“I’ll be all right, I’ll be all right, I’ll be all right some day.” So begin the words of a song deeply rooted in the Civil Rights history of our country. Beginning in the time of slavery and continuing until present day We Shall Overcome: The Story of a Song-written by Debbie Levy and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton-takes readers on a journey of a song that positively influenced African American people as they fought for freedom and equal rights. The book would be a great addition to any elementary classroom studying Civil Rights as it touches on slavery, the fight for equal rights, theRead More →

I was talking with a fellow avid reader the other day and our conversation got around to narrators.  Specifically, the implicit trust that exists between the reader and the narrator: we take at face value that the tale being told is “the truth” and that the narrator is our confidante, our guide, “us” as it were.  It’s rare, in fact, that we as readers don’t align ourselves completely with the point of view, biases, and experiences of our narrator; and on that rare occasion when the narrator betrays our trust, we’re shocked, outraged, and left feeling betrayed.  My friend affirmed this – she dislikes anRead More →

Most middle school students dream of days off of school – not the student’s of Kaboom Middle School. A brand new school 20 miles from Horsemouth, New Hampshire has opened up.  Desperate parents find flyers promising information, and more importantly, refreshments, at an informational meeting. Though the headmaster’s teeth and mixed up speech seem strange, there’s no other choice. By the time the last paper cup was thrown away 55 students were on the list – destined for some educationology (Marcel S. Kaboom, patent pending). The campus is a converted asylum and uses unconventional methods. Students swallow their books in the form of pills, dodgeRead More →

If you’re looking for a fun, easy book for a beginning reader, this is it!  Duck, Duck, Moose! by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen with pictures by Noah Z. Jones would be a great addition to any new or beginning reader’s library. With only two words throughout the book, children have the opportunity to comprehend the story on their own by looking at the pictures. It is also a great story for teaching students about being good friends with anyone. The main characters, Duck and Moose, are opposites in every way but they are still best friends Posted by Dani R.Read More →

Sometime in the future, when nearly everyone uses a “comm” to watch shows, read books, and communicate, Danny Wright drives a badass truck he has named the Beast.  The torque of the 340 horsepower 350 V8 shakes his body, and she growls “like a chained animal waiting to be released, with the power to claw through anything” (7).  Danny, who plays football and dates the darling JoBell, seems to live an idyllic life as a senior in Freedom Lake, Idaho, but his life is anything but typical. At seventeen, he joins the Army National Guard, mostly because the Guard will pay for all the autoRead More →

Dirk Lloyd, I mean Jamie Thomson, continues his harrowing, humorous tales of exile in Dark Lord: Schools Out. While Dirk has “acclimated” to the inane and foolish customs of the humans amongst whom he’s been exiled, he still chaffs and the confines of his magic-deprived, powerless human banishment.  His attempt to return to The Darklands has gone tragically wrong and instead of finding himself back home, somehow his minion Sooz has been transported there instead.  Tormented by the injustice of this, the Dark Lord insists that Chris, his only remaining minion, help him contact Sooz and save her from what Dirk knows will be aRead More →

It’s time to go wild! In Mr. Tiger Goes Wild, author and illustrator Peter Brown tackles the tough topic of being unique. It’s the story of Mr. Tiger, who is bored with his life and looking for a change. Slowly but surely, Mr. Tiger begins to break away from the mold and become himself. Despite feeling alone, he continues to be his own person. Mr. Tiger Goes Wild is a story that teaches children to be confident in who they are, no matter what. See what happens as Mr. Tiger continues to change and takes a walk on the wild side!  Posted by Dani R.Read More →

“Hope is the thing with feathers-/that perches in the soul,” wrote Emily Dickinson, but ten-year-old Star Mackie isn’t so sure that’s true.  For Star, the main character in Robin Herrera’s inaugural novel Hope Is A Ferris Wheel, hope is a Ferris wheel, and loneliness is perching in her soul.  Star has an empty space in her heart and soul where her dad is supposed to be.  Neither her mom nor her sixteen- year-old sister Winter will talk about Dad, but he is in Star’s head, “making [her] hope for things like birthday cards and ice cream dates and whatever else fathers and daughters [do] together”Read More →

One of the things I love most about reading is the chance to get completely caught up in a world that is alien to me – whether it’s another country, another world, or just another kind of life.  I really enjoy getting lost in a character’s life, enjoying (and sometimes being pained by) his or her experiences, realizations, and ultimate passage beyond wherever they were on page 1.  When reading Mark Huntley Parsons‘ Road Rash, I got to be, at least for a little while, “in the pocket”, completely consumed by, and totally rocked out as I shared the summer with a gifted, but somewhatRead More →