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Mr. Popper’s Penguins

poppersMr. Popper’s Penguins

By Richard Atwater

Genre: Fiction

Curriculum subjects: Adventure: Animals, Pets, Humor, Folk/Fairy Tales: Animals

Grade: 3-7

 

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Mr. Popper’s Penguins is one of the handful of American books for children that has attained the status of a classic. First published in 1938, this story of a housepainter who is sent a male penguin by the great Admiral Drake, and who, thanks to the arrival of a female penguin, soon has twelve penguins living in his house, has amused and enchanted generations of children and their parents.

 

PRAISE

1939 Newbery Honor Book

 

 

 

 

 

Pirate, Viking & Scientist

Pirate, Viking & Scientist

By Jared Chapman

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Holidays: Birthdays, Adventure: Pirates, Humor: General, Personal Development: Friendship/Conflict Resolution

Grades: PreK-1

 

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In this tale of a classic friendship conundrum, a determined little boy won’t rest until he proves his theory that you really can have more than one best friend!

 

Pirate is friends with Scientist. Scientist is friends with Viking. Pirate and Viking are NOT friends. What will Scientist do? Use his brain, of course! Scientist forms a hypothesis, conducts an experiment, observes his results, and tests his subjects again and again until he discovers the perfect formula for friendship.

 

PRAISE

“A clear triumph for the scientific method….as funny as it is sneakily informative.” –Kirkus Reviews

 

“The accessible text, silly premise, and simple yet accurate incorporation of scientific principles make this a unique gem for elementary collections…. This is a great read-aloud to foster discussions around the scientific process and important lessons about friendship. An excellent addition.” –School Library Journal

 

“With boisterous drawings…and a preface providing key terms in the scientific method, it’s great inspiration for classroom science units or at-home Venn-diagramming.” –Publishers Weekly


My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece

My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece

By Annabel Pitcher

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Family Life: Parents/Siblings/Babies, Personal Development: Self-Discovery, Personal Development: Loss

Grades: 7-17

My sister Rose lives on the mantelpiece.

Well, some of her does.
A collarbone, two ribs, a bit of skull, and a little toe.
To ten-year-old Jamie, his family has fallen apart because of the loss of someone he barely remembers: his sister Rose, who died five years ago in a terrorist bombing. To his father, life is impossible to make sense of when he lives in a world that could so cruelly take away a ten-year-old girl. To Rose’s surviving fifteen year old twin, Jas, everyday she lives in Rose’s ever present shadow, forever feeling the loss like a limb, but unable to be seen for herself alone.

Told with warmth and humor, this powerful novel is a sophisticated take on one family’s struggle to make sense of the loss that’s torn them apart… and their discovery of what it means to stay together.

 

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 PRAISE

-An ALA 2013 Notable Books for Children Pick

-A Kirkus Best Children’s Book List Selection

-“Most Deftly Handled” Atlantic Wire 2012 YA/Middle-Grade Award

 

* “[A] striking debut. Realistic, gritty, and uplifting.” –Kirkus (starred review)

* “Straddles that fine line between funny and tragic… As a study of grief’s collateral damage, it deals with the topic realistically without losing sight of hope.” –Booklist (starred review)

* “In this powerfully honest, quirkily humorous debut novel…Pitcher tackles grief, prejudice, religion, bullying, and familial instability.” –Publishers Weekly (starred review)

* “Compelling and believable…by turns heartbreaking and hysterically funny… This is an important book that could be used in classes and book-discussion groups. Don’t let it fall through the cracks.” –School Library Journal (starred review)

“It lives off the page. It has a warmth you can bask in; an honesty you can cut with a knife.” –The Guardian UK

 

Ling & Ting Share A Birthday

ling ting birthdayLing & Ting Share A Birthday

By Grace Lin

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Teen Life: Family Life: Adoption/Multiple Births, Holidays: Birthdays, Personal Development: Individuality, Family Life: Parents/Siblings/Babies, Family Life: Daily Life and Play

Grades: 1-4

This fascinating, surprising new novel is full of everyday imaginations and truths in the life and future of every teenage girl, as it tells the story of soon-to-be-16 Josie Taylor, who was born on Leap Day.

