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Kid's Featured Items
- Submitted by Children on Mon, 02/11/2013 - 10:22
Sparrow Road by Sheila O'Connor
Twelve-year-old Raine O'Rourke cannot understand why her single mother has abruptly decided to leave their Milwaukee home and her beloved Grandpa Mac to live and work for the summer at an old Lake Michigan estate. Sparrow Road, once an orphanage, is owned and run as an artist colony by stern, enigmatic Viktor Berglund, who imposes strict rules of conduct such as silence until dinner, and Raine is further restricted from leaving the premises, even as her mother and Viktor make mysterious trips to town. She tries to make the best of the situation, exploring the attic where vestiges of the orphanage give her fodder for her own writing, as she uses slim clues to create the persona of orphan Lyman Chase. With help from Diego, a wise and kindly artist, and flamboyant craftswoman Josie, Raine begins to adjust until the real reason for her mother's decision is revealed: the father she has never even heard of lives nearby and wants to meet and get to know her. What follows is a thoughtful coming-of-age story that explores old and new relationships and conflicting family loyalties as Raine learns important things about herself and is left to make a serious decision about her father. Adding interest to this novel, set in a time before computers and cell phones, is a touch of mystery surrounding the orphanage, and Josie's brainchild of an Art Extravaganza that brings townspeople and former orphans back to Sparrow Road. Lyrical writing in this first-person narrative, good character development, and a sympathetic heroine will keep readers absorbed. Marie Orlando, formerly at Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY
This book is a 2013-14 Mark Twain Award Nominee.
- Submitted by Children on Mon, 02/04/2013 - 10:10
Cool trash to treasures by Pam Scheunemann
"Upcycling" gets a shot in the arm with these attractive craft books, each of which contains at least six funky projects, some requiring little more than glue and scissors to accomplish. Unlike many craft volumes, the design palette here does not automatically scream "girl," although there are a few jewelry and accessory projects that seem specifically girl-oriented. Specialized materials are required for some projects, in some cases effectively negating any recycling involved with the craft, and many activities are time-consuming and cannot be completed in one day. Still, this set contains good classroom ideas, most involving measuring and calculation, which could be like catnip for crafty kids with time on their hands.
- Submitted by Children on Mon, 01/28/2013 - 09:47
When best friends Dak and Sera discover the key to time travel — the Infinity Ring — they're swept up in a centuries-long secret war for the fate of mankind. Recruited by the Hystorians, a secret society that dates back to Aristotle, the kids learn that history has gone disastrously off course — and it's up to them to save it.
- Submitted by Children on Mon, 01/07/2013 - 09:50
Overcoming Barriers series by Deborah Kent
These new books in the Overcoming Barriers series focus on blindness, deafness, Braille, and sign language at a down-to-earth, personal level. Each book begins with a glimpse into the life of a real-life child today before branching out into other more general topics. The series' tone is consistently upbeat, though not falsely cheery. In What Is It like to Be Blind?, she uses the stories of several children to highlight the range of abilities possessed by blind people, as well as the challenges they face. In What Is Braille?, Kent discusses the history of Braille's invention and development, as well as describing modern-day users. She also includes an alphabet chart for reference. In What Is It like to Be Deaf?, Kent covers topics such as the causes of deafness, the use of sight and other senses, and the ways deaf children and adults overcome challenges and use their talents. In What Is Sign Language?, the author emphasizes ASL as a language, including its grammar and a number of sample words, as well as its history and current use. Besides the main text, sidebars add tidbits on a greater variety of subjects. Photos on most pages provide an adequate if not sparkling illustration of the text.--Aronin, Miriam Copyright 2010 Booklist
- Submitted by Children on Mon, 12/31/2012 - 09:44
It's Just an Expression series
Ever wonder where the phrase "goody two-shoes" comes from or why we say we're "all pooped out" when we feel tired? This series explores the usage and origin of dozens of well-known and less-familiar idioms. Typically, a spread is devoted to information about each expression. First, the idioms are used in a mini-story context and then elaborated on for meaning. Photographs and cartoon illustrations help further explain the phrases. The pages are well designed, and the texts are lively. Since many of the idioms have mathematical, historical, or scientific connections, this series may be used across curriculums, with plenty of opportunities for writing activities. While further reading is suggested, source notes are not included, making follow-up difficult.
- Submitted by Children on Mon, 12/17/2012 - 10:40
Iron hearted Violet by Kelly Barnhill ; illustrations by Iacopo Bruno
The end of their world begins with a story.
In most fairy tales, princesses are beautiful, dragons are terrifying, and stories are harmless. This isn't most fairy tales.
Princess Violet is plain, reckless, and quite possibly too clever for her own good. Particularly when it comes to telling stories. One day she and her best friend, Demetrius, stumble upon a hidden room and find a peculiar book. A forbidden book. It tells a story of an evil being -- called the Nybbas -- imprisoned in their world. The story cannot be true -- not really. But then the whispers start. Violet and Demetrius, along with an ancient, scarred dragon, may hold the key to the Nybbas's triumph . . . or its demise. It all depends on how they tell the story. After all, stories make their own rules.
Iron Hearted Violet is a story of a princess unlike any other. It is a story of the last dragon in existence, deathly afraid of its own reflection. Above all, it is a story about the power of stories, our belief in them, and how one enchanted tale changed the course of an entire kingdom.
