Category Archives: Reads

May 18, 2016

Captain Underpants Kid Review

Posted by at 1:46 am in Dav Pilkey, Reads | Permalink

captain underpants and the sensational saga of Sir stinks-a-lotCaptain Underpants and the Sensational Saga of Sir Stinks a Lot

I’m sure you’ve all heard about the Captain Underpants series, right? Well, the newest 12th novel of the series is out, and I LOVE it! I really like this story because it has a lot of humor; it is really action-packed, and I love the characters. The main characters are George, Harold, Mr. Meaner, and Captain Underpants. Their characters make the story really fun and interesting to read. The characters are very funny, in particular Captain Underpants and the teachers. If you see Mr. Meaner at all, watch out! He might spray you with a little something . . .

Not to spoil the story, but here is the main gist of what goes on. A planet just like Earth, but called Smart Earth, explodes (Read the book to find out how and why . . .), and a small piece flies out and lands on Earth, right in front of Mr. Meaner (the notorious gym teacher), and let’s just say things don’t work out very well! After EATING the piece of Smart Earth, he becomes really smart, obviously. He invents a spray called Rid-o-Kid 2000 and bad things happen, very bad things.

Dav Pilkey is a great author and really makes this story come to life. He does this by being very descriptive with his writing, and he uses this thing called Flip-O-Rama. Flip-O-Rama is a special comic book type of animated pictures. By flipping pages back and forth a certain way, Flip-O-Rama™ makes the pictures look really cool and animated.

I would highly recommend for all of you to read this great series, Captain Underpants, if you want to get lost in a great sea of awesomeness. Read a sneak peek here.

Alex, Scholastic Kids Council

May 5, 2016

Baseball Books

Posted by at 1:37 am in Reads | Permalink

Baseball Books for Kids Aged 7-12

The Hero Two Doors Down: A Story of Friendship Between a Boy and a Baseball Legend by Sharon Robinson for Ages 8-12
Based on the true story of a boy in Brooklyn who became neighbors and friends with his hero, Jackie Robinson. The year is 1948, and Stephen Satlow, a local Jewish boy, is an avid Brooklyn Dodgers’ fan but a mediocre athlete, at best. When Jackie Robinson moves into his predominantly Jewish neighborhood and befriends Steve, his status changes instantly.
Their bond deepens when Jackie commits a well-intentioned blunder. He mistakenly gives Steve’s family a Christmas tree. As the tension clears, acceptance of Jackie’s gift of the tree becomes symbolic of two families from different religious and cultural backgrounds finding common ground. The friendship between the two families grows over the next few decades, when enormous social changes sweep the nation.

Little Rhino #1: My New Team by Ryan Howard and Krystle Howard; Illustrated by Erwin Madrid for Ages 7–10
From Major League Baseball superstar Ryan Howard and his wife, Krystle, this exciting new series is a fun read for sports and book fans alike.One afternoon, after a long day of second grade, Little Rhino comes home to find out that Grandpa James has signed him up for a baseball league. Little Rhino will finally be a part of a team. But Little Rhino will quickly learn that it is not always so easy to be a good teammate, especially when there’s a bully wearing the same uniform as you. See also the other Little Rhino books.

The Way Home Looks Now by Wendy Wan-Long Shang for Ages 8–12
Twelve-year-old Peter Lee and his family are baseball lovers who bond over back lot games and talk of the Pittsburgh Pirates. But when tragedy strikes, the family flies apart and baseball no longer seems to matter. Is that true? Peter wonders if just maybe the game they love can pull them together and bring them back, safe at home.

Game Changers #3: Heavy Hitters by Mike Lupica for Ages 8-12
Ben and his friends, the Core Four Plus One, are so excited to play in their town’s All-Star Baseball league. But in the first game of the season, Ben gets hit by a pitch. It’s never happened to him before and it shakes him up. Another player on Ben’s team, Justin, is acting really strange. Ben has known Justin for a while and they’re friendly, but he’s not one of Ben’s closest “boys.” Justin is the team’s best hitter, but his behavior on and off the field is erratic.
Ben discovers that Justin’s parents are getting a divorce and Justin is thinking about quitting the team. Like good teammates do, Justin helps Ben deal with his hitting issues while Ben is there for his friend while his family is struggling.

