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Candor by Pam Bachorz. Egmont, 2009

Once-troubled teens become model citizens in Candor. “Respectful space in every place!” is a guiding principle that every young couple embraces. Everyone conforms, and teenager Oscar Banks, the mayor’s son, knows why: Music plays everywhere in Candor, and his father embeds subliminal messages in the songs. Not long after his father established Candor, Oscar figured out how to counteract the messages with personal recordings of his own. For him, conformity is all an act. Occasionally—and for a hefty fee—Oscar helps other kids, newcomers who still have a sense of self, escape the town and a future of mindless belonging. But a new girl in Candor poses a dilemma for Oscar. Nia is a free-spirited artist with an edginess Oscar admires. If he tells her the truth about Candor, he knows she’ll want to leave. Can he manipulate the messages she hears so that she seems to fit in even as the things that make her unique and appealing to him remain? Pam Bachorz’s provocative novel examines how both Oscar and his father are caught up in a web of power and control, one in which fear, anxiety, and even good intentions can lead to selfish, frightening ends. Bachorz’s inspiration for Candor was the planned community of Celebration, Florida. CCBC categories: Fiction for Young Adults.  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. Scholastic Press, 2012

Teenage Blue doesn’t have psychic powers but amplifies the signal for her mother and other psychics who live with them. All of them have foretold that if she kisses her true love, he will die. Blue avoids boys until she meets Adam, a student at Aglionby, the elite prep school in her hometown of Henrietta, Virginia. Adam isn’t like other Aglionby boys—he’s local, and he’s poor. Attracted to Adam, Blue is also drawn into his circle of friends and the quest of their leader, a boy named Gansey, to locate the ley line in Henrietta that might lead him to the tomb of a Welsh king. Blue has heard of Gansey: It was the name of a boy whose spirit she saw in her one psychic encounter, on St. Mark’s Eve—a vision that means he’s fated to die in the coming year. Against the backdrop of this tense, richly developed supernatural mystery, Maggie Stiefvater weaves a riveting and often poignant story of friendships and families, love and betrayal, money and identity, exploring the themes through the lives of refreshingly complex characters. The elements that draw the four boys together—and also threaten to divide them—become more and more apparent as Gansey’s search continues, his passion for the quest matched only by his desire and determination to keep his friends close and safe. And Blue’s own struggle—to assert her independence at home, to deal with her fate—is amplified as she becomes part of their tight-knit group. With several surprising revelations, Stiefvater’s immensely satisfying story will leave readers eager for the sequel.  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamine Alire Sáenz. Simon & Schuster, 2012

Fifteen-year-old Ari is a loner. So he’s surprised when he becomes friends with smart, open-hearted Dante. They spend most of their free time together during the summer of 1987 in El Paso where they live. In the fall, Dante heads off to Chicago where his father is doing a visiting professorship. It’s in a letter to Ari that Dante reveals he’s gay, and Ari takes it in stride for the most part, even letting Dante kiss him once on a visit home. Reunited during the summer of 1988, the two hang out when they aren’t working. Meanwhile, Ari finds himself growing more and more angry at the silence in his family surrounding his older brother, Bernardo, who’s been in prison since Ari was four. Ari’s learned to swallow all his questions, so powerful is the unspoken message that the topic is forbidden. Then Dante is beaten up after a group of boys catch him kissing another boy. Enraged, Ari tracks one of the boys down and breaks his nose—all of the frustration and anger he feels coming out in the powerful punch. It’s a wake-up call for Ari’s parents, who make an effort to talk—about Bernardo and why he went to prison, and about Ari himself, encouraging him to stop hiding the truth about his feelings for Dante. That scene may be the only false note in a novel distinguished by gorgeous writing and extraordinary characterizations as it illuminates the friendship between the two teens—one who discovers he’s gay, one who knows it—from working-class and upper-middle-class Mexican American families.  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Watch Wisconsin student-made book trailers for Aristotle and Dante!

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (Simpson Street Free Press, Madison/HS/2013-14)

Mic: Riffs on Life Between Cultures in Ten Voices edited by Mitali Perkins. Candlewick Press, 2013

Ten authors for young adults explore the intersection of culture and identity in a variety of styles and tones, from humorous to loving to conversational to let’s-face-the-truth matter of factness. That range is highlighted by notable pieces from Gene Luen Yang, G. Neri, Francisco X. Stork, Naomi Shihab Nye, and Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich, and prefaced by Mitali Perkins’s introduction, in which she recommends humor as the ideal tool for negotiating potentially tense conversations about “growing up between cultures.” Some of these selections are funny while others take a different approach, but all offer welcome entrée into a subject zone often approached with caution.  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Watch Wisconsin student-made book trailers for Open Mic!

Open Mic (Simpson Street Free Press, Madison/High School/2014-15)

The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano by Sonia Manzano. Scholastic, 2012

Fourteen-year-old Evelyn Serrano gets caught between her meek, mild-mannered mother and her fiery, activist grandmother when a group calling itself the Young Lords begins advocating for social change in Spanish Harlem in 1969. The neighborhood is neglected by the city—even garbage pickup is irregular—and many residents struggle to make ends meet. Evelyn’s abuela arrives from Puerto Rico just as the Young Lords are gearing up for action. Abuela has been a political activist most of her adult life, and Evelyn is at first a bit embarrassed and then inspired by her grandmother’s brassiness and her courage. She sees little to admire in her own mother, who spends her days and nights working in her stepfather’s store, cooking, cleaning, and nursing her dream of someday owning a house in the Bronx. Vivid descriptions of the time and place, wonderful character development, and realistic family tensions ground this vibrant story about a fictional family caught up in actual events: The Young Lords were real, and they really did occupy a church in the neighborhood, demanding space to provide social services for neighborhood residents. Evelyn and her grandmother become part of that occupation. To Evelyn’s surprise, so, too does her mother—at first to make sure Evelyn is safe, but eventually she becomes—in her own quite way—part of the push for change. Evelyn discovers that her mother’s strength is not relentless activism but emotional constancy—one of the few things she discovers Abuela is incapable of providing. (MS) ©2012 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Fire in the Streets by Kekla Magoon. Aladdin / Simon & Schuster, 2012

