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House of Hades

The House of Hades by Rick Riordan. Hyperion Books, 2013, 583 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 11 and up Maturity Level: 6 My younger siblings adore Percy Jackson. When I finally checked out the latest installment in the Heroes of Olympus series, House of Hades, they were itching to borrow it. Until House of […]

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Centerburg Tales by Robert McCloskey

Centerburg Tales by Robert McCloskey. Viking, 1979, 191 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, 8-10 Maturity Level: 2 (ages 4-8) and up Centerburg Tales is set in the same, small Midwestern town as Homer Price and uses many of the same characters. While Homer Price, though fiction, has a down-home, realistic feel of a boy’s experience, […]

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Homer Price by Robert McCloskey

Homer Price by Robert McCloskey. Viking, 1943. 149 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, 8-10 Maturity Level: 2 (ages 4-8) and up McCloskey has transformed his picture book hero, Lentil, into a slightly more grown-up Homer Price. Homer lives outside the town of Centerberg and experiences small town America in all its glory. Folks know each […]

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Robert McCloskey: 100th Anniversary of His Birth

Today marks the 100th anniversary of Robert McCloskey’s birth. McCloskey is the author/illustrator of such familiar American children’s books as Make Way for Ducklings, Blueberries for Sal, One Morning in Maine, and Time of Wonder. His first picture book was Lentil, which idealized his own boyhood in small-town America. This month’s issue of Horn Book Magazine features an essay on McCloskey by children’s […]

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Interview with J. B. Cheaney & Giveaway!

***As of Sept. 15, this giveaway is over.  Winners have been notified.  Please check back for more free books!*** GIVEAWAY! Tell us a favorite bus memory, school or otherwise, in the comments below and you could win one of five giveaway copies of Janie’s new book, Somebody on This Bus is Going to Be Famous! […]

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Somebody on This Bus is Going to Be Famous by (our very own) J. B. Cheaney

Somebody on This Bus Is Going to Be Famous by J. B. Cheaney. Sourcebooks, 2014. 304 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades (8-10, 10-12) Maturity Level: Level 4 (10 and up) Our story opens with a tragedy: a school bus has gone off the side of a steep road in the midst of a torrential downpour. […]

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Mama Built a Little Nest by Jennifer Ward and illustrated by Steve Jenkins

Mama Built a Little Nest by Jennifer Ward and illustrated by Steve Jenkins. Beach Lane Books, 2014, 32 pages. Reading Level: Picture Books, 0-4, 4-8 Maturity Level: same Steve Jenkins is known for his detailed collage illustrations in his nonfiction works for children. He brings that same talent to bear in this fictional picture book about […]

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Greenglass House by Kate Milford

Greenglass House by Kate Milford. Clarion, 2014, 384 pages. Reading Level: Middle grades (ages 10-12) Maturity Level: Level 4 (10 and up) The Greenglass House is an old inn set on a remote cliff near a smuggler’s cove and is run by Milo (an adopted boy of Asian heritage) and his parents. And in Greenglass House, […]

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Reviewing School Book Lists, Part Three: The List

Reviewing School Book Lists: Part One. Part Two. Part Three. In the previous part of this series, I acquainted our readers with a young man named Nathan Austin.  Nathan was negatively influenced by the books he read his senior year of high school, and because of that influence along with other factors, he ended up taking […]

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I Can Read / Made By God

    I Can Read! Made by God series, edited by Mary Hassinger. Zonderkidz, 2010-2011, 32 pages. Reading Level: Easy/Leveled Readers, Ages 4-8 Maturity Level: Level 2 (Ages 4-8) Each volume in this God-honoring nonfiction series describes four fascinating creatures with plenty of interesting details and colorful photos. The wisdom and goodness of God in his […]

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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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