Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Monster’s Proof by Richard Lewis

Lewis, Richard Monster’s Proof, 288 p. Simon and Schuster, 2009. Language: PG (the G-man’s name several times, plus a handful of other swears). Darby, 10, is a mathematical genius and so is his father. Since their mom left, Darby’s older sister Livey, has been holding the house together. With the reappearance of an old Etch-a-Sketch, Darby is back on the trail to prove an obscure formula – one the will make his imaginary friend, Bob, become real. But Bob has several ulterior motives, and though he cannot tell a lie, that doesn’t mean he has to give complete answers, either. It will take the help of two angels for Livey and Darby to rescue the world from Bob. While the mathematics may be a bit bewildering for some, there is plenty of action to keep the reader guessing throughout the reading. This book will need some help to sell it, however. MS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Boo to You! by Lois Ehlert

Ehlert, Lois Boo to You! Beach Lane (Simon), 2009. PICTURE BOOK. A group of mice are all set to have theor own harvest party until they realize that the cat is back in the neighborhood. Unless they do something quick, their party and their harvest will be ruined. The mixed media illustrations are the best part of this picture book; the rhymes are, at times, a little forced and confusing. PreK – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Little Red’s Autumn Adventure by Sarah Ferguson

Ferguson, Sarah, Duchess of York Little Red’s Autumn Adventure, illustrated by Sam Williams. Simon and Schuster, 2009. PICTURE BOOK. Little Red and her friends are preparing for a harvest festival, when Red hears the tiny cries of two lost mice. With her bag of smiles, Little Red knows she can help them, but a certain someone has scampered away with the bag and is using the smiles to cause a panic. Someone will have to step forward and retrieve the bag and save Little Red. I have never read a book by the Duchess of York, but I did enjoy reading this one. Little Red has three other adventures to read, too. EL (K-3) – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Skelly and Femur by Jimmy Pickering - ADVISABLE

Pickering, Jimmy Skelly and Femur. Simon and Schuster, 2009. PICTURE BOOK.

Skelly, the skeleton girl and her skeleton dog Femur are mystified when various important things go missing around their castle. They must venture up to the attic in order to find the culprit!

For little ones who might like to be scared just a little, this will be a delight.

EL (K-3) – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Miss Little’s Gift by Douglas Wood

Wood, Douglas Miss Little’s Gift, illustrated by Jim Burke. Candlewick, 2009. PICTURE BOOK. When Douglas Wood was in second grade, he had a hard time paying attention and an even harder time learning how to read. Even though he didn’t want to, his teacher, Miss Little, kept him after school every day so that they could work together on his skills. It wasn’t until he was older that Mr. Wood realized the sacrifices that Miss Little made to help one little boy learn to enjoy reading. This is the kind of book which is more a gift to a special teacher than one that children will enjoy on their own. EL – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Lone Wolf by Kathryn Lasky

Lasky, Kathryn. Lone Wolf, 240 pgs. Scholastic Press, 2010. $16.99. Language - G; Sexual Content - G; Violence - PG (between animals). Faolan, the wolf pup, has two mothers; the one who birthed him and the one who nursed him. Taken from his birth mother because he was born with a splayed paw and left to die, Faolan was found and nurtured by a bear named Thunderheart. During hibernation, tragedy strikes and Faolan with the help of an owl must find and join a wolf pack. Lone Wolf is the first book in a new series called Wolves of the Beyond. The author has clearly done her research on wolves and packs her story with facts about them. The wolf details sometimes distract from the overall plot and pacing. Purchase this book if The Guardians of Ga'Hoole series is popular at your library. EL –Advisable. Samantha, Public Librarian.

Chicken Cheeks by Michael Ian Black

Black, Michael Ian, Chicken Cheeks, Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers. 2009. PICTURE BOOK.

When a group of animals try and reach something at the top of tree, they hold each other up by their backsides. They’re in for a surprise at the end, however, when they reach their goal. A funny, unique, rhyming story about animals and different words we use in the English language for butt. A story well worth the read and purchase for any library.

