24 August 2010

The Mysterious Benedict Society - Trenton Lee Stewart

After passing a series of mind-bending tests, four children are selected for a secret mission that requires them to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, where the only rule is that there are no rules.

27 Aug 2010
Yeah! I don't think there is anything better than a book having a very cool website. And this book does! You don't HAVE to read the book to go on the website, but of course, it will make so much more sense if you do read the book. One place you can start on the website is reading about the characters. Which one sounds most interesting to you and why?

For families interested in reading this book together (grand idea!), check out the reading guide. You don't have to follow it exactly, but it might be a good starting point.

Paint the Wind - Pam Munoz Ryan

When her overprotective grandmother dies, Maya leaves California to stay with her mother's family on a remote Wyoming ranch, where she discovers a love of horses and encounters a wild mare that her mother once rode.

27 Aug 2010
I will fully admit that I have NOT read this book, but I think it looks great after viewing the book trailer, especially because I can make a connection. No, my parents weren't killed in a car accident, but I did spend time with horses, on my grandparent's farm in South Dakota. When I think of my grandma and grandpa, I think of how they taught me about taking care of horses and appreciating nature in general. Plus I like how the book trailer leaves you hanging...you HAVE to read the book to see what happens!

I have a question. If someone asked you what a book trailer was, how would you answer them?

Detective Camp - Ron Roy

Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose are off to a camp for detectives! The camp directors have set up a week of lessons in forensics and fun. The kids are following the clues when they stumble upon a real crime.

7 Sept 2010
I have never read any of the books in this series, but I have heard lots of good things! The mystery series I read when I was younger was Trixie Belden. Ron Roy's website is big fun. Check out his FAQs (frequently asked questions)...those are exactly the same questions I would ask him! What are your first thoughts about this book? I like the idea of a series because I love getting hooked on the characters and seeing them in the next books.

The True Meaning of Smekday - Adam Rex

When her mother is abducted by aliens on Christmas, Gratuity heads south to find her and meets an alien mechanic who agrees to help her and save the planet from disaster.

7 Sept 2010
My first thoughts about this book:
1. I can't wait to figure out the name "Gratuity"...
2. What is "Smekday"?
3. Can Adam Rex write a fiction book as well as he can write and illustrate a children's book? Because Psst! is one of my favorites!

What are you thinking about this title? Will it be one of the first books you read on the Children's Choice Award list? Why or why not?

How to Steal a Dog - Barbara O'Connor

When her family is forced to live in the car, Georgina thinks the only way to help is to steal a dog for the reward money. She soon realizes her plan has some unexpected surprises and difficulties.

7 Sept 2010
I have to be honest. I LOVE love LOvE Barbara O'Connor. She was ICCSD's visiting author in 2008-09, and she was just a peach. How to Steal a Dog is a great book, and Fame and Glory in Freedom, Georgia is super, too.
Ms. O'Connor's blog, Greetings from Nowhere, is one I read every day. I often leave comments as well. I really like how Barbara shares her writing experiences - the good and the bad. The third graders in 3M read this book last year in guided reading, and enjoyed it immensely. What are you thinking? Am I pressuring you if I tell you this should be the first title to read? :-)

Miss Spitfire: Reaching Helen Keller - Sarah Miller

Annie Sullivan travels to Alabama to try and teach Helen Keller, deaf and blind since age two, self-discipline and communication skills. Includes historical notes, photographs, and a timeline.

7 Sept 2010
Do you know what I learned from reading Barbara O'Connor's blog? That she and Sarah Miller, author of Miss Spitfire, are friends. I imagine the two of them calling each other to ask each other writing questions.
I have always been intrigued by Helen Keller. I think I watched a TV show when I was little where Melissa Gilbert, who played Laura Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie, was either Helen Keller or Annie Sullivan. Either way, I enjoyed this book since it was told from Annie Sullivan's viewpoint. It included excerpts from letters she wrote to friends and family, and didn't paint the rosiest of pictures - she had a TOUGH job! I'm being honest when I say this book is a great read.
Are you familiar with either Annie Sullivan or Helen Keller? What do you know about either woman?

