big dark

The Big Dark by Rodman Philbrick

The Big Dark by Rodman Philbrick.  Scholastic, 2015, 176 pages Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: ages 12-15, especially reluctant readers Bottom Line: A small England Community fights for survival when a solar flare wipes out all sources of power, in this taut thriller with a 12-year-old hero. The whole town of Harmony, 

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double cross

The Double Cross by Jackson Pearce

The Double Cross, and Other Skills I Learned as a Superspy by Jackson Pearce.  Bloomsbury, 2015, 291 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: ages 10-14, especially boys Bottom line: A 12-year-old spy trainee proves his calling in spite of obvious physical drawbacks, in this entertaining middle-grade adventure. Hale Jordan is, well, fat—a 

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astrotwins

Astrotwins: Project Blastoff by Mark Kelly

Astrotwins: Project Blastoff by Mark Kelly and Martha Freeman.  Simon and Shuster, 2015, 201 pages Reading Level: 8-10 Recommended for: 8-12 Bottom Line: Solid science fiction is delivered by an author who knows his stuff, though the materialist worldview is worth talking about. If the name Mark Kelly sounds familiar, it’s because he’s a former 

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frank-einstein

Frank Einstein and the Anti-Matter Motor by Jon Schieszka

Frank Einstein and the Anti-Matter Motor (Frank Einstein #1) by Jon Schieszka.  Amulet, 2015, 180 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 8-10 Recommended for: ages 8-12, especially boys Bottom Line: Though not to be taken at all seriously, this wacky series by Jon Schieszka threads some real science into its far-out storylines. While his parents 

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terrible-two

The Terrible Two by Mac Barnett and Jory John

The Terrible Two by Mac Barnett and Jory John.  Amulet, 2015, 217 pages Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 8-10 Recommended for: ages 8-12, especially boys Bottom Line: A fifth-grade prankster meets his match, joining forces with his rival to pull off the greatest fifth-grade prank of all time. Miles Murphy, age 11, is not happy 

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