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Books categorized as 'MCBA 2018 – 2019'

A Handful of Stars

A Handful of Stars by Cynthia Lord
Recommended for: Grades 4 and up

“It’s scary to try something different when you don’t know how it’ll work out, but that’s when the best things can happen. The things that surprise you and change you. Those things can make *you* different.” p. 153

A Handful of Stars is the sweet story of 12-year Lily and her new friend, Salma Santiago, who has temporarily moved to Maine for the blueberry picking season. The book is set in a small town with an abundant blueberry industry, where Lily’s grandparents run the only general store in town. Salma’s family is from Florida but they move around the country to work on seasonal harvests. The two girls happen upon each other one day, instantly click, and start working together toward their unique goals. This book addresses different dimensions of change – evolving friendships, communities in transition, and the passing of seasons. It especially emphasizes the process of growing out of old friendships and into new ones. I appreciate that the main character, Lily, is sensitive to others feelings throughout this change.

Reviewed by: Mrs. Brown

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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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The Terrible Two

The Terrible Two by Jory John and Mac Barnett
Recommended for: Grades 4 and up

The Terrible Two is the hilarious story of two pranksters who eventually team up to pull off one of the greatest pranks of all time. The story starts with Miles Murphy, an expert prankster, who has just moved to a new town and school. On his first day, Miles discovers his new school already has a resident prankster. And this resident prankster is not who you think he is. The ensuing prank battle ends with the Terrible Two coming together to prank the entire school, including their bumbling principal. Funny graphic images are interspersed with the text of the book, making it a great choice for reluctant readers.

Reviewed by Mrs. Brown

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