YA Fiction 2013 – Paradox

paradox

Paquette, A. J. Paradox. New York: Random House, 2013. 978-0-375-869624. 229 p. $17.99. Gr. 6-8.

Ana Wakes alone in a spacecraft, on planet Paradox. She has all the supplies she needs to trek more than 27 hours, but no memory of her past. This seems to be a typical science fiction story until Ana awakens from the simulation, in a lab on earth, and must piece together the situation. Previously, an actual expedition to Paradox returned with a devastating virus which killed most of earth’s population. Ana must find a way to reverse the virus before the entire population is wiped out. There is abundant adventure throughout the story as Ana survives the hostile planet and a vicious worm-like predator who feeds on fear.

Science Fiction         Michelle Hankin, Sandy Run Middle School

New in YA Fiction 2013 – Invasion

invasion

Myers, Walter Dean.  Invasion.  New York: Scholastic, 2013.  978-0-545-38428-5. 212p.  $17.99.  Grade 7 and up.

Invasion is the third novel in a loosely-connected series of war stories by Walter Dean Myers. Marcus Perry, one of the lead characters in this novel, is father to Richie Perry (Fallen Angels). In turn, Richie is uncle to Robin Perry of Sunrise over Fallujah. However, Marcus is not the main character in this novel; Josiah Wedgewood (Woody) is his hometown friend who fights in the infantry, and most of this book centers around Woody’s experiences with war. Invasion is set during the storming of Omaha beach and United States’ efforts to liberate St. Lo, a strategically important French city held by the Germans.   With every battle, more of Woody’s fellow soldiers are killed. The deaths take their toll and everyone has a different way of coping with the experience. Woody’s close friend Mink, for example, recites poetry to bring beauty to the very ugly situations they are in.  Ultimately, the city is liberated, but Woody is wounded as his infantry moves toward its next target.  Woody, Marcus, and the others have been changed by the war; how will they adjust when it is time to go home?

Historical Fiction (World War II)                    Susan Fox, Washington Jr./Sr. High School

Invasion is a good book, although I didn’t enjoy it as much as Fallen Angels.  I am trying to figure out why this is so.  Invasion is shorter than Myers’ other war books; perhaps the story wasn’t as developed as it might have been?  Perhaps the story from Woody’s perspective is not compelling as Marcus’ story in a racially segregated army would have been?  One aspect I really did like was Myers’ author’s note at the end of the novel.  Myers talks about the process of interviewing veterans and his feelings about war; it is powerful writing.

Librarians should be aware that the action in this novel is graphic and realistic. The language is also explicit, but not gratuitous, considering the events of the book.

YA Graphic Novel – War Brothers

McKay, Sharon E. & Lafrance, Daniel. War Brothers The Graphic Novel. Toronto: Annick Press, 2013. 978-1-55451-489-2. 164 p. $27.95. Gr. 9 and up.

Jacob believes he is safe from the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), he and his friends attend George Jones Seminary boarding school in Uganda. His father has even talked the Headmaster into hiring extra guards so the children are safe from the LRA, but to no avail, the boys are abducted by the LRA the very first night. The boys walk for more than two days and are deprived of food and water, when one of them collapses, the others are forced to beat him to death with logs or suffer the same fate. Graphic and visceral, this book is not for the faint of heart. It is a book about the very real affects of war on child soldiers, the children themselves victims of countless horrors. Escape is improbable, and yet some of these children manage to escape, only to be shunned by their families and neighbors. War Brothers is a harrowing, true story that will resonate with me for a long time because of the disturbing nature of the subject matter. War Brothers addresses Common Core Standards 11-12.6 and 11-12.7.

741.5 Graphic Novel, Child Soldiers-Uganda             Kathryn Gilbride, North Pocono Middle and High Schools

New in YA Fiction 2013 – Lauren Kate

Teardrop

Kate, Lauren. Teardrop. New York: Delacorte, 2013. 9780385742658. $18.99. Gr. 7-12.

