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An Eye for Art: Focusing on Great Artists and Their Work

An Eye for Art: Focusing on Great Artists and Their Work by the National Gallery of Art. Chicago Review Press, 2014, 176 pages. Reading Level: Middle grade, ages 10-12 Maturity Level: 3 (8 and up) This book is a collection of “Inside Scoop” newsletters, a family quarterly published by the National Gallery of Art in Washington, […]

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The Carnival of the Animals by Jack Prelutsky

The Carnival of the Animals, by Jack Prelutsky, illustrated by Mary GrandPre. Knopf, 2010, 32 pages (CD included). Reading Level: Picture book, ages 4-8 Maturity Level: 2 (ages 4-8) and up Camille Sainte-Saens supposedly wrote The Carnival of the Animals in 1886 as an inside joke for his music students. Many of the musical themes […]

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Listen to the Birds: An Introductions to Classical Music by Ana Garhard

Listen to the Birds, by Ana Garhard. The Secret Mountain, 2013, 48 pages each (CD included). Reading level: Picture Books, ages 9-12 Maturity Level: 3 (8-10) and up There are lots of ways to introduce classical music, depending on the age of the child. Ms. Garhard’s way is to group musical excerpts around a theme […]

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Ava and Pip by Carol Westin

Ava and Pip by Carol Weston. Sourcebooks, 2014, 211 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grade (11-12) Maturity Level: 4 (11-12) On the first day of fifth grade, Ava asks her parents why they named her Ava. “Because we like palindromes,” says Dad. That’s why Ava and her older sister’s name spell the same forward and back, […]

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Always, Abigail by Nancy Cavanaugh

Always, Abigail by Nancy Cavanaugh. Sourcebooks, 2014, 311 pages. Reading level: Middle Grade (8-10) Maturity Level: 3 (8-10) Abigail Walters is starting sixth grade with high hopes of joining the pom-pom squad. She and her best friends Alli and Cami (better known as AlliCam) have planned and practiced for it since third grade, and Abigail […]

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A Scary Story

The Night Gardener, by Jonathan Auxier. Amulet, 2014, 350 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Maturity Level: 4 (age 10 and up) Teenage Mollie and her little brother Kip are on the road at a very inauspicious time and place—mid-nineteenth-century Ireland. Their parents have sailed for America, intending to send for them when they […]

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The Castle Behind Thorns

The Castle Behind Thorns, by Merrie Haskell. HarperCollins, 2014, 341 pages. Reading level: Middle Grades, ages 11-12 Maturity level: 5 (ages 11 and up) Sand awoke curled in the ashes of a great fireplace. He doesn’t even remember falling asleep, and his surroundings give him no clue how he got here—wherever “here” may be. As […]

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I Kill the Mockingbird

I Kill the Mockingbird, by Paul Acampora. Roaring Brook Press, 2014, 177 pages. Reading level: Middle grades, ages 11-12 Maturity level: 4 (ages 11-12) and up Lucy and her friends Elena and Michael are cemented by the lasting ties of book-fandom. They all love books, but not necessarily the same ones. Michael, for instance, has […]

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Zane and the Hurricane

Zane and the Hurricane: a Story of Katrina, by Rodman Philbrick. Scholastic, 2014, 181 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 11-12 Maturity Level: 4 Zane does not want to spend a couple of weeks in New Orleans—Smellyville, he dubs it—but his mom has just discovered an almost-relative of his late father there and insists he […]

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Almost Super

Almost Super, by Marion Jensen. Harper, 2014, 251 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, Ages 8-12 Maturity Level: 3 (ages 8-10) Every four years, on February 29, the Baileys of Split Rock gather for the adolescent members (12 and older) to receive their specials powers. It always happens at 4:23 p.m.: a flash of light, and […]

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Curiosity

Curiosity, by Gary Blackwood. Dutton, 2014, 310 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, Ages 11-12, Young Adult, ages 12-14 Maturity Level: 5 (Ages 12-14) Philadelphia, 1836: Rufus Goodspeed has led a sheltered life as the only child of his sheltered father, a Methodist minister. Partially crippled from birth (which birth also took his mother), Rufus feels […]

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