School Can Be a Disaster!

trappedCindy: We have a pair of school related disaster books today that will make great booktalks and will grab reluctant readers. Mine fits well with all the snow that has been piling up in West Michigan this winter. I wish I had read it before our numerous snow days…imagine being trapped at school–horrors! Trapped (Scholastic 2011) is the story of seven students and one teacher stuck in their high school as a nor’easter settles over their area dropping record setting snow and creating blizzard conditions. The teacher goes for help while he can still open the doors (and who could blame him, given the alternative of staying at the school with his students!) but help does not arrive and so the two girls and five boys start to plan for their night. A night that turns into a week…as troubles pile up as high as the snow. Cell phones don’t work, the power goes out, the water and heat shut down, and this “Breakfast Club” crew does not always get along….nor does everyone survive, a fact that is hinted at throughout the book and will keep readers turning the page to figure out which problem will be “the” big problem and who will it affect.  In theory it might seem like fun to have the run of the school without any adults around, but Scotty and friends learn otherwise. Leave your disbelief at the door and grab and snack and a quilt and curl up with this quick read before spring gets here.

88739561Lynn: Spring is no help in my “school-disaster” book, Storm Runners (Scholastic 2011) by Roland Smith.  Ever since the deaths of his mother and young sister, Chase Masters and his Dad have been on the road chasing storms.  First helping people prepare and then charging the survivors for repair work, Chase’s Dad is an expert on weather and has carefully taught Chase how to be prepared.  Now with Hurricane Emily about to come on shore in Florida, Chase has been left at the base camp, while his Dad heads to the forecasted landfall of the huge storm.  The base camp turns out to be the winter quarters of a family circus and Chase is fascinated by the animals, the gregarious family and especially by Nicole who turns out to be in all his middle school classes.  As the storm nears, Chase, Nicole and and other students are sent home on the bus but the hurricane changes her path and makes landfall where no one expected.  As the storm intensifies and the water rises, the bus and  the students are in serious trouble.  Chase has to use all his skills to save their lives.  This action-filled thriller will have readers on the edge of their bus seats!  The first of a series, readers are left hanging with a leopard prowling the countryside, adults out of the picture and an elephant about to give birth!  The sequel can’t arrive too soon!  This is can’t miss high-interest suspense for the middle school set.

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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