World War I: An Interactive History Adventure by Gwenyth Swain

World War I: an Interactive History Adventure by Gwenyth Swain. (You Choose Books), Capstone, 2012. 112 pages including timeline, index, etc. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 8-10 Maturity Level: 4 (ages 11-12) As in all the “You Choose” history series books, readers have three main paths to travel: as a nursing student in Belgium, a […]

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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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Noah Webster and His Words by Jeri Chase Ferris and illustrated by Vincent X. Kirsch

Noah Webster and His Words by Jeri Chase Ferris and illustrated by Vincent X. Kirsch. Houghton Mifflin, 2012. 32 pages. Reading Level: Picture Books, ages 4-8, 8-12 Maturity Level: 2 (ages 4-8) and up Noah Webster was convinced that the fledgling American nation needed to distinguish itself with American schoolbooks. First he wrote the “blue-backed speller,” […]

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Lindbergh: The Tale of a Flying Mouse by Torben Kuhlmann

Lindbergh: The Tale of a Flying Mouse by Torben Kuhlmann. NorthSouth, 2014. 96 pages. Reading Level: Picture Books, Chapter Books, ages 4-10 Maturity Level: 2 (ages 4-8), 3 (ages 8-10) An intrepid mouse, determined to escape the peril of mousetraps and predators by emigrating to America, devises a series of flying contraptions based on what he […]

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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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National Geographic Kids Biographies: George Washington

George Washington by Caroline Crosson Gilpin. National Geographic Society, 2014. 128 pgs. Reading Level: Early reader, leveled reader (ages 4-8) Maturity Level: 2 (ages 4-8) National Geographic Kids has a series of biographies about well-known significant figures that is nicely suited to early readers. Each book contains a variety of information and good photographs about […]

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Queen Victoria’s Bathing Machine by Gloria Whelan and illustrated by Nancy Carpenter

Queen Victoria’s Bathing Machine by Gloria Whelan and illustrated by Nancy Carpenter. Simon and Schuster, 2014. 40 pages. Reading Level: Picture Books, ages 4-8 Maturity Level: 2 (ages 4-8) It is hard for our modern sensibilities to understand the enormity of the social faux pas Queen Victoria would have committed had she allowed her subjects […]

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Reviewing School Book Lists, Part Four: Reading is Spiritual Warfare

Reviewing School Book Lists: Part One. Part Two. Part Three. Part Four.  This post is the final installment in a series about the senior high school student Nathan Austin and the role literature played in his death. A Picture of Reading A child. Curled up in a couch. Nestled in an old oak tree with a […]

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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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