A Long Line of Cakes by Deborah Wiles brings the reader back to the small town of Halleluia, Mississippi, at least if you have read the previous Wiles books that take place here, including Aurora County All-Stars, and Love, Ruby Lavender. This time our story is told by Emma Alabama Lane Cake, the only girl in the cake family of five brothers. The Cake's are itinerant bakers meaning they move from place to place opening a bakery to bring their luscious and special cakes, muffins and breads to a new town. Then when Leo Meyer Lemon Cake, their father declares it is time to move, off they go again. Emma, who has lived in too many places and said good bye to too many friends immediately falls in love with Halleluia and the friends she and her brothers make there. These friends include Ruby, and House the stars of the other Aurora County books. Emma believes this town is special for the Cakes and the place they should finally call home. Read to find out if she is right and meet all the unique, quirky and compassionate characters that live in Deborah Wile's books! Realistic Fiction, grades 3-5.
In The Secret of Goldenrod by Jane O'Reilly, we meet Trina, about to enter 5th grade, and her father, a handy man/construction worker. He has followed jobs all around the U.S., and Trina with him, as her mother has been off following her dreams alone for many years. The two are now moving to New Royal, Iowa to rehab Goldenrod, a very old, very large house, that will take about a year to complete. Trina is looking forward to being in one place for a whole year though is disappointed in the small, quiet and rundown town. Goldenrod however she begins to love and finds that despite its poor state, it was clearly once a beautiful, unique and specially built home. Trina also discovers that the entire town not only despise Goldenrod they are afraid of it, believe it is haunted, and attribute the town's bad luck to the sad things that happened to the family that built the grand home many years ago. Trina is determined to prove the town is wrong and though she believes there is magic in Goldenrod, it is not to be feared but celebrated. Can she convince everyone else? Magical Realism, grades 4-5.
The Real McCoys by Matthew Swanson is a fun mystery story told both by its many cartoon pictures and its words. Moxie McCoy, our heroine and narrator is serious about being a detective. She has read the full series of Annabelle Adams, girl detective books and solved many mysteries with her best friend Maude. But Maude has just moved away and Moxie is facing 4th grade without her friend and detective partner. And of course, the biggest mystery happens - the school mascot, a stuffed owl named Eddie disappears on the very day the student Owl Awards are to be presented. Moxie is sure she can solve the mystery and find Eddie. And though she is determined and funny, Moxie can also be impulsive and that often leads her to trouble. That is why Moxie is also intent on finding a new best friend that has all or most of the great and special qualities that Maude had. In the mean time could her younger, very smart brother Milton stand in and help? Follow Moxie and her brother and all the 4th graders, through this school year, and see if Moxie can find Eddie and a true friend (while she is not in the principal's office!) Realistic fiction/graphic novel, grades 2-4.
The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson- This special novel is part historical fiction, part realistic fiction and part mystery. It has two stories is one both taking place in the small Southern town of Lambert, South Carolina. In present day, Candice is a 6th grader on summer break in Atlanta when her mother announces they will spend the summer at her grandmother's former home in Lambert. Candice's parents are splitting up, she misses her grandmother who recently died and is not looking forward to this summer in Lambert. Then she finds a friend across the street, who is a real book lover as she is, and a mysterious letter in the attic. The letter originally written to her grandmother claims that the writer, a wealthy businessman in Colorado has hidden a fortune somewhere in the town and anyone who solves the clues gets the fortune. The writer does not explain his connection to Lambert. It turns out Candice's grandmother tried to solve the mystery years before when Candice was very young and failed . Candice and Brandon decide to unravel the mystery and find the fortune. They begin deciphering the clues in the letter which all relate to a group of students, teachers and coaches that lived in Lambert in the 1950's. Using library, historical papers saved by the once all negro high school, and interviewing old residents, they begin an amazing journey into the civil rights history of the town that even relates to current events. Read this one if you love mysteries, or history or just a great page turner! Grades 4-6.
