New Books for…May!

Continuing from yesterday’s post…favorite new books in April.  Only now, I guess, it’s May.

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New titles by Favorite Authors:
(or, as they should be called, probable series)

stolen magicStolen Magic, by Gail Carson Levine
Elodie, the dragon detective Meenore, and the kindly ogre Count Jonty Um are all on their way to Elodie’s home island of Lahnt. Elodie has barely set foot on land before she learns that the Replica, a statue that keeps her island’s deadly volcano from erupting, has been stolen! If the Replica isn’t found in three days, a mountain will be destroyed. And when Elodie ends up alone with a cast of characters each of whom may be guilty, she has to use her wits to try to unravel a tangled web of lies.
The popular author of many thrilling (and award winning) fantasy titles has written another one sure to be a hit. This isn’t really a series (not yet, anyway), but the book is a sequel to A Tale of Two Castles.

rat with a human faceThe Rat with the Human Face, by Tom Angleberger
Another sequel, this will be a series before too long! Lyle Hertzog and his friends Marilla and Dave are the Qwikpick Adventure Society, three kids who seek out adventure in their seemingly quiet hometown of Crickenburg. On the hunt for their next big adventure, the kids overhear a construction worker telling his buddies about a rat with a human face he saw in the basement of an old research facility. The decision is unanimous: the next adventure for the Qwikpick Society is on! But when their trip to find the rat doesn’t go quite as expected, the trio gets in big trouble. Will the second adventure for the Qwikpick Society also be their last?

tombquest 1Tombquest, by Michael Northrop
A new series by the publisher who brought us 39 Clues and Spirit Animals!
Nothing can save Alex Sennefer’s life. That’s what all the doctors say, but his mother knows it’s not true. She knows that the Lost Spells of the Egyptian Book of the Dead can crack open a door to the afterlife and pull her son back from the brink. But when she uses the spells, five evil ancients–the Death Walkers–are also brought back to life. An ancient evil has been unleashed. Mummies are awakening. New York is overrun with scorpions. And worst of all for Alex, his mom and the Lost Spells have both disappeared. He and his best friend, Ren, will do anything to find his mom and save the world . . . even if that means going head-to-head with a Death Walker who has been plotting his revenge for 3,000 years! We currently have the first two books, Book of the Dead and Amulet Keepers.

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And these just look good:
  (Mostly because I like the cover.  But also because spot-reading a few pages made me want to read more.  Lots more!)

valiantValiant, by Sarah McGuire
Saville hates sewing. How can she not when her father, the Tailor, loves his bolts of velvet and silk far more than he’s ever loved her? But when he is struck ill, Saville must don boy’s clothes in the hopes of gaining a commission from the king to keep them fed. The kingdom is on edge when stories spread of an army of giants led by a man who cannot be killed. No one believes that, of course!. But when Saville cunningly tricks two large men into leaving the city, suddenly the Tailor of Reggen is the hero of the kingdom! The king even promises his sister’s hand in marriage, and by the time Saville reaches the palace doors, it is widely known that the Tailor single-handedly killed giants. When it’s discovered that she’s a girl, Saville is swept into the twists and turns of court politics. The deathless man is very real, and he will use his giant army to ensure he is given the throne freely or by force. Now, only a tailor girl with courage and cunning can see beyond the tales to discover the truth and save the kingdom again.

Untitled-2Drive Me Crazy, by Terra Elan McVoy
Friendship can be a bumpy road, especially when two people don’t exactly start off as friends. Lana and Cassie have met only once before, at the wedding of Lana’s Grandpa Howe and Cassie’s Grandma Tess two months ago. The two girls couldn’t be more different, and they didn’t exactly hit it off–but now they’re about to spend an entire week together, stuck in the backseat of a Subaru. They’re traveling with their grandparents on their honeymoon, road-tripping from California to Maine. It’s going to be a disaster.

woofWoof by Spencer Quinn
Trouble is brewing in the Louisiana swamp, and Bowser , the handsome and only slightly slobbery dog detective, is on the trail with his girl, Birdie. When a prize stuffed marlin is stolen from Birdie’s Grammy’s bait and tackle shop, Birdie and Bowser start digging for clues. But what looks like a straight-forward break-in soon becomes as tangled as a tourist’s fishing line. Was Grammy hiding a treasure map in the marlin? What’s up with Old Man Straker, owner of a rival tackle shop, and his juvenile delinquent son? And most sinister of all, why does it suddenly look as if someone wants to harm Birdie? Whatever it takes, Bowser is going follow the scent and solve the mystery.

league of beastly dreadfulsThe League of Beastly Dreadfuls, by Holly Grant
Anastasia is a completely average almost-eleven-year-old. That is, UNTIL her parents die in a tragic vacuum-cleaner accident. UNTIL she’s rescued by two long-lost great-aunties. And UNTIL she’s taken to their delightful and, er, “authentic” Victorian home, St. Agony’s Asylum for the Criminally Insane. But something strange is going on at the asylum. Anastasia soon begins to suspect that her aunties are not who they say they are. So when she meets Ollie and Quentin, two mysterious brothers, the three join together to plot their great escape.

archie greeneArchie Greene and the Magician’s Secret, by D.D. Everest
On his twelfth birthday, Archie Greene receives a mysterious package containing an ancient book in a language he doesn’t recognize. The gift leads him to a family he didn’t know he had and a world he never knew existed.  With the help of his  cousins, Bramble and Thistle, Archie tries to unravel the mystery behind his book, but he begins to realize that his gift is something more powerful than he could have imagined. And the only thing more perilous than its contents is being its owner. The book waited four hundred years for Archie Greene. Now Archie must discover why.