Seventeen-year-old Eureka Boudreaux can’t find anything worth living for.  Her parents have divorced, her father is now married to the unloving Rhoda, and her mother has died in a freak car accident involving a rogue wave on the way to Key West.  Eureka, who was in the car with her mother, somehow survives but is physically and emotionally battered.  Eventually, Eureka’s distant behavior drives away all but two of her best friends, fun-loving Cat and quiet, considerate Brooks.  Eureka slowly begins to rejoin the outside world.  One day, on her way to a track meet at her Southern Louisiana high school, she is rear-ended by a white Chevy pick-up truck.  The driver, Ander, is silvery-pale, with light blonde hair and blue eyes. He will become a bigger part of her life than she can imagine.  Eureka’s life begins to change in strange ways.  Her mother’s will provides three mysterious gifts: a locket, a thunderstone securely wrapped and stored in a wooden box, and an ancient book in an unreadable language.  Eureka and Cat soon find Madame Blavatsky, a “self-taught expert in dead languages”. The book begins to give up its secrets; Eureka finds out that her tears have magical powers, including the ability to raise the lost continent of Atlantis. In the meantime, Brooks’ loving nature turns decidedly darker and Ander begins to reveal more about the world of Atlantis.  The two young men seem to be engaged in a battle for Eureka’s soul, but who will be victorious and why?

This book was written by Lauren Kate, author of the popular Fallen series.  It will appeal to twelve to seventeen year old female readers with its supernatural elements and an absorbing story of a tragic love triangle.  Future books in this series will be forthcoming.

Fantasy (Supernatural)                Susan Fox, Washington Jr./Sr. HS, Washington, PA

January 2014 BOB Reviews

Happy New Year everyone!

Biography:

Sidney Crosby

Superstars! (series). New York: Crabtree Publishing Company, 2014. 32 p. $26.60 ea.  Gr.3-6.
          Burns, Kylie. Sidney Crosby. 978-0-7787-0038-8.
Dann, Sarah. Beyonce. 978-0-7787-0019-7.
Morganelli, Adrianna. Bruno Mars. 978-0-7787-0020-3
An annually updated series of sport and art superstars. The three listed are the latest part of a series that numbers thirty at this review. All books are formatted the same: 32 page, color photographs, glossary, other resources (books and websites) about the subject, and index in the back. With that formatting in mind, this would make a good class unit in current biographies.

Being from the western part of the state, I naturally chose Sidney Crosby, to look at and read through. For the schools that I represent I would say while the interest level is grade 3-6, many of my students would find some of the information challenging. On the flip side, the photographs, including family pictures, make the book enjoyable. As far as I researched, the reading tests are not available for the newest series yet. The entire series can be viewed at:
http://www.crabtreebooks.com/products/books/biographies/superstars-biographies
Biographies   Lourie Stewart, Dunbar Township/Dunbar Borough Elementary Schools

Fiction:

stitch head

Bass, Guy. Stitch Head. Illustrated by Pete Williamson. North Mankato: Capstone, 2013. 978-1-62370-007-2. 190 p. $10.95. Gr. 3-6.
Meet Stich Head, the professor’s first creation. Stitch Head makes potions to calm down the dangerous creations made by his professor who has forgotten their friendship. Missing his friend, Stich Head is tempted to leave the castle and try to become a star. The ending is optimistic and the series continues with The Pirate’s Eye (Capstone, 2014).
Fiction (monster)                      Beth McGuire, Wendover Middle School

