Grade 4-6. Genre=Science Fiction
Listen, Slowly by Thannha Lai takes the reader on a fascinating trip to Vietnam through the eyes and heart of Mai, a twelve year old California beach girl whose parents and grandmother immigrated to the United States during the Vietnam War. Now her grandmother needs to go back to Vietnam to find out what happened to her husband, Mai's grandfather, in the final days of his life. Because Mai's father, a doctor, donates his time to needy children while in Vietnam and her mother has a big court case, Mai is left alone taking care of her grandmother and navigating present day Vietnam as she meets her large Vietnamese family and the detective who will help her grandmother. Though at first Mai longs to get home to her normal life, the culture of the country and the generousity of her Vietnamese cousins, become close to her heart as she learns more about her heritage and herself. Grades 5-7. Genre = Realistic Fiction
Francine Poulet Meets the Ghost Raccoon by Kate DiCamillo introduces the reader to a new character in the family and friends of Mercy Watson. Francine is an animal control warden and one of the best at her job. Nothing scares her or escapes her, that is until a ghostly screaming raccoon begins to disturb the peace on Deckawoo drive. For the first time Francine fails, the raccoon is not caught, and Francine is devastated. How can she continue to be an animal control officer if she is no longer the best at her job? Who can help her gain her confidence back to go after that raccoon again? Grade 2-3. Genre=Realistic Fiction/Humor
Castle Hangnail by Ursula Vernon is a funny and creative tale of a twelve year old "wicked" witch in training. Molly has always known she was vastly different from her twin sister who loves pink and all things light. She also knows that along with craving dark clothes, and the night, she can do magic. So far she doesn't know many spells but is trying everything she can to learn more. When her one magical, but far more evil friend gets an invitation to become the mistress of Castle Hangnail, Molly goes in her place. Castle Hangnail is rundown and shabby but still managed by several strange, loyal, and magical "minions" hoping for a new witchy mistress. They are suspicious of Molly's young age, but Molly's determination, cleverness, and willingness to learn and study in order to truly help the Castle and the minions, impress them all. But can Molly pass the Magical Board's list of tasks allowing her to remain at Castle Hangnail? Grade 4-6. Genre=Fantasy.
Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar (author of Holes) is a mysterious and increasingly scary story... so be prepared! Tamaya in 5th grade, and Marshall in 7th grade attend a prestigious private school that is located on the edge of woods in Heath Cliff, Pennsylvania. Though the school has plenty of grounds, the woods are not included and students are discouraged or forbidden by their parents from walking through them. But when Chad, the 7th grade bully threatens Marshall, he and Tamaya enter the woods to avoid him. Chad finds them and in their attempt to evade him they all encounter some very strange "fuzzy mud". Suddenly Tamaya has a rash that keeps getting worse and Chad has disappeared. Is it related to the mud and is the secretive Sun Energy plant located in the woods responsible for the mud? Read if you dare!
Grade 4-6. Genre=Science Fiction
Roller Girl, a graphic novel by Victoria Jamieson introduces us to Astrid the summer before she enters Junior High. Astrid's best friend since forever is Nicole but lately Astrid feels like Nicole is growing away from her, meeting new girls who love dance, ballet and boys. Then Astrid's mother takes them to a Roller Derby meet, and Astrid falls in love with the sport. She desperately wants to join the the roller derby club's summer camp even if it means going alone. Astrid discovers the camp and the sport are tougher than she expected and involve really hard work, both on skating skills, on attitude and getting to know the other Derby girls. In the process Astrid learns a lot about herself and what being a good friend means. Read to find out if her determination and spirit will get her chance to make the team and while you learn all about roller derby too! Grade 4-6. Genre=Graphic Novel
In A Hundred Horses by Sarah Lean, Nell is a lonely sixth grader, living only with her very efficient mother since her father left several years ago. Though Nell's mother insists she join Drama Club, Swim Club and various other activities to stay busy, Nell is bored and has not yet found what really interests her. When her mother's job calls her out of town during spring break, Nell is sent to her mother's sisters house in the country even though Nell barely knows Aunt Liv, her five and seven year old cousins, or anything about the horses, chickens and the fields surrounding the house. To make matters worse, a mysterious and seemingly mean girl lives nearby and decides to harrass Nell. But there is something intriguing about Angel and Nell is drawn to her and determined to figure out why people claim she has stolen a special horse and a goat. Read to find out how Nell and Angel help each other and the elderly owner of a local horse farm through their special bond with animals and a magical fairy tale. Grade 4-6. Genre=Magical Realism
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.