Monday, March 15, 2010

Librarians' Choices 2009

Librarians’ Choices 2009
Master List

1. Auch, Mary Jane. 2009. THE PLOT CHICKENS. Ill. by Herm Auch. New York: Holiday House. ISBN 9780823420872 [Suggested Grade Levels K- 3]

2. Barasch, Lynne. 2009. FIRST COME THE ZEBRA. Ill. by Lynne Barasch. New York: Lee & Low. ISBN 9781600603655 [Suggested Grade Levels 1- 5]

3. Barton, Chris. 2009. THE DAY-GLO BROTHERS THE TRUE STORY OF BOB AND JOE SWITZER’S BRIGHT IDEAS AND BRAND-NEW COLORS. Ill. by Tony Persiani. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge. ISBN 9781570916731 [Suggested Grade Levels 2- 6]

4. Baskin, Nora Raleigh. 2009. ANYTHING BUT TYPICAL. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 9781416963783 [Suggested Grade Levels 6- 9]

5. Black, Michael Ian. 2009. CHICKEN CHEEKS: (THE BEGINNING OF THE ENDS). Ill. by Kevin Hawkes. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 9781416948643 [Suggested Grade Levels PreK- 2]

6. Bloom, Suzanne. 2009. A MIGHTY FINE TIME MACHINE. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills Press. ISBN 9781590785270 [Suggested Grade Levels PreK- 2]

7. Bray, Libba. 2009. GOING BOVINE. New York: Random House. ISBN 9780385733977 [Suggested Grade Levels 9- 12]

8. Breathed, Berkeley. 2009. FLAWED DOGS: THE NOVEL: THE SHOCKING RAID ON WESTMINSTER. Ill. by Berkeley Breathed. New York: Philomel. ISBN 9780399252181 [Suggested Grade Levels 5 & up]

9. Burd, Nick. 2009. THE VAST FIELDS OF ORDINARY. New York: Dial. ISBN 9780803733404 [Suggested Grade Levels 10- 12]

10. Burg, Ann. 2009. ALL THE BROKEN PIECES. New York: Scholastic. ISBN 9780545080924 [Suggested Grade Levels 6- 10]

11. Cashore, Kristin. 2009. FIRE. New York: Dial. ISBN9780803734616 [Suggested Grade Levels 7- 12]

12. Cerullo, Mary M. 2009. SHIPWRECKS: EXPLORING SUNKEN CITIES BENEATH THE SEA. New York: Dutton. ISBN 9780525479680 [Suggested Grade Levels 3- 8]

13. Clayton, Emma. 2009. THE ROAR. New York, NY: Scholastic. ISBN 9780439925938 [Suggested Grade Levels 6- 10]

14. Collins, Suzanne. 2009. CATCHING FIRE. New York: Scholastic. ISBN 9780439023498 [Suggested Grade Levels 7- 12]

15. Cooper, Michelle. 2009. A BRIEF HISTORY OF MONTMARAY. New York: Knopf. ISBN 9780375858642 [Suggested Grade Levels 7- 12]

16. Cousins, Lucy. 2009. YUMMY: EIGHT FAVORITE FAIRY TALES. Ill. by Lucy Cousins. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick. ISBN 9780763644741 [Suggested Grade Levels PreK- 2]

17. Crum, Shutta. THUNDER-BOOMER! Ill. by Carol Thompson. Clarion. ISBN 9780618618651 [Suggested Grade Levels PreK- 3]

18. Daly, Niki. 2009. BETTINA VALENTINO AND THE PICASSO CLUB. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. ISBN 9780374307530 [Suggested Grade Levels 3- 6]

19. Dashner, James. 2009. THE MAZE RUNNER. New York: Random House. ISBN 9780385737944 [Suggested Grade Levels 7- 12]

20. Deedy, Carmen Agra. 2009. 14 COWS FOR AMERICA. Ill. by Thomas Gonzalez. Atlanta, GA: Peachtree. ISBN 9781561454907 [Suggested Grade Levels 3- 7]

21. deGroat, Diane and Shelly Rotner. 2009. DOGS DON’T BRUSH THEIR TEETH! New York: Scholastic. ISBN 9780545080644 [Suggested Grade Levels K- 3]

22. Dodd, Emma. 2009. I DON’T WANT A POSH DOG! New York: Little, Brown. ISBN 9780316033909 [Suggested Grade Levels PreK- 2]

23. Edwardson, Debby Dahl. 2009. BLESSING’S BEAD. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. ISBN 9780374308056 [Suggested Grade Levels 6- 8]

24. Efaw, Amy. 2009. AFTER. New York: Viking. ISBN 9780670011834 [Suggested Grade Levels 8- 12]

25. Floca, Brian. 2009. MOONSHOT: THE FLIGHT OF APOLLO 11. New York: Atheneum. ISBN 9781416950462 [Suggested Grade Levels PreK- 5]

26. Florian, Douglas. 2009. DINOTHESAURUS. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 9781416979784 [Suggested Grade Levels K- 8]

27. Frost, Helen. 2009. CROSSING STONES. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. ISBN 9780374316532 [Suggested Grade Levels 5- 12]

28. Gall, Chris. 2009. DINOTRUX. Ill. by Chris Gall. New York: Little, Brown. ISBN 9780316027779 [Suggested Grade Levels PreK- 2]

29. Graff, Lisa. 2009. UMBRELLA SUMMER. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 9780061431876 [Suggested Grade Levels 3- 6]

