In A Boy Called Bat by Elana K. Arnold, Bixby Alexander Tam "Bat" is on a mission. His mother, a vet, has brought home an infant and orphan skunk to care for until the animal rescue center will take him, about 4 weeks. But Bat, who loves animals more than anything, falls in love with the baby who he and his older sister name, Thor. He is determined to convince his mother that they can keep Thor and raise him instead of turning him over to the wildlife center. And when Bat is determined, watch out! He researches and studies skunks and even writes to the foremost expert for help and advice. Some things are tough for Bat, like when others don't follow rules, or there are changes to his schedule, but with a loving and understanding mother, and a potential new friend, Bat might succeed with that mission! Realistic fiction, Grades 2-4.
Survival Tails The Titanic by Katrina Charman is the first in a new series of survival "tails". This unique Titanic story, is told by Mutt, a dog, Clara, a cat and King Leon, a rat, who all end up on the "unsinkable" Titanic as it gets ready for its maiden voyage from England to the America. Mutt's beloved owner Alice has been taken by her father onto the ship as he plans to start a new life for them in the New World, leaving Mutt behind. King Leon is the rat who helps Mutt sneak onto the ship to find his Alice. And Clara the proud cat of the Titanic''s captain, is an experienced sailor excited to help her captain on this voyage. These three animals plus three abandoned kittens meet on the ship and are trying to help each other when they find themselves in the middle of the danger as the ship begins to sink. Read to find out what it might have been like for animals on the Titanic and if they make it. Fantasy, grades 3-5.
Clementine for Christmas by Daphne Benedis-Grab. You don't need to wait for Christmas to read this heartwarming story of Josie, a sixth grader, and her special dog, Clementine during the holiday season. Clementine helped Josie repair after her father died and now accompanies her as a therapy dog in the children's wing of the hospital where Josie does volunteer work after school. Though shy in school, Josie loves dressing up and entertaining the kids with songs and skits especially at Christmas. But this year, two students from school are threatening to change her fun. Oscar who has troubles at home, acts out in school and is given community service hours at the children's wing and Gabby, the most popular girl in school, who generally ignores Josie, enters the hospital with a condition she hopes to hide from school mates. Though Josie fears the pair will ruin her enjoyment and good intentions, together with Clementine, the group might find their way toward improving the Christmas show and helping each other. Realistic Fiction, grades 3-5.
Jack and the Geniuses at the Bottom of the World by Bill Nye, the Science Guy and Gregory Mone is the first in a new series involving three siblings who meet in a foster home and have a unique homeschool arrangement where they stay together with an adult who just checks in on them. The oldest is 15 year old Matt, and Ava and Jack are both 12. Jack believes his siblings are genius level smart especially with tech, while he is of "normal" intelligence though he is brave, daring and a born detective. The three sibs meet Henry Witherspoon a wealthy inventor about to leave for Antarctica to give a million dollar prize for the best new invention to change ocean water to drinking water. Impressed with the kids, he invites them to join him in Antarctica, where they get to test many new gadgets and explore the alien landscape until a scientist friend of Henry's disappears from the base. Jack goes to work solving the mystery. This creative story is for adventure seekers who are interested in tech gadgets and learning about Antarctica too. Adventure, grades 4-6.
In Unschooled by Allan Woodrow, George and best friend Lilly tell the story, in alternating chapters, of their school's annual spirit week 5th grade contest. The friends have been eagerly waiting for this year and hope to be on the same team. But when the grade is split into two teams, the friends instead find themselves opposing team captains. To increase the excitement, the rumors are flying that for the first time a great prize will go to the winning team members, making the competition even more intense. George and Lilly hope to be on the same team but instead end up as opposing team captains. Though they are initially sure the contest won't affect their friendship, Lilly is ultra competitive and George is unwilling to stand up to bullies who might want to cheat. The combination creates some messy disasters and might mean the whole grade loses. Read to find out if Lilly and George can compete and lead while still staying friends. Realistic fiction, grades 3-5.