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So come to the library and see what’s new!  There are some great choices available.

::Kelly::

The end of the April New Books!

It’s the end of the month, and April is ending with a bang!  On this very last day of the month, we have some great additions to our collection.  I haven’t had a chance to read these new fiction offerings yet, but they’re all on my TBR list.  Some are new entries in popular series, some are books by popular authors, and some just look really, really good.  :)

Check it out!

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New Series additions:

gracefulGraceful, by Wendy Mass
The newest entry in the popular Willow Falls series, following 11 Birthdays, Finally, 13 Gifts and The Last Present.  Angelina, the force behind the magic in Willow Falls has left town to see the world, leaving Grace in charge.  Grace does her best to use the powers, with help from the hints left behind by Angelica. Grace is supposed to come into her powers gradually, but something’s affecting the magic in the town of Willow Falls, and she needs to do something now! Luckily, she’s got friends who can help.  Family, friendship, and everyday magic — what could be better!

gone crazy in alabamaGone Crazy in Alabama, by Rita Williams-Garcia
The third book about the Gaither sisters, following One Crazy Summer and P.S. Be Eleven.  This time, the girls aren’t in Brooklyn or L.A, but instead in Alabama, spending the summer of 1969 in  the rural South.  Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern are vistiting their grandmother, Big Ma, and her mother, Ma Charles. The girls meet Miss Trotter, who they discover is Ma Charles’ half sister  They can’t understand why the two women haven’t spoken for years. As Delphine hears about her family history, she uncovers a surprising truth that’s been keeping the sisters apart. But when tragedy strikes, Delphine discovers that the bonds of family run deeper than she ever knew possible.

evil spy schoolEvil Spy School, by Stuart Gibbs
After attending  Spy School and Spy Camp Ben thought that he was all set with becoming an operative for the CIA.  That is, until during a spy school game of Capture the Flag, Ben somehow accidentally shoots a live mortar into the principal’s office-and immediately gets himself expelled. Not long after going back to the boring old real world, Ben gets recruited by evil crime organization SPYDER, an offer which he accepts.  As a new student in SPYDER’s evil spy school, which trains kids to become bad guys, Ben does some secret spying of his own. Working as an unofficial undercover agent, he discovers that SPYDER is planning something very big-and very evil.  Ben can tell he’s a key part of the plan, but he’s not quite sure what the plan is. Can Ben figure out what SPYDER is up to-and get word to the good guys without getting caught-before it’s too late?

gollywhipper games friend or foeGollywhopper Games: Friend or Foe, by Jody Feldman
In this third installment of The Gollywhopper Games, a new kid is ready for the Games…or is he?  Zane would rather play football than compete in the Games, and he’s sure that he’s headed straight for the NFL. But when he gets his second concussion, his parents tell him, “No football for a year.” Instead, to his surprise, he gets a chance to compete in the Gollywhopper Games. Zane’s sense of strategy, his physical strength, and his competitive edge are all assets, and so is his ability to motivate his teammates and get them to work together. Zane becomes particularly close to Elijah, a young and scrawny genius who is friendly, awkward, and funny–Zane’s polar opposite. These two unlikely friends end up head-to-head in the final challenge, where Elijah’s quick thinking and Zane’s physical strength make it a tough fight. Can they win?

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Tomorrow…more great new titles coming!

::Kelly::

Old Favorite: Annie

With the release of the new Annie DVD this month, it seems like the perfect time to talk about the book Annie!  Usually my old favorites are stories that started as books, not as comic strips, or Broadway shows, or any other kind of media, but let’s make an exception in this case.

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AnnieEleven year old Annie is an orphan, living in the New York City Municipal Orphanage, Girls’ Annex under the care of Miss Hannigan.  She’s the only girl in the orphanage with parents.  True, they left her there, but they also left a note that they were coming back to get her.  So Annie waits.  And deals with Miss Hannigan.

The other girls are sometimes kind, sometimes mean, but they all stick together when it comes to Miss Hannigan.  For some reason though, Annie seems to be the girl she picks on the most, with extra chores, less food, and more punishments.  And one day, Annie has had enough.  She is not going to wait until she’s sixteen to be released, she’s going to run away and take her life into her own hands.  So she does.

Annie 2Even though she has nothing but a raggedy sweater in the New York winter cold, Annie still thinks she’s better off on the streets.  She finds a place to stay in the warm basement of a restaurant in exchange for washing windows and cleaning.  When she finds a dog and ends up in Hooverville, she still thinks she’s doing okay.  But then she’s caught and brought back to the orphanage, just in time to catch her first really big break.  She’s waiting to be punished when Grace Farrell, the representative of millionaire Oliver Warbucks, shows up to take in an orphan and improve his public image.  For some reason, Miss Farrell and Annie connect, and the elegant woman brings Annie (and her dog) to Mr. Warbucks’ mansion.

Can Annie convince Oliver Warbucks that a girl orphan is just as good as a boy orphan?  Can she find a home with Mr. Warbucks and his staff?  Or will the dream of finding her real parents win out over the new life she’s living?

