MS Fantasy – Lilliput; Broken Ground


Gayton, Sam. Alice Ratterree, Ill. Lilliput. Atlanta, GA: Peachtree, 2015. 978-1-56145-806-6. 251p. $16.95. Gr. 4-8.

Lily has tried many times to escape from Lemuel Gulliver and has failed in over 30 plans. Gulliver is working to finish his book about his travels called Book of Travels, and Lily is his proof of the tiny inhabitants of Lilliput. As they are staying in a room about Plinker’s Timepieces, it is Finn who discovers Lily. Since Finn was an orphan, Plinker purchased Finn and makes him his apprentice and in charge of winding his devious clocks that can move quickly when wanted or even explode.  Finn must wear a waste-not-watch which tightens if he does not use timely wisely. Lily is able to disengage the watch. Lily now sees the sights of London. In their travels they meet a kind chocolatier named Mr. Ozinda, who helps them plan an escape for Lily to find her home. Part of the plan is to rescue the Swift bird from the clock and obtain Gulliver’s Book of Travels. While well planned out, not all goes according to plan. Violence takes place, and while Gulliver makes his apology, his life is lost, and Plinker is put in jail. Lily makes it back home safely, and Finn starts an adventure on board with Mrs. Ozinda. The book is constructed with a prologue, three parts, an epilogue, and an afterword. Detailed black and white illustrations are throughout the novel.  THOUGHTS: The adventure and intrigue allow the reader to devote time to this book. Lilliput has the potential to spark an interest in learning more about the original Gulliver’s Travels.

Fantasy; Action/Adventure; Classic Retelling     Beth McGuire, Wendover MS



Schwab, Victoria. Broken Ground. New York: Scholastic, 2016. 978-0-545-87695-7. 186p. $16.99. Gr. 5-8.

Broken Ground continues the adventures of Meilin, Rollan, Abeke, and Conor in book two of  Fall of Beasts, a strand of the best selling Spirit Animals series. The Greencloaks face huge difficulty in trying to heal Conor from the Wyrm. They also observe another concern as the bonds with Spirit Animals are getting looser everywhere. The heroes are divided into two groups. Conor fights, becoming snake-like, and Meilin hears voices as they travel in the cave. Rollan needs to be less aggressive and not challenge the sea while he and Abeke work together.  Through their missions it is evident that enemies come in all shapes and sizes. There is a new group to the heroes called  “The Red Cloaks.” Members of this group wear an animal mask and oppose Zerik, but much is still a mystery regarding the group. At the castle in Stetriol, Tasha summons one of the Great Spirit Animals, Ninani, the swan. If Tasha accepts, she will be the first Greeencloak from Stetriol. Rollan relates to the magnitude of her decision, as he thought often about his choice and mentorship from his friend the late Tarik. While they wish to keep Tasha’s calling a secret, it is not kept long whatsoever and the city rejoice with the news and launches fireworks. THOUGHTS: Add this book to your collection! Allow students to read the books in whatever order they wish (though you may want to assist some students with the order). Since the series is written by familiar authors to your students, you may want to consider shelving the books by series or creating a special sign or bookmark helping the students locate the novels as they move through the series.

Fantasy; Action/Adventure    Beth McGuire, Wendover Middle School

New MS Realistic Fiction – Chloe in India; Friends for Life; The Closer; Cassidy’s Guide…


Darnton, Kate. Chloe in India. New York: Delacorte, 2016. 978-0-553-53504-4. 224p. $19.99. Gr. 6-8.