30. Green, Tim. 2009. FOOTBALL CHAMP. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 9780061626890 [Suggested Grade Levels 5- 8]

31. Heide, Florence Parry. 2009. THE ONE AND ONLY MARIGOLD. Ill. by Jill McElmurry. New York: Random House. ISBN 9780375940514 [Suggested Grade Levels K- 2]

32. Heide, Florence Parry. 2009. PRINCESS HYACINTH (THE SURPRISING TALE OF A GIRL WHO FLOATED). Ill. by Lane Smith. New York: Random House. ISBN 9780375845017 [Suggested Grade Levels K- 3]

33. Heiligman, Deborah. 2009. CHARLES AND EMMA: THE DARWIN’S LEAP OF FAITH. New York: Henry Holt. ISBN 9780805087215 [Suggested Grade Levels 8- 12]

34. Henkes, Kevin. 2009. BIRDS. Ill. by Laura Dronzek. New York: Greenwillow. ISBN 9780805079401 [Suggested Grade Levels PreK- 1]

35. Hoberman, Mary Ann. 2009. STRAWBERRY HILL. Ill. by Wendy Anderson Halperin. New York: Little, Brown. ISBN 9780316041362 [Suggested Grade Levels 3- 6]

36. Hoberman, Mary Ann and Linda Winston, ed. 2009. THE TREE THAT TIME BUILT. Naperville, Illinois: Sourcebooks. ISBN 9781402225178 [Suggested Grade Levels 3- 6]

37. Hoose, Phillip. 2009. CLAUDETTE COLVIN: TWICE TOWARD JUSTICE. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. ISBN 9780374313227 [Suggested Grade Levels 7- 12]

38. Hopkins, Lee Bennett. 2009. CITY I LOVE. Ill. by Marcellus Hall. New York: Abrams. ISBN 9780810983274 [Suggested Grade Levels K- 5]

39. Hopkinson, Deborah. 2009. HOME ON THE RANGE: JOHN A. LOMAX AND HIS COWBOY SONGS. Ill. by S.D. Schindler. New York: Putnam. ISBN 9780399239960 [Suggested Grade Levels 3- 6]

40. Hughes, Langston. 2009. MY PEOPLE. Ill. by Charles R Smith Jr. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 9781416935407 [Suggested Grade Levels PreK- 9]

41. Huntley, Amy. 2009. THE EVERAFTER. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 9780061776793 [Suggested Grade Levels 7- 10]

42. Kajikawa, Kimiko. 2009. TSUNAMI. Ill. by Ed Young. New York: Philomel. ISBN 9780399250064 [Suggested Grade Levels 1- 3]

43. Katcher, Brian. 2009. ALMOST PERFECT. New York: Delacorte Press. ISBN 9780385736640 [Suggested Grade Levels 9- 12]

44. Katz, Bobbi. 2009. THE MONSTEROLOGIST: A MEMOIR IN RHYME. Ill. by Adam McCauley. New York: Sterling. ISBN 9781402744174 [Suggested Grade Levels 3- 6]

45. Kelly, Jacqueline. 2009. THE EVOLUTION OF CALPURNIA TATE. New York: Henry Holt. ISBN 9780805088410 [Suggested Grade Levels 5- 9]

46. Kerley, Barbara. 2009. ONE WORLD, ONE DAY. National Geographic. ISBN 9781426304606 [Suggested Grade Levels PreK- 3]

47. Kirby, Pamela. 2009. WHAT BLUEBIRDS DO. Boyds Mills Press. ISBN 9781590786147 [Suggested Grade Levels PreK - 4]

48. Knudsen, Michelle. 2009. THE DRAGON OF TRELIAN. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick. ISBN 9780763634551 [Suggested Grade Levels 3- 8]

49. Kramer, Clara. 2009. CLARA’S WAR: ONE GIRL’S STORY OF SURVIVAL. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 9780061728600 [Suggested Grade Levels 9- 12]

50. Lafleur, Suzanne. 2009. LOVE, AUBREY. New York: Random House. ISBN 9780385906869 [Suggested Grade Levels 4- 8]

51. Lee, Tony. 2009. OUTLAW: THE LEGEND OF ROBIN HOOD. Ill. by Sam Hart. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick. ISBN 9780763643997 [Suggested Grade Levels 7- 12]

52. Levine, Kristin. 2009. BEST BAD LUCK I EVER HAD. New York: Penguin. ISBN 9780399250903 [Suggested Grade Levels 5- 8]

53. Lewis, J. Patrick. 2009. COUNTDOWN TO SUMMER: A POEM FOR EVERY DAY OF THE SCHOOL YEAR. Ill. by Ethan Long. New York: Little, Brown. ISBN 9780316020893 [Suggested Grade Levels 1- 8]

54. Lewis, J. Patrick. 2009. THE HOUSE. Ill. by Roberto Innocenti. Minneapolis, MN: Creative Editions. ISBN 978-1568462011 [Suggested Grade Levels 3-10]

55. Libby, Alisa. 2009. THE KING’S ROSE. New York: Penguin. ISBN 9780525479703 [Suggested Grade Levels 9- 12]

56. Lin, Grace. 2009. WHERE THE MOUNTAIN MEETS THE MOON. New York: Little, Brown. ISBN 9780316114271 [Suggested Grade Levels 3- 6]

57. Littman, Sarah Darer. 2009. PURGE. New York: Scholastic. ISBN 9780545052351 [Suggested Grade Levels 9- 12]

58. Martin, Russell & Nibley, Lydia. 2009. THE MYSTERIES OF BEETHOVEN’S HAIR. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge. ISBN 9781570917141 [Suggested Grade Levels 4- 10]