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Of course, you probably know the ending.  Unless you’ve been living without a TV or DVD player for all your life, you’ve most likely seen it in one version or another.  Annie started this incarnation as a Broadway musical in 1977, starring Andrea McArdle, Reid Shelton and Dorothy Loudon.  It played to sold-out audiences, and everyone was humming the songs.  (And oh, I wish they had made a video recording, not just a soundtrack, available with the original cast!)  In 1982, Annie was made into a movie musical, starring Aileen Quinn, Albert Finney and Carol Burnett.  In 1999, the Disney Channel made an Annie movie starring Alicia Morton, Victor Garber and Kathy Bates.  (Just FYI, this is my favorite version.) Just last year, the newest version of Annie came out starring Quvenzhane Wallis, Jamie Foxx and Cameron Diaz.  That’s a lot of Annies!

Thomas Meehan wrote the script for the original Broadway musical Annie.  After the success of the musical, he adapted his script into a novel for young readers.  Annie, the book, is a fun take on the Little Orphan Annie story.   In the forward to the book, he tells of how he started working on the story for the musical in 1972, and went to the source for inspiration.  The Little Orphan Annie comic strip ran in newspapers from 1924 to 1968, and was at the height of its popularity during and right after the Great Depression.  The story of a irrepressible and plucky orphan who wouldn’t let circumstances defeat her obviously drew a lot of admirers in a time where things were not always happy.

When Mr. Meehan finished researching, he realized that he basically had some great characters, but no story.  So he wrote his own story for Annie, including many elements from the comics and from the time period, added a little bit of Dickens and a mystery to be solved.  However, when he finished his script, it would have taken almost four hours to perform!  So he had to pare it down to a two hour show.

Luckily for readers, in 1980, he decided to take all the extra story elements that had been cut from the performance, weave it back into the storyline of the musical, and publish Annie: A novel based on the beloved musical.  And he won a Tony Award for the Best Book of a Musical.

So if you like the musical Annie, and you’d like to see a little more background for Annie, her friends, her family and her…Miss Hannigan, then you’ll enjoy this book.  It was reissued in 2013, but for some reason, we were the only Minuteman Library to buy it!  I do miss the illustrations from the 1980 original, but I do love the added introduction.  And now, I think I’ll go sing (to myself!) Tomorrow

Enjoy!  And if you read Annie, let me know if you liked it.

::Kelly::

OPEN BOOK: April 17, 2015

OPEN BOOK: AN EMAIL NEWSLETTER FOR TEENS from the Weston Public Library

Open Book is an email newsletter of book recommendations for teens. It is sent once a month and includes book excerpts in six teen fiction categories (realistic fiction, historical fiction, action/ adventure/fantasy/science fiction, romance, the buzz: middle school, and the buzz: high school). If you wish to subscribe to Open Book, please email smitchill@minlib.net or sign up in person at the Youth Services desk at the Library. Open Book email newsletters are also archived here on our blog.

Here are the picks for this week…

Don’t forget to click on the title to be connected to our catalog where you can

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Read reviews of the book from multiple sources

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Realistic Fiction

A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman

In India, a girl who excels at Bharatanatyam dance refuses to give up after losing a leg in an accident.

Read an excerpt

Historical Fiction / Nonfiction

The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion & the Fall of Imperial Russia by Candace Fleming

When Russia’s last tsar, Nicholas II, inherited the throne in 1894, he was unprepared to do so. With their four daughters (including Anastasia) and only son, a hemophiliac, Nicholas and his reclusive wife, Alexandra, buried their heads in the sand, living a life of opulence as World War I raged outside their door and political unrest grew into the Russian Revolution. Deftly maneuvering between the lives of the Romanovs and the plight of Russia’s peasants and urban workers–and their eventual uprising–Fleming offers up a fascinating portrait, complete with inserts featuring period photographs and compelling primary-source material that brings it all to life.

Read an excerpt
Watch the book trailer

Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Science Fiction

We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach

The lives of four high school seniors intersect weeks before a meteor is set to pass through Earth’s orbit, with a 66.6% chance of striking and destroying all life on the planet.

Read an excerpt

Romance

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

Taylor Edwards’ family might not be the closest-knit–everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled–but for the most part, they get along just fine. Then Taylor’s dad gets devastating news, and her parents decide that the family will spend one last summer all together at their old lake house in the Pocono Mountains. Crammed into a place much smaller and more rustic than they are used to, they begin to get to know each other again. And Taylor discovers that the people she thought she had left behind haven’t actually gone anywhere. Her former best friend is still around, as is her first boyfriend…and he’s much cuter at seventeen than he was at twelve. As the summer progresses and the Edwards become more of a family, they’re more aware than ever that they’re battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance–with family, with friends, and with love.

Read an excerpt

Watch the author talk about the book

Buzz: Middle School

Drums, Girls, & Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick

When his younger brother is diagnosed with leukemia, thirteen-year-old Steven tries to deal with his complicated emotions, his school life, and his desire to support his family.

Read an excerpt

Buzz:  High School

Hunt for the Bamboo Rat by Graham Salisbury

Zenji Watanabe, seventeen, is sent from Hawaii to the Philippines to spy on the Japanese during World War II and, after he is captured and tortured, must find a way to survive months of being lost in the jungle behind enemy lines.

Read an excerpt

 

If you liked Wonder…

wonderWonder, by R.J. Polacio has been a very popular book over the last few years.

Wonder tells the story of Auggie, a fifth-grade boy going to school for the very first time.  Because of a frequent hospitalizations, and the reaction of people around him, Auggie has always been home schooled.  But now that his parents have given him a choice, he chooses to meet more people and be a “regular kid”. 

But the thing is, Auggie will always stand out.  He was born with severe facial abnormalities, which cause people to stare at him.  He’s hoping that his new classmates at the private school he’s about to attend will judge him on his actions, not his face.  But will they?

