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Staff Picks 4 Kids

Black Radishes by Susan Lynn Meyer

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Gustave and his family are Jewish, and they live in Paris, France. During World War II, Gustave and his family leave Paris as the Nazis are getting closer to France. Ultimately, the Nazis do invade France, and a group of French citizens start the French Resistance to help Jewish people get to safer places. If you are interested in historical fiction, Black Radishes by Susan Lynn Meyer is a great example, really giving the reader a glimpse of what it was like to be Jewish in France during World War II. There are multiple viewpoints, with some characters supporting the Jews, and some characters against the Jews. Caudill Nominee. Appropriate for fifth grade and up.

Book reviewed by Anne W., Youth Services Assistant

By lbos on January 14, 2013 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Historical Fiction, Picks by Anne W.

Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai

Inside Out & Back AgainInside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai. This novel was written in short, free-verse poems which initially made it hard to get into, but eventually I didn’t even notice it anymore.  The book is set in Vietnam during the time of the Vietnam War. 10-year-old Ha sadly learns that her mother wants to get her and her three brothers out of there before things get even worse.  Traveling by boat, their first stop is a tent city in Guam and from there they move on to Florida.  After finally finding a sponsor there whom Ha calls “the cowboy”, they are taken to live with him and his unfriendly wife in Alabama.  There, Ha and her family experience major culture shock, and she is constantly teased and tormented by her classmates.  She slowly begins to assimilate with the help of a nice neighbor/teacher who had lost a son in the Vietnam War.  I found this book to be very interesting, especially after reading that it was somewhat based on the author’s own experiences.

 

By bjones on November 19, 2012 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Historical Fiction

Countdown by Deborah Wiles

CountdownIn Countdown by Deborah Wiles, Franny and her brother have to practice what to do if a nuclear bomb falls on their city. It is 1962, and President Kennedy is trying to manage the Cuban Missile Crisis. There are pictures, songs, and actual news stories interspersed in the story to give a feel for what it was like to live in 1962. Franny is growing up and having a hard time keeping her friendships going. Uncle Ott is having war flashbacks and is trying to get the whole neighborhood ready to build their own bomb shelter. Franny’s older sister keeps getting mysterious letters that she locks in her trunk and won’t let anyone see. Will Franny find out what her older sister is hiding? Will Uncle Ott destroy the front yard to build his bomb shelter? Will Franny and her best friend get to save their friendship? Read more to find out!

Book reviewed by Anne W., Youth Services Assistant

By bjones on September 17, 2012 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Historical Fiction, Picks by Anne W.

Emily’s Fortune by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Emily's FortuneTry Emily’s Fortune by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor for a rootin’ tootin’ good read.  Follow Emily’s adventure after she is suddenly orphaned and has to head out west to live with her aunt.  Along the way Emily has to outsmart Child Catching Services and hide from a greedy Uncle who is after her fortune. But how in tumblin’ tarnation could she do that? Well, with the help of fellow orphan Jackson that’s how. So hold on to your hat for a wild ride through the wild west filled with crazy cliffhangers and exciting illustrations.  Recommended for cowboys and girls looking for a fast fun read.

Book reviewed by Keary B., Youth Collection Specialist

 

 

By bjones on February 10, 2012 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Historical Fiction, Picks by Keary B.

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

One Crazy SummerIn One Crazy Summer eleven year-old Delphine has been taking care of her younger sisters since her mother, Cecile, abandoned them seven years ago.  When her father sends the girls to spend the summer with Cecile in California, they are hoping for trips to Disneyland and a chance to get to know their mother.   At first, Cecile is too busy writing poetry to spend time with her daughters.  Then Cecile is arrested, and Delphine learns some surprising information that changes the way she thinks about her mother.
 
Although I enjoyed getting to know Delphine, the plot of the book moved rather slowly.  I would mainly recommend this title to die-hard historical fiction fans who are interested in learning more about the Civil Rights Movement.  