Naomis Too by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich & Audrey Vernick is the sequel to Two Naomis. Naomi E's father has recently married Naomi Marie's mother and the girls now live with the newly married parents and Naomi Marie's younger sister, Brianna. Naomi E sees her mother on some weekends as her mother's work hours are difficult. The Naomi's are about to enter Middle School, together for the first time, and in a new school for both. The story follows the girls' adjustment to school, more homework, new friends and activities which all students go through. But in addition, the two Naomi's are getting used to their new blended family, to less privacy, to the reactions from strangers to their family, and missing old friends and neighborhood as well. Go along for this realistic ride, that tackles some of the issues between races today and attitudes that blended families need to face and correct. Realistic Fiction, grades 4-5.
The Cardboard Kingdom by Chad Sell is a graphic novel that takes the reader into the imaginations of a neighborhood of kids on summer break. In each chapter a boy or girl uses their imagination, cardboard and creativity to create a fantasy character. Each chapter also gives the reader a little about their home life, struggles and their likes and preferences for fantasy. Some are sorcerer's, some are princes, others are robots, or flying dinosaurs, gargoyles or mad scientists and together they play out many fantastic adventures that bring them together and take the reader on a fun wild ride. Graphic Novel, Grades 3-5
Max Einstein: The Genius Experiment by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein. Max (Maxine) Einstein is a homeless very smart 12 year old orphan who never knew her parents. Suddenly she is taken by two mysterious agents and offered a chance to participate in a global organization to help change the World for the better. They have recognized her talents and together with seven other children about her age (but with College degrees) they are taken to headquarters in Jerusalem to begin their projects and inventions. But wait, there is also an evil billionaire who wants Max's help and his agents are watching for their chance to get her to their side. This fast paced adventure is full of Einstein quotes, travel across the World, high tech inventions and science! Read to find out where Max ends up and the impact she makes on problems on our Earth. First in a series. Adventure, grades 3-5.
December in the LMC = Monarch and Bluestem Award books, Illinois Bicentennial research, and how to pass a law
In Kindergarten, students have graduated to checking books out from the many shelves that have great fit books. In order to learn what shelves hold what books such as where are the books about sports, animals, Superpets, Star Wars, dinosaurs, dogs etc, students completed two "shelf scavenger hunts". In pairs they found the place a type of book is located, chose one, and gave it to a teacher. Later they could check out one of those books or find a different one.
In First and Second Grade, we delved into several Monarch Award books. We read and discussed After the Fall by Dan Santat which tells a different and more complete version of Humpty Dumpty, and then students completed a related activity. First graders used pictures from the story to retell it and compared After the Fall to the original Humpty Dumpty nursery rhyme, while second graders watched another version of Humpty Dumpty in a "Fixed Fairytale" video and compared and contrasted it with the After the Fall version.
Next we read Coyote Moon by Maria Gianferrari with first grade, who loved the beautiful and action packed pictures of a mother coyote searching for food for her pups who are sleeping and playing. Students drew pictures comparing the coyote family activities to their own family.
Second graders read and discussed a non fiction Monarch Award selection, John Deere, that's who by Tracy Nelson Maurer and we examined real photos of John Deeres' first plow and an 1820's blacksmith shop like Deere's when he created the new plow. Next students chose another picture biography about an invention to read in groups. Students learned and laughed with the Whole Story of the Donut, Balloons Over Broadway, Pop! the Invention of Bubblegum, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, Earmuffs for Everyone or Miracle Mud, and then compared the inventor and invention they read about with John Deere and his plow.
Third graders are celebrating Illinois' bicentennial with research on what has been Born, Built or Grown in Illinois, contributing to its rich history. Students chose their topic - people who have contributed to Illinois (Born), important buildings or inventions (Built) or beautiful natural sites and agriculture (Grown) to study and then will create individual Google Tours to share their learning.
Fourth graders read two Bluestem Award nominees, both literary non fiction, I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes her Mark by Debbie Levy and Game Changer: John Mclendon and the Secret Game by John Coy. Students discussed, compared and contrasted the characteristics, goals and methods of Justice Ginsburg and John Mclendon in helping to right wrongs in our country and bring about more equality.
Fifth graders study the three branches of government, learning the responsibilities of each branch and the checks and balances on all of them. In LMC, students researched how a law is passed in the Legislative branch, and once they understood the steps, created an infographic to show that process.
