‘We’re Not From Here’ by Geoff Rodkey is a thrilling, action-filled, middle grade scifi novel

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“We’re Not From Here” by Geoff Rodkey is a fantastic story that could be dystopian, except for the humor-filled pages that seem to be anything but dystopia-like, in spite of the novel’s destruction of Earth and the possible extermination of the human race thing going on. Lan, the narrator, and Lan’s sister and parents are living on Mars after Earth is destroyed by a nuclear apocalypse. But things are not great on Mars. Food and water are running out, clothes are turning to rags, and the air processors are failing so everyone is always tired.

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7 picture books with quirky animal characters are a great choice for young readers

Here are seven fabulous picture books with quirky animals – have fun!

There is no such thing as too many picture books on the bookshelf. They are created to bring joy to young and old because often, adults or older readers are the ones sharing the picture books by reading them aloud. Wonderful authors and illustrators work to make books that will be enjoyed by everyone.

hoo hoo who“Hoo Hoo Who” by Mary Maier and Lauren Horton is not just an adorable picture book about an owl whose glasses are broken. He can’t see who is coming to Mouse’s birthday party, so he asks, “Hoo hoo are you?” The hints include yellow feathers, splashy feet and the phrase, “Quack quack with their smiling little beak.” This picture book has lovely illustrations and clever text that will encourage expressive language in young children. Speech pathologist and author Lauren Horton also provides materials on the publisher’s website and blog.  (Building Block Press)

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‘Stand on the Sky’ by Erin Bow is a tale of a girl’s nomadic life and her love for a young eagle

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“Stand on the Sky” by Erin Bow is a book that stands out from many other middle grade reads. The setting and the plot are an introduction into another culture — one that seems to be another world from a life where cold food is nuked in a microwave and there’s a Starbucks on every corner. Aisulu is the twelve-year-old main character who lives with her family in Mongolia.

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A student review of ‘Spy Toys: Out of Control’ by Mark Powers

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This review was written by a junior reviewer, Jamie L., who is a fourth grader who loves to read.

“Spy Toys Out of Control” by Mark Powers is a great sequel that includes action, humor, and a little bit of mystery. Powers hooks the reader into his writing, forming a picture in the reader’s head. Once a person starts reading, this book will not be put down.

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‘Secret in Stone: The Unicorn Quest’ by Kamilla Benko is the second book in a wonderful middle grade fantasy adventure

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“Secret in Stone” is the second book in “The Unicorn Quest” series by Kamilla Benko, and it truly is a fantasy adventure. The sisters, Claire and Sophie, are in an alternate world accessed by a chimney in their great-aunt’s house which leads to a well in the land of Arden, where magic lives.

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‘Song for a Whale’ by Lynne Kelly is a beautiful story of a girl and a whale and the reason their lives touch

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“Song for a Whale” by Lynne Kelly follows her first book, the award-winning novel “Chained.” Kelly’s writing is as beautiful as ever, and the story just as touching — and perhaps more accessible to young readers as the setting is in the United States instead of India. It’s a story about Iris, who is deaf, and the connection she feels for a whale named Blue 55, who is unable to communicate with other whales.

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‘The Simple Art of Flying’ by Cory Leonardo is a sweet, poetry-filled middle grade story of two African parrots and love

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“The Simple Art of Flying” by Cory Leonardo isn’t a simple book at all. It’s filled with an erudite African grey parrot, a feisty octogenarian, an adolescent wanna-be medical doctor, and a pet store owner who shouldn’t be allowed to own even a goldfish. This middle grade tale is filled with quirky characters — both human and not — and a sweet message of acceptance and family. And family can certainly include our non-human family members.

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‘Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow’ by Jessica Townsend is a suspenseful sequel in middle grade series

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“Wundersmith: The Calling of Morigan Crow” is the sequel to the first book in the “Nevermoor” series, “Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow,” about a young girl who was whisked to Nevermoor just before she had been doomed to die on her 11th birthday. As an illegal immigrant in Nevermoor, the only way she can stay in Nevermoor is to pass rigorous trials to earn a place in the illustrious Wundrous Society — which she does in the first book.

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‘The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise’ by Dan Gemeinhart surprises, touches, and grabs readers

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With “The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise,” Dan Gemeinhart once again shows his writing super-power ability to simultaneously amuse, touch, fascinate, and grab readers by the heartstrings as they race through this story of a girl and her father who live a peripatetic life, traveling from place to place in their rehabbed school bus.

Coyote and her father, Rodeo, have lived on Yager, their converted school bus, and traveled wherever their whims have taken them. Want to walk on the beach? They’d head for the coast. Pulled pork sandwich? The best one is at Pork Chop John’s Sandwich Shop, in Butte, Montana.

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‘Fire & Heist’ by Sarah Beth Durst is a perfect young adult fantasy/action/scifi thriller

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“Fire & Heist” by Sarah Beth Durst is a wonderful young adult fantasy. Long-time fans of this author will not be surprised that it’s engaging and boasts a fabulous plot. While she has included a lot in the story — there is some “Ocean’s Eleven” mixed up with a bit of “Wrinkle in Time” and every book with a wonderfully evil villain (think Michael Grant’s newest book, appropriately titled “Villain”) — it just boils down to a book that ends up being a quick read because the action simply doesn’t stop.

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