One day on the school bus, while being beat up by school bully Dana Matherson, Roy Eberhardt notices a strange boy running barefoot next to the bus. ROne day on the school bus, while being beat up by school bully Dana Matherson, Roy Eberhardt notices a strange boy running barefoot next to the bus. Roy is instantly curious about who the boy is, and is determined to learn about him and help him. Meanwhile, in another part of town, the construction of a new location for Mother Paula’s Pancake House is severely delayed by a series of pranks and vandalisms on the construction site. Roy’s pursuit of the mysterious boy will lead him to the construction site, new friends, and the rescue of tiny burrowing owls. Hoot is a environmentally-themed mystery, filled with a cast of strange and unforgettable characters.
Working in the library, I always see this book pass through my hands. I am glad a finally read it! Hoot is as funny as it is heartwarming, and I really enjoyed all the characters. While it is a mystery, it is pretty light-hearted and silly enough to appeal to tweens and teens....more
When Dan and Amy’s wealthy grandmother Grace passes away, people from all sides of the family gather to hear if they have been left any inheritance. AWhen Dan and Amy’s wealthy grandmother Grace passes away, people from all sides of the family gather to hear if they have been left any inheritance. A select few members of the family are invited to the reading of Grace’s will, where they find out they have a choice of what they inherit: they can take a check for one million dollars, or they can take the first of 39 clues that will lead one person to a treasure that would make them the most powerful person in the world. Dan and Amy take the clue, but they are not the only ones. Other members of the family also decide to go on the clue hunt, and they don’t play very nice. Dan and Amy must follow the clues around the world, and try to outwit the conniving members of the extended Cahill family. The Maze of Bones is the first book in the 39 Clues series, and it is a suspenseful, action-packed adventure for tween readers.
I picked this book up because The 39 Clues series is extremely popular at the children’s library I work at. I can immediately see why kids are hooked on these books; they are exciting, puzzle-filled stories, loaded with cliff-hangers. The series also has a website where readers can play along with the clue hunt online. This first book in the series really draws readers in and makes them want to read more about Amy and Dan’s adventures, and follow the clues themselves. I just wonder if the rest of the series will maintain the same quality, since each book is written by a different author....more
7th grader Moose Flanagan has just moved with his family to Alcatraz Island. His dad is a new guard and electrician at the prison, and his mother is d7th grader Moose Flanagan has just moved with his family to Alcatraz Island. His dad is a new guard and electrician at the prison, and his mother is determined to get his sister Natalie into the Esther P. Marinoff school for children with mental challenges. Moose is not happy about the move. Now he has to start over at a whole new school, make friends with the few other kids living on Alcatraz, and deal with Piper, the pretty but obnoxious daughter of the prison warden. Will Moose ever adjust to living on Alcatraz? And will he ever get a glimpse of the prison’s most famous inmate, Al Capone?
The funny title of this book is a little misleading. It is a humorous novel, but also deals with a lot of serious topics like mental disabilities, growing up, and realizing that people can be more complex than they seem. I really enjoyed this story, and especially liked hearing about life for kids on Alcatraz Island. The novel is a great mix of humor and serious themes. ...more
Percy Jackson has gone through most of his life being labeled a juvenile delinquent. He has been kicked out of every school he’s ever attended, and itPercy Jackson has gone through most of his life being labeled a juvenile delinquent. He has been kicked out of every school he’s ever attended, and it doesn’t help that he is dyslexic and had ADHD. He just hasn’t been able to keep out of trouble. Things become even more difficult when he starts to notice strange things happening around him: monsters following him and teachers keeping mysterious secrets. Percy soon learns he is actually the son of a Greek god, and monsters really are following him! Percy has been accused of stealing Zeus’s master bolt, and must go on a quest with fellow half-blood Annabeth (daughter of Athena) and Grover (a satyr) to find the stolen object and stop a war between the gods.
I had heard many positive reviews of this book before reading it, so I was excited to check it out. I felt like it lived up to its hype; it was exciting, fast-paced, and highly enjoyable. I listed to the audiobook, and I found the reader very easy to listen to. I think older tweens will really enjoy this book, and it might get them to read more about Greek mythology.
For kids in Harry Potter withdrawal, I think this book would be a good recommendation. It has a somewhat similar plot and themes (young kids facing dangerous, supernatural obstacles). ...more
It is Chinese New Year, and Taiwanese-American Pacy is celebrating the Year of the Dog with her family. This is the year when one is supposed to findIt is Chinese New Year, and Taiwanese-American Pacy is celebrating the Year of the Dog with her family. This is the year when one is supposed to find themselves, and Pacy (also known as Grace) is determined to figure out her calling by the end of the year. Pacy goes to school, makes new friends, and discovers a new talent in this charming book. Based in part on the author’s own experiences growing up, this book is a realistic story that kids, especially Asian-American kids, will really relate too.
This was a really cute book that I think both kids and their parents will be entertained by. It is a great, realistic depiction of an Asian-American family, filled with likable characters and funny stories. I especially liked Pacy’s mom’s flashback stories to her life growing up in Taiwan....more
Young Hiccup is a Viking and is about to undergo his tribe’s ritual for inducting new members: steal and train a dragon. Unfortunately Hiccup is not aYoung Hiccup is a Viking and is about to undergo his tribe’s ritual for inducting new members: steal and train a dragon. Unfortunately Hiccup is not as tough and brave as his father, leader of the Viking tribe and is not at all confident that he will succeed. Hiccup some how manages to steal himself a dragon, but the dragon is a tiny, common dragon, with no teeth and a bad attitude. It seems like Hiccup will never be able to train him in time. But when two enormous sea dragons awake from a centuries-long coma, it is up to Hiccup and his dragon, Toothless, to save the entire Viking tribe.