The Third Mushroom by Jennifer Holm brings back Ellie, her scientist grandfather, and her friend Raj, in a new adventure with middle school issues, friends, pets and more science! Ellie and "Melvin" pair up for a science fair project which is really testing an unusual specimen secretly sent to Ellie's grandfather without explanation. They test it first with fruit flies and then Melvin tests it on his self! Read to find out what they learn about the specimen, and each other, friendship, Ellie's grandmother and how hard change can be. Through it all the reader is treated to great characters and lots of humor. Science Fiction, grades 3-5.
Mac B. Kid Spy, Mac Undercover by Mac Barnett is the first in a series. The author, Mac Barnett, writes as if he is telling the reader about his own childhood in which he was a normal 5th grade boy until he became a spy! He is called by the Queen of England to find the crown jewels that have disappeared. He takes on the case when the Queens sends him a plane ticket, disguises and money and he even gets a Corgi when he gets to England. This fun story, which takes Mac to England, France and Russia, is full of great illustrations and lots of silly plot twists and turns, until Mac solves the case and gets home eagerly waiting for his next case. Humor, grades 3-5.
In Saving Winslow by Sharon Creech, Louie's uncle brings Louie an infant donkey who is an orphan. Louie desperately wants to try to raise and keep the young donkey he names "Winslow". But the donkey is frail and nobody believes Winslow can survive. But with some support from his parents and a strange new girl in the neighborhood, Nora, Louie helps Winslow who begins to thrive, and eventually helps Louie through the loss of his older brother who has enlisted and is in the army far away. A sweet and interesting story about raising young animals and friendship. Realistic fiction, grade 3-5.
Dactyl Hill Squad by Daniel Jose Older, is a very unique mix of historical fiction and fantasy that keeps the reader turning pages anxious to know what happens next! Set during the Civil War in New York City, we meet six young residents of the Colored Orphan Asylum during the night the New York Draft Riots begin, true events in which mobs attacked black businesses in response to unfair draft laws. The orphanage is burned but one group of boys and girls led by 12 year old Magdalys who are away when it was set afire, decide to find and save the other orphans. They are fighting against the Kidnapping Club who kidnaps and sends blacks to the South and slavery. Most of this is true historical events but then comes the twist - dinosaurs are alive and well in this story and used by humans for a variety of tasks, including in battles, as transportation, and business. And Magdalys discovers a special talent to communicate with the dinos! More adventures to come! History, Adventure and Fantasy, grades 4-6!
Front Desk by Kelly Yang is based on the author's own story of coming to California from China when she was about 9 years old and growing up in the motel that her parent's managed. LIke Mia in the story, she often manned the front desk, meeting and checking in guests and getting to know the regular guests as her extended family. Their life is hard, with racist attitudes in many forms and from many people, including fellow students at school, surrounding business owners and even the police. But Mia's strong will to do right, and to correct wrongs, carries her though hard times, especially when she learns her love of writing letters could be used as a force to change people's minds and hearts. Realistic fiction, grades 4-6.
In Jasmine Toguchi, Drummer Girl by Debbi Michiko Florence we meet third grader Jasmine as her school is announcing a Talent Show starring all the students. But everyone seems to have a talent except Jasmine. One of her best friends dances, others play the piano or juggle, and the class bully plays the violin "perfectly". But then Jasmine's mother introduces her to taiko drumming, a Japanese art form. She has less than a week to learn the basics of taiko and how to play a short song but she is determined. This is part of a realistic new series that makes the reader feel they know every character and understand their joy and worries! Great illustrations in every book, and in this one there are instructions how to make a hachi-maki headband too! Realistic fiction, grades 2-3.
Blended by Sharon Draper is Isabella's story... or is it Izzy's? She is the daughter of a white mother who calls her Izzy, and an African American father, who calls her Isabella and when they divorce, Izzy is shuttled between her parents weekly. One week with her dad, a wealthy corporate lawyer living with his black girlfriend and her son, and the next week, with her mother, a waitress, living with her boyfriend, who is white. That weekly split in her life is hard and Izzy struggles to keep her life in order and please everyone. However both parents love and care for her deeply and Izzy likes and respect their new "friends" and her "kind of" step brother very much as well. But as in current events today, there are racial tensions in her city and even in her middle school. All this combines to make it quite a challenge for Izzy to understand who she is and even if she identifies more as an African American or as white. Read to understand the challenges of being biracial in today's world and more simply, how it feels to be the child of a family that has split up. Realistic fiction, grades 4-6.