The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee by Deborah Abela takes place in a small town in Australia where India Wimple, who is brilliant at spelling, and her loving family live. India's younger brother, parents and grandmother encourage India to compete in Australia's national spelling bee knowing that while watching it on television at home every year, she spells every competition word perfectly. But because India is shy and worries about stage fright, her family needs to help her find a way to conquer these fears in order to compete. The story is full of wonderful spelling words and meanings, and creative and fun strategies by India's family and her whole town to get her to the national finals in Sydney! Realistic fiction, grades 3-5.
The Wild Robot Escapes by Peter Brown, continues the story of Roz the robot and mother of Brightbill, last seen being taken away from the island by airplane. The reader finds out that Roz was first repaired and then sent to a farm to help Mr. Shareef with farm duties, like repairing farm equipment and caring for the cows. Roz not only befriends the cows, she becomes a friend and caregiver for Mr. Shareef's two kids, whose mother has died. Though she finds the work helping the family satisfying, she still desperately misses her son. When some geese stop by the farm on their migration she hatches a plan to connect with Brightbill and possibly get home to him and her island. Enjoy Roz's new adventure as you learn more about her capabilities and even learn how, when, and why she was created. Fantasy/Adventure, grades 3-6.
In Granted by John David Anderson the reader is taken into the special and unique world of fairies where we enter the Haven, complete with different kinds of fairies, fairy homes, occupations, traditions and inventions, and our hero, Ophelia Delphinium Fidgets. Ophelia is one of the special fairies, called "Granters". Granters are assigned human wishes to "grant", using magical and rare fairy dust which the Granter must sprinkle on the birthday candle, or coin, or wishbone, that the human wished upon. Their great tree, the center of the The Haven, the home of the fairy world, gathers the human wishes and randomly selects the ones that will be granted. Ophelia has just been given her first assignment and while her best friend Whistler, warns Ophelia that the human world is full of dangers and unexpected challenges, Ophelia leaves with full confidence she can fulfill her assignment. And so begins a great adventure for a small but smart and talented little fairy among the human world of airplanes, cars, city traffic, complicated human beings and a homeless dog, Sam, who becomes Ophelia's sidekick! A fantasy not to be missed! Fantasy fiction, grades 3-6.
Garvey's Choice by Nikki Grimes. Garvey loves books, especially about outer space, math and music but not sports or especially not football which is what his father loves and wants Garvey to participate in and enjoy. Through few words and short stanzas we follow Garvey and his best friend Joe, into the first year of Middle School, meeting bullies who make fun of Garvey's large size, but also new friends, and a new passion when he finds the courage to join the chorus. At home he struggles to make his father see and like the real Garvey. Can music be the cement that gives Garvey the confidence he needs to stand up for himself and even bring he and his father together? Realistic fiction, grades 4-6.
The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty introduces the reader to Lucy, a unique girl with special talents. Lucy was hit by lightning when she was seven and it changed her brain. She became a math genius, able to tackle college level courses by sixth grade, but with the math ability came some difficult problems. Lucy has OCD, which in her case means that in addition to extreme fear of germs, she has certain rituals involving the number 3 that she needs to do regularly in order to not have the PI numbers take over her brain. Given both these issues, Lucy's grandmother has home schooled Lucy until now. She has decided Lucy should try Middle School, telling Lucy to make a friend that is not an online math buddy, and read a book that isn't a math textbook! School is a challenge for Lucy, who first tries hard to blend in and hide her talents and issues. But eventually through a special project, a good teacher and a few new friends, Lucy may find her place. Realistic fiction. Grade 4-6
Time Tracers : the stolen summers by Annabeth Bonder-Stone. 7th grader Taj Carter is known in his school as the boy who can create fun for all those around him, especially in the summer. As the story opens, he has great plans to make this summer the "Best Summer Ever." But on what should be the first morning of summer vacation Taj wakes up to find it is the first day of school. For Taj, his friends, and his family, the summer has simply disappeared. Taj soon discovers, to his horror and surprise, that their summers have actually been stolen by nasty bugs who survive on eating the "time" they steal from others. The top secret agency of Time Tracers asks Taj to help it retrieve the lost summers before time and life, as Taj knows it, implodes! A wild and imaginative ride! Fantasy Fiction, Grades 3-6.