I picked up this book because I had seen the movie adaptation when it came out and was curious to read the original story. This book differs almost completely from the film, but was still a fun read. The text is interspersed with crude pencil drawings and pages from guide books on dragons, which give the book a homemade quality that I think kids will enjoy. Although this is one of the rare occasions where I enjoyed the movie more than the book, I think this novel will entertain young kids....more
August Pullman has never gone to a real school before when his parents enroll him in the fifth grade at Beecher Prep Middle School. Because of his rarAugust Pullman has never gone to a real school before when his parents enroll him in the fifth grade at Beecher Prep Middle School. Because of his rare and severe facial deformity, his parents have always home schooled him. August has a lot of anxiety about starting school with other kids. What if they all stare at him? What if he doesn’t make any friends? Wonder follows Auggie’s first year of middle school, with all its ups and downs. It is a funny and heartwarming novel about overcoming fears and making true friends.
I read this book very quickly, and I suspect a lot of kids will as well. Auggie’s story is pretty unique, but middle school-aged readers will relate to the story. Even for “normal” kids, Auggie’s awkward, stressful, and transitional middle school experience is pretty universal. I found myself reflecting on my time in middle school while reading this book. The characters and dialogue in this book very realistic. Kids and adults will take away a lot of ideas and lessons from this entertaining novel....more
John Lennon, musician, artist, and leader of the Beatles, was one of the most iconic and influential figures in the history of popular culture. In EliJohn Lennon, musician, artist, and leader of the Beatles, was one of the most iconic and influential figures in the history of popular culture. In Elizabeth Partridge’s photographic biography, she tells his life story with a tween and young adult audience in mind. From John’s childhood in Liverpool, to forming the Quarrymen (who later became The Beatles), to falling in love with artist Yoko Ono, this biography gives a complete look at Lennon’s life. The text is accompanied by wonderful photographs of all the people and places mentioned.
I have been a huge Beatles fan for many years, so I thought I didn’t have much else to learn about John Lennon before reading this book. However, I enjoyed this biography a great deal. It gave a lot of good insights into his life growing up, and described John Lennon as a man who was troubled, but very relatable. I appreciated that, although this book is written for a younger audience, it does not talk down to its readers. This biography gives a pretty complete version of Lennon’s life, not glossing over or seeming preachy about issues like sex and drugs. I think tweens and teens will appreciate the straight-forward way in which the information is presented....more
12-year-old May is angry when her parents sends her away to work on a neighbor’s homestead until Christmas. She will be fifteen miles away, further aw12-year-old May is angry when her parents sends her away to work on a neighbor’s homestead until Christmas. She will be fifteen miles away, further away from her family than she has ever been before. Her new home with the Oblinger’s is not idea either. Mrs. Oblinger is young, newly married, from the city and seems to hate the prairie and May. One day Mrs. Oblinger runs away, and her husband chases after her, leaving May alone. When the family does not return, May is left to survive the winter alone. May struggles with hunger, loneliness, and dyslexia in this novel told in verse.
Although I have not read many novels in verse before, I really enjoyed May B. It is a short and fast novel that is artistic, suspenseful, and a pleasure to read. The rhythmic quality of the verse suits the story very well. Fans of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books with enjoy this novel set in a similar prairie setting. May is a brave and easy to relate to character, and I think middle grade readers will enjoy hearing her story....more
Artemis Fowl is a criminal mastermind, evil genius, and only 12 years old. He comes from a long line of criminals, and since the disappearance of hisArtemis Fowl is a criminal mastermind, evil genius, and only 12 years old. He comes from a long line of criminals, and since the disappearance of his father, Artemis has gone into business for himself. Artemis has discovered secrets about the world of fairies that no human has ever known, and seeks to use this knowledge to gain a huge amount of gold. But when he kidnaps fairy and LEPrecon Unit Captain Holly Short, he gets more than he bargained for. Will Artemis’ wits be a match against the fairy people’s technology and magic? A modern spin on classic fantasy and fairy tales, Artemis Fowl is an exciting and action-packed novel for middle grades readers.
The fast-paced action and movie-like pacing of this book made it fun and easy to follow. However, I didn’t find myself sympathizing with any particular character, and did not find the character of Artemis very likable. I did think the fairies’ underground world was fun to read about, and I enjoyed the humor throughout the book. I think young readers, particularly those who like action films and books, will enjoy this novel....more
The Graveyard Book chronicles the life of Nobody Owens, a young boy who has been raised by the dead in a graveyard. When Bod was a baby, his family waThe Graveyard Book chronicles the life of Nobody Owens, a young boy who has been raised by the dead in a graveyard. When Bod was a baby, his family was killed by the man Jack. He was taken in by the Owens’, ghosts buried in the local graveyard, and watched over by Silas, who lives neither in the world of the living or the dead. The novel follows Bod throughout his childhood as he goes on adventures, and discovers secrets of both the living and the dead. All the while, the man Jack is still after Bod. The chapters of The Graveyard Book all tell separate stories, tied together by Nobody Owen’s life growing up in the graveyard. Dave McKean’s illustrations add to the mysterious and spooky tone of the book.
Neil Gaiman has said this book was influenced by Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, and it did have a lot of similarities. Both are basically compilations of short stories, tied together by common settings or characters. In the case of this book, all chapters are about Bod growing up, but each chapter could be taken separately. I found myself reading this book slowly, just because I would finish a chapter and set it down for awhile, knowing I’d be able to pick back up with it at any point. I really enjoyed the characters in this novel, and the macabre setting, but is not my favorite book by Gaiman...more