If You’re Reading This
by Trent Reedy
Grades 7 & up
Mike’s dad died serving in Afghanistan seven years ago, when Mike was eight-years-old. Now that he is almost sixteen, letters from his father have started arriving. They were written while he was deployed, and scheduled to be sent to Mike in case he died, but not until his sophomore year of high school. They contain advice that Mike’s dad had written to his son’s future self, and Mike tries to follow the advice. This shakes up the routine at home, where Mike’s mom, working two jobs, fiercely limits her children’s activities. Can Mike become the person he wants to be, the person his dad wanted him to be, without destroying what is left of his family in the process? Includes play-by-plays of high school football games. Recommended for grades 7-10.
The Glorkian Warrior Delivers a Pizza
by James Kochalka
Grades 1 & up
This graphic novel will grab young readers from the start! The Glorkian Warrior and his Super Backpack are trying to decide on their next adventure when a mysterious phone call comes in, asking for a pepperoni pizza. As they rush into their mission, they encounter one hilarious obstacle after another. Perfect for readers in 1st & 2nd grade, looking for a stepping stone between picture books and chapter books.
The Sign of the Cat
by Lynne Jonell
Grades 4 & up
Duncan’s mother wants him to remain unremarkable and not draw attention, but she won’t tell him why. He has to keep his head covered, not be the best at anything, and never go down to the wharf when a strange ship docks. There is one remarkable thing about Duncan though — he can speak Cat. Duncan follows his mother’s rules for the most part, until the day he decides to do his best on the Academy entrance exams. This sets in motion a chain of events that realizes his mother’s worst fears. An exciting adventure filled with ships, royalty, and treason. Highly recommended for grades 4 and up.
Searching for Sarah Rector: The Richest Black Girl in America
by Tonya Bolden
Grades 4 & up
I learned quite a bit reading this book. I had no idea that Native Americans owned African American slaves, or that they took them with when the tribes were forced to move west. I also didn’t know that with the Emancipation Proclamation these slaves were considered part of the Native American tribes and thus given land grants along with the rest of the tribal members. This tells the story of one such girl, Sarah Rector, a Creek freedman, when oil was discovered on her acreage. Her 12% take of the oil earnings made her very wealthy. An interesting look at lesser known story from the westward expansion of the United States and the discovery of oil in Oklahoma. Recommended to grades 4 & up.
Running Out of Night
by Sharon Lovejoy
Grdes 5 & up
Lark lives a miserable existence as a virtual slave to her Pa and her older brothers. It takes everything she has just to survive each day. When an actual runaway slave named Zenobia comes into her house looking for safety, Lark first helps her and then runs away with her. Together they save each other, as they seek the safety of the Underground Railroad and true freedom. Recommended for grades 5-8.
by Michaela MacColl
Grades 5 & up
This book started out like many others with orphans in New York City destined to be shipped west on the orphan trains. There were, however, several unexpected twists. First, Rory and her sister Violet were well cared for at The Foundling, a Catholic orphanage run by kind nuns. Second, they were not to be auctioned off at the wagon train stops. Instead, their new homes had been pre-selected through a network of Catholic priests. The unexpected happens when they reach their final destination, the mining town of Clifton, Arizona. All of the Catholic families are Mexican immigrants. The white townspeople are not Catholic, but feel they are deserving of white children. To the nuns, religion is more important than nationality, but others in the town do not see it that way. The town begins to erupt in race riots. Based on a true story, this books offers a unique perspective on the orphan trains. Recommended for grades 5-8.
Furious Jones and the Assassin’s Secret
by Tim Kehoe
Grades 7 & up
Furious is the son of Robert Jones, internationally acclaimed author of best-selling spy thrillers. When both his parents are mysteriously murdered, Furious learns that his father’s latest book, set to be released shortly, contains clues to their murders as well as answers to why his entire family is being hunted down. With nothing but a few sneak peeks to go on, Furious sets out on the adventure of a lifetime — to stop a killer before it is too late. This is an action packed start to a new series. Recommended for grades 7 & up.
by Michelle Houts
Grade 3 & up
Christmas is not turning out as Bettina expect. It is the first Christmas with out her beloved grandfather. While her father’s trip on Christmas day was planned, her mother’s was not. In all of the hustle and confusion, no one left a bowl of rice pudding out for the Nisse (a Danish gnome type creature). Klakke is young, as nisse go, and is truly upset about being forgotten. After working some mischief in the barn, his curiosity gets the better of him. One thing leads to another and he ends up taking Pia, Bettina’s one-year-old sister. Bettina must use all of her resources and everything she knows of nisse lore to figure out a way to get her sister back before her parents get home. This appears to take place in rural, present day Denmark since there are flashlights and telephones. A good Christmas time story for grades 3-6.
Posted in Fantasy
Disappearance at Hangman’s Bluff
by J.E. Thompson
Grades 5 & up
In this sequel to The Girl from Felony Bay, Abbey and Bee have another mystery on their hands. When they witness someone stealing their neighbor’s pregnant Boykin Spaniel, they feel they must find her before the impending tropical storm hits the island. One clue leads to another as they uncover a murder and links to a string of robberies. Includes interesting information about slave graveyards as well. Recommended for grades 5-8.
Because They Marched: The People’s Campaign for Voting Rights That Changed America
by Russell Freedman
Grades 5 & up
A look at the historic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965, including the events that led up to it and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that was passed in large part due to the violence that surrounded it. Includes an epilogue about the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision taking away some of the power of that act. Illustrated with powerful black and white photographs throughout. Recommended for grades 5 and up.