Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Children's Christmas Book Tradition

As I am getting ready to put away all of my Christmas things I am reminded of a wonderful tradition we had for years in our family.

For years I wrapped 25 Christmas books and let the kids open one each night and I read it to them.  It's a Christmas countdown.  We read "T'was the Night Before Christmas" on the 24th, along with the Christmas story.  We made a big deal out of this, lit candles and took turns unwrapping the books.  (I had 7 children, thus the "take turns" part.)  If it was a bit too long, I might just tell the story or we would read a chapter a night along with an easy book as well, but it was always a fun tradition, sometimes with hot chocolate to drink. 

A bit of insight I had this year - it would be a good idea to wrap the books before putting them away, so that it isn't such a chore during that "oh so" busy time after Thanksgiving.  This could be a good New's Years Day activity for the older kids to help Mom with for next year.  -Just a thought.  My children loved this activity each year.  We have let it go now.  Traditions are like that.  You keep them until you grow out of them, but we still read many of the books together each year.  I have 2 teens at home now.  I read lots of the books to the grandkids if they are here and have given some of them away to my children for their children.  (Giving a Christmas book to each family or older child for their children is another great tradition.)  I try to remember that traditions come and go and that books can be a great part of many traditions for the holidays.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Quote from Charles Dickens on Christmas

Found this on my sister's blog from Charles Dickens and just love it.

"Happy, happy Christmas,
that can win us back to the delusions of our childhood days,
recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth,
and transport the traveler back to his own fireside
and quiet home!"- Charles Dickens

Merry Christmas to all!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Happy Birthday to Acclaimed Author Eve Bunting - Dec. 19th


Photo By Olan mills

Eve Bunting

Eve Bunting was born in Ireland and came to California with her husband and three children. She is one of the most acclaimed and versatile children's book authors, with more than two hundred novels and picture books to her credit. Among her honors are many state awards, the Kerlan Award, the Golden Kite Award, the Regina Medal, the Mystery Writers of America and the Western Writers of America awards, and a PEN International Special Achievement award for her contribution to children's literature. In 2002, Ms. Bunting was chosen to be Irish-American Woman of the Year by the Irish-American Heritage Committee of New York.  Here are just a few of her books.

  • The Seasons of the Sioux
    My father cuts a moon-counting stick that he keeps in our tipi. At the rising of the first moon he makes a notch in it. "A new beginning for the young buffalo," he says. "And for us." In this beautifully written story by acclaimed author Eve Bunting, a young boy comes of age under the thirteen moons of the Sioux year. With each notch in his...
    On sale: 2/16/2000

  • thing close to him. Together with his "totally unsurpassed" friend Grace, William begins a campaign to reverse the county commissioners' decision. But with a community divided on the issue, and the bully Ellis Porter trying to stop them at every turn, will they be able to save Riley's life? Celebrated author Eve Bunting shows William's determined struggle...
    On sale: 3/26/2002
    Additional formats:

  • tree, she discovers that what he discovers that what he has given her is far greater than she'd ever imagined. A testimony to the wondrous ties of family and heritage, this glorious picture book brings together the beautiful writing of acclaimed author Eve Bunting and the exuberant paintings of artist Karen Barbour. . I Have an Olive Tree...
    On sale: 4/7/1999

  • swept into the festivities by Grandfather, Aunt Ana, and the whole village. Finally, Carlos begins to understand Mama and Papa's love for the place they left behind, and realizes that home can be anywhere, because it stays in the hearts of the people who love you. Eve Bunting and David Diaz-the Caldecott Medal-winning team behind Smoky Night- collaborated...
    On sale: 8/21/1998
    Additional formats:

  • it should be. "A beautifully crafted story that captures...the emotional landscape of an emerging step-family."—Language Arts. "The briskly paced novel will capture many readers...Once again, Bunting hits home."—BL. . The In-Between Days
    On sale: 2/16/1996

  • For one family the traditional Hanukkah celebration has a deeper meaning. Amidst the food and the festivities, Grandma and Great-Aunt Rose begin their story -- the one they tell each year. They pass on to each generation a tale of perseverance during the darkest hours of the Holocaust, and the strength it took to continue to honor Hanukkah in the only...
    On sale: 9/21/2004

