Nate Harlow of the small town of Paradise Beach, Florida considers himself a pretty unlucky guy until he is struck by lightning on his 11th birthday and lives to tell about it. But not only does he survive, it seems the strike may have changed his luck. Suddenly his grandfather's fishing boat has lots of customers, he starts to hit homeruns, and he wins all the coin tosses challenges with his best friend Genesis Beam. Gen is a lover of science, and protector of the baby turtles that nest once a year on their beaches. She doesn't believe in luck though and is not thrilled when the popular kids who used to ignore Nate and Gen, begin to pay attention to Nate. Read Lucky Strike by Bobbie Pyron to find out how Nate handles his newfound luck, will he continue to help Gen protect the baby turtles, and what will happen the next time lightning strikes in Paradise Beach. Grade 3-5.
The Mountain Dog, by Margarita Engle is a memorable story, both sad and uplifting. When we first meet eleven year old Tony, the hard life he has always known is about to change. His mother is sent to jail for abusing pit bulls and training them to fight and Tony will now live with an Uncle he doesn't know in a remote part of Washington State. But Uncle Leo and his black lab, are warm and welcoming, offering Tony both a new family and a brand new way of life. Leo is a forest ranger who guides nature walks, takes care of trees and rescues lost hikers or anyone who is missing, with the assistance of Gabe a trained search and rescue dog. Tony and the reader learn about how search and rescue dogs and their handlers operate, and how to survive in the wilderness if you are lost, including what plants to eat, and all kinds of tips for waiting until the rescue dog arrives. Grades 4-6.
Fort by Cynthia Deflice is the both the title of the book and the highpoint of Wyatt and Augie's summer vacation. Wyatt has visited upstate New York every summer with his dad, always spending time with Augie, a full year resident of the town and expert in the woods that surround it. This summer, these eleven year old boys decide to build a fort out of material found in their Uncle's junkyard. The fort is amazing and the boys camp out, cook their own food, and get a real taste of adventurous freedom. That is, until Morrie and J.R., older, meaner, and bigger teenagers show up to invade and ruin. Wyatt and Augie are fiercely protective of their fort and determined to stop these bullies, but not just from their fort, but also from picking on Gerard, a local teenager with developmental disabilities who they discover has been terrorized by J.R. and Morrie. Their plan is brilliant but challenging. Read to find out how the plan works and if they can conquer the bullies! Grade 4-6.
In The Detective's Assistant, the reader is taken back in time to the Chicago of the 1850's when the river was filthy, sidewalks were boardwalks where horse and buggies were tied up, women wore long dresses and Potter Palmer ran a dry goods store. Twelve year old orphan Nell Warne is brought to the city when her parent's die, to live with her only relative, Aunt Kitty. Aunt Kitty who now calls herself Kate, reluctantly takes Nell in, though she often threatens to leave her at an orphanage when she believes she cannot care for her properly. Kate is a young woman who works as a detective with the Pinkerton Detective Agency and her character is modeled after a real detective, Kate Warne, who was the first woman hired by Pinkerton to work as a detective. She worked on many famous cases involving train robbers like Jesse James, protected President Lincoln from assassination plots when he first became President and even worked to help slaves in the underground railroad. Nell, a totally fictional character, slowly shows her aunt she can be great help in the detective work, which she far prefers over the helping out in the dull boardinghouse where the two live. The book shows us what Chicago was like in the 1800's, while these two unusual women are involved in exciting adventures, tracking down criminals, many based on true events. Grade 4-6.
When three middle school students, avid detective, Kelsey, Leo the computer whiz, and animal lover, Becca, find three kittens dumped in a trash can, the Curious Cat Spy Club is born. The Club is determined to find out who would abandon kittens in this horrible way, and why there seems to be a rash of missing animals in their town. They decide to take care of the kittens while they follow the clues their sharp eyes and different skills reveal, involving the threesome in adventures, disguises, and close escapes. In the process they become unlikely friends, learning much from each other and setting the reader up for their next adventure, as this is sure to be a fun mystery series.
Blue Balliett is the author of many unique mystery stories set in Chicago, all involving valuable objects such as paintings from the Art Institute, sculpture, a historic home, ancient letters, or historic boxes that are missing. Now she has taken the main characters from each of these books and put them together in Pieces and Players, to solve a new mysterious theft again set in Chicago, The five are Tommy, Petra, Calder, Zoomy and Early, thirteen year olds with different talents. Together they are charged with finding out where are 13 masterpieces stolen from a small museum in one night and who took them. The kids are given special access to the museum and information only the police have. Read and pick up the clues with these sleuths. Grade 4-5.
The Island of Dr. Libris is the new book by Chris Grabenstein, author of Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library (the winner of Patton's March Madness contest). This time it is an amazing island, not a library, at the center of the story. Billy and his mother have rented a cabin on the shores of Lake Katrine from the mysterious Dr. Libris. The cabin has no television but does have a locked library full of classic books which Billy is able to unlock by solving a puzzle left by Dr. Libris. Suddenly as Billy reads a book he hears the characters talking and finds them alive on the island, a short row away from the cabin. With his new neighbor Walter, Billy investigates, reads more, meets more characters, and finds the interaction of characters from different stories can be hilarious but also dangerous! And all the while Dr. Libris is watching Billy! Find out how Billy and Walter survive and what Dr. Libris is really up to. Grade 3-5.
Two New Books for dog lovers!
A Handful of Stars by Cynthia Lord, (author of Rules and Half a Chance) is a story of a blind dog and the girl who loves and takes care of him. Lily's dog Lucky is the only thing she has left of her mother who died when she was two years old. She lives with her grandparents and Lucky, who was her mother's puppy, but now as an adult has lost most of his eyesight. Lily's grandparents run a general store in a small town in Maine surrounded by the best blueberry fields in the State. When Lucky runs off one day, he is rescued by Salma, the daughter of a family who comes to Maine in the summer to pick the blueberries. Lily has never met the migrant workers before but this summer she and Salma bond over their love of dogs, art and blueberries. Salma begins to help Lily raise money to help Lucky get an eye operation while Lily learns that there are ways she can help Salma too. Read and learn about friendship, blueberries and understanding differences. 3rd-5th grade.
Ranger in Time - Rescue on the Oregon Trail by Kate Messner is the first in a series about a time traveling golden Retriever, Ranger. Ranger is owned by Luke and his family who take him for Search and Rescue training. Ranger is good at finding people using his keen nose and eyesight but his love of chasing squirrels prevents him from graduating as an official Search and Rescue dog. He goes back to being the family dog until he finds an old first aid kit buried in the yard. When he opens it, he is transported to the year 1850 where Sam's family is preparing to join a wagon train traveling to Oregon in search of better farm land. Sam's sister is missing and Ranger goes into action. After helping to find Amelia, Sam's family adopts Ranger. His adventure on the Oregon trail takes the reader through all the dangers and hardships these courageous pioneers encountered including crossing raging rivers in wagons, buffalo stampedes, sickness and storms. Along the way, Ranger helps out his new family but continues to look for his original owners. Read to find out if Sam's family makes it to Oregon and if Ranger gets back to present day and Luke. Grade 2-4
For their last unit with LMC, fifth grade students created a booktrailer for a realistic or science fiction book they read this year. We worked on understanding how a trailer differs from a book report and how to use images and voice to "hook" the viewer and make them want to read the book! During the last week of school we celebrated with a film festival complete with popcorn. Here are the trailers completed by Mrs. Anderle's class which we viewed on Friday, June 5!
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.