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A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

Posted January 24, 2014 | Posted in Kids Books

In a Victorian boarding school story, sixteen-year-old Gemma Doyle’s unconventional upbringing in India leads her to the day she foresees her mother’s death. Her vision turns out to be true. With her mother gone, her father sends her back to England, and enrolls her at Spence, a girls’ academy with a mysterious burned-out East Wing. Gemma blackmails herself and her dumpy roomate, Ann, into  a treacherous clique, lead by Felicity and Pippa. Gemma realizes she’s being followed by Kartik, a beautiful young man from India. Her visions continue, and one night she is led by a child-spirit to discover the secrets of a mystical Order. The clique accompanies Gemma to the other-world realms of her visions and discover that the delights are overwhelmed by a menace they can’t control.

The Watsons Go Birmingham-1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis

Posted January 24, 2014 | Posted in Kids Books

This is a very fun, family read that boys or girls would enjoy. It is about a family with 3 children that live in Flint, Michigan. They go on a road trip to Birmingham, AL and learn several important life lessons along the way. Lots of funny anecdotes. It has a bit of a “Christmas Story” feel to it. Probably, the youngest age I would recommend is 4th grade. There is one chapter that is a little shocking. It isn’t graphic, and none of the story’s characters are harmed, but there is fear, and tension. Overall, the story is very heart warming and fun. The ending can be a bit perplexing for those readers that are very logical and realistic, because the youngest member of the family, who tells the tale, is convinced that he has some sort of mystical connection to death.

Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech

Posted January 24, 2014 | Posted in Kids Books

I really enjoyed this story. A bit of a tear jerker. I love the friendship between Pheobe and Sal. Their shared “loss” of a mother brings them close and Sal learns to accept her friends quirky behavior by trying to understand the sadness behind it. Discovering the storyline twist was sad and yet clarifying all at the same time. Very enjoyable story and great for boys or girls in 5th grade and up.

My Basmati Bat Mitzvah by Paula J. Freedman

Posted January 10, 2014 | Posted in Kids Books

A sweet, lighthearted story of friendship with a touch of romance. Tara Bernstein, 12, is preparing for her Bat Mitzvah but, as she ponders her mixed Hindu and Jewish heritage (her Indian mother converted to Judaism), she wonders whether having a Bat Mitzvah is the right thing for her.  She is also reluctant to acknowledge that she and her friends are changing. As she makes her way through these challenges, she learns a great deal about friendship, family, and heritage.

Amy and the Missing Puppy by Callie Barkley

Posted January 10, 2014 | Posted in Kids Books
Introducing The Critter Club.  Amy and her friends solve a canine caper in this start to a pet-friendly illustrated chapter book series. It’s Spring Break in Santa Vista, and everyone has big plans…everyone except for Amy, as her best friends head out of town on exciting adventures, Amy resigns herself to helping out at her mom’s vet clinic. At least she’ll be around cute animals. But when Santa Vista’s cold and elusive millionaire, Marge Sullivan, brings her puppy Rufus for a check-up, Amy encounters an unexpected mystery. After her friends return home, the girls get to the bottom of what happened to Rufus–and discover a way to help other lost and lonely animals in their town. With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, The Critter Club chapter books are perfect for beginning readers.

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