Pre-K - ESSENTIAL. Reviewer: Kira-HUN Public Library.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford

Standiford, Natalie. How To Say Goodbye in Robot, 288 pgs. Scholastic Press, 2009. Language -R (16 swears, 10 “f”); Sexual Content - PG. On the first day of a new school, Beatrice (Bea) meets Jonah who is very pale and called “Ghost Boy.” Bea learns that Jonah’s mother and twin brother, with special needs, died in a car accident when he was in third grade. Jonah isn’t friendly, but he puts a sticker on Bea’s locker advertising a nighttime talk radio show. Bea calls the radio show and gives her name as “Robot Girl.” Bea and Jonah become friends. Jonah inadvertently answers a phone call for his father and discovers that his brother is alive. Bea and Jonah search to find him. The novel is stocked with high school cliché characters and one-dimensional parents; however, the two main characters are original and thought provoking. Several plot elements are predictable, but the end is definitely a surprise. HS – OPTIONAL. Samantha, Public Librarian.

Manga Shakespeare: Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare

Shakespeare, William Manga Shakespeare: Much Ado About Nothing 208pgs. Amulet Books Language~G, Sexual Content~PG; Violence~PG

This much loved comedy of Shakespeare’s can be seen live, on film, read as a group, or alone. This version brings Much Ado to the newer format of graphic novel. The story is the same. The Prince and his entourage return to Medina to be greeted by the governor Senior Leonato. While there, one of the entourage, Claudio, falls madly in love with the Govenor’s daughter, Hero. With the princes help Hero is wooed and then engaged to Claudio. In a side story, another of the entourage, Senior Benedict, a confirmed bachelor, meets up with an old acquaintance, Beatrice. Both scorn each other with words and witty insults. A plot is laid for them by the Prince and Company to make them fall in love with each other. The play has its dark moments, but is thoroughly enjoyable. This Manga version will assist many readers in gaining the true meaning behind Shakespeare’s words. All of the text is taken from the play itself and is brilliantly woven together with the masterful art renditions by Emma Vieceli. Teachers should take note of this wonderful new series!

MS/HS ESSENTIAL Allison Madsen~Teen Librarian-SJO Public Library

Red Blazer Girls by Michael D. Beil

Beil, Michael D. Red Blazer Girls 304pgs. Knopf Books for Young Readers Language~G, Sexual Content~G; Violence~G

Move over Nancy Drew and crew. There is a new group in town! Sophie St. Pierre and her 3 best friends stumble upon a mystery that leads them clue by clue through the church across the street. Odd place to find clues, I know, but it works. The clues are intriguing and involve the reader in finding the solution. As narrator, Sophie includes the reader in their findings and in solving the clues as they go along. I really enjoyed this book.

ELM/MS ADVISABLE Allison Madsen~Teen Librarian-SJO Public Library

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Mystery Hunters: Gotcha!: 18 Amazing Ways to Freak Out Your Friends

Acer, David. Mystery Hunters: Gotcha!: 18 Amazing Ways to Freak Out Your Friends, illustrated by Stephen MacEachern, 48 p. Kids Can Press, 2008. $16.95.

 If you want to learn how to create a Zombie Dinner Guest, Crop Circle, or UFO this is the book for you. Doubting Dave shares background information on popular mysteries and gives instructions on how kids can recreate them with household items. Doubting Dave explains, “Try to remember—things aren’t really as they seem.” Truth or tricks, the illustrations and pictures are quirky and fun. This book will appeal to reluctant readers and boys.

