One Smart Cookie by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

One Smart Cookie: Bite-Size Lessons for the School Years and Beyond by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Jane Dyer and Brooke Dyer. Harper, 2010. 32 pgs. Reading Level: Picture Book Maturity Level: 2 (ages 4-8) Similar to Rosenthal’s other “Cookies” books, One Smart Cookie defines character traits using the metaphor of making/eating/enjoying cookies and concludes with a […]

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Reviewing School Book Lists, Part Two: Death of a Son

Reviewing School Book Lists: Part One.  Part Two. (SUICIDE LIFELINE: 1-800-273-8255) Death of a Son On Monday morning, April 2, 2012, rumors swirled at Westwood High School that Nathan Austin, a senior, had died. Perhaps even taken his own life. Several teachers hurried to the principal’s office to find out the truth and put such […]

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Flight School

Flight School by Lita Judge. Atheneum, 2014, 32 pages. Reading Level: picture book Maturity Level: all An ambitious penguin arrives at flight school with visions of success. Teacher and Flamingo stifle their doubts and patiently include him until the truth can no longer be denied: “I’m sorry, birdie,” said Teacher. “Penguins just aren’t built to fly.” […]

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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, 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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Where Angels Tread

The Garden Gate, by Christa Kinde.  Zondervan, 2014, 301 pages.   Age level: 10-up Prissie Pomeroy can see angels.  In fact, most of her friends are angels.  In this fourth book in the Threshold series, change is coming to West Edinton.  Prissie and her family face change firsthand as their family business, both orchard and […]

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The Giver: Radio Review & Resource Round Up

RESOURCE ROUND UP Looking for a short summary?  Try Emily’s 8 min radio review for TW&E. For more depth, see Hayley’s teen discussion and summary. To orient yourself to the book and find discussion questions, see Valen’s book review and discussion questions. TALK AMONGST YOURSELVES: Let us know whether your family plans to see the […]

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Hickory Dickory Dog by Alison Murray

Hickory Dickory Dog by Alison Murray. Candlewick, 2014 (first published in U.K. in 2012), 32 pages. Reading Level: Beginning, Picture Book Maturity Level: All Murray applies her signature style in this bold, colorful picture book. Using the familiar nursery rhyme, “Hickory Dickory Dock,” Murray tells the story of a young boy and his dog throughout the […]

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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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