Hoping to show their daughters, 15 year old Anna, 11 year old Chloe and baby Lucy, a different way of life, the Jones family moves from Boston , Massachusetts, to New Delhi, India. Change is difficult for Chloe who is one of the few students with blonde hair.  School is different too, as students sit on the floor more often in classes and report cards are hand delivered once a month with at least 70 different grades. Chloe hopes to be friends with Anvi and be invited to do activities together. A new student, Lakshmi, is called “stinky” by Anvi. Anna, now a uniform monitor, informs the family that Lakshmi is from the EWS, emotional weaker section. While Chloe misses and Skypes her best friend from Boston, it feels like their friendship is weakening to Chloe. Outside of school, Chloe spends time with Lakshmi. Chloe is shocked to learns that families in India would never have three children due to overpopulation. At first her mother is excited to see a revolution as poorer citizens have a chance for first rate education, but her mother is repulsed by the excess wealth that many families have in the area and especially at Aniv’s over the top birthday party. As Annual Day draws closer, Chloe and Lakshmi practice frequently outside of school. Their practice leads to great dancing, and Anvi does not get the lead dance role. In the restroom Chloe tells Anvi that she is not friends with Lakshmi. Shortly later, a bathroom door opens, and Lakshmi walks out having heard the entire conversation. It is her older sister who helps make things right in her friendship with Lakshmi. The sisters learn more about housing and corruption of wealth in the process.  THOUGHTS: Many students experience the uncertainties of moving around the state or throughout the United States. Not as many students are uprooted to another country and this book allows students to see what it might be like to be an outsider experiencing a new culture.  The mother at times is worked up about her writing deadline or concerned about social justice and has a curse word-reaction, once her dad does this as well. Chloe doesn’t like when she hears either parent swear. This book offer a realistic story of a moving, friendship and standing up for social justice.

Realistic Fiction    Beth McGuire, Wendover MS



Norriss, Andrew. Friends for Life. New York: Scholastic, 2015. 978-0-545-85186-2. 234p. $17.99. Gr. 6-8.

Francis is fine eating lunch alone but would prefer that others not talk about his passion of fashion and creation of doll clothes. After a year of being a ghost and having no communication with anyone, Jessica is shocked that Francis can see, hear, and communicate with her.  Then shortly after, new neighbor Andi, “Thug, Thugette,” can see Jessica. The parents of Andi and Francis are shocked that their kids get along.  Andi doesn’t find Francis’ hobby odd as a relative makes a living designing clothes, but she has a hard time being teased regarding her appearance. Previously, Andi got in a lot of fights at school and at the new school she puts a stop to Quintin teasing. Both Francis and Andi wonder how Jessica passed and when they try to learn, Jessica is gone for several days. Any time they bring it up Jessica fades away. Francis is called to motivate a boy to go to school, and he is large in stature. This boy, Roland, can also see and hear Jessica.  Roland discovers the truth that Jessica committed suicide. All of those that can see Jessica seriously contemplate(d) suicide.  At the hospital, Jessica is able to stop a suicide, and she completes her journey. THOUGHTS:  This book reminds readers not to be afraid to talk or listen to one another. Your actions can help or hurt others greatly without your knowledge.

Realistic Fiction   Beth McGuire, Wendover Middle School



Ripken, Carl, Jr. and Kevin Cowherd. The Closer. Los Angeles: Disney, 2016. 978-142317868-2. 200p. $16.99. Gr. 6-8.

Danny, going into eighth grade, is having a difficult time finding the correct pitches and stamina to be a consistent pitcher. Mickey, the catcher, is his best friend. His other teammate, Katelyn, confuses him as she invites the entire baseball team to her bowling birthday party. As Danny struggles to find his niche with baseball, his older brother, Joey, is a phenomenal high school senior pitcher with talent, bringing scouts from all over to watch his playing. At home, Danny accidentally breaks the window of his new and octogenarian neighbor, Mr. Spinelli. To his surprise, Mr. Spinelli offers Danny advice and teaches him a eephus pitch. Danny seems to have a handle on the pitch and posts his pitching which goes viral and gets him interviewed by local news outlets. When his special pitch, nicknamed “terminator”, stops working, Mickey asks Elmo for scientific help. Eventually Danny asks Mr. Spinelli for help about baseball and then about art. Relationships highlight the jealousy between siblings that can exist and the friendship that can be developed with others if you just try. THOUGHTS: This book is like The Pigman meets Finding Buck McHenry! Students that enjoy realistic or sport fiction will be sure to like The Closer.