 EL – ADVISABLE. Samantha, Public Librarian

Gruffen by Chris D'Lacey

D’Lacey, Chris. Gruffen, 104 p. Orchard Books, 2009. $9.99. Lucy Pennykettle can’t sleep at night because there is a monster in her room. Her mother, Liz, knows just what to do. She takes clay and molds a guard dragon. Next Liz takes a piece of her magic snowball and brings the dragon Gruffen to life. Ink illustrations are interspersed in the text. This is the first book in a new chapter book series The Dragon’s of Wayward Crescent. Suggest this title to fans of the Emily Rodda’s Deltora series. EL – ADVISABLE. Samantha, Public Librarian

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Drummer Boy by Loren Long

Long, Loren. Drummer Boy. Philomel Books (Penguin), 2008. $17.99. PICTURE BOOK. A boy receives a drummer boy as an early Christmas present. He loves his new toy and plays with it a lot. The drummer boy falls into the garbage and starts a wintry adventure being carried around by different animals on his journey to the familiar Christmas manager scene. This is a new spin on the traditional story. Purchase this book for the gorgeous illustrations in a similar style to The Polar Express. EL – ADVISABLE. Samantha, Public Librarian.

A Small Surprise by Louise Yates

Yates, Louise. A Small Surprise. Alfred A. Knopf (Random House), 2009. $16.99. PICTURE BOOK. A miniature bunny applies for job at a circus that only wants big animals. The bunny admits that it’s too small to do many things, like eat without making a mess and tying its own shoes. But because the bunny is small he can disappear and reappear. Children will enjoy finding the bunny both disappear and reappear in the whimsical illustrations. EL- ADVISABLE. Samantha, Public Librarian.

Love Is a Good Thing to Feel by Barbara Joosse

Joosse, Barbara. Love Is a Good Thing to Feel, illustrated by Jennifer Plecas. Philomel Books (Penguin), 2008. $12.99. PICTURE BOOK. Harriet, a little girl with a stuffed bunny named Squeezie, shares different ways to say I love you. Next, she explains that you can still love someone even if they tease you or if you are mad at them. The story feels disjointed, especially the last few pages which contain facts about the heart. The picture book format is slightly altered by cartoon-like speech bubbles with separate dialogue from the narrative. The illustrations are minimal, but charming. EL – OPTIONAL. Samantha, Public Librarian.

The Clever Stick by John Lechner

Lechner, John. The Clever Stick. Candlewick, 2009. $14.99. PICTURE BOOK. A clever stick finds it difficult to share its ideas and poetry with the world because it cannot speak. The stick becomes discouraged until he discovers a way to overcome his inability to speak. The Clever Stick is a clever fable with fun and colorful illustrations. EL – ADVISABLE. Samantha, Public Librarian.

The Stone Child by Dan Poblocki

Poblocki, Dan The Stone Child, 288 p. Random House, 2009. $15.99. Content: PG (supernatural suspense, but nothing else troublesome). Eddie, 12, and his family have suddenly moved to Gatesweed, which also happens to be the hometown of Nathaniel Olmstead, Eddie’s favorite author of mystery and suspense books. Before the family even arrives in town, strange and dangerous things start happening. Only with the help of a new friend and a reclusive girl can Eddie figure out why Olmstead disappeared more than 13 years ago, what is behind the strange deeds, and how to stop them. This is only Mr. Poblocki’s first books, but I think he is going to give Mary Downing Hahn and Betty Ren Wright a run for their money! EL, MS – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Mission Control, This is Apollo by Andrew Chaikin

Chaikin, Andrew and Alan Bean Mission Control, This is Apollo. 105 p. Viking (Penguin), 2009. $23.99. With all kinds of insider information, this book details each of the seventeen Apollo missions. There are lots of photos in the book, but there are also beautiful paintings by Alan Bean, one of the astronauts on Apollo Twelve. While this may be a coffee table book, and certainly would be a fabulous gift for any space lover, it is also a great one of a school library. MS, HS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher.

