Hilo and the Boy Who Crashed to Earth by Judd Winick, is a graphic novel series featuring D.J. a pretty normal boy living on Earth and Hilo, a fun and excitable boy who knows nothing about Earth, and does not remember where he came from. But he is incredibly smart and loves to learn. D.J. and his friend Gina think he might be from another planet or dimension. Now he is attached to D.J. as they try to figure out why he is on Earth and who might be chasing him. Is it a robot or a monster? And is Hilo a boy or something else? Read this fun graphic novel, and the following episodes too! Grade 2-4, Science Fiction/Graphic Novel.
A Night Divided by Jennifer Nielsen takes the reader to a time and place in history they may not be familiar with. In 1961 in Germany, the Communist government erected a wall to split East Berlin from West Berlin. In East Berlin, citizens have no freedom to speak their mind, are allowed only the news and books the government approves of, are no longer free to come and go and are under constant scrutiny to make sure they are Communist. Eight year old Greta, her mother and older brother are immediately and permanently separated by the wall from her father and another brother who were in West Berlin looking for work when the wall went up. Four years later, as things in East Berlin become harder with little food or work and strict government soldiers everywhere, Greta sees her father and brother at the top of the wall. They seem to be telling Greta to look for a secret way out of East Berlin. Soon a mysterious letter arrives with a map. Can Greta and her brother avoid the spies around them and find the way to their father and unite the family under the dangerous and watchful eyes of Communist soldiers? A great adventure during a difficult time in history. Grade 5 and up, Historical Fiction.
Heartwood Hotel, The Greatest Gift by Kallie George. In the first book of this Heartwood Hotel series, Mona a mouse who has lost her family, finds the Heartwood, a wonderful hotel for animals in a tree in the forest. Heartwood has all the luxuries of a "5 Acorn" rated hotel including special chambers for hibernating animals, and all kinds of food that the forest animals love. Mona is hired as a maid and finds a good friend in her squirrel roommate Tilly, as well as meeting all the kind and clever animals that run the hotel. In this sequel, a cold winter has arrived and while it is usually a quiet time, this winter is different. First a demanding royal rabbit arrives, then a blizzard and finally food is mysteriously missing from the storage room. Can Mona help solve the mystery and get the Heartwood through the winter safely? For anyone who loves small wild animals! Grades 2-4 Fantasy.
Love you Like a Sister by Robin Palmer. Likeable and friendly Avery has lived with just her mother since her parents divorce when she was young. Suddenly her father who has hardly been in her life, moves back to town announcing he is remarrying and his new wife has three daughters he wants Avery to get to know. While Avery is apprehensive, her father seems to want to make up for lost time. However the new sisters to be don't seem too interested in bringing another sister into the family. When their mom wants all the girls to be bridesmaids at the wedding, Avery is thrown into many hours and outings with the girls. But while Avery loves to find old quirky second hand items and make them over, her new sisters just seem to want everything new and expensive. Can the four girls find common ground? A realistic, emotional and funny too! Grade 3-5 Realistic Fiction.
The Loser's Club by Andrew Clements is the club Alec, a true bookworm, creates during the Extended Day program he and his brother go to after school. Every one in Extended Day has to choose a club but Alec really just wants to spend the time by himself reading. Reading is what he loves, more than playing kickball, or building legos, doing origami or any of the other offered clubs. But there is no reading club yet, and the supervisor will only let him start a new one if he has other members. So he finds one other reader and he invents the "Loser's Club" hoping nobody else will join with that name. Though for awhile Alec gets his wish and just reads, things begin to change when a new girl, Nina, joins, and Alec's enemy Kent, who likes Nina, becomes jealous. This is a situation Alec's many books have not prepared him for. And to make matters more complicated, more kids are discovering his club and liking it. Could Nina and other students actually make it better? And what about the bully Kent? Grade 3-5. Realistic Fiction.
