What I'm Reading...
This blog is designed to share what I am reading. As I finish reading chapter books that are appropriate for elementary students, I will write about them here. Maybe something I read will spark your interest!
This 2015 Indian Paintbrush Nominee is filled with Chinese folklore, fun, and adventure. Readers who enjoyed Dorothy's adventures on her way to see the Wizard of Oz are certain to enjoy Minli's adventures as well.
Her downstairs neighbor helps her figure out a way to keep the dog close, and when they find out the secret of the dog, everyone is very surprised. A 2015 Indian Paintbrush Nominee, this book is an easy read with a lot of very good emotion. Readers who enjoy a calm mystery, or those who might be dealing with the death of a loved one, may enjoy this book. (202 p.)
The main character navigates this strange world of romance and friendship, only to discover that it is more a journey of self discovery than a mystery of someone else. I think readers will be surprised when they discover the secret that has been eluding Thumbelina, and they will love the solution of the mysterious note. A 2015 Indian Paintbrush Nominee, this book will appeal to readers who enjoy a wry, sarcastic sense of humor as well as readers who are interested in real-life mysteries. (234 p.)
Kathy Appelt engages her readers by making them a character in her story--the audience, as it were. The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp (Lexile: 810; Interest Level: Grades 3-6) is told in true "storytelling" style, as the author addresses the audience and engages them with the tale. With three intertwining plot lines, the story in engaging all on its own.
First, you have the racoon brothers, Bingo and Jeremiah, who work as Scouts for the Sugar Man. It's their job to keep the swamp safe by listening for the "voice of intelligence" and waking the Sugar Man in case of an emergency. And, an emergency is on the way when a gang of feral hogs decide they want to eat the cane break sugar that grows in the swamp. So, the second story is sort of the story of the hogs.
And the third story? Well, it's the story of Chap Brayburn and his mom, who run the Paradise Pie Cafe. The owner of the swamp wants to let Jaeger Stitch build a World Alligator Wrestling Arena and Theme Park on the swamp, which means that Chap and his mom would have to move. Chap is determined to save his mom's business and the Swamp, which he can't do without the Sugar Man. See how those stories connect?
With lots of great humor and insightful looks at the ecosystem of a swamp, readers will delight in the story of the Sugar Man Swamp. I am very glad this book is a 2015 Indian Paintbrush Nominee! (326 p.)
From the author of the Strange Case of the Origami Yoda, comes a hair-larious adventure of Lenny Flem, Junior, who teams up with Jodie O'Rodeo to save the world from his best friend, Casper, who uses his remarkable fake mustache to pull the hair over everyone's eyes in a quest for world domination.
Told in two parts (Lenny starts the telling, and Jodie picks up half-way through), Fake Mustache (Lexile: 710; Interest Level: Grades 3-6) is funny enough to make you laugh the hair off your face! After Casper buys the Heidleberg Handlebar Number Seven (fake mustache) at Sven's Fair Price Store, all sorts of crazy things start to happen, and poor Lenny is caught up in the midst of it! With fake mustaches, super sticky-stretchy hands, yodelling, horseback riding, disguises, and bike thieves, this story has enough to entertain even the most reluctant of readers. So, hold onto your hair! and jump into a fun 2015 Indian Paintbrush Nominee! (196 p.)
Tony DiTerlizzi tells the story of Eva Nine, a twelve-year-old girl forced to find her way in a strange world in The Search for WondLa (Lexile: 760; Interest Level: Grades 4-8). Eva has been cared for by Muthr (which stands for Multi Utility Task Help Robot) for her first 12 years, living safely in an underground Sanctuary. When a strange being invades the Sanctuary and destroys the only home Eva has ever known, she must flee to the land above ground, where nothing looks like what she has been taught. Even her omnipod (an technological device that can scan objects and search it's database for identifying information) is unable to help her.