Realistic Fiction; Sports     Beth McGuire, Wendover Middle School



Stauffacher, Sue. Cassidy’s Guide to Everyday Etiquette (and Obfuscation). New York: Knopf, 2015. 978-0-375-83097-6. 294p. $16.99. Gr. 6-8.

Eleven-year old Cassidy looks forward to summer. She enjoys spending time in nature, making pranks with Jack, and wandering like a hobo. It is just her rotten luck that when her great-grandmother passes her dying wish is for Cassidy to attend etiquette school while her older sister attends a forensic science class. Each chapter has a title and lively place settings, adding to the mood of the story. Cassidy is surprised that Delton, a smart and quiet classmate, is also enrolled in the etiquette course. They both struggle with the lessons providing humor to the readers. As the story progresses, Cassidy misses Jack and wonders why he is working so hard with lawn care and saving money. Etiquette lessons are the last place Cassidy wants to be during her summer, but it a rewarding experience for her. THOUGHTS:  This book is a fun summer read. It demonstrates that sometimes what one thinks will be terrible, such as etiquette lessons during summer, may not turn out that way.

Realistic Fiction   Beth McGuire, Wendover Middle School

Series NF for Upper Elem. and MS from Capstone – Presidential Elections; Special OPS; Sports Stats


Presidential Politics series. North Mankato, MN: Capstone Press, 2016. 48 p. $21.54 ea. Gr. 3-8.

Gunderson, Jessica. The Election of 1860: A Nation Divides on the Eve of War. 978-1-4914-8240-7.   

Krasner, Barbara. A Timeline of Presidential Elections. 978-1-4914-8239-1.

Scarbrough, Mary Hertz. Presidential Politics By the Numbers. 978-1-4914-8238-4.  

Students may be caught off guard that George Washington’s second inauguration speech was 135 words long and by other statistics detailed in Presidential Politics by the Numbers. Faster than it seems, another election is just around the corner. While Lincoln is regarded by many students and historians as a standout president, the book The Election of 1860: A Nation Divided on the Eve of War details the struggles Lincoln faced and the turmoil of the nation during that time period. A Timeline of Presidential Elections divides the history into ten chapters with clear date boxes. The series is ideal to display around elections and also to supplement topics related to presidents in the classrooms. The books contain chapters with elements that draw in readers including infographics, primary images, maps, critical thinking questions and sidebars. A detailed glossary, further reading suggestions and an index are also included. THOUGHTS: There is also a fiction book to tie into presidential elections called Tommy McKnight and the Great Election (Capstone, 2016). The fiction book is inspiring. The main character, Tommy, struggles with the effects of Polio. When he sees that the presidential candidate Franklin Delano Roosevelt does not let the disease stop him from political goals, Tommy is empowered to reach his goals. There is a great importance is having fiction and nonfiction pairings for students and this series provides this option. Presidential Politics is set highly recommended for upper elementary and middle school library collections.

900s; American History; Presidential Elections   Beth McGuire, Wendover Middle School



Simons, Lisa M. Bolt. Special OPS Mission Timelines series. North Mankato, MN: Capstone Press, 2016.  32 p. $19.54 ea. Gr. 3-9.

U.S. Navy Seal Missions: A Timeline. 978-1-4914-8703-7.   

U.S. Marine Raider Missions: A Timeline. 978-1-4914-8704-4.

U.S. Army Green Beret Missions. 978-1-4914-8702-0.  

U.S. Army Ranger Missions. 978-1-4914-8701-3.  