Freckleface Strawberry and the Dodgeball Bully by Julianne Moore

Moore, Julianne Freckleface Strawberry and the Dodgeball Bully, illustrated by LeUyen Pham. Bloomsbury, 2009. $16.99. PICTURE BOOK. Freckleface Strawberry loves to go to school early for Early Bird play – EXCEPT when it is raining, because rain means dodgeball! And dodgeball means Windy Pants Patrick, with the too hard throw will try his best to make everyone cry. But this time, Freckleface Strawberry has a plan. What plan? I’m not going to tell! Younger kids will especially love this book, because it touches on a deep concern for all of them. And it’s a great opener for talking to bigger kids about how to play appropriately with those smaller than them. EL – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher.

Can You Make a Scary Face? by Jan Thomas

Thomas, Jan Can You Make a Scary Face? Beach Lane (Simon), 2009. PICTURE BOOK. Join Ladybug as it leads you through a fun pretend exercise – that may just become a little too real. Parents and preschool teachers will have a great time jump and squirming and making faces with their children as they read thorugh and act out this crazy book. PreK – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher.

The Bag of Bones by Vivian French

French, Vivian The Bag of Bones, 247 p. Candlewick Press, 2009. $14.99. Content: G. The good witches of Wadingburn welcome a refugee from a neighboring kingdom, who immediately decides to shrink them all and take over the throne of beloved Queen Bluebell. Loobly, an orphan, is witness to the dastardly deed and decides that she must find help – which will come in the form of a bat, a troll, a prince and a Trueheart. If your students liked Robe of Skulls, they will thoroughly enjoy this continuation of the series. I say if French can keep putting together worthwhile plots, keep the books coming! EL, MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library-Teacher

Coffeehouse Angel by Suzanne Selfors

Selfors, Suzanne Coffeehouse Angel, 288 p. Walker Books, 2009. $16.99. Content: G. Katrina works mornings and nights in her aging grandmother’s throwback coffeehouse. It’s so very hard to make ends meet, especially with the modern coffeehouse next door always looking for a way to push them out. Then Melissa does something nice for a boy she finds sleeping in the back alley. Next thing she knows,, he says he is a Messenger and he now owes her her heart’s desire. Katrina doesn’t want anything to do with what she thinks is a crazy person, but strange things are definitely happening around her. This book was much cuter than I thought it was going to be. Katrina is just trying to do her best in a hard situation and her guilelessness shines through. MS, HS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library-Teacher

Monday, September 21, 2009

Out of Sight, Out of Mind by Marilyn Kaye

Kaye, Marilyn Gifted: Out of Sight, Out of Mind, 229 p. $7.99.Content: G. Amanda is more occupied with being her middle school’s Queen of Mean, than taking time to pity any sort of lower life forms. Then she wakes up in the body of one of her main targets – nobody Tracey – and Amanda will have to resurrect the magic power that she has spent all of these years suppressing if she wants her own life back. Amanda’s not the only one at her school with special powers, though. There’s a whole GIFTED class to contend with. WOW – super fun to read. I hope the rest of the series can keep up the pace – however many titles are in it. MS – ESSENTIAL. Reviewer: Cindy, Library-Teacher

The Walls Have Eyes by Clare Dunkle

Dunkle, Clare The Walls Have Eyes, 225 p. Atheneum (Simon), 2009. Martin Glass is free and his little sister, Cassie, is in good hands, but Martin wants his mom to be out of the bubble and its dangers too. So back in goes Martin, with his faithful ‘bot dog Chip. Martin will have to stay on his toes, think really fast, and hope for some help from a few friends – including one friend whom no one could have predicted – if he wants everyone he loves to come out of this adventure safely. Well – I had NO idea that this series was going to head this way. Of course I figured Martin was going to agitate enough to change the structure of his world permanently (what teenager wouldn’t given the chance) – but I didn’t see this particular path. Kudos to Dunkle for her very active imagination and skillful writing. Can I hope for a 3rd book? MS – ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Cindy, Library-Teacher

