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The War to End All Wars by Russell Freedman

The War to End All Wars: World War I by Russell Freedman. Clarion, 2010. 176 pages including notes and index. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Maturity Level: 4 (ages 11-12) [T]his war changed forever the way wars are fought and the way people think about the use of military power. And unfortunately, it did […]

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Stay Where You Are And Then Leave by John Boyne

Stay Where You Are And Then Leave by John Boyne. Henry Holt, 2014. 245 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Maturity Level: 5 (ages 12-14) and up Alfie Summerfield is five when the war starts—July 18, 1914, his birthday. Too young to know that his cozy London neighborhood is about to change forever, but […]

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Life Behind the Wall by Robert Elmer

Life Behind the Wall by Robert Elmer. Zondervan, 2014. 515 pages. Reading level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Maturity level: 4 (ages 11-12) and up This novel is actually a collection of three shorter novels published between 2008 and 2010: Candy Bombers, Beetle Bunker, and Smugglers’ Treasure. Together they make a family saga set in Berlin […]

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The Great Trouble by Deborah Hopkinson

The Great Trouble: a Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy Called Eel, by Deborah Hopkinson. Knopf, 2013, 247 pages with historical notes. Reading Level: Middle Grades, Ages 8-10 Maturity Level: 4 (Ages 11-12) London, 1854: “Eel,” at 13, is on his way up after a brief career as a mudlark, when he […]

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Shackleton: Antarctic Odyssey by Nick Bertozzi

Shackleton: Antarctic Odyssey by Nick Bertozzi. First Second, 2014. 125 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Maturity Level: 4 (ages 11-12) and up This is the second of Bertozzi’s graphic series on explorers. (The first is Lewis and Clark: The Greatest Adventure in American History.) His books are notable for a casual style and […]

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The Pilot and the Little Prince by Peter Sis

The Pilot and the Little Prince: The Life of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry by Peter Sis. Farrar, Straux, and Giroux, 2014. 48 pages. Reading Level: Picture Books, ages 4-8, 8-10, 10-12 Maturity Level: 2, 3, 4 (ages 4-12) Part picture book biography of the man who wrote The Little Prince and part history of early flight, this is […]

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The Extraordinary Mark Twain (According to Suzy) by Barbara Kerley and illustrated by Edward Fotheringham

The Extraordinary Mark Twain (According to Suzy) by Barbara Kerley and illustrated by Edward Fotheringham. Scholastic, 2010. 48 pages. Reading Level: Picture Books, ages 4-8, 8-10 Maturity Level: 2, 3 (ages 8-10) Like his famous Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain was a larger-than-life character. Famous during his own lifetime, Twain was the subject of much critical attention. […]

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Treaties, Trenches, Mud and Blood by Nathan Hale

Treaties, Trenches, Mud, and Blood by Nathan Hale. Amulet, 2014. 128 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Maturity Level: 4 (age 10 and up) This is the fourth volume of “Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales,” all of which employ the author’s namesake (the heroic Revolutionary-War spy) as narrator for some dark, dramatic chapters in history. […]

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Picture Book Biographies

Picture Book Biographies Picture book biographies are excellent choices for introducing students of all ages to a particular author or historical figure. Many times they are also good examples of research, characters who persevere in the midst of adversity, interesting historical anecdotes, and just plain good stories—true stories. The Criteria Essentially, a good picture book […]

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*The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus by Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet

*The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus by Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet. Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2014. 42 pages. Reading Level: Picture Books, ages 4-8, 8-12 Maturity Level: 2 (ages 4-8) and up The use of language is not confined to its being the medium through which we communicate our ideas to one […]

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A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet

A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet. Eerdmans, 2008. 34 pages. Reading Level: Picture Books, ages 4-8, 8-12 Maturity Level: 2, 3, 4 Although poetry anchored William Carlos Williams, he was much more than a poet; Bryant and Sweet work seamlessly together to tell […]

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