Sunday, May 28, 2017

Display: National Parks

Acadia National Park
By Kathleen Connors
Mount Desert Island, home to Acadia National Park, has been inhabited for more than 5,000 years and enjoyed by vacationers for more than 200! Its many plants, animals, and scenic views make the island and its famous park one of the most visited places in the United States. Colorful photographs and descriptions take readers along the historic carriage roads and to the top of Cadillac Mountain.

Everglades National Park
By Kathleen Connors
Everglades National Park was established in 1934 to protect one of the most unique ecosystems in the world. From hardwood forests to the estuarine habitat of Florida Bay, the many habitats in the park are home to about 1,000 species of plants and hundreds of Animal species, some of which are endangered.

My Yosemite: Guide for Young Adventurers
By Mike Graf
Loaded with colorful photos and illustrations, this handy guidebook covers all the favorites, from giant sequoias to awe-inspiring waterfalls.

Grand Canyon National Park
By Santana Hunt
Within Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most majestic sites in the United States, the Grand Canyon. For adventurous road trippers, this national park is the perfect place to visit. Miles of hiking trails for visitors have been built around the rim of the canyon, down its steep sides, and even across the beautiful Colorado River. Readers learn how the Grand Canyon formed and about the creation of Grand Canyon National Park around it.

Yellowstone Moran
By Lita Judge
Tom Moran had never ridden a horse or slept under the stars before, but the paintings he created on his journey from city boy to seasoned explorer would lead to the founding of America's first national park.

National Parks: A Kid’s Guide to America’s Parks, Monuments, and Landmarks
By Erin McHugh
Presents a guide to some of the national parks of the United States, designated by state, and includes information on the history of each site and the plants and animals that can be found there.

Yellowstone National Park
By Frances Nagle
Yellowstone National Park is considered the first national park in the world! Created in 1872, the park encompasses many types of habitats but is best known for its Old Faithful Geyser. Readers join the more than 3 million yearly park visitors in discovering the beauty of Yellowstone National Park. Including important aspects of the social studies curriculum such as geography and conservation, this volume also introduces readers to the plants, wildlife, and attractions of this famous park.

Yosemite National Park
By Frances Nagle
Learn how Yosemite National Park came to be as well as the climbing spots, wildlife viewing, and other activities that make Yosemite a great road trip stop.

Mountain Chef
By Annette Bay Pimentel
Tie Sing had a reputation as the best trail cook in California, so it was no surprise when millionaire Stephen Mather hired him to feed thirty men for ten days in the wilderness while Mather tried to convince the campers that national parks needed to be protected. So Sing planned and cooked, and when disaster struck, he improvised, and by the end of the trip had come up with a way to help inspire the creation of the National Park Service.

The Camping Trip That Changed America
By Barb Rosenstock
The little-known story of the excursion of John Muir and President Theodore Roosevelt to the Yosemite Valley that forever shaped America's wilderness.

National Geographic Kids National Parks Guide U.S.A.
By Sarah Wassner
Flynn and Julie Beer Presents a guide to America's national parks, including tips on exploration, information about animals, and fun facts.

Secrets of the National Parks
By Aileen Weintraub A guide to some of America's most significant national parks reveals lesser-known points of interest and trivia about such sites as the Great Smoky Mountains, the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone, and Denali.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Display: Deborah Wiles

Deborah Wiles

Deborah Wiles grew up in Jasper County, Mississippi. She moved around, because her family was in the Air force, but she ended up calling Mississippi home. She is the author of picture books and novels for readers young and old, including Each Little Bird That Sings, a 2005 National Book Award Finalist, and the documentary novels Countdown and Revolution. Revolution was a 2014 finalist for the National Book Award. Deborah teaches teachers and writers around the country, and currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

Each Little Bird that Sings
Written by Deborah Wiles

Comfort Snowberger is well acquainted with death since her family runs the funeral parlor in their small southern town, but even so the ten-year-old is unprepared for the series of heart-wrenching events that begins on the first day of Easter vacation with the sudden death of her beloved great-uncle Edisto.

Written by Deborah Wile

Twelve-year-old Franny Chapman lives with her family in Washington, DC, during the days surrounding the Cuban Missile Crisis. Amidst the pervasive threat of nuclear war, Franny must face the tension between herself and her younger brother, figure out where she fits in with her family, and look beyond outward appearances.

Written by Deborah Wiles

It's 1964 in Greenwood, Mississippi, and Sunny's town is being invaded by people from up north who are coming to help people register to vote. Her personal life isn't much better, as a new stepmother, brother, and sister are crowding into her life, giving her little room to breathe.

Aurora County All-Stars
Written by Deborah Wiles

For most boys in a small Mississippi town, the biggest concern one hot summer is whether their annual July 4th baseball game will be cancelled due to their county's anniversary pageant, but after the death of the old man to whom twelve-year-old star pitcher House Jackson has been secretly reading for a year, House uncovers secrets about the man and the history of baseball in Aurora County that could fix everything.