Heidi Heckelbeck and the Cookie Contest by Wanda Coven is a new series about a determined 8 year old, Heidi, who has a magical secret. Her parents are witches! But Heidi is supposed to be growing up normally. But when she enters a cookie contest and her enemy Melanie, teases that Heidi's cookies are too ordinary, Heidi cannot resist finding the Book of Spells her parent do not let her touch. What will happen when she uses a spell on her cookies? Should she listen to her best friend's advice and cook what she knows? Real situations, and a little magic too! Grade 2-4. Fantasy.
Sci-Fi Junior High by John Martin takes place far out in space, where Kelvin and his family are headed, on a speeding space ship, when the book begins. His parents are going to work on a special and super secret project on a space station and Kelvin and his sister will go to school at the Interstellar Galactic Science Hub. Unlike the Junior High at home you get to this school through a worm hole and must remember to always wear his space suit and helmet. Plus the other students are seemingly pretty weird, from all over the galaxy, not Earthlings at all. To make things even tougher, Kelvin's parents are known as genius scientists' and Kelvin feels like he is not like them at all. But when another scientist who wants revenge on Kelvin's parents sneaks on the space station, and steals the giant robot they are working on, trouble could be brewing in space for everyone. Grade 2-5. Science Fiction
Double or Nothing, with the Two and Only Kelly Twins by Joanna Hurwitz. Meet Arlene and Ilene, identical twins, from their red glasses to their missing front teeth and pigtails, these girls are tough to tell apart. And so far, they like to do pretty much the same things. But this year, things are looking a little different. The girls meet another two girls who are triplets (with a brother) and these girls like to do a lot of things separate from their sister. Would that work for Arlene and Ilene too? Can the girls discover discover different interests, even different friends, and still stay as close as they always were? Grade 1-3, Realistic Fiction.
Explorer The Mystery Boxes edited by Kazu Kibuishi. This new collection from the author of the Amulet series, is seven different comic graphic short stories all involving a box. Some of the stories are funny, some a little creepy, some thoughtful, some more real, and some really fantastical. Each of these diverse adventures has its own characters and settings but all have great comic drawings that are fun to examine and uncover. Graphic, grades 3-6.
Fortune Falls by Jenny Goebel. Do you think you are lucky? Well Sadie knows she is not. And in Fortune Falls where she and her mother and little brother live, everyone learns if they are one of the "Luckies" or "Unluckies" on their 13th birthday when they take the Lucky Test. The test will determine if they go to a great school where students flourish, or a sad, neglected boarding school where students fall behind. We meet Sadie two weeks before the Lucky Test which she is sure she will fail. Luck has never been with her. She feels it is her fault her father died in a strange accident and her mother struggles at a bad job. Although Sadie tries desperately to avoid cracked sidewalks, mirrors, black cats, etc, she mostly fails. Sadie has one good friend in the Luckies who seems determined to stick with her, a brother she loves who is pretty lucky and Wink, a one-eyed dog the family adopted that nobody else wanted. But when Wink goes missing, a black cat appears to be following her and the test is right around the corner, Sadie is plenty worried. Grades 3-5. Fantasy
Ruby Lee & Me by Shannon Hitchcock takes the reader back to 1969 in North Carolina where 12 year old Sarah, her 6 year old sister Robin, and their parents live, with loving grandparents on a farm close by. Their lives are changed drastically when Robin runs into the street and is hit by a car, suffering severe injuries to her legs and lungs. While Robin fights to survive in the hospital Sarah goes to live with her grandparents on the farm. There she tries to hide the guilt she has for not watching Robin more carefully, while her grandparents try to help her repair, teaching her to cook and help out around the farm. When Robin finally comes home in a cast, there are more hurdles, both with Robin and with Sarah's friends because her school is going to be integrated, welcoming African American students for the first time, and not everyone is happy about it. Read this great family drama and learn about an important time in our history too. Grade 3-6. Historical fiction.