59. McCormick, Patricia. PURPLE HEART. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 9780061730900 [Suggested Grade Levels 6- 10]

60. McElligott, Matthew. 2009. THE LION’S SHARE. Ill. by Matthew McElligott. New York: Walker. ISBN 9780802797681 [Suggested Grade Levels 1- 3]

61. McKernan, Victoria. 2009. THE DEVIL’S PAINTBOX. New York: Knopf. ISBN 9780375837500 [Suggested Grade Levels 9- 12]

62. Meschenmoser, Sebastian. 2009. WAITING FOR WINTER. Tulsa, OK: Kane/Miller. ISBN 9781935279044 [Suggested Grade Levels K- 2]

63. Mora, Pat. 2009. BOOK FIESTA!: CELEBRATE CHILDREN’S DAY/BOOK DAY; CELEBREMOS EL DÍA DE LOS NIÑOS/EL DÍA DE LOS LIBROS. Ill. by Rafael López. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 9780061288777 [Suggested Grade Levels PreK- 5]

64. Myers, Walter Dean. 2009. DOPESICK. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 978061214776 [Suggested Grade Levels 8- 12]

65. November, Sharyn, Ed. 2009. FIREBIRDS SOARING: AN ANTHOLOGY OF ORIGINAL SPECULATIVE FICTION. Ill. by Mike Dringenberg. New York: Penguin. ISBN 0142405523 [Suggested Grade Levels 9- 12]

66. O’Connor, Barbara. 2009. THE SMALL ADVENTURE OF POPEYE AND ELVIS. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. ISBN 9780374370558 [Suggested Grade Levels 3- 6]

67. Parry, Rosanne. 2009. HEART OF A SHEPHERD. New York: Random House. ISBN 9780375848025 [Suggested Grade Levels 5- 7]

68. Partridge, Elizabeth. 2009. MARCHING FOR FREEDOM: WALK TOGETHER, CHILDREN, AND DON’T YOU GROW WEARY. New York: Viking. ISBN 9780670011896 [Suggested Grade Levels 4- 8]

69. Patricelli, Leslie. 2009. HIGHER! HIGHER! Cambridge, MA: Candlewick. ISBN 9780763632410 [Suggested Grade Levels PreK- 2]

70. Paulsen, Gary. 2009. NOTES FROM THE DOG. New York: Random House. ISBN 9780375894503 [Suggested Grade Levels 5- 9]

71. Pinkney, Jerry. 2009. THE LION AND THE MOUSE. New York: Little, Brown. ISBN 9780316013567 [Suggested Grade Levels PreK- 3]

72. Portis, Antoinette. 2009. A PENGUIN STORY. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 9780061456893 [Suggested Grade Levels K- 2]

73. Rappaport, Doreen. 2009. ELEANOR, QUIET NO MORE: THE LIFE OF ELEANOR ROOSEVELT. Ill. by Gary Kelley. New York: Hyperion. ISBN 9780786851416 [Suggested Grade Levels 3- 7]

74. Reuda, Claudia. 2009. MY LITTLE POLAR BEAR. New York: Scholastic. ISBN 9780545146005 [Suggested Grade Levels PreK- 1]

75. Rosen, Michael J. 2009. THE CUCKOO’S HAIKU AND OTHER BIRDING POEMS. Ill. by Stan Fellows. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick. ISBN 9780763630492 [Suggested Grade Levels 3- 8]

76. Rosenthal, Amy Krouse. 2009. DUCK! RABBIT! Ill. by Tom Lichtenheld. San Fransisco, CA: Chronicle Books. ISBN 9780811868655 [Suggested Grade Levels PreK- 2]

77. Ruddell, Deborah. 2009. A WHIFF OF PINE, A HINT OF SKUNK: A FOREST OF POEMS. Ill. by Joan Rankin. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 9781416942115 [Suggested Grade Levels 1- 5]

78. Ryan, Carrie. 2009. FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH. New York: Random House. ISBN 9780385736817 [Suggested Grade Levels 10- 12]

79. Sakai, Komako. 2009. THE SNOW DAY. New York: Scholastic. ISBN 9780545013215 [Suggested Grade Levels PreK- 1]

80. Sandler, Martin W. 2009. DUST BOWL THROUGH THE LENS: HOW PHOTOGRAPHY REVEALED AND HELPED A NATIONAL DISASTER. New York: Walker. ISBN 978080279548 [Suggested Grade Levels 4- 8]

81. Scanlon, Liz Garton. 2009. ALL THE WORLD. Ill. by Marla Frazee. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 9781416985808 [Suggested Grade Levels Pre-K- 1]

82. Sidman, Joyce. 2009. RED SINGS FROM TREETOPS: A YEAR IN COLORS. Ill. by Pamela Zagarenski. New York: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 9780547014944 [Suggested Grade Levels K- 3]

83. Simner, Janni Lee. 2009. BONES OF FAERIE. New York: Random House. ISBN 9780375845635 [Suggested Grade Levels 7- 10]

84. Sloat, Teri. 2009. THERE WAS AN OLD MAN WHO PAINTED THE SKY. Ill. by Stefano Vitale. New York: Henry Holt. ISBN 9780805067514 [Suggested Grade Levels K- 3]

85. Small, David. 2009. STITCHES: A MEMOIR. New York: W.W. Norton. ISBN 9780393068573 [Suggested Grade Levels 9- 12]

86. Smithson, Ryan. 2009. GHOSTS OF WAR. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 9780061664687 [Suggested Grade Levels 9- 12]