Nonfiction:

life cycle of insects   adventure homes trail of tears cassie and the woolfe

Aloian, Molly.  Life Cycles of Insects (Insects Close-Up series).  New York: Crabtree Publishing, 2014.  978-0-7787-1278-7. 24p.  $22.60. Gr. 1-3
This book is part of a series about insects.  The photographs are well labeled and engaging.  Although only twenty-four pages it has an incredible amount of information.    Key terms are in bold and labels include arrows so the reader is able to identify exactly what the text is relating to.  The “What do you think” questions assist the reader in analyzing the information they are being provided. The balance of text and illustration and charts is perfect. This is an excellent addition to a beginning science curriculum regarding insects.  The Words to Know section and Index at the end of the book are accurate and helpful.  This book and others in this series are guided reading level M. Other books in this series are also of high quality and equally engaging:
Aloian, Molly.  How Are Insects Helpful?  New York: Crabtree Publishing, 2014.  978-0-7787-1269-5. 24p.  $22.60. Gr. 1-3
Aloian, Molly.  Where Do Insects Live?  New York: Crabtree Publishing, 2014.  978-0-7787-1280-0. 24p.  $22.60. Gr. 1-3
Aloian, Molly.  What Is an Insect?  New York: Crabtree Publishing, 2014.  978-0-7787-1279-4. 24p.  $22.60. Gr. 1-3
595.7: Insects                                   Denise Naumann, Eisenhower Elementary

Bailey, Gerry.  Adventure Homes (Young Architect Series).  New York: Crabtree Publishing, 2014.  978-0-7787-0287-0. 32p.  $27.60. Gr. 2-4
This book is part of the Young Architect Series, they are all guided reading level Q.  The book is a mix of designing and use of tree houses and a variety of nontraditional homes.  The author discusses the planning and rooms necessary in the plans.  The author incorporates building design and architecture vocabulary.  The text sparks the imagination of young readers to think about the design and use of the space.   It delves further into the history of adventure homes and people who lived in them.  The illustrations are a combination of line drawing with labels and photographs of actual adventure homes.   The end of the book includes a glossary, web links and other books in the Learning more section and an index.  For those beginning to show an interest in architecture and design this is an excellent series to provide.  The series also includes:
Bailey, Gerry.  Towering Homes.  New York: Crabtree Publishing, 2014.  978-0-7787-0289-4. 32p.  $27.60. Gr. 2-4
Bailey, Gerry.  Storybook Homes.  New York: Crabtree Publishing, 2014.  978-0-7787-0288-7. 32p.  $27.60. Gr. 2-4
Bailey, Gerry.  Working Homes.  New York: Crabtree Publishing, 2014.  978-0-7787-0290-0. 32p.  $27.60. Gr. 2-4
728: Architecture/Domestic                 Denise Naumann, Eisenhower

ElementaryPeppas, Lynn.  Trail of Tears.  New York: Crabtree Publishing, 2014.  978-0-7787-1174-2. 48p.  $30.60. Gr. 3-4Peppas, Lynn.  Trail of TearsNew York: Crabtree Publishing, 2014.  978-0-7787-1174-2. 48p.  $30.60. Gr. 3-4
Containing facts with brilliant illustrations this book provides a reluctant reader or struggling reader with a wonderful option for a non-fiction resource.  Each chapter is divided into manageable sections with fact boxes and highlighted words.  The illustrations are explained through straightforward captions.  Each two page spread has the highlighted word defined at the bottom for easy reference.  The Learning More section at the back of the book provides books and websites on the same reading level geared for children.  This author has done a fantastic job of providing facts in a straightforward, reader friendly way.  Other books in this series are set up in a similar way and have an appeal to young readers. Others in the series:
Hyde, Natalie.  King Tut.  New York: Crabtree Publishing, 2014.  978-0-7787-1172-8. 48p.  $30.60. Gr. 3-4
Johnson, Robert.  California GoldrushNew York: Crabtree Publishing, 2014.  978-0-7787-1170-4. 48p.  $30.60. Gr. 3-4
975: Cherokee Indians/Relocation      Denise Naumann, Eisenhower Elementary