42: The Jackie Robinson Story by Aaron Rosenberg for Ages 8-12
This novel is based on the movie 42—a biopic about Jackie Robinson’s history-making signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers as the first African American Major League Baseball player.

Champ by Marcia Thornton Jones for Ages 7-10
Riley is awful at sports. He wants to quit the baseball team, but his dad won’t let him give up. So when one bad swing brings a three-legged dog into his life, Riley feels like he’s been thrown a curveball. How can he take care of a dog and make his dad proud? Champ is a former champion show dog. But when the accident that leaves him with Riley also leaves him with three legs, this dog has to learn some new tricks. Can Champ show Riley that winning doesn’t always mean coming in first? Together, Riley and Champ make a great team, but not everyone thinks so. Could they be separated?

Down to the Last Out: The Journal of Biddy Owens, The Negro Leagues by Walter Dean Myers for Ages 8-12
Seventeen-year-old Biddy Owens is part of the Birmingham Black Barons baseball team and dreams of becoming a Major League Baseball player. However, in 1948 most black players can only play for the Negro Leagues. Jackie Robinson has just recently integrated and is playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers, but the white owners are reluctant to add too many blacks to their rosters. The Birmingham Black Barons are some of the best players in the league. But as they travel around playing ball, Biddy realizes that not everyone is ready for blacks and whites to play on the same team. Can Biddy prove he’s good enough to be part of the game he loves, no matter what color his skin is?

Plunked by Michael Northrop for Ages 8-12
When a young slugger gets hit by a pitch, he needs more than practice to get back his game.
Jack Mogens thinks he’s got it all figured out: he has his batting routine down, and now that he’s in sixth grade, he has a lock on a starting spot in Little League. (Well, almost. Okay, not really. It’s a two-man race, though, so he has a shot.) And if he can manage to have a not-totally-embarrassing conversation with Katie, his team’s killer shortstop, he’ll be golden. But when a powerful stray pitch turns his world upside down, Jack discovers it’s going to take more than a love of baseball to get back his game.

April 27, 2016

Twisted Fairy Tales

Posted by at 1:13 am in Reads | Permalink

I love all fairy tales whether they are books, movies, plays, or even ballets! From Frozen to Sisters Grimm, to Swan Lake, I love it all. The fairy tales in this list are a bit . . . twisted. They are based on the original stories, but then there is some kind of twist to make it different and interesting.

Big Bad Detective Agency by Bruce Hale for Ages 7–10
The houses of all Three (not-so-) Little Pigs were broken into and ransacked, and the Pigs are squealing for justice. So Prince Tyrone, ruler of Fairylandia, drags in the obvious suspect: Wolfgang.

The lone wolf has big teeth, sharp claws, no alibi—and a single day to find the real culprit and clear his big bad name. When Wolf (reluctantly) teams up with the fourth Little Pig to crack the case, the Big Bad Detective Agency—and an adventure way funnier than your average fairy tale—is born!

Tyme #1: Grounded: The Adventures of Rapunzel by Megan Morrison for Ages 8–12
In all of Tyme, from the Redlands to the Grey, no one is as lucky as Rapunzel. She lives in a magic tower that obeys her every wish; she reads wonderful books starring herself as the heroine; her hair is the longest, most glorious thing in the world. And she knows this because Witch tells her so—her beloved Witch, who protects her from evil princes, the dangerous ground under the tower, even unhappy thoughts. Rapunzel can’t imagine any other life.

Then a thief named Jack climbs into her room to steal one of her enchanted roses. He’s the first person Rapunzel’s ever met who isn’t completely charmed by her (well, the first person she’s met at all, really), and he is infuriating—especially when he hints that Witch isn’t telling her the whole truth. Driven by anger at Jack and her own nameless fears, Rapunzel descends to the ground for the first time, and finds a world filled with more peril than Witch promised . . . and more beauty, wonder, and adventure than she could have dreamed.

