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J and YA Books

Storytimes for Toddlers and Preschoolers
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Books Read (JF and YA)
 

Ain, Beth Levine.  The Revolution of Sabine.  During Benjamin Franklin's visit to Paris in 1776, sixteen-year-old Sabine Durand rails against the strict rules of society and her social-climbing mother by rejecting her arranged marriage and spending more time with servants and others who accept Franklin's political ideals and those she read in Voltaire's Candide while having her portrait painted by the renowned artist, Fragonard. Found it slow to get into and didn't provide as much historical flavor as expected.  (3/09)

*Allison, Jennifer.  Gilda Joyce: The Ladies of the Lake. Having earned a scholarship to a private girls' high school, self-proclaimed psychic investigator Gilda Joyce investigates the circumstances surrounding the drowning death of a student whose ghost supposedly haunts the campus. (2/09)

 

Anderson, Laurie Halse.  Catalyst. Eighteen-year-old Kate, who sometimes chafes at being a preacher's daughter, finds herself losing control in her senior year as she faces difficult neighbors, the possibility that she may not be accepted by the college of her choice, and an unexpected death.  Not as good as Speak. (2/08)

 

*Anderson, Laurie Halse.  Chains.  YA F And.  After being sold to a cruel couple in New York City, a slave named Isabel spies for the rebels during the Revolutionary War.  A realistic look at a little-known part of Revolutionary America.  (12/08)

 

Armstrong, Alan.  Whittington.  JF Arm.  A current day story about talking animals in a barn who help each other with their daily challenges as well as two children struggling with a learning disability is interwoven with the medieval tale of Dick Whittington and his cat.  Gr. 4-6 (Newbery Honor Book)

 

Baccalario, Pierdomenico. The Door To Time (book one of the Ulysses Moore series).  JF Bac. Three children solve the puzzle of a mysterious house in England and find a portal to time travel.  Good aventure for Gr. 3-5. (11/07)

 

*Barrows, Annie.  Ivey + Bean.  JF Bar.  Bean discovers the "nice" (i.e., in Bean's opinion, boring!) girl next door is a lot more fun than expected.  Good for kids who like Junie B. Jones.  Gr. 3
 
 
 

*Bauer, A.C.E.  No Castles Here.  Eleven-year-old Augie Boretski dreams of escaping his run-down Camden, New Jersey, neighborhood, but things start to turn around with help from a Big Brother, a music teacher, and a mysterious bookstore owner, so when his school is in trouble, he pulls the community together to save it.  Weaves together fantasy and realistic, urban fiction elements.  (2/08)

 

* Bell, Ted.  Nick of Time.  Nick McIver is no ordinary boy, fighting pirates, beating Nazis at their own game, and traveling through time. Great adventure story, especially good for boys. (9/08)

 

*Blume, Lesley M. M.  The Rising Star of Rusty Nail.  JF Blu.  In the small town of Rusty Nail, Minnesota, in the early 1950s, musically talented ten-year-old Franny wants to take advanced piano lessons from newcomer Olga Malenkov, a famous Russian musician suspected of being a communist spy by gossipy members of the community. (2/08)

 

*Boston, L.M. The River at Green Knowe. JF Bos.  Series from 1950's England.  Three "displaced children" spend the summer at a home in the English countryside and have fantastic adventures.  Recommend for those who like Chronicles of Narnia. (5/08)

 

Bruchac, Joseph.  Code Talker. YA F Bru.  Follows Navajo young man's experience as a "Code Talker" in the Pacific in World War II.  Good adventure and look at a little known piece of WWII history.  For middle-high school boys.
 
Chick, Bryan.  The Secret Zoo.  J F Bry.  When his sister disappears, Noah, along with two friends, sneaks into the neighborhood zoo and delve into the unknown world of the animals, where they discover a great secret that the zoo is protecting.  I couldn't get into it. (9/08)
 
 
Clements, Andrew.  Lunch Money.  JF Cle.  Greg and enemy-turned-friend Maura work together to make and sell comic books at their school, along the way challenging the corporate marketing practices in their school.
 
