In Wish by Barbara O'Connor, we meet Charlie, tough and full of fight, who makes a wish every day, the same wish, especially now when she has been sent to live with an aunt and uncle she barely knows in a small town in the Blue Ridge mountains. Though Charlie's mother is depressed and her father is currently in a correctional center for his own temper problems, Charlie cannot wait to get out of the mountains and back to the city with her older sister and her old school. But then a special stray dog, a true friend who always sees the bright side, and the pure love of her aunt and uncle begin to puncture the armor Charlie shows the world. Will it change her wish too? Grades 4-6 Realistic Fiction.
Detective Gordon, The First Case, by Ulf Nilsson is a new mystery series in which the lead detective is a toad and his territory is the forest. This first case begins when an agitated squirrel reports the nuts he has carefully hidden for the coming winter have been stolen. The problem stumps Detective Gordon until Buffy the mouse, his first suspect, turns out to instead become his able assistant and the two form a strange but effective partnership. The story is full of clever animals and plot twists and clues for the reader to follow. Grades 2-4 Fantasy and Mystery Fiction.
Shooting at the stars : the Christmas truce of 1914 is a fictionalized account of true events that happened in France during World War I, when the U.S. and German armies faced each other across a space of less than 100 feet. On Christmas Eve a miraculous truce was agreed to, with songs, trading and even a football game. This book is based on letters and interviews with soldiers who participated in the events and lived to describe this most memorable night. A story for all ages that can be read by grade 2 and up. Literary Non Fiction.
As Brave As You by Jason Reynolds follows two brothers, the cool almost 14 year old karate star, Ernie, and the inquisitive narrator, younger brother Genie, for 30 summer days at their grandparents home in rural Virginia. Their parents are off on a vacation to solve marital difficulties and the born and bred Brooklyn boys are not just getting a taste of the country life, without the Internet, they are also getting to know the grandparents they have barely met due to their fathers issues with the grandfather. Their first surprise is that their grandfather is blind yet refuses to be helped by anyone and has an amazing ability to get around the house. He fascinates Genie but also raises many questions, some of which his grandfather will patiently answer but all of which Genie writes down in his notebook for later study or Googling. While Ernie finds the girl down the hill enthralling, Genie bonds with his grandfather, and the boys support each other in their adjustment to Grandma's rules, the country chores, family stories and connections to the neighbors and most of all their true enjoyment of their grandparents. Realistic Fiction. Grades 5-8.
In The Infamous Ratsos by Kara LaReau, we meet Big Lou and his two sons, Louie, who is in 5th grade and Ralphie, who is in 3rd. This family lives in the big city which is full of many types of animals. Big Lou is tough and his sons want to be like him, not a "softie". They believe showing they are tough involves bullying others and acting superior. So they think about all kinds of schemes to act tough in school and in their neighborhood. But somehow their tough acts keep going wrong and end up helping people! Could they be wrong about this tough stuff? This short chapter book is full of great characters and fun drawings. Grades 1-3. Fantasy.
Ghosts by Rayna Telgemeir is the surprising and unique graphic novel about Cat and her little sister Maya who have just moved to foggy, windy Bahía de la Luna on the coast of Northern California. The family believes the climate will be good for Maya, who has cystic fibrosis, but Cat and Maya soon discover there is a lot more about the town than the weather to discover and adjust to. It seems like everyone is obsessed with ghosts, their legends and sightings. The question is will these seemingly ghostly creatures help or hurt Maya and how will these new ideas change the relationship between these close sisters and the family? Magical Realism/Graphic novel. Grades 4-7.
I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy provides a clear look at the life of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the discrimination she overcame her entire life, and the determination with which she sought justice before and after she became a judge. This picture book begins with a young Ruth, brought up by her parents, particularly her mother, to believe that girls could do anything boys could, at a time when girls were certainly not given equal opportunities. She often "dissented" to unfair treatment of all types, beginning with discrimination facing her Jewish family, but including the fact that girls had to sew and cook instead of take shop in high school, and later in college fighting against being told that as a woman, she couldn’t pursue a law career. As a Supreme Court Justice she continued to rally against discriminatory laws of many types. With drawings that illuminate and enhance the story this literary non fiction is for Grades 1 and up.
In Moo by Sharon Creech the reader meets a memorable family, including 12 year old Reena, her younger brother and their parents, moving from New York City to a small town in Maine for a very different life. Immediately the kids love the small town pace, their new found freedom and ability to bike everywhere. They are also fascinated with the animals of the nearby farms, especially the belted galloway or "oreo cows". That is until they meet Zora, a most difficult and moody cow that they are asked to help care for when their mother offers their assistance to an elderly and ornery neighbor. With persistance and help from the local 4-H club members, Reena may yet turn Zora into a prize winning cow at the local fair. Told with short chapters, and fun prose. Grades 3-5. Realistic fiction.
Book Uncle and Me by Uma Krishnaswami transports the reader to a neighborhood in a city in India where 9 year old Yasmin is an avid, one book a day reader. It is "Book Uncle" the owner of a free lending library on a street corner near her home who hooked Yasmin on one book a day. Book Uncle has a talent for recommending the “right book for the right person for the right day", that is until the mayor shuts down his library until he can afford an expensive permit. With mayroal elections coming up, Yasmin leads her friends in a fight to bring back Book Uncle's library, which means fighting possible corruption in the local politics and a chance to make a real difference for her neighborhood. Can these 4th and 5th grader's possibly succeed? Grades 2-4. Realistic/multicultural fiction.
Dog Man by Dav Pilkey is a graphic comic novel in the tradition of the author's Captain Underpants series but this one was originally written when he was in first grade and, according to the author's note, found recently, fixed up and published in the same comic book form. The hero, the character of Dog Man, is created when a police officer and his police dog are hurt in a bomb explosion and the solution is to graft together the parts of each that survice - the officer's body with the dog's head, thus creating the world's greatest cop. Dog Man is involved in several adventures, including fighting evil robots, a cat that erases books, and an army of live hot dogs. Full of fun, silly characters and outrageous stories. More of this new series to come. Grades 1-3. Graphic/Humor fiction.
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.