Snowe, Olivia.  Cassie and the Woolf (Twicetold Tales series).  Wisconsin: Captstone Publishing, 2014.  978-1-4342-3786-6. 125p.  $17.99 Gr. 3-4
Another brilliant read for those that love fairy tales.  This “Twice Told Tale”  is a fun spin on Little Red Riding Hood.  The story is updated and modernized, including cell phones and cafeterias.  The print is large enough for early readers and there is plenty of white space to balance it out.  There are occasional illustrations done in black and white and occasional red when referencing Little Red Riding Hood.  It is an enjoyable new twist to an old tale.  There are four books in the series including, The Sealed-Up House, A Home in the Sky, and The Girl and the Seven Thieves.
398.2: Fairy tales, folk lore                 Denise Naumann, Eisenhower Elementary

Hamilton, Sue L. Bugs. (A&D xtreme pets series). Minneapolis: ABDO, 2014. 978-1-61783-970-2. 32 p. $18.95 each. Gr. 3-6    
 
—. Fish. 978-1-61783-973-3.
     —. Spiders. 978-1-61783-975-7.
With over 40,000 species of spiders, readers will learn many new facts and see numerous close up images of tarantulas, wolf, trapdoor, jumping, fishing and grass spiders in the book Spiders. As for the book Fish, topics include freshwater, saltwater and pond fish. The series includes full color and at times page illustrations. A glossary and index is included in each book. [Note, I used Follett Titlewave prices for all books. An individual book price at BN.com is $27.07. Also in this series:
        —. Cats. 978-1-61783-971-9.
        —. Dogs. 978-1-61783-972-6.
        —. Reptiles. 978-1-61783-974-0.
639 (Spiders) 639.34 (Fish);Pets          Beth McGuire, Wendover Middle School

  Tieck, Sarah. Adam Levine: famous singer and songwriter. Big Buddies books, (Buddy Bios series). Minneapolis: ABDO, 2014. 978-1-61783-859-0. 32 p. $19.95 each. Gr. 3-6.
      —. Chris Colfer. 978-1-61783-857-6.
Colorful images accompany the factual text. The background of the topic is presented in a chronological order. Readers view numerous star snap shots, important words, web sites, and direct links regarding the topic. Each book included an index. Children can learn about Colfer’s adventures in writing and Levine’s interest with yoga. Also in this series:
                —. Big Time Rush: popular boy band. 978-1-61783-856-9.
                —. Carly Rae Jepsen. 978-1-61783-858-3.
                —. Emma Stone. 978-1-61783-861-3.
                —. Psy:Gangnam Style rapper. 978-1-61783-860-6.
782.42164 (Levine)   791.4302 (Colfer) Biography/Nonfiction             Beth McGuire, Wendover Middle School

Murray, Julie. Australia. Big Buddies books, (Explore the Countries series) North Mankato: ABDO, 2014. 978-1-61783-804-0. 40p. $20.95 each. Gr. 3-6.
—. Egypt. 978-1-61783-809-5.
—. Japan. 978-1-61783-815-6.
The books in this series provide students with all of the needed facts for a country research project but also encourage the students to learn more with the “Did you Know” boxes or how to pronounce new terms and locations with “Say it” boxes. The font is larger with terms in red color while the layout is consistent in each book showing the country up close, important words, timeline, symbols of the country and websites maintained by ABDO and an index. Also in this series:
—. Brazil. 978-1-61783-804-0.
—. Canada. 978-1-61783-806-4.
—. China. 978-1-61783-807-1.
—. Cuba.978-1-61783-808-8.
—. India.978-1-61783-812-5.
—. Israel. 978-1-61783-813-2.

—. Russia. 978-1-61783-817-0.
Tieck, Sarah. France.

—. Italy. 978-1-61783-814-9.
—. Mexico. 978-1-61783-816-3.
—. Spain. 978-1-61783-818-7.

—. United Kingdom. 978-1-61783-819-4.
952 (Japan) 916.2 (Egypt); World History/ Geography       Beth McGuire, Wendover Middle School

Picture Books:

Daywalt, Drew. The Day the Crayons Quit. New York: Philomel, 2013.  9780399255373. 40p. $17.99. Gr. PreK – 2.
the day the crayons quit
“One day in class, Duncan went to take out his crayons and found a stack of letters with his name on them.” Turns out all of his crayon buddies have written him a note: some, like blue, Duncan’s favorite color, are happy that they’re used a lot. Others like red, feel overworked filling in all those fire trucks, apples, strawberries, and numerous holiday items. Some, like the orange and yellow, are in a dispute: which is the rightful color of the sun? In the end, Duncan makes all the crayons happy, and gets an A+, with a wonderfully creative scene where nothing is the color we are accustomed to seeing. This creative and funny book is a wonderful read-aloud, sure to bring a chuckle from your young audience. It’s already won numerous awards, and I’m betting there are more awards in store for The Day the Crayons Quit.
Picture Book              Kathie Jackson, Plymouth Meeting Friends School

Martin, Emily Winfield. Dream Animals: A Bedtime Journey. New York: Random House, 2013. 978-0-449-81080-4. 32 p. $17.99. Gr. PK and up.
dream animals
Dream Animals
is a beautiful children’s picture book. It features full-page illustrations that capture whimsical and lighthearted scenes. Animals range from tigers to narwhals that take the dreamers onto their dreamscapes.
Fantasy                         Kelsey DeStevens, Jewish Day School of Lehigh Valley

Dream Animals could be used many ways. It works well as a bedtime story for toddlers to first grade students. In the classroom it would be paired well with Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are to be used as discussion points of perspective. Dream Animals could also be read along with a nonfiction story about night and used a talking point for what happens at night (animals, jobs, dreaming).

Raschka, Chris. Daisy Gets Lost. New York: Schwartz & Wade Books, 2013. 978-0-449-81741-4. 32 p. $17.99. Gr. Pk and up.
daisy gets lost (1)
Daisy Gets Lost is a follow up story to the Caldecott winning story, A Ball for Daisy. With the line “Go get it Daisy!” the story is spun. Daisy races through the woods losing both her person and the ball she was sent to fetch. With a solemn cry Daisy’s person finds her and they are rejoined happily. The story’s highlights are the loose and colorful illustrations. The minimal words only highlight the expressions of the lost dog.
Realistic Fiction            Kelsey DeStevens, Jewish Day School of Lehigh Valley

MacLachlan, Patricia. Snowflakes Fall. New York: Random House, 2013. 978-0-385-37693-8. 32 p. $17.99. Gr. K and up.
snowflakes fall
Snowflakes Fall is a story about life’s continual struggles. Steven Kellogg’s illustrations paired with MacLachlan’s words convey a sense of joy in life’s natural beauty. With the purchase of each copy a donation is made to The Sandy Hook School Support Fund. Reading beneath the lines and looking closely at the illustrations you can see the references to those lost at Sandy Hook.
Realistic Fiction         Kelsey DeStevens, Jewish Day School of Lehigh Valley

The subtle ways that this book discusses loss and sorrow is a perfect way to introduce the topic to younger students. Snowflakes Fall recognizes the importance of loss but reminds the reader that it will not always be a winter storm and through time the ice will melt and “flowers will grow again” (29). The book could be used to open discussion about Sandy Hook or even as a simple winter tale.

Cunnane, Kelly. Deep in the Sahara. New York: Schwartz & Wade Books, 2013. 978-0-375-87034-7. 40 p. $17.99. Gr. PK and up.
deep in the sahara
Deep in the Sahara takes place in Muslim West Africa where young Lalla wants to wear the malafa to be like the women in her life. Initially she wants to wear it to be beautiful, mysterious, royal like a queen, and to be just the same as the women she admires. It’s through her innocent conversations that Lalla understands the real purpose of the malafa, to pray and for faith. This is a great picture book to introduce the Muslim culture. It could be used at the beginning of a world culture class for any grade or simply a way to expose younger students to different ideas.
Realistic Fiction       Kelsey DeStevens, Jewish Day School of Lehigh Valley

Brown, Peter. Mr. Tiger Goes Wild. New York: Little Brown, 2013. 9780316200639. 48p. $18.00. Gr. Pre-K-2.
mr tiger
The fabulous Caldecott-honor winning Peter Brown (Chowder, Flight of the Dodo), does it again! Mr. Tiger lives in a thoroughly proper, top-hat-wearing, “How do you do?” kind of world. But one day he decides he’s feeling a little wild. He starts to trot around on all fours, peels off his clothes, and it feels great! But his friends and neighbors are appalled and ask him to go to the wilderness if he’s going to behave like a wild animal. So that’s exactly what he does! And he has a blast, until…he starts to get lonely. So he trots back to town and finds he’s had a surprising influence on his formerly stuffy friends.  A very fun read illustrated in Brown’s signature style. My “take away” from this story: get outside and play! And: there’s a time and a place for everything. Highly recommended.
Picture Book              Kathie Jackson, Plymouth Meeting Friends School

Nonfiction:

Hunter, Nick.  Julius Caesar. Chicago: Raintree, 2014. 978-1-4109-5356-8. 48p. $24.49.  Gr. 4-6.
Get a glimpse of historic Rome through the eyes of its most famous hero.  Thhis volume covers not only aspects of daily life but important figures, events and places.  This is good for a general introduction to the topic.  Students looking for in depth research material need to focus on individual topics.  While there is a timeline, glossary and index, there is no bibliography of information sources.
Biography                        Martha Trzepacz, Strath Haven Middle School

Adamson, Thomas.  The Technology of Baseball.  (Sports Illustrated Kids  High-Tech Sports series)  North Mankato: Capstone Press, 2013. 978-1-4296-9955-6. 48p. $23.49.  Gr. 4-9.
Packed with information, this slender volume is devoted to every aspect of baseball in the computer age, covering the effect of technology on the game, equipment, players and stadiums.  Baseball enthusiasts will love this book.  Computers have taken the sport to a new level. I would definitely buy others in this series.
796.3                      Martha Trzepacz   Strath Haven  Middle School

Hunter, Nick.  Women in World War l (Remembering World War l series). Chicago: Heinemann Press, 2014. 978-1-4329-8084-9. 48p.  $24.49. Gr. 4-6
A brief general analysis of the role of women in World War l and how it changed their social, economic, and political status in the 20th century.  Complete with a glossary, timeline, primary and multimedia sources this slime volume is part of a series on various aspects the First World War.  While appropriate for middle/upper elementary students as a general introduction, it lacks the depth necessary for a research project.
940.1                          Martha Trzepacz    Strath Haven Middle School

Spilsbury, Richard.   Health and Disease: investigating a TB Outbreak.  Chicago: Heinemann, 2014. 978-1-4329-7603-3. 56p. $25.14  Gr.6-9.
The  who, what, where and why of tuberculosis as a world -wide disease.  Covering everything from diagnosis and treatment to prevention through education and research, this would be a wonderful addition to your 600 collection.  While the scientific content and vocabulary is middle or high school level it’s division into small digestible units makes it very readable.  A timeline, index, glossary and additional information resources adds to it’s authenticity. Despite the graphic style introduction which adds little to the subject, this book should be given serious consideration.
614.5                      Martha Trzepacz   Strath Haven Middle School 

Jackson, Tom. Green Sea Turtle (The Deep End Animal Life Underwater series). New York: Bearport, 2014. 978-1-61772-9201. 24p. $23.93. Gr. K-3.
Beautifully illustrated with large, full color photographs of sea turtles, this book discusses their habitat, anatomy, life cycle, diet and habits. Each page contains concise, easy-to-read text that would be great for your nature-enthusiast beginning readers or for a read-aloud. Each page’s photo captions and probing content questions appear in a bubble illustration that blends nicely with the nature photography. The book concludes with a clever “Science Lab” and “Science Word” spread that encourages readers to retell concepts and new vocabulary they’ve learned. Includes an index, recommended additional reading, and web links and an answer key to the “Science Lab” questions. My 3rd graders each research an ocean animal and cannot wait to get their hands on books in this series!
597 Sea Turtles, Easy Reader  Kathie Jackson, Plymouth Meeting Friends School