Whatever After: Beauty Queen by Sarah Mlynowski for Ages 8-12
This time, the magic mirror sucks Abby and Jonah into the story of Beauty and the Beast. When the siblings accidentally mess up this enchanting and magical tale, hijinks and hilarity ensue . . . and things get pretty ugly! See also the other books in the Whatever After series.

Grimmtastic Girls #6: Goldilocks Breaks In by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams for Ages 8–12
Goldilocks wants everything in her life to be just right, but sometimes at Grimm Academy, there are too many choices. When she sneaks into Grimmstone Library after hours, she’ll have to make a tough decision if she wants to discover her magic charm! See also the other Grimmtastic books.

Twice Upon a Time #1: Rapunzel, the One With All the Hair by Wendy Mass for Ages 8-12
Rapunzel is having the ultimate bad day. She’s been stolen from home by an evil witch, locked in an incredibly high tower, and doesn’t even have a decent brush for her hair. Prince Benjamin is in a pretty uncomfortable situation himself. His father wants him to be more kingly, his mother wants him to never leave her sight, and his cousin wants to get him into as much trouble as possible. Plus, there’s the little matter of prearranged marriages. . . . Both Rapunzel and Prince Benjamin are trapped—in very different ways. It’s only when their paths cross, that things really start to change. Also available: Twice Upon a Time #2: Sleeping Beauty, The One Who Took the Really Long Nap. Twice Upon a Time #3: Beauty and the Beast, the Only One Who Didn’t Run Away

If you love fairy tales like I do, try these books and tell me what you think in the Comments.

Sonja

March 30, 2016

Books About Bullying

Posted by at 11:15 am in Reads | Permalink

Survival Guide to BullyingBooks About Bullying

Being bullied is the worst. If you are being bullied right now, please try these tips and tell a grown-up what you are going through. Definitely do not suffer alone! I wish for a world where no one ever has to feel bullied, but here are some books to help you relate.

The Survival Guide to Bullying by Aija Mayrock
for ages 10 and up
Written by a teenager who was bullied throughout middle school and high school, this book offers a fresh and relatable perspective on bullying. Along the way, the author offers guidance as well as different strategies that helped her get through even the toughest of days. From inspiring “roems” (rap poems), survival tips, personal stories, and quick quizzes, this book will light the way to a brighter future.

Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick
for ages 8-12

This is a powerful story of a unique friendship between a troubled, over-sized boy and the tiny, physically challenged genius who proves that courage comes in all sizes. This simple yet timeless story explores many themes

The Loser List by H.N. Kowitt
for ages 8-12

When Danny Shine (rhymes with “whine”) finds out he’s on the infamous Loser List in the girls’ bathroom, his mission to erase it lands him in detention. That fateful afternoon, the school’s bullies (who live in detention) discover that Danny can draw. Suddenly he’s not a target anymore—he’s a “bad boy”! Supplying tattoos and graffiti for the bullies is great, until Danny is unwittingly drawn into a crime. His new friends took a comic from Danny’s favorite store, and now Danny has to steal it back, return it, and break off with the bullies—before he goes from dork to delinquent. See also the other books in the Loser List series.

Words in the Dust by Trent Reedy
for ages 8-12

Zulaikha hopes for peace now that the Taliban have been driven from Afghanistan; a good relationship with her hard stepmother; and one day even to go to school, or to have her cleft palate fixed. Zulaikha knows all will be provided for her—“Inshallah,” God willing. Then she meets Meena, who offers to teach her the Afghan poetry she taught her late mother. And the Americans come to her village, promising not just new opportunities and dangers, but surgery to fix her face. These changes could mean a whole new life for Zulaikha—but can she dare to hope they’ll come true?

Warp Speed by Lisa Yee
for ages 8-12

Entering seventh grade is no big deal for Marley Sandelski: Same old boring classes, same old boring life. The only thing he has to look forward to is the upcoming Star Trek convention. But when he inadvertently draws the attention of Digger Ronster, the biggest bully in school, his life officially moves from boring to far too dramatic . . . from invisible to center stage.