Another Faust by Daniel Nayeri

Nayeri, Daniel and Dina Another Faust, 387 p. Candlewick, 2009. Content: G (creepy, but safe). Five years ago, five ten-year olds were given a choice. Now, they are in New York as teens, with their mysterious governess, Madame Viceroy, prepared to become the top of the heap at an ultra-exclusive prep school. Victoria, Valentin, Belle, Bice and Christian Faust (yes, Faust) each have special powers, which can wither help or hinder their climb to the top and who cares whether it is a fellow classmate or a sibling who gets in their way? Not these five. What a clever premise and what a disaster of a telling. I had to drag my way through the first 300 pages to finally get to the writing that grabbed my attention. While the cover is fabulous, that is really the best part of the book. It was just sad watching these five teens fall apart and get used over and over by their “governess”. Anyone want to guess who she really is? NO. Reviewer: Cindy, Library-Teacher

Over My Dead Body by Kate Klise

Klise, Kate and M. Sarah Klise Over My Dead Body, 116 p. Harcourt, 2009. $15.00 All is proceeding nicely at 43 Old Cemetery Road. Olive is her usual ghostly self, Grumply is not quite so grumpy and Seymour is adoring being loved. Then an anonymous letter sends everything into a tailspin. Someone wants Seymour in an orphanage, Grumply in an old folk’s home and Olive declared non-existent. Will the three friends be able to weather this storm? Once again the Klise sisters have a created a good series – I can’t wait to see what these three come up against next! EL – ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Cindy, Library-Teacher

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

Stead, Rebecca When You Reach Me 208pgs. Wendy Lamb Books Language~G, Sexual Content~G; Violence~PG

Miranda and Sal live in the same New York City apartment building and have been best friends forever. Then one day walking home from school Sal is punched by some strange kid and Miranda and Sal’s friendship starts to change. Now Miranda must walk home by herself past the odd homeless man on the corner. In addition to losing her best friend Miranda has started receiving strange cryptic notes. In them she is told things that no one else could know. Who is sending the notes and why? What do they have to do with Miranda and those around her?

This is a great mystery for any age. It would make a great read a loud for elementary and even middle school kids.

ELM/MS ADVISABLE Allison Madsen~Teen Librarian-SJO Public Library

Eon:Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman - ADVISABLE

Goodman, Alison Eon: Dragoneye Reborn 536pgs. Viking Juvenile (Penguin)

Language~PG, Sexual Content~PG-13; Violence~PG-13

Twelve year old Eon is about to undertake the test of his life. He has been training for his chance to be chosen by the ascendant dragon as a Dragoneye Apprentice. He eagerly trains despite his lame hip that causes him pain and hinders him in his training. He is somewhat special for he can already see the energies of all the dragons. But despite this fact, no one expects him to be chosen. Eon also hides a secret. He is really a she. Women are forbidden from training for or becoming Dragoneyes. It is a man’s world and women have no part, in fact they are considered bad luck. If she is caught it will mean death for her and her master and his household. When the judgment day comes Eon is not chosen by the ascendant dragon. He is chosen by the mystical Mirror dragon that has been absent for 500 years. This is unheard of and the Dragoneye council is unsure of how to proceed. Aside from all of this the Emperor is ill and his empire is threatened by a coup de ta from within. The Emperor places all hope on Eon and his ability to call the mirror dragon and work its power. However, Eon has been unable to call his dragon.

This is an exciting new tale of dragons, magic, and their bonds with humans. It is also an intriguing tale of a girl trying to live in a man’s world. The history is fictional, but could be ancient Japan or China. There are eunuchs and men living as women in this story, but all are secondary to the main plot. There is also an attempted rape, but it does not happen and little is described. Overall a fantastic new story.

