Strongheart: Wonder Dog of the Silver Screen written by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Caldecott medalist Eric Rohmann is based on the true story of Etzel, the German shepherd from the Bavarian Alps region who made it from a sun-washed barnyard to the Berlin Police Force and finally to silent-movie stardom in the 1920s. Through a technique called anthropomorphism—attributing human characteristics or behavior to an animal—Fleming invites readers to imagine a dog with movie star abilities and with a talent for reading people and making human connections. Etzel’s transformation from a carefree life as a puppy to “a cold, uncaring police dog, who slashed at otherRead More →

Having been abandoned by a mother who can’t love like a normal mom, fifteen-year-old Sarah-Mary and her eleven-year-old brother Caleb live with their Aunt Jenny in Hannibal, Missouri.  And even though Sarah-Mary is normally a rule-abiding, responsible girl, her best friend Tess Villalobos convinces her to exchange school for a road trip to St. Louis to see the Gateway Arch.  While there, a mild case of claustrophobia and acrophobia overwhelms Sarah-Mary.  Because she passes out, she is found out, so her aunt tightens the rules and sends Sarah-Mary to Berean Baptist, a strict private school, not only to teach her the value of discipline but toRead More →

Just as teen readers of Lauren Myracle’s books, such as ttyl, were inspired to reflect on the bad decisions they might otherwise have made without thinking of the consequences, now tween readers will get the same opportunity by reading Lisa Greenwald’s January release, TBH, This Is SO Awkward. While this novel’s content is not as provocative as that in the Myracle series, Greenwald uses a multi-genre approach, writing her novel with memos, diary entries, texts, emails, postcards, and notes passed in class to recreate sixth grade drama. In addition to navigating math midterms, reading logs, and social groups, Victoria Melford has to endure the tortureRead More →

Forced to kill or die, Archer Aurontas has a history of horror as a cage fighter for the impressors.  Wishing to be whole again, he looks to Sefia, a girl who is focused, determined, and daring.  The daughter of Lon and Mareah who were hoping to shape the future, Sefia is known as the traitors’ child and as a girl whose life is illuminated by magic. Hoping to atone for what Sefia sees as the sins of her parents, people who helped to set in motion the prophesy for the Red War, Sefia steals the Guard’s greatest weapon, a weapon of paper and ink.  ThisRead More →