Seeing Red by Kathryn Erskine
for ages 10-14

National Book Award winner Kathryn Erskine delivers a powerful story of family, friendship, and race relations in the South. Life will never be the same for Red Porter. He’s a kid growing up around black car grease, white fence paint, and the backward attitudes of the folks who live in his hometown, Rocky Gap, Virginia. Red’s daddy, his idol, has just died, leaving Red and Mama with some hard decisions and a whole lot of doubt. Should they sell the Porter family business, a gas station, repair shop, and convenience store rolled into one, where the slogan—“Porter’s: We Fix it Right!”—has been shouting the family’s pride for as long as anyone can remember? With Daddy gone, everything’s different. Through his friendship with Thomas, Beau, and Miss Georgia, Red starts to see there’s a lot more than car motors and rusty fenders that need fixing in his world. When Red discovers the injustices that have been happening in Rocky Gap since before he was born, he’s faced with unsettling questions about his family’s legacy.

March 23, 2016

Books About Magical Kids

Posted by at 1:16 am in Reads | Permalink

Books about MAGICAL KIDS!

Do you ever wish you could wake up with magical powers? It would be so cool to make myself invisible, or move objects just by waving my hands, or eat endless amounts of chocolate without getting sick . . . Well, that last one is more of a superpower, but you get my point. If you love the idea of being able to do magic, here are some awesome books about kids with magical powers.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
Of course Harry Potter is on this list. What’s not to love about this amazing series? After a pretty rough start in life, young orphan Harry Potter is surprised to discover that he’s actually a wizard. At Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, he learns to master his abilities, makes some incredible fellow wizard and witch friends, goes on wild adventures, and finds himself at the center of an epic battle between good and evil!

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Poor dyslexic Percy’s life changes once he learns he is the son of the Greed god Poseidon. As if this news doesn’t make his world complicated enough, he also discovers that his life is in danger! At Camp Half-Blood, he meets other demigods (half-god, half-humans) and is tasked with the responsibility of preventing an all-out war from erupting between the gods . . . which is no easy task for someone just learning of his magical abilities!

Midnight for Charlie Bone by Jenny Nimmo
Charlie is less than happy when he discovers that he can suddenly hear people speaking to him through photographs. (I mean, it is pretty creepy! And probably totally annoying.) Once his special talent is discovered, though, he is shipped off by his scheming aunts to the dreary Bloor Academy. But what is the history behind his talent, and why is he being kept at this horrid school with all these other gifted children?

The Chocolate Touch by Patrick Skene Catling
Isn’t chocolate amazing? John Midas certainly thinks so, and he gets really mad when he’s told by the doctor to eat more healthy food and less chocolate. But a seemingly chance encounter with a mysterious candy man leaves John with an even stranger magical power: everything he touches turns into chocolate! That may seem like a very awesome (maybe the awesomest?) magical power to have, but things start to get messy really, really fast!

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
For everyone who ever thought, “By golly, having ANY magical power sure beats having NO magical power,” meet Ella. Given the “gift” of obedience at birth by a fairy, Ella is unable to disobey any direct order. After her mother passes away, Ella finds herself at the mercy of her truly terrible stepsisters and equally horrid stepmother who have learned to make her their slave. But with a little creativity and some wonderful friends, Ella may just find a way out from under her “gift”—and even find true love.

A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd
Felicity Pickle has a very unusual ability: she can SEE words, and the words tell her an awful lot about people and places. In the town of Midnight Gulch, she sees “home.” But there’s also a terrible spell hanging over Midnight Gulch, and unless Felicity can return magic back into the once magical town, she may never get to call this place her home.

The Tail of Emily Windsnap by Liz Kessler
Emily lives on a boat with her mom, but weirdly enough, she’s always been told to stay away from the water. It turns out, she’s actually a mermaid! Emily embarks on a journey to find her real mer-father and the truth behind her birth (and tail!). Along the way, she discovers some incredible and heartbreaking things about the magical creatures she is beginning to understand are her family.

The Magic Thief by Sarah Prineas
Living in a city that runs on magic would be pretty cool . . . unless that magic started running out. Conn, a young boy living in such a city, accidentally comes in contact with a powerful stone while trying to pickpocket a wizard. When he doesn’t die, he’s taken in as the wizard’s apprentice. While learning his own magical abilities and searching for his own stone, he begins to discover exactly that is draining his city’s magic.

