‘The Summer Country’ by Lauren Willig is an ambitious tale of prejudice and plantations in Barbados during Victorian times

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“The Summer Country” by Lauren Willig refers to the island of Barbados, where it is summer all year long. The story is about three women, and from the beginning it alternates between 1812 and 1854. The story begins in 1854, when Emily Dawson and her cousin Adam travel to Barbados for different reasons. Adam is representing the family business now that his grandfather, Jonathan Fenty, has died, while Emily is traveling to visit Peverills, the sugar cane plantation that her grandfather left her in his will.

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‘Endling: The First’ is the second book in the heartwarming and thoughtful Endling series

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Don’t miss Katherine Applegate’s newest series, “Endling,” consisting of the first book, “Endling: The Last” and this book, “Endling: The First.” Applegate’s genius is her ability to write a book filled with adventure and endearing characters, and at the same time use the beliefs and lessons learned in the stories to teach readers about kindness, compassion, and above all, justice.

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‘The Mother-in-Law’ by Sally Hepworth is filled with thoughtful insight into complicated relationships

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“The Mother-in-Law” by Sally Hepworth is a story that intrigues while also leaving the reader to reconsider what is important in life. The story is told from two points of view — Diana, married with two adult children, and Lucy, married to Ollie, Diana’s oldest son. At the very start of the story, Lucy and her family learn about Diana’s death.

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‘The Secret Sheriff of Sixth Grade’ by Jordan Sonnenblick: A student review

secret sheriff

“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.

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‘New Kid’ by Jerry Craft is a graphic novel that is perfect for middle grade and young adult readers who are finding their place in the world

 

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In “New Kid,” Jerry Craft introduces Jordan Banks, a wanna-be artist and seventh grader who is starting at a new school, a fancy private school. It’s called Riverdale Academy Day School (RAD) and it’s exclusive, prestigious, and filled with mostly rich white kids, all of which Jordan is not. Each new student gets a “guide,” and Jordan is lucky — his guide is  Liam, a kid who, while rich and white, really needs a friend.

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‘Outwalkers’ by Fiona Shaw is a powerful book about the love of a boy for his dog in a bleak dystopian future

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“The Outwalkers” by Fiona Shaw is a tough read, but not because it’s not a fabulous story. In fact, the book is intriguing from the first page and emotionally heartrending to the last. It’s dark and depressing, but at the same time it’s filled with hope and the promise of a better world. My heart beat a bit faster from the beginning to the end of the book — I was that worried about the main character, Jake, and his incredibly loyal and wonderful dog Jet.

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Two Wonderful Historical Fiction Books for Middle Grade and Young Adult Readers

Two books that should be a part of any middle school or high school nonfiction collection are “The Life of Frederick Douglass” by David F. Walker and “1919: The Year that Changed America” by Martin W. Sandler. The books are very different; one is a graphic narrative with few photographs while the other is a compilation of photographs, text, and timelines, yet both are books about important topics. They are, surprisingly, books that complement each other.

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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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