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

 

By MPPL on April 11, 2011 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Historical Fiction, Picks by Mary S., Realistic Stories

Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool

Moon Over ManifestIf you like mysteries and old-fashioned stories, then this Newbery-award-winning book is for you. In Moon Over Manifest, Abilene Tucker’s father, Gideon,sends her to live with his friend Pastor Shady in Manifest, Kansas, where he grew up. Abilene hopes to find out more about her father from the people who live there. Abilene finds an old box of treasures and some letters from World War I between two people named Ned and Jinx. With help from Miss Sadie, the town fortuneteller, Abilene discovers why these objects and letters are important. The story jumps between Abilene’s time in 1936 and Ned and Jinx’s time in 1917. Who is Jinx? Will Abilene solve the mystery of who the Rattler is? Read more to find out!

Book reviewed by Anne W., Youth Services Assistant

The Great Death by John Smelcer

Great Death The Great Death by John Smelcer. When white men came to explore and settle in Alaska among the Native Americans early in the 1900’s, they didn’t bring only food, canoes, and other supplies. They also inadvertently brought along diseases, diseases that they had immunity to, but diseases that killed many, many Native Americans, sometimes erasing entire villages and whole tribes. Native Americans called it the time of “The Great Death.” And yet, occasionally, inexplicably, some few Native Americans would survive the plague. This is the story of two young sisters who did survive, and their long travel in search of other survivors, people they might be able to live with. With wild dogs, wolves, bears, and moose, this is an exciting, fast moving tale!

Book Reviewed by Loreen S., Youth Services Assistant

By MPPL on June 6, 2010 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Historical Fiction, Picks by Loreen S.

The Great Death by John Smelcer

Great Death The Great Death by John Smelcer. When white men came to explore and settle in Alaska among the Native Americans early in the 1900’s, they didn’t bring only food, canoes, and other supplies. They also inadvertently brought along diseases, diseases that they had immunity to, but diseases that killed many, many Native Americans, sometimes erasing entire villages and whole tribes. Native Americans called it the time of “The Great Death.” And yet, occasionally, inexplicably, some few Native Americans would survive the plague. This is the story of two young sisters who did survive, and their long travel in search of other survivors, people they might be able to live with. With wild dogs, wolves, bears, and moose, this is an exciting, fast moving tale!

Book Reviewed by Loreen S., Youth Services Assistant

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly

Evolution of Calpurnia Tate In The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, it’s 1899 in Texas and 11-year-old Calpurnia is expected to knit socks and study the proper use of a hankie, but instead she’d rather be a scientist.  Together with her grandfather, she conducts scientific experiments and writes her observations in a notebook.  Her experiments lead to many surprises such as when sweet, woolly Petey the Caterpilllar turns into a giant (and frighteningly creepy) moth.  Wasn’t he supposed to be a beautiful butterfly?  Or when the Smithsonian Institute officially declares that she and her grandfather have discovered a new species of plant.  Whether she is cutting off her hair an inch at a time so her mother won’t notice or getting her brother in trouble for having a new girlfriend, tomboy Calpurnia is sure to make you smile.  (For grade 5 and up)

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

 

By MPPL on May 10, 2010 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Historical Fiction, Picks by Mary S., Realistic Stories

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly

Evolution of Calpurnia Tate In The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, it’s 1899 in Texas and 11-year-old Calpurnia is expected to knit socks and study the proper use of a hankie, but instead she’d rather be a scientist.  Together with her grandfather, she conducts scientific experiments and writes her observations in a notebook.  Her experiments lead to many surprises such as when sweet, woolly Petey the Caterpilllar turns into a giant (and frighteningly creepy) moth.  Wasn’t he supposed to be a beautiful butterfly?  Or when the Smithsonian Institute officially declares that she and her grandfather have discovered a new species of plant.  Whether she is cutting off her hair an inch at a time so her mother won’t notice or getting her brother in trouble for having a new girlfriend, tomboy Calpurnia is sure to make you smile.  (For grade 5 and up)

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head