Love, Ruby Lavender
Written by Deborah Wiles

When her quirky grandmother goes to Hawaii for the summer, nine-year-old Ruby learns to survive on her own in Mississippi by writing letters, befriending chickens as well as the new girl in town, and finally coping with her grandfather's death.

Freedom Summer
Written by Deborah Wiles

In 1964, Joe is pleased that a new law will allow his best friend John Henry, who is colored, to share the town pool and other public places with him, but he is dismayed to find that prejudice still exists.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Jerusalem Sky

by Mark Podwal
Doubleday Books for Young Readers, 2005.

This book is an illustrated poem that wonderfully captures the spirit of Jerusalem. This city, revered by three powerful religions, has been the home to many different nations. The myths and beliefs about this sacred place that so many claim as their homeland have flavored the air itself. I think this book is worth checking out to enjoy both the poetry and the tender taste of Jerusalem. Podwal's hints towards certain stories could be the beginning of some interesting research or scripture study. 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Amina's Voice

Amina's Voice
By Hena Khan
Salaam Reads, 2017. Fiction.

Amina Khokar is a talented singer, probably the best one in her class, but she has had horrible stage fright ever since the "John Hancock incident." She does not want to perform a solo in her choir class performance and she does not want to compete in a Quaran recitation competition hosted by her Mosque - if she can't speak in front of people in English, how can she be expected to speak in Arabic? None of this is made any easier by the fact that her best friend Soojin wants to change her name to Susan, or that she wants to become friends with Emily who used to make fun of them, or that her uncle is visiting from Pakistan and might just realize Amina is not perfect.

Amina is a truly identifiable character. Her anxieties about performing in public, losing her friends, and disappointing her family are handled deftly by Khan in a way that will speak to a lot of kids. There are strong themes of individual values and what happens when those values clash with others' - especially those you love. This story of acceptance (of self and others) is a great choice for middle grade readers.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Creeping Shadow

The Creeping Shadow
(Lockwood and Co. #4)
by Jonathan Stroud
Disney/Hyperion, 2016. Fiction 445 p.
This is the fourth installment of the Lockwood & Co series. In this one Lucy has left the agency because of the premonition she received at the end of book 3. She is successful as an independent agent, but her life is empty and her only friend is The Skull. When Lockwood comes to her door begging her to come back and help them with "just one case" he doesn't have to twist her arm very hard. That case leads to another, and soon they are battling the biggest and scariest phenomenon they have ever faced.

This story does not disappoint Lockwood and Co fans. All the main characters develop in their relationships with each other, and readers get a few more hints at the ultimate cause of "The Problem." Stroud is a master at crafting both characters and plots, balancing intensity and humor so that readers are biting their nails one minute, and laughing out loud the next. I can hardly wait for the next one to come out (probably in the fall.) (445 p.)

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Bad Guys

The Bad Guys
By Aaron Blabey
Scholastic Press, 2016. Intermediate. 139 p.

Mr. Wolf is tired having a bad reputation. Sure, he has had some run-ins with some pigs and a little girl dressed in red, but he has changed--and to prove it, he has created the Good Guys Club. He, along with other bad reputation carnivores--Mr. Snake, Mr. Shark, and Mr. Piranha--decides to do a gigantic heroic deed to prove it. But it’s hard to change your ways and not everyone understands that they are now the good guys when they try to rescue 200 dogs from the city pound.

A great fit for the beginning Intermediate reader or reluctant reader with its hybrid graphic novel feel. Sure to have kids laughing out loud and wanting the next in the series. But don’t worry: book two, The Bad Guys in Mission Unpluckable, is out already.

Be Quiet!

Be Quiet! 
Ryan T. Higgins
Disney Hyperion, 2017. Picture Book.

Rupert is a mouse who wants to create an artistic picture book that is wordless. The only trouble is that two of Rupert’s mice friends want to help create the book—and they aren’t really quiet as they are helping to create the story. They talk and talk and talk about what they can do in the book and how wonderful they are; which in turn aggravates Rupert to the point that he is no longer quiet as well.

This is a comedic picture book where kids will see the irony of whether or not the mice are being quiet in this “wordless” picture book. And for fans of Higgins’ previous works (Mother Bruce and Hotel Bruce), there is a cameo of that “strong”, “silent”, and “grumpy” bear. This book is simply clever.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Whose Hands Are These?

Whose Hands Are These? A Community Helper Guessing Book
Written by Miranda Paul
Illustrated by Luciana Navarro Powell
Millbrook Press, 2016. Informational Picture Book.

Are you preparing to teach a unit about Community Helpers and looking for a new book to introduce the topic? You have found it! Paul has created a perfect, rhyming, read-aloud for interactive preschoolers to guess who each community helper is. Each person is introduced by Powell's illustrations showing what they do with their hands. These illustrations are accompanied by simple rhyming stanzas leaving the reader to guess the rhyming word on the next page. The next page contains the name and an illustration of that specific community helper.