Told in alternating chapters by Auggie, his sister, his classmates and his parents, this is a powerful story about being different, friendship and courage.

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And if you liked Wonder, you might try:

 

CrossoverThe Crossover by Kwame Alexander
Josh Bell and his twin brother Jordan are awesome on the court. But Josh has more than basketball in his blood, he’s got mad beats, too, that tell his family’s story in verse.  In this fast and furious middle grade novel of family and brotherhood, Josh and Jordan must come to grips with growing up on and off the court to realize breaking the rules comes at a terrible price, as their story’s heart-stopping climax proves a game-changer for the entire family.

because of mr teruptBecause of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea
It’s the start of fifth grade for seven kids at Snow Hill School. There’s . . . Jessica, the new girl, smart and perceptive, who’s having a hard time fitting in; Alexia, a bully, your friend one second, your enemy the next; Peter, class prankster and troublemaker; Luke, the brain; Danielle, who never stands up for herself; shy Anna, whose home situation makes her an outcast; and Jeffrey, who hates school. Only Mr. Terupt, their new and energetic teacher, seems to know how to deal with them all. He makes the classroom a fun place, even if he doesn’t let them get away with much . . . until the snowy winter day when an accident changes everything—and everyone.

freaky fast frankie joeFreaky Fast Frankie Joe by Lutricia Clifton
Frankie Joe Huckaby, forced to live with the father he never knew, a stepmother, and four stepbrothers in Illinois is miserable. Trying to adjust to his blended family proves too much to bear, so Frankie Joe hatches a plot to escape on his bike back home to Texas. For that he needs money, and so Frankie Joe’s Freaky Fast Delivery Service is born. His deliveries win new friends, a place in the rural Illinois community, and a sense of achievement. But his planned escape is destroyed by a heartbreaking betrayal, and Frankie Joe needs all of his incredible resilience and the loving support of his new family to survive the devastating loss.

mighty miss maloneThe Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis
Deza is the smartest girl in her class in Gary, Indiana, singled out by teachers for a special path in life. But the Great Depression hit Gary hard, and there are no jobs for black men. When her beloved father leaves to find work, Deza, Mother, and her older brother Jimmie go in search of him, and end up in a Hooverville outside Flint, Michigan. Jimmie’s beautiful voice inspires him to leave the camp to be a performer, while Deza and Mother find a new home, and cling to the hope that they will find Father.

lemonade_warThe Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies
Evan Treski is people-smart. He’s good at talking with people, even grownups. His younger sister, Jessie, on the other hand, is math-smart, but not especially good with people. So when the siblings’ lemonade stand war begins, there really is no telling who will win—or even if their fight will ever end. Brimming with savvy marketing tips for making money at any business, definitions of business terms, charts, diagrams, and even math problems, this fresh, funny, emotionally charged novel subtly explores how arguments can escalate beyond anyone’s intent.

out of my mindOut of My Mind by Sharon Draper
Melody is not like most people. She cannot walk or talk, but she has a photographic memory; she can remember every detail of everything she has ever experienced. She is smarter than most of the adults who try to diagnose her and smarter than her classmates in her integrated classroom—the very same classmates who dismiss her as mentally challenged, because she cannot tell them otherwise. But Melody refuses to be defined by cerebral palsy. And she’s determined to let everyone know it…somehow.

better nate than everBetter Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle
Nate Foster has big dreams. His whole life, he’s wanted to star in a Broadway show. (Heck, he’d settle for *seeing* a Broadway show.) But how is Nate supposed to make his dreams come true when he’s stuck in Jankburg, Pennsylvania, where no one (except his best pal Libby) appreciates a good show tune? With Libby’s help, Nate plans a daring overnight escape to New York. There’s an open casting call for E.T.: The Musical, and Nate knows this could be the difference between small-town blues and big-time stardom.

absolutely almostAbsolutely Almost by Lisa Graff
Albie has never been the smartest kid in his class. He has never been the tallest. Or the best at gym. Or the greatest artist. Or the most musical. In fact, Albie has a long list of the things he’s not very good at. But then Albie gets a new babysitter, Calista, who helps him figure out all of the things he is good at and how he can take pride in himself.  An inspiring novel about figuring out who you are and doing what you love.

words with wingsWords with Wings by Nikki Grimes
Gaby daydreams to tune out her parents’ arguments, but when her parents divorce and she begins a new school, daydreaming gets her into trouble. Her mother scolds her for it, her teacher keeps telling her to pay attention, and the other kids tease her…until she finds a friend who also daydreams and her teacher decides to work a daydreaming-writing session into every school day. With a notebook “thick with daydreams,” Gaby grows more confident about herself.

same sun hereSame Sun Here by Silas House
Meena and River have a lot in common: fathers forced to work away from home to make ends meet, grandmothers who mean the world to them, and faithful dogs. But Meena is an Indian immigrant girl living in New York City’s Chinatown, while River is a Kentucky coal miner’s son. As Meena’s family studies for citizenship exams and River’s town faces devastating mountaintop removal, this unlikely pair become pen pals, sharing thoughts and discovering common ground in their disparate experiences.

one for the murphysOne for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Twelve-year-old Carley Connors can take a lot. Growing up in Las Vegas with her fun-loving mother, she’s learned to be tough. But she never expected a betrayal that would land her in a foster care. When she’s placed with the Murphys, a lively family with three boys, she’s blindsided. Do happy families really exist? Carley knows she could never belong in their world, so she keeps her distance.

