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Staff Picks 4 Kids

Zora and Me by Victoria Bond

Zora and MeZora Neale Hurston was a famous author who loved to tell stories from the time she was a child. Zora and Me is a  fictionalized story of Zora and her best friend Carrie growing up in Eatonville, Florida (a town with only African-Americans in it). Will the Gator Man get Zora and Carrie? Will Zora and Carrie be able to learn the differences between truth, lies, and storytelling? Read this book to find out!

Book reviewed by Anne W., Youth Services Assistant

 

By MPPL on May 2, 2011 Categories: Award Winners, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Anne W., Realistic Stories

Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper

Out of My Mind School is hard enough for most of us…imagine what it would be like if you couldn’t talk, or walk, or even feed yourself.  In Out of My Mind, Melody has this very problem. She has cerebral palsy, which makes it hard for her to even hold things. But she has an amazing mind and the capacity to remember almost everything she hears. She’d like to share her thoughts with her family, the kids at school, and be able to participate like everyone else, but most people just look right past her.
But things start to look up for Melody. She gets a communication device that talks for her and an aide who begins taking her to regular classes. Before you know it, she is taking a test to be on the school’s trivia team, and gets every question right! Will the other students finally start seeing the person she is and not just the disability? This book made me laugh, made me angry and sad at some of the things that happened to Melody, but also really happy to see the positive changes that happen for Melody. Give it a chance and this book will surprise you.

Book reviewed by Claire B., Youth Outreach Coordinator

 

By MPPL on April 18, 2011 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Picks by Claire B, Realistic Stories

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

The Reinvention of Moxie Roosevelt by Elizabeth Kimmel

syndetics-lc Moxie Roosevelt Kipper is a pretty ordinary girl with an extraordinary name.  In The Reinvention of Moxie Roosevelt by Elizabeth Kimmel, Moxie decides to reinvent herself when she starts at a new boarding school.  She uses many different personalities depending on the group of friends she encounters.  She is earthy and green for the environmental friends, cool when she is with her cool group, and sporty to fit in with the athletes.  It can get pretty confusing keeping track of these numerous personalities, so she writes all of her notes in a journal which may not be the best idea.  This is a funny and realistic book that may make you realize that it is easier to just be yourself!

Book reviewed by Carol C., Elementary School Liaison

 

By MPPL on March 23, 2011 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Funny, Picks by Carol C., Realistic Stories

Everything on a Waffle by Polly Horvath

Everything on a Waffle Everything on a Waffle by Polly Horvath is about a little girl, Primrose, whose parents are lost at sea—everyone keeps telling Primrose that her parents are surely dead and trying to figure out what to do with her.  But she believes in her heart that they are still alive, which gets her through some tough times.  If this sounds like a serious book, let me tell you it is NOT!  This book is hilarious from start to finish.  Not just funny, but inspiring, touching, and in many ways wonderful—also, there is a lot of food, and the recipes are included.  You could call this realistic fiction—except that the things that happen probably wouldn’t really happen in a million years—but the way the story is told is so completely real and believable.  You’ll feel like you’ve lived in Coal Harbor with Primrose and her friends your whole life.

 

By MPPL on January 24, 2011 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Funny, Realistic Stories

Boys Without Names by Kashmira Sheth

Boys Without Names In Boys Without Names by Kashmira Sheth, eleven-year-old Gopal and his family have just had to flee their rural village in India and now must adjust to the mean streets of the city of Mumbai, where they have gone to live with his uncle.  The conditions they are living in are crowded and filthy. Gopal is determined to get a job and help contribute money to support his family. Unfortunately, he is tricked by a charming teenager into working as basically a slave in a sweatshop and not at a job in a factory as he was promised.  Now Gopal must get to know and win over the other boys held captive there as well if he ever wants even the slightest hope of escaping.

I thought that this book was really well written, but parts of it were hard to read about and imagine.  Even though this was a fictional story, there is a section at the end of the book that talks about the unfortunate fact that there really are children in situations like this in India every day.

 

 

By MPPL on November 9, 2010 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Realistic Stories

The Truth About Stacey by Ann M. Martin

The Truth About StacyThe Baby-sitters Club: The Truth About Stacey by Ann M. Martin–a graphic novel by Raina Telgemeier. Fans of the original Baby-Sitters Club series are going to love these new books in graphic novel format. Kids who like graphic novels but have never read The Baby-Sitters Club are going to love them, too (especially girls and fans of Babymouse).  Artist Raina Telgemeier takes the original stories about friendship, responsibility, dating, school, and family and turns them into good, comic fun.

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator

 

By MPPL on October 11, 2010 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Picks by Erin E., Realistic Stories

Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen

Flipped In Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen, Julianna has been crazy about Bryce since they were seven years old–and Bryce has been avoiding her from the first day they met.  But after what happens with Juli’s sycamore tree–not to mention all the eggs that came from the chickens that grew from the chicks that Juli hatched as her sixth grade science project–things start to turn upside down!  Soon Bryce isn’t so sure about anything anymore, except that he can’t stop thinking about Juli.  And Juli is absolutely sure of one thing–she is through with Bryce!  This is a funny and moving story you won’t be able to put down about love, families, and choosing to be the kind of person you really want to be.  (It’s also a movie.)

 

 

By MPPL on October 4, 2010 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Realistic Stories

Scarlett by Cathy Cassidy

Scarlett If you’ve ever gotten into trouble at school, then I’m sure you could really identify with the main character in Scarlett by Cathy Cassidy.  Scarlett, a twelve-year-old Londoner with hair dyed the color of ketchup and black fingernails,  is constantly getting into trouble at every school she attends.  Her mum finally gets so sick of her detentions and expulsions, that she decides to ship Scarlett off to her father’s cottage in Ireland.  Suddenly, she has to learn Gaelic in a one-room schoolhouse and she has also gained a new stepmum and stepsister.  Scarlett immediately begins thinking of ways to get out of Ireland as fast as possible until she meets Kian.  He is around her age, very cute, and suprisingly, very nice too.  He seems almost too good to be true!  Should she befriend him?  Will she ever learn to get along with her new family?  Read this book to find out!

 

By MPPL on September 8, 2010 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Realistic Stories

Notes from the Dog by Gary Paulsen (2010 Mosaic title)

Notes From the Dog Notes from the Dog by Gary Paulsen. “You’re not as ugly as you think,” said Dylan’s first note from the dog.  Dylan’s a loner.  His goal for the summer is to talk to as few people as possible.  Then he meets Johanna, a cool, funny graduate student, and starts receiving notes from the dog.  Joanna’s plan is to have Dylan plant a garden for her.  Although his efforts at gardening fail rather spectacularly, his time with Johanna helps him learn to connect with people and even how to talk to the cute girl he likes.  This 2010 Mosaic title will make you both laugh and cry.  You’ll be so glad you met Dylan and his friend.  (For grades 4 and up)

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

 

By MPPL on June 29, 2010 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Picks by Mary S., Realistic Stories