Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan
(2015-16 Iowa Teen Nominee)

Book description from Amazon.com...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.

My 25 cents...This was a delicate story about a girl who is dealt a difficult hand.  Not because she is "extraordinarily odd" (we are all different!) but when her adoptive parents are killed in an accident, Willow must carry on and see that her world is not over like that of her parents.  Readers will find themselves cheering Willow on as she discovers new family and support in her world.  This is a book that older elementary/middle schoolers will most likely enjoy.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine

Book description from Amazon.com...As twelve-year-old Marlee starts middle school in 1958 Little Rock, it feels like her whole world is falling apart. Until she meets Liz, the new girl at school. Liz is everything Marlee wishes she could be: she's brave, brash and always knows the right thing to say. But when Liz leaves school without even a good-bye, the rumor is that Liz was caught passing for white. Marlee decides that doesn't matter. She just wants her friend back. And to stay friends, Marlee and Liz are even willing to take on segregation and the dangers their friendship could bring to both their families.

My 25 cents....This was an EXCELLENT story!  Sadly, it is based on historical facts.  Marlee learns that a true friend is a true friend, no matter what!  (I actually put off finishing the book because I didn't want it to END!) Read it--it could make you look around and decide who your real friends are!!

Monday, May 4, 2015


El Deafo by Cece Bell  

Book description from Amazon.com...Going to school and making new friends can be tough. But going to school and making new friends while wearing a bulky hearing aid strapped to your chest? That requires superpowers! In this funny, poignant graphic novel memoir, author/illustrator Cece Bell chronicles her hearing loss at a young age and her subsequent experiences with the Phonic Ear, a very powerful—and very awkward—hearing aid.
The Phonic Ear gives Cece the ability to hear—sometimes things she shouldn’t—but also isolates her from her classmates. She really just wants to fit in and find a true friend, someone who appreciates her as she is. After some trouble, she is finally able to harness the power of the Phonic Ear and become “El Deafo, Listener for All.” And more importantly, declare a place for herself in the world and find the friend she’s longed for.

My 25 cents...This is a graphic novel (some call them comics). It is a quick read story and one about making the right choices and finding friends that like you for who you are. I thought it was okay. It was a little weird for me to know it was a true story but the author used rabbits as characters?! (Remember, just my opinion!)

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Boy on the Porch by Sharon Creech

Book description from Amazon.com...When a young couple finds a boy asleep on their porch, their lives take a surprising turn. Unable to speak, the boy, Jacob, can't explain his history. All John and Marta know is that they have been chosen to care for him. And, as their connection and friendship with Jacob grow, they embrace his exuberant spirit and talents. The three of them blossom into an unlikely family and begin to see the world in brand-new ways.

My 25 cents...I could not put this book down.  I wanted to know where this boy came from and who was coming back to get him?!!  I could tell that John and Marta were becoming attached to him and whatever the reason was that he appeared must have been for because they were such kind people.
It's a SHORT read...a good "what if it happened to you--what would YOU do" kind of story!

Monday, March 9, 2015

I, Funny; a Middle School Story by James Patterson
Description from Amazon.com...Jamie Grimm is a middle schooler on a mission: he wants to become the world's greatest standup comedian--even if he doesn't have a lot to laugh about these days. He's new in town and stuck living with his aunt, uncle, and their evil son Stevie, a bully who doesn't let Jamie's wheelchair stop him from messing with Jamie as much as possible. But Jamie doesn't let his situation get him down. When his Uncle Frankie mentions a contest called The Planet's Funniest Kid Comic, Jamie knows he has to enter. But are the judges only rewarding him out of pity because of his wheelchair, like Stevie suggests? Will Jamie ever share the secret of his troubled past instead of hiding behind his comedy act?

My 25 cents…This books was suggested to me by a 5th grade student.  I expected it to be a lot like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, mostly because I could tell there were illustrations throughout.  It was a an entertaining read with what I would say is more of a story than Diary.  I couldn't help thinking how brave Jamie was, as a student who could put himself out on stage in front of others and taking the risk to make them laugh!  I did find it a little unbelievable that Stevie (Aunt and Uncle's son) could really be that mean to Jamie living in the same household-without getting in trouble, but I suppose it is possible. There are a couple (three?) sequels to this title if you enjoy Jamie's adventures! 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Great way to learn about Iowa Children's Choice and Iowa Teen books for 2014-2015!

Check out this link!

http://www.mackinbooktalk.com/chooseBook.aspx?pubId=271

Our school library and the Tipton Public Library BOTH have all of these titles available to
check out!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Million Ways Home by Dianna Dorisi Winget


Book description from Amazon.com:   A moving middle-grade story about love, loss, and the unlikely places we find home.

Poppy's life has been turned upside down after her grandma (and guardian) had a stroke and ended up in the hospital. But Poppy is working on a plan to help Grandma Beth so their life together can go back to normal. But when she witnesses an armed robbery, "back to normal" slips even further out of her reach. To keep Poppy safe, the budget-strapped police devise an unusual "witness protection program," wherein Poppy will stay with Detective Brannigan's mother. Soon Poppy is feeling almost at home, even making sort-of friends with a girl named Lizzie and definitely friending Gunner, a beautiful dog with an uncertain fate. But it's still not home. So while she and Lizzie navigate a rocky friendship and plot to save Gunner's life, Poppy also tries to figure out a new plan to save Grandma Beth and their home, all while avoiding a dangerous robber who might be searching for her. But what if Grandma Beth can never come home and the robber is put behind bars? What will happen to Poppy then?

My 25 cents. . . Super story, a little mystery and a little nervousness for the main character kept this reader turning pages.  Main character, Poppy, becomes friends with a girl that has not had the best of luck in life so far.  It turns out that being friends is a gift for both of them!  Makes you think about what is really important in your life.  Poppy, the main character is excited to have her  grandmother so involved in her life (since age 1) that watching her grandmother age and become dependent on others is w a y more difficult than she had ever imagine!  Poppy meets Lizzie, who has her own battles to face with her parents' divorce and her dad's new life. During all of this drama, Poppy is determined to save Gunther, a dog deemed "untrainable" at the shelter which she volunteers a during the week--this makes dog lovers root for a ending as well!