There is diversity throughout and both genders performing the professions. A summary in the back of the book provides a more detailed paragraph about the specifics of each of the occupations that are introduced.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Display: Sci-Fi Booklist

Each of these great reads comes straight from our science fiction booklist!

Clone Codes
by Pat McKissack
Scholastic Press, 2010. 173 p.

On the run from a bounty hunter who arrested her mother for being part of a secret society devoted to freeing clones, thirteen-year-old Leanna learns amazing truths about herself and her family as she is forced to consider the value of freedom and what it really means to be human in 2170 America.

by Monica Tesler
Aladdin, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing Division, 2016.

Twelve-year-old Jasper and his friends are the first group of cadets, called Bounders, to be trained as astronauts who use new spaceships to teleport, but soon are forced to go up against an alien society seeking revenge for stealing this brain-sync technology.

The 7 Professors of the Far North
by John Fardell
Putnam's Sons, 2005. 217 p.

Eleven-year-old Sam finds himself involved in a dangerous adventure when he and his new friends, brother and sister Ben and Zara, set off for the Arctic to try and rescue the siblings' great-uncle and five other professors from the mad scientist holding them prisoner.

Mortal Engines
by Philip Reeve
EOS, 2003. 310 p.

In the distant future, when cities move about and consume smaller towns, a fifteen-year-old apprentice is pushed out of London by the man he most admires and must seek answers in the perilous Out-Country, aided by one girl and the memory of another.

Bongo Fishing
by Thacher Hurd
Henry Holt and Co., 2011.

Berkeley, California, middle-schooler Jason Jameson has a close encounter of the fun kind when Sam, a bluish alien from the Pleiades, arrives in a 1960 Dodge Dart spaceship and invites Jason to go fishing.

Eye of the Storm
Kate Messner
Walker Books for Young Readers, 2012.
292 p.

Jaden's summer visit with her meteorologist father, who has just returned from spending four years in Russia conducting weather experiments not permitted in the United States, fills her with apprehension and fear as she discovers that living at her father's planned community, Placid Meadows, is anything but placid.

The Rendering
by Joel Naftali
 Egmont USA, 2011. 275 p.

Thirteen-year-old Doug relates in a series of blog posts the story of how he saved the world but was falsely branded a terrorist and murderer, forced to fight the evil Dr. Roach and his armored biodroid army with an electronics-destroying superpower of his own.

Brain Jack
by Brian Falkner
Random House, c2009. 349 p.

In a near-future New York City, fourteen-year-old computer genius Sam Wilson manages to hack into the AT&T network and sets off a chain of events that have a profound effect on human activity throughout the world.

by Jeanette Winterson
Bloomsbury Children's Books : Distributed to the trade by Holtzbrinck Publishers, 2006.
414 p.

Eleven-year-old Silver sets out to find the Timekeeper--a clock that controls time--and to protect it from falling into the hands of two people who want to use the device for their own nefarious ends.

The Fog Diver
by Joel N. Ross
Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, 2015.
328 p.

 In this futuristic high-stakes adventure, humanity clings to cities on the highest mountain peaks above the deadly Fog, and airships transport the pirates of the skies. Daring 13-year-old tetherboy Chess and his salvage crew must face the dark plans of Lord Kodoc and work to save their beloved Mrs. E.

The Firefly Code
by Megan Frazer Blakemore
Bloomsbury Children's Books, 2016. 340p.

 Mori and her friends live a normal life on Firefly Lane in Old Harmonie, a utopian community where every kid knows he or she is genetically engineered to be better and smarter, but when a strangely perfect new girl named Ilana moves in, the friends begin to question the only world they have ever known.

Spacer and Rat
by Margaret Bechard
Roaring Brook Press, 2005. 183 p.

Jack's predictable existence on Freedom space station is transformed when Kit, the Earthie rat, enters his life and enlists him and a sensitive robot in an effort to outwit the Company.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

A Year Full of Stories

A Year Full of Stories: 52 Folktales and Legends from Around the World
By Angela McAllister
Illustrated by Christopher Corr
Frances Lincoln Children's, 2016. Informational.

This collection of 52 folk tales (one for each week of the year) features stories from all over the world and from diverse traditions. The stories start in January with New Year's Day and the Russian legend of Father Frost and end in December with Kwanzaa. This is a great book to read straight through or bit-by-bit depending on the season and time of year. All of the stories are short and interesting enough to work well as a read-aloud for younger kids.

The stories in this book are fun and good, but the illustrations are where this book really shines. Each page is filled with beautiful, interesting, graphic illustrations that enhance the stories perfectly. The bright colors and folk art inspired style of the illustrations are sophisticated enough for parents to enjoy, and bright enough to be fun for kids. This book is one of my very favorites from the informational section and is a perfect way to explore different legends.