Chopsticks

ChopsticksChopsticks
by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Grades K-3

This is not only a fantastic story, but full of hilarious puns as well. (My favorite is when the injured chopstick is “whisked” away.) Chopsticks are always together, but when one chopstick has an accident and breaks her tip, the other must face life alone while her partner recuperates. At first this is difficult, but in the end they find that their time a part strengthens their partnership. A great story for all, but especially for children who are clinging a little too hard to their friends. A must read for fans of Spoon. Highly recommended for grades K-3.

Saving Mr. Terupt

Saving Mr. TeruptSaving Mr. Terupt
by Rob Buyea
Grades 4-7

In this third book about Mr. Terupt’s students, they have moved on from his class and up to seventh grade at the junior high, where they are each facing their own struggles. Told in alternating chapters from their different points of view, we see how each of the seven students are making their way through unexpected bumps during the school year. The stories all pick up where the second book left off, and it is imperative to have read the first two books before this one. Their ups and downs include tests of friendship, illnesses, changing family dynamics, student government, athletic contests, and finally a threat to the school budget so devastating that they put aside all of their differences to work together. This gripping school story has something for everyone. Recommended for fans of the series, grades 4-7.

eARC provided by publisher via NetGalley

Lost in the Sun

Lost in the SunLost in the Sun
by Lisa Graff
Grades 4-7

This companion volume to Umbrella Summer shows the effects of Jared’s death on Trent, the boy who hit the fatal hockey puck. Although everyone reassures him that it was an accident, Trent still feels that it was his fault. If he hadn’t hit that puck, Jared would still be alive. Trent has withdrawn into himself all summer long, and now that school is starting he can’t break free. He systemically alienates everyone in his life — his parents, his teachers, his brothers, his friends. It gets worse when his younger brother becomes friends with the sister of the boy who died. Just when it seems like he will never be able to put his life back together, Trent finds help in some unexpected places.

This is a hard book to read, as we see Trent sinking lower and lower into despair, sabotaging himself along the way. I highly recommend reading Umbrella Summer first. Recommended for grades 4-7.

ARC provided by publisher.

Bringing Down the Mouse

Bringing Down the MouseBringing Down the Mouse
by Ben Mezrich
Grades 4-8

Sixth grader Charlie Lewis loves math and science. With two scientist parents, it is no wonder that he has grown up seeing math not as a subject in school, but a big part of everyday life. When two mysterious seventh graders approach him with the premise that you can use math and science to beat the games on the Midway Fair, he his intrigued. When he is invited to join a super secret group at school that wants to pull the same thing over the biggest amusement park in the country, he is curious. Can their plan work? Is it really all math and science? A high stakes adventure that every math lover must read. Recommended for grades 4-8.

Spoon

SpoonSpoon
by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Grades K-2

Super cute picture book that so many students will relate to! Spoon feels like everybody has a more exciting life than he does. Little does he know that the cutlery he envies are jealous of what they see him doing. With the help of his mother, he begins to appreciate all of the things he can do and not focus on what he cannot. Recommended for grades K-2.

Umbrella Summer

Umbrella SummerUmbrella Summer
by Lisa Graff
Grades 4-7

Annie’s brother Jared died in a freak accident the previous February, and Annie, her mother, and her father are each grieving in their own ways. For Annie it comes through as being overly cautious. She is obsessed with illnesses and accidents, constantly worrying that something tragic will happen to her. She takes extra precautions, such as wearing her bike helmet everywhere and passing up on possibly dangerous activities. In the process, she is driving her friends away. Her parents tell her to stop worrying, but don’t want to talk about her brother at all. As her brother’s birthday (July 9th) rapidly approaches, her parents withdraw further, leaving Annie to manage the best she can. When a new neighbor moves in across the street, she is able to offer Annie a fresh perspective and the guidance that she desperately needs. A moving story about dealing with grief and loss, while still having the courage to go on living. Recommended for grades 4-7.

The Island of Dr. Libris

The Island of Dr. LibrisThe Island of Dr. Libris
by Chris Grabenstein
Grades 3-6

Billy is not looking forward to spending the summer at the lake, in the cabin his mother rented from her colleague Dr. Libris. His mother is working on her dissertation and his father is staying in the city. There is no TV or video games and it is looking to be a long, lonely summer. With nothing else to do, Billy starts a search for the key that unlocks Dr. Libris’s cabinet of books. It is when he finds it and starts reading that something truly amazing happens. The characters he reads are brought to life on the island in the lake. As characters from Greek mythology, Robin Hood, The Three Musketeers, and more draw him into their stories, Billy and his new friend Walter must figure out ways to adjust the outcomes. This is a fun adventure with some truly hilarious moments, and may even entice readers into reading some of the classics mentioned in the story. Recommended for grades 3-6.

Orangutanka: A Story in Poems

Orangutanka: A Story in PoemsOrangutanka: A Story in Poems
by Margarita Engle
Grades K-3

This fun picture book about an orangutan family is told entirely in Tanka poems, the format of which is explained in the beginning of the book. This small family group lives in a wildlife preserve. As big sister orangutan frolics under the watchful eyes of her mother, father, and grandmother, we see humans also happily observing her antics. The bright illustrations will draw readers in and the lively poems will keep them interested. It culminates in an invitation to participate in an orangutan dance. Recommended for grades K-3.

The Disappearance of Emily H.

The Disappearance of Emily H.The Disappearance of Emily H.
by Barrie Summy
Grades 5-8

Raine has inherited her grandmother’s ability to read people’s memories through objects that they have touched. When she grabs a “sparkle,” she can watch a snippet of memory unfold. This has allowed her to have an easier time transitioning to new schools as her mother moves them around the country. Starting eighth grade at yet another new school, Raine finds herself on the receiving end of bullying from the reigning queen bee, Jennifer. To make matters worse, there was girl her age living in the house she and her mother are renting who is missing and presumed dead. Picking up some of Emily’s memories, Raine learns that she too was the victim of Jennifer’s meanness. To make things harder, Shirlee (who was home-schooled until now) has attached herself to Raine, and is a target of Jennifer as well. Raine finally reaches a breaking point and decides to turn the tables on the mean girl. What they learn about Emily in the process shocks everyone. Recommended for grades 5-8.

eARC provided by publisher via NetGalley.

The Unknowns

The UnknownsThe Unknowns
by Benedict Carey
Grades 5-8

Lady Di and Tom Jones (not their real names) live on an island in a trailer park adjacent to the Folsolm Energy nuclear plant. It is a hard scrabble life and they have very low expectations for themselves and the other people in their town. Their bleak existence is interrupted when people start disappearing. When it is Mrs. Clarke, their former math tutor, Di and Tom are drawn into the mystery. Following the math clues that she left behind, Di, Tom, and a few other kids they gather on the way start investigating the tunnels that run under their town of Adjacent and discover much more than they had bargained for. This suspenseful adventure will keep readers on the edge of their seats, as well as teach them some important geometric concepts. Recommended for grades 5-8.