*Conway, Celeste.  The Goodbye Time.  JF Con.  The close friendship of two eleven-year-old girls, who live in New York City, begins to unravel as each struggles to deal with a brother who is leaving home.  A reaistic portrayal of friendship shows the reader how it's possible to get through a rough patch in a friendship.  (6/09)
 
 

Cullen, Lynn.  I Am Rembrandt's Daughter.  YA F Cul.  Historical fiction told from the perspective of the teenage daughter of aging, impoverished Rembrandt.  Slow start but second half is better.  Piqued my interest in art history and this time period in European history. (11/07)

 

Day, Karen.  Tall Tales. YA Day.  Meg tells 'tall tales' about her life to feel accepted by classmates at her new school and hide the chaos of her homelife with an alcoholic father.  Gr. 6-8.
 
 
 
*Dowell, Frances O'Roark, The Secret Language of Girls.  JF Dow.  Marylin and Kate have been friends since nursery school, but when Marylin becomes a middle school cheerleader and Kate begins to develop other interests, their relationship is put to the test. A realistic reflection of girls' shifting friendships in middle school.  (5/09)
 
*Durand, Hallie.  Just Desserts.  JF Dur.  Eight-year-old Dessert and her friends are exposed to a highly contagious disease--the Annoying Sibling Disease. It's up to her to come up with a plan to stop this deadly disease.  (9/10)
 
 
Enright, Elizabeth.  The Saturdays JF Enr.  The 4 Melendy children pool their allowances to allow each child to take a turn having a Saturday adventure.  Published in 1941 but has a timeless feel.
 
 

* Franklin, Emily.  The Other Half of Me.  Feeling out of place in her athletic family, artistic sixteen-year-old Jenny Fitzgerald, whose biological father was a sperm donor, finds her half sister through the Sibling Donor Registry and contacts her, hoping that this will finally make her feel complete.  (2/08)

 

Friedman, D. Dina.  Playing Dad's Song. JF Fri.  Gus discovers a talent for composing music which helps him come to terms with his father's death at the World Trade Center on 9-11.
 

*Funke, Cornelia.  Igraine the Brave. JF Fun. The daughter of two magicians, twelve-year-old Igraine wants nothing more than to be a knight, and when their castle is attacked by a treacherous neighbor bent on stealing their singing magic books, Igraine has an opportunity to demonstrate her bravery. (2/08)

 

*Gallagher, Liz.  The Opposite of Invisible.  YAF Gal.  Artistic Seattle high school sophomore Alice decides to emerge from her cocoon and date a football player, which causes a rift between her and her best friend, a boy who wants to be more than just friends. (5/08)

 

George, Jean Craighead.  The Cats of Roxville Station.  JF Geo. Thrown into a river by a cruel human, a young tiger-striped cat fights to survive amid feral cats and other creatures near Roxville train station, aided by Mike, an eleven-year-old foster boy who is not allowed to have a pet.  More science lesson than story, will appeal to kids interested in learning more about cat behavior. (7/09)

 

*Greenwald. Lisa.  My life in Pink and Green.  YA F Gre.  When the family's drugstore is failing, seventh-grader Lucy uses her problem solving talents to come up with solution that might resuscitate the business, along with helping the environment. (3/09)

 

*Grogan, John.  Marley: A Dog Like No Other.  J636.752 Gro.  Marley, a lovable Labrador retriever, is always getting himself into trouble. Some may say he is the world's worst dog. But those who know and love Marley understand that nothing can stop his loyalty, exuberance, and passion-not even the Grogans' screen door! Children's adaptation of Marley & Me, NY Times Bestseller.  Alexandria's 1st "One City, One Book" selection for kids. (5/08)

 

Goldschmidt, Judy.  The Secret Blog of Raisin Rodriguez.  JF Gol.  In a weblog she sends to her best friends back in Berkeley, seventh-grader Raisin Rodriguez chronicles her successes and her more frequent humiliating failures as she attempts to make friends at her new Philadelphia school.
 