87. Stead, Rebecca. 2009. WHEN YOU REACH ME. New York: Random House. ISBN 9780385737425 [Suggested Grade Levels 5- 8]

88. Stein, David Ezra. 2009. POUCH. New York: Penguin. ISBN 9780399250514 [Suggested Grade Levels PreK- 1]

89. Stone, Tanya Lee. 2009. ALMOST ASTRONAUTS: 13 WOMEN WHO DARED TO DREAM. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick. ISBN 9780763636111 [Suggested Grade Levels 5- 9]

90. Stork, Francisco X. 2009. MARCELO IN THE REAL WORLD. New York: Scholastic. ISBN 9780545054744 [Suggested Grade Levels 9- 12]

91. Stroud, Jonathan. 2009. HEROES OF THE VALLEY. New York: Hyperion. ISBN 9781423109662 [Suggested Grade Levels 5- 8]

92. Teague, Mark. 2009. THE DOOM MACHINE. New York: Scholastic. ISBN 9780545151429 [Suggested Grade Levels 5- 8]

93. Turner, Pamela S. 2009. THE FROG SCIENTIST. Photos by Andy Comins. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 9780618717163 [Suggested Grade Levels 6- 12]

94. Van Camp, Katie. 2009. HARRY AND HORSIE. Ill. by Lincoln Agnew. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 9780061755989 [Suggested Grade Levels PreK- 1]

95. Warren, Andrea. 2009. UNDER SIEGE!: THREE CHILDREN AT THE CIVIL WAR BATTLE FOR VICKSBURG. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. ISBN 9780374312558 [Suggested Grade Levels 5- 9]

96. Wells, Rosemary. 2009. LINCOLN AND HIS BOYS. Ill. by P.J. Lynch. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick. ISBN 9780763637231[Suggested Grade Levels 3- 7]

97. Williams, Carol Lynch. 2009. THE CHOSEN ONE. New York: St. Martin’s. ISBN 9780312555115 [Suggested Grade Levels 7- 12]

98. Winter, Jonah. 2009. YOU NEVER HEARD OF SANDY KOUFAX?! Ill. by Andre Carrilho. New York: Random House. ISBN 9780375837388 [Suggested Grade Levels K- 3]

99. Wrede, Patricia C. 2009. THIRTEENTH CHILD. New York: Scholastic. ISBN 9780545033428 [Suggested Grade Levels 7- 9]

100. Zuckerman, Andrew. 2009. CREATURE ABC. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books. ISBN 9780811869782 [Suggested Grade Levels PreK- 1]

Creature ABC

Zuckerman, Andrew. 2009. CREATURE ABC. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books. ISBN 9780811869782 [Suggested Grade Levels PreK- 1]

Andrew Zuckerman adapted images from his earlier coffee table book, CREATURE, to make this picture book for children. Similar to his earlier work, Zuckerman uses full-color studio photographs of wild animals against a plain white background. Each letter of the alphabet features two close-up photographs of an animal. Some letters, such as N for nocturnal, do include more than one type of animal. The first double-page spread is labeled with the uppercase and lowercase letter and the second lists the animal’s name. The simple, almost stark, illustrations and text allow readers to focus on each animal and the corresponding letter.

Zuckerman’s amazing photographs are so vivid and clear, readers may try to touch the animals. The close-up images allow viewers to see details they may not have noticed in other photographs. Young audiences will want to spend time investigating each page. While most of the animals are commonly known by children, Zuckerman does include a few exotic selections as well. Readers will probably guess monkey for letter M, instead of the more unusual mandrill. This is a visually appealing book that offers young children an interesting assortment of alphabet animals.

This alphabet book would make a great interactive read-aloud in a classroom or library setting. After reading, children could create their own alphabet books either from photographs or by using their own illustrations.

Other animal alphabet books for children:
Fleming, Denise. ALPHABET UNDER CONSTRUCTION. ISBN 9780805081121 Marino, Gianna. ZOOPA: AN ANIMAL ALPHABET. ISBN 9780811847896

By Kimberly C. Kinnaird

Thirteenth Child

Wrede, Patricia C. 2009. THIRTEENTH CHILD. New York: Scholastic. ISBN 9780545033428 [Suggested Grade Levels 7- 9]

An alternate American frontier is the setting for the first installment of Patricia Wrede’s Frontier Magic series. This is no LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE. Children go to school to study traditional magic. Chores are done with the help of magical spells. Adult magicians use their magic to protect new settlements from deadly animals, both natural and magical. There are some people that don’t believe in using magic and want to establish a new settlement that is completely magic free.

The THIRTEENTH CHILD is narrated by Eff. She is the thirteenth child, which is considered unlucky and by some of her own relatives, downright evil. Her twin brother, Lan, is the seventh son of a seventh son. Lan is supposed to possess amazing magical powers and always have good luck. When Eff and Lan’s father accepts a position as a professor of magic at a college on the North Plains Territory, Eff doesn’t have to live under the scrutiny of her relatives anymore. She is able to grow as a magician and a person, but ever mindful of her possible fate as a thirteenth child. Wrede is thorough in building this alternate America, even though quite a bit of time passes in this first installment. The reader follows Eff from the time she is five until she is eighteen.

Invite kids to create maps of the new frontier.
For an art project readers can create paper mache steam dragons or other creatures from the new territory.

