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Books categorized as '6th Grade and up'

Ghost

Ghost by Jason Reynolds
Recommended for: Grades 6 and up

Castle Cranshaw, a.k.a. Ghost, has been running ever since he sprinted out of his house when his dad threatened him and his mom. One day, Ghost stumbles upon a track tryout, smokes the other kids, and earns a spot on the team. However, Ghost feels like an outsider on the team for not having the “right” shoes and not living in the “right” neighborhood. Even though this triggers some moments of anger, Ghost always tries to do better for his mom and his team. His Coach’s tough love mentorship helps Ghost to accept himself and work hard. This book is the first in a four-part series, each about a different runner on the track team. This is good news because I quickly became attached to the characters, who have fun with each other as well as process difficult experiences. Another heart-warming feature of the book is the sweet relationship between Ghost and his mom. This book also comes with thoughtful discussion questions at the end!

Reviewed by Mrs. Brown

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Rain Reign

Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin
Recommended for: Grades 4 and up

Rain Reign is about Rose Howard, a young girl living with Asperger’s who loves her dog, Rain. A hurricane plows through her upstate New York town and causes lots of changes in Rose’s life. The story is told from Rose’s point of view, so it’s a great way to understand a bit of what it’s like to live with Asperger’s. This is also a great book for kids who love dogs and/or grammar and word patterns, both topics Rose talks a lot about. The fast-paced chapters kept my interest up throughout. While Rose’s relationship with her dad is a difficult conflict in the book, it finishes with a heart-warming and happy ending.

Reviewed by Mrs. Brown

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Some Writer! The Story of E.B. White

Some Writer! The Story of E.B. White by Melissa Sweet
Recommended for: Grades 3 – 7

E.B. White gave readers the very best of what children’s books are meant to be. (Think Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little and Trumpet of the Swan.) In this well-researched biography, Melissa Sweet gives readers a peak into the amazing life of E.B. White. To document his youth in Mount Vernon N.Y, summers on the Belgrade Lakes in Maine, his work at the New Yorker, his writing of children’s books, and farming in Maine, Sweet uses White’s many letters, handwritten drafts, photos and her own collaged art. A Timeline and Selected Bibliography are included. Some Writer! has won a New York Times Bestseller, People Magazine Best Children’s Book, A Washington Post Best Book, A Publishers Weekly Best Book, and is a Boston Globe/Horn Book Nonfiction Award Honor recipient.

Reviewed by Mrs. Wettergreen

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Summer on Earth

summer on earth coverSummer on Earth by Peter Thompson
Recommended for: Grades 4  and up

Ralwil Turth is fearful when the control panel of his space pod lights up indicating sudden loss of power.  He navigates to the nearest planet capable of supporting life: Earth.  Eleven-year-old Grady is still dealing with the loss of his father on the summer day he meets a man sitting in the corn field wearing his Dad’s overalls and looking as scared as Grady feels.  Ralwil, “Will” to Grady and his family, is good at fixing things, so Ma lets him stay a bit.  Will becomes quite attached to his new family and bonds with Grady, all the while learning about this strange world.  Though his first priority should be to fix his power source, Will instead helps the family in their struggle to keep the farm. Though his intentions are good, Will’s  solution causes more trouble.  It endangers his return to his home planet as well as his very existence.  Is the bond between Will and Grady strong enough to overcome the shock of seeing who Will really is?
This story combines excitement, humor and heart-warming  moments.

Reviewed by: Mrs. McIntire

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Jefferson’s Sons

jefferson's sons coverJefferson’s Sons by Kimberley Brubaker Bradley
Recommended for: Grades 4 – 7

This is the story of Jefferson’s slaves at Monticello.  Beverley and Madison are sons of Sally Hemings.  Jefferson has promised to free them at the age of 21. Sally is preparing her light-skinned children to live in the white world when they are freed.  But Jefferson is ageing – what will happen to his slave children if he dies before they turn 21?
Told in three parts by sons Beverley and Madison and another slave boy close to the Hemings family, Beverley and Madison love their father but puzzle at his words in the Constitution – all men are created equal.