  • Is anybody there? For Marcus Mullen, being a latchkey kid is no bigdeal. Every day after school, he picks up his key from it's hiding place in the oak tree in the yard, and spends the afternoon working on his bike or cooking dinner for his mom and himself. It's been like that ever since his father died, and Marcus has never minded -- until the day...
    On sale: 10/19/2010

  • Where are the world's stinkiest sneakers? Colin has spent weeks perfecting his sneaker odor for the Stinkiest Sneakers in the World contest. If he wins, he'll get three brand-new pairs of Slam Dunkers sneakers: one for himself, one for his little sister, Amy, and one for his best pal, Webster. But now, after weeks of working toward stinky perfection...
    On sale: 4/14/1995

  • Thirteen-year-old Brodie Lynch was ready for the perfect summer of adventure along the awesome Blackwater River. That was before everything changed forever. When a harmless prank goes too far, the unthinkable happens. Brodie's lies make him a hero, but inside, his guilt tears at him like the treacherous current of the Blackwater itself, which has become...
    On sale: 8/8/2000
    Additional formats:

  • Right from the beginning I was suspicious of the man. Right from the minute he got on the bus. Maybe it was because he acted so strangely about the bag. But mostly it was because of the way he looked. And because my ears started tingling at the sight of him—an ancient warning of danger, not to be ignored. Six months after 9/11, everyone wanted...
    On sale: 6/30/2009

  • Friday, December 7, 2012

    Friday Fiction: "Maniac Magee" Lesson Plans

    Sam and I are reading Maniac Magee together.  Wow, what a great story this one is!  Just saying, if you haven't read it, it's a winner, not only is it a Newbery Winner, but a winner on Sam's list and that's really "saying something."

    Maniac Magee Lesson Plans

    Find teacher approved Maniac Magee lesson plan ideas and activities

    "Knot" the Whole Truth: Writing a Modern-Day Story with a Tall Tale's Voice
    Beyond Paul Bunyan and his blue ox, tall tales can be a great way to teach young writers about word choice and voice in their writing. Using Jerry Spinelli's Maniac Magee and the Six-Trait Writing Process, they begin to write their own modern-day tall tales placing emphasis on exaggeration, metaphors, and similes. The lesson plan includes all necessary worksheets and resource links.

    6th - 8th
    3.0/5 Stars
    Rest in Peace, Maniac Magee
    Scholars read Maniac Magee and create epitaphs for each of the major characters using precise words reflecting the individual characters personality and nature. They will learn what an epitaph is and practice writing their own. They can work in groups or independently.

    Literature Response Journal:  Maniac Magee chapters 14-21
    Young scholars examine chapters 14-21 of the novel Maniac Magee in groups. In this literature response journal instructional activity, students are given prompts to respond to regarding the reading.

    4.0/5 Stars
    Identifying Plot Conflicts
    Students determine plot conflicts. In this plot conflicts lesson students read Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli. Students search for 'Character vs. Character' and 'Character vs. Self' conflicts within the story.

    Lesson 5: Character and Relationship Changes
    In this reading comprehension lesson, students, after reading the novel, Maniac Magee, by Jerry Spinelli analyze characters and their roles in other peoples lives. Students interact with plot conflicts and character relationships. Students fill out 2 specific charts as directed. Students relate how people change over time in the novel and then relate similiar changes in their own lives with an array of pictures that they are asked to bring to class.

    3rd - 5th
    4.0/5 Stars
    Guided Reading Lesson Plan: Maniac MaGee
    Students start a week-long novel unit by activating their prior knowledge. In this reading comprehension lesson, students read, Maniac MaGee a few chapters at a time, and discuss what they read as they go along.

    5th - 6th
    4.5/5 Stars
    Theme Matters
    This useful approach to determining themes based on specific details from a book is aimed at readers of Jerry Spinelli's Maniac Magee. It could also easily be adapted for use with other books or readings. The class identifies recurring events and topics and, with guidance, develops theme statements and discusses author's message. Some materials are accessible only if you sign up for a free account with Well worth it.

