Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is truly a children's classic that I fear is becoming forgotten. It is a melancholy story about a young girl, Francie Nolan, growing up in a gritty Brooklyn neighborhood in the twenties. Despite the poverty and and degradation of her life, Francie tries so hard to find beauty and joy whenever she can. The book ends when Francie is just becoming an adult, and while it may not be a very happy story, it is a realistic and enjoyable coming-of-age story.

Also Try:

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
A Little Pricess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Gingersnap by Patricia Reilly Giff is a bittersweet novel about an orphaned girl in 1940's New York. Jayna's guardian is her big brother but he has to leave to fight in WWII. Jayna is not happy with her living situation while her brother is gone and so she takes some pretty courageous steps to change it. There is a little bit of a paranormal element to the story too, but it only makes the story more interesting for young readers.

Also try:
Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool
Hattie Ever After by Kirby Larson
The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine

Monday, December 10, 2012


Wonder, by R.J. Palacio is a beautiful story written with compassion and kindness about a boy born with a facial deformity that prevented him from attending a mainstream school until 5th grade! August Pullman wants nothing more than to be included and treated as an ordinary kid but his classmates struggle seeing past his looks. This book is written from August's perspective and the perspective of other characters as well. These various points of view reflect a true struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance. Terrific opportunity for the 8-12 year old in a society dealing with so much bullying to meet a sweet, funny boy who wants the same things others want: friendship, understanding, and the freedom to be himself and to meet those in his life who are opening to allow him just that freedom. A well-written, engaging, book so much fun to read that the pages almost turn themselves!   -Aurora

The Great Unexpected by Sharon Creech
The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine
One for the Murphy's by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Princess Posey and the First Grade Parade

Princess Posey and the First Grade Parade, by There is also a confidence-building ending in which the new first graders are encouraged to be true to themselves.  This series of books makes the transition from early readers to chapter books a fun experience!  - Aurora

Princess Posey and the Perfect Present by

The Seven Treasure Hunts

The Seven Treasure Hunts, by Betsy Byars, is a fun pick for transitional readers.  A book written for the grade 2-5 age group but still an easy reader for those who need to build their confidence.  Two boys named Jackson and Goat, who create maps and leave clues for seven treasure hunts over seven chapters.  A great choice  that will leave kids laughing and feeling good about themselves! -Aurora

Tippy Lemmey by

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Turkey Monster Thanksgiving

Turkey Monster Thanksgiving , by Anne Warren Smith is a  read for the 3-6 grader with a traditional Thanksgiving feel for the less than traditional family. The main character, Katie's mother has gone off to be a country-and-western singer, so Katie, her father, and her three-year-old brother, Tyler, have to fend for themselves.  They usually spend Thanksgiving lounging in their pajamas, munching on pizza and popcorn, and watching football on TV. When her perfectionist classmate Claire Plummer taunts her with pictures from Beautiful Living of perfect celebrations, Katie starts to think that a grand dinner would help cement her family together, but she is embarrassed about her brother's rude table manners.  Katie finds herself inviting her teacher for Thanksgiving dinner and she and her dad scramble to make things happen and chaos ensues! An easy-to-digest holiday fare. -Aurora


Bittersweet Summer by Anne Warren Smith
Tails of Spring Break by Anne Warren Smith
Blue Denim Blues by Anne Warren Smith

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Okay for now by Gary Schmidt

Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt  is a very unique book about Doug Swiatek, a boy whose family moves to upstate New York in the 1960's.  In the devastating move to "stupid Marysville" where his family lives in a house he calls "The Dump," Doug makes unexpected new friends, discovers hidden talents, and copes with family issues of an alcoholic abusive father and a brother home from Vietnam, suffering from physical and mental injuries.  Doug's story is moving as he faces challenge after challenge, but as a narrator he is hilarious.  Okay for Now offers the best of both worlds.

Try also:

Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos
Al Capone does my shirts by