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The Founding Fathers! by Jonah Winter

The Founding Fathers! Those Horse-Ridin’, Fiddle-Playin’, Book-Readin’, Gun Totin’ Gentlemen Who Started America, by Jonah Winter, Illustration by Barry Blitt. Atheneum, 2015. 40 pages Reading Level: Picture Books, ages 8-10 Recommended for: ages 7-12 Bottom Line: The Founding Fathers! profiles fourteen men who featured prominently in our country’s birth, using a generally fair but perhaps too […]

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The Fog Diver by Joel Ross

The Fog Diver by Joel Ross. Harper, 2015. 323 pages. Reading Level: Middle grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: ages 10-16 Bottom Line: The Fog Diver imagines a dystopian world of Haves and Have-nots, with plucky heroes, a wealth of detail, and a dash of humor. Hundreds of years ago, mankind proposed to meet a crisis […]

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Woof by Spencer Quinn

Woof (a Bowser and Birdie Novel) by Spencer Quinn. Scholastic, 2015. 293 pages Reading Level: Middle grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: ages 9-13 Bottom Line: Bowser, a loveable mutt, gets to tell his own story about how he and his “off the charts” owner, Birdie, started their crime-solving partnership. Two humans stood outside my cage, […]

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Hammer of the Huguenots by Douglas Bond

Hammer of the Huguenots by Douglas Bond. P&R, 2015. 215 pages Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: ages 10 and up Bottom Line: Douglas Bond’s latest fictional excursion into church history focuses on the struggles of the French Protestants during the mid-seventeenth century. Philippe had no idea when he apprenticed to the shipbuilder, […]

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Fleabrain Loves Franny by Joanne Rocklin

Fleabrain Loves Franny by Joanne Rocklin. Amulet Books, 2015. 268 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 8-10 Recommended for: ages 8-12 Bottom Line: After Franny is stricken with polio, an erudite flea becomes her best friend in this quirky fantasy for middle-grade readers. During the summer of 1952, 10-year-old Franny Katzenback became a statistic: one […]

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Fallout (Lois Lane) by Gwenda Bond

Fallout (Lois Lane) by Gwenda Bond. Capstone, 2015. 202 pages Reading Level: Young adults, ages 12-15 Recommended for: ages 12 and up Bottom Line: Fallout introduces Lois Lane as a hard-charging teenage reporter with a passion for justice, in this fun, clean YA adventure. Lois, 16, daughter of the famous General Sam Lane, arrives at […]

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Stella by Starlight by Sharon Draper

Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper. Atheneum, 2015. 320 pages Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: ages 10-12 Bottom Line: Stella by Starlight dramatizes the personal and social challenges of an African American girl growing up in the rural south of the 1930s. One dark summer night in Bumblebee, North Carolina, Stella’s […]

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Ellie’s Story by W. Bruce Cameron

Ellie’s Story: a Dog’s Purpose Novel by W. Bruce Cameron. Tom Doherty Associates, 2014. 205 pages, including notes and classroom discussion guide Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 8-10 Recommended for: Ages 8-12 Bottom Line: Ellie’s Story takes us along with a search and rescue dog as she learns her job and enjoys a successful career. […]

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Wilder Boys by Brandon Wallace

Wilder Boys by Brandon Wallace. Aladdin, 2015. 220 pages Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: ages 10-14 (especially boys) Bottom Line: Questionable premises aside, Wilder Boys is a fast-paced adventure novel for middle-graders and reluctant readers. Jake, 13, and his younger brother Taylor are looking forward to summer break—or would be, if it […]

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*Tiger Boy by Mitali Perkins

*Tiger Boy by Mitali Perkins, illustrated by Jamie Hogan. Charlesbridge, 2015. 410 pages, including author note and glossary Reading Level: Middle grades, ages 8-10 Recommended for: ages 8-12 Bottom Line: Tiger Boy, set in the Sundarban Islands, is a satisfying tale of courage and responsibility for younger middle-graders. Neel finds himself in an awkward position. […]

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*Mikis and the Donkey by Bibi Dumon Tak

*Mikis and the Donkey by Bibi Dumon Tak, illustrated by Philip Hopman. Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2014. 89 pages Reading Level: Chapter Books, ages 4-8; Middle Grades, ages 8-10 Recommended for: ages 6-12 Bottom Line: Mikis and the Donkey is a gentle story for younger middle grades about learning to care for a gentle, […]

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