Category Archives: Reads

June 15, 2016

10 Books for When You Are 10

Posted by at 1:53 am in Reads | Permalink

10 Books for When You Are 10

Yeah for double-digits! If you’re new to the double-digit club, or even if you’ve been a member for a little while, be sure to check out this list of books that every ten-year-old has GOTTA read.10 books for when you are 10

Walk Two Moons
Salamanca’s mother has gone missing, so Sal and her grandparents set off on a road trip from Ohio to Idaho to look for her. During the trip, Salamanca tells a series of fanciful stories about her friend Phoebe whose mother, coincidentally, also went missing. But the real story is the one being written by Sal during this life-changing trip, as she learns more about herself . . . and what really happened with her mother.

The One and Only Ivan
Ivan the gorilla has spent 27 years behind glass walls in a shopping mall. He doesn’t really remember his life before in the jungle, and is used to his everyday routines living in captivity. That all changes the day he meets Ruby a baby elephant, and his whole world is turned topsy-turvy! This Newbery Medal-winning book is a MUST-read. It’ll make you laugh; it’ll make you cry. Don’t miss out.

Wonder
Ten-year-old August Pullman is starting fifth grade and he’s really nervous because he’s never been to a regular school before. Though he likes playing video games and Star Wars like other kids his age, August was born with a facial difference that makes him look unlike other kids. Auggie is about to have a life-changing year, but he’s not the only one who is going to be transformed–everyone he meets is about to learn what it means to be human, to fit in, and to be extraordinary.

Wings of Fire
An ancient treasure has kept seven dragon tribes at war for years, but a prophecy involving five baby dragons — or dragonets — could bring an end to the endless fighting. So five dragonets are collected and raised in hiding, trained to fight and bring about the end of the war. However, they are held against their will, and when they escape, they unwittingly redefine their destinies . . . and the destiny of dragons everywhere.

Number the Stars
For ten-year-old Annemarie, who lives in Nazi-occupied Copenhagen in the year 1943, things are getting steadily worse. She loses her older sister, Lise, in a car accident, and now her best friend Ellen is in danger. Ellen and her family are Jewish, and as the Nazis begin rounding up the Jewish people to send them to concentration camps, Annemarie and her family take in Ellen and pretend that she is Annemarie’s sister . . . but how long can they keep up the act before they are discovered?

Bud, Not Buddy
In Flint, Michigan, ten-year-old orphan Bud Caldwell only has a few objects to remember his mother by as he gets sent from foster home to foster home. One of these objects is a flyer for the famous jazz musician Herman E. Calloway and his band, the Dusky Devastators of the Depression. Convinced that Herman must be his father, Bud runs away to find him — and ends up on one hilarious, heartwarming journey! (Check out our book trailer.)

Tuesdays at the Castle
Eleven-year-old princess Celie lives in Castle Glower, a magical castle that sprouts a new secret passageway or room each day . . . and it decides who gets to be king. When Celie’s parents are declared dead and her older brother becomes king, Celie is suspicious. Are they really dead, or is there something more sinister afoot? With the aid of her siblings and the castle itself, Celie is about to find out!

Flora and Ulysses
When ten-year-old Flora, lover of comics, rescues the squirrel Ulysses after an unfortunate run-in with a vacuum cleaner, the last thing she expects for the revived squirrel to do is develop superpowers. But that’s exactly what happens, and Ulysses (who can now fly and has super-strength, and can write poetryis about to open up a world of possibilities for super-cynical Flora. This Newbery Medal-winning book is bound to open your eyes and warm your heart, too!

El Deafo
Cece loses her hearing when she is just a toddler, and has to wear a very bulky, embarrassing hearing aid called The Phonic Ear. Cece’s worried The Phonic Ear is getting in the way of her making a real friend, but she soon discovers that The Phonic Ear is a lot more powerful than most people realize . . . and it may not just only be her “superpower,” but a way for her to find her inner superhero. Watch the video!

Warriors
Do you ever wonder what your pet cat gets into when he’s running around outside? Wonder no longer! In this exciting and excellent series, cat Rusty finds four clans of wild cats living in the forest near his home. As he is taken in by the Thunder Clan to train as a warrior apprentice, he discovers the deception and deceit that threaten to overthrow clan order . . . but all of that pales in comparison to the greater threat lurking just beyond the forest.

Which books from this list have you read? Which books do you think every ten-year-old should read? Share your thoughts in the Comments below!

En-Szu

June 8, 2016

Harry Potter Kid Review

Posted by at 1:01 am in Harry Potter, Reads | Permalink

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Ever read a book where the main character lives with mean relatives because something happened to his or her parents? That’s how Harry Potter’s life has been for all of his eleven years. He must endure life with his aunt’s family, the Dursleys, who make him sleep in the cupboard under the stairs. He only has extremely faint memories of his parents, whom he was told died in a car crash.