Fourteen-year-old Maxie spends a lot of time at the Black Panther office. She’s eager to become a full-fledged Panther like her older brother, Raheem. The Panthers have purpose and passion and she wants to be part of making a difference. Instead, she’s given menial tasks, from stuffing and sealing envelopes to babysitting. At home, Maxie’s family life is unraveling—her mother, marginally reliable at the best of times, has lost her job and is bringing home men to try to plug the economic hole in their lives. Raheem is trying to help make ends meet, but can’t do enough for the family to avoid an eviction notice. Meanwhile, an attack on the Panther office by police intensifies Maxie’s desire to become a real Panther and carry a gun—she was the only one not able to fire back in the chaos. Then it becomes clear someone is in the office is passing information to the police, and Maxie decides she’ll prove her worth by figuring out who it is. Kekla Magoon’s sequel to The Rock and the River (Aladdin, 2009) stands on its own, illuminating the discrimination and poverty that motivate Maxie, and the divide between the African American community in 1968 Chicago and white society, even whites such as war protestors who stand against the status quo. Magoon’s writing keeps getting better as she skillfully offers insight into this time and place through characters who represent a variety of perspectives and experiences.  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Watch Wisconsin student-made book trailers for Fire in the Streets!

Fire in the Streets (Whitehorse Middle School, Madison/Middle School/2013-14)

Fire in the Streets (Simpson Street Free Press, Madison/Middle School/2013-14)

The Mighty Mars Rovers: The Incredible Adventures of Spirit and Opportunity by Elizabeth Rusch. Houghton Mifflin, 2012

Geologist Steve Squyres knew that it wasn’t possible to go to Mars himself, so he did the next best thing: He helped create two robotic geologists that could make the journey and report back. Doing so took funding from NASA and an entire team of scientists. “It was so complicated,” he noted, “that not a single one of us fully understood what was going on.” After a six–month journey, the two rovers, Spirit and Opportunity (named by a nine-year-old girl), landed on different parts of the red planet and began their explorations, with scientists back on earth directing their moves and troubleshooting when things went wrong. Color photographs transmitted from Mars stand side by side with photographs of the scientists back home, who are watching, worrying, wondering, and celebrating throughout the rovers’ amazing explorations. The story itself is inherently dramatic, and the science is skillfully woven into the account. Readers will feel the same sense of discovery that Squyres and his team felt as the two Mars rovers opened up a whole new world to them.  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor. Viking, 2011

Sunny, born in the United States to Nigerian parents, returned to Nigeria with her family when she was nine. Now twelve, she’s taunted by her peers because she’s an albino. Her West African physical features, at odds with her blond hair, hazel eyes, and skin “the color of ‘sour milk’,” make her the target of bullies. Then Sunny discovers it’s not just her physical appearance that’s unusual: She is one of the Leopard people, a “free agent” witch who possesses latent magical skills and the power to work juju. Unlike her classmate Orlu, and Chichi, a neighborhood girl, who both come from magical families, she knows nothing about the world of magic. Orlu and Chichi become Sunny’s initial guides, introducing her to their teachers and the community of Leopard people. No one at home knows Sunny is moving back and forth between worlds, let alone that she, Orlu, Chichi, and Sasha, a Leopard boy visiting from Chicago, have become an Oha coven, fated to confront the Black Hat serial killer terrorizing communities in the area. At the heart of Sunny’s journey into this distinctive realm of magic that coexists with the everyday world are the friendships she forges with other young Leopard people in Nnedi Okorafor’s fresh fantasy novel. The Nigerian setting and culture and well-developed characters have us hoping book two won’t be long in coming.  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Watch Wisconsin student-made book trailers for Akata Witch!

Akata Witch (Whitehorse Middle School, Madison/Middle School/2012-13)

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Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshall by Vaunda Nelson Micheaux. Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. Carolrhoda, 2009

Bass Reeves was big, tall, and strong, wore a bushy mustache, and rode a powerful horse. “But the biggest thing about Bass Reeves was his character. He had a dedication to duty few men could match. He didn’t have a speck of fear in him. And he was as honest as the day is long.” As a young enslaved man in the 1840s, Bass hit his owner. To avoid death, he ran away to Indian Territory, where he lived on the run until after the Civil War. Eventually Bass became a U.S. deputy marshal for the territory, where he gained a reputation for his sharpshooting and clever use of disguises. His capture rate was high, and he was both respected and hated by the people of the time. Criminals didn’t want Bass tracking them down, and “some whites didn’t like the notion of a black man with a badge.” Striking oil illustrations capture both the dignity of the man and the drama of his job. A glossary, timeline, list of further reading, and additional information about Indian Territory and the judge under whom Bass Reeves worked are included in the final pages. CCBC Categories: Biography and Autobiography  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Tua and the Elephant by R.P. Harris. Illustrated by Taeeun Yoo. Chronicle Books, 2012