 

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 PRAISE

★ “The girls’ differing personalities and sisterly affection continue to shine…Once again Lin’s richly colored gouache artwork, based on 1950s children’s textbook illustrations, gives reason enough to celebrate. Tw-inspiring fiction for beginning readers.”– Kirkus Reviews, starred review

★ “Lin continues to work wonders within the early reader format in twins’ Ling and Ting’s birthday-themed second outing…Despite working with a limited vocabulary, Lin infuses the twins’ every interaction with personality and understated humor, while underscoring the girls’ individuality.”– Publishers Weekly, starred review

“These cheerful stories, with their flat, 50’s-style illustrations, tell an inescapable truth: twins have to negotiate everything.”– New York Times Book Review

“Even though this is a short and simple early chapter book, the characters are fully developed and distinct, and children should be encouraged to infer the protagonists’ traits. An excellent stand-alone purchase or addition for libraries already familiar with these endearing sisters.”– School Library Journal

A Perfectly Messed-Up Story

A Perfectly Messed-Up Story

By Patrick McDonnell

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Humor: General, Personal Development: Conflict Resolution

Grades: P – 1

In this interactive and engaging read-aloud, bestselling author and award-winning artist Patrick McDonnell creates a funny, engaging, and almost perfect story about embracing life’s messes.

Little Louie’s story keeps getting messed up, and he’s not happy about it! What’s the point of telling his tale if he can’t tell it perfectly? But when he stops and takes a deep breath, he realizes that everything is actually just fine, and his story is a good one–imperfections and all.

 

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PRAISE

 

*”Brilliant…A playful, funny, and friendly treatment of anxiety and life’s unpredictable messes.” –Kirkus Reviews, starred review

*”Louie’s exaggerated reactions…will trigger laughs with every page turn…McDonnell…excels at reminding his characters–and readers–that it’s possible to keep it together even when life has jelly all over it” –Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Classic McDonnell pen, ink, and watercolor pastels blend with mixed-media and crayon messes to make this untidy tale a victory for unkempt books everywhere. Keep calm, and read on!” –School Library Journal

“This [one] is a fun one-Kiddos who get messy with their books will likely giggle.” –Booklist

This Is A Moose

This Is a MooseThis Is a Moose

Written by Richard T. Morris

Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld

Genre: Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Personal Development: Careers; Adventure: Animals

Grades: Pre-K – 1

 

MOOSE?

 

Yes, Moose!

 

When a movie director tries to capture the life of a moose on film, he’s in for a big surprise. It turns out the moose has a dream bigger then just being a moose–he wants to be an astronaut and go to the moon.

 

His forest friends step in to help him, and action ensues. Lots of action. Like a lacrosse-playing grandma, a gigantic slingshot into space, and a flying, superhero chipmunk.

 

In this hilarious romp, Richard T. Morris and bestselling illustrator Tom Lichtenheld remind us to dream big and, when we do, to aim for the moon.

 

 

PRAISE

★”Morris’ story is filled with child-friendly humor that is cleverly matched by Lichtenheld’s comic ink, pencil and gouache paintings. The pair captures personality (lots of it), action and adventure, along with some old-fashioned filmmaking tropes… Certain to elicit gales of giggles. A humorous-make that hysterical-homage to movies and big dreams.” –Kirkus

 

★”Lichtenheld fills each page with serene nature scenes in soft, fuzzy earth tones. But with each interruption, things get downright goofy with chuckle-worthy background details, silly asides in speech bubbles, and hugely expressive fonts that crowd the pages and add a colorful touch of mania to the director’s growing frustration. A rambunctious and hilarious story of embracing the unexpected.” –Booklist

 

★”The increasingly exasperated duck, deadpan animal characters, absurd situations, and disembodied narration recall an animated short with voiceover, and the dialogue-heavy text and plentiful humor make this excellent material for a rowdy readers’ theater production.” –The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

 

“Morris gives This is a Moose an unexpected and lively structure. Lichtenheld is a master of texture: His fir trees look spiky; the duck’s beret has the soft thickness of felt; and the blue sky, with delicate variations in color, has the opacity of northern morning as the fog begins to lift.” -The New York Times

 

My Teacher Is A Monster

My Teacher Is a MonsterMy Teacher Is a Monster. (No, I Am Not.)

By Peter Brown

Genre: Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Personal Development

Grades: Pre-K – 3

A young boy named Bobby has the worst teacher. She’s loud, she yells, and if you throw paper airplanes, she won’t allow you to enjoy recess. She is a monster! Luckily, Bobby can go to his favorite spot in the park on weekends to play. Until one day… he finds his teacher there! Over the course of one day, Bobby learns that monsters are not always what they seem.