Charlie Collier Snoop for Hire, The Copycat Caper by John Madormo. Charlie Collier loves to solve mysteries and brain teasers too, and he is really good at it. He knows that some day he will be a real detective but in the mean time, while in Middle School he is doing his best to get ready. He has opened a detective agency headquartered in his garage, and his best friend Henry and popular girl Scarlett have joined. They are open for business to any student who brings in a mystery and have even solved some real crimes in the town where they live. But now a school play is taking up more of his time because he has taken the part of a detective opposite Scarlett. His parents are happy he is involved in something other than solving crimes but Charlie misses his agency. When there is a rash of mysterious thefts at various town businesses, Charlie thinks he has an idea and a lead on who and why is behind the crime. Read along and see if you can solve the mystery with Charlie and his friends, or at least a brain teaser or two! Mystery, grades 4-6.
Upside-Down Magic by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle and Emily Jenkins. Meet almost 5th grader Nory Horace who lives in a world where everyone has some magic, and some people have very special powers. Your might be a Fuzzy who has talents with animals, or a Flare who has fire talents or a Flyer who can fly or a Fluxer who can turn into an animal! That is what Nory believes she is and desperately wants to pass the test to go to the best magic school, Sage School, just like her older brother and sister. But in 5th grade you have to pass a test to enter it and Nory's magic is kind of "wonky". She often does not become just one animal but instead she changes to a combination of two animals - like a skunk and an elephant or a beaver and a kitten! And then she sort of loses control. Follow Nory as she learns to understand herself and even meets friends with similar wonky magic. A fun, fresh and unique fantasy and beginning of a new series! Grades 3-5.
Much is going on in the LMC these past few weeks,
Here's just a taste:
In Kindergarten - we started reading the Monarch Award nominated books for 2019. We began with the Gerald and Piggie approved We are Growing, about individual blades of grass, all growing, and then each student created their own blade of grass and told their "somethingest". Next we read A Creepy Pair of Underwear and each student drew their own pair with googly eyes added.
In First Grade we read Scaredy Squirrel and then students created their own daily routine just like Scaredy did! Next we began our first research project - about animals. Students practiced taking notes with an information book about squirrels, recording a fact about their body, what they eat and habitat and then finding a super special fact! Next students selected an animal to research on their own.
In Second Grade, classes are learning about Arlington Heights history. With Nearpod, we learned about how the Potawatomi were in this area first, and then William Dunton started the village by donating land and letting the railroad come through his land. We learned how the library was started and what were some of the first businesses. Next students chose one person or group that was important to the Arlington Heights community in history and reflected, using Seesaw, on what that person or group did for Arlington Heights.
In Third Grade, classes are studying many aspects of weather in science. With LMC we studied the weather instruments-anemometer, rain gauge, barometer and weather vane to learn what each one measures and how that helps us know what weather is coming. Then students followed step by step directions to build one of the instruments in groups. Now classes will put the instruments outside and take some measurements and keep weather data!
In Fourth Grade, students wrapped up their geology science unit by Skyping with a National Park ranger to determine what park she was at - by asking questions about how the land in the park was formed. One by one pairs of students asked about tectonic plate movement, deposition, erosion and volcanic activity and then determined the ranger was in Yellowstone National Park! The ranger than shared interesting insights about the Park and being a National Park Ranger.
In Fifth Grade, students have been studying space issues in science. In LMC students first researched the positive results of our space exploration to date and then some of the dangers and the costs of further exploration to Mars. Then we assigned groups of students one side of the issue and held debates with the question Is Space Exploration Worth the Cost?
Here is a look at more of the action and learning!
For the four weeks we read Wishtree, classes discussed the book, listened to staff readings of the chapters and participated in the animal scavenger hunts and trivia question contests on morning announcements. In LMC several grades worked on different research and projects that related to the story, the setting, Wishtrees, or the animal characters in Red.
In Kindergarten students drew Red and labeled the Wishtree animals and Red and coded the Beebots to find their way around the tree.
In first grade, students also used the Beebots to code their way from animal to animal in Red, and researched crows to compare the real bird's habitat, food and actions to Bongo in Wishtree and decide what is the same and different. Then they created a Pic collage with their favorite characters from the story.