    3rd - 6th
    3.0/5 Stars
    Maniac Magee: Life Without Problems
    Young readers discuss how they would deal with problems faced by the main character in Maniac Magee. They write down their own problems and exchange them with others to analyze and provide possible solutions. They establish a "Dear Abby" box where problems can be dropped off for responses. Be sensitive to potential problems.

    5.0/5 Stars
    Maniac Magee
    Students examine the theme of racial prejudice while reading Maniac Magee. They discuss assumptions and their effects. They retell the story through skits or other methods. They stage a talk show and act as characters from the novel.

    Thursday, December 6, 2012

    December Calendar and Christmas Books

      December 1 - Birthday of Jan Brett
    • Home for Christmas - This picture books features one of Brett's entertaining stories about trolls.
    • Jan Brett's Christmas Treasury - This large holiday book includes 7 winter and holiday stories, each of which was previously published as a separate picture book.
    • The Three Snow Bears - Brett's retelling of the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears is set in the Arctic and features an Inuit girl.
      Sundown December 8 through December 16 - Hanukkah
    • Celebrate Hanukkah _ This nonfiction picture book, with brief text and many illustrations, provides a good introduction to Hanukkah.
    • Hanukkah Haiku - The use of haiku and festive illustrations make this informative book particularly appealing.
    • Top Hanukkah Books - This is an annotated directory of a number of the best children's books about Hanukkah.
      December 26-January 1 - Kwanzaa
    • Celebrate Kwanzaa - This nonfiction picture book, with its many colorful photographs, does a good job of explaining the African American celebration.
    • Favorite Children's Kwanzaa Books - Here you'll find a mix of Kwanzaa fiction and nonfiction for children.

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012

    Wednesday Lesson Plan: Choosing Just the Right Book

    Today with my 1st and 2nd graders, we discussed "choosing just the right book".  I showed them a variety of books and we decided which ones looked like they might be a "fit".  We talked about shoes and how you have to get the right fit, or it doesn't really feel good.  I asked the students why a big, scary book may not be a good fit and got lots of great answers, like, it might be too long, too scary, too many hard words, no pictures, and so on.  We looked and really easy books and I asked why these board books wouldn't be the best fit.  Their answers were perfect:  too easy, baby books, not enough words to practice, I'd finisih to fast...

    So I handed out a bookmark with these steps to follow for choosing just the right book:

    1.  Look at the cover
    2.  Read the title and author
    3.  Read the blurb on the back of the book
    4.  Open the book and skim through it.
    5.  Use the 5 finger rule:
         Read the first page and if there are more than 5 words you can't undestand or sound out, it is probably too hard.

    It seemed to have helped in their selections today.

    Saturday, November 24, 2012

    Books I'll be Displaying for Christmas

    Jan Brett was born on Dec. 1st.  I'm thinking that it wasn't a coincidence, because she personifies all things Christmas.  Here are some of her Christmas books I have that I will be displaying, along with many others in the library.

    And the list goes on.  She is magnificent.  Go visit her blog for a real treat.

    Happy Thanksgiving Everyone

    Just wanted to wish all my friends and family and readers a very Happy Thanksgiving.  I like Thanksgiving, because the pressure is only about the food and it's pretty easy to get that right.  Non of the, "I didn't get what I wanted this year", kind of stuff.  So to all of you, hope you had a wonderful day.

    Sunday, November 18, 2012

    Picture Books that Tell of Adoption

    Book Description

    November 19, 1992 4 and upP and upReading Rainbow Books
    A little boy living in a distant country is lonely. He needs a bed of his own, a room of his own, a house of his own -- and most of all, a momma and poppa of his own. But he must travel far to get them. He must fly for a day and a night through blue skies and clouds and stars before he comes to a place he can call home... with his loving new adopted family.

    Tell me again about the night I was born. Tell me again how you would adopt me and be my parents. Tell me again about the first time you held me in your arms.

