Saturday, October 28, 2017

Midnight Reynolds and the Spectral Transformer (Midnight Reynolds #1) by Catherine Holt

Midnight Reynolds and the Spectral Transformer
This is a fun ghostly middle grade mystery!  Twelve year old Midnight has moved to a new town with her family and the two most popular girls in her school, Sav and Lucy, have befriended her.  Having always been left out, she tries her best to fit in and that means having spending money.  Luckily, she gets a job working for a neighbor, Miss Appleby, who was also born at midnight on Halloween.  Miss Appleby tells Midnight that they both have the ability to see spectral energy.  Because Miss Appleby has hurt her ankle, she hires Midnight to capture the spectral energy.  Eventually, however, Midnight realizes that Miss Appleby is hiding secrets.  Tabitha, who Midnight's partner for a school project, helps her to investigate Miss Appleby and to see the truth about Sav and Lucy.  I think that middle grade kids will enjoy this ghostly mystery!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon

Cover art

I already loved Ruth Bader Ginsburg and this book made me love her even more.  She is totally awesome!  I listened to the audio version of the book, but I also checked out the paper copy of the book so I could see the photos.  The book is well written and interesting and full of intriguing facts about RBG.  She is just so fabulous!  I don't think that we realize how far women's rights have actually progressed until we look back and see what women like RBG overcame.  She is my superhero and I admire and appreciate her even more after reading this book.  I highly recommend this book!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Girl Who Saved Ghosts (The Unbelievables #2) by K.C. Tansley

The Girl Who Saved Ghosts (The Unbelievables, #2)
In this second book in this YA paranormal romance series, seventeen year old Kat is still trying to save everyone else and sacrifice herself.  There is more time travel and body snatching and magic and Kat wants to meet her father who she thinks abandoned her because he didn't care for her or her mother.  Is Kat the chosen one?  She can travel backwards in time and change the past, but will that actually fix things?  There is more drama, magic and time travel to come in the next book!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard

The Ship of the Dead (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, #3)

 If you like the other books in this series, you will enjoy this one as well.   Magnus and his friends sail off on a bright yellow ship that also folds up into a handkerchief to stop Loki from starting Ragnarok, the end of the world.  We learn more about the characters and why they wound up in Valhalla and other aspects of Norse mythology are brought into the story.  The story is funny and silly yet deals with several inclusive issues as Sam fasts for Ramadan and gender-fluid Alex begins a romance.  This is the last book in this series, but it hints at more Percy Jackson adventure!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

The Rules of Magic (Practical Magic, #0)
This prequel to the book Practical Magic is set in the 1960s and it follows the Owens siblings, Franny, Jet, and Vincent.  Alice Hoffman's unique writing style makes magical realism come to life as Susanna unsuccessfully tries to keep her children from their magical heritage.  They learn from their Aunt Isabelle that their family is cursed and that anyone they fall in love with is doomed, yet she encourages them to love anyway.  The story is lovely and magical as all of Hoffman's books are and I highly recommend it.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
I listened to the audio version of this book because the narrator is Lin-Manuel Miranda and I figure that I will most likely never get to see Hamilton, and this is the closest I will get.  He did a fabulous job reading the book and the book is totally excellent.  The book begins when Aristotle, who goes by Ari, is fifteen years old.  He has no friends because he is socially awkward. Ari is obsessed with the fact that his older brother is in prison, but his parents never talk about him at all.  Ari is befriended by Dante, who teaches him how to swim and who is like no one that Ari has ever met before.  Throughout the span of the book, over more than a year, Ari learns quite a bit about himself, about friendship and about his family. Several touchy issues are covered, including bullying, LGBTQ issues, PTSD and more.  I enjoyed this book and highly recommend it. 

Friday, October 13, 2017

A Stick Until... by Constance Anderson

I love this excellent little picture book that combines a story about how animals and people use a stick along with lots of interesting factual information!  I think this book is just fantastic and is great for preschool through middle school children!  It encourages the use of imagination and shares many intriguing facts! 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Cat Up, Cat Down by Catherine Hnatov

This bright, simple opposites book is sure to please children and parents alike!  It is filled with positional opposites.  It is great for toddlers through preschool and would make an excellent book for story time in the library!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Jack and the Geniuses At The Bottom of The World by Bill Nye The Science Guy & Gregory Mone

At the Bottom of the World (Jack and the Geniuses, #1)
In this fun middle grade novel, twelve year old Jack and his "siblings", Ava and Matt are emancipated ex-foster children who live together and are guided by a guardian.  After Jack talks his sister Ava into flying her homemade drone over a mysterious building, they become partners with an eccentric inventor, Dr. Hank Witherspoon, who takes them with him on a trip to Antarctica for a science competition.  This book has mystery, science and cool kids!  I think that middle grade readers will enjoy it very much.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Beatrice Zinker Upside Down Thinker by Shelley James

Beatrice Zinker, Upside Down Thinker
Beatrice is spunky and does everything her own way, which is usually a bit different.  She does her best thinking upside down, and is excited about going to school on the first day of third grade in a ninja outfit.  Her best friend, Lenny is also supposed to be wearing her ninja outfit, but instead Lenny has changed.  She is taller and wearing a skirt and has a new friend who just moved to the neighborhood.  Beatrice has to learn how to include the new girl, Chloe and embrace Lenny's changes while still being her own, adventurous self.  This early chapter book has cute illustrations and I think that children in grades 1-4 will enjoy this book.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Fish-Boy An Inuit Folk Tale By Vanita Oelschlager

Lovely artwork accompanies this Inuit folktale about where the sea parrots come from.  Even though Fish-boy has no arms, he has a big heart and some helpful magic. I enjoyed this book and I highly recommend it!

Monday, October 2, 2017

Once You Know This by Emily Blejwas

Once You Know This
Eleven year old Brittany lives in a very broken family.  Her cruel stepfather is physically and emotionally abusive, her grandmother who lives with them is very ill, she often goes hungry and she lives in inner city Chicago where most families have many similarly stressful circumstances.  She is helped by her optimistic 5th grade teacher, her best friend and her neighbors.  Brittany decides to come up with a plan to get away from her stepfather and when she finds a birthday card to her grandmother in the mail from her grandmother's brother, she sets out to investigate a way to contact him.  This story is very sad and full of very unfortunate circumstances.  It is touching and well written and I think that middle grade and above students and adults will benefit from reading this book.

The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street by Lindsay Currie

The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street
Twelve year old Tessa has moved to Chicago with her family, leaving her best friend and her beloved state of Florida.  The first thing that she finds out is that her new house is haunted!  Flickering lights, mysterious drawings, the sound of a child crying and her brother's creepy puppet talking to her have Tessa totally freaked out, but her new friends not only believe her, but are willing to help her solve the mystery and find out which ghost is haunting her house and why.  This is a great Halloween month read for middle grade kids!