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The Sweetest Sound

winston_thesweetestsound_hcjktThe Sweetest Sound

By Sherri Winston

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Social Issues: Friendship, Family; Religion: Christianity

Grades: 3-7

 

For ten-year-old Cadence Jolly, birthdays are a constant reminder of all that has changed since her mother skipped town with dreams of becoming a star. Cadence inherited that musical soul, she can’t deny it, but otherwise she couldn’t be more different – she’s shy as can be.

 

She did make a promise last year that she would try to break out of her shell, just a little. And she prayed that she’d get the courage to do it. As her eleventh birthday draws near, she realizes time is running out. And when a secret recording of her singing leaks and catches the attention of her whole church, she needs to decide what’s better: deceiving everyone by pretending it belongs to someone else, or finally stepping into the spotlight.

 

In a story filled with whimsy and hope, Sherri Winston inspires readers to embrace the voice within.

 

 

PRAISE

★ “A rich and winning first-person story about a deeply introverted black girl who nearly loses her gift because of her understandable but undermining fear. Readers will be rooting for both Cadence as she claims her gift and the community who supports her.” —Kirkus

 

 

ALSO BY SHERRI WINSTON

president sixth     president fifth

 

Scarlett Undercover

ScarlettScarlett Undercover

By Jennifer Latham

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Adventure: General, Personal Development: Character Development, Teen Life: Relationships/Sexuality

Grades: 7 & up

 

[button link=”http://www.scribd.com/doc/274414264/Scarlett-Undercover”]Educator Guide[/button]

Meet Scarlett, a smart, sarcastic fifteen-year-old, ready to take on crime in her hometown. When Scarlett agrees to investigate a local boy’s suicide, she figures she’s in for an easy case and a quick buck. But it doesn’t take long for suicide to start looking a lot like murder.

 

As Scarlett finds herself deep in a world of cults, curses, and the seemingly supernatural, she discovers that her own family secrets may have more to do with the situation than she thinks…and that cracking the case could lead to solving her father’s murder.

 

Jennifer Latham delivers a compelling story and a character to remember in this one-of-a-kind debut novel.

 

PRAISE

★ “This whip-smart, determined, black Muslim heroine brings a fresh hard-boiled tone to the field of teen mysteries.” – Kirkus Reviews, starred review

 

“Sarcastic yet sensitive, Scarlett’s voice is what drives this narrative, which is one part snarky Veronica Mars in its noir-meets-adolescence setup and one part levelheaded Da Vinci Code with its religious symbolism–tinged quest… A fast read that includes all the familiar, expected trappings mystery and adventure fans love dressed up with fresh, diverse characters and settings.” — The Horn Book

Heaven Looks A Lot Like the Mall

Heaven Looks a Lot Like the MallHeaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall

By Wendy Mass

Genre: Poetry, Teen Ficiton

Curriculum Subjects: Teen Life: Family; Teen Life: Personal Development

Grades: 6 & up

 

 

[button link=”http://media.hdp.hbgusa.com/titles/assets/reading_group_guide/9780316058513/EG_97803160588513.pdf”]Educator Guide[/button]

When 16-year-old Tessa suffers a shocking accident in gym class, she finds herself in heaven (or what she thinks is heaven), which happens to bear a striking resemblance to her hometown mall. In the tradition of It’s a Wonderful Life andThe Christmas Carol, Tessa starts reliving her life up until that moment. She sees some things she’d rather forget, learns some things about herself she’d rather not know, and ultimately must find the answer to one burning question–if only she knew what the question was.

 

Written in sharp, witty verse, Wendy Mass crafts an extroardinary tale of a spunky heroine who hasn’t always made the right choices, but needs to discover what makes life worth living.

 

PRAISE

“Funny and weird and poignant.” –KLIATT

 

“Funny, thought-provoking, and at times heartbreaking, this story will entertain and inspire readers.” –School Library Journal

 

“An entertaining and thought-provoking story that teens will enjoy.” –VOYA

 

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Once Was Lost

Once Was Lost

By Sara Zarr

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Curriculum subjects: Character Development, Family, Religion

Grade: 7 & up

 

[button link=”http://media.hdp.hbgusa.com/titles/assets/reading_group_guide/9780316036047/TRG_9780316036047.pdf”]Educator Guide[/button]

Samara Taylor used to believe in miracles. She used to believe in a lot of things.