Tua is at the market when she stumbles upon a young elephant being cruelly treated by the petty thieves who won the pachyderm in a poker game. Once the men fall asleep, smart, capable Tua frees the elephant and leads her through the bustling Thai city of Chiang Mai. They end up at the house of Tua’s Auntie Orchid, a flamboyant actress who barely bats an eye at the beast’s arrival, not even after the elephant, whom Tua names Pohn-Pohn, opens the refrigerator in search of food. But it’s clear Auntie Orchid’s house isn’t a good elephant refuge, especially when the two thieves show up at the door. A narrow but successful escape has Tua leading the elephant through the city and into the countryside, where she hopes to reach an elephant sanctuary, with the slightly bumbling, slightly menacing thieves hot on her trail. Great descriptive writing combines with lots of action in R. P. Harris’s fresh, whimsical tale full of humor and warmth, not the least of which is the tenderness between Tua and Pohn-Pohn. Beautiful book design—including two-color illustrations in purple and gold—add to the pleasure of this lively story that would make a great read-aloud.  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Giants Beware! by Jorge Aguirre. Illustrated by Rafael Rosado. First Second, 2012

Bold Claudette wants to slay the legendary, baby-feet-eating giant that threatens her town. Sure, the Marquis built a fortress to protect them (at taxpayer expense, Claudette notes), but what kind of a solution is that? She convinces her best friend Marie, an aspiring princess, and her timid little brother Gaston, an aspiring chef, to join her on a quest to kill the giant. The Marquis rallies a group of men in town to form a search party to go after them, but the children prove far more adept in their quest to reach Giant’s Peak than the men prove in saving them. Once there, the children discover the story as they heard it isn’t quite true: It turns out the giant is just a baby who likes to tickle feet, not eat them. Rafael Rosaldo’s spirited, full-color graphic novel is full of humor and action, as well as doses of social satire and a welcome dismissal of traditional gender roles.  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Buffalo Bird Girl:  A Hidatsa Story by S.D. Nelson. Abrams, 2012

“My name is Buffalo Bird Woman, Waheenee, and my people are known as the Hidatsa. When I was young, they called me Buffalo Bird Girl—after the little brown bird that lives on the prairies of the Great Plains.” In a beautifully realized work, S.D. Nelson pairs a narrative written in the first-person voice of Buffalo Bird Woman looking back on her childhood with illustrations and documentary photographs—including one of Buffalo Bird Woman–showing dimensions of nineteenth-century Hidatsa life. The mix of illustrations and photographs works wonderfully. Nelson’s striking paintings reflect scenes described in the narrative, which are punctuated with occasional black-and-white photos showing these elements in real life. In an author’s note Nelson describes personal memories that echo some of the traditions described by Buffalo Bird Woman. He goes on to tell more about Buffalo Bird Woman, including the published works about her life on which she collaborated and from which he drew in writing his narrative. He also discusses the Hidatsa people, past and present. A time line, notes, and a bibliography are also provided. (MS) ©2013 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

These Hands by Margaret H. Mason. Illustrated by Floyd Cooper. Houghton Mifflin, 2011

An African American grandfather tells his grandson about his own accomplishments and struggles while teaching the boy new things in an engaging picture book that gracefully traverses personal and social history. “Did you know these hands used to tie a triple bowline knot in three seconds flat?” asks the grandfather as he teaches young Joseph how to tie his shoes. “These hands” could also play piano, “pluck an ace of spades out of thin air,” and throw a fast curveball. But “these hands were not allowed to mix the bread dough at the Wonder Bread factory,” until they joined with other hands and voices in a movement for change. Margaret H. Mason’s story comes full circle as Joseph tells his grandfather all the things his own hands can now do. “Anything at all,” his grandfather affirms. Mason’s warm, lively narrative is set against Floyd Cooper’s sepia-toned illustrations, which show the passage of several years in Joseph’s life as well as an earlier era of social change. An author’s note provides more information on Black workers in bakeries in the 1950s and early 1960s. Highly Commended, 2012 Charlotte Zolotow Award  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Meet the Dogs of Bedlam Farm by John Katz. Henry Holt, 2011

Four dogs live on the Katz farm in Upstate New York, and all have important and unique jobs to do. Each dog is introduced in turn as the text describes a bit about its history, personality, and work. Rose herds sheep, Izzy visits sick people, and Frieda guards the farm. At the end of each animal’s section, readers are asked “What is Lenore’s job?” Eventually Lenore takes center stage: she “looks for disgusting things to eat, mud to roll in, and people and animals to love.” Lenore may not have traditional work in the same way as her canine companions, but she does have a job of “loving and accepting and having patience. And that may be the greatest work of all.” The personality of each dog shines through the excellent color photographs in a book that celebrates the value of all contributions to a society. Honor Book, 2012 Charlotte Zolotow Award  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Crouching Tiger by Ying Chang Compestine. Illustrated by Yan Nascimbene. Candlewick Press, 2011

A young boy is excited to learn tai chi when his grandpa, who’s visiting from China, explains it’s a martial art. But at the first lesson, all his grandpa tells him to do is stand with his arms out. This is the first of a string of disappointments that leave the boy feeling resentful, not to mention embarrassed: His grandpa insists on calling him Ming Da, his Chinese name, rather than Vinson, his American name. Things turn around with the arrival of Chinese New Year. His grandpa has been training the lion dancers, and now he has a role for Ming Da—one that all that standing with arms out has prepared him for! Ying Chang Compestine’s beautifully nuanced story is perfectly paired with Yan Nascimbene’s wonderfully composed pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations. The art offers a great range of perspectives and many details to notice, while reflecting both the grandfather’s serenity and the excitement of the New Year festival.  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Quinito’s Neighborhood = El Vecindario de Quinito by Ina Cumpiaño. Illustrated by José Ramírez. Children’s Book Press, 2005