26 Sept 2010
I had to include a comment here for everyone to see. (Don't forget to read the comments!)
I loved this book! The stories that I read and watched (I saw that same tv movie!), made Annie Sullivan's job seem so easy and heroic... like she just walked into the Keller house and instantly saved Helen. I don't know many women who would have taken that kind of abuse from a little girl. But imagine being Helen and not being able to see or hear? So scary. Annie Sullivan is a true inspiration for courage and perseverance! (Wait until you get to the scene where Helen eats dinner!!)
Mrs. Butcher
Lemme Librarian

Every Soul a Star - Wendy Mass

Ally, Bree, and Jack meet at the one place the Great Eclipse can be seen in totality, each carrying the burden of different personal problems.

7 Sept 2010
This book, in my opinion, will get picked up and read because of its cool cover. That's what I think. But if you need a little more incentive, check out this very cool book trailer. I think it was made by a middle school student in Colorado. My favorite part was how s/he included, "Why would they want their life to change?" in the descriptions of the characters.

Two-Minute Drill - Mike Lupica

When Scott, a sixth-grader moves to a new town, he becomes a tutor for a new friend and tries to keep his football-kicking ability a secret.

7 Sept 2010
PERFECT! Google Books has a preview of this book - you can read the first five pages to see if you think you're going to like it. If your school is anything like ours, there will be a waiting list for this one.

I forgot to ask - what did you think of the first five pages?

The Willoughbys - Lois Lowry

The Willoughby children set out to become "deserving orphans" after their neglectful parents embark on a treacherous around-the-world adventure, leaving them in the care of an odious nanny.

7 Sept 2010
I am not sure why I haven't yet, but I have wanted to read this book for a long time - is it the cover? The author (author of Number the Stars and The Giver)? The idea of kids being left with a nanny? It is supposed to be a funny story, which surprised some of the Lowry fans out there...her books are always so...serious. Have you read this book? Any of Lowry's other books? Be on the lookout for references to other orphan titles and characters because this book is filled with them. (I think those orphan references would go over my head!)

Swindle - Gordon Korman

After unscrupulous collector S. Wendell Palamino cons him out of a valuable baseball card, Griffin puts together a band of misfits to break into Palomino's heavily guarded store and steal the card back.

7 Sept 2010
I can't say anything about this book better than the author himself. Check out the video.

Stolen Children - Peg Kehret

When Amy agreed to babysit, she had no idea she was stepping into a kidnapping plot. Two men force the girls into a cabin, where they create DVDs to send to the families in hopes of a large ransom.

7 Sept 2010
Kids love Peg Kehret books as much as I love BLTs during the summertime. They always freak me out a little bit, I mean, look at the title: stolen children. I don't like it. I don't like thinking about stolen children. Of course, Ms. Kehret deals with it in an appropriate 4th-6th grade way, but still. Check out a blog post written by the author herself on where she got the idea for this feel good, happy sounding book. (I'm being sarcastic.)

Yes? No? Maybe? First on your To-Read list? Last? In the middle somewhere?

26 Sept 2010
Can we get a discussion going between Coralville Central and Lemme students? Leave a comment!
This book is flying off the shelves at Lemme! What is it about 6th grade girls that love to be scared to death?!?!?
The main character is so brave to remain level headed through her experience- I would have been crying in the corner.
Mrs. Butcher
Lemme Librarian

Deep and Dark and Dangerous: A Ghost Story - Mary Downing Hahn

When thirteen-year-old Ali spends the summer with her aunt and cousin at the family's vacation home, she stumbles upon a secret her mother and aunt have been hiding for over 30 years.