 
Haddix, Margaret Peterson.   Double Identity. YA F Had.  Thirteen-year-old Bethany's parents have always been overprotective, but when they suddenly drop out of sight with no explanation, leaving her with an aunt she never knew existed, Bethany uncovers shocking secrets that make her question everything she thought she knew about herself and her family.  For younger YA audience (6-8Gr)
 
*Hale, Shannon.  Princess Academy YA F Hal.  All the girls in a remote mountain village are sent to a "Princess Academy" to prepare them to be the prince's bride because the kingdom priests have declared that the next queen will come from this territory.  A good un-princess story with a strong, appealing protagonist. (Newbery Honor Book)
 
 

Halpin, Brendan.  How Ya Like Me Now. YA F Hal.  Realistic fiction.  15 year old Eddie moves in with his aunt, uncle and cousin when his mother goes into rehab.  He copes with the new life, an unusual progressive school, adjusting to being one of the few white kids at school, and builds new friendships.  Realistic portrayal of boys experiences.  Gr. 8-12 (11/07)

 

Henke, Kevin.  Bird Lake Moon.  JF Hen.  Twelve-year-old Mitch and his mother are spending the summer with his grandparents at Bird Lake after his parents separate, and ten-year-old Spencer and his family have returned to the lake where Spencer's little brother drowned long ago, and as the boys become friends and spend time together, each of them begins to heal.  Ending was abrupt and not satisfying.  (11/08)

 

Jennings, Patrick.  Barb and Dingbat's Crybaby Hotline.  Set in 1975-76 and told completely as a phone conversation.  Slow to get into it and telephone-conversation style got annoying. Not recommended. (5/08)

  

 
Kimmel, Eric A.  A Horn for Louis.  JF Kim.  Fictionalized account of how Louis Armstrong acquired his first trumpet. 
 
*Kluger, Steve.  My Most Excellent Year.  YA F Klu. Three teenagers in Boston narrate their experiences of a year of new friendships, first loves, and coming into their own.  Sweet and funny -- good for both guys and girls. (7/08)
 
 
Konigsburg, E.L.  The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic WorldYA Kon.  Amedo moves to a new town with a dream. He wants to discover something and he wants a friend to share his search.  Found it hard to get into the story. (3/08)
 
LaFaye, A.  Worth.  JF Laf.  Nate, a Nebraska farm boy around the turn of the century, has his life shattered when his leg is crushed in a farming accident.  A boy from the Orphan Train joins the family to take over his work while he goes to school.  A different perspective on the Orphan Train experience, from the perspective of the family who took in an orphan.
 
Lenhard, Elizabeth.  Chicks with Sticks YA F Len.  Four high school sophomores reconnect old and find new friendships and changing relationships with parents as they become immersed in knitting.  Well drawn characters and believable plot turns.  Similar spirit to Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Gr. 6-9.
 
Levithan, David.  How They Met and other stories YA F Lev.  Compilation of love stories Levithan has written, starting when he was in high school.  Some better than others.  Many of the stories describe homosexual relationships.  Gr. 11-12. (5/08)
 
 
 
*Lowry, Lois.  The Willoughbys.  JF Low.  In this tongue-in-cheek take on classic themes in children's literature, the four Willoughby children set about to become "deserving orphans" after their neglectful parents embark on a treacherous around-the-world adventure, leaving them in the care of an odious nanny. (5/08)
 
 
Mayer, Melody.  The Nannies.  YA F May.  First in a series about three girls from different backgrounds who become nannies for the super-rich in Bel Air.  A good "beach read".  Lots of sex talk but no actual sex.  For older teens. 
 
