Monday, May 10, 2021


The One and Only Bob by Katherine Applegate

(sequel to The One and Only Ivan, which is also a movie now!!)

Book description from sets out on a dangerous journey in search of his long-lost sister with the help of his two best friends, Ivan and Ruby. As a hurricane approaches and time is running out, Bob finds courage he never knew he had and learns the true meaning of friendship and family.

My 25 cents...While I didn't love it as much as the first one (The One and Only Ivan) I still enjoyed this story.  Something about animals telling you the story, in this case-the narrartor is Bob the dog. The author does a fantastic job of making you feel like you are actually IN the hurricane as Bob rushes to find his sister.  I'd call this one an "edge of your seat" type of story and I didn't want to quit reading until I knew how it all would end.

Friday, April 30, 2021


Listen, Slowly by Thanhha Lai

Book description from California girl born and raised, Mai can’t wait to spend her vacation at the beach. Instead, she has to travel to Vietnam with her grandmother, who is going back to find out what really happened to her husband during the Vietnam War.

Mai’s parents think this trip will be a great opportunity for their out-of-touch daughter to learn more about her culture. But to Mai, those are their roots, not her own. Vietnam is hot, smelly, and the last place she wants to be. Besides barely speaking the language, she doesn’t know the geography, the local customs, or even her distant relatives. To survive her trip, Mai must find a balance between her two completely different worlds.

My 25 cents...I had a hard time getting through this book.  I am not sure if it was the Vietnamese words that were sprinkled in the story or the fact that the story was a slow moving one.  I loved the idea of Mai traveling back to learn more about her culture, but it just didn't move fast enough for me. Mai wants terribly to help her grandmother, but her mind is still at home (in the USA) and that makes it hard to concentrate on the whereabouts of her Grandfather.  


Where I Belong by Mary Downing Hahn•

Book description from one is kind to sixth-grader Brendan Doyle: his foster mother, his teachers, his classmates, and especially the thugs who bully him. He takes refuge in books, drawing, carving, and daydreaming. When Brendan stumbles upon an old man near his tree house in the Virginia woods, he is quick to believe that this is the magical Green Man, guardian spirit of the forest. Brendan's need to immerse himself in his fantasy world becomes more acute, until he meets a girl with secrets of her own who may just keep his feet on the ground.

My 25 cents...This book was not what I would call a scary book of Mary Downing Hahn's like others of hers you might have read.   It was a bit suspenseful (those woods!), a little sad (seriously NO ONE was nice to Brenden-NO ONE?!!) and even a little creepy (the Green Man??!) I thought--but it definitely caught my attention. The reader will surely root for Brendan as he struggles to find good in his world.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021


Walking with Miss Millie by Tamara Bundy

(Iowa Children's Choice nominee 2020-2021)

Book description from Alice is angry at having to move to Rainbow, Georgia—a too small, too hot, dried-up place she’s sure will never feel like home. Then she gets put in charge of walking her elderly neighbor’s dog. But Clarence won’t budge without Miss Millie, so Alice and Miss Millie walk him together.

Strolling with Clarence and Miss Millie quickly becomes the highlight of Alice's day and opens her eyes to all sorts of new things to marvel over. During their walks, they meet a mix of people, and Alice sees that although there are some bullies and phonies, there are plenty of kind folks, too. Miss Millie shares her family’s story with Alice, showing her the painful impact segregation has had on their town. And with Miss Millie, Alice is finally able to express her own heartache over why her family had to move there in the first place.

My 25 cents...Who would think that having to walk a dog (who doesn't want to walk by the way!) in the new town where you don't know anyone would turn out so well??  At first Alice is just angry.  She never wanted to move in the first place and now she finds herself having to walk a dog!  This turns out to be a wonderful thing for Alice as she meets several kind of people that turn out to be just right for this new small town.  

 Wink by Rob Harrell•

Book description from Maloy just wants to be a normal seventh grader. He doesn't want to lose his hair, or wear a weird hat, or deal with the disappearing friends who don't know what to say to "the cancer kid". But with his recent diagnosis of a rare eye cancer, blending in is off the table.

Based on Rob Harrell's real life experience, this incredibly personal and poignant novel is an unforgettable, heartbreaking, hilarious, and uplifting story of survival and finding the music, magic, and laughter in life's weirdness.

My 25 cents...I loved this story!!  Ross is an incredibly regular middle schooler, but he just happens to have cancer.  He shows bravery but also frustration and anger as he deals with this on a daily basis.  I actually laughed out loud at some of the humor the author shared. OH and the ending ISN'T there is another good reason to give this one a try.  

Winners of the 2020-2021 Iowa State Award Books!

Our students had a role in this, as they do each year.  If they read at least two books on the list (Children's Choice is grades 3-6 and Teen is grades 5-8) they can vote for their favorite.  After all votes in the state are compiled, the winners are....

Iowa Children's Choice:

(See this book in the blog, April 13, 2020)

Iowa Teen Award: 


Wednesday, April 14, 2021

 Book Uncle and Me by 

Book Description from day, nine-year-old Yasmin borrows a book from Book Uncle, a retired teacher who has set up a free lending library on the street corner. But when the mayor tries to shut down the rickety bookstand, Yasmin has to take her nose out of her book and do something.

What can she do? The local elections are coming up, but she’s just a kid. She can’t even vote!

Still, Yasmin has friends ― her best friend, Reeni, and Anil, who even has a blue belt in karate. And she has family and neighbors. What’s more, she has an idea that came right out of the last book she borrowed from Book Uncle.

So Yasmin and her friends get to work. Ideas grow like cracks in the sidewalk, and soon the whole effort is breezing along nicely.  Or is it? Maybe it’s spinning right out of control.

My 25 Cents...How could I not like it--it's about someone who loves BOOKS!??  Yasmin is a strong nine-year old with goals, 1) to read a book a day from "Book Uncle" (who is not really her uncle, everyone just calls him that) and 2) to fight to get Book Uncle to get to stay on his corner and do what he loves. A great reminder that if one is determined and puts their mind to it--great things can happen.  It was also fun to read a book that is set in a different country (India) and to learn new words and customs of that place.  

  The One and Only Bob by Katherine Applegate (sequel to The One and Only Ivan , which is also a movie now!!) Book description from Amazon.c...