The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty introduces the reader to Lucy, a unique girl with special talents. Lucy was hit by lightning when she was seven and it changed her brain. She became a math genius, able to tackle college level courses by sixth grade, but with the math ability came some difficult problems. Lucy has OCD, which in her case means that in addition to extreme fear of germs, she has certain rituals involving the number 3 that she needs to do regularly in order to not have the PI numbers take over her brain. Given both these issues, Lucy's grandmother has home schooled Lucy until now. She has decided Lucy should try Middle School, telling Lucy to make a friend that is not an online math buddy, and read a book that isn't a math textbook! School is a challenge for Lucy, who first tries hard to blend in and hide her talents and issues. But eventually through a special project, a good teacher and a few new friends, Lucy may find her place. Realistic fiction. Grade 4-6
Time Tracers : the stolen summers by Annabeth Bonder-Stone. 7th grader Taj Carter is known in his school as the boy who can create fun for all those around him, especially in the summer. As the story opens, he has great plans to make this summer the "Best Summer Ever." But on what should be the first morning of summer vacation Taj wakes up to find it is the first day of school. For Taj, his friends, and his family, the summer has simply disappeared. Taj soon discovers, to his horror and surprise, that their summers have actually been stolen by nasty bugs who survive on eating the "time" they steal from others. The top secret agency of Time Tracers asks Taj to help it retrieve the lost summers before time and life, as Taj knows it, implodes! A wild and imaginative ride! Fantasy Fiction, Grades 3-6.
Sled Dog School by Terry Lynn Johnson seems a strange book to read in summer but no matter the weather this is an absorbing and different read. Matt's family is unusual. They live "off the grid" in northern Michigan without electricity or even indoor plumbing. Matt is fairly unhappy in school, embarrassed both by his family and because he is struggling in math and may have to repeat the year. The one great thing in his life is the sled dogs his family raises and runs. But he has the opportunity to save his math grade by doing an extra-credit project designed to teach business and accounting skills. Matt decides to start a Sled Dog School sure he can teach others his skills with the dogs. Two unexpected kids sign up, Tubbs who is desperately uncoordinated but open and nice and Alex, a girl, who is very athletic and talented but seems aloof and condescending, Then a crisis on a dog run brings all three together and teaches Matt much about his talents. Take a ride with these special characters, special dogs while learning about sled dog racing! Realistic/Sports fiction. Grade 3-5
Annie's Life in Lists by Kristen Mary Mahoney. With the unique format of lists, good and bad, short and long, Annie, a quiet eleven year old with a great memory, tells us her story. Annie's family has moved from beloved Brooklyn to an old rambling house in the tiny town of Clover Gap where her father gets a job. She misses her best friend Millie and the way she could blend in at her old school. Her older brother, equally unhappy is hardly talking to anyone anymore and even her parents don't even seem that happy and are often worried about money. But slowly the friendly people of Clover Gap, and the small town living grow on the family and teach Annie that maybe blending in is not the best strategy after all. Read Annie's story, through her funny and honest lists! Realistic fiction, grades 2-5.
Power Forward by Hena Khan. Fourth grader Zayd Saleem is facing a dilemma. He truly loves basketball and is determined to join his best friend on the top team at the upcoming tryouts. But his mother insists he take violin lessons before school and she dismisses the time he needs to practice basketball. When he ignores his mother's instructions and secretly practices basketball instead of violin lessons, he risks not being allowed to attend tryouts if discovered. He must somehow convince his parents that playing basketball is suitable for a Muslim boy and does not mean he is ignoring his family or their traditions. Zayd's struggles are realistic and his family, including grandparents and uncles are well meaning and loving. The story is rich with traditions, character and great food. The first in a series. Sports fiction, Grades 2-4.
In The Doughnut Fix by Jessie Janowitz, we meet Tristan, a 12 year old boy who loves basketball and most of all baking, and is good at it. So far his family has lived in New York City surrounded by bakeries and delis and his mother, a caterer has taught him a lot. His life is turned upside down when his parents decide to leave the city life behind and buy an old house in rural Petersville, NY, a town so small that it has no restaurants and not even a decent middle school basketball team. He and his two sisters are miserable and bored when their parents challenge them to find a "project" until school starts. He has no idea what to do when he learns that the very grumpy general store owner has a secret recipe for chocolate cream doughnuts which people claim are "life-changing." Getting the recipe and opening a doughnut stand becomes his project but it is not easy. With a new friend, who also teaches him ice hockey, he learns about business practices, contracts, negotiating with adults and small town ways. Read along, laugh and get hungry with this fun family story. Realistic Fiction, Grades 3-5
Winterhouse by Ben Guterson. 11-year-old Elizabeth is a smart and somewhat quirky orphan living with her very disagreeable Aunt Purdy and Uncle Burlap in poor conditions when right before the Christmas holidays she is told to go to the famous hotel, Winterhouse for three weeks, alone. The hotel turns out to be an amazing, luxurious and magical place, with a ton of interesting and fun activities and an incredible library. To make things even better, the owner takes a special interest in her and she meets a boy her age who loves books and puzzles as much as she does. But something dark and mysterious is also happening at the hotel, involving a strange couple who show unusual interest in Elizabeth and a unique book she finds in the library. Read to find out what the hotel and its owner might be hiding and why Elizabeth is there. Mystery/Fantasy, grades 4-6.
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.