MS, HS - ADVISABLE Allison Madsen~Teen Librarian-SJO Public Library

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Most Loved in All the World by Tonya Cherie Hegamin

Hegamin, Tonya Cherie Most Loved in All the World, A story of freedom illustrated by Cozbi A. Cabrera. Houghton Mifflin, 2009 PICTURE BOOK - Language G, Sexual Content G, Violence PG – This heartbreaking story of mother's love is an authentic and powerful account of the Underground Railroad. Told by a little girl in dialect and illustrated by world renowned dollmaker, Cozbi Cabrera, this beautiful book shows the misery and torture of a slave mother as well as her courage and sacrifice in giving up her daughter so the little girl can have a chance at freedom. The mother is whipped as she works long hours in the cotton fields and then comes home each night to her little girl and makes her a quilt with symbols to guide her to freedom and to show her that she is the "most loved in all the world". Somber, dark paintings and beautiful quilt squares illustrate this unique and heartfelt book. Adopted children can find special meaning in this story of a mother who gives up her beloved child so her child can have a better life. This is not a book that children will choose on their own but could be used beautifully in the classroom to teach about slavery and the underground railroad. EL - ADVISABLE. Janell Pearce-Mattheus, Youth Services Librarian, Whitmore Library.

The Secret at Jefferson's Mansion by Ron Roy

Roy, Ron The Secret at Jefferson's Mansion. Random 87 pgs. 2009 - Language G, Sexual Content G, Violence G – This Stepping Stone book is number eleven in the Capital Mysteries series written at the second and third grade level. KC, her best friend Marshall and her stepfather who is the President of the United States are the main characters in this implausible but enjoyable series. Readers will learn a little about U.S. history as KC and Marshall find an old box of homemade toy horses that once belonged to Thomas Jefferson hidden away in a forgotten cubbyhole in the White House. When the toy horses are stolen the mystery begins. Full page black and white illustrations interspersed throughout the text add to the fun. Kids who have enjoyed the A to Z mysteries will like these too. EL (K-3) ADVISABLE. Janell Pearce-Mattheus, Youth Services Librarian, Whitmore Library

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Collins, Suzanne Catching Fire 391 pgs. Scholastic Press ~Language G, Sexual Content~PG Violence~PG-13

When we last saw Katniss and Peeta they were coming home from winning the Hunger Games in an unexpected turn of events. Soon Katniss finds she has truly made an enemy of the Capitol and especially President Snow. Thing have gotten out of control and Katniss has become the symbol of revolution among the 12 districts. Will she be able to reign in the rebellion she accidentally caused or will the Capitol destroy her, her family, and all she loves to squelch the fire of revolution?

Collins has created another suspenseful masterpiece that will have you in its grasp, ‘til the end and beyond.

MS/HS ESSENTIAL Allison Madsen~Youth Services Librarian-SJO Public Librarian

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Look at Lucy! by Ilene Cooper

Cooper, Ilene, Look at Lucy! Random House Books, 2009. pgs. 102. Language: G, Violence: G, Sexual Content: G

Bobby loves his beagle, Lucy. She’s a terrific dog and a great friend. When a local pet store has a contest to choose the next spokespet, he gets all excited and enters. He soon finds out, however, that he has to be in the commercial, too! Things get even worse, though, when his teacher announces that everyone has to do oral reports this year in front of the whole class! Will Bobby get over his stage fright in time for the contest? Will he survive his oral reports? This story is fun to read and Lucy is a dog that you can’t help but love. Animal lovers who are just getting into chapter books will enjoy reading this book. EL(2-3) OPTIONAL. Reviewer: Kira- Youth Services Librarian, HUN Public Library.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Neil Armstrong is My Uncle: and Other Lies Muscle McGinty Told Me by Nan Marino

Marino, Nan, Neil Armstrong is My Uncle: and Other Lies Muscle McGinty Told Me. Roaring Brook Press, 2009. pgs. 154. Language: G, Violence: G, Sexual Content: G.

Muscle Man McGinty has been a pain in Tamara’s side ever since he moved into her friend’s old house. You can never tell when he’s not lying or bragging, because he’s always doing so. To make matters worse, Tamara misses her best friend. When funerals, suspension from the weekly kickball game, and lack of invitations to a moon walk party come up, she wishes she could find her friend to talk and write to. When letters start coming from her friend, she starts hoping for the best, but not everything is quite as it seems.