A bilingual book that will make a terrific addition to preschool storytimes or units about work and workers features a young Latino boy, Quinito, describing the jobs done by members of his immediate and extended family as well as others in his neighborhood. “My mami is a carpenter. My papi is a nurse,” begins Quinito. His abuela drives a truck, his abuelo fixes clocks. He has one cousin going to clown school, and another who’s a dentist. Various neighbors bake and sell bread, run a store, and work at the bank. Quinito knows them all. And his job? Well, his job is keeping track of it all, so he can tell his teacher that “My mami is a carpenter. My papi is a nurse . . . ” Puerto Rican author Ina Cumpiano’s busy story is accompanied by José Ramirez’s warm, vibrant acrylic paintings.  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

 

There are lots of ways to build a better world: sharing family time, being a good friend, working together, observing nature… Ask children if they can think of some things that make the world a better place.

Book CoverCradle Me by Debby Slier. Star Bright Books, 2012

Babies love looking at babies, and this welcome, cradle-shaped board book features photographs of ten beautiful babies from ten different American Indian tribes, each one engaged in a typical cradle-board related activity (peeking, touching, crying, yawning, etc.). Each of the baby’s tribal affiliations is identified on a final page spread that explains “Generations of Native American mothers have carried their babies in cradle boards and they are still used by many tribes today. Each cradle board is personalized and they vary from tribe to tribe.” (MS) ©2012 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Find more suggestions for Native American/First Nations titles at American Indians in Children’s Literature.

What will Hatch? by Jennifer Ward. Illustrated by Susie Ghahremani. Walker / Bloomsbury, 2013

Eggs of eight different animals are presented with a few carefully selected words (“Sandy ball”) paired with the question “What will hatch?” An equally spare answer (“Paddle and crawl – Sea turtle”) augments the illustration of the brand-new juvenile. A balanced array of animals goes beyond birds (goldfinch, penguin, and robin) to include a caterpillar, crocodile, platypus, sea turtle, and tadpole. Egg shapes are die-cut, with the page turn cleverly revealing the result of each hatching. A few pages of additional information at the book’s end introduce young children to the term “oviparous” and relate egg facts for each species (time in egg, parents’ incubation behavior, number of siblings). Simple gouache on wood illustrations, while not always strictly representational, are consistently lovely with a warm palette of gold, green, and brown.  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Book CoverJob Site by Nathan Clement. Boys Mills Press, 2011

A simple, appealing picture book shows different machines engaged in work at a construction site. Page spreads alternate between an African American foreman giving a simple command (“Boss says, ‘Dump some gravel here’”) and various machines carrying out the desired action (“And the dump truck lifts its bed and dumps its gravel”). When the job is finally done, “the bulldozer, excavator, loader, dump truck compactor, mixer, and crane roll away to the next job site.” Each of the tantalizing machines fills the span of the page spread on which it is featured in colorful, computer-rendered illustrations. A final image shows people enjoying the pond, fountain, and tower that were being built.  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

 

 

Z is for Moose by Kelly Bingham. Illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky. Greenwillow / HarperCollins, 2012

Moose can’t wait to take his turn in this alphabet book, first attempting to butt in on the letter D. Zebra, who is refereeing this alphabet showcase, orders him off the page. But there Moose is again, stumbling into Elephant on the E page, and completely covering the text on the page that says “H is for Hat” (the text must be inferred by the visual clue—what you can see of the hat behind gangly, round-eyed Moose, who is all eagerness). Finally, it’s time for the letter M and Moose’s big moment: “M is for Mouse.” “What? Wait! No! That was supposed to be me!” The props and pages for O, P, and Q (owl, pie, queen) are the victims of Moose’s ensuing tantrum (again, readers must infer the missing narrative from visual clues, which in this case have been scattered and scrambled by Moose’s fury). Finally the tantrum dissolves into sniffles, and then full-fledged tears, until Zebra saves the day. Because it turns out the letter Z is for “Zebra’s friend, Moose.” A clever, outrageously funny alphabet book features a narrative by Kelly Bingham’s that includes many dialogue bubbles conveying Moose and Zebra’s ongoing exchange as well as comments from others who are witness to the ever-increasing spectacle. And Paul O. Zelinksy’s illustrations are a masterful riot, incorporating humor into small details as well as big moments. (MS) ©2012 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Listen to a podcast featuring Z is for Moose from the CCBC librarians!

Find resources for these titles and all of this year’s Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers titles at TeachingBooks.net!

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Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table Author Visits Wisconsin!

September 1st, 2016 | Posted by etownsend in Primary (Grades K-2) | Intermediate (Grades 3-5) | 2015-2016 | Summer - (Comments Off on Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table Author Visits Wisconsin!)
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A Beautiful, Big Welcome from Gaenslen School!

Jacqueline Briggs Martin, the author of Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table, one of ROW’s summer reading suggestions for elementary age kiddos, and her editor and publisher at Readers to Eaters, Philip Lee, made inspired visits to Orchard Ridge Elementary School in Madison and Gaenslen School in Milwaukee! With the help of super school media specialist, Sam Skar at Orchard Ridge, and Susan Plewa at Gaenslen, we had a enthralled audience and an uplifting time! We also had the amazing opportunity to meet Will Allen and visit his urban farm, Growing Power, in Milwaukee!