U.S. Navy Seal Missions and U.S. Marine Raider Missions, along with the other books in this series, are picture rich in their overview of elite military groups and their history. Terms are in bold with the definition on the same page in a caption box.  Events such as the Battle of Baltimore, Operation Detachment, Afghanistan Ambush, Operation Just Cause, and Operation Neptune Spear are presented. The time frame includes an overview of the event and a full page image. The ending material of the book includes a glossary, additional books to read, and information to access at Fact Hound for reviewed websites. The last page has ideas to incorporate Common Core with critical thinking and concludes with an index. THOUGHTS: The books have a balanced blend of images, history, and organized presentation of content. These books will help to provide students with current information along with the history. The books present subjects that matter to students in an engaging fashion.

359.9; Military History   Beth McGuire, Wendover Middle School



Sport Stats and Stories series. North Mankato, MN: Capstone Press, 2016.  48 p. $23.54 ea. Gr. 4-6.

Braun, Eric. Baseball Stats and the Stories Behind Them: What Every Fan Needs to Know. 978-1-4914-8215-5.   

Braun, Eric. Basketball Stats and the Stories Behind Them: What Every Fan Needs to Know. 978-1-4914-8216-2.

Frederick, Shane. Football Stats and the Stories Behind Them: What Every Fan Needs to Know.  978-1-4914-8214-8.  

Frederick, Shane.  Hockey Stats and the Stories Behind Them: What Every Fan Needs to Know. 978-1-4914-8701-3.  

Dramatic images from Sports Illustrated capture the excitement found in the respective sports from the past and current times. Numerous examples of mathematical breakdown of facts are detailed. One example is the 15 steps to determine the quarterback passing rating. The basketball stats includes mathematical directions for records including points per game and field goal attempts. Learn more of the phrases of sports like “Hack-a -Shaq.”  The content is presented in chapter format. Rankings of the top 5 athletes are devised for specific categories or positions. Terms are defined in a stat glossary. The books suggest additional books to read and directions to access Fact Hound for reviewed websites. THOUGHTS: The books provide an engaging read with facts extending the knowledge of history and breakthrough athletes. Also share these books with your physical education and math teachers for all of the cross-curricular topics.

796; Sports   Beth McGuire, Wendover Middle School

MS series NF – Figurative Language; Engineering; Energy


Johnson, Robin. Figuratively Speaking series. St. Catherines, Ontario: Crabtree, 2016.  32 p. $20.75 ea. $83.00 set. Gr. 5-8

Understanding Personification. 978-0-7787-1777-5.

Understanding Metaphors. 978-0-7787-1776-8.

Understanding Similes. 978-0-7787-1775-1.

Understanding Sayings. 978-0-7787-1778-2.

This series is visually appealing, combining recent images and colorful fact boxes. Each volume begins with a foundation of the topic and is then crafted into four sections entitled, Figure it Out!, Talking About It!, Write About It!, and Now It’s Your Turn!. The books also support a five step writing process with clear examples. In the book Understanding Sayings, one topic is the saying from Aesop’s Fables “The Crow and the Pitcher.” The sayings include “eat crow”, “little by little does the trick”, and “necessity is the mother of invention”. This allows for discussion with students to define prior to reading and then after reading the fable. In the book Understanding Metaphors, there is a section called Understanding Metaphors in Poetry. An excerpt from “The Highwayman” by Alfred Noyes is included. This exposes students to different vocabulary words. Thoughts: I chose to use Understanding Sayings and Understanding Metaphors  to supplement lessons for sixth grade. Because the books are highly visual with colorful photographs, the book was shared to the class using the document camera. While this series provides examples for teachers to use with instruction, students may not necessarily select this book for independent reading prior to being introduced to the series.

428; Figurative Language, Idioms      Beth McGuire, Wendover Middle School



Engineering in Action series. St. Catherines, Ontario: Crabtree, 2016.  32 p. $20.75 ea. Gr. 5-8.

Rooney, Anne. Agricultural Engineering and Feeding the Future. 978-0-7787-7504-1.

Sjonger, Rebecca. Geotechnical Engineering and Earth’s Materials and Processes. 978-0-7787-7506-5.