7 Sept 2010
This book has that good cover thing going for it...I bet every kid at our school has asked, at least once, "Do you have any scary books?" This looks like it would be it, don't you think? I've never read a Mary Downing Hahn book...have you? Take a look at the Google books preview to see if it gives you the chills like it did me...

26 Sept 2010
(Thanks for the link to the digital booktalk, Mrs. B.! The music is chilling. If you didn't want to read the book before that music, you might be too scared to read it now!)

I. Love. This. Book.
It gave me the creeps- and I had to turn on all the lights when I went to bed after I finished reading it! Not only is this a GREAT ghost story, but it has a great mystery element... I would be interested to know when readers figured it out...
And here is a great digital booktalk:

Mrs. Butcher
Lemme Library

Found: The Missing, Book 1 - Margaret Peterson Haddix

When Jonah and Chip, both adopted, learn they were discovered on a plane that appeared out of nowhere, full of babies and no adults, they realize they have uncovered a mystery involving time travel and two opposing forces.

7 Sept 2010
This is one of the books that you read and say, "No way" but you keep reading and are amazed by the author's ability to think about a a story like this. Has that ever happened to you about a book? We couldn't keep this one on the shelves at our school. It's part of a series. The second book is Sent, and then I believe the third is called Sabotaged. Haddix is a popular author with 5th and 6th graders especially.

26 Sept 2010
A suggestion from the Lemme Librarian:
Great book... but it took so long for the sequel to come out that I completely forgot what happened in the 1st one! So, my advice is that you read them close together! I haven't read part 3 yet... I hope I can remember what happened in part two!

Spoiler: It's nice to have a science fiction thriller that turns into historical fiction!

Mrs. Butcher
Lemme Library

Satch and Me: A Baseball Card Adventure - Dan Gutman

Many claim Satchel Paige was the fastest pitcher in the history of the game. With radar gun in tow, Stosh and his coach travel back to 1942 and watch Satch pitch in the Negro League World Series.

8 Sept 2010
The first book I read in this series was Honus and Me. (Wikipedia is a great up-to-date site...it's just a good way to get basic facts, maybe not something to use as a main source.) It is historical fiction, and I learned tons from the early 1900s time period. I'm sure you would learn lot from Satch and Me - another of Gutman's baseball card adventure series. Do you have any background knowledge about Satchel Paige before you even start this book?

Marley: A Dog Like No Other - John Grogan

Marley may have been an oafish, overgrown Labrador, but from him, his family saw the true meaning of loyalty and devotion. Adapted for young readers from Marley and Me.

8 Sept 2010
I am very particular about which dog books I read, and while this will not be one of them, I am interested in your thoughts. Do you have a dog? What kind? Was s/he a good puppy? I have the best dog in the world, but I will admit that I'm happy we all survived the puppy years of Poco. If you saw a woman running around City Park in 2002ish chasing a border collie FOR FIVE HOURS, that was me.

Diamond Willow - Helen Frost

In a remote area of Alaska, twelve-year-old Willow helps her father with their sled dogs, unaware that the animals surrounding her carry the spirits of dead ancestors and friends.

8 Sept 2010
I will admit that I don't know much at all about this book, other than it's told partly in poetry, and diamond shaped poetry at that. Here is a blog post that tells just the right amount about the book. I'm excited to read this one!

I am still a little unsure about what diamond willow is, but I think it's a type of wood. Here's a picture for you to keep in mind as you read...see the diamond shapes in it?

Trading Faces - Julia DeVillers & Jennifer Roy

When twins Payton and Emma trade places for one day, they learn that playing a different role can be a lot of fun - and that no one is exactly the person the rest of the world thinks they are.

8 Sept 2010
Umm...did you know Julia DeVillers and Jennifer Roy are SISTERS? And twin sisters, even! I guess they would know about experiences that twins face. I always always wished I was a twin when I was younger. Check out Jennifer Roy's website...it looks like this book is the beginning book in a series.

