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A Season of Daring Greatly

Title: A Season of Daring Greatly
Author: Ellen Emerson White
Series: N/A
Recommended for: 7th grade & up
Pages: 432
Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction White, E. 

Synopsis: Eighteen-year-old Jill Cafferty just made history. Her high school’s star pitcher, she is now the first woman drafted by a major league baseball team. Only days after her high school graduation, she’ll join the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Class A Short Season team . . . but not everyone is happy to have her there.

On top of the pressure heaped on every pitcher, Jill must deal with defying conventions and living up to impossible expectations, all while living away from home for the first time. She’ll go head-to-head against those who are determined to keep baseball an all-male sport. Despite the reassurance of coaches and managers alike, a few of her teammates are giving her trouble. The media presence following her at each game is inescapable. And to top it all off, Jill is struggling with the responsibilities of being a national hero and a role model for young women everywhere. How can she be a role model when she’s not even sure she made the right choice for herself? Didn’t baseball used to be fun?

Review: I really, really, really liked this book. Although, that’s no surprise as someone who grew up on baseball (and adores the TV Show Pitch). Much like Pitch this book explored both being a player and all the stress encountered being a first. Press conferences, death threats, crowds of adoring fans, and just the the overwhelming pressure to prove she is good enough to be there. Jill have a lot of up and downs throughout the book. She questions if she made the right decision & if she made the right decision. I enjoyed that while some of her teammates where jerks, most were friendly and even had her back. I loved reading about the growing friendships between herself and the boys. If I had one complaint it would be the ending. It felt a bit abrupt and just left me wanting more. It just felt like there was so much left to tell. Secretly, I’m hoping the author will revisit this world/these characters because I would read it in a heartbeat.

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2017 in Realistic, Teen

 

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Ghost

28954126Title: Ghost
Author: Jason Reynolds
Series: Track
Recommended for: Grades 5-8
Pages: 192
Call Number/Link:  J FICTION REYNOLDS, J.

Synopsis: Ghost wants to be the fastest sprinter on his elite middle school track team, but his past is slowing him down in this first electrifying novel of a brand-new series from Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award–winning author Jason Reynolds.

Ghost. Lu. Patina. Sunny. Four kids from wildly different backgrounds with personalities that are explosive when they clash. But they are also four kids chosen for an elite middle school track team—a team that could qualify them for the Junior Olympics if they can get their acts together. They all have a lot to lose, but they also have a lot to prove, not only to each other, but to themselves.

Ghost has a crazy natural talent, but no formal training. If he can stay on track, literally and figuratively, he could be the best sprinter in the city. But Ghost has been running for the wrong reasons—it all starting with running away from his father, who, when Ghost was a very little boy, chased him and his mother through their apartment, then down the street, with a loaded gun, aiming to kill. Since then, Ghost has been the one causing problems—and running away from them—until he meets Coach, an ex-Olympic Medalist who blew his own shot at success by using drugs, and who is determined to keep other kids from blowing their shots at life

Review: I liked, but didn’t love this book. I’ve enjoyed Reynolds’ other books a bit more. However, I do think the kids will eat this one up. Ghost is a character you can relate to and he is far, far from perfect. You can’t help but root for him even when he does something stupid like steal something. There are some heavy topics of abuse, but nothing that late elementary/middle school can’t handle. I do adore the relationships between Ghost and his coach & teammates expands over the book. Bonus points for the book being about track, which there hardly ever seem to be books about. I’m highly interested to see where the series goes and look forward to reading future installments.

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2016 in Juv, Realistic

 

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The Flip Side

27206534Title: The Flip Side
Author: Shawn Johnson
Series: N/A
Recommended for: 6th grade and up
Pages: 320
Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction Johnson, S.

Synopsis: Charlie Ryland has a secret.

She may seem like your average high school sophomore—but she’s just really good at pretending.

Because outside of school Charlie spends all her waking hours training to become one of the best gymnasts in the world. And it’s not easy flying under the radar when you’re aiming for Olympic gold…especially when an irresistible guy comes along and threatens to throw your whole world off balance.

Review:  Okay, I think this book is going to be hot with the Olympics coming up, especially since it’s written by a gymnast. It was kind of fun that the book wasn’t just about gymnastics though. Honestly, the book was more about how Charlie was trying to have her dream, but still be normal. Yes, it mean she gave up things, but what happens when she really wanted it all? Public School, Olympic Dream, and a cute boyfriend? Okay, so it seems like a lot, but when you’re a teenager the crazy seems possible. And I think even though teens haven’t dealt with going after a dream as big as the Olympics, they’ll relate to not be able to do it all/being focused story line.