    Jamie Lee Curtis and Laura Cornell, author and illustrator of the best-selling When I Was Little: A Four Year Old's Memoir of Her Youth, have joined together again to create a fresh new picture book for every parent and every child. In asking her parents to tell her again about the night of her birth, a young girl shows that it is a cherished tale she knows by heart. Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born is a unique, exuberant story about adoption and about the importance of a loving family.

    PS:  As many of you know, our family adopted a beautiful little 2 year old boy over 11 years ago.  He has been such a blessing to our family, as we have learned to parent a child with learning disabilities and other challenges I never expected to face as a parent.  He has made us better parents and our other 6 children adore him, probably more than their other siblings sometimes. 
         I know of a loving family who is looking to adopt right now.  They are absolutely incredible, so if anyone who is reading this blog right now knows of a birth mother who is looking to place her baby with a loving family, please comment and let me know.  I will put you in touch with this family!!!

    Suggested Books

    Friday, November 9, 2012

    FRIDAY FICTION: "THE THIEF LORD" by Cornelia Funke

    Sam and I just finished reading "The Thief Lord", by Cornelia Funke.  I read most of it, but he read as well.  It held his interest almost 100% of the time, unless he was too sleepy and was a great read for a 13 year old boy who "hates to read".  I kept it light, on the "you have to take a turn reading", side and he relaxed and often begged me to read to him.  This is my goal with him.  I want him to want to hear reading and read himself. 

    The plot is enticing, moves along quickly and the characters, mostly children, are full of personality.  It takes place in Venice and so we first looked at a "coffee table" book with lots of pictures of Italy and Venice, so he could imagine the city.  It includes some magic, thrown in toward the end, which really puts an unexpected twist on the plot. 

    I recommend this book to any preteen or teen boy, or girl for that matter.  It has a happy ending as well.

    Here's a well stated review from a reader on Amazon by "Mpxwa":

    "I completely recommend this book. I absolutely enjoyed the adventure. Without giving away the story, and where I'm a new "review writer", just trust me when I say, READ THIS BOOK!!!! I like that I was always kept in suspense as to what was coming next. I enjoy books where I cannot guess what the ending might be, and this one did the job. There was humor, suspense, struggle between adversary and hero, a change in heroes, mystery... An absolutely fascinating book! Buy it. "

    Thursday, November 8, 2012

    Let's Give Thanks Booklist

    Let's Give Thanks Booklist | Books by Theme | Children's Books and Authors | Reading Rockets

    A Few More Quotable Reading Quotes


    "I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library."
    — Jorge Luis Borges
    "Indeed, learning to write may be a part of learning to read. For all I know,writing comes out of a superior devotion to reading."
    — Eudora Welty
    "Once you learn to read, you will be forever free."
    — Frederick Douglass
    "The things I want to know are in books. My best friend is the man who'll get me a book I [haven't] read."
    — Abraham Lincoln
    "It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."
    — J. K. Rowling
    "Children are made readers on the laps of their parents."
    — Emilie Buchwald
    "Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."
    — Groucho Marx
    "Teaching reading IS rocket science."
    — Louisa Moats
    "Babies are born with the instinct to speak, the way spiders are born with the instinct to spin webs. You don't need to train babies to speak; they just do. But reading is different."
    — Steven Pinker
    "Many things we need can wait. The child cannot. Now is the time his bones are formed, his mind developed. To him we cannot say tomorrow, his name is today."
    — Gabriela Mistral
    "Reading aloud with children is known to be the single most important activity for building the knowledge and skills they will eventually require for learning to read."
    — Marilyn Jager Adams
    "There are many little ways to enlarge your child's world. Love of books is the best of all."
    — Jacqueline Kennedy
    "No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting. She will not want new fashions nor regret the loss of expensive diversions or variety of company if she can be amused with an author in her closet."
    — Lady Montagu, providing advice on raising her granddaughter, 1752
    "Learning is like rowing upstream; not to advance is to drop back."
    — Chinese proverb
    "The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go."
    — Dr. Seuss, "I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!"
    "Wear the old coat and buy the new book."
    — Austin Phelps
    "You may have tangible wealth untold. / Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold. / Richer than I you can never be – / I had a mother who read to me."
    — Strickland Gillilan
    "The ability to read awoke inside me some long dormant craving to be mentally alive."
    — The Autobiography of Malcolm X, 1964
    "A book must be the ax for the frozen sea within us."
    — Franz Kafka, 1904
    "The man who does not read good books is no better than the man who can't."
    — Mark Twain
    "To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark."
    — Victor Hugo, Les Miserables
    "Oh, magic hour, when a child first knows she can read printed words!"
    — A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, 1943
    "When I was a kid they didn't call it dyslexia. They called it you know, you were slow, or you were retarded, or whatever. What you can never change is the effect that the words 'dumb' and 'stupid' have on young people. I knew I wasn't stupid, and I knew I wasn't dumb. My mother told me that. If you read to me, I could tell you everything that you read. They didn't know what it was. They knew I wasn't lazy, but what was it?"
    — Whoopi Goldberg
    "The good of a book lies in its being read. A book is made up of signs that speak of other signs, which in their turn speak of things."
    — Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose
    "The only books that influence us are those for which we are ready, and which have gone a little farther down our particular path than we have yet got ourselves."
    — E.M. Forster
    "I'm not a teacher: only a fellow traveler of whom you asked the way. I pointed ahead – ahead of myself as well as you."
    — George Bernard Shaw
    "There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island."
    — Walt Disney