Sjonger, Rebecca. Biomedical Engineering and Human Body Systems. 978-0-7787-7505-8.

Snedden, Robert. Materials Engineering and Exploring Properties. 978-0-7787-7514-0.

The page layout is reminiscent of a scrapbook including colorful or historical pictures, and notes that appear clipped or pinned to the page. Agricultural Engineering includes topics such as photosynthesis and feature biographies including Jethro Tull. Human body system charts and ways to improve design are found in the Biomedical Engineering. Materials Engineering explains the Periodical Table and prototypes. Geotechnical Engineering includes a lively diagram of the rock cycle and architectural marvels such as the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Channel Tunnel.  Each book contains a challenge to test out the career field followed by additional books and online information, a glossary and index. The titles listed above are the most current publications in the large series. THOUGHTS: This series allows students to explore areas of science that interest them while providing several activities for students to see if the career might be just right for them.  Make guidance counselors aware of the series to enhance their lessons or so they can share with students aspiring to enter STEM fields.

600s; STEM   Beth McGuire, Wendover Middle School



Next Generation Energy series. St. Catherines, Ontario: Crabtree, 2016.  32 p. $20.75. each. $249.00 set. Gr. 5-8.

Bow, James. Energy From Earth’s Core: Geothermal Energy. 978-0-7787-1979-3.

Bow, James. Energy From the Sun: Solar Power. 978-0-7787-1982-3.

Bow, James. Earth’s Climate Change: Carbon Dioxide Overload. 978-0-7787-1978-6.

Dickmann, Nancy. Fracking: Fracturing Rock to Reach Oil and Gas Underground. 978-0-7787-1984-7.

Dickmann, Nancy. Energy From Nuclear Fission: Splitting the Atom. 978-0-7787-1981-6.

Dickmann, Nancy. Burning Out: Energy from Fossil Fuels. 978-0-7787-2372-1.

Dickmann, Nancy. Leaving our Mark: Reducing our Carbon Footprint.  978-0-7787-2381-3.

Dickmann, Nancy. Energy From Water: Hydroelectric, Tidal, and Wave Power.  978-0-7787-2380-6.

Kopp, Megan. Putting Earth First: Eating and Living Green.  978-0-7787-2382-0.

Kopp, Megan. Living in a Sustainable Way: Green Communities. 978-0-7787-2000-3.

Kopp, Megan. Energy From Wind: Wind Farming.  978-0-7787-1983-0.  

Stuckey, Rachel. Energy From Living Things: Biomass Energy.  978-0-7787-1980-9.

A wide range of topics including the  history of climate change, solar design, the role of geysers, renewable biomass, wind power issues, ecological footprint, composting, carbon offsets, nuclear fuel, use of fossil fuels, tidal power, and the basics of fracking is covered in this middle level series. Fact boxes have rewind and fast forward features and you choose features that push the reader to analyze beyond their situation. Activities allow students to put the content into  experiments. The books are presented in an organized layout with terms in bold font, topics in larger fonts, and captions to add to illustrations. Each book contains a glossary and a listing of books and websites to consult for the topics. THOUGHTS: Inspire additional reading for students and to correlate with standards in STEM research projects with this series. The experiments could be used in a class demonstration or as an interactive book talk with a class.

Science, Technology, Engineering   Beth McGuire, Wendover Middle School

YA Realistic Fiction – The Heir & the Spare; Haters; Last Boy & Girl


Albright, Emily. The Heir and the Spare. Blue Ash: Merit Press, 2016. 978-1-4405-9010-9. 287 p. $17.99. Gr. 9-12.

