New Books About School, Friends, Family & Growing Up

Rump: The Story of Rumpelstiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff

Reading Level: Grades 3 - 7

This is Rumpelstilton as never before.  Instead of the nasty, baby stealing gnome, Rump is a young boy, small for his age, malnourished, and picked on by village bullies. His mother died when he was born and the last thing she uttered was his name.  In a kingdom where your name is your fate, how much worse could it get than to be named Rump?  But is it his full name?

The orginal story is here.  There's the greedy miller, his beautiful daughter, a gold loving king, and a boy who can spin straw into gold.  Add in messanger gnomes, gold crazed biting pixies, witchesin woods, and smelly trolls and readers will agree that Shurtliff can spin some tale.

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33 Minutes by Todd Hasak-Lowy

Reading Level: Grades 5 - 8

...until Morgan Sturtz kicks my butt

Sam Lewis and Morgan Sturtz were best friends all through elementary school, but by seventh grade Sam is the brainy, nerdy, small kid while Morgan is is the popular football player who struggles in school.  Readers know something has happened to warrant the promised "butt kicking," but don't find out until later in the book. Hask-Lowy takes readers through a boring social studies class, a classic food fight, a fire drill and the cover "butt kicking." Sam is a smart, likeable narrator. "If you know someone was going to kick you someplace, would you not hope for that place to be your butt?"

There are so many books about the changing friendships among girls.  Here's one about boys that girls will enjoy, too.

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Asylum by Madeleine Roux

Reading Level: Grades 6 - 8

Sixteen-year-old Dan is thrilled to be spending the summer on a real college campus taking college courses with a bunch of kids who actually CARE about school. When he arrives he learns that the summer students are all going to be housed in an old asylum which is being converted to dorms. Camp start off normal enough, but after Dan and his new friends explore an off limit area, things start getting strange. Dan begins to have strange dreams involving doctors experimenting on mental patients, and then the blackouts start.

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More books by Madeleine Roux

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