    Sunday, November 4, 2012

    Books for Boys Who Hate to Read

    Ask a boy who hates to read what he does like to do, and you’ll get a surprising array of answers. Everything from playing sports to building models, to dinosaurs and animals to cars, machines, and movies – the funny ones, the sci-fi ones, and the scarier the better. So let that be your guide. Find books that plug into his hobbies and interests – books he’ll want to tell his friends about – and he’ll be hooked.  

    Share this list!

    ADVANCED READS for tweens and teens, ages 11 up


    Three stories--one following the Chinese folk hero Monkey King, another, the Jin Wang and his struggle to fit in with his American classmates, and a third, of Danny, who changes schools to keep away from his embarrassing cousin--ultimately converge in this graphic novel about race and self-identity.

    ASHFALL by Mike Mullin

    Fifteen-year-old Alex is home alone when a supervolcano erupts, descending the world as he knows it into darkness, ash, and violence. All seems hopeles until he teams up with Darla, and together they fight for survival.

    DEATH CLOUD (Young Sherlock Holmes series) by Andrew Lane

    About to begin his summer vacation from boarding school, the fourteen-year-old Sherlock learns he has to spend the holidays with remote relatives. Before long he becomes deeply involved in attempting to solve a murder mystery, and suddenly Sherlock’s summer vacation is anything but dull.

    ERAGON (Inheritance Cycle series) by Christopher Paolini

    Eragon comes across a mysterious polished blue stone, which soon hatches--and Eragon finds himself in charge of training a baby dragon he names Saphira. King Galbatorix, the feared and hated ruler of all AlagaĆ«sia, murders Eragon’s uncle, and Eragon and Saphira flee, vowing vengeance.

    FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST (Fullmetal Alchemist series) by Hiromu Arakawa

    This manga follows two brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric, whose lives--and even their own bodies--have been taken over by the dangerous powers of alchemy.

    THE GOATS by Brock Cole

    When kids from a summer camp strip and maroon a young boy and girl alone on an island for a night as a prank, the pair--or rather, the "goats"--decide to stay.


    This classic author of books for boys writes of a young baseball player named Roy Tucker. The pitcher is drafted to the Brooklyn Dodgers to help the team out of a slump, but after a serious accident, Roy must find another place for himself on the team.

    LEVIATHAN (Leviathan series) by Scott Westerfeld

    Climb on board the Leviathan, a living airship, and join the action with two teenage heroes as they’re swept up in an alternate universe version of World War I.

    LOCKDOWN (Escape from Furnace series) by Alexander Gordon Smith

    Lockdown is a story about criminals and thugs, about monsters and madmen, about a bunch of kids who’ve been thrown into the most terrifying prison ever conceived.

