Summer brings visions of blue skies, green fields, turquoise waters, and carefree days. Summer days are perfect for sharing poems that will bring the beauty of nature and animals home to us. These three picture books filled with poetry do just that.
With “Spark,” Sarah Beth Durst proves that you don’t have to be loud or pushy to make a difference. In this middle grade fantasy, Mina learns that with the support and love of friends and her storm beast, she can change big things.
The month of May is good for flowers and green growing things, but it’s also got some wonderful picture books just released in time for spring. And after a long day filled with sunshine, or even a long day filled with rain, nothing gets a kid ready for bed better than a wonderful picture book. Here are a few fabulous suggestions: some will make your child laugh and giggle, others will lead to fabulous discussions. Enjoy.
“Kid Normal” by Greg James and Chris Smith is a wonderful illustrated novel that is sure to attract readers. Kicking off the start of a series, it is packed with action and humor. It shows how something good can often come out of something bad. The characters are passionate and will not give up. This book proves what working together can accomplish.
“The Secret Sheriff of Sixth Grade” by Jordan Sonnenblick is a book that will inspire readers to think about bullying and do their part to make their world a bully-free zone. Even though it is a little bit sad, the bibliophile will be touched by this moving story. This book shows how some people have to survive without a lot of money. Whoever is reading this book might realize that they take too many things for granted.
Wonderful children’s author David Lubar has two new collections of short stories, “Teeny Weenies: The Intergalactic Petting Zoo” and “Teeny Weenies: Freestyle Frenzy.” Kids love the original Weenie series like “Strikeout of the Bleacher Weenies,” which are perfect for older middle grade readers. In this new “Teeny Weenie” series, the stories are great for younger kids in first grade and higher. The stories are a bit shorter and simpler to follow, yet still filled with Lubar’s clever wit and bizarre imagination.
Andrew Clements is the king of middle grade novels centering around school and relationships. “The Friendship War” continues his long and prolific string of books about elementary school relationships that explore how children relate, how they form friendships, and how the school environment can influence those life experiences.
“Swimming for Sunlight” by Allie Larkin has it all — but mostly it has a main character who has experienced it all, and in her case that’s not a good thing. Katie has experienced much loss. Her father died when she was young. Even worse was how it happened; he died when he was swimming with her to the dock by their lake home, and Katie tried unsuccessfully to resuscitate him. After her father was gone, her mother relinquished all motherly duties to Katie’s grandmother and eventually just left. Katie was raised by her grandmother, Nan, in Florida.
“When We Left Cuba” by Chanel Cleeton is the gripping story of Beatriz Perez, daughter to a sugar baron in Cuba whose family fled when Castro’s army took over the island paradise. Living a grand but reduced lifestyle in Palm Beach, Beatriz’ mother is constantly scheming for her daughters to marry well and restore the family name and fortune.
But Beatriz has other ideas. Her twin brother was killed during the Revolution, and she is determined to get revenge. She hates Castro passionately and abhors the idea that she will follow her mother’s wishes — marry, have children, and never live life fully. She wants to take a different path. Continue reading
“The Strangers: Greystone Secrets” is the first book in this new series by bestselling children’s author Margaret Peterson Haddix. Haddix is no stranger to writing children’s series that are thrilling and that kids love to read including “The Missing” and “Shadow Children.” This series promises to be just as exciting and addicting as those.
“Operation Frog Effect” by Sarah Scheerger will excite its readers. In this book, students must learn to work together. That is their challenge. The book has a great lesson, and it shows what could happen when students get carried away with good intentions but disastrous results. Though the students in the classroom may have their differences, they can all agree on one thing — they want their teacher back..
Like it or not, this collection of four short stories by Cory Doctorow is America. It’s also fascinating, deeply engaging, controversial, and thought-provoking. The four stories may at first seem unrelated, but musing on them for a while leads to several realizations about their important similarities and common themes.