Category Archives: Reads

March 23, 2016

Books About Magical Kids

Posted by at 1:16 am in Reads | Permalink

HermioneGrangerJimKayBooks 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

Hermione Granger illustration by Jim Kay © 2015 Bloomsbury Publishing Plc

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!

March 2, 2016

Best Book Series

Posted by at 1:45 am in Kid Power, Reads | Permalink

Best Book Series

I don’t have just one book to recommend. I have several series for kids aged 8-12.

so you want to be a wizardThe first: the Young Wizards series by Diane Duane, beginning with So You Want to Be a Wizard (for ages 10 and up). This series is about Nita and Kit, two friends who found copies of a book entitled So You Want to Be a Wizard and were brought together. They must learn to use their wizardry while battling to postpone the universe’s death.

The second: the Unwanteds series (for ages 8 and up) by Lisa McMann. These books tell the story of the land of Quill, where creativity is a crime, and those caught committing it are sentenced to death. But the sentence isn’t exactly what is seems.

loki's wolvesThe third: the Michael Vey series (for ages 12 and up) by Richard Paul Evans. A prototype imaging machine malfunctioned, and of the 59 people born in that hospital during its test period, only 17 survived. These children acquired electrical powers. A madman makes it his goal to use them to take over the world, and gets all of them except Michael Vey.

The fourth: the Blackwell Pages series (for ages 8 and up) by K. L. Armstrong and M. A. Marr. This trilogy is about the descendants of the Norse gods and their battle to prevent the world from ending. It begins with Loki’s Wolves.

Julie, Scholastic Kids Council

February 24, 2016

A Christmas Carol

Posted by at 1:03 am in Kid Power, Reads | Permalink

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Reading is one of my favorite things to do. I really like stories with interesting characters who go through a real journey, especially ones that have to find courage to face a challenge. I enjoy books with action and adventure like Harry Potter. I also like stories with strong and smart girl characters like Divergent and Fairest (for ages 12 and up). But I also enjoy reading stories that have been told for a long time.

For as long as I can remember, I have grown up hearing about A Christmas Carol. I always loved the story but I never understood its true meaning until I read the book.

A Christmas Carol is about a grumpy, old man named Scrooge, who is cold to the bone and doesn’t care about anyone or anything besides money. He is a cheapskate who doesn’t even pay for electricity in his own home. But the thing Scrooge hates the most is the Christmas spirit. He doesn’t give money to the poor or take the invitation from his nephew to a nice Christmas party.  Instead he chooses to work, get money, scare off some Christmas carolers, and lecture his poor apprentice about the unfairness of having to pay him on Christmas Day for not doing any work.

christmas_carolHis mood changes, though, when he sees the ghost of his dead friend, Marley. Marley tells Scrooge of three ghosts that will come to help him change his ways. Scrooge is then taken on three journeys by the spirits of Christmas past, present, and future. As Scrooge goes through each journey, you see him change and become more sentimental and loving. You see him change from a miserable person to a person who learns and becomes better. By going through this experience with the ghosts, Scrooge is given a second chance to change his future.

I would recommend this book because it has a great moral. It teaches us all important lessons and allows us to see the world in a different light. Another reason I would recommend this book is that Dickens has a very poetic and beautiful way of writing. It can be very playful in one moment, and be very serious or heartfelt in the next. The way he writes hooks me in and entices me to read more. If you enjoy heart-touching stories with an amazing moral, I would definitely suggest A Christmas Carol.

Cynthia, Scholastic Kids Council

February 17, 2016

Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

Posted by at 1:06 am in Graphic Novels, Reads | Permalink

SneakPeekTake a Sneak Peek at the New Raina Telgemeier Graphic Novel!GHOSTS by raina telegemeier

Raina Telgemeier announced her next book titled Ghosts coming out in September, 2016.

Eleven-year-old Catrina and her family are moving to the small coastal town of Bahía de la Luna because her younger sister, Maya, is sick. Cat isn’t happy about leaving her friends, but she tries not to complain because she knows Maya will benefit from the clean, cool air that blows in from the sea. As the girls settle in, they learn there’s something a little spooky about their new town . . .

Sounds good, right? Take a sneak peek inside Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier!

February 10, 2016

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Posted by at 10:09 am in Harry Potter, Reads | Permalink

harry potter and the cursed childHARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD PARTS I & II  (for ages 12 and up) to be published in print  at 12:01 a.m. on July 31, 2016

Scholastic will publish a script book (for ages 12 and up) based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany!

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (for ages 12 and up), the eighth Harry Potter story, will be priced at $29.99 U.S. and $39.99 Canada. The script eBook will be published by Pottermore simultaneously with the print editions by Scholastic in the US and Canada, and Little, Brown Book Group in the UK.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband, and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes darkness comes from unexpected places.

February 10, 2016

Fablehaven

Posted by at 1:07 am in Kid Power, Reads | Permalink

FablehavenFablehaven by Brandon Mull

Have you ever heard stories where mythical creatures help the hero save the day? Well, the creatures at Fablehaven aren’t that nice. Fablehaven is a preserve for magical creatures, but dangerous creatures that are on the brink of extinction. The creatures usually stay in their territories, but on the equinox and solstice, the creatures run wild through Fablehaven. The caretakers, Stan Sorenson and his wife, Ruth, can usually defend themselves, but as Midsummer’s Eve nears (a.k.a. the summer solstice), Stan and Ruth’s grandchildren stay with them. Kendra and Seth have no clue when they arrive at their grandparents’ house that it is a magical preserve. Piece by piece, as Midsummer’s Eve draws near, Seth and Kendra learn more about Fablehaven and its secrets.

On Midsummer’s Eve, Kendra and Seth are instructed by Stan to go to bed immediately at sundown, and NEVER, under ANY circumstances, open the window. But of course, that rule gets broken. And bad things happen. Very bad things happen.

I think that Fablehaven is a really good book series and all of you should read it. It is a page-turner that will keep you on the edge of your seat and make you want to read the other four books in the series. Happy reading!

Alex, Scholastic Kids Council