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Farmer Will Allen, Philip Lee of Readers to Eaters, and Jacqueline Briggs Martin

Jackie talked to 3rd and 4th graders at each school about food, family stories around food and the writing process. Her visit was a welcome treat at the end of the school year. Several young writers were thrilled to meet a published author (Jackie) and an editor (Philip Lee).

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3rd Graders at Gaenslen with Excellent Questions!

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Orchard Ridge 4th Grade Students Engrossed in Jacqueline Briggs Martin’s Snowflake Images

Some burgeoning foodies loved learning more about urban farming and growing food. All of the kids loved hearing about Jackie’s experiences growing up on a farm surrounded by fresh fruits and vegetables and sharing their own food favorites and experiences with Jackie.

Both schools, like many in Wisconsin, have a focus on community agriculture with school vegetable gardens and a special hydroponics lab at Gaenslen.

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Susan Plewa, Jackie Briggs Martin and Philip Lee

A huge thank you to Jackie Briggs Martin and Philip Lee for visiting Wisconsin and sharing their talents and experiences with students, schools and librarians! And, another huge thank you to school media specialists, Susan Plewa and Sam Skar, who provided welcoming venues for the visit and wonderfully engaged students!

Hear about writing Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table from the author, Jackie Briggs Martin, on TeachingBooks.net.

 

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So Many Stories! So Many Ideas! So Many Books!

May 27th, 2016 | Posted by etownsend in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | Primary (Grades K-2) | Intermediate (Grades 3-5) | 2015-2016 | Middle School | High School | Summer - (Comments Off on So Many Stories! So Many Ideas! So Many Books!)

Find some Wisconsin teacher and librarian approved summer reading titles here! Grab a book and head outdoors to enjoy the summer sunshine and super stories! Check out the books below by clicking on the image to read the CCBC annotation for the title!

Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers

night soundsbuilding our housewho's that baby

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Primary (grades K-2)

farmer will allenxander's panda partymy cold plum lemon pie bluesy mood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Intermediate (grades 3-5)

problem with being slightly heroicemerald atlasloon summer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Middle School

mira in the present tenselittle blog on the prairiehoudinithehandcuffking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

High School

100 sideways mileslove is the drugsilhouette of a sparrowvanishing point

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Variety of the Spice of Life: Try These Summer 2016 High School Titles

May 24th, 2016 | Posted by etownsend in 2015-2016 | High School | Summer - (Comments Off on Variety of the Spice of Life: Try These Summer 2016 High School Titles)

love is the drugLove is the Drug by Alaya Dawn Johnson. Arthur Icon_HighSchoolA. Levine Books, 2014.

Icon to identify Summer Reading BooksTeenager Emily Bird feels pressure to be perfect — a credit to her family and all African Americans. But inside, she’s far more Bird than Emily, longing to fly away from rigid expectations that have nothing to do with her desires. Bird meets private government security contractor Roosevelt David at a party in Washington, D.C. — her boyfriend Paul is angling for an internship with the man’s company. She wakes up in the hospital eight days later. Bird has hazy memories of leaving the party. The most vivid one is of Coffee, a known drug dealer and son of a Brazilian diplomat, chasing the car as Paul drove her away. Coffee, whom she’s always found intriguing. Did he drug her? She doesn’t believe it despite what Roosevelt and Paul suggest. Bird senses something far more sinister in her lost memories, and begins to realize Roosevelt is afraid of something she might know but doesn’t remember, and that it’s related to her scientist parents’ work and the flu pandemic spreading across the globe and nation. As the death toll begins to mount in D.C., and as Bird tries to piece together what’s going on, she feels the menace of Roosevelt everywhere she turns. Staying with her Uncle Nicky — underachiever in her mother’s eyes, free man in Bird’s — because her parents can’t return to the city, and not sure whom to trust, she puts her faith in new friend Marella, and in Coffee, with whom she is falling in love. Alaya Dawn Johnson’s compelling thriller is marked by thickly woven storytelling that features complex plotting, rich language, and a cast of multidimensional characters.  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith. Simon & Schuster, 100 sideways miles2014.

When high school senior Finn Easton was seven, a dead horse fell off of an overpass into the canyon where he and his mom were walking. She was killed when it landed on them. He was left with epileptic seizures and a distinctive scar from back surgery to repair his broken vertebrae. Finn’s dad is the author of a science fiction book with a cult-like following in which a boy named Finn with a distinctive scar is an alien trying to pass as human. Now sixteen, Finn feels like his dad stole his life. Finn’s best friend Cade Hernandez is charismatic, sex-obsessed, and crass. Cade is a terrific friend to Finn. But Finn doesn’t even tell Cade how unhappy and overwhelmed he sometimes is — about the novel, his seizures (which he also sees as a gift), the overprotectiveness of his dad and stepmom. When Julia Bishop, wry, insightful, and another survivor of trauma, comes to their small California desert town, she is the first person Finn is honest with about everything. He falls in love and is devastated when she eventually returns home. Andrew Smith’s story is tender and outrageous and improbable and, somehow, both true and funny every step of the way. Richly woven into the landscape and history of one specific area of Southern California canyon country, and with details of Finn’s father’s novel, The Lazarus Door, slowly revealed, it culminates in a road trip in which Finn, who measures time by distance, is given the extraordinary opportunity to be someone else. In the process, he gains a sense of perspective on, and possibility for, his own life.  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

silhouette of a sparrowSilhouette of a Sparrow by Mary Beth Griffin. Milkweed Editions, 2012.

