Thursday, December 17, 2015


Did you know that there are TWO more books that follow this book? I blogged about this book in April 2014. If you read and enjoyed this you will want to check out her other books! It's a great kid detective team.  (We own all of them in our library!)

Friday, December 11, 2015

Granny Torrelli Makes Soup by Sharon Creech


Book description from Amazon.com...Twelve-year-old Rosie and her best friend, Bailey, don't always get along, that's true. But Granny Torrelli seems to know just how to make things right again with her interesting stories and family recipes. It's easier to remember what's important about love, life, and friendship while Granny Torrelli makes soup.

My 25 cents...This book was a little difficult for me to get started.  Once I got going though, I did enjoy it.  Who hasn't had an argument with their best friend and it was frustrating them!??  Rosie's Granny has a way of getting her to talk it out as she bustles about the kitchen with her recipes going.  It is a pretty short book, definitely realistic fiction. Just a nice story! I love the relationship Rosie and her Granny have, Grandmas rock! 
Sunny Side Up by Jennifer Holm (author of BabyMouse books!)


Book description from Amazon.com...Sunny Lewin has been packed off to Florida to live with her grandfather for the summer.  At first she thought Florida might be fun -- it is  the home of Disney World, after all.  But the place where Gramps lives is no amusement park.  It’s full of . . . old people.  Really old people.
 
Luckily, Sunny isn’t the only kid around.  She meets Buzz, a boy who is completely obsessed with comic books, and soon they’re having adventures of their own: facing off against golfball-eating alligators, runaway cats, and mysteriously disappearing neighbors.  But the question remains -- why is Sunny down in Florida in the first place?  The answer lies in a family secret that won’t be secret to Sunny much longer. 

My 25 cents....If you enjoyed Smile! or Sisters or Drama--you will more than like enjoy this book too.
It's a graphic novel (like a comic book) so it is a really quick read! The story is sweet, as Sunny is devastated that she has to spend time with her grandpa down in Florida where it's all "old people".  She discovers though, that it's not all that bad when she makes a friend her age that is also there.  

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Almost Home by Joan Bauer
(2015-16 Iowa Children's Choice nominee)

Book description from Amazon.com...When twelve-year-old Sugar's grandfather dies and her gambling father takes off yet again, Sugar and her mother lose their home in Missouri. They head to Chicago for a fresh start, only to discover that fresh starts aren't so easy to come by for the homeless. Nevertheless, Sugar's mother has taught her to be grateful no matter what, so Sugar does her best. With the help of a rescue dog, Shush; a foster family; a supportive teacher; a love of poetry; and her own grace and good humor, Sugar comes to understand that while she can't control the hand life deals her, she can control how she responds.

My 25 cents...I will admit it was a little sad in the beginning, but it does have a happy ending!  Sugar is a strong young lady that has to go through many things most adults would have a hard time dealing with. 
I think she handles her challenges with courage and help from others (a message that it's OKAY to ask for help!!) and ends on a note of hope! 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Half a Chance by Cynthia Lord
(2015-16 Iowa Children's Choice Nominee)

Book description from Amazon.com...When Lucy's family moves to an old house on a lake, Lucy tries to see her new home through her camera's lens, as her father has taught her -- he's a famous photographer, away on a shoot. Will her photos ever meet his high standards? When she discovers that he's judging a photo contest, Lucy decides to enter anonymously. She wants to find out if her eye for photography is really special -- or only good enough.
As she seeks out subjects for her photos, Lucy gets to know Nate, the boy next door. But slowly the camera reveals what Nate doesn't want to see: his grandmother's memory is slipping away, and with it much of what he cherishes about his summers on the lake. This summer, Nate will learn about the power of art to show truth. And Lucy will learn how beauty can change lives . . . including her own.

My 25 cents...This is a quaint story about friendship.  The beginning of the story introduces us to Lucy who has just moved (again!) to a house on a lake.  Her father travels quite often so she misses him and tries connect to him by photography, her hobby--his business.  As Lucy meets a family at the lake, she has to learn the delicate balance of following her passion for taking pictures and being a good friend.  I thought the book was a little boring in the middle, but if you stick with it, there is a great lesson in the end. 
Duke by Kirby Larson
(2015-16 Iowa Children's Choice Nominee)

Book Description from Amazon.com...With World War II raging and his father fighting overseas in Europe, eleven-year-old Hobie Hanson is determined to do his part to help his family and his country, even if it means giving up his beloved German shepherd, Duke. Hoping to help end the war and bring his dad home faster, Hobie decides to donate Duke to Dogs for Defense, an organization that urges Americans to "loan" their pets to the military to act as sentries, mine sniffers, and patrol dogs. Hobie immediately regrets his decision and tries everything he can to get Duke back, even jeopardizing his friendship with the new boy at school. But when his father is taken prisoner by the Germans, Hobie realizes he must let Duke go and reach deep within himself to be brave. Will Hobie ever see Duke, or his father, again? Will life ever be the same?

My 25 cents...One of my favorite books I have read this summer.  Who doesn't love a great DOG story, but especially his one (spoiler alert!!) where the dog DOESN'T DIE!!!  This is another historical fiction book that taught me about the amazing Dogs for Defense organization I knew nothing about.  You can feel the love and dedication that Hobie has for Duke as he struggles to loan Duke to the military.  A great book to read before seeing the now popular movie "MAX" that also is about Dogs for Defense!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Desperate Adventures of Zeno & Alya by Jane Kelley
(2015-16 Iowa Children's Choice Nominee)

Book description from Amazon.com...An orphaned African grey parrot who can speak 127 words. A girl so sick she has forgotten what it means to try. Fate--and a banana nut muffin--bring them together. Will their shared encounter help them journey through storms inside and out? Will they lose their way, or will they find what really matters?

My 25 cents...This book was a surprise for me, I really enjoyed it! I did not expect too, as I thought it was going to be "too much" fantasy for my liking.  The characters in this story (parrot and girl) both face their own struggles which are huge in their eyes.  Readers will find themselves cheering to get the two together to team up and help one another!  Pleasantly surprised by this story!! I think this book would be a great read-aloud for a class or even a family that shares books aloud for different ages.  
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!!