The Giver was originally published in 1993 and won the Newbery Medal in 1994. It follows a 12-year-old boy named Jonas in a utopian society with no pain, war, crime or unhappiness. There are also no choices, no weather, no colors and no love. Even memories are limited and the memories of past generations are given only to one person, the Receiver of Memories. When Jonas is chosen to be the next Receiver, the old Receiver becomes The Giver. And when Jonas begins learning of his society's past from the Giver, he begins to see in color, to feel frustration and to realize how much he and the rest of the community are missing. It all leads to a mysterious ending that will leave you wanting more. This book is appropriate for ages 12 and up. Level 5.7 Points: 7
_Grades 4 and up. I'm a big fan of books turned movies, but only if the moviegoer reads the book first. Because, of course, the book is always better and serves to "fill in the blanks" where the movie falls short. The Invention of Hugo Cabret is now a movie, called Hugo. Hugo is a 12-year-old orphan who lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station. His undercover life consists of tending to the clocks, and stealing whatever he needs to survive. What is wonderful about this Caldecott winning book, are the beautiful, detailed illustrations that help to narrate the story. It's a whole new genre, more than a picture book, but not a graphic novel. And the author does all the illustrations himself seemingly using only a pencil. So don't let the size of this book put you off. It's got over 300 pages of illustrations! Now, read the book, THEN, go see the movie! Level 5.1, Points 4
Grades 4-6. This new series for middle-grade girls is so much fun to read. Diana Donato is an eighth grader sent to work in the family dry-cleaning business by her step-mother, whom she has a hard time getting along with. She also has two "evil" little step-sisters. The story revolves around a beautiful dress brought into the cleaners, some "found" tickets to a Broadway show, and a midnight curfew. Sound familiar? Picking out the similarities to the real Cinderella story is great fun, and the story is well-written. There are now five books in the series. You can check out the first two at our library. The second book is called Prep Cool. Level 4.8, Points 6
It is the first Christmas Eve since Matt's mom died, but things get worse when a bear chases Matt and his dog Sara deep into the woods. Sara is wounded and Matt is lost. This simple, heartwarming tale is the perfect read for Christmastime. This is a shorter chapter book and will be enjoyed by kids ages 8-12. Level 3.8, 1 Point
Go to a bookstore and you will find entire rows dedicated to child-rearing. That's what makes Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's approach to discipline even more refreshing and hilarious today. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle dispenses advise from her upside-down house that smells like cookies and has treasure buried in the backyard. From the "Slow- Eaters-Tiny-Bite-Takers" cure to "Won't-Take-A-Bath-itis," Mrs. Piggle-Wiggles magic cures will amuse and educate children on proper behavior. This one is a great read-aloud for younger readers. Each chapter contains it's own little story and cure. Level 5.2, Points 3
I think the main difference between girls and boys is that boys have to try dangerous stuff before they decide whether they are dangerous or not. Like, what would happen if you peed on an electric fence? And put several 13 year old boys in a small northern Minnesota town, with no TV or organized sports and that spells trouble. Gary Paulsen is the author of Hatchet and tons of other great "boy" books. But when he gets to talking about his own childhood, you marvel that he is even alive today. In an age where even the hockey players didn't wear helmets or pads, Gary and his friends spend time trying to outdo one another in death-defying adventures. From skiing behind a speeding car, to going over a waterfall in a sealed barrel...to talking to girls. This little book is a quick read that will have you in stitches, and even more so because it's true! Oh, and if you are wondering about the title, "Angel" is really a boy named Carl who came so near to dying over a particular stunt that he heard the angels singing. And you'll never guess what song they sang! Boys in 4th-8th grade in particular will love this book, but I'm a girl and I loved it too! Level 6, Points 3
In Mibs family, turning 13 is more than just becoming a teenager. It's when they get their savvy, a special gift, like a superpower. One of Mibs' older brothers can change the weather. The other brother creates electricity. And Mibs' mother is, well, perfect. Now Mibs is about to turn 13 and all she wants is a power to save her dad, who has been in a terrible accident.
This 2008 Newbery Honor Book, is full of funny, wacky characters that the reader will grow to love. The book was on Oprah's Book Club Kids Reading List. Grades 5-8 will love it! Level 6, Points 9
Imagine your favorite grandma passes away. In her will, she offers you either one million dollars...or a clue to a treasure. What would you do? This is the first in a 10 book series that follows Amy and her brother Dan Cahill around the world in search of 39 clues that will lead to the secret of the Cahill family. There is something for both boys and girls in these action-packed books. Amy Cahill, age 14, is a very smart, but very shy girl who would rather curl up with a good book than be around people. Amy's younger brother Dan, 11, is something of a troublemaker, but is a genius at math and cracking codes. Girls will like how Amy uses books and research to figure out clues, and boys will like how Dan uses cool gadgets to evade their enemies. It's like the movie National Treasure...but instead of a grown-up chasing clues around the country, while being chased by bad guys, it's Amy and Dan. They are accompanied by a sort of grown-up, to buy plane tickets and stuff like that, but she's too busy listening to her iPod to keep a close eye on them. Level 4.3 Points 7
Grades 6-8. This may seem a crazy choice for a first book review, but I can explain. This happens to be my absolute favorite book of all time. I read it for the first time at age 12, and have read it many time since then. So for you Twilight fans out there who have not turned a page since the end of Breaking Dawn, I challenge you to read this book. And it will challenge you. The beginning may have you wanting to chuck it out the window for all it's flowery descriptions of the Old South, but trust me, deep down it's just like Twilight only without vampires. The book begins just before the onset of the Civil War. Scarlett is the gorgeous main character, vain and stubborn. She thinks she's in love with one guy, Ashley (yes, that's a guy's name), but Ashley (like his name) is a wimp. Then there's this other guy Rhett, who's handsome and dangerous, but Scarlett is too stubborn to admit that she likes him. But it's not all romance, the war begins which brings a lot of drama. Not werewolves or anything, but Yankees. Give it a try! Level 6.9 Points 69
Mrs. Piazza is one of the library ladies at St. John's Lutheran School. She loves books! Ask her what her favorite series was when she was in grade school. Hint: There is a color in the series name!