As Eva is still being hunted by Besteel, she must keep moving and begin her search for other humans like her. She knows other people must exist because she has a piece of cardboard depicting a young girl, a robot, and a man with a wide-brimmed hat and the word WondLa written on it. Along the way, she meets Rovender, who acts as a guide, but who eventually becomes her first real friend. Rovender helps her to navigate the world that is unfamiliar to her and helps her on her quest, her Search for WondLa. The only science fiction book on the 2015 Indian Paintbrush Nominee list, this is a great story about the adapability of human nature and a glimpse at some fun futuristic technology. (486 p.)
Enter the world of the World War II Poland, and the life of Leon Leyson (born Leib Lejzon) as he shares this memoir of what it was like to be Jewish in Krakow, Poland during the time of the German Nazi occupation. Leyson doesn't hold anything back as he tells his story of living in idyllic Narewka until his family moved to Krakow when he was eight, and then the changes in fortune his family encountered while living in the city in the late 1930s.
The Boy on the Wooden Box (Lexile: 1000; Interest Level: Grades 5-8) is a true account of a young boy's survival of what will be known as the Holocaust, and it is also a tribute to the man who made his survival (and that of some 1200 other Jews) possible, Oskar Schindler. Leyson's father was lucky enough to get work at Schindler's enamel factory early in the German occupation, and that may have made all of the difference. Anyone interested in history, particularly the time of World War II, should read this book. It gives great perspective on a dreadful period in world history, and it provides insight into the strength of human character. This is the only nonfiction book that is a 2015 Indian Paintbrush Nominee. (231 p.)
OK, anyone who knows me knows I don't like football. I usually avoid sports books, especially ones with football, which is why I chose to read this 2015 Indian Paintbrush Nominee first. And, just like Game Changers by Mike Lupica (on last year's list), Unstoppable by Tim Green (Lexile: 730; Interest Level: Grades 4-8) really surprised me!
Harrison is a huge kid: tall, with big hands and feet, and very strong muscles. He has been through 4 foster homes because he keeps getting into fights. No one seems to understand that he has to stand up for himself or the other kids who are being picked on. Then the Constable family takes him in. Mr. Constable believes that the only way for kids to learn is to be worked hard, and, if they won't work hard enough, you should beat them. Harrison tries to do what he is told, but one day, things just get out of control with Mr. Constable, and Harrison has to find a new family.
Harrison thinks his new life is too good to be true, with a mom who is a great cook and a dad who coaches football. Harrison even gets to play on his new dad's team! Then, Harrison's luck takes a turn for the worse when he injures his leg a little in practice. How will Harrison deal with disappointment when life is just starting to get good for him? Give Tim Green's book a read to find out how Unstoppable Harrison really is! (343 p.)
The 1957-58 school year in Little Rock, Arkansas was full of protests and insecurity as 9 African-American children (The Little Rock Nine) attended Central High School in an early attempt at integration. The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine (Lexile: 630; Interest Level: Grades 5-8) tells the story of the year following those events. The school district closed the high schools during the 1958-59 school year to avoid having to integrate the African-American students into the "white" schools.
Twelve-year old Marlee starts school in the fall of 1958 with one friend, who was really a bit of a bully to her because Marlee didn't talk. Then she met Liz, a new girl who was smart, funny, and full of confidence. Liz sets out to teach Marlee how to speak up for herself, but little did Marlee know how important that skill was going to be for her in the upcoming year, as she faces the injustice and hate of the other people in her town--especially when they find out that Marlee's only friend is "Colored." And as Marlee has to learn to speak up, she also has to teach Liz how to keep quiet to keep herself safe. The Lions of Little Rock is a great tale of friendship, justice, standing up for what is right--no matter what happens--and, of course, a wonderful historical fiction novel about segregation of schools in the South. Anyone interested in the Civil Rights movements, especially segregation, should give this story a chance. (320 p.)
One of the reasons I became an elementary school librarian is so I can read children's books.
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Created August 2012.