New Book Reviews
Reading Level: Grades 6 -9
Told in free verse, this is the story of Kasienka, who has just left her native Poland for a tenament in England. Her mother was determined to follow her father who left the family two years before and hasn't been heard from since. Kasienka is miserable in her new life. At her middle school the popular girls bully her and at home her mother is determined to continue the exhausting, fruitless search for her father. Only when she's swimming does Kasienka feel good and empowered.
Reading Level: Ages 12 and up
This inspiring free verse novel is the fictionalized story of the early teen years of Cuban poet/abollitionist Gertrudis Gomez de Avellaneda (1814-1873.) At thirteen, Tula uses her poetry and plays to express her views about freedom, both for the slaves of Cuba and for the young girls who are sold into arranged marriages to the highest bidder. In defiance of her family's wishes Tula is determined to live a free life. Other poems give added dimension as the reader hear from her supportive brother, the nuns who nuture Tula, her disgusted mother, and the freed slave who has not had the courage to leave. Tula's is a beautiful and powerful story.
Reading Level: Grades 2-4
It's obvious just from the cover that this book is going to be fun to read. And it's all in poems so you can impress your teacher or your parents with your knowledge of different types of poems. (Each one is labeled with the type of poem and at the back there's an explanation of what each type is.) The story is simple. Sam has been looking forward to a father-son fishing trip, but then his pesky little sister horns in. Tamera Will Wissinger's first book will have you hooked.
Reading Level: Grades 7 - 10
Cameron has schiophreniform disorder, a form of schizophrenia. At fourteen, he decides he's old enough to make the decision to go off his meds. Without medication Cameron hears voices. He hears The Professor who gives good solid advice. Then there's The Girl who is everything Cameron could want in a relationship except that she's not real. Then a new voice called The Other Guy tells Cameron to be more macho and take risks. When a girl in his special ed class shows an interest in Cameron an unusual love triangle develops.
Reading Level: Age 12 and up
In modern day Tanzania, the word for albino and nothing is the same. 13-year-old Habo is an albino who feels that he is nothing but a freak of nature that brings bad luck to his family. When the fatherless family loses their farm, they journey to a region where Habo learns that albinos are hunted and killed for their body parts. Albino's body parts are used by witch doctors to make good luck charms. Pursued by a bounty hunter Habo runs for his life. In the Dar Es Salaam, he meets a kind, blind sculptor who shows Habo the possibility of a new life.
In her riveting, realistic debut novel, Sullivan focuses on the treatment of albinos as she portrays the thoughts and feelings of a wonderful boy who comes to realize his worth. The appendix includes a list of organization who help albinos in East African countries.
Reading Level: Grades 6 - 8
One minute Paige is up on the school roof getting ready to test her egg drop experiment and the next she is waking up a ghost in the basement of the school. Luckily there are two other dead students, Evan and Brooke to keep her company, but she can't stand that everyone alive at the school, including her best friend, is insisting that she killed herself. How can she clear her name when nobody knows she is there and she can't even leave school property?
Reading Level: Ages 4 - 6
Penelope Hippo is very excited about her first day of school, until her older, jaded friend, Tiny Mouse, helps her pick out what to wear, bring and eat to make sure she conforms on that special day.
Sam is excited about his new neighbors, especially when he overhears someone yelling "Charlie, don't forget your baseball mitt!"
Sam runs over to meet his new neighbors, Charlie (short for Charlene, but never call her that) and Sam Too, Charlie's little sister. The three new friends have a lot in common other than their names and their love of baseball and hamentaschen.
In this fun beginning chapter book, play baseball, celebrate Purim, sneeze on a sick day, and much more with new friends Sam and Charlie (and Sam Too!).
For other early chapter books about good friends, try:
Pinky and Rex by James Howe (series)
Iris and Walter by Elissa Hadden Guest (series)
Mimi and Mati to the Rescue: Roger the Rat is on the Loose! by Brooke Smith
Bink and Gollie by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee