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Friday, December 21, 2018

Chapter Book Extravaganza! Beginning Reader Through Young Adult Part 2

Disclosure: I was sent these books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own or Hazel's. 

Yesterday we started our chapter book extravaganza. We shared the first group of books for ages 5 to 12. Today we are going to get through the rest of them. As I mentioned yesterday, most of these books I have not finished (some Hazel did) so we will be providing limited reviews. Hope you enjoy them and find some new books to read!!


Books for Ages 10 to 14




This is our biggest category and I have another book to add to it since there is the third book in the series and I just got it Needless to say this group is one of the largest because it is where Hazel's reading level is. We will start with Kate DiCamillo's newest novel, Louisiana's Way Home

From the Publisher:
When Louisiana Elefante’s granny wakes her up in the middle of the night to tell her that the day of reckoning has arrived and they have to leave home immediately, Louisiana isn’t overly worried. After all, Granny has many middle-of-the-night ideas. But this time, things are different. This time, Granny intends for them never to return. Separated from her best friends, Raymie and Beverly, Louisiana struggles to oppose the winds of fate (and Granny) and find a way home. But as Louisiana’s life becomes entwined with the lives of the people of a small Georgia town — including a surly motel owner, a walrus-like minister, and a mysterious boy with a crow on his shoulder — she starts to worry that she is destined only for good-byes. (Which could be due to the curse on Louisiana's and Granny’s heads. But that is a story for another time.)

Called “one of DiCamillo’s most singular and arresting creations” by The New York Times Book Review, the heartbreakingly irresistible Louisiana Elefante was introduced to readers in Raymie Nightingale — and now, with humor and tenderness, Kate DiCamillo returns to tell her story.


From two-time Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo comes a story of discovering who you are — and deciding who you want to be.

From Us:
Hazel read this book. She couldn't wait to read it since her class had just finished Because of Winn Dixie also by Kate DiCamillo. Her entire class loved Winn Dixie and Hazel said Louisiana was even better. Her comment for the review is "It was amazing!" That sums up this book for you. Another amazing book from an amazing author for these middle grades. 

Looking for a mystery and a book that draws you in. Our next book is Otherwood by Pete Hautman. 

From the Publisher:
“Hatred combined with lies and secrets can break the world.” Grandpa Zach used to say that before he died, but Stuey never really knew what he meant. It was kind of like how he used to talk about quantum physics or how he used to say ghosts haunted their overgrown golf course. But then one day, after Stuey and his best friend, Elly Rose, spend countless afternoons in the deadfall in the middle of the woods, something totally unbelievable happens. As Stuey and Elly Rose struggle to come to grips with their lives after that reality-splitting moment, all the things Grandpa Zach used to say start to make a lot more sense. This is a book about memory and loss and the destructive nature of secrets, but also about the way friendship, truth, and perseverance have the ability to knit a torn-apart world back together.

What happened in the woods that day? Pete Hautman’s riveting middle-grade novel touches on secrets and mysteries — and the power of connections with family and friends.

From Us:
I began this book and the beginning is a bit slow, but I could see it was getting interesting when life got in the way. I love that the friends are a girl and boy so it lends itself to either gender. I also love that it is a book about kids who play in the woods--something I don't think enough of our kids are able to do these days. 

Our next book is the second book in a series. I have not reviewed the first book or read it. The second book is Zora and Me: The Cursed Ground by T.R. Simon. 

From the Publisher:
“History ain’t in a book, especially when it comes to folks like us. History is in the lives we lived and the stories we tell each other about those lives.”

When Zora Neale Hurston and her best friend, Carrie Brown, discover that the town mute can speak after all, they think they’ve uncovered a big secret. But Mr. Polk’s silence is just one piece of a larger puzzle that stretches back half a century to the tragic story of an enslaved girl named Lucia. As Zora’s curiosity leads a reluctant Carrie deeper into the mystery, the story unfolds through alternating narratives. Lucia’s struggle for freedom resonates through the years, threatening the future of America’s first incorporated black township — the hometown of author Zora Neale Hurston (1891–1960). In a riveting coming-of-age tale, award-winning author T. R. Simon champions the strength of a people to stand up for justice.


A powerful fictionalized account of Zora Neale Hurston’s childhood adventures explores the idea of collective memory and the lingering effects of slavery.


From Us:
I did not get very far but found this one interesting. The mystery is introduced basically at the beginning and it makes the reader want to know what is going on and why. Let this book draw in your reader and have them experience a bit of history.

Speaking of history, let's take a look at this book that stars a Civil War buff and teaches about the war. It is The Not-So-Boring Letters of Private Nobody by Matthew Landis. 

From the Publisher:
A trio of seventh graders become one another’s first friends as they discover the secrets of a Civil War soldier in this middle grade novel for fans of Gordon Korman and Gary Schmidt.

Twelve-year-old Oliver Prichard is obsessed with the Civil War. He knows everything about it: the battles, the generals, every movement of the Union and Confederate Armies. So when the last assignment of seventh-grade history is a project on the Civil War, Oliver is over the moon–until he’s partnered with Ella Berry, the slacker girl with the messy hair who does nothing but stare out the window. And when Oliver finds out they have to research a random soldier named Private Raymond Stone who didn’t even fight in any battles before dying of some boring disease, Oliver knows he’s doomed.

But Ella turns out to be very different from what Oliver expected. As the partners film their documentary about Private Stone--with Oliver's friend Kevin signing on as their head writing consultant--Oliver discovers that sometimes the most interesting things are hiding in uninteresting places. Even Private Stone is better than expected: There's a mystery buried in his past, and Oliver knows he can figure it out.


From Us:
Now I am not a history buff. (Steve is.) I did not get far in this book but it has been on my shelf for too long. I remember picking it up and getting started but did not get far enough to really share too much with you. I love how it pulls history into modern life and makes it exciting to learn history.

Our next book is recommended for ages 9 to 13. It is The Misfits Club by Kieran Crowley. 

From the Publisher: 
Nothing exciting ever happens in the small town of Newpark where Brian, Hannah, and twins Chris and Sam live. And when they start their summer vacation, they know it’s the end of an era. The Misfits Club, a club they started when they were 8 years old, is disbanding and they still haven’t managed to solve any real mysteries.

But when they persuade new club member Amelia to go and investigate a spooky old house, they unexpectedly discover some stolen goods.

Could this be their chance for one last adventure? One thing is for sure though: Newpark is decidedly more exciting now.


From Us:
Now we are lovers of mysteries, but haven't taken the time to read this one. I love that it is a multicultural book. It is a book about friendship and fitting in. Let's face it the middle grades and middle school are all about these. 

Our next book takes us to imaginary world where the girls are locked away except one does not want to be. She wants to be free. Can she get it? This book is The Turnaway Girls by Hayley Chewins. 

From the Publisher: 
On the strange, stormy island of Blightsend, twelve-year-old Delphernia Undersea has spent her whole life in the cloister of turnaway girls, hidden from sea and sky by a dome of stone and the laws of the island. Outside, the Masters play their music. Inside, the turnaway girls silently make that music into gold. Making shimmer, Mother Nine calls it. But Delphernia can’t make shimmer. She would rather sing than stay silent. When a Master who doesn’t act like a Master comes to the skydoor, it’s a chance for Delphernia to leave the cloister. Outside the stone dome, the sea breathes like a wild beast, the sky watches with stars like eyes, and even the gardens have claws. Outside, secrets fall silent in halls without sound. And outside, Delphernia is caught — between the island’s sinister Custodian and its mysterious Childer-Queen. Between a poem-speaking prince and a girl who feels like freedom. And in a debut that glimmers with hope and beauty, freedom — to sing, to change, to live — is precisely what’s at stake.

Delphernia Undersea wants to sing. But everyone on Blightsend knows music belongs to the Masters — and girls with singing throats are swallowed by the sea.

From Us:
I started this book. It is a bit strange, but I related to Delphernia right away. She wants to be free and sing. The life sounds awful and I can see why she would want to escape it.  This is definitely a fantasy book and introduces a strange new world. 

Our next book takes a look at the big legend of big foot. It is The Bigfoot Files by Lindsay Eagar. 

From the Publisher:
The Loch Ness Monster. The Frogman. Bigfoot. Twelve-year-old Miranda Cho used to believe in it all, used to love poring over every strange footprint, every stray hair, everything that proved that the world was full of wonders. But that was before her mother’s obsession with monsters cost Miranda her friends and her perfect school record, before Miranda found the stack of unopened bills and notices of foreclosure in the silverware drawer. Now the fact that her mom’s a cryptozoologist doesn’t seem wonderful — it’s embarrassing and irresponsible, and it could cost them everything. So Miranda agrees to go on one last creature hunt, determined to use all her scientific know-how to prove to her mother, once and for all, that Bigfoot isn’t real. Then her mom will have no choice but to grow up and get a real job — one that will pay the mortgage and allow Miranda to attend the leadership camp of her dreams. But when the trip goes horribly awry, will it be Miranda who’s forced to question everything she believes?

From the author of Hour of the Bees comes another captivating story that deftly blurs the line between reality and magic — and will leave you wondering What if?


From Us:
I loved Hour of the Bees. I remember it took me awhile to get into the book though and the same is true of this one. I could not quite get into it. I was too busy to read and this book did not speak to me enough. However I love the summary and it makes me want to read it. Now to find time to read. 

What is luck and how does it affect your life? Here is a book about luck and friendship. It is Lucky Little Things by Janice Erlbaum. 

From the Publisher:
A funny and heartfelt realistic middle-grade novel about friendship, family, and the meaning of luck, from author Janice Erlbaum.

Eighth-grader Emma Macintyre could use some good luck. The popular kids at her school ignore her, the boy she likes is out of her league, and her best friend has been ditching her for the mean girls. Worst of all, her beloved Aunt Jenny died recently, leaving Emma and her single mom reeling with grief.

Then Emma receives a mysterious letter with no return address. The letter promises that ten lucky little things will happen to her over the next thirty days—she just has to make a list of what she wants. When the things on her list start coming true, she races to understand what’s happening. How does this lucky letter work? Who sent it? And what’s going to happen when the thirty days are done?


From Us:
This book plays on life and luck. What would you do if you received a mysterious letter declaring you will get ten things to happen from your lucky little things list? It is a fun premise and a fun book. Again I did not read it all the way through but enjoyed reading it. 

Next we have a trilogy from Margaret Peterson Haddix. The first is Children of Exile
From the Publisher:
Rosi must decide what she’s willing to risk to save her family—and maybe even all of humanity—in the thrilling first novel of a new trilogy from New York Times bestselling author, Margaret Peterson Haddix.

For the past twelve years, adults called “Freds” have raised Rosi, her younger brother Bobo, and the other children of their town, saying it is too dangerous for them to stay with their parents, but now they are all being sent back. Since Rosi is the oldest, all the younger kids are looking to her with questions she doesn’t have the answers to. She’d always trusted the Freds completely, but now she’s not so sure.

And their home is nothing like she’d expected, like nothing the Freds had prepared them for. Will Rosi and the other kids be able to adjust to their new reality?


The second book is Children of Refuge.
From the Publisher:
After Edwy is smuggled off to Refuge City to stay with his brother and sister, Rosi, Bobo, and Cana are stuck alone—and in danger—in Cursed Town in the thrilling follow-up to Children of Exile from New York Times bestselling author, Margaret Peterson Haddix.

It’s been barely a day since Edwy left Fredtown to be with his parents and, already, he is being sent away. He’s smuggled off to boarding school in Refuge City, where he will be with his brother and sister, who don’t even like him very much. The boarding school is nothing like the school that he knew, there’s no one around looking up to him now, and he’s still not allowed to ask questions!

Alone and confused, Edwy seeks out other children brought back from Fredtown and soon discovers that Rosi and the others—still stuck in the Cursed Town—might be in danger. Can Edwy find his way back to his friends before it’s too late?


The third book is Children of Jubilee.
From the Publisher:
Kiandra has to use her wits and tech-savvy ways to help rescue Edwy, Enu, and the others from the clutches of the Enforcers in the thrilling final novel of the Children of Exile series from New York Times bestselling author, Margaret Peterson Haddix.

Since the Enforcers raided Refuge City, Rosi, Edwy, and the others are captured and forced to work as slave labor on an alien planet, digging up strange pearls. Weak and hungry, none of them are certain they will make it out of this alive.

But Edwy’s tech-savvy sister, Kiandra, has always been the one with all the answers, and so they turn to her. But Kiandra realizes that she can’t find her way out of this one on her own, and they all might need to rely on young Cana and her alien friend if they are going to survive.


From Us: 
I have started the first book in this series. It has drawn me in to figure out what is happening in the world. All the children are being returned to their birth parents after having been taken from them at birth and brought up in a place that was full of love and kindness and none of the evil. Their birth parents however live in a world of poverty, war and desperation. It is quite a twist and quite a plot. There is mystery, adventure and wonder in this book. Again it is a bit of a fantasy series but has lots for kids to follow and like. 

Young Adult Books (Ages 12+)
I have not been able to read too many of these books. However the few that I have started have been amazing. Nothing like getting some great books to read for your kids!! We will start with the one I have read the most. It is Hearts Unbroken by Cynthia Leitich Smith. 

From the Publisher: 
When Louise Wolfe’s first real boyfriend mocks and disrespects Native people in front of her, she breaks things off and dumps him over e-mail. It’s her senior year, anyway, and she’d rather spend her time with her family and friends and working on the school newspaper. The editors pair her up with Joey Kairouz, the ambitious new photojournalist, and in no time the paper’s staff find themselves with a major story to cover: the school musical director’s inclusive approach to casting The Wizard of Oz has been provoking backlash in their mostly white, middle-class Kansas town. From the newly formed Parents Against Revisionist Theater to anonymous threats, long-held prejudices are being laid bare and hostilities are spreading against teachers, parents, and students — especially the cast members at the center of the controversy, including Lou’s little brother, who’s playing the Tin Man. As tensions mount at school, so does a romance between Lou and Joey — but as she’s learned, “dating while Native” can be difficult. In trying to protect her own heart, will Lou break Joey’s?

New York Times best-selling author Cynthia Leitich Smith turns to realistic fiction with the thoughtful story of a Native teen navigating the complicated, confusing waters of high school — and first love.

From Us:
What can I say? I am a sucker for Native American characters and young adult stories. I love that the main character is taking a stand on her first love's and his family's racism. This book shares the complications of all teenagers as well as ones for Native Americans who are trying to get by in our society. 

Our next book takes a look at United States history. It is 1968: Today's Authors Explore a Year of Rebellion, Revolution & Change edited by Marc Aronson and Susan Campbell Bartoletti.


From the Publisher:
Nineteen sixty-eight was a pivotal year that grew more intense with each day. As thousands of Vietnamese and Americans were killed in war, students across four continents took over colleges and city streets. Assassins murdered Dr. King and Robert F. Kennedy. Demonstrators turned out in Prague and Chicago, and in Mexico City, young people and Olympic athletes protested. In those intense months, generations battled and the world wobbled on the edge of some vast change that was exhilarating one day and terrifying the next. To capture that extraordinary year, editors Marc Aronson and Susan Campbell Bartoletti created an anthology that showcases many genres of nonfiction. Some contributors use a broad canvas, others take a close look at a moment, and matched essays examine the same experience from different points of view. As we face our own moments of crisis and division, 1968 reminds us that we’ve clashed before and found a way forward — and that looking back can help map a way ahead.

With contributions by:
Jennifer Anthony
Marc Aronson
Susan Campbell Bartoletti
Loree Griffin Burns
Paul Fleischman
Omar Figueras
Laban Carrick Hill
Mark Kurlansky
Lenore Look
David Lubar
Kate MacMillan
Kekla Magoon
Jim Murphy
Elizabeth Partridge

Welcome to 1968 — a revolution in a book. Essays, memoirs, and more by fourteen award-winning authors offer unique perspectives on one of the world’s most tumultuous years.

From Us: 
I actually had Steve read this book first. He LOVES history and loves the 1960s. He really enjoyed this book. I have looked at it as well and found it informative. This book is wonderful to include in a lesson about the 1960s. 

Unlike 1968 this next book is completely fantasy. It is Blue Window by Adina Rishe Gewirtz. 
From the Publisher:
When siblings Susan, Max, Nell, Kate, and Jean tumble one by one through a glowing cobalt window, they find themselves outside their cozy home — and in a completely unfamiliar world where everything looks wrong and nothing makes sense. Soon, an ancient prophecy leads them into battle with mysterious forces that threaten to break the siblings apart even as they try desperately to remain united and find their way home. Thirteen-year-old twins Max and Susan and their younger siblings take turns narrating the events of their story in unique perspectives as each of the children tries to comprehend their stunning predicament — and their extraordinary new powers — in his or her own way. From acclaimed author Adina Rishe Gewirtz comes a riveting novel in the vein of C. S. Lewis and E. Nesbit, full of nuanced questions about morality, family, and the meaning of home.

Five siblings fall through time and space into a strange, unkind world — their arrival mysteriously foretold — and land in the center of an epic civil struggle in a country where many citizens have given themselves over to their primal fears and animal passions at the urging of a power-hungry demagogue.

From Us:
Ok, I will admit I haven't really looked at this one in awhile. It looks very interesting though. I hope you will check it out. 

Our next book has a bit of history and a bit of fantasy. Such a great combination! It is The Book of Pearl by Timothée de Fombelle and translated by Sarah Ardizzone and Sam Gordon.

From the Publisher: 
Joshua Pearl comes from a world that we no longer believe in — a world of fairy tale. He knows that his great love waits for him there, but he is stuck in an unfamiliar time and place — an old-world marshmallow shop in Paris on the eve of World War II. As his memories begin to fade, Joshua seeks out strange objects: tiny fragments of tales that have already been told, trinkets that might possibly help him prove his own story before his love is lost forever. Sarah Ardizzone and Sam Gordon translate the original French into a work both luminous and layered, enabling Timothée de Fombelle’s modern fairy tale to thrum with magic. Brimming with romance and history, mystery and adventure, this ode to the power of memory, storytelling, and love will ensnare any reader’s imagination and every reader’s heart.

In prose as magical and intricate as the tale it tells, Timothée de Fombelle delivers an unforgettable story of a first love that defines a lifetime.

From Us:
Another one that I haven't looked at in awhile and didn't get far enough to give much of a review. Sorry!!

The next book takes a look at the difficulties of living with disabilities. It is Born Scared by Kevin Brooks.


From the Publisher:
From the moment of his birth, Elliot’s life has been governed by fear of almost everything, even of his own fear — a beast that holds him prisoner in his room. The beast is kept at bay, though not eliminated, with a daily regimen of pills. But on Christmas Eve, a mix-up at the pharmacy threatens to unleash the beast full force, and his mother must venture out in a raging snowstorm to a store that should be only minutes away. Hours later, when she still hasn’t returned, Elliot sees no choice but to push through his terror, leave the house, and hunt for her. What happens if the last of his medication wears off and the beast starts scratching at the doors of his mind? Everyone has a breaking point — will Elliot come to his? With plot twists and turns that keep readers on the edge of their seats, multi-award-winning author Kevin Brooks offers a high-suspense exploration of fear and what it means to truly be afraid.

Elliot has lived his first thirteen years confined to his home, incapacitated by fear. Now he’s out of pills, snow is falling, and his only safe person is missing. A terrifying thriller from Carnegie Medalist Kevin Brooks.

From Us:
I have just started this book. It is interesting. It gives an inside look at the mind of a person who is in constant fear and then it adds to the action and terror. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be so scared you couldn't leave your house ever and then actually having to leave?

Our next book takes a look at friendship and love. It is Just Friends by Dyan Sheldon. I will admit here that I have had this book for awhile and haven't really looked at it in awhile. 

From the Publisher: 
Josh has never really thought twice about girls before. He’s usually too busy watching old movies with his friends Sal and Carver, petitioning for more vegetarian options in the school cafeteria, or flailing in yoga class with his best friend Ramona. But when new girl Jena Capistrano walks into school, Josh loses his heart faster than he’s ever lost his balance on a double downward dog. Not that he has any real aspirations, of course: he knows Jena is completely out of his league. And then, against all odds — they become friends. The closer they get, the more infatuated Josh becomes, and the more he wonders if just maybe Jena might like him back. There’s only one way to find out. But it’s not exactly easy to put your heart on the line.

Can chasing the wrong girl lead down the right path? Witty as ever, best-selling author Dyan Sheldon maps the agonizing distance between “like” and “love.”

Our next book is another that has aliens and outer space in it. It is Landscape with an Invisible Hand by M.T. Anderson. It is another one that I looked at way too long ago to really comment. Sorry!

From the Publisher: 
When the vuvv first landed, it came as a surprise to aspiring artist Adam and the rest of planet Earth — but not necessarily an unwelcome one. Can it really be called an invasion when the vuvv generously offered free advanced technology and cures for every illness imaginable? As it turns out, yes. With his parents’ jobs replaced by alien tech and no money for food, clean water, or the vuvv’s miraculous medicine, Adam and his girlfriend, Chloe, have to get creative to survive. And since the vuvv crave anything they deem "classic" Earth culture (doo-wop music, still-life paintings of fruit, true love), recording 1950s-style dates for the vuvv to watch in a pay-per-minute format seems like a brilliant idea. But it’s hard for Adam and Chloe to sell true love when they hate each other more with every passing episode. Soon enough, Adam must decide how far he’s willing to go — and what he’s willing to sacrifice — to give the vuvv what they want.

National Book Award winner M. T. Anderson returns to future Earth in a sharply wrought satire of art and truth in the midst of colonization.

Our last book for tonight takes a look at some history of World War II. It is The Red Ribbon by Lucy Adlington. 
From the Publisher:
Three weeks after being detained on her way home from school, fourteen-year-old Ella finds herself in the Upper Tailoring Studio, a sewing workshop inside a Nazi concentration camp. There, two dozen skeletal women toil over stolen sewing machines. They are the seamstresses of Birchwood, stitching couture dresses for a perilous client list: wives of the camp’s Nazi overseers and the female SS officers who make prisoners’ lives miserable. It is a workshop where stylish designs or careless stitches can mean life or death. And it is where Ella meets Rose. As thoughtful and resilient as the dressmakers themselves, Rose and Ella’s story is one of courage, desperation, and hope — hope as delicate and as strong as silk, as vibrant as a red ribbon in a sea of gray.

Shining a light on a little-known aspect of the Holocaust, Lucy Adlington weaves an unforgettable story of strength, survival, and a friendship that can endure anything.

From Us:
I started this book. It is so interesting to take a look at the inside life of concentration camps and a look at some of the lives of the prisoners perhaps in a way we haven't seen previously. 

Well that ends this extravaganza. I hope you will check out some of the books shared today and yesterday!! Enjoy!!