Evie has traveled from Seattle to England to attend Oxford University for her sophomore year of college. Not only is she at Oxford to further her education, she is also there to fulfill a mission given to her by her mother. Prior to her mother’s death from cancer when Evie was young, she left a series of letters for her daughter that lead Evie to England with the goal of learning more about her mother’s family. At school, Evie befriends a group of students that includes Edmund, the second in line the to the British throne. As the two grow closer, Edmund assists Evie with her investigation into her family tree. While sparks fly between Evie and Prince Edmund, the realities of royal obligations and her status as (gasp!) an American seem to make the possibility of a relationship between the two impossible.  Will the pair be able to overcome these obstacles?  THOUGHTS: This enjoyable and quick read is perfect for fans of contemporary romance novels (who may have dreams of meeting their own Prince Charming someday). Those in search of a light-hearted read with a fairy-tale ending will not be disappointed.  

Realistic Fiction      Elizabeth Henry, Lampeter-Strasburg HS/MS



Andrews, Jesse. The Haters. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2016. 978-1419720789. 336 p. $18.95. Gr. 11 and up.

In his debut novel Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Jesse Andrews showed that he does not follow conventions for YA literature, and he keeps up that trend with this second title for young adults. The Haters is bold, brash, and unapologetically shocking and funny, much like the band of misfits at the center of this coming-of-age novel. Wes and his best friend, Corey, attending summer jazz camp for the first time, quickly realize that they are out of their element, both musically and personality-wise. They quickly meet and bond with another outsider, the beautiful and enigmatic Ash, and after an epic jam session decide that they will bust out of jazz camp and take their “band” on tour. Leaving their cell phones behind, they take off not knowing where to play but figuring that they will just play it by ear and find gigs as they go along. Needless to say, this well-thought out plan does not go as they had hoped, and troubles pile up. Budding musicians will love the musical jargon employed, but those not musically inclined will be able to follow along easily. The dialogue is often written similar to a screenplay, and Andrews seamlessly melds this unique style with the narrative in an interesting and refreshing way. The plot does move quickly and somewhat crazily as the trio bounces around from place to place and hooks up in the process. This is not a John Green novel- there are sex scenes, drug use, and frequent dirty joke battles. It is the relationships among the characters and Wes’s personal realization and growth that drive this novel forward and elevate it from simply being an outrageous teen road trip. THOUGHTS: Give this novel to mature students who want to branch out from the general YA fare and are willing to ride along on this crazy trip.

Realistic Fiction         Lindsey Myers, Shady Side Academy Senior School

I have been a Jesse Andrews fan from the beginning- Me and Earl and the Dying Girl had me laughing from page one, and his second novel is no different. His novels are somewhat shocking but generally hilarious, which can be a much-needed break from the teen angst and/or fantasy that permeates YA literature. I was not sure what to think of this novel while I was reading it, but I am glad that I stuck with it. It grew on me, as did the character of Wes, whose relationship with his somewhat absent parents plays a major role in his evolution. Wes is often accused by his friends of being sacrificial and willing to play the role of peacemaker. I truly enjoyed watching him evolve as a character, and navigate his relationships with his family and friends. I doubt that it will take long for this story to be adapted for film, and I can’t wait to see it!




Vivian, Siobhan. The Last Boy and Girl in the World. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2016. 978-1481452298. 432 p. $17.99. Gr. 9 and up.

Siobhan Vivian, author of the popular title The List, has written an engaging and thought-provoking novel about how relationships change and evolve in unique life situations. Keeley Hewitt lives in Aberdeen, a small town where nothing much ever happens. She has always been an odd girl out, clowning around while her best friend focuses her attention on boys. But, when senior heartthrob Jesse Ford starts to take an interest in her, she suddenly finds herself in the middle of a budding relationship. The new romance, however, isn’t the only thing happening in Keeley’s life; due to an unseasonably cold and rainy spring, the local river has surged and threatens flooding in the town. Keeley’s dad takes a central role in the story at this point, rallying the townspeople against following the government’s requests to relocate the town.  Keeley divides her time between hanging out with her friends and helping the Sheriff’s son Levi clear out abandoned houses. Vivian focuses as much of her attention on Keeley’s relationship with her best friend as she does her budding romance with Jesse and interactions with Levi. This gives the novel a well-rounded approach and presents more character development as the final rains come to wash the town away for good.  THOUGHTS: This is a fun and interesting read for teens wanting a bit more than the generic teen love story. Recommended for fans of Sarah Dessen and John Green.