lions of little rockThe Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine
Twelve-year-old Marlee doesn’t have many friends until she meets Liz, the new girl at school. Liz is bold and brave, and always knows the right thing to say, especially to Sally, the resident mean girl. Liz even helps Marlee overcome her greatest fear – speaking, which Marlee never does outside her family. But then Liz is gone, replaced by the rumor that she was a Negro girl passing as white. But Marlee decides that doesn’t matter. Liz is her best friend. And to stay friends, Marlee and Liz are willing to take on integration and the dangers their friendship could bring to both their families.

rulesRules by Cynthia Lord
Catherine just wants a normal life. Which is near impossible when you have a brother with autism and a family that revolves around his disability. She’s spent years trying to teach David the rules from “a peach is not a funny-looking apple” to “keep your pants on in public”—in order to head off David’s embarrassing behaviors.  But the summer Catherine meets Jason, a surprising, new sort-of friend, and Kristi, the next-door friend she’s always wished for, it’s her own shocking behavior that turns everything upside down and forces her to ask: What is normal?

gold threaded dressThe Gold-Threaded Dress by Carolyn Marsden
In Thailand she was named Oy, but here in America the teachers call her Olivia. Other things are not so easy to change, however. When Oy draws a portrait of herself with brown hair and eyes as round as coins, her classmate Frankie makes fun of her and calls her Chinese. And the popular girl Liliandra barely speaks to her, until she learns that Oy has something very special: a Thai dancing dress from her grandmother, shimmering with pink silk and golden threads, that makes her look like a princess. Will Oy risk shaming her family to win Liliandra’s approval – and be part of the club she has envied from afar?

rain reignRain Reign by Ann Martin
Rose Howard is obsessed with homonyms. She’s thrilled that her own name is a homonym, and she purposely gave her dog Rain a name with two homonyms (Reign, Rein), which, according to Rose’s rules of homonyms, is very special. Not everyone understands Rose’s obsessions, her rules, and the other things that make her different – not her teachers, not other kids, and not her single father.  When a storm hits their rural town, rivers overflow, the roads are flooded, and Rain goes missing. Rose’s father shouldn’t have let Rain out. Now Rose has to find her dog, even if it means leaving her routines and safe places to search.

summer of the gypsy mothsSummer of the Gypsy Moths by Sara Pennypacker
Stella loves living with Great-aunt Louise in her big old house near the water on Cape Cod for many reasons, but mostly because Louise likes routine as much as she does, something Stella appreciates since her mom is, well, kind of unreliable. So while Mom “finds herself,” Stella fantasizes that someday she’ll come back to the Cape and settle down. The only obstacle to her plan? Angel, the foster kid Louise has taken in. Angel couldn’t be less like her name—she’s tough and prickly, and the girls hardly speak to each other. But when tragedy unexpectedly strikes, Stella and Angel are forced to rely on each other to survive, and they learn that they are stronger together than they could have imagined.

glory beGlory Be by Augusta Scattergood
As much as Gloriana June Hemphill, or Glory as everyone knows her, wants to turn twelve, there are times when Glory wishes she could turn back the clock a year. Jesslyn, her sister and former confidante, no longer has the time of day for her now that she’ll be entering high school. Then there’s her best friend, Frankie. Things have always been so easy with Frankie, and now suddenly they aren’t. Maybe it’s the new girl from the North that’s got everyone out of sorts. Or maybe it’s the debate about whether or not the town should keep the segregated public pool open.

counting by 7sCounting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan
Willow Chance is a twelve-year-old genius, obsessed with nature and diagnosing medical conditions, who finds it comforting to count by 7s. It has never been easy for her to connect with anyone other than her adoptive parents, but that hasn’t kept her from leading a quietly happy life… until now. Suddenly Willow’s world is tragically changed when her parents both die in a car crash, leaving her alone in a baffling world. The triumph of this book is that it is not a tragedy. This extraordinarily odd, but extraordinarily endearing, girl manages to push through her grief. Her journey to find a fascinatingly diverse and fully believable surrogate family is a joy and a revelation to read.

stargirlStargirl by Jerry Spinelli
Stargirl. From the day she arrives at quiet Mica High in a burst of color and sound, the hallways hum with the murmur of “Stargirl, Stargirl.” She captures Leo Borlock’s heart with just one smile. She sparks a school-spirit revolution with just one cheer. The students of Mica High are enchanted. At first.  Then they turn on her. Stargirl is suddenly shunned for everything that makes her different, and Leo, panicked and desperate with love, urges her to become the very thing that can destroy her: normal.

liar & spyLiar & Spy by Rebecca Stead
When seventh grader Georges (the S is silent) moves into a Brooklyn apartment building, he meets Safer, a twelve-year-old coffee-drinking loner and self-appointed spy. Georges becomes Safer’s first spy recruit. His assignment? Tracking the mysterious Mr. X, who lives in the apartment upstairs. But as Safer becomes more demanding, Georges starts to wonder: how far is too far to go for your only friend?

center of everythingThe Center of Everything by Linda Urban
For Ruby Pepperdine, the “center of everything” is on the rooftop of Pepperdine Motors in her donut-obsessed town of Bunning, New Hampshire, stargazing from the circle of her grandmother Gigi’s hug. That’s how everything is supposed to be—until Ruby messes up and things spin out of control. But she has one last hope. It all depends on what happens on Bunning Day, when the entire town will hear Ruby read her winning essay. And it depends on her twelfth birthday wish—unless she messes that up too. Can Ruby’s wish set everything straight in her topsy-turvy world?

each kindnessEach Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson
Chloe and her friends won’t play with the new girl, Maya. Maya is different–she wears hand-me-downs and plays with old-fashioned toys. Every time Maya tries to join Chloe and her gang, they reject her. Eventually, Maya stops coming to school altogether. When Chloe’s teacher gives a lesson about how even small acts of kindness can change the world, Chloe is stung by the lost opportunity for friendship, how much better it could have been if she’d shown Maya a little kindness. This picture book is perfect for sharing with a class about differences and what makes a bully.

