Roland Smith is known for his fantastic adventure stories, and readers will not be disappointed with this one! I was intrigued by the dedication of Beneath (Lexile: HL 610; Interest Level: Gr. 5-9) to his wife Marie, in which he refers to this book as a Christmas Story. It certainly made reading more interesting (and, no, I won't tell you how it is a Christmas story!).
Pat O'Toole, known to his brother as Meatloaf, has always looked up to his brother Cooper (aka Coop), and when he gets recorded messages from Coop a year after Coop left home, he is glad to be back in touch. However, when those recordings stop coming, Pat knows he must go to New York to find out what happened to his brother. From tap dancing beneath bridges to the grand underground tunnels of New York City, this is an underground adventure that will keep you on your toes! It is certainly a good addition to the 2016-2017 Indian Paintbrush Nominee list.
Fans of Roland Smith's other stories, as well as anyone looking for a good adventure and story of the bond between brothers will love this story. As for a good Christmas book? I will let you decide. (272 p.)
Told in verse (meaning in poems), this book tells the story of Mimi, a seventh grader in 1969 who moves across the country from Berkeley, California to Vermont. Mimi is a strong female character who knows what she likes and what she wants to do. She is comfortable with herself and her mixed-race family, even when others want to categorize her. Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton (Lexile: 790; Interest Level: Grades 3-6) takes on the big social issues of the late 1960s, but as they would really look in the life of a seventh grader, and all set up alongside the major news story of the first men landing on the moon. "One small step" is definitely the theme of this story as Mimi sets off to show that people should be friends with good people, despite what they look like, kindness can overcome fear and hatred, and yes, girls should be allowed to use power tools!
I really enjoyed this story, with it's down-to-earth telling of obvious truths in a poetic style: "I am / half mamma, / half papa, / and all me. / Isn't that all anyone needs to know?" (p.10). I am very glad this book has made it to the 2016-2017 Indian Paintbrush Nominee List, as I think everyone should read it! (400 p.)
In this first book by Ali Benjamin, Stacy is trying to deal with the loss of her best friend--in more ways than just one. On a class trip to the aquarium, Stacy travels off by herself to the jellyfish exhibit, and she becomes fascinated by the mysterious animals, especially when she learns that there is a kind that can sting you and kill you before you even know you have been stung. This new knowledge becomes part of her way of coping with the tragedy that befell her friend. The Thing About Jellyfish (Lexile: 740; Interest Level: Grades 5-8) is a story of dealing with grief, reaching beyond yourself and making new friends.
Because of the topic, this is a hard book to claim to "like," but there were parts that I really did enjoy and parts that really made me squirm. Perhaps this is why this book was a National Book Award Finalist and has made it to the 2016-2017 Indian Paintbrush Nominee list. Readers who loved books such as Love, Aubrey and Eight Keys will find this book engrossing as well. (352 p.)
One of the reasons I became an elementary school librarian is so I can read children's books.