Monthly Archives: May 2015

History Detectives: The Romans

history detectivesTitle:  The Romans
Author: Philip Ardagh
Series: History Detectives
Recommended for: Grades 3-7, Teachers 
Pages: 62
Call Number/Link:  J 937 ARD



Synopsis:  This book, which is part of a series, has introductory material that explains more about an ancient history topic, including The Romans, and Ancient Egypt.  After the child reads the introductory material, they are brought into a fictional story where some crime or mystery is happening.  Each step of the mystery has questions that lead to the next clue.  All the information they need is contained in the introductory material, and the page number for the answer to the clue is given.  The child writes down the answers to each clue.  While the page number is given, they need to use higher order thinking skills to put the information and the clues together–it is not easy!  At the end of the book, they see if they chose the guilty party if their answers to each clue was correct.  It is a puzzle mixed with history mixed with comprehension skills!  It is a common core teacher’s dream!  And Bethany loved it.  🙂





UngiftedTitle: Ungifted
Author: Gordon Korman
Series: n/a
Recommended for: boys and girls 3rd-6th grade
Pages: 280
Call Number/Link:  J FICTION, KORMAN, G.


When Donovan Curtis pulls a major prank at his middle school, he thinks he’s finally gone too far. But thanks to a mix-up by one of the administrators, instead of getting in trouble, Donovan is sent to the Academy of Scholastic Distinction, a special program for gifted and talented students.

Although it wasn’t exactly what Donovan had intended, the ASD couldn’t be a more perfectly unexpected hideout for someone like him. But as the students and teachers of ASD grow to realize that Donovan may not be good at math or science (or just about anything), he shows that his gifts may be exactly what the ASD students never knew they needed.

Review:  Donovan Curtis is a very likeable character who seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and gets in trouble a lot because of it.  When he gets transferred to the Academy of Scholastic Distinction it doesn’t take long for the other students to realize that he isn’t like them. The students there  really like him, and since  he has a lot of video game experience he is the best driver for the robot competition coming up.

I really liked this book, it was funny and I think kids can really identify with this kid, who can’t seem to do anything right and not sure how he fits in. Korman does a good job writing from the various kids perspectives in a way that seems real, like a kid really thinks and acts. I would suggest it for kids that like funny realistic fiction.

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Posted by on May 28, 2015 in Funny, Realistic, Uncategorized


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Juneteenth For Mazie

juneteenthTitle: Juneteenth – For Mazie
Author: Floyd Cooper

Series: N/A

Recommended for: Grades 1-2

Pages: 40 pages
Call Number/Link:  E Cooper, F.

Synopsis: Mazie is ready to celebrate liberty. She is ready to celebrate freedom. She is ready to celebrate a great day in American history ― the day her ancestors were no longer slaves. Mazie remembers the struggles and the triumph, as she gets ready to celebrate Juneteenth.

Recommendation– I think this a great read aloud book during Black History month.  I did not know about this holiday myself and so I think it would be very interesting to young children.  The graphics are muted and really pull across the history that they are trying to convey.  So a must read for school teachers and preschool to educate the young about a little known holiday.

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Posted by on May 27, 2015 in Holidays, Picture Books


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A Bad Case of Stripes


Title: Bad Case of Stripes
Author: David Shannon
Recommended for:  Ages 5-9
Pages: 32
Call Number/Link: 

Synopsis: A wonderful and funny story about a little girl named Camilla Cream who soon finds out that being her self is way more important than what others think.



22554204Title: Lumberjanes
Author: Noelle Stevenson
Series: Lumberjanes
Recommended for: 5th grade and up
Pages: 128
Call Number/Link:  GN J Stevenson, N 

Synopsis: At Miss Qiunzilla Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s camp for hard-core lady-types, things are not what they seem. Three-eyed foxes. Secret caves. Anagrams. Luckily, Jo, April, Mal, Molly, and Ripley are five rad, butt-kicking best pals determined to have an awesome summer together… And they’re not gonna let a magical quest or an array of supernatural critters get in their way! The mystery keeps getting bigger, and it all begins here.

This is just an amazingly, fun graphic novel. The four friends get into all sorts of trouble due to their adventures. I laughed the most at their poor camp counselor who they’re often giving the slip to. It’s very female positive, but it isn’t preachy in the least. The coloring and artwork are spot one. I love that girls have varying body types that were realistic and not sexualized.  It’s very fast paced and filled with tons of adventure, making it an excellent recommendation for everyone of all ages. It does end with a cliff-hanger that will have fans screaming for more. Expect to see this one on tons of best graphic novel lists in the future.


  • Bandette by Paul Tobin
  • Adventures of Superhero Girl by Faith Erin Hicks
  • Adventure Time by Ryan North
  • Cleopatra in Space by Mike Maihack


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Posted by on May 23, 2015 in Graphic Novels, Juv, Uncategorized


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Red Queen

41xTH4whq9L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Red Queen
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Series: Red Queen
Recommended for: 8th Grade and Up
Pages: 383
Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction Aveyard, V.

Synopsis: The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.
To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change. Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?

This is a GREAT book. The was the selection for the teen book group last month and we almost all enjoyed it. There is a good amount of action, but there are some lulls in the book as well as it deals a lot with political and mind games. However, the lulls aren’t too bad & some of it is pretty cool/shocking. There is kind of a love triangle going on, but it’s not too horrible. Most of the book Mare is just trying to figure things out. The silver world is so different from anything she’s ever known and it takes everything she has to adjust to this new life AND try to control her powers. It’s a pretty quick read and I guarantee this one will be flying on the shelves!


  • Matched by Ally Condie
  • Shatter My by Tahereh Mafi
  • Young Elites by Marie Lu


Here’s the video I’ve been showing to the teens during school visits!

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Posted by on May 23, 2015 in Dystopian, Teen, Uncategorized


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Echo cover

Title:   Echo
Author:   Pam Munoz Ryan
Series:   not applicable
Recommended for:   Grades 6 and up
Pages:   585 pages
Call Number/Link:   TEEN FICTION RYAN, P.

Rating:   ****




Lost in the Black Forest, Otto meets three mysterious sisters and finds himself entwined in a prophecy, a promise, and a harmonica–and decades later three children, Friedrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California find themselves caught up in the same thread of destiny in the darkest days of the twentieth century, struggling to keep their families intact, and tied together by the music of the same harmonica.


I’d heard a lot of positive buzz about Echo so decided to read it. The book was well-written and I appreciated that the children in the book were able to survive very difficult, seemingly hopeless situations thanks to music.  (They were also helped by a magical harmonica).  I’m a fan of books with intertwining stories which come together at the end of the book.  There were moments when I couldn’t believe that the author would be able to pull off a logical ending that tied everything together, but she did.  The downside of the book was that I cried when the sadness of the children’s situations overwhelmed me.

Echo would be a great choice for readers who like tearjerkers, historical fiction (particularly World War II), music, and books with entwined stories.





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Posted by on May 23, 2015 in Historical, Teen


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