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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Vigilante Poets

The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy by Kate Hattemer. Alfred A. Knopf, 2014, 323 pages. Reading Level: Young Adult, Ages 15 – 18 Maturity Level: 6 (ages 15 – 18) Selwyn Academy is facing a serious threat. Conversations at this art-focused Minnesota high school used to revolve around “people debating the merits of Aida versus […]

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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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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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Achoo! Bang! Crash!: The Noisy Alphabet

Achoo! Bang! Crash!: The Noisy Alphabet by Ross MacDonald. Neal Porter Books, 2003. 32 pages. Reading Level: Picture Books, 4-8 Maturity Level: 2 (Ages 4-8) This riotous book is full of noisy words! Onomatopoeia comprises the entire text, making this a perfect read-aloud (and read with) choice for kindergarten and early elementary students. MacDonald’s illustrations […]

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Count on the Subway

Count On the Subway by Paul Dobois Jacobs and Jennifer Swender and illustrated by Dan Yaccarino. Knopf, 2014. 32 pages. Reading Level: Picture Books, 0-4 Maturity Level: 1 (ages 0-4) Bright, colorful illustrations help young listeners count with a little girl and her mom as they walk to the subway, board the train, ride to […]

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What in the World?: Fun-Tastic Puzzles for Curious Minds

What in the World?: Fun-Tastic Puzzles for Curious Minds by Julie Vosburgh Agnone. National Geographic Society, 2014. 48 pages. Reading Level: Picture Books, 4-8 Maturity Level: 2 (ages 4-8) Reminiscent of I Spy books, What in the World? is exactly what its subtitle says it is: fun puzzles for curious minds. Patterns from the natural world, […]

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