Beetle Boy by M.G. Leonard is for anyone who loves mystery, science and insects! When Darkus' father, Dr. Cuttle, disappears from the National HIstory Museum where he was Director of Science, the police seems to give up on the case quickly when they find no clues. So Darkus, his two good friends and his uncle, an archealogist decide they must find him themselves. In his dad's office at the museum the only clue seems to be a strange and unusual beetle. Then more beetles with unusual capabilities show up in the apartment next door to Darkus' Uncle, including some that want to be Darkus friend and pet! Could the beetles also be connected to research Darkus' father was doing before he vanished, or to a far more evil scientist who is trying to capture these special beetles? Grade 3-5. Science Fiction and Mystery.
Secret of the Mountain Dog by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel is both a mystery and a realistic family story with...a very special dog. When a beautiful, friendly and perfectly behaved Tibetan Mastiff shows up on the trail near Jax's secluded mountain home, she falls immediately in love, sure that this dog was meant for her. Her mother, however, is not so sure. Jax's mother has been over protective and fearful since Jax's younger sister wandered into a nearby creek and almost drowned. Now she barely let's Jax walk up the mountain path near their home where a house that has sat empty for years is suddenly full of new neighbors. There Jax befriends Yeshi, a young Tibetan boy her age, and his teacher, an elderly monk who are creating a monastery. Yeshi also tells Jax his secret plan to find a very valuable Tibetan artifact, perhaps buried in the basement. The statue has a legend attached to it and there may be others who want the statue for evil reasons. Read to find out if Jax and Yeshi find the statue, where Mo-Mo came from and if Jax can convince her mother he is the perfect dog for their family, while also learning about Tibetan culture and Buddhism. Grade 4-6. Mystery.
The Bicycle Spy by Yona Zeldis McDonough is set in World War II France. In a small village in France, Marcel loves biking, playing chess, working in his parent's bakery and dreams of riding in the Tour de France some day. But life has not been normal since part of France agreed to work with the Germans and the townspeople are split, with some fearful of the soldiers surrounding the town, while others support the Germans. Suddenly his parents are sending him on his bike to bring bread to different towns, with instructions for what to say to the soldiers who stand guard everywhere. His life becomes a daring adventure when he realizes his parents are in the French resistance, helping those the Germans want to harm, including his new friend Delphine. Clever Delphine also loves biking and teaches Marcel some tricks while also hiding a secret. Travel back in time with this historical adventure based on true events. Grades 4-6 Historical Fiction.
In Zoe in Wonderland by Brenda Woods the reader meets eleven year old "just Zoe" as she thinks of herself. Shy and full of day dreams, Zoe loves best to spend time in her family's greenhouse, Doc Reindeer's Exotic Plant Wonderland. Though Zoe feels inadequate sandwiched between her beautiful popular older sister and annoying genius younger brother, it is Zoe that knows more about horticulture. She is happiest when helping out her father and it is only in her imagination that Zoe is able to be brave and special. Then a mysterious stranger from Madagascar stops by the greenhouse and interests Zoe in a rare tree and in astronomy. When her father's business is not doing well, could Zoe's rare tree help save the greenhouse? Grades 4-6, Realistic Fiction.
Liberty by Kirby Larson is the newest book by Larson who specializes in great dog stories. As in Dash, this story takes place during World War II, with two different stories. One is in New Orleans, Louisiana where Michael "Fish" and his older sister Mo are living when their father is sent to help the war effort as an engineer. Mo works for the Higgins company who makes amphibious vehicles to help the military and Fish, like his father, loves to tinker and invent with any materials he can get his hands on. Fish's leg was damaged by polio causing him to be bullied as is his new African American friend Olympia. Together they bond over the stray dog they find and nurse to health, and the ways they find to help in the war effort. The other story involves a seventeen year old German soldier, captured by Americans and sent to a prisoner of war camp in New Orleans. Read to find out how the stories connect while learning what life was life like for many different people during this War. Based on true events. Historical Fiction, Grades 4-6.
