Series for the elementary set

beauvais_sleuth on skates

Discover some new favorite characters or keep up with old ones. These series installments can stand on their own or perhaps start a new series obsession. Sleuth on Skates, first in the Sesame Seade Mystery series by Clémentine Beauvais, introduces a type-A, roller-skating kid detective from Cambridge, England with a large vocabulary and a highly […]

Review of Once Upon an Alphabet

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Once Upon an Alphabet by Oliver Jeffers; illus. by the author Primary, Intermediate   Philomel   112 pp. 10/14   978-0-399-16791-1   $26.99 Each letter of the alphabet gets its own little story in this picture book that is much more than a simple set of ABCs. Whimsical, funny, occasionally tragic, and highly entertaining, this collection of (sometimes) interlocking […]

Review of Harlem Hellfighters

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Harlem Hellfighters by J. Patrick Lewis; 
illus. by Gary Kelley Intermediate, Middle School   Creative Editions   32 pp. 9/14   978-1-56846-246-2   $18.99 The story of the 15th New York National Guard, or the “Harlem Hellfighters,” an all-black regiment that joined the Great War in its final year, is a revealing lens through which to view that conflict. […]

Review of The Next Wave

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The Next Wave: The Quest to Harness the Power of 
the Oceans [Scientists in the Field] by Elizabeth Rusch Intermediate, Middle School    Houghton    79 pp. 10/14    978-0-544-09999-9    $18.99 This entry in the excellent Scientists in the Field series describes a critical engineering challenge: the efficient capture of the energy produced by ocean waves and its […]

Review of Gracefully Grayson

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Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky Intermediate, Middle School    Hyperion    247 pp. 11/14    978-1-4231-8527-7    $16.99 Grayson, a sixth grader at Porter Middle School, passes the time doodling and daydreaming about what it would be like to go through life as a girl, despite being seen by everyone else as male. Struggling with the total isolation that […]

Review of Nuts to You

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Nuts to You by Lynne Rae Perkins; illus. by the author Intermediate    Greenwillow    260 pp. 8/14    978-0-06-009275-7    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-226220-2    $8.99 Jed the squirrel’s odyssey begins dramatically when he is captured by a hawk and carried far away from his community. Using an “ancient squirrel defensive martial art,” he escapes and so begins his […]

Review of Winter Bees

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Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold by Joyce Sidman; illus. by Rick Allen Primary, Intermediate    Houghton    32 pp. 11/14    978-0-547-90650-8    $17.99 In winter, bees (“we are nothing on our own”) keep their precious queen warm by massing together into a “sizzling ball.” Hibernating garter snakes, safe in a cave, “’round each other twist […]

Review of El Deafo

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El Deafo by Cece Bell; illus. by the author; 
color by David Lasky Intermediate, Middle School    Amulet/Abrams    242 pp. 9/14    978-1-4197-1020-9    $21.95 Paper ed.  978-1-4197-1217-3    $10.95 At the age of four, in 1975, Bell contracted meningitis, leaving her severely to profoundly deaf. In this characterful, vivid, often amusing graphic-novel memoir she recaptures the experiences of […]

Around the world

nye_turtle of oman

Reading can take children on journeys outside of their everyday realms. The following stories — some humorous, some tender — allow independent readers to spend time with characters from all over the globe. When Naomi Shihab Nye’s The Turtle of Oman opens, Aref and his mother are preparing to leave their home in Muscat, Oman, […]

Review of Unstoppable Octobia May

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Unstoppable Octobia May by Sharon G. Flake Intermediate, Middle School    Scholastic    281 pp. 9/14    978-0-545-60960-9    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-545-60961-6    $16.99 Unstoppable indeed is the dogged and imaginative protagonist of this fast-paced mystery novel set in 1953. Once narrator Octobia May gets an idea into her head, she follows it as far as it will take […]