    THE ANGEL EXPERIMENT (Maximum Ride series) by James Patterson

    'The Flock', Max, Fang, Iggy, Nudge, the Gasman, and Angel are pretty normal kids--except that they're 98 percent human, 2 percent bird. And they were raised in a lab by evil scientists. And they can fly. Oh--and they've been called on to save the world.

    THE MAZE RUNNER and the rest of the series by James Dashner

    Thomas wakes up in an elevator, remembering nothing. He joins a group of boys who have been penned into a large walled-in area called the Glade, which opens up to a maze every morning. When the first girl joins them the next day, Thomas realizes he may be more important than he could ever guess.

    THE MOVES MAKE THE MAN by Bruce Brooks

    Jerome Foxworthy, basketball extraordinaire, can handle anything--he grew up without a father, he was the first black kid in his school. When Jerome meets Bix Rivers, Jerome takes it upon himself to teach his new friend all his greatest moves.

    THE OBSIDIAN BLADE (Klaatu Diskos series) by Pete Hautman

    Around Tucker's idyllic town of Hopewell, unearthly disks appear, suspended in the sky. Not everyone can see them, but for those who can, the disks serve as portals to other places and times. When Tucker's parents disappear, it's up to him to find them, against all the ghosts, mega-maggots, futuristic medicine and weapons that come in his path.

    THE RED PYRAMID (The Kane Chronicles series) by Rick Riordan

    Fourteen-year-old Carter Kane and his twelve-year-old sister Sadie Kane discover that the blood of the pharaohs runs through their veins, and they are the most powerful royal children to be born in centuries. Can they summon enough magic to rescue their father and reconcile the gods with the Per Ankh, the House of Life, before Set—the Red Lord, the evil god of chaos—destroys North America and more?

    SCORPIA RISING (Alex Rider series) by Anthony Horowitz

    After eight dangerous and daring missions, teen spy Alex Rider has come to his last. But this mission is like no other. The danger is greater, the stakes higher, the villains deadlier, as Alex once again goes up against Scorpia, the terrorist organization that he’s fought and barely defeated twice before.

    Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World: The Extraordinary True Story of Shackeleton and the Endurance We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball

    DISASTERS: Natural and Man-Made Catastrophes through the Centuries by Brenda Guiberson

    Ten well-known catastrophes including the great Chicago fire, the sinking of the Titanic, and hurricane Katrina are dissected alongside detailed photographs and drawings.


    In 1914, Sir Ernest Shackleton attempted to be the first explorer to cross Antarctica by foot "from sea to sea," but he and his team never reached their objective. The ship became entrapped in ice, and the men were forced to abandon their mission and try to survive in the brutally harsh Antarctic wasteland for 19 months.

    WE ARE THE SHIP: The Story of Negro League Baseball by Kadir Nelson

    Kadir Nelson says in his Author's Note, "I chose to present the voice of the narrator as a collective voice, the voice of every player, the voice of we." It takes about a page before you figure this out, and then it feels like everyone is telling you stories about what it was like to be a Negro League player.


    PAGETURNERS for ages 8-12


    Hakata Soy leaves his past as the leader of a superhero team to attend Astronaut Academy, a school on a space station orbiting Earth. He hopes to make a fresh start in life, but his heroic past keeps catching up with him.

    CHARLIE JOE JACKSON by Tommy Greenwald

    Charlie Joe shares the tactics that have gotten him all the way to Middle School without EVER reading a whole book. Reluctant readers ready to learn his secrets will find instead that they have just finished (and enjoyed!) an entire book.

    DIARY OF A WIMPY KID (Wimpy Kid series) by Jeff Kinney

    Writing and drawing his stick-figure pictures in his new journal helps Greg deal with middle school, overbearing parents, and two brothers.

    THE HAUNTED SCHOOL (Goosebumps series) by R.L. Stine

    Tommy has a hard time making new friends at his new school. And the school is big--so big, Tommy gets lost. And that's when he hears the voices, kids crying for help, coming from beyond the classroom walls...