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And if you loved Wonder and can’t get enough, there is a another book by R.J. Palacio: 365 Days of Wonder: Mr. Brown’s Book of Precepts.  There are also three e-books, which can be borrowed through Minuteman’s Overdrive Catalog: The Julian Chapter: A Wonder Story, Pluto: A Wonder Story, and Shingaling: A Wonder Story (coming in May).

Happy Reading!

::Kelly::

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Old Favorite: Hangin’ Out with Cici

It’s the return of Old Favorites!  This time, with a book for teens.  Or mothers.  Or people who were teenagers in the 70s.  Or the 70s.  Or all of the above!

Do people say that you look–or act, or behave–just like your mother? Do you get tired of being compared to her?  Have you ever wished you could have met your mother as a kid and figure out if when she says “Well, when I was a kid, we did it THIS way!” it was actually true?   Told her that she should be easier on her kids when she has them? Seen what kind of parents your grandparents were?  Meet people you’ve heard of, but who were gone before you were born?

If you’ve ever felt that way, you’ll really like Hangin’ Out with Cici, by Francine Pascal.

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hanging out with cici 3It’s been a long time since Victoria got along with her mother. When she was twelve, things were mostly  fine.  But now that she’s in eighth grade, her mother seems to criticize everything about her, from her messy room to the clothes she wears to her choice in friends.  And she’s SO overprotective!  Victoria feels like she can’t do anything her classmates are allowed to do.   So to retaliate, she picks fights.  She complains.  She even gets caught smoking at school. She causes problems problems that make her mother despair at her behavior, and to ask Victoria if she actually hates her.

hangin out with cici 2Victoria’s grandmother often steps in and tells her that her mother has a difficult job, and that Victoria  should make it easier.  That Victoria’s mother caused her own share of troubles when she was young, so she does understand. That her mother loves her, even if Victoria thinks that all she does is pick at her.  Victoria thinks her grandmother is cool, and that she has to be exaggerating about her mother causing trouble.  Her mother, after all, must have been a perfect kid.  As if to prove her coolness, her grandmother even makes peace between them after the smoking incident, and convinces Victoria’s mother to relax her grounding long enough to let Victoria take the train into the city, where she had plans to go to her older cousin’s party.

Hanging out with cici 1But even that goes wrong, and after a big fight with her sister, Victoria’s mother is already pretty angry with her when she leaves on the train.  But at the party, Victoria gets caught doing something horrible (that she really didn’t do), and her aunt calls her mother.  Victoria’s mother is absolutely furious, after everything, this is the final straw.  Even though Victoria tries to explain, she is told to leave immediately and come home; her mother even mentions boarding school.  Thinking over all the events of the day and everything over the last couple years that led up to the fights with her mother and her bad behavior, Victoria is genuinely regretful.  All she wants is for her mother to like her again. Getting on the train to go home, she wishes she could fix what she did.  She wishes that she could go back in time and change all the things that put her in this place, to change all the behavior that put her at odds with her mother, to go back in time and…   There’s a sharp turn by the train, a pain in Victoria’s neck, and things go black.

hanging out with cic 4She opens her eyes, and she looks at the people around her, who seem to have a very bad sense of style.  The train seems noiser and more crowded.  The station looks cleaner.  When she gets off the train, the conductor calls her “Smiley” and tells her that things can’t be as bad as she thinks–just as he did when she got on the train.  But it can’t be the same man; he’s at least  fifty years younger than the conductor who greeted her when she got on the train.  Maybe they’re father and son?

Victoria soon has bigger problems though.  At first she thinks that everyone in the neighborhood is dressed funny for some big event, then she thinks that she’s in the middle of filming a movie, then she thinks that she’s going bananas.  She grabs on to the first person who looks familiar–a girl about her own age who says her name is Cici.  Cici invites her to join her  and Victoria accepts.  As they spend the afternoon getting into trouble around New York City, Victoria realizes that Cici is just as much a troublemaker as she is.  A kindred spirit!  But Victoria knows that she doesn’t know Cici.  So why does she look so strangely familiar..?  By the time Victoria meets Cici’s mother…a younger version of her own grandmother…it’s obvious that somehow, Victoria has gone back in time.  This new teenage mother is fun, but how can Victoria get back to her own time and her own mother to apologize?

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Hangin’ Out with Cici was published in 1977, and was a hugely popular book at the time.  (At least, in my school it was!)   Francine Pascal, the author, went on to great success as the author of the Sweet Valley High series, followed by Sweet Valley Kids, Sweet Valley Twins, Sweet Valley University, the Francine Series and the Fearless trilogy.  Hangin’ Out with Cici was her first book, and it was followed by two other books about Victoria–My First Love & Other Disasters and Love & Betrayal & Hold the Mayo.  Neither sequel was quite as popular as the first book, but they would also rank up there as “old favorites” with many people.  Hangin’ Out with Cici was so popular, it was made into an Afterschool Special called My Mother was Never a Kid.