Sixteen-year-old Garnet Richardson is staying with relatives in the Minnesota resort town of Excelsior in the summer of 1926. Both her aunt and slightly younger cousin are far too proper for Garnet, who longs to visit the dance hall and explore the amusement park; she settles for a job working in a hat shop. Bird-lover Garnet immediately thinks of a scarlet tanager when she meets lively Isabella, a dance-hall girl who comes into the shop. The two girls feel an immediate connection that deepens as they spend time together. Talking to Isabella, and kissing her, feel absolutely right to Garnet, even though she knows the end of summer will bring a return to Minneapolis and a proposal from Teddy, the boy she’s been dating but doesn’t love. Garnet’s developing relationship with Isabella, who knows the costs of independence but also understands its rewards, helps her resolve to apply to college to study birds. Then everything unravels, first when she hears from her mother at home, and then in Excelsior when Garnet and Isabella’s relationship is discovered. Molly Beth Griffin’s quiet, compelling, beautifully written novel features lyrical descriptions, numerous bird metaphors, and a young woman poised to take flight.  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Vanishing Point. (Tune: Book 1) by Derek Kirk Kim. First vanishing pointSecond, 2012.

Andy Go is a dropout. He exits school after his third year in the Illustration Department at the College of Visual Arts in San Francisco, sure that his career is about to take off and further education is unnecessary. Andy gets a rude awakening: No one wants to hire him. His Korean American parents are dismayed by his failure to finish school or stay employed, and his father finally issues an ultimatum: Get a job, any job, or don’t come home. His last-gasp job interview comes after responding to a vague ad for a position at a zoo. He assumes it’s for an animal caretaker, but he couldn’t be more wrong. It turns out he’s up for the position of human exhibit at an alien zoo, and the father-daughter extraterrestrials conducting the interview are desperate. In fact, they keep sweetening the benefit pot (Medical coverage! Retirement package! Three weeks paid vacation!) until the offer is too good to pass up—at least that’s what Andy’s mother says. Derek Kirk Kim’s hilarious graphic novel ends with Andy traveling by spaceship to start his new job in a story to be continued, and featuring a subplot about Andy’s sweet, somewhat lust-filled crush on a fellow art school student.  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Thrills and Spills; Tears and Laughter: Summer 2016 Middle School Titles

May 24th, 2016 | Posted by etownsend in 2015-2016 | Middle School | Summer - (Comments Off on Thrills and Spills; Tears and Laughter: Summer 2016 Middle School Titles)

mira in the present tenseMira in the Present Tense by Sita Brahmachari. Books for Middle School AgeU.S. edition: Albert Whitman, 2013.

Icon to identify Summer Reading Books

Mira’s twelfth birthday is bittersweet. It’s the day she starts her period. And it’s the day her beloved grandmother’s coffin arrives. Nana Josie hasn’t died, but she’s terminally ill with cancer and has ordered the plain coffin so she and Mira can paint it with images of things she loves. It’s one of the ways Nana Josie is very open about dying. Sometimes too open, as far as Mira is concerned—it can be a little overwhelming. At school, Mira, who is very quiet, begins to find her voice—literally and on the page—through a writing workshop led by a local author. One of the other participants is a boy named Jide, and the two of them discover they like each other, a lot. The excitement of these new feelings are something Mira enjoys even as she struggles with Nana Josie’s illness. When Nana Josie goes into hospice, though, it all begins to feel like too much. Sita Brahmachari’s novel about a biracial (East Indian/white) girl in Britain is a deeply moving look at an entire family moving through the experience of loss and grieving. But the author deftly balances this with moments of lightness, and skillfully handles the sorrow, including a subplot about Jide, who has a profound understanding of loss as a survivor of the Rwandan genocide. Richly developed characters full of individuality, including some charming quirks, deeply ground this fine story.  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Little Blog on the Prairie by Cathleen Davitt Bell. little blog on the prairieBloomsbury, 2010.

Teenage Gen is spending the summer with her family at Camp Frontier. Participants agree to live off the grid and on the land like pioneers. But Gen has snuck a cell phone in and is texting her friends back home about the absurdity of the experience. (“Help. I’m dressed up like an American Girl doll minus the fashion sense.”) Camp was supposed to be a bonding experience for Gen’s family, but the struggle of even simple tasks and the competition among camp families is causing more stress than togetherness. Even Gen’s crush on Caleb, a boy from another family, is complicated: the teenage daughter of the camp’s owners seems to like him too. Then Gen discovers the owners’ secret shack. The history purists have a computer with Internet access and a fridge stocked with soda. Now Gen can recharge her phone and text even more scathing perspectives on Camp Frontier. But one of Gen’s friends has been posting her texts on a blog, and readership is about to skyrocket. Cathleen Davitt Bell starts with a hilarious premise and develops it into a story that offers astute observations about human behavior at the best and worst of times. A subplot involving a reality TV show is over the top but ultimately doesn’t detract from the genuine humor, as well as the insightful story about family at the novel’s core.  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

houdinithehandcuffkingHoudini: The Handcuff King by Jason Lutes. Illustrated by Nick Bertozzi. Hyperion, 2007.

