Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Other sites for looking for "what to read next"!!


One of the most difficult questions one can ask a librarian is "what's a good book for me to read?"
(But do ASK, because we want you to READ and it's our JOB!!)   This is difficult because A) What I think is "good" might not match what you think is "good" and B) There are sooooo many "good" books out there!!

Maybe you read a book you really, really enjoyed and you want to read a book with a similar kind of story?  Perhaps you loved a particular author and read all of his/her books already and want to find an author that has a similar writing style?

Aside from what I have read and blogged about--here are just a few search tools you might want to try that will help you find that next "good" book.  (Remember, since these are public links, this does not mean we own all of these books in our school library though.)

To find a "new author" or look up a series of books and see the order they come in, try:
Thank you to the Bettendorf Public Library for this awesome link:

and to Mid-Continent Public Library for these (click on light blue headings for links):                                              Bookhive  "BookHive is a web site designed for children ages birth through twelve, their parents, teachers or anyone interested in reading about children's books. Providing reader's advisory service, this site contains hundreds of recommended book reviews in a variety of reading levels and interest areas."                                                                    Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction The Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction was established to encourage other writers to focus on historical fiction.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Girl, Stolen by April Henry
(nominee for Iowa Teen 2014-2015)

Book description from Amazon.com...

Sixteen–year-old Cheyenne Wilder is sleeping in the back of a car while her mom fills her prescription for antibiotics. Before Cheyenne realizes what’s happening, their car is being stolen. Griffin hadn’t meant to kidnap Cheyenne, but once his dad finds out that Cheyenne’s father is the president of a powerful corporation, everything changes—now there’s a reason to keep her. How will Cheyenne survive this nightmare? Because she’s not only sick with pneumonia—she’s also blind.

My 25 cents...SUS-PENSE-FUL!!!!  This is a real page-turner!  Cheyenne must continue to remain calm as she tries desperately to escape from her kidnappers.  No easy job for someone who is young, blind and also very ill from pneumonia.  Sometimes being brave will even surprise the one being brave!!
The Raft by S.A. Bodeen
(nominee for Iowa Teen 2014-2015)
Book description from Amazon.com...
Robie is an experienced traveler. She’s taken the flight from Honolulu to the Midway Atoll, a group of Pacific islands where her parents live, many times. When she has to get to Midway in a hurry after a visit with her aunt in Hawaii, she gets on the next cargo flight at the last minute. She knows the pilot, but on this flight, there’s a new co-pilot named Max. All systems are go until a storm hits during the flight. The only passenger, Robie doesn’t panic until the engine suddenly cuts out and Max shouts at her to put on a life jacket. They are over miles of Pacific Ocean. She sees Max struggle with a raft.
And then . . . she’s in the water. Fighting for her life. Max pulls her onto the raft, and that’s when the real terror begins. They have no water. Their only food is a bag of Skittles. There are sharks. There is an island. But there’s no sign of help on the way.

My 25 cents...
This story reminded me of Hatchet by Gary Paulsen.  The major difference is this is all happening ON WATER, not on a deserted island.  The other major aspect is no one really knows Robie is missing, because her parents think she is safe at her Aunt's house visiting, but her Aunt had to leave on business and thinks she is being checked in on by the neighbor lady. So no one is worried about her or looking for her?!  There is a super "plot twist" that I did NOT see coming either, about 3/4 way through the story.  I literally stopped reading after that and said WOW! outloud!!  If you are a fan of survival type stories you don't want to miss this one!
One for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
(nominee for Iowa Teen 2014-2015)

Book description from Amazon.com....
Carley uses humor and street smarts to keep her emotional walls high and thick. But the day she becomes a foster child, and moves in with the Murphys, she's blindsided. This loving, bustling family shows Carley the stable family life she never thought existed, and she feels like an alien in their cookie-cutter-perfect household. Despite her resistance, the Murphys eventually show her what it feels like to belong--until her mother wants her back and Carley has to decide where and how to live. She's not really a Murphy, but the gifts they've given her have opened up a new future.

My 25 cents...
Imagine being removed from your family situation and placed into another.  All you have ever known is now different and new.  This is what Carley is going through.  She's tough on the outside by tender on the inside.  She is seeing family life in a whole new way.  This story gives the reader a view into foster care from the foster family and from the foster child.  It's a story that will probably make you think long after you read the last page, about kids that go into the foster care system.  I know it did that to me.
There is a slight reference to abuse (from Carley's mother and step-father) but it is done in a way that is not disturbing to reader, it is used to explain why Carley may have ended up in foster care.)
CURVEBALL The Year I Lost My Grip by Jordan Sonnenblick
(nominee for Iowa Teen 2014-15)

Book description from Amazon.com...

Sometimes life's greatest accomplishments take place off the field.

There's nothing All Star pitcher Peter Friedman loves more than baseball. It's his life. He breathes baseball, dreams about it, and works his tail off to be great. Most kids are nervous about starting high school, but Pete's amazing arm is going to make his life pretty easy.

Until freshman year doesn't turn out as planned. A pitching accident over the summer ruins his arm. If he isn't the star pitcher, then who is he? Pete's best friend and pitching partner, AJ, tells him he'll be back to his normal self by spring training. To make matters more complicated, there's something going on with Pete's grampa -- and Pete's mother doesn't want to talk about it.

The only person Pete can confide in is Angelika, the amazingly cute girl in his photography class who might like Pete as much as he likes her . . . only Angie doesn't know if she can date someone who can't be honest with himself, or with the people he's closest to.

My 25 cents...
This was a fantastic story for boys and girls.  You don't have to be a fan of baseball to appreciate the story and feel the pain (physical and emotional) that Pete feels.  It's a great story about friendship and the importance of being honest, with yourself and those that matter to you.  The side story of Pete and his grandpa also tugs at your heart as Pete has to balance keeping a secret for his Grandpa and his Grandpa's safety.  This is the same author that wrote
Notes from the Midnight Driver and Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie (and many other titles!) that many Middle School students enjoyed from our school library.