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.
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.