In Hangin’ Out with Cici, Victoria is 14 in 1977; Cici was 14 in 1944.  Going in back in time puts Victoria right in the middle of  World War II, hanging out with her teenage mother dealing with rationing, blackouts, friends and families with fathers and brothers and grandfathers away at war, relatives that are missing or overseas in the middle of the battles (or worse) and everything else that WWII entailed.  Victoria knew that her mother grew up in a time where life was difficult, but the difference between seeing something happen and hearing about something thirty years later is huge. Because of the things she observes and talks to Cici about, Victoria starts to understand more about where her mother is coming from–why she worries and where her strengths originate.  Even though her mother is also a bit of a troublemaker who worries her own mother, she doesn’t mean any harm.  Victoria starts to understand how she’s hurting her mother with her actions. She also has a couple heart-to-hearts with Cici, which reveal some surprising truths about both girls.

As a teenager, reading the book in the 70s, and knowing that my mother had grown up around the same time, it was a real eye opener.  Today’s teens might not have that same awareness, as they’d have to go back an extra generation (or maybe even two!) to find a teenage relative in the midst of World War II.  Still, reading this book might remind today’s teen that  your mother was a kid once, and is still that same kid underneath.  Just with several years of life experience since that time.

The book is out of print, and Weston Library is the only Minuteman Library that still owns a copy of Hangin’ Out with Cici.  (Even so, ours has a terrible binding, and is a little fragile.)   Our copy was in the Juvenile collection, but after re-reading it, I am moving it to the Teen collection.  Some of Victoria’s choices are rather troublesome, so it’s best for sixth through ninth graders.  It’s pretty short–only 152 pages–so it’s a quick read.  It’s a lot of fun though, and would be a perfect choice for a book discussion group for mothers and daughters.

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If you do read and enjoy Hangin’ Out with Cici, stop by and let me know what you thought!

::Kelly::

 

 

 

New Books, New Books, New Books!

And they just keep coming!  Here are some favorites from our latest batch…

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Picture Books:

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sweep up the sunSweep Up the Sun
By Helen Frost and Rick Lieder

Do you have a bird feeder?  Do you enjoy watching birds as they swoop and glide through the air?  Then this book is for you!

Beautiful photographs of birds in flight by RIck Lieder illustrate Helen Frost’s poem about the wonders of flight, soaring in the skies and home.  You can practically count every feather and hear the chirps and tweets.

An afterword provides information on the birds photographed, all of which could be seen in any Northeastern US backyard.  A stunning visual treat and companion book to Step Gently Out.  Nature lovers will love both of these books.

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winnie & waldorfWinnie & Waldorf
Written and illustrated by Kati Hites

Winnie and her dog Waldorf do everything together; Winnie takes care of Waldorf, and Waldorf takes care of Winnie.  And they agree on everything. Mostly.  But when the two of them get in trouble with big sister Sara, they have to be on their best behavior to prove that Waldorf can’t be replaced by a cat!

I loved the expressions on Waldorf’s face as he plays with Winnie.  Waldorf may not know exactly what is going on, but he definitely is focused on his best friend as she worries about his future.  Young readers will love the final solution and the chaos before that comes about.  Make sure you check out the endpapers for more of Winnie and Waldorf’s adventures!

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Janine

Janine.By Maryann Cocca-Leffler

Janine is one of a kind!  She marches to the beat of her own drummer, and enjoys it.  She listens to everybody, knows lots of facts, and she’ll even make up her own cheers, if they’re needed.  When one little girl challenges Janine to be COOL, Janine knows she already is.  And her classmates soon realize, she’s right!

A fun story about a little girl who unabashedly herself.  I love how her individuality is expressed in the illustrations and through her actions.  Everyone needs a Janine in their lives.

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bedtime at bessie and lilsBedtime at Bessie and Lil’s
By Julie Sternberg, Illustrated by Adam Gudeon

Big sister Bessie and little sister Lil are SUPPOSED to be listening to Mama Rabbit reading them a bedtime story.  But Bessie wants to stand on her head, and Lil wants to show Mama how she can skip, and both of them want to watch the moon and look for fireflies.  So Mama Rabbit has to read the story to herself.  And then the girls want to go and say goodnight to the baby.  Poor Mama Rabbit!  Will the girls wake the baby, or can they make it to bedtime?

Anyone who has tried to put two rambunctious bunnies…er, kids…to bed will see themselves in this story.  And any little bunny who has resisted going to bed will too.  Maybe not the best bedtime story, but one to share over and over with your bunnies.   While you’re reading, check out all the bunny details in the illustrations!

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GooseGoose
By Laura Wall

Sophie is a little girl who loves to play with her dolls, dress up and go to the park.  But it’s hard to play on the seesaw and swings alone.  She wishes for a friend.  Soon she finds Goose, who is the perfect playmate!  But mom says Goose can’t come home with them. What is a little girl to do?

This very simple story about friendship is a delightful read.  It’s short, sweet and will appeal to toddlers again and again.  I love the expressions on Sophie and Goose’s faces. A fun read-aloud for bedtime or anytime.

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Fiction:

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big gameBig Game
by Dan Smith

In Oskari’s part of Finland, boys go out into the wilderness to prove themselves in the Trial.  With only a knife, a fire kit and their wits, each boy faces a weekend on Mount Akka, starting at the Place of Skulls.  Oskari knows that he has a lot to live up to…when his father went through the Trial, he came back with a bear.  Oskari can’t pull back the bowstring to prove he’s fit for the trial, but he knows that he has other traits that will help him.  And he has a map, which his father has marked with a secret hunting ground.  If he can get there, he knows he can bring back a trophy that will prove him a man.

