This is an interesting story of a boy who chooses to be his own person, despite what others might think. From his first introduction in his new class, where he announces he name is Queen, he sees how the other children treat him. He becomes friends with Evelyn because she never once teases him, although he never lets the others' teasing bother him. Evelyn isn't sure why she wants to be friends with Queen, except that he is the most extraordinary person she's ever met. Isn't that the best reason to become friends?
Readers who often wish for the strength to be a little different will certainly enjoy A Boy Named Queen by Sara Cassidy (Lexile: 610; Interest Level: Grades 3-6). I was very impressed with how much story was included in this short chapter book, and I think others will be too. (77 p.)
Mary Poppins Opens the Door by P. L. Travers (Lexile: 660; Interest Level: Grades 4-7) has Mary Poppins return to the Banks household for the third (and final) time, this time by falling from the sky like a shooting star during a fireworks display. The children are, of course, delighted, as are their parents for the return of regulations and sense to their home. Of course, this comes with some adventures for the children, including riding on candy-cane horses, meeting nursery rhyme characters, and hanging out with a young statue come alive for an afternoon. Again, readers who enjoy a little magic injected into daily life will enjoy the next adventure of this beloved nanny. (256 p.)
Every Soul a Star by Wendy Mass (Lexile: HL 740; Interest Level: Grades 4-7) is a remarkable story of three 13 year old (or almost 13) children, Ally, Jack and Bree, whose stories intersect and intertwine in a very remarkable way. The book is told in alternating chapters from the perspectives of each of the children.
Ally has lived at the Moon Shadow Campground for as long as she can remember. Her parents bought the campground as the perfect eclipse-viewing spot years before the predicted total solar eclipse. They built it up and added special features (The Unusuals) like a labyrinth, an art house and a SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) station. Ally loves the campground, and she is proud of working there with her family. She especially loves being able to share astronomy lessons with campers during the summer and hopes to discover a comet.
Jack failed science and is doomed to suffer through summer school until his science teacher calls and asks for him to attend a two week trip to see a solar eclipse. His teacher says the trip will count as his summer school, all Jack needs to do his work as his assistant throughout the trip and on a special project, and write a report at the end of the trip.
Bree wants nothing more than to be a fashion model, and 13 seems like a great time to start! However, right after she attends a workshop on breaking into the modeling industry, her parents decide to sell everything they own and move across the country to a campground just in time to see a total solar eclipse. Bree is devastated. She doesn't care at all about science and can't understand why her parents are bent on ruining her life.
When the three meet at the Moon Shadow, their lives are changed forever in ways they could never expect. Fans of Wendy Mass's other books, stories told from various points of view, stories containing science, and just good realistic fiction will enjoy this book immensely. They may even learn a little astronomy along the way! (336 p.)
One of the reasons I became an elementary school librarian is so I can read children's books.