One day, he gets a letter addressed to his cupboard. Before he can read it, his uncle tears it up. But the letters keep coming, and Harry’s aunt and uncle become terrified. They run from the letters to a small hut on a small rocky island.

Harry realizes that his eleventh birthday is coming up tomorrow. He counts down the minutes and seconds as he tries to fall asleep.

At midnight exactly, Harry and the Dursleys receive a surprise — a surprise that whisks Harry away to a world of magic. He learns about his parents and so much more.

But there’s a villain on the loose — the man who murdered Harry’s parents. The clock is ticking, and few know his plans.

My mom had trouble getting into the first book, and it took her a few tries. She’s very glad she stuck with it. If you don’t like it at first, just push through the first few chapters. The first time I read this book, I was in first grade. I have read it many times since, and have read all of the books in the series at least once. The last four are a little darker, but I was fine with them.

The book Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone by J.K. Rowling is amazingly well written, and expresses old concepts in new ways. It brings together bravery, friendship, and knowing whom to trust. This book would be great for anyone who wants to escape into another world. If you already love Harry, then you can go to the Harry Potter Message Board to chat with other Harry Potter fans.

Julie, Scholastic Kids Council

June 1, 2016

11 Books for When You Are 11

Posted by at 1:12 am in Reads | Permalink

11 books for when you are 11

Being eleven isn’t easy, but you’re in luck: we’ve got a great list of eleven classic books that every eleven-year-old should read. They’ll help you through the trickier moments, give you something to laugh about, and take you on some pretty wild adventures!

The City of Ember
Humankind has survived the end of the world in the city of Ember, protected by a dome overhead and surrounded by darkness. For 241 years, humans have lived in this city lit by lamps. There used to be instructions to get out, but they have been long lost . . . or have they? With blackouts happening more often and storerooms getting dangerously empty, it’s up to friends Doon and Lina to find a way to save humanity.

Holes
Poor Stanley Yelnats has been wrongfully convicted of a crime he did not commit and is sent to Camp Green Lake, a juvenile disciplinary facility in the middle of the desert. This is no surprise to Stanley, who comes from a family seemingly cursed with really, really bad luck–but he’s not ready for the mystery that is Camp Green Lake. Each day, the boys at Camp Green Lake have to dig a hole that is 5 feet deep by 5 feet wide. It’s supposed to help them to “build character” . . . or is it? What are they REALLY digging for, and why?

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
After an extra-freaky incident (involving an algebra teacher turning into a man-eating monster during a school field trip), dyslexic Percy Jackson suspects that not everything in his life is as it seems . . . and he’s right. It is soon revealed that his father is the Greek god Poseidon, and Percy  flees to Camp Half-Blood and train with other demigods (half-god, half-humans) to prevent an all-out war from erupting between the gods!

Smile
Raina just wants to be a normal sixth-grader, but when she damages her front teeth during an accident, the next few years are anything but normal! Raina has to deal with painful headgear, braces, retainers, and surgeries on top of the regular drama of crushes, physical changes, and family problems. It seems like Raina can’t catch a break, but the valuable lessons she learns along the way just might make everything worth it.

The Watsons Go to Birmingham, 1963
When Kenny’s older brother Byron–who is always getting into trouble–takes his shenanigans too far, the whole Watson family of Flint, Michigan, heads south so that Grandma can teach him a thing or two. But as the Watsons fall into one hilarious misadventure after another, a very dark moment in American history suddenly strikes–one that will change not only the Watson family, but the entire nation.

Out of My Mind
Eleven-year-old Melody, who has cerebral palsy, can’t walk or talk. But on the inside, she’s a genius with a photographic memory and brilliant mind. When her family gets her a computer, she’s able to “speak” for the first time. But being able to share her mind with the outside world can be heartbreaking, and it’s going to take a lot of inner strength for Melody to finally find her voice.

Hoot
Roy is used to being the new kid at school, but this time around at Trace Middle School, things are going a little differently. Roy’s accidentally become arch enemies with the school bully, and he’s befriended misfits, Beatrice and Mullet Fingers. And then there’s the baby burrowing owls . . . and the pancake house that’s threatening to force them out of their habitat. Roy and his new friends are on a mission to save the owls, but when it’s their word against the grown-ups, they’re going to have to fight with everything they’ve got.

Stargirl
When Stargirl first arrives at Mica High, she is so strange that no one knows what to make of her. Her schoolmates fall in love with her quirky ways and happy attitude at first, but her popularity is short-lived, and it’s not long before she becomes the butt of every joke . . . for the same things that made her so lovable to begin with. Leo, who admires Stargirl still, wants to help her to fit in again. But will making Stargirl “normal” fix her problems?

