9-12

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Author: Merrie-Ellen Wilcox

This new book about bees is written by a woman who is a bee keeper in British Columbia, Canada. The book has an appealing layout with pictures on every page and little sectioned off areas labled "Bee Fact" and "All Abuzz". Elementary school aged children will find the book easy to read and follow and the "Bee Facts" are very interesting. The book has the history of bees, life in the hive, how bees help us eat and live and the danger bees are facing now. This is a good book to get young people interested in the plight of our bees.

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Author: K.A. Holt

Twelve year-old Timothy has been placed under house arrest for stealing a credit card and making almost $1500 in charges on it. The items bought aren't what you would expect a kid in poverty, without quite enough food and shoes that don't fit, to buy. Timothy has purchased medication for his infant brother who needs constant care. As part of his rehabilitation, Timothy writes a journal (in verse) that is this book detailing the struggles of a boy, his single mother, and a part-time nurse in caring for a medically needy child. How much help is enough and how much is too much?

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Author: Katherine Hengel

Gardent to Table is a great book for parents who their kids to learn where the food on their table comes from. In this case, the food will come from the kids. This book takes young people through the process of growing, harvesting and preparing vegetables for breakfasts, lunches and dinners. The recipes are easy but will appeal to all ages. Some supervision would be required for very young children.

Interesting concept

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Author: Margaret Peterson Haddix

Luke is growing up in a community where it is against the law for parents to have more than two children. He is the third child so he is forced to live in the attic of his parent’s house. He is to keep hidden at all times and not be discovered. He has known this from when he was a very small child. It wasn’t too bad at home when there was a dense woods by his house. He could play out there and no one would know he was there. When the government decided to take over those woods to build more houses, Luke’s freedom ended. He was told to stay inside the house and to stay away from windows. His parents wanted to leave the curtains open during the day so that they wouldn’t draw any suspicion from anyone. This made it very hard for Luke to do much of anything. He had to stay upstairs. He even had to eat his meals on the bottom step. He quickly realized he would never go to school. He would never be able to do the things his brothers did and often complained about. He started to wonder if there were any other kids out there like him.

This book was very good and the start to a really good series. It is a good series for reluctant readers.  There is intrigue, suspense and mystery throughout.  Great for elementary students.  These books are not too long and chapters are short.  The story is interesting enough to keep them reading.

Great book

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Author: Mike Lupica

The Million Dollar Throw is about a boy named Nate Brodie . He is the star quarterback for his team even though he is only thirteen years old. Football is his life. He loves the game. His favorite NFL team is the New England Patriots. His favorite player is Tom Brady, quarterback for the Patriots. He has admired Tom and looked up to him for as long as he can remember. His friends and teammates even call him “Brady” instead of Brodie.

One of Nate’s goals has been to save up enough money to purchase “The Brady Ball”. This ball has Tom Brady’s signature on it and was at a store in his town called SportStuff. Nate finally had enough money saved up to buy the ball. When he buys it, the employee at the store tells him about a contest called “The Million Dollar Throw”. “The winner of the contest was going to get the chance to make one throw --- from thirty yards away through a twenty-inch hole --- at halftime of the Patriots Thanksgiving night game against the Colts.” Nate is drawn as the contest winner.

All of a sudden he feels a lot of stress. The pressure is almost too much. He knows how much this money could help out his family. He knows his parents are struggling to pay bills and that their house is in jeopardy of being taken over by the bank. Also, all of a sudden there are cameras and reporters everywhere. While he practices they are there. At his games, they are there. He also is preoccupied with his friend Abby’s problem of going blind. Add all of those pressures up and it is easy to see why his game performance has been suffering. He is missing easy passes and over analyzing his performance. His coach even takes him out of a big game because of his lack of focus.  His confidence takes a serious nose dive.

Can he pull himself together?  Does he make that important throw?  You will have to read the book to find out!  Excellent pacing and great story telling keep you on the edge of your seat.  You are cheering for Nate all the way through this book.  Great for reluctant readers, especially boys. This story is great for older elementary kids.

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Title: El Deafo
Author: Cece Bell

This graphic novel is the autobiographical story of a young girl left with severe hearing loss after an illness.  Learning to make friends while managing this different way of communicating is real, heartfelt and at times hilarious.  Readers who enjoyed Smile by Raina Telgemeier will enjoy this book.  I particularly loved the way she coped by imagining herself as a super hero.  Perfect for Every Hero Has a Story - the 2015 summer library theme.

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Author: Susan Roth

This picture book for older readers tells the story of the Puerto Rico Parrots and the fight to save them from going extinct. The illustrations in this book are incredible - artfully arranged collages that spread vertically over two page spreads with the text well placed for reading the story. People of all ages will be drawn in by the art and the story of how scientists saved the parrots from extinction will grab the attention of elementary aged youth.

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Author: Andrea Cheng

This book is a quick read and tells the most amazing story of Dave the Potter, a black slave in South Carolina.  The story is told through poems from various voices and gives readers a true depiction of what it must have been like to be a slave.  Pair this with the movie "12 Years a Slave" and the picture book, Dave the Potter, and you will learn important lessons from the heart.  This book makes me want to visit Edgefield, SC!

What is a Friend?

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Author: Kristin Levine

"I think a friend is someone who helps you change for the better. And whether you see them once a day or once a year, if it's a true friend, it doesn't matter."  This is a great book! It has unexpected twists and turns in the plot that can really surprise you.  Historical fiction set during the Civil Rights Movement in the American South, it is really more a book about friendship, loyalty, and family.  I highly recommend this book!

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Author: Lois Ehlert

Wow! If you love reading Lois Ehlert's picture books you will love this autobiographical book for kids that Ehlert wrote about her life and art. She follows the same techniques she uses to illustrate her picture books to tell her story in The Scraps Book. She explains where she gets her ideas for her stories, the process she follows to create her illustrations (collage) and also provides glimpses into her life now and when she was growing up. This book is colorful and alive. Any elementary aged child who is familiar with Ehlert's work would enjoy this book as would any adult. If you know a young aspiring artist, get this book into his or her hands.