In second grade, students are studying habitats so we researched Red's habitat, the Woodland or Forest to find out what is the weather, and what plants and animals survive there. Students also chose one animal to research in PebbleGo and Facts4Me and shared their facts with the Chatterpix app, and brainstormed new animal names following the "rules" for naming them outlined in Wishtree.
In 3rd grade, students "saved" Red by solving the clues to a Breakout box, which required knowing the details of Wishtree and finding books related to those details. Students also researched the climate zone that Red would live in.
On Thursday, October 26 we celebrated our One Book, One School read of Wishtree, with a special night for families. The Grove, courtesy of the Patton PTA, shared exhibits about trees and the animals that live in them which included counting rings, matching leaves, examining animal pelts and touching a live snake! In the LMC and classrooms, families used the Pic Edu iPad app to put their family into the Wishtree with all of Red's animal friends. Then families competed in a friendly Kahoot game to see how well they remember the story. Finally families wrote a wish for the Wishtree in the Commons, created by our Social Service Club students. Take a look at the fun....
This week LMC classes settled in to work on different aspects of their curriculum and learn about different types of resources, how to find and use them, and practice note taking. Here's what's happening!
In Kindergarten students took photos of the book they checked out and reflected on why they chose it using the app Seesaw. On laptops, students practiced using the trackpad to create a computer name tag.
In First Grade, as students are learning all the rules, responsibilities and expectations of the hallway, lunchroom, P.E. recess, music, art and LMC, we created a class book describing and explaining these rules as if Mo Willem's "pigeon" came to Patton School, called Don't Let the Pigeon Break a School Rule! To create their page, students took a photo of one area of the school, put it into Seesaw, drew the pigeon on it and wrote or recorded the correct rule for that area. Enjoy Miss Donovan's class video below. Watch for all the class videos at More - Student Projects-1st grade.
Second Graders are learning about the importance of a community in class, and in LMC we began our first research of the year...on community workers! First student learned and practiced the steps of research, including questioning, sources, and note taking using the Nearpod App. Then students chose or were assigned one community worker, such as bus driver, garbage collector, police officer, dentist, construction worker, mechanic, plumber, nurse, principal, or veterinarian, With a book and a notes graphic organizer students began to answer their questions about the community worker.
Third Graders are learning about the Midwest states in class, and in LMC we began our first research of the year on one of the states of the Midwest. First students reviewed and practiced the steps of research, including questioning, sources and note taking using the Nearpod app to practice taking notes. Then pairs of students began learning about and taking notes on a Midwest state using PebbleGo Next and a book on their state.
Fourth Graders - are reviewing and practicing with the features of non fiction reference books in class. In LMC we are discussing and examining the features of websites to determine how certain features help us find information. Student's practiced identifying and using navigation bars, bold linked words, glossaries, and search fields to find information.
Fifth Graders learned the definition of a Primary Source and discussed the benefits of both primary and secondary sources. Students then examined historical documents, photos, paintings and maps to determine if they were primary or secondary, i.e. "were they created by someone with first hand experience of the event in history".
Secret Sisters of the Salty Sea by Lynn Rae Perkins. Over one summer vacation at the ocean, two sisters make new friends, discover all kinds of shellfish and sand crabs, build and destroy amazing sand castles, learn at an amazing bird sanctuary, and find sea glass and other treasures. Meet brave Alix and her older more careful and precise sister "Jools" as they discover the wonders of an ocean vacation. The reader will share special times with the sisters and their family while they continue to learn more about what makes each other happy or frustrated and how their talents are different. There is everyday fun and special times too. Realistic fiction. Grades 2-4.