*Mazer, Norma Fox.  Ten Ways to Make My Sister Disappear. J F Maz.  Everything ten-year-old Sprig wants, her older sister Dakota already has. Everything Sprig does, Dakota does better. And anytime Sprig complains, Dakota just grins and calls her a baby. Its little sister versus big sister in a sweet new take on an age-old struggle.  Also deals with the father's absence, working in Afganistan. (4/08)
 
McCarthy, Maureen.  Rose by Any Other Name.  YA F McC.  During a road tr
ip with her mother from Melbourne to Fairy Point, Australia, to see her dying grandmother, nineteen-year-old Rose gains a new perspective on events of the previous year, when family problems, the end of a long-term friendship, and bad personal choices dramatically transformed her near-perfect life. (11/08)
 
 
 
 
*Mills, Claudia.  The Totally Made-up Civil War Diary of Amanda MacLeish.  JF Mil.  While dealing with her parents' separation and her best friend's distance, Amanda is able to work out some of her anxiety through her fifth-grade project--writing a diary from the point of view of a ten-year-old girl whose brothers fight on opposite sides in the Civil War.  Effectively shows the subtle racism even well-meaning people direct towards one black boy in Amanda's class.  (5/08)
 
Montgomery, L.M. The Blue CastleSet in the 1920's, 29 year old Valancy is a meek old maid until she discovers she has less than a year to live.  She decides to stop living based on fear and finds a new life she never dreamed she could have.  (2/09)
 
 
*Myracle, Lauren.  ttyl. YA Myr.  Teen girls friendship novel with a twist -- written completely in "Instant message" conversation.  Takes a little while to get into the flow of the IM but after that I enjoyed it. Feels very real-life.
 

Namioka, Lensey. Mismatch. YA Nam.  Different perspective on discrimination and prejudice told through a romance between a  Chinese-American and Japanese American girl and boy

 
 
*Neff, Henry. The Tapestry, book 1 of the Hound of Rowan series.  J Nef.  After glimpsing a hint of his destiny in a mysterious tapestry, twelve-year-old Max McDaniels becomes a student at Rowan Academy, where he trains in "mystics and combat" in preparation for war with an ancient enemy that has been kidnapping children like him. Recommend as a Harry Potter read-alike.  Both are about life in a school of magic but Hound is more grounded in our real world.
 
Petrucha, Stefan.  Teen Inc.  YA Pet.  Fourteen-year-old Jaiden Beales family is a corporation and his home is in an office building. When his parents are killed in an accident caused by NECorp, the company adopts Jaiden to avoid a lawsuit. Wanting a normal life, a frustrated Jaiden rebels and in the process uncovers some scandalous information about NECorp.
 
 

*Pitchford, Dean. The Big One –Oh. JF Pit. Determined not to be weird all his life like his neighbor, Charley Maplewood decides to throw himself a tenth birthday party, complete with a "house of horrors" theme, but first he will have to make some friends to invite. Funny and a great boy’s book. (12/07)

 

Plummer, Louise.  Finding Daddy.  Just before her sixteenth birthday, Mira finally tracks down the father she has never known, but a few days before meeting him--without her mother's or grandmother's knowledge--someone breaks into her home, beginning an escalating series of crimes.  Not very suspenseful as it's clear pretty soon that Daddy is the bad guy. (2/08)

 

Sachs, Marilyn.  Lost in America.  YA F Sac.  Story of a young Jewish woman's first year in America after surviving WWII in France.
 
 
 
Shirripa, Steven R. and Fleming, Charles.  Nicky Deuce: Welcome to the Family.  JF Shir.  Written by a Sopranos cast member.  A good boys adventure about a rich suburban boy who spends a couple weeks getting to know his Italian-american relatives in Brooklyn.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Wilson, N.D.  100 Cupboards.  JF Wil.  After his parents are kidnapped, timid 12-year-old Henry York leaves his sheltered Boston life and moves to small-town Kansas where he and his cousin discover and explore hidden doors in his attic room that seem to open onto other worlds.  I couldn't get into it.  (8/08)
 
 
 
 
 
Dale, Anna.  Dawn Undercover
 
Friesen, Gayle.  The Isabel Factor
 
Lockhart, E.  Fly on the Wall
 
Hurwitz, Johanna.  The Unsigned Valentine
 
Lombard, Jenny.  Drita, My Homegirl
 
Whittenberg, Allison.  Sweet Thang

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