 

When your father’s a pastor, it’s hard not to buy in to the idea of the perfect family, a loving God, and amazing grace. But lately, Sam has a lot of reasons to doubt. Her mother lands in rehab after a DUI and her father seems more interested in his congregation than his family. When a young girl in her small town is kidnapped, the local tragedy overlaps with Sam’s personal one, and the already worn thread of faith holding her together begins to unravel.

 

In her third novel, acclaimed author Sara Zarr examines the coexistence of affliction and hope, and what happens when everything you thought you believed–about God, your family, and yourself–is transformed.

 

PRAISE

★ “Zarr sets a hard task for herself here: interweaving a number of strong story strands and giving them equal weight…add to the story’s depth.” — Booklist, starred review

 

★ “Riveting.” — Kirkus Reviews, starred review

 

★ “Beyond delivering a gripping story, Zarr has a knack for exposing human weakness in the ordinary.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review

Sorta Like a Rock Star

Sorta Like A Rock Star

By Matthew Quick

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Curriculum subjects: Personal Development: Friendship, Loss, Individuality, Personal Development, Family, Jobs/Finances

Grade: 7-12

 

 2011 Amelia Elizabeth Walden Book Award for Young Adult Fiction Finalist

 

Amber Appleton lives in a bus. Ever since her mom’s boyfriend kicked them out, Amber, her mom, and her totally loyal dog, Bobby Big Boy (aka Thrice B) have been camped out in the back of Hello Yellow (the school bus her mom drives). Still, Amber, the self-proclaimed princess of hope and girl of unyielding optimism, refuses to sweat the bad stuff. But when a fatal tragedy threatens Amber’s optimism–and her way of life, can Amber continue to be the rock star of hope?

 

With an oddball cast of characters, and a heartwarming, inspiring story, this novel unveils a beautifully beaten-up world of laughs, loyalty, and hard-earned hope. The world is Amber’s stage, and Amber is, well…she’s sorta like a rock star. True? True.

 

★ “This book is the answer to all  those angst-ridden and painfully grim novels in  the shortcut lingo of  short attention-span theater. Hugely enjoyable.” — School Library Journal

 

 

Ninth Ward

Ninth Ward

by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Curriculum Subjects: Survival, Family Life: Grandparents and Extended Family, Person Development: Loss, Personal Development: Self-Discovery

Grade: 3-7

 

[button link=”http://74.220.207.149/~littlfc1/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/MIDDLEGRADE_Ninth-Ward-EG.pdf”]Educator Guide[/button]

Twelve-year-old Lanesha lives in a tight-knit community in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward. She doesn’t have a fancy house like her uptown family or lots of friends like the other kids on her street. But what she does have is Mama Ya-Ya, her fiercely loving caretaker, wise in the ways of the world and able to predict the future. So when Mama Ya-Ya’s visions show a powerful hurricane–Katrina–fast approaching, it’s up to Lanesha to call upon the hope and strength Mama Ya-Ya has given her to help them both survive the storm.

 

Ninth Ward is a deeply emotional story about transformation and a celebration of resilience, friendship, and family–as only love can define it.

 

PRAISE & ACCOLADES

A 2011 Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book

 

★ “With a mix of magical and gritty realism…the spare but vivid prose, lilting dialogue, and skilled storytelling brings this tragedy to life; the powerful sense of community Rhodes evokes in the Ninth Ward prior to the storm makes the devastation and the hardships Lanesha endures all the more powerful.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review

 

★ “Heartbreak and hope are reflected in Lanesha’s story, which will capture even reluctant readers due to the inventive storytelling and the author’s ability to bring history to life.” — School Library Journal, starred review

 

VIDEO

Wabi Sabi

Wabi Sabi

By Mark Reibstein, illustrated by Ed Young

Genre: Picture Book

Curriculum subjects: Animals, Individuality, Self-Discovery, Pets

Grade: P-1

 

2009 APALA Book Award  |  A 2008 New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book 

 

Wabi Sabi, a little cat in Kyoto, Japan, had never thought much about her name until friends visiting from another land asked her owner what it meant.

 

At last, the master

Says, “That’s hard to explain.” And

That is all she says.

 

 

This unsatisfying answer sets Wabi Sabi on a journey to uncover the meaning of her name, and on the way discovers what wabi sabi is: a Japanese philosophy of seeing beauty in simplicity, the ordinary, and the imperfect.

 

Using spare text and haiku, Mark Reibstein weaves an extraordinary story about finding real beauty in unexpected places. Caldecott Medal-winning artist Ed Young complements the lyrical text with breathtaking collages. Together, they illustrate the unique world view that is wabi sabi.

 

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