Tag: Gr. 5-8

Full of Mysteries: BEYOND THE BRIGHT SEA by Lauren Wolk

Full of Mysteries: BEYOND THE BRIGHT SEA by Lauren Wolk

Cindy: Beyond the Bright Sea (2017), Lauren Wolk’s fine follow-up to her 2017 Newbery Honor book, Wolf Hollow, features a young orphan with a mysterious past, a hunt for treasure, and a search for belonging. Said orphan, the twelve-year-old Crow, is named for the rasping cry she emitted when Osh, a reclusive fisherman, found her as […]

THE ADVENTURES OF JOHN BLAKE, a Graphic Novel Mystery

THE ADVENTURES OF JOHN BLAKE, a Graphic Novel Mystery

Lynn: The Adventures of John Blake: Mystery of the Ghost Ship (2017), comes courtesy of Philip Pullman and represents his first foray into graphic novels. Written originally as a comic and then as a film script, Blake has just now been published in the United States. After a storm knocks her overboard her family’s sailboat, teenager Serena Henderson […]

Hold the Bulldozers: Middle-Grade Books Take on Developers

Hold the Bulldozers: Middle-Grade Books Take on Developers

Lynn: The theme of kids taking on greedy developers is not new or uncommon in books for kids—remember, Carl Hiaasen’s Hoot (2002) won a Newbery Honor. But this year alone, I’ve already read three books with this central issue. Is this a movement? See for yourself. (And readers, if I’m missing any titles, let me know!)   The […]

YORK: A Treasure Hunt in an Alternate NYC

YORK: A Treasure Hunt in an Alternate NYC

Lynn: Just when I started to feel a little jaded—March does that to me—I read Laura Ruby’s wonderful new book, York: The Shadow Cipher (May 2017). This new series-opener is the perfect antidote to my grumpy case of the blahs that accompany the mud, temperature swings, and general brownness of my least-favorite month. The story […]

Posted in: Bookends, Young Adult
Last of the Magicians: ISAAC THE ALCHEMIST

Last of the Magicians: ISAAC THE ALCHEMIST

Lynn: In 1936, the economist John Maynard Keynes purchased a set of Isaac Newton’s papers. To his great surprise, Keynes found that many of them related to Newton’s intense study of alchemy. To those of us in the modern world, alchemy is a discredited pursuit, the stuff of magical thinking and ignorance. Keynes wrote that […]

Posted in: Bookends, Young Adult
SEA OTTER HEROES to the Rescue

SEA OTTER HEROES to the Rescue

Lynn: In schools these days, we talk about science in terms of the scientific method, theories, observation, and conclusions. Pedagogically, this is excellent, but it is important not to lose sight of something that both drives and excites kids: asking questions. Young biologist Brent Hughes did just that. His question? Why was the fertilizer-polluted Elkhorn Slough […]

ANIMAL ARK: Photos and Poems to Inspire Action

ANIMAL ARK: Photos and Poems to Inspire Action

Lynn: What do you get when you put an award-winning photographer and a Newbery Award-winning author together? When the photographer is Joel Sartore, longtime National Geographic contributor and creator of the Photo Ark project, and the author is the novelist and poet Kwame Alexander, the result is a glorious celebration of our world’s wild creatures. Animal […]

Kwame Alexander’s THE PLAYBOOK: Rules to Live By

Kwame Alexander’s THE PLAYBOOK: Rules to Live By

Lynn: Parents and teachers of teenagers should be all-too-familiar with how many of their charges feel about rules and advice. My own two sons could have rolled their eyes for America! But those of us who have (mostly) achieved adulthood know that there is a lot of good advice that could really help young people. […]

Posted in: Bookends, Young Adult
Retelling Familiar Tales: SNOW WHITE and THE SINGING BONES

Retelling Familiar Tales: SNOW WHITE and THE SINGING BONES

Lynn: Author/artist Matt Phelan has gifted readers with a brilliant twist on a familiar tale. In Snow White (2016), set in the Roaring Twenties and Depression-Era New York, young Samantha “Snow” White loses her mother to tuberculosis. Her father, the King of Wall Street, soon marries a stunningly beautiful Queen of the Follies star who, in […]

After the Series: Character-Driven Baseball Books for Youth
By November 10, 2016 0 Comments Read More →

After the Series: Character-Driven Baseball Books for Youth

Here in Chicago, students and teachers are still recovering from the World Series—among other things. Although I loved watching the playoffs this year, historically, I’ve preferred to experience baseball in book form. Growing up, baseball was the family sport. Hence, I’ve read my way through literally hundreds of baseball games, from t-ball to coach pitch to high school […]