Review of Gone Crazy in Alabama

williams-gracia_gone crazy in alabama

Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams-Garcia Intermediate, Middle School   Amistad/HarperCollins   291 pp. 4/15   978-0-06-221587-1   $16.99 Library ed. 978-0-06-221588-8   $17.89   g e-book ed. 978-0-06-221590-1   $9.99 Williams-Garcia says goodbye to the Gaither family (One Crazy Summer, rev. 3/10; P. S. Be Eleven, rev. 5/13) in this involving and emotional concluding installment. It’s been a year since […]

Fearless females

springstubb_moonpenny island

From an aspiring journalist to an up-and-coming roller derby grrl, the determined and curious female protagonists of these intermediate and middle-school books are ready to take on the world. In Tricia Springstubb’s Moonpenny Island, the titular tiny Ohio vacation spot is lousy with fossils — specifically, of trilobites from the Cambrian period. Sixth-grade townie Flor […]

Review of Listen, Slowly

lai_listen slowly

Listen, Slowly by Thanhhà Lại Intermediate, Middle School   Harper/HarperCollins   260 pp. 2/15   978-0-06-222918-2   $16.99 This second novel from National Book Award winner Lại (Inside Out and Back Again, rev. 3/11) grabs readers from the start. California girl Mai is on a plane, accompanying Ba, her grandmother, on a trip to Vietnam. Mai, who planned to […]

Review of Fatal Fever

jarrow_fatal fever

Fatal Fever: Tracking Down Typhoid Mary by Gail Jarrow Intermediate, Middle School  Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills  176 pp. 3/15      978-1-62091-597-4     $16.95 In the second book by Jarrow about a deadly disease — Red Madness was the first — she takes on typhoid. At the turn of the twentieth century, typhoid was still very much […]

Have you heard?

alexander_crossover audiobook

Audiobook versions of these intermediate and middle-school books — two in verse, one incorporating archival materials, and one light family story — give listeners a whole new way to immerse themselves in their engrossing tales. The Crossover‘s protagonist, Josh “Filthy McNasty” Bell, is a star basketball player along with his twin brother JB. JB’s romance […]

Review of Paper Things

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Paper Things by Jennifer Richard Jacobson Intermediate, Middle School   Candlewick   378 pp. 2/15   978-0-7636-6323-0   $16.99   g Before her death four years earlier, Ari and Gage’s mother had urged them to “stay together always.” Now it has been two months since nineteen-year-old Gage and eleven-year-old Ari left their overbearing guardian’s home to strike out on their […]

Review of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

kamkwamba_boy who harnessed the wind

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Young Readers Edition by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer; illus. by Anna Hymas Intermediate, Middle School   Dial   294 pp. 2/15   978-0-8037-4080-8   $16.99   g As a young boy growing up in Malawi, William Kamkwamba believed in — and was fearful of — magic. As he got a bit older, he […]

Review of Dreaming in Indian

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Dreaming in Indian: Contemporary Native American Voices edited by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale Middle School, High School   Annick   130 pp. 11/14   978-1-55451-687-2   $19.95 “If your imagination isn’t working — and, of course, in oppressed people that’s the first thing that goes — you can’t imagine anything better. Once you can imagine something different, […]

World War II graphic novels

Maus

This quarter in fifth grade, we’ve been reading Lois Lowry’s Number the Stars, and my students were ready and curious to learn about World War II. I’m a big fan of Number the Stars, but I noticed that during my lectures, students kept saying that the supplemental books I had given them had already taught […]

Review of Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom

lowery_turning 15 on the road to freedom

Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March by Lynda Blackmon Lowery, as told to Elspeth Leacock and Susan Buckley; illus. by PJ Loughran Middle School, High School   Dial   128 pp. 1/15   978-0-8037-4123-2   $19.99   g Lowery offers a revealing look at a childhood spent in the midst […]