Savvy by Ingrid Law
What if you knew you had a magical power, but you had to wait until you turned thirteen to find out what it was? Welcome to Mibs’ world! In her family, everyone possesses an ability (known as a “savvy”) that reveals itself to them on their thirteenth birthday. But on the days leading up to her big day, Mibs’ world is suddenly turned upside down. Can her power—whatever it is—save a loved one who needs it the most?

Rowan of Rin by Emily Rodda
Rowan is shy and likes to spend his time caring for animals, unlike the rest of the people in his village who are bold and brave. But when the river running through the village runs dry, Rowan is the only one able to read a magical map that can lead a band of villagers up a mountain and to the river’s source . . . and whatever mystery has stopped it from flowing.

Well now, that’s some list! Did I miss any of your favorites? Which ones are you most excited to read, and which ones have you read and loved? Share your picks in the Comments below!

Happy magical adventuring,

En-Szu

March 16, 2016

Books About Girls Who Rock

Posted by at 1:47 am in Reads | Permalink

Books about GIRLS WHO ROCK!

Being a girl is awesome. Girls are funny, smart, cool, and brave! Read these ten super-fantastic books about girls who rock, so you can remember that you, too, are a girl who rocks!

Matilda by Roald Dahl
Matilda is a smart, funny girl who loves a good prank—especially if it’s on one of her terrible, selfish family members. Her teacher, Ms. Honey, realizes that Matilda is very smart — but the bully headmistress, Ms. Trunchbull, is determined to prevent Matilda from moving up to a higher class. Meanwhile, Matilda discovers that she has developed a strange superpower . . . and while it’s good for a prank or two (or three!), it might also be the key to changing her life forever.

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
Things are getting steadily worse for everyone in Annamarie’s Nazi-occupied hometown of Copenhagen in 1943, but things are especially bad for the Jewish residents. First their stores are closed down, and then they are rounded up by Nazis and shipped off to concentration camps. Annamarie’s best friend, Ellen, is Jewish. To protect her, Annamarie and her family pretend that Ellen is Annamarie’s sister . . . but how long can they keep up the act before they are discovered?

El Deafo by Cece Bell
Cece loses her hearing when she is just a toddler, and has to wear a very bulky and uncomfortable hearing aid. And the hearing aid (called The Phonic Ear) doesn’t just get in her way physically: Cece wonders if it’s getting in the way of her making a real friend. But Cece discovers that The Phonic Ear is a lot more powerful than most people realize . . . not just her “superpower,” but a way for her to find her inner superhero.

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
Harriet is bright and can sometimes be a know-it-all, but she’s a lovable one with great friends. Her favorite activity is to observe other people and record her thoughts in a notebook, as training for her future dream job as a writer. But when Harriet’s caretaker announces she’s getting married and leaving, and Harriet’s notebook is discovered by her schoolmates, everything turns topsy-turvy. Harriet finds herself friendless, and the kids at school have formed a club against her! Can Harriet find a way to use her smarts to get out of this pickle, or is she doomed to be lonely forever?

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
For Jacqueline, growing up in the segregated south in the 1960s is not easy. There is a lot of racism, and even though there are good people, they are outnumbered by the bad. So it’s no surprise when her mother decides to move to New York City. Splitting her time between New York City with her mother and Greenville, South Carolina with her grandparents, Jacqueline struggles to understand where she fits in to the rapidly changing world . . . and the answer might be much closer than she thinks.

Sweet Home Alaska by Carol Estby Dagg
During the great depression, Terpischore and her family are given the chance to start a new life in Alaska (thanks to some land given to them by the government). After reading books about frontier life, Terpischore feels like she’s ready for anything . . . and even when it’s tougher than she ever imagined, upbeat Terpischore always finds something to be happy about. But her greatest challenge of all is making Alaska feel like home for everyone in her family. Can she do it?