Hate That Cat: A Novel - Creech

A compilation of free verse poems written by a young boy to his teacher. The poems express his hate-turned-love for cats as well as his growth in understanding and writing poetry.

8 Sept 2010
Love That Dog was a dog book that I read...and one that I loved. It also made me think, "Maybe I COULD like poetry." Love That Dog and Hate That Cat are told almost like a series of journal letters back and forth between teacher and student - journal letters written in poems. This book won't take you long to read I'm sure you'll like it, even if you are a dog OR a cat lover. By the way, do you like cats better? Or dogs? I'm a dog person all the way.

Lost and Found - Andrew Clements

When a school error allows twins Jay and Ray to pretend to be one person, they enjoy a few days of being alone at school and learn what it means to be a twin - and what it means to be yourself.

8 Sept 2010
Wow! Another realistic fiction book about twins...it sounds like it has a similar theme to Trading Faces. What do you think would be fun about being a twin? What wouldn't be fun? Kids love Andrew Clements.

Yes, I Know the Monkey Man - Dori Hillestad Butler

When her father is serious injured, T.J. must go to stay with the twin sister and mother she doesn't know. T.J. and her sister Sam work to unravel the mysteries surrounding their family.

8 Sept 2010
Dori Hillestad Butler is a local Coralville author. In fact, her son went to our school! The first book in this series, Do You Know the Monkey Man wouldn't stay on our library shelves...and there have been a lot of people asking for this one, too! I haven't read either book, but I keep asking myself, "What are the mysteries?" Did I tell you I really like mysteries? I always have.

The Name of This Book is Secret - Pseudonymous Bosch

Two eleven-year-old misfits try to solve the mystery of a dead magician and stop the evil Dr. L. and Ms. Mauvais, who are searching for the secret of immortality.

8 Sept 2010
I'm not sure I could say it better than this boy. I want to read this book!

The 100-Year-Old Secret - Tracy Barrett

Xena and Xander Holmes discover that Sherlock Holmes was their great-great-great grandfather, are given his unsolved casebook, and attempt to solve the case of a famous missing painting.

8 Sept 2010
This is another book I haven't read (urgh!), but it has "mystery" written all over it, and Sherlock Holmes is the ultimate detective. Besides wanting to be a detective when I was younger I also wanted to find out I was related to someone famous. This book has been compared to The Sisters Grimm series...
Your thoughts about this book? You love the cover, don't you?! Yes, me too.

Iron Thunder: The Battle Between the Monitor and the Merrimac - Avi

When his father is killed fighting in the Civil War, Tom must take a job. As assistant to the inventor of the Monitor, a ship designed to put an end to the war, Tom is a target of Confederate spies.

Avi has always been one of my favorite authors. Poppy, the Crispin series, Seer of Shadows, and Silent Movie are some of the best, in my opinion. I read a blog post, and the author actually said this was her favorite Avi book. Now THAT'S a bold statement. If you're interested in historical fiction and the Civil War, I think this is the book for you! Just so you know, I would have to ask a lot of questions about the Civil War time period...make sure you are monitoring your understanding - if you have a question, ask someone!

19 August 2009

15 Minutes, Steve Young

Seventh grader Casey Little is always late until he discovers a magic watch that takes him back in time fifteen minutes, a trick he uses both on and off the football field.

What would you change if you could go back in time 15 minutes? Or what would you do differently?

What I Call Life, Jill Wolfson

Jill Wolfson's website

Added 9/21/09 - After reading a comment about socks on another post, I was thinking maybe someone might want to try to knit some socks...I knitted a pair one time, and one time only because one turned out so much bigger than the other one, and I couldn't wear them. Here is a pattern for a pair and it doesn't look too difficult! (Payton, we could never do the toes! Or at least I couldn't!)

I love how the characters in this book sit and knit together. There is a store downtown called Home Ec where people can go and knit together on Saturday mornings (I think). What do you like to do with your friends?