The Unbreakable Code by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman is the sequel to The Book Scavenger which introduced readers to the unique game of hiding a book that you have read somewhere in a city and providing clues for other "scavengers" to solve, follow and find with points for those who hide and those who hunt the books. (you can try it here!) We remeet Emily and her friend James as they are being honored for solving the mystery in the previous story in which they found a rare old manuscript and rescued the game creator, Mr. Griswold. Their new mystery begins that night when Emily witnesses a theft and finds a piece of a clue leading to a very old mystery involving the "unbreakable code". That code dates back to Mark Twain, his writing of Tom Sawyer and the Gold Rush in San Francisco. Together Emily and James try to solve the old code, taking them all over the city of San Francisco, while learning about its history, buried ships and perhaps buried treasure. But the clues also lead to their Social Studies teacher who is also a book scavenger! Grades 4-5. Mystery!
In Horizon by Scott Westerfield we meet the members of a middle school tech club excited to be on an airplane flying from New York to Tokyo to compete in a Robot Soccer Championship with robots they built. Suddenly there is a series of strange and terrible problems with the plane which crashes, leaving only the team members and four other young passengers alive on the ground. All other passengers have mysteriously disappeared and stranger yet though they had been flying over the Arctic Circle, they find they have landed in a dense hot jungle with killer vines and strange animals. Can this young team of students pool together their knowledge of biology and physics and with cooperation and teamwork figure out where they are, what happened, and how to survive? Read the first installment of this exciting new series! Grades 4-6 Science Fiction.
Stef Soto, Taco Queen by Jennifer Torres introduces the reader to Estefania "Stef" Soto and her family, who own and run a taco truck. Though Stef has always loved helping out in the truck with her father, the driver and chef, now that she is in middle school being picked up every day in a beat up taco truck is embarrassing. On top of which her immigrant parents are very old fashioned, not allowing Stef any independence or even a cell phone! As Stef struggles to convince her parents she deserves some independence, the town threatens to shut down her father's truck and their business. Can Stef find a way to truly help her family and save their business too? For readers who love cooking, great characters and family drama. Grade 3-5 Realistic Fiction
In The Tiny Hero of Ferny Creek Library by Linda Bailey, the hero is very small bright green beetle called Eddie. Eddie and his family live behind the chalkboard of room 19 in the Ferny Creek School. While in the school, Eddie's aunt Min learned to read and has not only taught Eddie to read, he truly shares her love for books and their stories. But on one of her trips to the school library, Min is hurt and the only one that can possibly save her is Eddie. In the library, Min and Eddie face the normal bug dangers from the cleaning crew's vacuum and mop, as well the risk of being squished by a teacher or kids (the "squishers") feet. But before Eddie can figure out how to get his injured Aunt back to their home, they learn of an even scarier danger. The beloved librarian leaves to have a baby and is replaced by a book hater, who thinks the library is a waste of money and whose plan is to get rid of many books and turn the beautiful library into a testing center! How can a little but determined green book loving beetle save the school library? Grade 3-5 Fantasy.
Restart by Gordon Korman begins when Chase Ambrose falls off his roof, suffering a concussion which heals but also total amnesia, which may not. So Chase returns home from the hospital and back to school with no memory of his family, friends or his former life. It turns out he was a major football star and all around "big" guy in his Middle School. But as Chase begins to learn from student's reactions to him, he and his friends were also known as bullies who acted like everyone at school was below them. Although his friends want their old buddy back to normal, Chase no longer feels like being a bully. He still likes sports but also new things interest him, like the photography club and becoming friends with students he never paid any attention to before. He begins to see his accident as a unique opportunity to change his ways. But can a leopard really change his spots? And will the people he hurt in his past be able to forgive him and accept a new Chase? Grade 4-6 Realistic Fiction.
In Star in the Forest by Laura Resau the reader meets Zitlally, living a double life, a seemingly normal one in 5th grade and a secret life at home, where her family lives in fear of deportation. They have come from Mexico years before illegally and still worry that they will be sent back. And then it happens - her father is stopped for a traffic ticket, and deported. As her mother tries desperately to raise enough money to send to Mexico to help him return, Zitlally retreats from friends and begins to spend time alone behind their trailer park home. But two good things happen there, first she finds a white dog, abandoned and in bad shape and second, the girl who lives in the trailer next door, who Zitlally had ignored earlier. Together Crystal and Zitlally nurse the dog back to health, naming him Star. But Star is chained up and they are terribly afraid the owner will return and take him. Zitllaly begins to believe Star is magical and came to her to help her father return to his family. Read and meet these wonderful and compassionate characters. Grade 3-5 Realistic Fiction.
The Great Treehouse War by Lisa Graff involves an incredibly wonderful treehouse and a sad reason it is built. Winifred's highly competitive parents are getting a divorce and have decided Winnie will live with each parent for 3 days of the week leaving one day, Wednesday- a problem. So they build a treehouse between their two houses and inform Winnie she will live there on Wednesdays. Winnie and her cat love the treehouse and Wednesdays begin to be her favorite day of the week because on the other days her parents continue a ridiculous competition for their daughter. Winnie decides to go on strike, staying in the treehouse until her parents can at least meet and talk to each other. When Winnie's group of friends discover how great the treehouse is and that it might solve their family problems too, they move in intending to stay until their parental demands are met. How long will they live in the treehouse and can they still get along? Grade 3-5 Realistic Fiction.
Me and Marvin Gardens by Amy Sarig King takes place in the Pennsylvania countryside, in a former farm community which is rapidly being built up by developers until it is mostly a suburb with the exception of Obe's family farm. 11 year old Obe's family has owned their land for hundreds of years but slowly has had to sell pieces until only a few acres are left. But Obe takes those acres seriously, making sure to protect and take care of the forest land around his house. It is there that Obe meets a very strange creature with a snout like a pig but a body and tail like a dog and slimy skin. And most unbelievable of all, the creature feeds on plastic! Obe strikes up a friendship with the tame creature bringing him his family's plastic recycling. But can he keep the creature a secret, or should he tell someone? And who? Not the boys at school who have dropped Obe recently or his parents who thinks he spends too much time in the forest. Maybe his friend Annie who also cares about the environment? Together they need to figure out what will happen to the creature "Marvin Gardens", as the natural land is built on and the river becomes more and more polluted. Read this engrossing environmental story to find out! Grade 3-6 Science Fiction.
5th graders across the District participated in our first ever District 25 Book Trailer Festival by creating a trailer for a book they had read and wanted to recommend. Student's worked hard to create a trailer that made the viewer want to read their book! Each 5th grade class then viewed and rated the trailers from another class in the District until we had the three trailers from each 5th grade class with the top votes. From those trailer's each school created a committee to choose one "finalist" from each 5th grade class to send to a District committee. A District committee viewed each of these "finalists" (27 video trailers) and chose their top 3 District winners. At Patton we were thrilled and proud that Megan from Mrs. Anderle's class won top honors for her trailer on the book Slob by Ellen Potter. View her trailer here and then watch all the other trailers on ourBook Trailer Festival website, a great way to find the next book to read this summer!
2nd grade classes created an avatar of a friend from another country, using the iPad app My School Avatar. With their avatar students share their research into a kid's life in that foreign country and their comparison to their own life in the United States. Below are Ms. Wegley's country friends. Watch Mrs. McLoone and Mrs. Johnson's avatar videos on the 2nd grade project page.
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.