Monday, October 16, 2017

This Librarian's Quick Picks: All's Faire in Middle School

All's Faire in Middle School
by Victoria Jamieson
Dial Books (2017)
Graphic Novel

What It's All About:


Homeschooled by Renaissance Fair enthusiasts, eleven-year-old Imogene has a hard time fitting in when her wish to enroll in public school is granted.


Why You'll Love It:


  • Jamieson masterfully taps into the voice and concerns of middle-schoolers, and the offbeat setting of the Renaissance faire adds some lively texture.
  • Jamieson’s appealing, naturalistic artwork, full of warm tones, realistic-looking characters, and saturated colors, playfully incorporates medieval imagery along with Imogene’s more mundane homelife, particularly when Imogene fears that her misbehavior at home, thanks to frustrations at school, makes her more of a dragon than a knight.
  • Jamieson portrays a diverse cast of expressive, naturally posed figures occupying two equally immersive worlds.

Who Should Read It:

Perfect for 4th-8th graders...and here's the book trailer!




What Else You Should Read:

  • Drama by Raina Telgemeier
  • Chiggers by Hope Larson
  • Sunny Side Up by Jennifer Holm

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

This Librarian's Quick Picks: The Stars Beneath Our Feet

The Stars Beneath Our Feet
by David Barclay Moore
Knopf (2017)
Realistic Fiction

What It's About:

It’s Christmas Eve in Harlem, but twelve-year-old Lolly Rachpaul and his mom aren’t celebrating. They’re still reeling from his older brother’s death in a gang-related shooting just a few months earlier.

Why You'll Love It:

  • These characters are vibrantly alive, reconstituting the realness that is needed to bring diverse, complicated stories to the forefront of our shelves.
  • Moore delivers a realistic and at times brutal portrait of life for young people of color who are living on the edge of poverty, while at the same time infuses the story with hope and aspiration, giving Lolly the chance to find salvation through creativity.
  • The cover art. Seriously.

Who Should Read It:

Great for 6th-8th graders. Also, here's an interview with author Moore.

What Else You Should Read:

  • Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
  • Into the Dangerous World by Julie Chibbaro
  • Finding Mighty by Sheela Chari


Saturday, September 30, 2017

What they're (really) reading: September 2017




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 books that are on the "heavy rotation" list in our library. They're not necessarily new, shiny, or covered with awards -- they're just what the kids want.
 



Secret Coders 
by Gene Luen Yang
Graphic Novel

Welcome to Stately Academy, a school which is just crawling with mysteries to be solved! The founder of the school left many clues and puzzles to challenge his enterprising students. Using their wits and their growing prowess with coding, Hopper and her friend Eni are going to solve the mystery of Stately Academy no matter what it takes.

A Bad Case of Stripes
by David Shannon
Picture Book

In order to ensure her popularity, Camilla Cream always does what is expected, until the day arrives when she no longer recognizes herself. (We recently visited an elementary school and our middle school students read a picture book to an elementary classroom. This was one of their picks!)

Kristy's Great Idea
by Ann M. Martin/Raina Telegemeier
Graphic Novel

Follows the adventures of Kristy and the other members of the Baby-sitters Club as they deal with crank calls, uncontrollable two-year-olds, wild pets, and parents who do not always tell the truth.

Homework Machine
by Dan Gutman
Humor Fiction

Four fifth-grade students--a geek, a class clown, a teacher's pet, and a slacker--as well as their teacher and mothers, each relate events surrounding a computer programmed to complethomework assignments

There's a Fungus Among Us: True Stories of Killer Molds
by John DiConsiglio
Nonfiction

Explains how fungi can help and harm people; discusses cases of deadly fungi found in Utah, Ohio, and British Columbia; and includes an interview with a mycologist.

Wake
by Lisa McMann
Mystery/Fantasy Fiction

Ever since she was eight years old, high school student Janie Hannagan has been uncontrollably drawn into other people's dreams, but it is not until she befriends an elderly nursing home patient and becomes involved with an enigmatic fellow-student that she discovers her true power.


Sunday, September 24, 2017

This Librarian's Quick Picks: Posted by John David Anderson

Posted
by John David Anderson
Walden Pond, 2017
Realistic Fiction

What It's All About:

In middle school, words aren't just words. They can be weapons. They can be gifts. The right words can win you friends, or make you enemies. 


Why You'll Love It:
  • Acute observations about social media and school life and a smart, engaging narrator make this a journey well worth taking.
  •  Anderson reminds us that bullying takes place in many forms: when cellphones are banned from Branton Middle School, the student population is thrown into a frenzy, which only increases when kids find a new way of communicating throughout the day—Post-it notes.
  • The characters, both adult and teen, are vivid, flawed, and approachable. Anderson dives into the world of middle school with a clear sense of how it works and what it needs.
Who Should Read It:

Great for grades 5-8...and here's the teaching guide!

What Else You Should Read:
  • Mr. Bixby's Last Day by John David Anderson
  • The Best Man by Richard Peck
  • Restart by Gordon Korman


Thursday, August 31, 2017

What They're Really Reading : August 2017

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 books that are on the "heavy rotation" list in our middle school library. They're not necessarily new, shiny, or covered with awards -- they're just what the kids want.
 




Just Listen
by Sarah Dessen
Realistic Fiction

Sixteen-year-old Annabel finds an ally in classmate Owen, whose honestly and passion for music help her to face and share what really happened at the end-of-the-year party that changed her life.

Allegiant (Bk. 3)
by Victoria Roth
Dystopian Fiction

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered--fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she's known, Tris is ready.

Fablehaven 
by Brandon Mull
Fantasy Fiction

When Kendra and Seth go to stay at their grandparents' estate, they discover that it is a sanctuary for magical creatures and that a battle between good and evil is looming.

Rey Mysterio: High Flying Luchador 
by Raatma
Biography

Describes the life and career of pro wrestler Rey Mysterio.

Project Princess 
by Meg Cabot
Humor/Realistic Fiction

Presents an episode between volumes four and five of The Princess Diaries in which Mia, a New York City teen who is becoming accustomed to being heir to the small European principality of Genovia, sets off with her friends from school to build homes for the less fortunate.

Monday, June 12, 2017

This Librarian's Quick Picks: The Sand Warrior (5 Worlds)

The Sand Warrior
by Mark Siegel
illustrated by Ianthe Boume
Random House (2017)
Graphic Novel

What It's All About:

The Five Worlds are on the brink of extinction unless five ancient and mysterious beacons are lit. When war erupts, three unlikely heroes will discover there's more to themselves--and more to their worlds--than meets the eye...

Why You'll Love It:

  • The three illustrators work seamlessly together to place Oona, a thick-bodied but graceful, pale-skinned strawberry blonde, in exotic, elaborately envisioned settings and surround her with a notably variegated cast of green-, blue-, brown-, black-, and pink-skinned allies and adversaries. 
  • Adorable, cartoonish illustrations bring color and life to this action-packed story that's reminiscent of the animated TV series Avatar: The Last Airbender.
  • With sensitive writing, gorgeous artwork, and a riveting plot, this is a series to keep an eye on.

Who Should Read It:

Perfect for 4th-7th graders.



What Else You Should Read:

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