The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson. Meet Matthew, a smart, perceptive and troubled boy who is dealing with an intense fear of germs since his baby brother died. His fears have so taken over that Matthew can barely leave his room. But from his bedroom window he observes and records the daily lives of his neighbors including two school mates. One is Melody who seems to have a fascination with the nearby graveyard and the other, Jake, is a used to be friend who has become a bully. But there is also Charles, a widower, a young couple who is expecting their first child, an older nosy couple and Nina, a mysterious woman who also hardly leaves her creepy house. To this mix is added the grandchildren of Charles, when Charles daughter asks him to take care of his grandchildren for the summer, a six year old and a toddler, Teddy. As Matthew becomes fascinated with Charles' inability to control the kids, the toddler suddenly disappears. And so begins Matthew's detective work to determine where Teddy is and who took him. At the same time, Matthew's parents are urging Matthew to speak with a counselor for help with his fears, Eventually, however, as Melody and Peter join his secret work, the three kids begin to form a friendship that may also help Matthew to cope. Realistic Fiction. Grades 4-6
How to be an Elephant: Growing up in the African Wild
by Katherine Roy. This special book examines each step of how a baby elephant matures into a capable member of their herd. We follow their growth and maturity both through beautiful pictures and explanations of family life and real facts and details of the elephant's physical anatomy. The reader learns how elephants' use their entire herd to raise each young elephant and teach them how to survive together. Informational non fiction. Grades 1-5.
Charlie and Mouse by Laurel Snyder. This is the first in a series of short chapter books starring two fun brothers and their bunch of friends. Together they face everyday happenings, friends, sleepovers, neighborhood parties and some mischief. Great drawings and four funny chapters. We can't wait for the next installment! Grades 1-2
Frazzled, Ordinary mishaps and inevitable catastrophes by Booki Vivat is a funny, part text, part graphic, look at the beginning of middle school, starring Abby Wu now in 6th grade. Abby believes that if something can go wrong it will, and her first few weeks of school seem to prove her rule. First, though she has been looking forward to finally having a locker, instead of getting her own like everyone else, Abby learns she is the only student that has to share. Then her parents get her little sister a cat, and the cat hates Abby. Her good friends are not in any of her classes. And she has a big science project with an assigned partner who is the new girl Jess, (her locker partner). Will things look up for Abby? Will she end up with a new friend in Jess? Will the cat start to like her? Read, laugh at all the great cartoons, and find out. Realistic/Graphic. Grade 3-5
Left Out by Tim Green involves lots of football team situations, practices and games but the real story is much more. Landon Dorch is a big seventh grader planning on playing football at his new middle school. Landon is also deaf and has cochlear implants that help him hear though he still needs to read lips and his speech has a different sound than most kids. All he wants, though, is to be treated like everyone else, not different, and especially not like he needs special help. He believes football will be his chance to be really accepted. But when football proves harder than he thought, and his fellow players are not that welcoming, the coaches encourage Landon to be their oversized water boy. With supporting parents and a feisty younger sister who won't let Landon quit on his dreams, Landon has a good chance to pull through. The story gives us great insight into the challenges a hearing impaired student faces and how we should treat everyone, with disabilities or not. Sports fiction, grade 4-6.
and watch out for new adventures of: the King and Kayla series by Butler,
Zoey and Sassafrass series by Asia Citro, the Heartwood Hotel series by Kallie George, and the Alien Next Door series by A.I. Newton
The Rhino in Right Field by Stacy DeKeyser takes place in Milwaukee in 1950 where Nick and his friends play baseball at the city park which also happens to house the city zoo. And often their ball lands right inside an animal enclosure! The most difficult one to retrieve is when it lands with Tank, the very large zoo's rhino, which still never stops Nick and his best friend Ace from playing ball. Nick's strict immigrant parents, who came from Greece, make sure he works hard at regular school, and Greek school and on Saturdays he helps in his dad's store. But this summer the local minor league team, the Mud Puppies, are bought by a new owner who has all sorts of ideas to bring fans in. He announces a city contest for 10-14 year old boys to become a bat boy for the day. NIck can't wait to try out until he discovers the tryouts are on Saturdays. Join Nick for baseball, good friends, and even a new girl in town who can really throw a baseball, as he faces his dilemma. Fun, sports/historical fiction. Grades 3-5.
In The Science of Breakable Things by Tae Keller, meet Natalie, her best friend, Twig, her nemesis Mikayla, new serious student Dari, and her brand new science teacher, Mr. Neely. While Mr. Neely teaches the scientific method of "observe, question, research, hypothesis, procedure, experiment, results and analyze" and assigns the class a long term Wonder project, Natalie just wants to blend in and forget what is happening at home. Her mother, once a dedicated and enthusiastic plant biologist has left her job and is spending more and more time in her bedroom, often asleep. Her dad, while trying to help Natalie deal with her mother's depression, does not really know what to do. Slowly Mr. Neely's assignment, to design and test the best egg drop basket, begins to change Natalie's outlook and with Twig and Dari they begin the scientific process steps that may help Natalie to cope. A serious topic told with humor and realistic middle grade situations.