Sled Dog School by Terry Lynn Johnson seems a strange book to read in summer but no matter the weather this is an absorbing and different read. Matt's family is unusual. They live "off the grid" in northern Michigan without electricity or even indoor plumbing. Matt is fairly unhappy in school, embarrassed both by his family and because he is struggling in math and may have to repeat the year. The one great thing in his life is the sled dogs his family raises and runs. But he has the opportunity to save his math grade by doing an extra-credit project designed to teach business and accounting skills. Matt decides to start a Sled Dog School sure he can teach others his skills with the dogs. Two unexpected kids sign up, Tubbs who is desperately uncoordinated but open and nice and Alex, a girl, who is very athletic and talented but seems aloof and condescending, Then a crisis on a dog run brings all three together and teaches Matt much about his talents. Take a ride with these special characters, special dogs while learning about sled dog racing! Realistic/Sports fiction. Grade 3-5
Annie's Life in Lists by Kristen Mary Mahoney. With the unique format of lists, good and bad, short and long, Annie, a quiet eleven year old with a great memory, tells us her story. Annie's family has moved from beloved Brooklyn to an old rambling house in the tiny town of Clover Gap where her father gets a job. She misses her best friend Millie and the way she could blend in at her old school. Her older brother, equally unhappy is hardly talking to anyone anymore and even her parents don't even seem that happy and are often worried about money. But slowly the friendly people of Clover Gap, and the small town living grow on the family and teach Annie that maybe blending in is not the best strategy after all. Read Annie's story, through her funny and honest lists! Realistic fiction, grades 2-5.
Power Forward by Hena Khan. Fourth grader Zayd Saleem is facing a dilemma. He truly loves basketball and is determined to join his best friend on the top team at the upcoming tryouts. But his mother insists he take violin lessons before school and she dismisses the time he needs to practice basketball. When he ignores his mother's instructions and secretly practices basketball instead of violin lessons, he risks not being allowed to attend tryouts if discovered. He must somehow convince his parents that playing basketball is suitable for a Muslim boy and does not mean he is ignoring his family or their traditions. Zayd's struggles are realistic and his family, including grandparents and uncles are well meaning and loving. The story is rich with traditions, character and great food. The first in a series. Sports fiction, Grades 2-4.
In The Doughnut Fix by Jessie Janowitz, we meet Tristan, a 12 year old boy who loves basketball and most of all baking, and is good at it. So far his family has lived in New York City surrounded by bakeries and delis and his mother, a caterer has taught him a lot. His life is turned upside down when his parents decide to leave the city life behind and buy an old house in rural Petersville, NY, a town so small that it has no restaurants and not even a decent middle school basketball team. He and his two sisters are miserable and bored when their parents challenge them to find a "project" until school starts. He has no idea what to do when he learns that the very grumpy general store owner has a secret recipe for chocolate cream doughnuts which people claim are "life-changing." Getting the recipe and opening a doughnut stand becomes his project but it is not easy. With a new friend, who also teaches him ice hockey, he learns about business practices, contracts, negotiating with adults and small town ways. Read along, laugh and get hungry with this fun family story. Realistic Fiction, Grades 3-5
Winterhouse by Ben Guterson. 11-year-old Elizabeth is a smart and somewhat quirky orphan living with her very disagreeable Aunt Purdy and Uncle Burlap in poor conditions when right before the Christmas holidays she is told to go to the famous hotel, Winterhouse for three weeks, alone. The hotel turns out to be an amazing, luxurious and magical place, with a ton of interesting and fun activities and an incredible library. To make things even better, the owner takes a special interest in her and she meets a boy her age who loves books and puzzles as much as she does. But something dark and mysterious is also happening at the hotel, involving a strange couple who show unusual interest in Elizabeth and a unique book she finds in the library. Read to find out what the hotel and its owner might be hiding and why Elizabeth is there. Mystery/Fantasy, grades 4-6.
These students' trailers received the top 3 votes in each of our 5th grade classes, submitting remarkable and meaningful book trailers, which can all be viewed at the District 25 Book Trailer Festival website. And special congratulations to the District 25 winner, from Mrs. Goumas' class at Patton, for her very special trailer Counting by Sevens !
Many student's contacted the author of the book they made a trailer for and sent them the trailer to view. Thank you to authors Rob Buyea, Wendy Mass, Jessie Janowitz, Jewell Parker Rhodes and John David Anderson who responded to our students with appreciation for the trailer and the students' work!
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.