Other books by Patricia Wrede:
THE GRAND TOUR. ISBN 9780152055561

Additional books on the topic of magic:
Duey, Kathleen. SKIN HUNGER. ISBN 9780689840937

By Jane Jergensen

You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?

Winter, Jonah. 2009. YOU NEVER HEARD OF SANDY KOUFAX?! Ill. by Andre Carrilho. New York: Random House. ISBN 9780375837388 [Suggested Grade Levels K - 3]

With charm and intimacy, Winter sets forth this cozy picture book biography of one of the best ever left-handed pitchers in professional baseball. The narrator is an unnamed teammate who is gently outraged that readers may not know about Koufax and he proceeds to tell of the ups and downs of this amazing Jewish athlete. He speaks in the Brooklyn vernacular of the time with dropped g’s and lots of ain’ts: “Just when you were startin’ to understand him, he’d haul off and throw you a curve.” He respectfully relates Koufax’s religious commitment and awareness of his status as a hero in the Jewish community with an anecdote about the first game of the 1965 World Series when Koufax sits out the game because it happened to fall on a High Holy Day.

The design of the book is gorgeous starting with the lenticular cover of Koufax pitching. The end pages depict baseball card shots of Koufax in Andre Carrilho’s style of caricature which is also used with the characters populating the book. This technique enhances their status to correspond with the narrator’s tone of adoration. An exquisite, limited color palette with Dodger’s blue and red highlight the heavily black-and-white spreads. On each page, Carrilho digitally enhances the illustrations with burnished gold accents. Small boxes containing relevant statistics are found throughout. A glossary of baseball terms is included.

Encourage children to authenticate the statistics either online or in print materials.

By the same author featuring athletes:
Winter, Jonah. MUHAMMAD ALI: CHAMPION OF THE WORLD. ISBN 9780375937873

By Cay Geisler

The Chosen One

Williams, Carol Lynch. 2009. THE CHOSEN ONE. New York: St. Martin’s. ISBN 9780312555115. [Suggested Grade Levels 7- 12]

Thirteen year old Kyra lives in an isolated polygamist community or cult. Her father has three wives and she has twenty brothers and sisters. For the most part, she accepts her life and does not question it, but she does make secret, forbidden trips to the bookmobile where she checks out forbidden books that she hides so that no one knows she reads them. She also meets with Joshua, the boy she wishes to “choose” and who wants to “choose” her. The leader of the community, though, has other plans for her and decrees that she must marry her 60-year-old Uncle Hyrum who already has six wives.

Joshua and Kyra rebel against the decision and are beaten. Joshua runs away and soon after Kyra determines that she also must escape. With the help of the bookmobile librarian, she chooses to leave in a harrowing and dangerous escape. Taken from the headlines, Williams tells a tale that is compelling and realistic. The family dynamics, the control by the Prophet and his “God Squad” which includes the local police, and the bravery of Kyra and Joshua make this a book that is difficult to put down.

This book is perfect for teen book clubs or literature circles and could prompt discussion about religion, cults, individual choice, and family loyalty. Use it to discuss the issue of freedom of choice in courtship and marriage. Compare Kyra’s choices with those of girls in cultures with arranged marriages.

Books dealing with religion and choices:
Hrdlitschka, Shelley. SISTER WIFE. ISBN 9781551439273
Rich, Naomi. ALIS. ISBN 9780670011254
Zarr, Sarah. ONCE WAS LOST. ISBN 9780316036047

By Janet Hilbun

Lincoln and his Boys

Wells, Rosemary. 2009. LINCOLN AND HIS BOYS. Ill. by P.J. Lynch. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick. ISBN 9780763637231[Suggested Grade Levels 3- 7]

Told in three parts by Lincoln’s sons, Lincoln the father is highlighted, rather than Lincoln the President. Part one is Willie’s recounting of a train trip he took with his father to Chicago. There they meet “spiffed-up men with soft hands” to discuss a bid for the Presidency. Part two is narrated by Willie after the family is in the White House with Tad’s voice chiming in about the looming Civil War. The final section is told entirely from Tad’s point of view, as he sadly describes his parents’ depression following Willie’s sickness and death.

Throughout the book, readers learn of the Lincoln family through the eyes of the children, an appealing format for middle-grade readers. Short dialogue and Wells’ narrative style reaches those that might not otherwise read a historically based piece. Beautiful portrait-style paintings appear often enough to support the text, and they depict Lincoln both as playful father and contemplative leader. A tidy author’s note explains the motivation for the story, and verifies that although the details are factual, the dialogue is contrived. Overall, this book fits nicely between the light picture book stories about Lincoln and the thick information-rich ones.

While researching the Civil War, Wells found a 200-word essay by Willie Lincoln that inspired this story. Define primary documents for children, and analyze why they are considered the most accurate source for research. Display artifacts and primary documents, and help children draw conclusions from them.

More books about Lincoln’s personal life:
Freedman, Russell. LINCOLN: A PHOTOBIOGRAPHY. ISBN 9780899193809
Ragin, Staton. MR. LINCOLN’S BOYS. ISBN 9780670061693

By Rebecca S. McKee

Under Siege!

Warren, Andrea. 2009. UNDER SIEGE!: THREE CHILDREN AT THE CIVIL WAR BATTLE FOR VICKSBURG. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. ISBN 9780374312558 [Suggested Grade Levels 5- 9]

Andrea Warren’s nonfiction book describes the Battle of Vicksburg as seen through the eyes of three children who lived through the siege. These three children came from different social and political backgrounds, but each chronicled their experiences for later generations. Warren skillfully weaves their stories together, and includes other primary sources, to create a cohesive view of this important military campaign.