My Pet Human by Yasmine Surovec introduces Mr. Independent, a small black and white cat who lives on his own, finding food from neighborhood stores, with many animal friends on the street and plenty of places to hide from the dog catcher. But some of his animal friends have trusted "pet humans" to live with and take care of. At first, Mr. Independent is sure that his life is better without a human. But when a new family moves in and the girl immediately falls in love with Mr. Independent, he begins to wonder... Can he train this human and her family to be a worthwhile "pet human" to stay with permanently? Grade 2-3. Fantasy.
Real Friends by Shannon Hale and Leuyen Pham is a realistic graphic novel based on the author's elementary school life. In different chapters we meet Adrienne and her friends. Adrienne is creative, friendly and imaginative and only wants that special someone to create stories with and be a best friend. With Adrienne, the reader goes through good times and hard times as her friends and siblings change and grow. What are the right clothes to wear, who should she sit with at lunch, who is loyal, who are bullies, and what is the meaning of true friendship? In Real Friends, Adrienne learns real lessons through her experiences, bringing the reader along through the terrific, realistic, colorful illustrations. Grade 3-5 Graphic Novel/Realistic Fiction.
In Blooming at the Texas Sunrise Motel by Victoria Holt, Stevie Grace is on her way from her parents organic farm in Taos, New Mexico which has always been her home, to the Texas Sunrise Motel in Little Esther, Texas to meet her grandfather for the first time. Stevie's parent's have died in a terrible car accident, bringing to an end the life she has always known. Her imposing grandfather has run the quiet almost run down motel the same way for years. But once there Stevie finds a surprising group of people to support her, a quirky town, and friends, many who knew her mother when she was Stevie's age. Though her grandfather first seems gruff and distant, Stevie begins to uncover his story and the story of her family helping her to repair.
Grade 4-6 Realistic Fiction.
Princess Pink and the Land of Fake-Believe (Moldylocks and the Three Beards) by Noah Z. Jones. Meet Princess Pink who likes dirty sneakers, giant bugs, mud puddles, monster trucks, and cheesy pizza. When she falls through a refrigerator into the Land of Fake-Believe this crazy fairy tale begins. First she meets Mother Moose (who rides a Tunacorn), and then Moldy Locks at the home of the Three Beards. Through cartoon drawings, crooked speech bubbles and fun illustrations, a new kind of wild and silly fairy tale unfolds. Watch for more installments to come! Grade 2-3. Fantasy.
The Unbreakable Code by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman is the sequel to The Book Scavenger which introduced readers to the unique game of hiding a book that you have read somewhere in a city and providing clues for other "scavengers" to solve, follow and find with points for those who hide and those who hunt the books. (you can try it here!) We remeet Emily and her friend James as they are being honored for solving the mystery in the previous story in which they found a rare old manuscript and rescued the game creator, Mr. Griswold. Their new mystery begins that night when Emily witnesses a theft and finds a piece of a clue leading to a very old mystery involving the "unbreakable code". That code dates back to Mark Twain, his writing of Tom Sawyer and the Gold Rush in San Francisco. Together Emily and James try to solve the old code, taking them all over the city of San Francisco, while learning about its history, buried ships and perhaps buried treasure. But the clues also lead to their Social Studies teacher who is also a book scavenger! Grades 4-5. Mystery!
In Horizon by Scott Westerfield we meet the members of a middle school tech club excited to be on an airplane flying from New York to Tokyo to compete in a Robot Soccer Championship with robots they built. Suddenly there is a series of strange and terrible problems with the plane which crashes, leaving only the team members and four other young passengers alive on the ground. All other passengers have mysteriously disappeared and stranger yet though they had been flying over the Arctic Circle, they find they have landed in a dense hot jungle with killer vines and strange animals. Can this young team of students pool together their knowledge of biology and physics and with cooperation and teamwork figure out where they are, what happened, and how to survive? Read the first installment of this exciting new series! Grades 4-6 Science Fiction.
