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Staff Picks 4 Kids

The Mozart Question by Michael Morpurgo

Mozart Question Stories of the Holocaust can pull at your heart, and that is certainly true of The Mozart Question by Michael Morpurgo.  Even as a very young boy in post World War II Venice, Paoli Levi was drawn to play and study the violin.  He knew his parents would never approve though–but why?  Slowly, gently, he learns the reason that lay hidden for many years in his parents’ memories of their imprisonment in a concentration camp.  A story told through words and drawings, this book looks not only at the cruelty and sadness of war, but also at the healing power of music and family.  I recommend it to 4th through 7th graders who would like to read a heartfelt, sensitive book.

Review by Mary Ann S., Assistant Head of Youth Services

When young journalist Lesley is sent to Venice to interview world-renowned violinist Paolo Levi, she is warned not to ask the forbidden “Mozart Question”. As she meets Paolo, it is the musician himself who decides to speak about his mysterious background. Paolo heartfully reveals the truth about his haunting past, and the journalist begins to see how one group of musicians were kept alive by playing their music. This story reveals the beauty of music to bring people together, and inspire the heart even through the most difficult times.

Review by Darice C., Youth Services Assistant

By MPPL on August 11, 2009 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Historical Fiction, Picks by Darice C., Picks by Mary Ann S.

The Mozart Question by Michael Morpurgo

Mozart Question Stories of the Holocaust can pull at your heart, and that is certainly true of The Mozart Question by Michael Morpurgo.  Even as a very young boy in post World War II Venice, Paoli Levi was drawn to play and study the violin.  He knew his parents would never approve though–but why?  Slowly, gently, he learns the reason that lay hidden for many years in his parents’ memories of their imprisonment in a concentration camp.  A story told through words and drawings, this book looks not only at the cruelty and sadness of war, but also at the healing power of music and family.  I recommend it to 4th through 7th graders who would like to read a heartfelt, sensitive book.

Review by Mary Ann S., Assistant Head of Youth Services

When young journalist Lesley is sent to Venice to interview world-renowned violinist Paolo Levi, she is warned not to ask the forbidden “Mozart Question”. As she meets Paolo, it is the musician himself who decides to speak about his mysterious background. Paolo heartfully reveals the truth about his haunting past, and the journalist begins to see how one group of musicians were kept alive by playing their music. This story reveals the beauty of music to bring people together, and inspire the heart even through the most difficult times.

Review by Darice C., Youth Services Assistant

The Houdini Box by Brian Selznick

syndetics-lcRecently I started reading about the legendary magician and escape artist, Harry Houdini, and I think he’s fascinating.  The Houdini Box by Brian Selznick is about a boy who wants to be just like Houdini.  Victor attempts to perform tricks like escaping from a locked trunk and walking through a wall.  Then by a VERY lucky coincidence, Victor actually gets to meet Houdini!  What happens next might show Victor just what he’s been looking for his whole life– the keys to performing Houdini’s magic.  If you’re a fan of Hugo Cabret, definitely check this one out! 

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Programming Coordinator

By MPPL on April 21, 2009 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Historical Fiction, Picks by Erin E.

The Houdini Box by Brian Selznick

syndetics-lcRecently I started reading about the legendary magician and escape artist, Harry Houdini, and I think he’s fascinating.  The Houdini Box by Brian Selznick is about a boy who wants to be just like Houdini.  Victor attempts to perform tricks like escaping from a locked trunk and walking through a wall.  Then by a VERY lucky coincidence, Victor actually gets to meet Houdini!  What happens next might show Victor just what he’s been looking for his whole life– the keys to performing Houdini’s magic.  If you’re a fan of Hugo Cabret, definitely check this one out! 

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Programming Coordinator

Uprising by Margaret Peterson Haddix

syndetics-lcUprising by Margaret Peterson Haddix is a story about three girls working in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory during the horrible fire there in 1911 that killed almost 200 people. People were unhappy with the poor pay and terrible working conditions and had gone on strike.  One thing the owners of the factory would do was lock the girls in because they were worried they might steal things and run away.  The first girl is Bella, from Italy, who is trying to send money home to support her mother and siblings.  The second girl is Yetta, a Jewish girl from Russia who is living with her sister and is active in the strike movement.  The third girl is Jane, a rich widower’s daughter, who is tired of having a governess and having to deal with silly social engagements.  Who survives the fire and who does not? 