Warren’s book compares the experiences of Vicksburg residents, Lucy McRae and Willie Lord, with Frederick Grant’s time spent living with his father, General Grant, and the invading Union army. While the constant shelling forced Lucy and Willie’s families to seek protection in underground caves, Fred suffered from a bullet wound and dysentery which were common ailments among soldiers. Warren’s meticulously researched book includes several reference features, including postscripts on the major figures and supporting facts about the war and reconstruction. Photographs, newspaper articles, and journal entries help today’s readers relate to the survivors on both sides of the war.

This substantial work of nonfiction would be an excellent reference book for a Civil War unit. Warren’s extensive research notes, especially the recommended reading list and selected bibliography, will be useful for readers wishing to learn more about the Battle of Vicksburg.

Other books about children in the Civil War:
Fleischman, Paul. BULL RUN. ISBN 9780064405881

By Kimberly C. Kinnaird

Harry and Horsie

Van Camp, Katie. 2009. HARRY AND HORSIE. Ill. by Lincoln Agnew. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 9780061755989 [Suggested Grade Levels PreK- 1]


Harry can’t sleep and neither can his favorite stuffed friend, Horsie. The moon is shining through his window and Harry wants to play with his new “Super Duper Bubble Blooper.” Soon there are bubbles everywhere and some envelope and carry off Harry’s toys. What is at first amusing turns into adventure, as a large bubble carries Horsie out the window and off to space. Now, with Bubble Shooter in hand, Harry is off to rescue Horsie!

Big bold comic book style graphics grace pages that look heavy and colored by age. Onomatopoeic words further this impression with exclamations of BLOOP! and ZOOM! Textured colors give the illustrations a retro 1950’s look. Harry has huge saucer shaped eyes and textured yellow hair, while well loved Horsie is loose limbed and patched. There is plenty of humor in the words and drawings as well. In one double paged spread, Harry is posed bravely, chest out, bubble shooter at the ready and standing next to him is his kitten, in the classic cat grooming pose.


Blowing bubbles would be a fun introduction to HARRY AND HORSIE. Following the reading, experiment using different items as a “Super Duper Bubble Blooper.” Invite the kids to consider: Can you blow a bubble through a straw? How about a Froot Loop? Why? What do you need to make a bubble blowing tool?


Other books about imaginative trips to space:

Loomis, Christine. ASTRO BUNNIES. ISBN 9780399231759

Portis, Antoinette. NOT A BOX. ISBN 9780061123221

Yaccarino, Dan. ZOOM! ZOOM! ZOOM! I’M OFF TO THE MOON! ISBN 9780590956109

By Marianne Follis

The Frog Scientist

Turner, Pamela S. 2009. THE FROG SCIENTIST. Photos by Andy Comins. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 9780618717163 [Suggested Grade Levels 6- 12]

Dr. Tyrone Hayes, a field research biologist, studies the effect of pesticides on frogs in this research based, well photographed nonfiction book for the secondary level. A Harvard educated scientist, Hayes’ work on the pesticide atrazine is well-explained by Turner, who emphasizes Hayes’ use of the scientific method and documentation of his research to link pesticides with frog deformities.

Large, bright photographs show Hayes, his students, and the frogs as they work in the field and lab. Hayes, an African American scientist, is a role model for children of all backgrounds who may be interested in science. His graduate students reflect the diverse make-up of our country and the photos include them as they work with Hayes.

The role of the frog as a monitor for the health of our environment and the subsequent effects of environmental pollution lure the reader into the book as well. While being a frog science might not appeal to everyone at first glance, this book provides an in-depth look at a real scientist at work in a real world situation that has the potential to affect us all.

Dr. Hayes makes an excellent subject of study during Black History Month by connecting the study of science and the environment with reading about African American leaders. Identify and research other field biologists and their work. Find out and share how they set up their experiments.

Other books for children about scientific investigations:
Fortey, Jacqueline. GREAT SCIENTISTS. ISBN 9780756629748
Montgomery, Sy. THE SNAKE SCIENTIST. ISBN 9780618111190

By Shirley Duke

The Doom Machine

Teague, Mark. 2009. THE DOOM MACHINE. New York: Scholastic. ISBN 9780545151429 [Suggested Grade Levels 5- 8]

The ominous danger of the Doom Machine is offset by the fact that it is contained in a refrigerator. Thus begins a hilarious science fiction tale of giant alien spiders whose UFO lands in a small town in the United States during the 1950s. Seeking the Doom Machine so that they can conquer Earth, the aliens kidnap Jack, his Uncle Bud, the creator of the machine, and Dr. Shumway and her daughter Isadora, taking them to the aliens’ planet with several stops along the way. From a planet that defies time, to the polluted world of the spiders, readers are on an entertaining journey. This novel is fast paced, highly entertaining, and sure to please.

Interspersed with the contemporary problems of pollution and power politics, Teague has written a “what if” story that entertains and also elicits questions from the readers. What if a superior race were to come to Earth in the body of a large, ugly spider? What are our responsibilities for our technological discoveries? The technology in the story is questioned and understood based on today’s science knowledge, but was unheard of during the 1950s, thus creating an opportunity to consider today’s responsibilities.

This book provides an opportunity to discuss the culture of the 1950s, from the role of single mothers, to women in the work place as leaders or scientists, to inter-racial marriage and biracial children.

