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Books categorized as 'MCBA 2017-2018'

The Truth of Me

the truth of me coverThe Truth of Me by Patricia MacLachlan
Recommended for: Grades 3 – 5

Robbie’s parents spend more time on their music than with him. Robbie is closer to his eccentric grandmother Maddy and loves summers spent with her while his parents tour with their Allegro Quartet.  This year Robbie also brings his dog Ellie and hopes she can get along with Maddy’s unique animal friends which include raccoons, deer and bears.  Robbie likes that Maddy makes his parents nervous with her unusual stories and animals.  Maddy’s love and guidance help Robbie learn a lot of “little truths” – about his mother, his grandmother and himself.  It is a summer of growth and acceptance and having the courage to make changes.

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 in a Tree

Fish in a Tree cover Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Recommended for Grades: 4-7

Ally is both ashamed and embarrassed that she cannot read.  She doesn’t want anyone to know that the letters on the page wiggle and jump around and don’t mean anything to her.  Great in art and good in math, Ally is frequently sent to the office because she refuses to write her assignments.  The “popular in-group” in her class are very mean to her and her two friends, who also have unusual strengths.  A new teacher comes to the school and has an unusual way of handling this class of “Fantasticos” as he calls them!  The reader will ache and cheer for the typical characters in this book as they all learn to grow and understand.

Reviewed by: Mrs. Baumgartner

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The War That Saved My Life

war that saved my life coverThe War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Recommended for Grades 4 and up

Ada and her younger brother Jamie lived in a flat in a poor part of London during World War II.  Their single mother, ashamed of Ada’s club foot, abused her and would not let her outside.  Jamie, on the other hand, had run of the neighborhood.  When children were being evacuated from London to live in the country for fear that the Germans would bomb the city, Ada secretly escaped her mother’s imprisonment and went with Jamie.  A woman named Susan Smith, who knew nothing about children, agreed under duress to take them in.  The placement was awkward for all involved, but they adjusted, made strides, and started to feel comfortable just when war broke out all around.  This book will grab you and you won’t want to put it down.  There are surprises and double twists right up to the ending.  The audiobook is also extremely well done.

Reviewed by: Mrs. Baumgartner

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The Nest

the nest coverThe Nest by Kenneth Oppel
Recommended for: Grades 5-7

When Steve’s baby brother comes home from the hospital, something is very wrong with him. Steve is an anxious kid to begin with, and his difficulties get worse along with the stress on his family. A queen wasp begins to visit Steve in his dreams, and she has plans that will help solve everyone’s problems. But when Steve agrees to help her, what has he signed up for? This is a dark, atmospheric horror story, not for the faint of heart! It had me gasping and wiggling with discomfort. (Probably because I’m afraid of bees and the climax has A LOT of wasps!) If you like a good scare and a psychological thriller, check this one out.

Reviewed by: Mrs. Waring

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Number of comments: 1


Full Cicada Moon

full cicada moon coverFull Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton
Recommended for: Grades 5 – 8

Mimi and her family move from California to rural Vermont where her father is a professor at the local college. Mimi feels she is an outsider in her new home. She is part Japanese and part African American. She has “boyish” interests – she wants to become an astronaut, enter the science competition and take shop. Mimi struggles to fit in, yet refuses to conform or back down from her interests. Mimi navigates her way through all her problems with grace, even though sometimes they anger her.
This novel in verse is simply and beautifully written.

Reviewed by: Mrs. McIntire

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Roller Girl

roller girl coverRoller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
Recommended for: Grades 4-7

“For most of her twelve years, Astrid has done everything with her best friend Nicole. But after Astrid falls in love with roller derby and signs up for derby camp, Nicole decides to go to dance camp instead. And so begins the most difficult summer of Astrid’s life as she struggles to keep up with the older girls at camp, hang on to the friend she feels slipping away, and cautiously embark on a new friendship.” (Amazon.com)
If you’re a fan of Raina Telgemeier, you’ll love Roller Girl. I loved every page! Astrid is a fun and realistic character, and learning about roller derby was an added bonus.

Reviewed by: Mrs. Waring

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