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2016 in Realistic, Teen

 

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Harold and the Purple Crayon

Harold

Title: Harold and the Purple Crayon
Author: Crockett Johnson
Series: N/A
Recommended for:
Pages: 239
Call Number/Link:  E JOHNS
Synopsis: One night Harold decides to take a walk in the moon light with his purple crayon. Go on an adventure with Harold and his purple crayon in this imagination filled classic.
Review:  Let Harold and his purple crayon take you on an adventure filled with dragons, hot air balloons and pie!  In a world of technological distractions this book is a great way to remind us all to have fun and use our imagination. There are quite a few books in this series that are just as fun as the original.

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2016 in Bedtime, Picture Books

 

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Lola Levine Is NOT Mean!

Lola Levine is not mean cover

Title:   Lola Levine Is NOT Mean!
Author:   Monica Brown
Series:    I think it will be called Lola Levine, but am not sure
Recommended for:   kids in grades 2-4 for independent reading.  It works best as a read-aloud for grades 1-3, although it could probably used for kindergarten and fourth grade classes.
Pages:   88 pages
Call Number/Link:   J FICTION BROWN, M.

Rating:   ****

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Second-grader Lola has a wonderful family, a great teacher, and the best friend ever, Josh, and they all help her feel better after she is teased and forbidden to play team sports at recess for having accidentally hurt classmate Juan during a soccer game.

Comments:

Lola Levine is half Hispanic and half Jewish.  She has many opinions, communicates best in writing and loves to play soccer.  Sometimes she is too aggressive a competitor during recess soccer games.  One day she injures her classmate Juan when playing goalie at recess.  The other kids in her class nickname her Mean Lola Levine.

Lola has one best friend in her class, Josh.  The other kids, especially some mean girls, are not friendly (or even pleasant) to her.  But Lola primarily focuses on having one good friend.  She doesn’t spend an excessive amount of time talking or thinking about the mean girls.

I can imagine Lola being good friends with Clementine, Ramona,, Judy Moody and other feisty females.  I think her books will appeal to kids who enjoy those series.

 

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2015 in Juv, Realistic

 

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Roller Girl

Roller Girl
Cover of the book Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

Cover of the book Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

Title: Roller Girl
Author: Victoria Jamieson
Series: N/A
Recommended for: Grades 4-8
Pages: 239
Call Number/Link:  GN J JAMIESON, V.
Synopsis: Astrid is an impressionable grade schooler about to transition to Middle School.  In the summer prior to the 6th grade, she attends a roller deby event and is inspired to be become a roller derby athlete. She attends a summer roller derby camp and learns a bit more about herself, even as she and her childhood friend begin to drift apart.
Review:  Roller girl is a clever take on the middle schooler coming of age story. I am a fan of roller derby and this book did not disappoint. The main character Astrid is realistic and feels like a preteen, figuring out her place in the world. . The lost of friendship as Astrid and her best friend grow apart feels very real with a lack of melodrama. The book is filled with subtle nuances of character and told with a light touch. While seemingly inspired by Raina Telgemeier, I found this book to be even better than Smile

The best part was the underlying message, not of “believe in yourself and you will win” but “work hard and do your best.” It lacked the clichés of most “sports” books, in terms of underdogs and sudden mastery of difficult skills. I enjoyed that Astrid was still somewhat unskilled at roller derby in the end—though better than the beginning. If this turns into a series, I will be quite happy.

 

 
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Posted by on November 6, 2015 in Graphic Novels, Juv, Realistic

 

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The Technology of Football

T51G4r2o+SmL._SX333_BO1,204,203,200_itle: The Technology of Football
Author: Shane Frederick
Series: High-Tech Sports
Recommended for: 4th-8th grade
Pages: 48
Call Number/Link:  J 796.332 FRE  

Synopsis:  Football is big business.  With so much money on the line, companies are working overtime to protect players and enhance the game.  This title covers high-tech innovations that are current or forthcoming in the game of football, including sensors in helmets, a mini-chip you can swallow to check your internal body temperature, and improved astro-turf.

Review:  Sports are not my thing, but when I picked up this book, I couldn’t put it down.  The wide variety of information presented means it is a great browsing book, but it could also be used for book reports.  This book could lend itself to projects on sports injuries and concussions.  It has fairly small type, so the 48 pages have a lot of information and very informative illustrations. We have the complete series for different sports, and this is a go-to title for me when kids are interested in sports.

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2015 in Non-Fiction

 

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