Other novels about future/alternative worlds:
Asimov, Isaac. I, ROBOT. ISBN 9780553803709
Kirkbride, Tom. GAMDIN: WORD OF HONOR. ISBN 9781934572061
Patterson, James. THE DANGEROUS DAYS OF DANIEL X. ISBN 9780316002929

By Christine J. Rayl

Heroes of the Valley

Stroud, Jonathan. 2009. HEROES OF THE VALLEY. New York: Hyperion. ISBN 9781423109662 [Suggested Grade Levels 5 - 8]

Stroud has created an epic fantasy quest based on Norse mythology featuring twelve heroes whose descendants populate the Valley. Halli, small, dark, and bandy-legged is the second son from the House of Svein whose lore launches each chapter and the introduction of which establishes the culminating tale of the heroes’ deaths fighting the underground creatures known as trows. Now the twelve houses live in peace no longer feuding as in the tales of old, but politics among the Houses still roils.

Halli, different physically (and motivationally) from his family, inadvertently starts a series of events that forces him from his House and out into the Valley. He is joined by Aud, a young woman from the House of Arne, who is almost as brave and restless as he is. She knows all of the same stories, but Arne is the hero, not Svein. Between the two, they strive to return honor to their Houses and wreak revenge on the House of Hakon. They will have to come to terms with the old stories of the heroes and figure out the purpose of the trows. Will they have the courage to face their fears and confront the old ways? Stroud entices his readers into this beautifully realized world of adventure, honor, and bravery and he does not disappoint.

Invite readers to visit and view the book jacket illustrations from various countries. Discuss why different countries have produced different illustrations and what are the implications? Allow readers to design their own covers.

Other books based on Norse mythology:
Farmer, Nancy.2004. SEA OF TROLLS. ISBN 9780689867460
Gaiman, Neil. 2009. ODD AND THE FROST GIANTS ISBN 9780061671739

By Cay Geisler

Marcelo in the Real World

Stork, Francisco X. 2009. MARCELO IN THE REAL WORLD. New York: Scholastic. ISBN 9780545054744 [Suggested Grade Levels 9- 12]

Marcelo lives his life on the high-functioning end of the Autism spectrum, and does so very comfortably until the summer before his last year of high school. Marcelo’s father decides it’s time for him to join the “real world,” and the two make a deal. If Marcelo works in his father’s law firm for the entire summer, he gets to return to his special needs school in the fall. If he refuses, he has to spend his senior year at a public school. Marcelo chooses the law firm.

The rest of the story explores Marcelo’s struggle with the nuances of emotion that come from interacting with his new friends Jasmine and Wendell. He confronts jealousy, competition and anger, and is challenged to fight for what he begins to feel is an injustice done by his father’s law firm. Stork’s writing is clear and poignant, and Marcelo’s voice as he narrates his own story is simultaneously innocent and wise, providing a unique look at human emotion and a compelling read.

This story is so powerful largely because it is narrated in first person and the reader experiences events from Marcelo’s point of view. Have readers imagine the story from another character’s point of view – such as his father’s or Jasmine’s – and have them focus on how they might process emotion and humor differently.

Other young adult novels about kids with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome:
Baskin, Nora Raleigh. ANYTHING BUT TYPICAL. ISBN 9781416963783
Choldenko, Gennifer. AL CAPONE DOES MY SHIRTS. ISBN 9780399238611
Dowd, Siobhan. THE LONDON EYE MYSTERY. ISBN 9780375949760

By Cecily Ponce de Leon

Almost Astronauts

Stone, Tanya Lee. 2009. ALMOST ASTRONAUTS: 13 WOMEN WHO DARED TO DREAM. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick. ISBN 9780763636111 [Suggested Grade Levels 5- 9]

In 1983, Sally Ride became the first American woman in space. While a landmark moment, Ride’s journey was paved by the many women, who had the same dream, of being an astronaut, denied them. ALMOST ASTRONAUTS tells the story of thirteen of these forerunners on this path; the story of the “Mercury 13.” These 13 women, almost made it into space and this title details the trials and indignities they suffered because they were women.

Stone uses personal stories and impassioned pleas to make her feelings on these injustices known. With comments like, “Would anyone ever suggest that a male astronaut ought to be a married man with little sex appeal? No. Not in a million years.” Stone inserts herself into the story and you can hear her outrage. Personal interviews, archival photographs and primary sources with extensive and detailed back matter make this a well thought out and helpful resource.

Stone has included wonderful options for additional research in the “Further Reading” and “Webliography.” Gather these books and explore the websites as a class to further the discussion and, as an additional bonus, you can demonstrate what wonderful reference resources can be contained in the back matter of books.

Continue the discussion on Women’s Rights by connecting with these additional titles:

By Marianne Follis


Stein, David Ezra. 2009. POUCH. New York: Penguin. ISBN 9780399250514 [Suggested Grade Levels PreK- 1]

In POUCH we meet a young Joey who is ready to discover his new world. Well…almost ready. “Mama, said Joey, I want to hop!” And hop he does. With an exuberant smile on his face and a bounce in his hop, Joey takes off to explore. As he hops, he encounters new creatures. Upon seeing a bee for the first time, Joey asks, “Who are you?” At the answer, “Bee,” Joey yells, “POUCH” and jumps back to his mama and the safety of the pouch. With each new and potentially frightening discovery, he yells “POUCH!” and retreats to the security of his mother. It’s not until he meets a new friend that is just as frightened as he, that he feels brave enough to continue his explorations.