But just when Oskari has a deer in his sights, it’s frightened away by a helicopter.  Oskari curses at the helicopter, then realizes that its presence can only mean one thing…poachers.  And bringing back information on trespassers on the land might be even better than a deer.  He follows the helicopter in his ATV, only to find a crashed plane.  And inside…a man who claims to be the President of the United States.

Soon Oskari has the biggest prize of all…a President.  But with men hunting them, can he get the man safely back to his village and save the world from terrorists?  Up above the Arctic Circle, survival can depend on Oskari’s braveness, his wilderness skills, and his will to survive.

A thrilling adventure by a favorite author.

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lulu and the hamster in the nightLulu and the Hamster in the Night
by Hilary McKay

At her school, Lulu is famous for animals.  If anyone needs someone to care for their animals, or to learn what they need, they ask Lulu.  So when Emma Pond, one of the big girls tells Lulu that she has a hamster that she will either give to Lulu or release into the wild, Lulu knows just what she has to do.  She takes the hamster.  Her parents don’t mind…much…but they remind her that Nan, her grandmother, really doesn’t like hamsters.  Lulu doesn’t think it will be a problem, she’ll just make sure to keep Ratty (that’s the hamster) out of Nan’s sight.

But then Lulu’s parents go away with her cousin Mellie’s parents, and both girls are saying with Nan for the weekend. They can’t leave Ratty alone at home!  But they can’t let Nan see him, either.  Everything would have been fine, except that Mellie leaves the cage open and Ratty escapes into the walls of Nan’s house!  Can the girls get Ratty back and keep Nan out of it?  Maybe…maybe not!

This sixth book of Lulu and her animal adventures is delightful; a quick read with lots of adventure and love.  Try the other Lulu books too.

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The Penderwicks in SpringThe Penderwicks in Spring
by Jeanne Birdsall

Batty, the youngest of the four original Penderwick sisters is now almost eleven, and is now a big sister too.  Little brother Ben is seven, and baby sister Lydia is two.  With Rosalind in college and Skye and Jane both in high school, Batty, Ben and Lydia rely more on each other as the younger set of Penderwicks.  Batty finds it to be a big responsibility, but one she’s willing to take on.

With the arrival of spring on Gardam Street, things start  changing.  Some changes are good, some not so much.  When the Penderwick’s car breaks down, the girls all know that money is tight.  Skye and Jane are already tutoring and working, and Batty convinces Ben to help her with setting up PWTW, Penderwick Willing to Work, an odd-jobs business.  She’s willing to do almost anything!  But when “anything” turns out to be walking Duchess, the fat dachund next door, Batty isn’t so sure.  She’s still adjusting to the loss of her beloved Hound, and doesn’t think she’s up to the responsibility of caring for another dog. That chore doubles when Duchess finds a lost dog. Cilantro’s owners love him, but they don’t have a lot of extra time to walk him, so they hire Batty too.   Then Batty’s new music teacher hears her sing, and tells her her voice is spectacular.  It’s a good thing that Mr. Penderwick didn’t want Batty’s earnings for a car, now she can put them toward voice lessons.

Batty’s looking forward to Rosalind coming home from college for her birthday, the Penderwick’s favorite neighbor, Nick Geiger, coming home from fighting overseas for a visit, and Jeffrey, the honorary Penderwick coming to visit for her birthday.  She needs to ask them all for advice about different things.  But their visits don’t go quite as planned. Nick is wonderful, but seems worried about her.  Rosalind brings a detestable boyfriend with her and Jeffrey fights with Skye and leaves early, before Batty can talk to him about music.  Batty’s problems get bigger and bigger.  What’s a Penderwick to do?

I adore the Penderwick books.  No summary can give them justice–this one makes it sound like it’s all about Batty, but each Penderwick sister (and brother!) has their own story too.  And Lydia!  I think she might compete with Batty for adorableness! The Penderwicks in Spring will make you laugh, frown, giggle and even cry.  It’s perfect–definitely MY favorite book of 2015!

If you’ve read the other Penderwick titles, you’ll love this one too.  I didn’t think anything could top the first book, but The Penderwicks in Spring might be even better.  I only hope that there are more Penderwick stories coming.  With Ben and Lydia still having a lot of growing to do, there’s plenty of potential!

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Non-Fiction

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Two new Reference Books (that have to be used in the library), with circulating copies to be checked out too!  Not much to say about them, except that they’re good, and contain lots of information about women in the American Revolution.  If you’re a Weston fifth grader, doing the Wax Museum project on a little-known woman of the American Revolution, both of these books will be perfect for your researching.  And at least one copy of each will always be available to use in the Library.

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women heroes of the american revolutionWomen Heroes of the American Revolution: 20 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Defiance, and Rescue
by Susan Casey

Find out about a wide range of women who helped fight the American Revolution, from spies to resisters to soldiers to saboteurs!

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women of the revolutionWomen of the Revolution: Bravery and Sacrifice on the Southern Battlefields
by Robert M. Dunkerly

From the fields of Cowpens to Fishing Creek and Hanging Rock, these Carolina ladies helped win the battle for independence.

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All this and more…much, much more!  Visit the library and check out our new books section.  It’s chock-full of good new titles!  As always, if you need to find something specific or need reading suggestions, ask one of our librarians!

::Kelly::