    HeroThe Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson series) Middle School, The Worst Years of My Life

    HERO by Mike Lupica

    Fourteen- year-old Zach Harriman knows he has a pretty amazing dad. He accepts that his dad’s job as a government agent with a high security clearance means that Zachary must be kept in the dark about much of what he does. When Zach’s father dies in an airplane crash, Zach starts to learn just how many secrets his dad really had, including his super-hero powers--and that the powers are hereditary.

    THE LIGHTNING THIEF (Percy Jackson and the Olympians series) by Rick Riordan

    Percy is about to find out the truth about the father he's never met. "Lost at sea" is all his mother has ever told him. Well, Percy's father is a god. A Greek god. A real one. And that makes Percy a demigod, a half-blood, and he's now in mortal danger.

    MIDDLE SCHOOL: THE WORST YEARS OF MY LIFE (Middle School series) by James Patterson

    Middle School doesn’t begin well for Rafe Khatchadorian. Between run-ins with the school bully, Miller “The Killer” and a book of rules that the school actually takes seriously, to say Rafe is disillusioned with the educational system would be understatement. And so it’s totally understandable when his best friend, Leonardo, suggests that Rafe set out to break every rule in the book.

    SIDEKICKS by Dan Santat

    In this graphic novel romp, Superhero Captain Amazing needs a new sidekick. Enter four super pets, all vying for the coveted spot as his right-hand man… er… animal.

    Swindle The Witches

    THE STORM MAKERS by Jennifer Smith

    Twins Ruby and Simon move to a Wisconsin farm, and suffer the consequences of the worst drought in history. Enter MOSS, the Makers of Storm Society, and Simon discovers he holds powerful weather-changing powers.

    SWINDLE (Swindle series) by Gordon Korman

    Griffin sells an old Babe Ruth baseball carp to a memorabilia shop, where the owner gives him 120 bucks for the card, claiming it is a knockoff made in 1967. What a liar! Griffin soon sees the dealer being interviewed on TV, showing the selfsame 1920 baseball card, worth a cool million. Griffin assembles a heist team and together they plan to steal back that card.

    THE UNWANTEDS and others in the series by Lisa McCann

    In Quill there are three types of people: Wanteds, Necessaries, and Unwanteds. Wanteds, as their name suggests, are the most valued members of society. Necessaries are tolerated for whatever menial skill they may possess. And Unwanteds, typically those showing a flare for creativity and resistance to conformity, are put to their deaths. Or so the Quillians think.

    THE WITCHES by Roald Dahl

    A recently-orphaned boy stumbles upon the yearly meeting of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children while staying at a posh hotel. But wait. These are not ordinary ladies. Alas, the group is actually made up of nasty witches, who are meeting to hatch a hideous plan to turn all of the children in England into mice.

    BABY MAMMOTH MUMMY by Christopher Sloan

    The discovery of baby mammoth Lyuba allows for a never-before-seen inside look at prehistoric Sibera, 31,000 years later.

    EVERY DAY ON EARTH: Fun Facts That Happen Every 24 Hours by Steve & Matthew Murrie

    Your taste bud cells are replaced at a rate of 50,000 a day. Almost 40,000 trees are cut down every day just to make paper bags. What else happens around the Earth in the span of a day?

    GREAT MOMENTS IN THE SUMMER OLYMPICS by Matt Christopher and Stephanie Peters

    Relive great moments in Olympic summer sports history, especially in the games of Track and Field, Gymnastics, and Swimming.

    Get the Scoop on Animal Poop: From Lions to Tapeworms, 251 Cool Facts About Scat, Frass, Dung and More!National Geographic Kids Almanac 2013


    There comes a time in every kid’s life when poop becomes an object of fascination, and this entertaining and informative introduction to coprology, the study of feces, is sure to satisfy every imaginable scatological curiosity.


