss is taken hostage Will must risk everything to save her life. This series gets better and better with each installment!

Ratings: 7th grade - 10 out of 10.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Changes is by Jim Butcher. OMG! The 12th book in the wildly popular Dresden Files is probably the best book yet in the series. Harry picks up the phone and discovers Susan Rodriguez on the line. She tells him that the Red Court has kidnapped their child (yeah, the one she didn't tell him about) and she needs his help to rescue their daughter. Harry's life spirals downhill from there, as usual. Who are his real friends? Can he risk them to save his child? What bargain will he have to make to get his daughter out of this one alive and what will it cost him? Don't pick this one up if you have something else to do because it's impossible to put down. There is no break in the action. How long till the next book?

Ratings: 10th grade - 10 out of 10 - P (profanity) - AC (mature thematic content) - V (violence).

Sunday, April 4, 2010

All the Lovely Bad Ones

All the Lovely Bad Ones is by Mary Downing Hahn. Travis and Corey go to Vermont to visit their grandmother at her inn. On discovering the inn has a reputation of being haunted, they decide to play on the rumors to bring in more visitors for their grandmother. Their pranks however, disturb the real ghosts who haunt the inn. Now they must discover the secret of Fox Hill and help the spirits find their rest at last. Another wonderfully spooky tale by Hahn.

Ratings: 6th grade - 8 out of 10.

Blue Iris Poems and Essays

Blue Iris Poems and Essays is by Mary Oliver. The queen of nature poetry! A wonderful collection of Oliver's nature poems and essays. Much more accessible than Whitman, this book is a great way to introduce younger readers to great poetry that is descriptive and captivating.

Ratings: 7th grade - 9 out of 10.


Tentacles is by Roland Smith. A great sequel to Cryptid Hunters. Grace and Marty are off with Wolfe to capture a giant squid. Unfortunately Noah Blackwood is out to kill Wolfe and Marty, capture Grace, and steal the dinosaur eggs Wolfe found in the Congo. Wolfe's crew soon discovers there is a traitor on board, but is there only one? Will they catch the squid? Will Blackwood get what he wants or what he has coming? This action packed tale leaves plenty of questions for a third book, which will hopefully be forthcoming soon.

Ratings: 7th grade - 10 out of 10 - V (violence).

Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Big Sister Went Crazy

Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Big Sister Went Crazy is by Sonya Sones. A touching story of a family's struggle with mental illness. Sones' debut fiction in verse novel is based on the personal experience of her family when her sister had a breakdown on Christmas and had to be admitted to a mental institution for treatment. Written in Sones' classic free verse, this story is poignant and tender. A wonderful read.

Ratings: 8th grade - 10 out of 10 - MP (mild profanity) - AC (mature thematic content).

Red is for Remembrance

Red is for Remembrance is by Laurie Faria Stolarz. Stacey is shattered by Jacob's tragic death. As she struggles through her first year of college she begins to have nightmares again and begins to suspect (and hope) that Jacob is still alive. Stacey must help Porsha, a troubled girl having premonitions of a young boy's death. Is the boy Jacob? Can Stacey help Porsha? Will she find Jacob or is he dead and simply wanting her to move on?

Ratings: 8th grade - 8 out of 10 - MP (mild profanity) - AC (mature thematic content) - V (violence).

Lost Island

Lost Island is by Phyllis A. Whitney. Lacey gave up her son ten years ago to be raised by her best friend, who married Richard's father. Now Elise writes Lacey and tells her all is not well at Hampton Island or with her son. So she is going back. Can she escape the pull of Hampton Island? Can she save her son? Can she save herself? Another wonderful Whitney foray into mystery and romance. If you like Whitney, you'll love this book. It's not on the level of Columbella, but it's a great read.

Ratings: 9th grade - 8 out of 10 - AC (mature thematic content) - V (murder).