Stef Soto, Taco Queen by Jennifer Torres introduces the reader to Estefania "Stef" Soto and her family, who own and run a taco truck. Though Stef has always loved helping out in the truck with her father, the driver and chef, now that she is in middle school being picked up every day in a beat up taco truck is embarrassing. On top of which her immigrant parents are very old fashioned, not allowing Stef any independence or even a cell phone! As Stef struggles to convince her parents she deserves some independence, the town threatens to shut down her father's truck and their business. Can Stef find a way to truly help her family and save their business too? For readers who love cooking, great characters and family drama. Grade 3-5 Realistic Fiction
In The Tiny Hero of Ferny Creek Library by Linda Bailey, the hero is very small bright green beetle called Eddie. Eddie and his family live behind the chalkboard of room 19 in the Ferny Creek School. While in the school, Eddie's aunt Min learned to read and has not only taught Eddie to read, he truly shares her love for books and their stories. But on one of her trips to the school library, Min is hurt and the only one that can possibly save her is Eddie. In the library, Min and Eddie face the normal bug dangers from the cleaning crew's vacuum and mop, as well the risk of being squished by a teacher or kids (the "squishers") feet. But before Eddie can figure out how to get his injured Aunt back to their home, they learn of an even scarier danger. The beloved librarian leaves to have a baby and is replaced by a book hater, who thinks the library is a waste of money and whose plan is to get rid of many books and turn the beautiful library into a testing center! How can a little but determined green book loving beetle save the school library? Grade 3-5 Fantasy.
Restart by Gordon Korman begins when Chase Ambrose falls off his roof, suffering a concussion which heals but also total amnesia, which may not. So Chase returns home from the hospital and back to school with no memory of his family, friends or his former life. It turns out he was a major football star and all around "big" guy in his Middle School. But as Chase begins to learn from student's reactions to him, he and his friends were also known as bullies who acted like everyone at school was below them. Although his friends want their old buddy back to normal, Chase no longer feels like being a bully. He still likes sports but also new things interest him, like the photography club and becoming friends with students he never paid any attention to before. He begins to see his accident as a unique opportunity to change his ways. But can a leopard really change his spots? And will the people he hurt in his past be able to forgive him and accept a new Chase? Grade 4-6 Realistic Fiction.
In Star in the Forest by Laura Resau the reader meets Zitlally, living a double life, a seemingly normal one in 5th grade and a secret life at home, where her family lives in fear of deportation. They have come from Mexico years before illegally and still worry that they will be sent back. And then it happens - her father is stopped for a traffic ticket, and deported. As her mother tries desperately to raise enough money to send to Mexico to help him return, Zitlally retreats from friends and begins to spend time alone behind their trailer park home. But two good things happen there, first she finds a white dog, abandoned and in bad shape and second, the girl who lives in the trailer next door, who Zitlally had ignored earlier. Together Crystal and Zitlally nurse the dog back to health, naming him Star. But Star is chained up and they are terribly afraid the owner will return and take him. Zitllaly begins to believe Star is magical and came to her to help her father return to his family. Read and meet these wonderful and compassionate characters. Grade 3-5 Realistic Fiction.
The Great Treehouse War by Lisa Graff involves an incredibly wonderful treehouse and a sad reason it is built. Winifred's highly competitive parents are getting a divorce and have decided Winnie will live with each parent for 3 days of the week leaving one day, Wednesday- a problem. So they build a treehouse between their two houses and inform Winnie she will live there on Wednesdays. Winnie and her cat love the treehouse and Wednesdays begin to be her favorite day of the week because on the other days her parents continue a ridiculous competition for their daughter. Winnie decides to go on strike, staying in the treehouse until her parents can at least meet and talk to each other. When Winnie's group of friends discover how great the treehouse is and that it might solve their family problems too, they move in intending to stay until their parental demands are met. How long will they live in the treehouse and can they still get along? Grade 3-5 Realistic Fiction.