    TRANSITIONAL BOOKS for ages 7-10

    Dragonbreath: Curse of the Were-wiener (Dragonbreath series)

    BAD KITTY GETS A BATH and other titles by Nick Bruel

    You think you have a problem pet that rules your roost? Get a load of this quintessential bad kitty, a sleek, black, rowdy ruffian who is none too happy about getting a bath. OK, that’s an understatement.

    THE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS (Captain Underpants series) by Dav Pilkey

    George and Harold hypnotize their principal, mean Mr. Krupp, and turn him into their superhero creation Captain Underpants.

    DINOSAURS BEFORE DARK (Magic Tree House series) by Mary Pope Osborne

    A mysterious treehouse whisks Annie and Jack to the past--and in this first novel, that means the land of the dinosaurs. But how will they get home?

    DRAGONBREATH: CURSE OF THE WERE-WIENER (Dragonbreath series) by Ursula Vernon

    At lunchtime in the school cafeteria that day, Danny's overly large and bright red hot dog bites Wendell's finger. By the next day, Wendell's finger has turned candy-apple red, and his back is growing hair. Sneaking into the cafeteria's walk-in freezer to investigate, Danny finds an unusual package of hot dogs with the label "Were-Wieners, a product of Transylvania."

    Every Thing On It

    EVERY THING ON IT by Shel Silverstein

    A new collection of 30 never-before-seen poems and drawings from the remarkable writer and artist Shel Silverstein.

    THE FENWAY FOUL-UP (Ballpark Mysteries series) by David Kelly

    Can Mike and Kate solve the mystery of who stole the Red Sox's star player's lucky bat, right in front of everyone's noses? Each book in this series is set in a different American ballpark stadium.

    HORRID HENRY (Horrid Henry series) by Francesca Simon

    Horrid Henry and his neighbor Moody Margaret set out to make the grossest sludge ever glopped together.

    THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN by Katherine Applegate

    Ivan barely remembers his life before the mall. He has some wonderful friends: there’s Stella, the stoic elephant twice his size; there’s Bob, the homeless-by-choice dog who sneaks into the mall every night and sleeps on Ivan’s big belly; and there’s Julia, the human daughter of George the custodian, who does her homework by Ivan’s domain every evening and who shares a love of art with him. Yes, that’s right: Ivan is an artist.

    The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs! Encyclopedia Prehistorica Dinosaurs: The Definitive Pop-Up

    SQUISH: SUPER AMOEBA by Jennifer Holm

    Squish is an amoeba in elementary school with a good heart but facing a lot of obstacles. A mysterious enemy is threatening our hero, as if the usual pitfalls of weird parents, obnoxious bullies, homework, and more weren't enough. Kids will really identify with this unlikely hero who has to save the world even though all he really wants to do is get through the week.


    Alexander T. Wolf would like to set the record straight. He says, "I don't know how this whole Big Bad Wolf thing got started, but it's all wrong . . . The real story is about a sneeze and a cup of sugar."


    A look at all things dinosaur, packing in facts on more than 50 species, and the six major watercolored pop-ups are spectacular.

    Henry Aaron's Dream You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?!

    HENRY AARON’S DREAM by Matt Tavares

    Every kid has a wish–a dream for his or her own future. Henry Aaron was no exception. He wanted to play baseball, but baseball stadiums in his hometown of Mobile, Alabama in the 1940s were for “WHITES ONLY.” It took perseverance, enormous talent, and courage for Henry Aaron to not only hold onto his vision, but also to make it a reality.

    WEIRD BUT TRUE: 300 Outrageous Facts by National Geographic Kids

    Did you know that... The world’s oldest pet goldfish lived to be 43 years old? The world’s longest soap bubble was as long as four school buses? On Neptune, the wind blows up to 1,243 miles an hour? The whole family will be dazed and amazed by this remarkable assortment of crazy but very true facts.


    For six years, 1961-1966, Koufax was known as the greatest lefty pitcher ever. Pittsburgh Pirates Hall of Famer, Willie Stargell, said, “Hittin’ a Koufax fastball was like tryin’ to drink coffee with a fork.” In high school, this Jewish kid from Brooklyn aced every sport, and soon the scouts came calling. This has to be the coolest-looking sports biography ever.


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