As we were saying last Saturday . . . you just can’t predict what the Newbery committee is going to do. Trends have been toward diversity, disability, and difficulty; books that show children in adverse, even desperate circumstances often get Newbery nods. (That’s why I was so sure The Thing about Jellyfish would be on […]
Treaties, Trenches, Mud, and Blood by Nathan Hale. Amulet, 2014. 128 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Maturity Level: 4 (age 10 and up) This is the fourth volume of “Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales,” all of which employ the author’s namesake (the heroic Revolutionary-War spy) as narrator for some dark, dramatic chapters in history. […]
Space Case by Stuart Gibbs. Simon & Schuster, 2014. 337 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 8-10. Maturity Level: 4 (ages 11-12) Moon Base Alpha (MBA), A.D. 2041. After six months, Dashiel (Dash) Gibson rues the day his parents—geologist mom, mineralogist dad—signed up for a three-year residence on the moon. Being an original colonizer of […]
The Glass Sentence (The Mapmakers Trilogy #1) by S. E. Grove. Viking, 2014, 489 pages. Reading Level: Middle grades, ages 12-14 Maturity Level: 6 (ages 15-18) and up Boston, 1799: . . . in one terrible moment the various parts of the world had come apart. They were unfastened in time. Spinning freely in different […]
An Eye for Art: Focusing on Great Artists and Their Work by the National Gallery of Art. Chicago Review Press, 2014, 176 pages. Reading Level: Middle grade, ages 10-12 Maturity Level: 3 (8 and up) This book is a collection of “Inside Scoop” newsletters, a family quarterly published by the National Gallery of Art in Washington, […]
The Carnival of the Animals, by Jack Prelutsky, illustrated by Mary GrandPre. Knopf, 2010, 32 pages (CD included). Reading Level: Picture book, ages 4-8 Maturity Level: 2 (ages 4-8) and up Camille Sainte-Saens supposedly wrote The Carnival of the Animals in 1886 as an inside joke for his music students. Many of the musical themes […]
Listen to the Birds, by Ana Garhard. The Secret Mountain, 2013, 48 pages each (CD included). Reading level: Picture Books, ages 9-12 Maturity Level: 3 (8-10) and up There are lots of ways to introduce classical music, depending on the age of the child. Ms. Garhard’s way is to group musical excerpts around a theme […]
Always, Abigail by Nancy Cavanaugh. Sourcebooks, 2014, 311 pages. Reading level: Middle Grade (8-10) Maturity Level: 3 (8-10) Abigail Walters is starting sixth grade with high hopes of joining the pom-pom squad. She and her best friends Alli and Cami (better known as AlliCam) have planned and practiced for it since third grade, and Abigail […]
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 […]
I Kill the Mockingbird, by Paul Acampora. Roaring Brook Press, 2014, 177 pages. Reading level: Middle grades, ages 11-12 Maturity level: 4 (ages 11-12) and up Lucy and her friends Elena and Michael are cemented by the lasting ties of book-fandom. They all love books, but not necessarily the same ones. Michael, for instance, has […]
Zane and the Hurricane: a Story of Katrina, by Rodman Philbrick. Scholastic, 2014, 181 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 11-12 Maturity Level: 4 Zane does not want to spend a couple of weeks in New Orleans—Smellyville, he dubs it—but his mom has just discovered an almost-relative of his late father there and insists he […]
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