 

By MPPL on September 2, 2008 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Historical Fiction, Realistic Stories

Uprising by Margaret Peterson Haddix

syndetics-lcUprising by Margaret Peterson Haddix is a story about three girls working in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory during the horrible fire there in 1911 that killed almost 200 people. People were unhappy with the poor pay and terrible working conditions and had gone on strike.  One thing the owners of the factory would do was lock the girls in because they were worried they might steal things and run away.  The first girl is Bella, from Italy, who is trying to send money home to support her mother and siblings.  The second girl is Yetta, a Jewish girl from Russia who is living with her sister and is active in the strike movement.  The third girl is Jane, a rich widower’s daughter, who is tired of having a governess and having to deal with silly social engagements.  Who survives the fire and who does not? 

 

A Drowned Maiden’s Hair by Laura Amy Schlitz

syndetics-lcIn A Drowned Maiden’s Hair by Laura Amy Schlitz, eleven-year-old Maud was thrilled when the Hawthorne sisters chose her to adopt over all the other little girls in the orphanage. She was given new clothes, her own books and her own room – so what did it matter that she was supposed to be a “secret child,” never to be seen by anyone outside the family, never to go out of the house? When eventually Maud learns what her role in the “family business” is, she eagerly joins in. Until she understands how she’s part of a scam, and actually hurting people she cares about. How much does Maud owe the Hawthorne sisters? And what will it cost Maud to do what she knows is right?

Book reviewed by Loreen S., Youth Services Library Assistant

A Drowned Maiden’s Hair by Laura Amy Schlitz

syndetics-lcIn A Drowned Maiden’s Hair by Laura Amy Schlitz, eleven-year-old Maud was thrilled when the Hawthorne sisters chose her to adopt over all the other little girls in the orphanage. She was given new clothes, her own books and her own room – so what did it matter that she was supposed to be a “secret child,” never to be seen by anyone outside the family, never to go out of the house? When eventually Maud learns what her role in the “family business” is, she eagerly joins in. Until she understands how she’s part of a scam, and actually hurting people she cares about. How much does Maud owe the Hawthorne sisters? And what will it cost Maud to do what she knows is right?

Book reviewed by Loreen S., Youth Services Library Assistant

The Last Rider: The Final Days of the Pony Express by Jessica Gunderson

syndetics-lcThe Last Rider: The Final Days of the Pony Express by Jessica Gunderson is a great book.

Matt Edgars longs for his life the way it used to be when he lived in Kansas and helped his dad with the horses and the farm.  Since his dad had died, he and his Mom moved to San Francisco, but as he got older, he eagerly watched for ways to fill his life with new adventures.  When he saw a poster advertising for boys his age to become riders on horseback to carry the mail between San Francisco, California and St. Joseph, Missouri, he was thrilled to get a job as a Pony Express Rider.  He worked hard getting the mail delivered, with the added challenges of wild animals, dangerous snakes, and desert heat — even keeping ahead of someone who was setting fire to the Express stations!  Delivering President Abraham Lincoln’s Inaugural Address took seven days and seventeen hours — the fastest piece of mail delivered by the Pony Express riders.  If you like historical fiction, you’ll enjoy this story about the last days of the Pony Express, which helped make quick communication possible between the new Western States and the East before the telegraph was invented.

Book reviewed by Jan P., Preschool and Child Care Liaison

By MPPL on May 6, 2008 Categories: Historical Fiction, Picks by Jan P.

The Last Rider: The Final Days of the Pony Express by Jessica Gunderson

syndetics-lcThe Last Rider: The Final Days of the Pony Express by Jessica Gunderson is a great book.

Matt Edgars longs for his life the way it used to be when he lived in Kansas and helped his dad with the horses and the farm.  Since his dad had died, he and his Mom moved to San Francisco, but as he got older, he eagerly watched for ways to fill his life with new adventures.  When he saw a poster advertising for boys his age to become riders on horseback to carry the mail between San Francisco, California and St. Joseph, Missouri, he was thrilled to get a job as a Pony Express Rider.  He worked hard getting the mail delivered, with the added challenges of wild animals, dangerous snakes, and desert heat — even keeping ahead of someone who was setting fire to the Express stations!  Delivering President Abraham Lincoln’s Inaugural Address took seven days and seventeen hours — the fastest piece of mail delivered by the Pony Express riders.  If you like historical fiction, you’ll enjoy this story about the last days of the Pony Express, which helped make quick communication possible between the new Western States and the East before the telegraph was invented.

Book reviewed by Jan P., Preschool and Child Care Liaison

By MPPL on Categories: Historical Fiction, Picks by Jan P.