Reviewed by: Mrs. McIntire

 

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The Jumbies

the jumbies coverThe Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste
Recommended for: Grades 4 – 6

Corinne La Mer is a brave island girl who does not believe in tales of the jumbies who haunt the forbidden forest. Living alone with her fisherman father, she tends her mother’s precious orange trees and sells the fruit at market. A beautiful stranger named Severine comes to market one day and soon becomes friendly with Corinne’s father. Corinne fights to keep Severine away from her home but finds Severine’s magic too powerful. Corinne’s bravery inspires her friends to band with her when the jumbies and other dangerous creatures decide to attack the village. What does the mysterious Severine want with Corinne and her father and why does she wish to destroy the village?
Tracey Baptiste creates an eerie atmosphere with her menacing creatures of the forbidden forest inspired by Caribbean folktales.

Reviewed by: Mrs. McIntire

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The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher

The misadventures of the family Fletcher coverThe Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Alison Levy
Recommended for: Grades 4 – 7

The Fletcher family is made up of two fathers, 4 adopted boys, a dog, a cat, a grouchy neighbor, a favorite aunt and assorted friends – real and imaginary.  From Sam, the cool sixth grader, down to Frog, entering kindergarten, the family experiences all the squabbles, turmoil and joys of a close family.  Each boy has his own difficulties during the school year: old vs. new friends, popularity, sports and trying new activities.

Reviewed by: Mrs. McIntire

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The Screaming Staircase

the screaming staircase coverThe Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud
Recommended for: Grades 5 – 7

Since the Problem, ghostly hauntings are a nightly phenomenon in and around London. There are nightly curfews, homes are well stocked with well-known ghost deterrents, and psychic detection agencies are hired to deal with the hauntings. Soon after Anthony Lockwood, young owner of Lockwood & Co. hires a new operative to assist him and his partner, George, they have a disastrous setback. In order to avoid ruin and regain their reputation, Lockwood & Co. is forced to take on London’s most well-known haunted house. Other agencies have already tried and failed at this job. Will the psychic talents of the three investigators be enough to keep them alive through the night?
Book 1 of Lockwood & Co. Series

Reviewed by: Mrs. McIntire

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Brown Girl Dreaming

brown girl dreaming coverBrown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
Recommended for: Grades 4 and up

Brown Girl Dreaming is an autobiography about Woodson’s life growing up and into an award-winning author. The book is comprised of many short poems, each with lots of detail that made me feel like I was with her. Woodson’s mom is constantly searching for a place that feels like “home” and abruptly moves the family from South Carolina to New York City when Woodson is young. Woodson tells us many stories of her friends, family, hair, and food throughout her childhood. And, since she grew up in the 1960s and 1970s, Woodson’s family introduces her to the Civil Rights Movement. The back of the book includes pictures of Woodson’s extended family members, who are key characters in her memories. Through all her stories, Woodson shows us how she learned to read, “listen”, and write. If you love poetry or coming of age stories, this book is for you. The poems flow so well into one another; it was hard for me to put it down.

Reviewed by: Ms. Harwood

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Fish GIrl

fish girl vocerFish Girl by Donna Jo Napoli and David Wiesner
Recommended for: Grades 5 – 7

Fish Girl, a mermaid, is the main attraction in a unique aquarium run by Neptune, God of the seas. Or is something else going on? Neptune requires Fish Girl to give only occasional glimpses of herself to the public, to keep them coming back for more. One day a girl stays behind and sees Fish Girl. They become friends, even though Fish Girl cannot speak. Fish Girl becomes curious about what is really going on around her and then determined to change her life with help from the ocean and her dearest friend, octopus.
Wiesner’s gorgeous artwork will draw you in to Fish Girl’s watery world.

Reviewed by: Mrs. McIntire

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