Me and Marvin Gardens by Amy Sarig King takes place in the Pennsylvania countryside, in a former farm community which is rapidly being built up by developers until it is mostly a suburb with the exception of Obe's family farm. 11 year old Obe's family has owned their land for hundreds of years but slowly has had to sell pieces until only a few acres are left. But Obe takes those acres seriously, making sure to protect and take care of the forest land around his house. It is there that Obe meets a very strange creature with a snout like a pig but a body and tail like a dog and slimy skin. And most unbelievable of all, the creature feeds on plastic! Obe strikes up a friendship with the tame creature bringing him his family's plastic recycling. But can he keep the creature a secret, or should he tell someone? And who? Not the boys at school who have dropped Obe recently or his parents who thinks he spends too much time in the forest. Maybe his friend Annie who also cares about the environment? Together they need to figure out what will happen to the creature "Marvin Gardens", as the natural land is built on and the river becomes more and more polluted. Read this engrossing environmental story to find out! Grade 3-6 Science Fiction.
5th graders across the District participated in our first ever District 25 Book Trailer Festival by creating a trailer for a book they had read and wanted to recommend. Student's worked hard to create a trailer that made the viewer want to read their book! Each 5th grade class then viewed and rated the trailers from another class in the District until we had the three trailers from each 5th grade class with the top votes. From those trailer's each school created a committee to choose one "finalist" from each 5th grade class to send to a District committee. A District committee viewed each of these "finalists" (27 video trailers) and chose their top 3 District winners. At Patton we were thrilled and proud that Megan from Mrs. Anderle's class won top honors for her trailer on the book Slob by Ellen Potter. View her trailer here and then watch all the other trailers on ourBook Trailer Festival website, a great way to find the next book to read this summer!
2nd grade classes created an avatar of a friend from another country, using the iPad app My School Avatar. With their avatar students share their research into a kid's life in that foreign country and their comparison to their own life in the United States. Below are Ms. Wegley's country friends. Watch Mrs. McLoone and Mrs. Johnson's avatar videos on the 2nd grade project page.
First graders are delving into Mo Willem's and his favorite characters, Gerald and Piggie! First we read several of their adventures and generated a list of characteristics of each. Now students are writing a new elephant and piggie story, in pairs, using their understanding of how the author wrote the characters. Their stories will take place in one of our four seasons. Check back later for their creations!
Second graders have been studying a foreign country, concentrating on what it is like to be a kid in that country. After choosing a country, students are read about and took notes on school life, the sports and games played in that country, the favorite foods, or a special holiday, and a unique place to visit. Students used a print book and several online websites as resources. Next, using the iPad app, School Avatar, students will create a video "as a student" in the country they studied.
Third graders have been creating book recommendations of a favorite fiction book which they read this year. First students wrote about the book's setting, characters, the problem in the story and why they liked the book. Then using the iPad app, Spark Video, they found images to match their words and recorded their recommendations. Take a look here!
Spark Video Book Recommendations
"Fourth grade has been discussing and examining the issues of "digital literacy", including: what is cyberbullying, proper netiquette, a digital footprint and overall how to stay safe on the Internet. Students used the district's resources on digital literacy which include videos from BrainPop and Common Sense media to share and discuss information in groups. Next they created a PSA to further share their understanding and provide advice on this important subject that affects their daily lives.
Fifth graders have just completed their debates on Space Exploration - Is it Worth the Cost? which they deliberated in connection with their science unit. Now each student is creating a book trailer about a book they read this year, which will be entered in the first annual district- wide Book Trailer Festival. Their book trailers will be created using the iMovie app. One 5th grade class at another District school will then view and rate our trailers, while each Patton 5th grade class will view and rate book trailers created by a 5th grade classes from another district school. Watch this space for more information and the trailers!
My Reading List!
I am the Library Media Center director at Patton School in Arlington Heights where I help students from kindergarten through 5th grade find terrific independent reading for enjoyment and information, and teach students the skills to use information and technology safely and productively and to connect, communicate and share with others. I have four grown children, a large black dog, (flat coat retriever) and a small striped cat. I am an obessive Chicago Cubs fan and I love to run.