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Staff Picks 4 Kids

No Talking by Andrew Clements

syndetics-lcTwo whole days without talking–at school and at home–do you think you could do it?  Only answering questions with a maximum of 3 words?  In No Talking by Andrew Clements, Dave comes up with this idea after reading that Mahatma Gandhi did not speak at all one day each week.  Gandhi believed this was a way “to bring order to his mind.” Dave’s idea turns into a contest between the talky boys and girls in three fifth grade classes, known by the teachers as “The Unshushables.”  The principal, teachers, and parents all react to the silence in different, surprising ways.  This book is about language and thought…and the power of words. After reading it, you might choose your words more carefully.

Book reviewed by Mary Lou H., Youth Services Library Assistant

By MPPL on April 14, 2008 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Funny, Picks by Mary Lou H., Realistic Stories

Lawn Boy by Gary Paulsen

syndetics-lcDid you ever get a warm, friendly feeling that a riding mower “spoke” to you?  In Lawn Boy, Gary Paulsen relates how this happened to a twelve-year old boy one summer when his grandmother gave him the mower that used to belong to his grandfather.  The boy was able to start the mower, so he decided to cut his family’s lawn.  His neighbors saw him working and asked if he could do their lawns, too, as the person who used to do them had left town.  That’s how it all started, and soon his profits were being invested in the stock market by one of his clients—and you’ll never believe what happened!!

Book reviewed by Mary Lou H., Youth Library Assistant

By MPPL on December 26, 2007 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Funny, Picks by Mary Lou H.

Yankee Girl by Mary Ann Rodman

syndetics-lcDid you ever wonder what it was like for kids during the civil rights movement in 1964?  In Yankee Girl, by Mary Ann Rodman, a white sixth-grader named Alice Ann Moxley moves to Mississippi from Chicago.  She is surprised and dismayed at how she is treated by the people in the South because of her accent and her ideals.  It is very difficult for her to make friends.  When the first of two black students at her school arrive, she ends up in the midst of racial turmoil, especially because her dad is an FBI agent sent to Mississippi to help keep peace.  She has a hard decision to make—whether to follow the crowd or to follow her heart.  As you’re reading the book, see if you would make the same decisions that Alice did.

– Book reviewed by Mary Lou H., Youth Library Assistant

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Accents and Southern custom, it turns out, are the least of Alice Ann Moxley’s troubles in her new Mississippi hometown in the novel Yankee Girl by Mary Ann Rodman.  The year is 1964, and Alice’s FBI-agent father has been reassigned from Chicago to Jackson to protect black people who are registering to vote.  Alice knows from the news that down South the Ku Klux Klan has burned down Negro churches and that civil right workers have been murdered.  She is torn between reaching out to the one black girl in her class in a newly-integrated school and doing what it takes to hang out with the popular crowd.  And when you’re finished reading the book, I’m sure you’ll be wondering, “What would I have done in her place?”

By MPPL on September 17, 2007 Categories: Historical Fiction, Picks by Mary Lou H.