The Trail by Meika Hashimoto. Though only 12, Toby is hiking a difficult portion of the Appalachian Trail, through Maine, on his own. The plan was that he and his best friend Lucas hike the trail together, but when Lucas dies, Toby sets out determinedly, in his friends honor, and without telling his Gran. Although he has some gear and knows how to camp, he is not prepared for the difficulty of the hiking, the loneliness, nor the bad weather that he soon encounters. But when he helps a starving stray dog, he finds a true companion, and along the way two potential friends in some older teens, also hiking, for their own hidden reasons. Toby's adventure teaches him both how and when to trust others and as he gains confidence, to trust himself as a leader too. Adventure fiction, grades 4-6.
Out of Left Field by Ellen Klages. The year is 1957, and Katy Gordon loves baseball more than anything, but especially pitching, and she's got a few pitches that can strike out just about anybody. But after she is recruited by the local little league team as "KC" Gordon, they find out she's a girl and won't let her on the team. Katy can't believe Little League says that girls will get hurt playing ball and can't handle the exertion! So she sets out to change their minds and to back up her argument she begins to research the history of women playing baseball. Through her local library and UC Berkley where her mother is a professor Kay discovers the many women who have played baseball, the many women leagues that existed over many years, and even a few women that made it to the pros. When Katy incorporates all of these forgotten women into a school project, her evidence begins to be noticed. Will it help her make the team? If you love baseball and history, read to find out! Historical fiction/sports, grades 3-5.
The Infinity Year of Avalon James by Dana Middleton. Avalon and her best friend Atticus are entering fifth grade and turning 12. Though Avalon has a temper she struggles to control, especially around her arch enemy Elena, and a father she is desperately missing, she enters the new year knowing she can always count on Atticus. They are both also waiting for their "infinity powers" to arrive, very special powers that Atticus' grandpa told them will come to them when they turn 12, if they keep it a secret and they stay true friends. Though no magical powers seem to come to her, Avalon discovers a talent for spelling that may lead her to fame in the school's bee, if she can keep her temper. But the year also tests her friendship with Atticus as they both discover the meaning and power of true friendship. Realistic fiction, grades 3-5.
Code Word Courage by Kirby Larson. As in her books, Dash, Duke and Liberty, Larson takes us back to a part of World War II and creates a story with special characters and of course, a dog. In this story we meet 11 year old Billie struggling to adjust to life on her Aunt's ranch without her brother Leo who has joined the Marines, while her best friend, Hazel, rejects her for more popular girls and she befriends Tito, the young Mexican boy whose father manages her aunt’s ranch, who is used to be put down or ignored. When her brother Leo comes to visit before shipping out, he brings his friend and fellow recruit, Denny, a member of the Navajo Nation, and Bear, a special abandoned dog who Billie cares for and adopts. The story then alternates between following Denny, who becomes a Navajo Code Talker into the war in the Pacific, and Billie, Tito's and Bear's struggles to find true friendship among bullies and prejudice. Historical fiction, grades 3-5.
Sprinkle Sundaes by Coco Simon brings the first book in a series with lots of yummy desserts, and the story of Allie and her family. Allie comes home from overnight camp at the end of the summer to discover her parents, who used to fight a lot, have decided to divorce. Although her father will live near by, and Allie and her brother get a new house, Allie is sad and the transition to living with one parent at a time is difficult. Plus Allie finds herself in a new school without her three best friends. But when Allie's mother follows a dream to open an ice cream shop with her awesome homemade flavors, things begin to look up. Allie must find her way to meet new friends and try new activities, while helping her mother with the store and still find a way to see her old friends. All realistic issues and characters that seem like real kids we all know. Realistic fiction, grades 3-5.
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.