The Finisher by David Baldacci
Vega was born and raised in the town of Wormwood, a town surrounded by a deep and mysterious forest. All her life, she has been warned of the danger that lies beyond the borders of Wormwood. One day, however, she sees someone willingly running INTO the forest . . . and he leaves behind, for Vega, a note and a map. Vega’s about to dig up a whole lot of dirt on Wormwood, and get to the bottom of the mystery!

Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai
When the Vietnam War reaches Ha’s hometown of Saigon, she flees with her mother and brothers. Bound for the unfamiliar shores of America, Ha has no idea what to expect—and what she finds is not at all the shiny, hopeful land she was promised. Bullied, tormented, and made to feel unwelcome, Ha’s attempts at fitting in just don’t seem to work . . . but learning just how strong she really is might be the key to Ha finding happiness once again.

Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan 
Esperanza lives an almost fairy tale-like life in Mexico, with a beautiful home and wonderful parents and amazing friends. She is surrounded by love and kindness and never wants for anything, but that all changes the day her father is killed by bandits, and Esperanza and her mother are forced to leave the life they have known for an uncertain future in the United States. Working in a poor labor camp is in no way like the princess treatment she is used to, but in spite of the grueling work and shabby living conditions, Esperanza is starting to see that true happiness may just come from deep within.

Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata
Katie’s sister Lynn always finds the silver lining in every situation, even when their family moves from their Japanese community in Iowa to the unfamiliar state of Georgia. Katie is learning to think like Lynn, and be hopeful in the face of all the bullying, teasing, and homesickness she faces every day. When Lynn gets very sick, though, Katie struggles to find the hope that Lynn still has . . . and to be grateful for all the kira-kira (glittering) moments in life.

What do you think? Do you have other favorite books about girls who rock? Do you have a favorite book from this list? Share your thoughts in the Comments below!

Yours in rocking,

En-Szu

March 10, 2016

Introducing BEETLE BOY by M. G. Leonard

Posted by at 12:12 pm in Reads | Permalink

Beetle BoyAdventure! Laughter! Rhinoceros Beetles!

Darkus Cuttle’s dad mysteriously goes missing from his job as Director of Science at the Natural History Museum. Vanished without a trace! From a locked room! So Darkus moves in with his eccentric Uncle Max and next door to Humphrey and Pickering, two lunatic cousins with an enormous beetle infestation.Beetle Boy

Darkus soon discovers that the beetles are anything but ordinary. They’re an amazing, intelligent super species and they’re in danger of being exterminated. It’s up to Darkus and his friends to save the beetles. But they’re up against an even more terrifying villain–the mad scientist of fashion, haute couture villainess Lucretia Cutter.

Lucretia has an alarming interest in insects and dastardly plans for the bugs. She won’t let anyone or anything stop her, including Darkus’s dad, whom she has locked up in her dungeons! The beetles and kids join forces to rescue Mr. Cuttle and thwart Lucretia.

Beetle Boy is the story of a brilliant boy, his loyal friends, and some amazingly intelligent beetles.

Read an excerpt.

Watch a video with the author. 

March 9, 2016

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Diary of a Wimpy KidDiary of a Wimpy Kid Book Review

Out of the books I picked to be my favorite over time, the very best is the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney. I like these books the best because they are really funny, are an easy read, have entertaining artwork, and they relate to the real world and how you are feeling as a middle schooler sometimes.

The books are about a boy named Greg who has a troublesome older brother and an annoying little brother. They are funny because Greg gets blamed for everything his little brother, Manny, does. His older brother, Rodrick, gets in a lot of trouble, but the blame always ends up on Greg.

Those are some reasons why the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series are the books that I enjoy the most.

Leah, Scholastic Kids Council

March 2, 2016

Dog Man By Dav Pilkey

Posted by at 4:24 pm in Dav Pilkey, Reads | Permalink

Dog Man #1Check out the cover of Captain Underpants creator Dav Pilkey’s new graphic novel!

Dog Man 1George and Harold have created a new hero who digs into deception, claws after crooks, and rolls over robbers. He’s half man, half dog, and all cop! This heroic hound has a real nose for justice. But can this crime-biting canine resist the call of the wild to answer the call of duty?

Get ready to howl with laughter. You can read Dog Man on August 30!