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Author Archive | Janie

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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Grandmaster

Grandmaster, by David Klass. Farrar Strauss and Giroux, 2014, 226 pages. Reading Level: Young Adult, Ages 15-18 Maturity Level: 6 (15-18) What if you discovered that your nerdy dad is a superhero? That’s what happens to Daniel Pratzer—sort of, though Dad doesn’t suddenly zoom across the sky in tights and a cape.  Daniel doesn’t make […]

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Seven Stories Up

Seven Stories Up, by Laurel Snyder. Random House, 2014, 229 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, Ages 8-10 Maturity Level: 3 (ages 8-10) Annie and her mom arrive in Baltimore on a sad mission: to say farewell to Annie’s grandmother, who is on her deathbed in the former luxury hotel built by her great-grandfather. Grandmother is […]

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What is War Good For?

How do you use the label “anti-war?” As in, “Saving Private Ryan is the best anti-war movie ever made, or “All Quiet on the Western Front ranks at the top of anti-war literature.” In 1969, Edwin Starr’s Motown song “War” became a huge hit. Its theme was simplicity itself: WAR!  What is it good for? […]

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The Warden and the Wolf King

The Warden and the Wolf King, by Andrew Peterson. Rabbit Room Press, 2014, 519 pages. Reading Level: Young Adult, ages 12-14 Maturity Level: 3 and up (from age 10) Janner, Kalmar, and Leeli are the children of Nia and Esben Wingfeather, though they never knew their father. Esben was once the High King of Anniera, […]

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The Desperate Adventures of Zeno and Alya

The Desperate Adventures of Zeno and Alya, by Jane Kelley. Feiwel & Friends, 2013, 201 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, Ages 8-10, Ages 11-12 Maturity Level: 3 For Zeno, it starts like any normal day, except that Dr. Asgard, his servant, seems to be taking a nap on the floor. None of the noises Zeno […]

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For the Birds

NOTE: Today we begin experimenting with new formats for our book reviews, in anticipation of some big changes ahead–and we need your feedback!  Please scroll down below the review for more. National Wildlife Federation World of Birds: a Beginners Guide, by Kim Kirki. Black Dog & Levanthal, 2014, 80 pages including glossary and index. Reading […]

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For the Birds II

Feathers: Not Just for Flying, by Melissa Stewart, illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen. Charlesbridge, 2014, 32 pages. Reading Level: Picture Book, Ages 4-8 Maturity Level: All “Birds and feathers go together, like trees and leaves, like stars and sky. All birds have feathers, but no other animals do.” And did you know . . . […]

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