Esperanza Rising
Esperanza leads a lovely life in Mexico, where she is treated like a princess and surrounded by love and kindness. But when tragedy strikes, Esperanza and her mother are forced to flee to the United States. Life in the U.S. is very difficult, as they have to take jobs as migrant workers. But in spite of the grueling work and poor living conditions, Esperanza begins to realize that happiness may, in fact, come from within . . .

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning
For the Baudelaire children, Violet, Klaus, and Sunny, things keep going from bad to worse. After they are orphaned in a fire, the three siblings are sent to live with the sinister, greedy Count Olaf. Olaf is after their inheritance money, but the Baudelaire kids have a trick or two up their sleeves–and they are determined to foil his plans!

The Mysterious Benedict Society
Eleven-year-old orphan Reynie Muldoon, after answering an unusual ad in the paper and completing a series of competitive tasks, has been selected to join a secret society with three other gifted children. What he doesn’t anticipate is that he’ll be trained by a criminal mastermind to help him take over the world–not exactly what he signed up for!

Which books from this list have you read? Which books do you think every eleven-year-old should read? Share your thoughts in the Comments below!

May 25, 2016

9 Books for When You Are 9

Posted by at 1:22 am in Reads | Permalink

9 Books for When You Are 9

9 books for when you are 9Nine is a really rad number, and a really rad age. And here are nine great books that every nine-year-old totally MUST read! From wacky to wild, these books will take you on some seriously awesome adventures. If you are nine years old, take a look at this list and see how many books you have read.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
Middle school is full of drama — just ask Greg Heffley. After his mom forces him to keep a diary, he starts writing down all the (really hilarious) misadventures and happenings from his school year. Greg and his BFF Rowley get into all sorts of sticky situations that will keep you laughing until your sides hurt. Middle school may be full of drama, but, man, the drama is funny!

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
Nine is the BEST time to start reading Harry Potter (though I strongly believe it’s never too late, even if you’re 119). Harry has had a miserable life so far, losing his parents when he was just an infant and being raised by his dreadful aunt and uncle, but things are about to get pretty magical in his world. When he finds out he’s actually a wizard, he is whisked away to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where all kinds of life-changing adventures await him.

Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
Pippi is the new girl in town, and boy, is she wild! She may have no parents, but she DOES have a pet monkey and a pet horse . . . and a knack for living life freely. The sky’s the limit when it comes to Pippi, and her new neighbors Tommy and Annika are in for a whole lot of wacky surprises!

Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli
There seems to be nothing the unusual orphan Maniac Magee can’t do: outrun dogs, untie impossible knots, hit a homerun . . . the list is endless. When Maniac Magee arrives in the town of Two Mills, he hopes to find a home, but it’s not that easy. The troubled small town is very divided, and tensions are about to reach a fever pitch. But Maniac Magee might just be the key to helping everyone find peace.

Time Warp Trio: The Knights of the Kitchen Table by Jon Sciezska and Lane Smith
When Joe and his two friends are transported back in time to King Arthur’s court by a magical book, they accidentally defeat the dreaded Black Knight and are mistaken for heroes by King Arthur’s knights. But what will they do when they are confronted with a (really gross) giant and an attacking dragon? And how will they get home?! This super-funny book will keep you guessing — and laughing — as the trio blunder their way from one adventure to the next.

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
Milo is really bored by everything, but that’s all about to change because a mysterious and magical tollbooth has suddenly appeared in his bedroom. Out of boredom (of course), Milo hops into his dusty old toy car, pays the toll, and finds himself driving directly into a wild, wacky world in which each adventure is even more bizarre than the last!

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Hugo, a young orphan living in the Paris train station, is an expert at staying invisible. But when he meets a most unusual girl and a mysterious toymaker, his life changes. Hugo finds himself thrust headfirst into a mystery that will force him out of hiding for the first time, and reveal more of his own secret past.

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume
Nine-year-old Peter Hatcher has THE. MOST. ANNOYING. BROTHER. EVER. Little, two-year-old Fudge gets away with everything, including tormenting Peter’s pet turtle, Dribble. But one day Fudge’s antics go too far — will Peter ever be able to forgive him?

My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
Have you ever wondered what it might be like to live in the wild? Sam Gribley is fed up with living in a cramped apartment with his parents and eight (Eight!! Can you imagine?) siblings in New York City, so he runs away to his grandparents’ home upstate. What he’s not ready for is the harsh wilderness living he encounters, but armed with the survival skills preparation and endless curiosity, Sam just might have what it takes to last the winter..

Which books from this list have you read? Which books do you think every nine-year-old should read? Share your thoughts in the Comments below!

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 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

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