- Submitted by Children on Mon, 12/10/2012 - 10:23
The Poppy Lady : Moina Belle Michael and her tribute to veterans by Barbara Elizabeth Walsh
Moina Belle Michael was teaching at the University of Georgia’s Normal School in 1917, when her country entered the first World War. Vowing to do what she could for the “lads” in uniform, she began by knitting socks and rolling bandages. Later she took a position in New York City, where she helped departing soldiers. Inspired by McCrae’s poem beginning “In Flanders fields the poppies blow,” Michael launched a successful campaign encouraging people to wear poppies in honor of fallen soldiers. An epilogue brings the story up-to-date. Inspired by Walsh’s father’s contact with Michael when he was a solider in World War II, this informative picture book is based on original interviews as well as Michael’s book The Miracle Flower (1941), articles, and websites. Rich with color, Johnson’s narrative paintings portray Michael’s life and times with warmth, drama, and attention to detail. Teachers looking for a heartfelt alternative to the familiar, too-often-pedestrian children’s books on Veterans Day and Memorial Day may want to introduce their students to the compassionate, determined “Poppy Lady.” Grades 2-5. --Carolyn Phelan
- Submitted by Children on Mon, 12/03/2012 - 09:33
In this imaginative retelling, the jealous, overlooked fairy who curses Sleeping Beauty is recast as a sickly, bookish teenager. Thirteen-year-old Gorse belongs to the Shouting Fey, a clan of mischievous fairies with powerful voices. In a subversive departure from the original tale in which benevolent fairies bestow gifts at the infant's christening, Yolen portrays the relationship between the royal family and the Shouting Fey as downright feudal. Tied to their land by an ancient oath, the Fey are compelled to perform spells at the whim of their capricious monarchs. On the day of the christening, Gorse rushes to the palace only to fall down a hole into a cave where she discovers two fey princes who have been banished for years, as well as revelations about her family's past. The frequent references to fairy lore are occasionally overwhelming; however, Yolen has crafted an intricate world full of well-developed characters. The incantations that the fey often invoke ("Blow and sow/This fertile ground/Until the knot/Be all unwound") add a lyrical quality to the elegant prose. Readers who typically prefer fairy-tale retellings, such as those by Donna Jo Napoli or Robin McKinley, may be put off because the plot largely revolves around Gorse's escape from the cave rather than Sleeping Beauty herself, but fans of more unconventional fantasy adaptations, such as Gregory Maguire's Wicked (HarperCollins, 1995), will enjoy seeing an antagonist receive a rich, compelling backstory.-Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journalα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc.
- Submitted by Children on Mon, 11/26/2012 - 12:16
There goes Ted Williams : the greatest hitter who ever lived by Matt Tavares
Ted Williams' goal was, as the subtitle suggests, to be the greatest hitter who ever lived. His career was legendary, even though, for several seasons at the peak of his abilities, it was interrupted by military service in World War II and Korea. He was able to capitalize on dramatic moments; he hit home runs in his first game upon returning from World War II, in his last game before reporting for duty in Korea and again when he returned. And of course he hit one for his last major league at-bat. Williams was a complex and difficult personality, but Tavares chooses to focus on these larger-than-life heroics, telling of Williams' desire to be the best at everything he attempted and the joy he felt when he accomplished his goals. The language is rich in imagery, with short, action-packed sentences. The free-verse text is either separated on a sepia background framed in red, or laid over the illustrations. Commanding watercolor, gouache and pencil illustrations depict Williams in action as a boy, a major-leaguer and a Navy pilot. Tavares captures him well in his Red Sox uniform, with his unique swing and home-run trot. A baseball hero and an American hero, the last player to hit over .400 in a season; here, Ted Williams is introduced to a new generation of baseball fans. (author's note, statistics, bibliography) (Picture book/ biography. 6-10) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
- Submitted by Children on Mon, 11/12/2012 - 09:46
Small medium at large by Joanne LevyA lively preteen develops the "superpsychic" ability to converse with the dead, complicating her seventh-grade life in this lighthearted debut. When 12-year-old Lilah's struck by lightning at her mother's wedding, she wakes up hearing her deceased grandmother Dora talking to her. Lilah's afraid she's going crazy until Dora explains, "[w]hen the lightning hit you, it was like someone switched on a radio and I was tuned into your channel." Soon, Lilah's channeling lots of dead people like Serena, her music teacher's sweetheart; Priscilla, a famous fashion designer; and Marion, the cafeteria lunch lady for 49 years. Overwhelmed with advice and requests from talking ghosts who are simultaneously irritating and invasive, Lilah confesses her psychic power to her best friend, Alex, who thinks she should earn money doing readings. But when Lilah tries to give a message to her crush, Andrew, from his deceased father, things go terribly wrong. Gradually, Lilah learns how to convert her psychic pals into allies and channel her powers positively, turning a disastrous school fundraiser into a success, winning Andrew's trust and admiration, and helping her father find romance. In a fresh, frank and funny first-person voice, Lilah tells of her ghostly encounters from the perspective of a normal Jewish girl coping with abnormal powers. Droll middle school drama. (Fantasy. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.