On May 1, 1908, Harry Houdini, locked into handcuffs and leg irons, leapt from the Harvard Bridge in Cambridge, Massachusetts, into the frigid water of the Charles River. This book’s graphic novel format is perfectly suited to capture the tension of Houdini’s escape, as a series of panels visually draw out the suspense as the seconds tick by. Apprehension, doubt, and anticipation on the spectators’ faces contrast with scenes of the magician working alone in inky water to unlock the handcuffs before his breath gives out. For those who speculate about Houdini’s methods, the authors suggest a possibility: a lock pick passed to Houdini in a kiss from his wife, Bess. A thoughtful closing discussion offers additional information about Houdini and Bess, and relates fascinating details under headings such as “Locks of the Day and How Houdini Prepared to Pick Them” and “In the Early Part of the Twentieth Century Everybody Wore Hats.” Glen David Gold’s Introduction places the magician within the framework of the early 1900s and outlines the character traits that carried him to fame: obsession, energy, loyalty, and the inability to refuse a challenge. With few words and many images, readers will be caught up in a dramatic moment of magical showmanship. (MVL) ©2007 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

New Experiences and Adventures in the Summer 2016 Intermediate Titles

May 24th, 2016 | Posted by etownsend in Intermediate (Grades 3-5) | 2015-2016 | Summer - (Comments Off on New Experiences and Adventures in the Summer 2016 Intermediate Titles)

problem with being slightly heroicThe Problem with Being Slightly Heroic by UmaIcon for the Intermediate (Grades 3-5) readers Krishnaswami. Illustrated by Abigail Halpin. Atheneum, 2013.Icon to identify Summer Reading Books

After meeting her idol, Bollywood star Dolly Singh, in The Grand Plan to Fix Everything (Atheneum, 2011), young Dini is now caught up in the whirlwind that is life whenever Dolly is around. Dolly has come to the United States for a premier of her latest film as part of an international festival at the Smithsonian. Dini, visiting Baltimore and her best friend, Maddie, with her father while her medical mom remains in the Indian village of Swampnagiri, is determined to help Dolly have everything she needs to make the premier perfect. So she’s working with Maddie on a special dance, trying to get a baker to make the rose petal cake (what would the premier be without one?), and then there’s the matter of finding an elephant (ditto), not to mention worrying over the mystery of Dolly’s missing passport. Uma Krishnaswami’s second breezy, buoyant novel about Dini and Dolly and friends and family has no shortage of coincidences, which means, of course, everything will work out in the end. But getting there is such a pleasure. Krishnaswami’s fresh, lively writing is full of rich language and word play and an irresistible sense of fun. A great read-aloud choice, this novel will delight listeners and independent readers alike. (MS) ©2013 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens. Knopf, 2011.emerald atlas

From the publisher:

A snowy winter’s night. Three small children are chased from their home by the forces of a merciless darkness. Ten years later, Kate, Michael and Emma are no closer to the truth about what separated their family.

The answer lies with an enchanted atlas.

Brimming with action, humor, and emotion, The Emerald Atlas is the first stage of a journey that will take Kate, Michael, and Emma to strange, dangerous lands and deep within themselves. It is the story of three children who set out to save their family, and end up having to save the world.

Also, watch the trailer, read an excerpt from the book or just find out more about the books and author at the imaginative Emerald Atlas website.

loon summerLoon Summer by Sandy Gillum. Field Notes Press, 2008.

Five individuals contributed the extraordinary photographs that accompany ecologist Sandy Gillum’s captivating account of a loon family on a small Wisconsin lake. A few days after the male loon appears, his mate arrives. The pair is soon taking turns sitting on two eggs in their artificial island nest (the island was built by nearby residents especially for loon nesting). Not long after, two fluffy black chicks are accompanying the loon parents on the water, or sometimes hitching a ride on their backs. Scientists band the babies and check on the already-banded adults. All is well . . . until a rogue loon appears on the scene. When the family disappears not long after the rogue loon’s arrival and increasing threats, an observer who has been watching the drama unfold since spring fears the worst for the chicks, who cannot fly. To her amazement, she finds both the adults and chicks over the course of the next two days. The ungainly-on-land birds have portaged over rough, unfamiliar terrain, waddling with the young loons across dry land to a safe new home one-quarter mile away. (MS) ©2008 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Food, Feelings and Friends: Summer 2016 Primary Titles

May 24th, 2016 | Posted by etownsend in Primary (Grades K-2) | 2015-2016 | Summer - (Comments Off on Food, Feelings and Friends: Summer 2016 Primary Titles)

xander's panda partyXander’s Panda Party by Linda Sue Park. Primary Icon of a White-Tailed DeerIllustrated by Matt Phelan. Clarion, 2013.

Icon to identify Summer Reading BooksXander wants to have a Panda Party at the zoo where he lives. But he’s the only panda there so he invites all the bears to a “bear affair” instead. Then Koala informs him that she’s actually a marsupial. “Marsupials—we’re rather rare. Will I not be welcome there?” Xander tries again, this time promising a “hearty party” for all the mammals at the zoo. But Rhinoceros refuses to come without his oxpecker bird. So Xander invites mammals and birds. Crocodile chimes in: “Birds and reptiles—long ago, we were related, don’t you know? If you didn’t, now you do. Can’t the reptiles join in too?” Finally, Xander’s friend Amanda Salamander comes up with the perfect solution in this playful picture book that cleverly integrates a little bit of science into its masterful rhyming text. Whimsical illustrations are the perfect accompaniment to the narrative, while the author’s note provides additional information about the various animals in the story.  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

My Cold Plum Lemon Pie Bluesy Mood by Tameka Fryer my cold plum lemon pie bluesy moodBrown.  Illustrated by Shane W. Evans. Viking, 2013.