A unique story with easy to relate to characters, Nan Marino does a great job of getting readers interested in what happened in 1969. History and stories of friendship blend well together. A quick, but interesting read, this book would be good for children who are interested in history, sports, kickball, or have to read a historical fiction novel.

EL - OPTIONAL. Reviewer: Kira-HUN Public Library-Youth Services Librarian.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Stockett, Kathryn The Help pgs. 464 Putnam Adult Language~PG-13, Sexual Content~PG; Violence~PG

The years we now refer to as the Civil Rights Era, were full of violence, unrest, and terror for African Americans and those who supported their appeal for equality. This is the story of three remarkable women living in a time of controversy. Aibileen is ‘black’ and has been a domestic servant since she was old enough to get a job. Working for ‘white’ women hasn’t always been easy. Minny, another ‘black’ maid has a temper that has gotten her in trouble time and again. Miss Skeeter, a ‘white’ recent college graduate, has grown-up with ‘black’ help in her home. Jackson, Mississippi is a very Southern town where the Jim Crow laws flourish. The trouble begins with a toilet and escalates to a book revealing the good and bad of ‘black’ help working for ‘white’ women.

This book has heralded by book reviewers everywhere as a ‘must read.’ This book would make an ideal choice for a literary circle discussing Civil Rights and Human Rights in general. Consider putting aside Chris Crowe’s Mississippi Trial 1955 this year and have your students read The Help.

HS –ESSENTIAL Allison Madsen~Teen Librarian-SJO Public Library

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

Anderson, Laurie Halse Chains 316 pgs. Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
~Language PG, Sexual Content~PG Violence~PG-13

Isabel is sad that her Mistress is dead, but now she is free. In the old woman’s will Isabel and her sister are to be set free from their bonds of slavery. However, the old woman’s nephew sees only money in the form of Isabel and her sister. He sells them at auction to a man and woman from Boston. Thus begins her story as a slave in the town where our own American Revolution. Ironically, this was a movement to free a group of colonies from the bondage of England, and yet these colonies are still a place where one human being can own another. Isabel is now owners are loyal to King George and England. However, Isabel learns that there is a group of ‘rebels’ that are fighting for their freedom. If the revolutionaries win, does she earn her freedom too?

In a powerful historical fiction novel, Anderson has brought a voice to a rarely documented irony in American history.

MS/HS ADVISABLE Allison Madsen~Youth Services Librarian-SJO Public Librarian

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

Ockler, Sarah, Twenty Boy Summer. Little, Brown and Company, 2009. Pgs. 290. Language: G, Violence: G, Sexual Content: PG-13(girls talk about losing their virginity, but don’t into detail. Also, there is two non-consecutive paragraphs that have sex scenes but they don’t go into a lot of detail.)

It has been 12 month, nine days, and six hours since Anna lost her boyfriend, Matt. Her best friend, who was the sister of the boyfriend, has never been the same and Anna can’t bring herself to tell her the truth about her relationship with Frankie’s brother. In an attempt to let go of the past and heal their lives, Frankie and her family decide to go a vacation to Zanzibar Bay and they invite Anna. The two girls make a pact to date 20 guys at least once in the three weeks that they are on vacation. Anna, agrees to the pact, but has a hard time letting go of her first love. Through a journal, she tries to communicate how she’s feeling every time she misses Matt (the boyfriend) or she is frustrated with Frankie. When a new guy comes into the picture, however, and Anna is interested what will happen? What will happen when Frankie finds the journal? A unique, heart-warming story that will pull at your heartstrings. The characters are well-developed and fun to read about. This is a great book for anyone that has ever lost someone or knows someone who has lost someone dear to them. HS. ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Kira: Youth Services Librarian-HUN Public Library