Simple text with the recurring refrain “POUCH!” will draw young listeners into participation as they laugh at the silliness of some of the young Joey’s fears. Layered naïve watercolors done in rich warm hues will welcome readers into the warmth of these pages. Simple thick lines are used to depict the emotions of the young kangaroo’s face as he experiences joy, curiosity, fear, laughter and finally pride.

A POUCH is one way that mother’s carry their young. Explore and discuss what makes marsupials different from other mammals. How do they compare to other modes of baby transportation in the animals world?

More about marsupials and other animal babies:
Ashman, Linda. BABIES ON THE GO. ISBN 9780152018948
Bishop, Nic. MARSUPIALS. ISBN 9780439877589
French, Jackie. DIARY OF A WOMBAT. ISBN 9780618381364

By Marianne Follis

When You Reach Me

Stead, Rebecca. 2009. WHEN YOU REACH ME. New York: Random House. ISBN 9780385737425 [Suggested Grade Levels 5- 8]

Stead has written possibly the best mystery of the year and just as possible, the best science fiction title of the year. This first person narrative, set in1978, is structured as a long letter from twelve-year-old Mira to some unnamed person. She has received several inexplicable notes from someone who has asked that she write a letter about when it all started. Understandably confused, Mira sets forth all that has happened so far that fall so that she can do what is asked: “I finally believed that whoever wrote me those notes actually knew about things before they happened. Somehow.” Stead expertly doles out the clues to keep us mesmerized.

Mira is a latch key kid whose mother works as a paralegal and is practicing to appear on a game show, “The $20,000 Pyramid.” Chapter titles are often categories that reflect the game show objectives such as, “Things That Fall Apart.” Mira’s relationships with her friends and mother are honestly portrayed and flesh out the action in this very realistic world. She comes to realize that: “Common sense is just a name for the way we’re used to thinking.”Stead ties up the story threads using her uncanny powers of characterization, plot, and pacing which come together in this astonishing novel: “You won’t be yourself when you reach me but you will get the job done.” So true.

Invite children to make up sets of seven simple words for the speed round and categories for the Winner’s Circle to play their own version of $20,000 Pyramid.

Books that feature time travel:
Haddix, Margaret Peterson. 2008, FOUND. ISBN 9781416954170
Teague, Mark. 2009. DOOM MACHINE. ISBN 9780545151429

By Cay Geisler

Ghosts of War

Smithson, Ryan. 2009. GHOSTS OF WAR. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 9780061664687 [Suggested Grade Levels 9- 12]

This memoir of a nineteen-year-old soldier traces the events leading to him joining the reserves, his time in the U.S. Army, subsequent year’s deployment in Iraq, and his return. Smithson explains the impact 9-11 had on his life and his feelings about his country, from duty, to the need to do something, and how the war had an impact on his life following his return.

The matter-of-fact narration conveys the emotions, longings, and conflicts brought on by basic training, the military, and war. The text moves about out of sequence from Smithson’s reasons for joining, to his time in Iraq, to basic training, in smooth transitions. He details service life from the long bouts of boredom mixed with intermittent moments of horrifying fear, to the deaths of friends. His marriage and the longing for home resonate deeply without any overt sexual descriptions.

This book provides an inside look into today’s military. It concludes with a look at one soldier’s struggle to fit back in at home. With a background of the military and the raw emotions of war, it shows patriotism in action in a realistic, honest story.

This book lets readers experience the military and warfare on a personal level and get a realistic view of today’s military. It would be a book to read before enlisting or when dealing with a loved one actively involved or returning from military service.

Other books for teens about war:

Ambrose, Stephen E. THE GOOD FIGHT: HOW WORLD WAR II WAS WON. ISBN 9780689843617

Burg, Ann. ALL THE BROKEN PIECES. ISBN 9780545080927

Kohler, Dean Ellis. ROCK AND ROLL SOLDIER. ISBN 9780061242557

By Shirley Duke

Stitches: A Memoir

Small, David. 2009. STITCHES: A MEMOIR. New York: W.W. Norton. ISBN 9780393068573 [Suggested Grade Levels 9- 12]

Award-winning children’s illustrator, David Small, uses his artistry to depict his harrowing childhood in this graphic memoir. His radiologist father believed x-rays could cure many ailments, including David’s chronic sinus problems. When a lump develops in David’s neck, his mother seems unconcerned, worried more about the imposition and cost of a potential serious illness than her son. After years the lump can’t be ignored, and teenage David is hustled into an operating room, not knowing that he has throat cancer and unprepared for the tragic results of the surgery. David emerges voiceless and angry at the lifetime of abuse he has suffered at the hands of his parents and grandparents.

David’s rendering of his mother gives the reader an unsettling feeling. She grunts her criticism through snarled grimaces, and her hunched posture exudes her despicable nature. Yet she seems almost harmless compared to the maternal grandmother. The sympathy one may feel for Small is halted only by the thought that without this background, he may never have developed into such an expressive talent.

The graphic memoir is a relatively new genre. Consider how the format enhances or distracts from the presentation of a person’s story. Instruct teens to write a short piece relating an incident from their childhood. Afterwards, try to convey the same information using the graphic format. Which style is preferred? Why?

Memoirs of dysfunctional families:
Walls, Jeannette. THE GLASS CASTLE: A MEMOIR. ISBN 9780743247535

More note-worthy graphic memoirs:
Katin, Miriam. WE ARE ON OUR OWN. ISBN 9781896597201
Sandell, Laurie. THE IMPOSTER’S DAUGHTER: A TRUE MEMOIR. ISBN 9780136033053

By Rebecca S. McKee