Jamie describes his moods throughout the day in terms of colors associated with what’s he doing. First he’s in a purple mood, eating a cold plum and drinking grape juice. Then he’s in a “gray kind of place / Storm brewing inside / That I hide / ’Cause I don’t want any trouble space” after his big brothers kick him off the couch. Green is all pleasure after his little sister asks him to draw a dragon. Black is brooding anger when his brothers tease him. Orange is energetic and upbeat, like the basketball he’s playing. Red is urgent, like a fire-engine, as he races home after the game. Dinner is yellow, is lively, is good food (corn pudding, chicken curry) and family. Blue is cool time alone as he washes dishes. The lively narrative is emotionally vivid, with word choice and line length skillfully changing the pacing to suit each mood Jamie describes. Realistic family dynamics (teasing, arguing, playing together, jostling for the biggest piece) play out in brief bits of dialogue and in the illustrations showing Jamie and the other members of his African American family. Honor Book, 2014 Charlotte Zolotow Award  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

farmer will allenFarmer Will Allen and the Growing Table by Jacqueline Briggs Martin.  Illustrated by Eric-Shabazz Larkin.  With an afterword by Will Allen.  Readers to Eaters, 2013.

As a child, Will Allen hated working in his family’s garden. “He planned to quit on planting, picking, pulling weeds, leave those Maryland fields for basketball or white-shirt work.” It turns out he did both, playing professional basketball in Belgium, then getting “white-shirt” work in Wisconsin. But while helping a Belgian friend dig potatoes during his basketball days, he made a life-changing discovery: he “loved digging in the dirt.” Living in Milwaukee after playing ball, Will noticed how few people, especially in poor neighborhoods, had access to fresh vegetables. He bought an inner city lot that included six greenhouses, got friends to donate fruit and vegetable waste to create compost, added red wiggler worms and figured out—through trial and error, and with hands-on help from neighborhood kids–how to gradually transform the polluted soil to grow healthy food. Will devised ways to use every inch of space, growing food in the ground, and also in pots and baskets and buckets and boxes. He added hoophouses for more growing room, and vats of water to raise fish. He named his venture “Growing Power,” and not only began feeding people in the city, but teaching people in his neighborhood, around the country, and around the world how to be urban farmers. This lively introduction to Will Allen’s groundbreaking work (for which he’s received a MacArthur Foundation “Genius” grant) features a buoyant narrative by Jacqueline Briggs Martin set against Eric-Shabazz Larkin’s energetic illustrations. It’s impossible not to be inspired by their account of the creativity of Will’s venture and the hope inherent in its success. (MS) ©2013 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Bedtime to Building: Summer 2016 Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers Titles

May 24th, 2016 | Posted by etownsend in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | 2015-2016 | Summer - (Comments Off on Bedtime to Building: Summer 2016 Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers Titles)

night soundsNight Sounds by Javier Sobrino. Translated Icon_PreSchoolfrom the Spanish by Elisa Amada. Illustrated by Emilio Urberuaga. Icon to identify Summer Reading BooksU.S. edition: Groundwood, 2013.

When the sleeping animals of the rain forest are awoken by loud cries issuing from a box, their first instinct is to pacify the crier by providing whatever it needs. Cold? An orangutan fetches a warm blanket. Thirsty? A tapir provides a bowl of fresh water. Scared? A rhinoceros brings a doll for company. Momentarily placated each time, the crying quickly resumes with a new request. Finally a tiger delivers the little one’s Mummy—an elephant!—and it appears that all will be able to sleep again at last. Imagine their frustration when “wuu wuu wuuuuu” echoes through the forest yet again. These wails are coming from the village, and it’s the baby elephant who shouts advice, “It wants a kiss! That child must have a kiss! Then we can all go back to sleep.” Featuring creatures of southern and southeast Asia, this bedtime tale sports intense of colors, varied emotions, and droll comedy, including the incongruity of an elephant (no matter how young) fitting inside a small wooden box.  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Building Our House by Jonathan Bean. Farrar Straus building our houseGiroux, 2013.

A young girl describes her family’s effort over the course of eighteen months to build the house in which they will live. A trailer placed on the land they’ve purchased provides shelter, while the dad, mom, two kids, and extended family and friends provide the labor and lots of love. Seasons change and change and change again as a hole is dug, the foundation is poured, and beams are hewn (by hand) and fitted together before a roof and sides go on. Then work begins inside. “We plumb while the wind howls. And wire while the drifts pile up.” Jonathan Bean’s warm, , well-crafted story is both playful and informative, full of intriguing details described in a narrative in which every thoughtfully chosen word and carefully placed comma shapes the wonderful flow. There are also whimsical details and elements of the story told only through the art, whether it’s the kids playing under the wheelbarrow, the antics of the cats, or the progression of the mom’s pregnancy and the arrival of a new baby by the time they move out of the trailer and into the finished house. An already captivating picture book includes a note in which Bean writes about his parents and the five years they spent building a house by hand. He includes photographs of himself and his sisters, all young children, engaged in the process. Honor Book, 2014 Charlotte Zolotow Award ©2013 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

who's that babyWho’s That Baby? New Baby Songs by Sharon Creech. Illustrated by David Diaz. Joanna Cotler / HarperCollins, 2005.

Who are you, baby / newly born / who’s this little babe?” The opening, title poem of this picture book collection asks this and many other questions. In response, Sharon Creech offers fifteen perspectives on what much-loved babies may see and hear and think and feel as the adults in their lives cuddle them and coo at them, play with them and read to them, sing to them and sway with them, and, above all, surround them with love. Creech’s poems, playful and tender, have been illustrated with great warmth and touches of whimsy by David Diaz in this lovely volume.  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

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