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Friday, July 10, 2015

Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio

Title: Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio
Author: Peg Kehret
Category: Juvenile Biography/Mark Twain Award Winner
Reading Level- 8-13
Interest Level- Grades 3-8
Series: No
Reviewer: Chelsea

I checked this book out on a whim and was quickly drawn in by author Peg Kehret's inspiring story of the year she suddenly came down with polio at age 12. Peg was born to a loving middle class family, and enjoyed a simple, happy life. During school one day she has a muscle spasm and soon develops a high temperature that lands her in the hospital. Peg wakes up, bewildered to find herself paralyzed from the neck down, learning she has contracted polio.

Peg brilliantly conveys the struggles of going from a normal girl to going through a completely life altering disease with humor, grace and insight. Peg's openness in describing her journey through recuperation make this a book you'll want to fly through, but it's also hearing the stories of other kids with polio that Peg meets along the way. Like Tommy, who did not get to the hospital right away and has to spend his time in an iron lung, a machine that breathes for you, or Shirley, who is mostly stuck in bed because her muscles are too weak to hold her up.
Learn how Peg's journey ends by checking out this awesome, thought provoking book!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Luna & Me

Title:  Luna & ME
Author: Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw
Illustrator: Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw
Category: Picture Book
Pages: 40
Reading Level: Ages 7-9
Interest Level: Ages: 5-10
Series: No
Reviewer: Clarice

This new picture book is based on the true story of a young woman, Julia "Butterfly" Hill,  who lived in a tree for over 700 days to show the importance of saving the environment.  The author takes the liberty to make Julia a young girl in the book in order to better appeal to the young reader and get them started at an early age on the road to caring for the environment.  The story is based in a forest where a tree - over a thousand years old - is marked for removal.  When "Butterfly" spots the tree while wandering through the forest, she decides if she stays in the tree, the tree will not be able to be cut down.  The illustrations in this book are delightful and the story has an important message - not only what this individual did to save the tree, but how a team of people were needed to make her 'mission' possible.

RUMP: The true story of Rumpelstiltskin

Title:Rump: The True story of Rumpelstiltskin
Author: Liesl Shurtliff
Illustrator: NA
Category: Juvenile Fiction/ Mark Twain Nominee
Reading Level: Ages: 8-10
Interest Level:  Ages 8-12
Series: NO
Reviewer: Clarice

Have you ever wondered how Rumplestiltskin came to be?  Well this book will clear up that question for you ....maybe!  The book begins with a baby being born in the hills of a kingdom.  In this village your name becomes your destiny.  The baby's mother begins to tell the his grandma the name of the baby but dies before she can finish!  Therefore he is called "RUMP" - all that the mother was able to utter.  Rump then becomes the butt of many jokes as everyone in the village pretty much makes fun of him andhis name.  That is until he learns - much by accident - that he is able to spin straw into gold.  His grandmother warns him to stay away from his mothe's old spinning wheel, but he cannot resist the temptation and knows how badly they need gold in order to get food from the king's representative.  His only friend - Red  - warns him as well that spinning gold is not a good idea.  However he continues to do so and hopes the magic will help him earn more gold to feed him and his grandmother AND learn his name in the process.  Grab this book, read it quickly and join us on Monday, July 6th at 6:30 p.m. to discuss what happens to Rump.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

A Long Walk to Water

Title: A Long Walk to Water
Author: Linda Sue Park
Illustrator: None
Category: Juvenile Fiction
Pages: 115
Reading Level: 12- 15
Series: No
Reviewer: Sandy

In 1985, eleven year old Salva is at school in Sudan when he hears an explosion and the men with guns attack his village.  His teacher tells the boys to run away and that is what Salva does. He spends the next six years, along with thousands of boys ,walking to try and find safety in refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya.  The boys encounter danger at every turn and many die along the way. 
In 2008, eight year old Nya walks back and forth for eight hours a day to a pond to fetch water for her family. Often the water is dirty but that is the only water available to them.
A Long Walk to Water is the amazing story of these two young people and their struggle to make a better life. Readers will be surprised and filled with hope as the two stories come together in a brilliant, astonishing climax. The book is based on a true story and you will learn much about the real Salva and his adventures coming to the United States.

A Long Walk to Water was our Family Book Club choice for June, 2015.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Click, Clack, Peep!

Title:Click, Clack, Peep!
Author: Doreen Cronin
Illustrator:Betsy Lewin
Category: Picture Book
Pages: 32
Reading Level: Ages 3-5
Interest Level: Ages 3-5
Reviewer:  Clarice

Although I think Doreen Cronin's book, Click, Clack, Moo, Cows That Type, will always be my favorite book of hers, this one did not disappoint.  In it all the farm animals are waiting for the egg to crack open.  Everyone is waiting anxiously.  Finally the baby chick arrives and is never quiet.  Sleep is almost non existent on the farm.  The animals try everything to get the baby chick to quiet down.  Check out this book to find out if, and what works to calm the baby chick.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Counting by Sevens

Title: Counting by 7s
Author: Holly Goldberg Sloan
Category: Fiction
Pages: 200
Reading Level: Ages 10-12
Interest Level:  Ages 10 and up
Series: No
Reviewer: Clarice

Willow Chance is a 12 year old girl who lives with her adoptive parents and is looking forward to going to a new school.  She is very gifted and enjoys her back yard garden and is obsessed with the number 7.  She is constantly counting things in sets of seven. She is accused of cheating on a state proficiency  test because she gets every question correct and in record time.  Because of this event, she is sent to a counselor - Dell Duke -  for behavior counseling.  It is after a counseling session when he is driving her home that they are met at her front door by the police who tell her that her parents had both been killed in an accident.  Along with the counselor, a set of siblings with her and Willow eventually goes to live with them - in a garage in the back of their mother's nail salon.  When it comes time for a home visit to make sure that Willow can stay with them, the family move the counselor out of his apartment and move in there.  It is more than just a simple move as Dell has organizational issues of his own and  has very little furniture or furnishings in his home.  The way this story develops, relationships intertwine and the feeling of family emerges is both powerful and moving.  I hope you pick it up and read it during your summer vacation.

The Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library

Title: The Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library
Author: Chris Grabenstein
Category: Fiction
Reading Level: Ages 9-12
Interest Level:   Ages 9-13
Series:  No
Reviewer: Clarice

There are always reasons to read a book - an assignment, an interest in the subject or an interest in the genre to name a few.  This book  has 4 important reasons.  It is a FUN book to read, it is a Mark Twain Award Nominee AND it is a One-Book One Kirkwood Read for this summer and the discussion for the July Family Book Club.  Mr. Lemoncello, a famous game maker, has designed  a brand new library in his home town.  Before the grand opening he invited 12 7th graders to spend the night.  In order to qualify they must write a winning essay.  Since this is the first library the town has had in 12 years, Kyle is very excited to be one of the selected 12 winners.  Once the night of the sleep over arrives, the children realize that they have problems to solve in order to find the secret exit out of the library. Each student starts out as their own player but quickly encounters situations that ends up with teams working against each other.  The teams are very competitive and sometimes find themselves in less than friendly twists.  The book is filled with many clues all of which are based on literature or Dewey Decimal information.  Librarians and teachers will love this book because of all the lessons to be learned or reviewed, but children should live it as well. Read it and join in the Book Club Discussion in July or join us on July 30 for the Mr. Lemoncello Hunt.