Realistic fiction, grade 4-6.
The Serpent's Secret by Sayantani DasGupta is a fantasy story that mixes the real world of a girl growing up in New Jersey with fantastic Benghali folktales. Kiran has grown up knowing her Indian parents are strange and different, insisting she is a princess, protecting her from snakes and talking often about wild beasts and monsters from another world. She has taken this all in stride until her 12th birthday when she comes home to a monster wrecking her home, her parents gone and two young "princes" on horses waiting to help her. Kiran's parents left a note that says to trust the boys, and explains that the magic that kept them in the human world has run out. With the boy's help, Kiran fells the monster and runs away with them to find and save her parents. But the world they take her to has unimaginable beasts and dangers and everyone there thinks she is a great princess, the daughter of the moon, finally coming back to their alternate world. Join Kiran on this truly fantastic journey to help her parents and learn who she is! Fantasy, grades 3-5.
Team Players by Mike Lupica is for baseball and softball lovers as it treats the reader to plenty of game action. Cassie, a gifted athlete, tells the story of the summer after 8th grade as she pitches for her girls softball team and coaches third base for her best friend's boys baseball team. But all is not smooth for her team when a new girl, Sarah, joins with some specific special needs. Sarah has amazing softball skills but is on the Autism spectrum and struggles with relationships and some of the compromises that come with a team game. When Sarah and another teammate come to odds about a play, the team seems to split up, with most of the girls siding against Sarah and only a few with Cassie and Sarah. And on the boys team, there are problems with a new coach. Enjoy this sports story with real game situations, and real friendships and problems as well. Sports fiction, grades 4-6
Dragons and Marshmallows by Asia Citro. This is the first in a new series starring Zoey, a curious and resourceful girl who loves nature and science and her cat Sassafras. Zoey has just discovered that her mother, a veterinarian, has secretly been rehabilitating magical animals in their backyard when a sick baby dragon appears. Since Zoey's mother is away on a business trip Zoey decided it is up to her to save him. She uses the scientific method of question, hypothesis, action and findings with her knowledge of reptiles, some research and some medical tools available to help the dragon survive. Join Zoey and Sassafras on this first adventure and look forward to more of this unique fantasy and science combination. Fantasy, grades 2-3.
The Elephant Thief by Jane Kerr is an amazing adventure set in the year 1872 in Edinbergh, Scotland. Danny is an orphan living on the streets and controlled by a thief who makes Danny pick-pocket for him. But when a local circus holds an auction to sell off some of its animals, including a beautiful Asian elephant, Danny's life changes forever. He helps a circus owner, Mr. Jameson, buy the elephant, Maharajah, and Mr Jameson offers Danny a job riding the elephant two hundred miles across Scotland into England in order to get a lot of publicity and win a bet. But if Danny and Maharajah can't make it in seven days, the elephant will be taken by another owner, who does not intend to treat the elephant well. Danny discovers a great affinity for the intelligent and courageous elephant as he is trained to care for him and is determined to make the difficult journey full of challenges, some dangerous, and some funny. Based on true events, this story keeps the reader turning pages eager to know if they succeed and what will happen to Danny. History and Adventure, grades 4-6.
The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani bring us back to the year 1947 when India becomes independent from England and forms the new country of Pakistan in part of India. Nisha and Amil are 12 year old twins living comfortably with their father, a respected doctor, Kashi their beloved cook, and their grandmother, when the independence changes everything. Their mother, who has died, was Muslim and their father is Hindu and suddenly the Muslims living in India are told to go to Pakistan while the Hindu's in Nisha and Amil's area have to journey to another part of India. Fighting breaks out among the different groups, and the twin's father has to take the family, leaving behind Kashi who is Muslim, on a long and difficult journey, partly on foot, to try to find safety and a new life in another part of the country. The reader learns the story as Nisha writes to her mother in her diary late at night, documenting the changes in her life, her hopes and dreams and the events happening to her country.
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.