Realistic Fiction        Lindsey Myers, Shady Side Academy Senior School

I love Siobhan Vivian’s writing, and I eagerly anticipated her new novel. She actually lives in my hometown, so in April I was able to attend the book launch. People of all ages attended the event, and it was great to see how far-reaching and inclusive YA literature has become. YA literature seems to be slowly losing the stigma of being exclusively for the teen set, and people of an older age are more willing to publicly express their interest in and love of the genre. Also, Siobhan Vivian is simply wonderful in person! A few weeks after the book launch, she came to my school and held a writer’s workshop for about 12 interested students. It was a great experience for them to hear from a real writer and to participate in the activities that she had planned. I highly recommend inviting her to your school, or at least holding a Skype conversation with her (I have done both!). She is as interesting and engaging as her books. Her contact information is on her website: You are also welcome to email me to learn more about how I have connected her with students.


Women’s Nonfiction – Nellie Bly and Lizzie Borden


Noyes, Deborah.  Ten Days a Madwoman: The Daring Life and Turbulent Times of the Original “Girl” Reporter, Nellie Bly. New York:  Viking Books for Young Readers, 2016.  978-0-803-74017-4. 136 pp. $12.99. Gr. 5 & up.

Before Geraldo Rivera, there was Nellie Bly.  Born Elizabeth Jane Cochran, Nellie sought an opportunity to help her family who had fallen into financial difficulty due to her father’s untimely death.  A racy letter to the local paper ignited her journalistic odyssey.  At the turn of the 20th century, there was little a woman could do to help support her family. Charged with stereotypical professions, women were not able to freely enter any career they wanted. Waging all or nothing, she headed to New York, where she found work as a journalist writing about “women’s issues”.  Frustrated that she was not being taken seriously, Nellie proposed an undercover investigation of the mental health facilities located at Blackwell’s Island. It was both risky and rewarding.  Wildly successful, Bly was thrust into a fast-paced career as a journalist, even traveling around the world in less than 80 days. This biography details the courage of one woman to put herself in the path of the unknown to further her career while also pushing forward on the journey to women’s rights. The biography, packed with primary source photos and news clippings, reads as a narrative tale.  Most if not all of the conditions found at the hospital are generalized, making it appropriate, but still engaging, for grades 5 and up.  THOUGHTS:  This is a must have for all middle school and high school collections.

070.9 Journalism; 92 Biography         Brooke Gerlach, Ephrata Area Intermediate & Middle School




Miller, Sarah. The Borden Murders: Lizzie Borden & the Trial of the Century. New York: Random House, 2016. 978-0-553-49808-0. 304 p. $17.99. Gr. 7-12.

August 4, 1892 was a just an average day in Fall River, Massachusetts, until local businessman Andrew Borden and his wife, Abby, were discovered brutally slain (bludgeoned to death by an ax) in their own home. Terror swept through the town as the police began their investigation and suspicion fell on the Borden’s 32 year old daughter, Lizzie. Arrested and tried for the killing of her father and step-mother, Lizzie was ultimately acquitted of the crime, but she remained under a cloud of suspicion for the remainder of her life. Author Sarah Miller explores this horrific crime and subsequent court case in The Borden Murders. Readers will learn about the dynamics of the Borden household, the details of how the events of August 4th unfolded and how the Lizzie’s court case gripped the newspaper readers of the day. The text is supplemented by photos, newspaper excerpts, portions of court transcripts/testimony and explanatory sidebars. THOUGHTS: This nonfiction title will keep readers on the edge of their seat as they try to decide Lizzie’s guilt or innocence. A perfect choice for fans of mystery, true crime, or history books, or television shows like Law & Order or Dateline.  

364.1523; Crime         Elizabeth Henry, Lampeter-Strasburg HS/MS