‘Malala’s Magic Pencil’ by Malala Yousafzai Is a Story About Possibilities that Kids Love

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While the name “Malala” is quite familiar to adults, children may not know who the author of this picture book is. In “Malala’s Magic Pencil,” Malala Yousafzai tells her story and it’s one that opens the eyes of the kids hearing her tale.

She starts her story telling about a show that she watched as a child about a magic pencil that could create anything that was drawn with it. The boy who used it, the hero, always used the magic to protect people who needed help. Malala thought of the things she would do with a magic pencil.

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‘Suspect Red’ by L. M. Elliott — Fear and Loathing in ‘53 D.C.

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L.M. Elliott’s riveting Young Adult historical novel “Suspect Red” takes us on a rough ride through one thicket-filled thorny year in the life of early-adolescent Richard Bradley. He is a thirteen-year-old Washington D.C. resident circa 1953-54. And he is faced with the dilemmas and demons that would haunt any teen-ager whose father, whom he idolizes, is an FBI agent suffering from severe PTSD (making him, in those days, a “psycho”), and who, worse yet, works directly under J. Edgar Hoover during those dangerous and desperate months of June, 1953 to June, 1954: The Cold War rages. Continue reading

‘Monster: A Gone Novel’ Is Just as Gritty, Just as Horrifying and Just as Action-Packed as the Original Series

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With the release of “Monster,” the first in a trilogy sequel, Michael Grant has brought readers back to the world of “Gone” and some of its characters. It’s four years after the dome came down in the last book in the first series, and those who had been trapped in the #FAYZ were able to leave. In fact, the prologue shares a story about that event from a new character’s point of view.

Readers will learn that some of the kids who suffered under the dome had severe mental problems after leaving; some committed suicide and others had PTSD. Few returned to normal. Dekka, one of the escapees from the FAYZ, is one of the main characters in this novel. The mother of a new character, Shade Darby, was killed at the same time the dome disappeared. Because Shade feels responsible for her mother’s being right where she was when she was killed by Gaia, the monster from the FAYZ, Shade’s life has been irrevocably changed.

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‘Malala’s Magic Pencil’ by Malala Yousafzai Is a Story About Possibilities and Kids Love It

malala

While the name “Malala” is quite familiar to adults, children may not know who the author of this picture book is. In “Malala’s Magic Pencil,” Malala Yousafzai tells her story, and it’s one that opens the eyes of the kids hearing her tale.

She starts her story telling about a show that she watched as a child, a TV show about a magic pencil that could create anything that was drawn with it. The boy who used it, the hero, always used the magic to protect people who needed help. Malala thought of the things she would do with a magic pencil.

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‘Warcross’ by Marie Lu Is a Fast-Paced Scifi Thriller

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“Warcross” by Marie Lu features a young girl who is a bounty hunter in a world where virtual reality has eclipsed real life. Hooked yet? Read the first chapter and you’ll be drawn into the life and struggle for survival along with Emika Chen, whose ability to hack into the virtual world and fight in the real world have helped her survive — barely — in New York.

Emika’s mother bailed on Em and her father when Em was young, and her father died before Em was a teenager. She’s a loner who has had to rely on herself and only herself. She hasn’t paid her rent for months, and the eviction notice is on the door. If she can just bring down one big bounty, she’ll be set. But things don’t work out, and Em doesn’t know what to do.

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Two Great Dog Books for Children: Inside and Upside-Down

Two dog books for children have titles that match in a strange way even though the books are different views of dogs. One book, by Serena Hodson, is about the outside of dogs and looks at them as “Upside-Down Dogs.” “Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know” is by Alexandra Horowitz, and is all about what goes on inside a dog.

Get your child both books. One is fun to look at, with pictures of adorable dogs in many silly positions. The other is filled with nonfiction, scientific information about our canine best friends.

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‘Vets and Pets: Wounded Warriors and the Animals that Help Them Heal’ Is a Must-Read for Animal Lovers

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In “Vets and Pets: Wounded Warriors and the Animals that Help Them Heal,” authors Dava Guerin and Kevin Ferris tell story after story of a veteran and the animals — mostly dogs but also cats, horses, birds, and a pig — who helped them heal. In  many cases, the animals that saved the veterans helped them not only heal, but live a normal life.

The book includes a wonderful anecdote about an incident that happened during the Battle of Germantown in the Revolutionary War. A small terrier was wandering on the battlefield, and after he was captured, the Americans realized that he belonged to the British General Howe. Washington was advised to keep the dog as a trophy and that it would demoralize the British troops. Washington, however, declared a truce and had the dog returned to his owner. He realized the importance of the bond between man and dog. Continue reading

‘Mr. Lemoncello’s Great Library Race’ by Chris Grabenstein Is a Worthy Third Book in the Series

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Can author Chris Grabenstein keep on writing “Mr. Lemoncello” books that will have new plots and  new twists and will keep kids (and adults) entertained? From the looks of “Mr. Lemoncello’s Great Library Race,” it appears to be a certainty.

In this third book in the series, Kyle Keeley is once again determined to win a game sponsored by Mr. Luigi Lemoncello, his idol, the famous game maker and inventor extraordinaire. Lemoncello is to libraries what Willy Wonka was to candy in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”

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Cat Missing Two Legs Adopted To Be Therapy Cat For Disabled Veterans and Others

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An abandoned black cat with two missing back legs was rescued and flown from New York to Ohio to begin a new life as a therapy cat for disabled veterans and others who are amputees.

The extremely friendly cat was abandoned on the streets of New York. He couldn’t walk because of missing back legs. When Mary Tschinkel of Friendly Ferals heard about him, she was determined to help. She commented about the negative stereotypes about black cats:

“I can’t tell you what a wonderful cat this is. He’s gorgeous. Black cats – people should be inspired to adopt a black cat – they are wonderful there’s nothing better than a black cat! Superstitions are stupid.”

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‘Lemons’ by Melissa Savage: Wonderful and Thoughtful Middle Grade Fiction

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“Lemons” by Melissa Savage covers some tough topics in a lovely story. The main character, Lemonade Liberty Witt, named because her mother wanted her to be able to make lemonade from tough situations, has just had a really tough situation. Her mother died.

Lem, as she is called, and her mother lived in San Francisco and enjoyed life to the fullest. Her father was never a part of the picture, and she didn’t really have other family. At least, that’s what she thought until her mother died and she went to live with her grandfather, who had been estranged from her mother, in small-town Willow Creek.

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Sweet Eva Failed by Many Including Shelter that Doesn’t Screen Adopters or Give Basic Information about Introducing a New Dog into a Home

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Eva is a sweet and very friendly dog who is a volunteer favorite. But Eva, through no fault of her own, is going to be killed at the shelter because they are filled and need her kennel.

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Eva is a dog who has been failed way too often. She has been adopted from the Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center over and over, but she gets returned after a few months, or she is dumped on the streets to end up there a few years after being adopted. In March, 2016, she had been dumped at the shelter with pink-painted nails. Someone had loved her enough to spend time painting her nails, and then they left her at a kill shelter.

 

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‘The Wolf, the Duck & the Mouse’ by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen

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In “The Wolf, the Duck & the Mouse,” Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen create another fantastic fable that will be devoured by children around the world, just as the titular wolf devours the duck and the mouse.

The three characters, two of whom were swallowed by the wolf, must join forces to save all their lives. And ironically, the smaller and seemingly more helpless of the trio are the ones who save the day.

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