 

Each page is filled with “monstrous” details that will have kids reading the story again and again. Peter Brown takes a universal and timeless theme, and adds his own humorous spin to create another winner of a picture book.

 

PRAISE

★”This playful, eye-catching story goes a long way to humanize both teachers and students.” –Booklist

 

★”Brown, imagining Ms. Kirby from a child’s perspective, handles her transformation smoothly, prompting readers to revisit earlier pages. Comic traces of monstrosity linger in Ms Kirby (she still goes green at classroom clowning) yet Brown makes it clear that teachers are people too-even the “mean” ones.” –Publishers Weekly

 

★“Here’s hoping readers who are similarly challenged in the behavior department will get both messages: Teachers are people, and they give back what they get.” –Kirkus

 

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

By Sherman Alexie

Genre: Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Social Studies: Native American; Teen Life: School, Prejudice, family

Grade: 9 & Up

 

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In his first book for young adults, bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author’s own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by acclaimed artist Ellen Forney, that reflect the character’s art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live.

 

 

PRAISE

Winner of the 2007 National Book Award

Winner of the 2008 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Fiction

 

★”Junior’s narration is intensely alive.” – The Horn Book

 

★”Alexie nimbly blends sharp wit with unapologetic emotion in his first foray into young-adult literature.” – Kirkus Reviews

 

★”Alexie bounds into YA with what might be a Native American equivalent of Angela’s Ashes.” – Publishers Weekly

 

★“[Arnold’s] determination to both improve himself and overcome poverty, despite the handicaps of birth, circumstances, and race, delivers a positive message in a low-key manner. Alexie’s tale of self-discovery is a first purchase for all libraries.” – School Library Journal

 

★“Realistic and fantastical and funny and tragic – all at the same time.” – Voice of Youth Advocates

 

“This is a gem of a book…reading becomes more like listening to your smart, funny best friend recount his day while waiting after school for a ride home.” –The New York Times

Roomies

RoomiesRoomies

By Sara Zarr & Tara Altebrando

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Family Life; Personal Development: Friendship

 

The countdown to college has begun.

 

When Elizabeth receives her freshman roommate assignment at the beginning of the summer, she shoots off an email to introduce herself and coordinate the basics: TV, microwave, minifridge. Elizabeth can’t wait to escape her New Jersey beach town and start over in California.

 

But Elizabeth’s note is a surprise to her roommate Lauren, who had requested a single and was counting on a little peace and quiet after a lifetime in the bosom of a VERY large family.

 

Over the course of the last summer before college a relationship begins that will change their lives.

 

Praise for Roomies

 

“The authors give the story big doses of humor, sensitivity, and sweetness.” –Publishers Weekly, starred review

 

“A resonant story perfect for any teenager going to college – or simply struggling to make peace with herself and her world.”  –The Bulletin, starred review

 

Pi in the Sky

pi in the skyPi in the Sky

By Wendy Mass

Genre: Middle Grade Adventure

Curriculum Subject: Adventure: Science Fiction, Science: Astronomy/Space/Aviation, Science: Math

Grade: 3-7

 

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Joss is the seventh son of the Supreme Overlord of the Universe, and all he gets to do is deliver pies. That’s right: pies. Of course these pies actually hold the secrets of the universe between their buttery crusts, but they’re still pies.

 

Joss comes from a family of overachievers, and is happy to let his older brothers shine. But when Earth suddenly disappears, Joss is tasked with the not-so-simple job of bringing it back. With the help of an outspoken girl from Earth named Annika, Joss embarks on the adventure of a lifetime and learns that the universe is an even stranger place than he’d imagined.

 

PRAISE

★ “Full of fascinating science and clever humor, Mass’s story shines as bright as the stars of Joss’s universe. A high-stakes extraterrestrial adventure that’s as exciting as it is fun.” –Publishers Weekly, starred review

 

“Could be a Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy for kids…Science and absurdity frolic together to gleeful effect.” –Kirkus Reviews

 

“The humorous banter and interesting physics factoids keep readers entertained…A unique, mind-stretching title for science-fiction lovers, and the entertaining high jinks and evolving relationship between Joss and Annika give it an even wider appeal.” –School Library Journal

 

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