Saturday, January 21, 2017

What They're (Really) Reading: January 2016





By keeping a pulse on what our students are checking out at our middle school library and keeping a close eye on which books are circulating heavily, I feel that I can spend the small budget I have more wisely by choosing books I know will have a greater likelihood of circulating widely.

Each month I'll feature some fiction & nonfiction books that are on the "heavy rotation" list at our middle school library. They're not necessarily new, shiny, or covered with awards -- they're just what the kids want.
 


This Month's Selections:


Beast 
by Donna Jo Napoli
Chapter book (Retelling)

Orasmyn is the prince of Persia and heir to the throne. His religion fills his heart and his mind, and he strives for the knowledge and leadership his father demonstrates. But on the day of the Feast of Sacrifices, Orasmyn makes a foolish choice that results in a fairy's wretched punishment: He is turned into a beast, a curse to be undone only by the love of a woman.
Thus begins Orasmyn's journey through the exotic Middle East and sensuous France as he struggles to learn the way of the beast, while also preserving the mind of the man. This is the story of his search, not only for a woman courageous enough to love him, but also for his own redemption.


Tarantula Scientist 


by Sy Montgomery
Narrative Nonfiction

Yellow blood, silk of steel, skeletons on the outside! These amazing attributes don't belong to comic book characters or alien life forms, but to Earth's biggest and hairiest spiders: tarantulas. Here you are invited to follow Sam Marshall, spider scientist extraordinaire (he's never been bitten), as he explores the dense rainforest of French Guiana, knocking on the doors of tarantula burrows, trying to get a closer look at these incredible creatures. You'll also visit the largest comparative spider laboratory in America—where close to five hundred live tarantulas sit in towers of stacked shoeboxes and plastic containers, waiting for their turn to dazzle and astound the scientists who study them.

Great Ghost Rescue 
by Eva Ibbotson
Chapter Book (Fantasy)

The ghosts of Britain need a sanctuary. Castles with central heating, bogs drained for motorways, dismal forests cleared for car parks-there are few places left for a respectable ghost to haunt. Humphrey the Horrible (actually his name is simply Humphrey-he added "the Horrible" to help himself become horrible) is a small, mostly unsuccessful ghost in a family of ghastly ghouls. His mother worries. But Humphrey has enough pluck to befriend a smart, politically aware schoolboy, Rick Henderson, who is willing to take the ghosts' cause right to the top, to number 10 Downing Street-home of the Prime Minister.

Spy School 

by Stuart Gibbs
Chapter Book (Mystery)

Ben Ripley may only be in middle school, but he's already pegged his dream job: C.I.A. or bust. Unfortunately for him, his personality doesn't exactly scream "secret agent." In fact, Ben is so awkward, he can barely get to school and back without a mishap. Because of his innate nerdiness, Ben is not surprised when he is recruited for a magnet school with a focus on science—but he's entirely shocked to discover that the school is actually a front for a junior C.I.A. academy. Could the C.I.A. really want him?

Actually, no. There's been a case of mistaken identity—but that doesn't stop Ben from trying to morph into a supercool undercover agent, the kind that always gets the girl. And through a series of hilarious misadventures, Ben realizes he might actually be a halfway decent spy…if he can survive all the attempts being made on his life!


Astronaut Academy: Zero Gravity
by Dave Roman
Graphic Novel


Hakata Soy's past life as the leader of a futuristic super team won't stay in the past!
The former space hero is doing his best to keep his head down at Astronaut Academy. Things aren't going so great, though. The most popular girl in school has it in for him. His best friend won't return his calls. And his new roommate is a complete jock who only cares about Fireball.

Hakata just wants to make a fresh start. But how will he find time to study Anti-Gravity Gymnastics and Tactical Randomness when he's got a robot doppelganger on its way to kill him?


3 comments:

Sarah's Book Shelves said...

This is interesting! My son is only 6, but he loves nonfiction animal and nature books. He'd probably like the Tarantula Scientist. His current obsession is a series of books called "Who Would Win?" - each book focuses on 2 predatory animals and then pits them against each other in a fight...then explains who would win based on each animal's traits.

Greg Pattridge said...

Great list. The books teachers, parents, and kids choose are often very different. The only one I've read on your list is the marvelous SPY SCHOOL. I will check out the others next time I'm at our library. Thanks!

Patricia T. said...

Donna Jo Napoli's book intrigues me -- I haven't read it and only think of its similarities to "Beauty and the Beast." And, I too have a grandson captivated by spiders. This is a must have. Thank you for your recommendations. It's always nice to find new titles.

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