Sunday, December 23, 2007


Thomas is a nine year old boy who lives with his parents and sister. His father is nothing but a bully in their home. The regular beatings that he and his mother encounter have left him nothing to look forward in his life. He longs to be happy and is in constant search for it. However, all throughout life he's been told by his father that only the "good for nothings and the weaklings are happy."
After Thomas' sister confronts their dad about his violent actions, the whole family realized that in actuality their dad is really afraid to live life and that he has nothing to offer but words to discourage his children of living a happy life. At times the story can be very depressing and discouraging; however the elements of hope, innocence and forgiveness never stop to encourage us to continue reading it. THE BOOK OF EVERYTHING by GUUS KUIJER is translated from Dutch. So if you want to to read European literature than this can be it.

For grades four through six.

Friday, December 21, 2007


This is a story about Maria and her family's holiday tradition - making tamales. Maria tries on her mother’s wedding ring while making the masa for the tamales and thinks she loses it in the dough. Rather than telling her mother she fears she has lost her wedding ring in the masa, Maria forces her cousins to help her eat through 24 tamales. TOO MANY TAMALES by Gary Soto is a delightful holiday tale, mixing English with Spanish words for ingredients and a little life lesson thrown in for spice. A great story for all ages, but especially for 1st - 4th graders.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


All Sissy wanted was to have friends to play with and for the girls to tell the truth about what happened that day long long ago. It's been years since her drowning. Everyone has grown up but her. But now she has new playmates, Ali and Emma, the daughters of her old summer playmates.

Deep and Dark and Dangerous: A Ghost Story by Mary Downing Hahn is for readers in 4th and older who enjoy a good suspenseful story.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Life sure isn't the same for Toby anymore. This time last year, everything was great. Toby and his best friend JJ were always hanging out and playing basketball at the rec center. Now JJ is a star varsity basketball player. He's in a band, has new friends, a new girlfriend, and is just too cool for Toby. So when the new coach encourages Toby to join the 8th grade basketball team, he decides to go for it. He didn't realize that the coach had asked him to join just so he could have him sit on the bench ALL THE TIME. How is Toby supposed to help his team win the league championship if he never gets to play? It gets worse though. Toby does finally get to play and when he does he finds out that playing on a team is a much different ball game. You'll have to read Toby Wheeler: Eighth Grade Benchwarmer to find out if Toby is stuck being a benchwarmer forever!

For grades 5 and older.

Friday, December 14, 2007


Wilson A. Bentley, a.k.a. Snowflake Bentley, becomes fascinated with snowflakes at a very young age. As a boy, Wilson tried to draw the snowflakes he inspected with his microscope, but they would always melt before he could capture what they truly looked like. When he turned seventeen, his parents bought him a special camera with a microscope built in so that he could photograph the snowflakes and show the delicate designs of each one. This biography tells the story of an interesting man from the late 1800s, but Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin reads like historical fiction. On the sides of each page are random facts that add to the story. This is a Caldecott Medal winner for the fantastic woodcut illustrations by Mary Azarian. A wonderful story for third grade and up.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


The very first thing that grabbed my attention with this book was it's beautiful illustrations. They are lively, colorful, happy and full of colors, lots of colors. This book of poems is simple, sweet and plain. But yet you will want to keep on reading because I bet that you all have felt the many different things that these boys and girls are feeling, the only difference is that they have expressed with poems. It is interesting to read about something as simple as holding your mother's hand expressed in poetry. The poems are very inventive and the language is simple with a universal theme and appeal. A very cool book. BRONZEVILLE: BOYS AND GIRLS by GWENDOLYN BROOKS and the illustrations by FAITH RINGGOLD.

For grades K through four.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


If you liked the movies The Others or The Sixth Sense, then this is the book for you. Breathe: A Ghost Story by Cliff McNish.

Jack is still recovering from his most recent asthma attack and the loss of his father when his mother moves them to an old farm house. Jack loves things with a history, just touching them allows him to see glimpses of the past of the previous owners.

But there are also spirits trapped in this house. A malevolent spirit of a dead mother who wants him, a child to love and one who will love her back. She wants a child to replace her dead daughter.

A good scare for readers in 5th grade and older.

Friday, December 07, 2007


Alice has turned thirteen and is in-between. In between childhood and woman-hood, that is. She and her two best friends still act silly sometimes, but more talk of boys, boobs, and bothersome brothers shows that they're not little girls any more. Alice lives with her father and brother, as her mother died of leukemia when she was five years old. Now Alice is the "woman of the house," her friends are changing all around her, and she seems stuck between being a kid and growing up. ALICE-IN-BETWEEN by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor is the fifth in the "Alice" series. There are over twenty books in the series, but you can start anywhere and still understand what's going on in Alice's world. For fourth grade and up.

Thursday, December 06, 2007


At first this book might look a bit boring and not as appealing to you guys as some other popular titles. However, I can assure you that there is absolutely nothing mundane about it. It truly is a fascinating book about our environment and the affects of the ever popular topic, the global warming. More glaciers and ice shelves are disappearing from the world than ever before. We are not taking care of our planet which is more important than perhaps cleaning your room. The before and after pictures are really great visual aid on things that get discussed in the book. The language is very basic and it offers a very simple definitions on terms like the greenhouse effect, gases, etc. AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH : THE CRISIS OF GLOBAL WARMING by AL GORE is a very important book that you can read before the year ends.

For grades five and up.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


Moxy Maxwell does not love Stuart Little because she has to read it by the end of the summer. She loves to swim and is part of a synchronized swim team. In fact, she loves to do everything else but read this book. She comes up with outlandish plans to avoid reading Stuart Little until the very last possible moment, when her final scheme lands her in the mud. Procrastinators all over will see themselves in Moxy and will totally relate.

Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little by Peggy Gifford is short fun a book illustrated with photographs taken by her younger brother. It's perfect for readers in 2nd-4th grade who don't want to read...unless they have to.

Saturday, December 01, 2007


Claudia Kincaid feels like no one in her family appreciates her and so she decides to run away to teach them a lesson and to escape her straight A life. She convinces her younger brother Jaime to come with her to not only keep her company but to help finance the operation as he had a large savings. The two run off to New York City where take up residence in the very large Metropolitan Museum of Art and discover a beautiful statue of an angel with a mysterious background. Claudia becomes obsessed with the need to solve the mystery of the art piece and in the process shares an incredible adventure with her brother.

A good read for anyone who likes mysteries with a bit of adventure, this is best for 4th grade and older.