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Books categorized as 'MCBA 2009-2010'

Bread and Roses, Too

Bread and Roses, Too by Katherine Paterson
Recommended for: Grades 4-7

Based on the famous 1912 strike of immigrant mill workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts and the nation’s response to help the children of striking families, Bread and Roses, Too follows two children from different ethnic backgrounds and circumstances as their lives become entwined.  Rosa Serrutti and Jake Beale meet on a cold winter night;  Rosa, on her way home from school, is looking for her shoes that she hid in the trash to keep from wearing them out and Jake is hiding in the trash heap trying to keep warm for the night.  Rosa is a good Italian Catholic who studies hard and worries how her family will survive now that Papa is dead.  Jake, an American smart aleck, is an underage mill worker who gets a hard beating from his father if he doesn’t bring home enough money for drink.  When mill workers strike and the police become increasingly violent towards the workers and their families, Jake and Rosa find themselves together on a train to Vermont to be cared for by a host family until the strike is over.  Against her better judgment, Rosa seals their relationship when she lies to officials claiming Jake is her brother to ensure his temporary safety.  What starts as a simple lie, becomes increasingly complicated until the climatic end where their topsy-turvy world is finally put right.

Well written and filled with accurate details, this moving story allows readers to experience both the harshness and triumph of a great event in New England’s history.

Reviewed by: Ms. Bender

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Out of Patience

Out of Patience byBrian Meehl
Recommended for: Grades 5 -7

Jake Waters longs to leave his hometown of Patience, Kansas.  The town is dying a slow death, being kept in existence only by Knight’s Soil & Fertilizer, the main business in Patience.
Patience is said to be under a curse, and to make matters worse for Jake, his father wants to open a museum of toilet history. Jake and his dad Jim are descendents of the town’s founder, Jeremiah Water, who brought the first flush toilet to Patience in 1876.
Jake struggles between his desire to get out of Patience and his love for his father.  He doesn’t want to believe in the curse, but strange events cause him to fear for what might happen to the town and its residents. Jake decides that it is time to solve the mystery of the whereabouts of the town’s treasured belongings, missing since the day Jeremiah Waters was knocked out by bandits.
Out of Patience includes the history of Patience, but there is also mystery, danger, friendship, revenge, betrayal and most of all, humor.

Reviewed by: Mrs. McIntire

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Horns & Wrinkles

Horns & Wrinkles by Joseph Helgerson
Recommended for: Grades 4 -7

Claire lives near the Mississippi river, near a section rumored to be under a spell.  While Claire is being bullied by her cousin, Duke, they are spied by an old woman in a rowboat.  This is when strange events begin.  For one thing, whenever Duke starts bullying, his nose grows & starts to look like a rhino’s horn.
Soon Claire and Duke encounter relatives turned to stone, river and rock trolls, and fairies.  They learn that the local police department believes in magic spells.
Horns and Wrinkles is an imaginative and fun fantasy starring an undaunted heroine who does what she needs to do when faced with all sorts of trouble.

Reviewed by: Mrs. McIntire

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The Big Field

The Big Field by Mike Lupica
Recommended for: Grades 5 and up

14 yrs old Hutch loves everything about baseball. He is a great player, too – a star shortstop. But when a new star, Daryl, comes along, Hutch must step aside and take the 2nd base position. Hutch’s father was once a great ballplayer, and Hutch longs to have that connection with his dad. But his father is removed, putting up a wall between him and his son. Hutch and his team make it all the way to the playoffs, and over the course of the postseason, Hutch learns about what it means to be a good teammate, son, and friend. Like other Mike Lupica books, The Big Field features lots of exciting play-by-play sports action, too.

Reviewed by: Mrs. Waring

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How to Steal a Dog

How to Steal a Dog by Barbara O’Connor
Recommended for: Grades 4 -7

Do desperate circumstances justify desperate measures?
Georgina, her Mom and brother have been living in their car since they lost the apartment.  She is trying to keep this fact a secret from her school friends.

When she spies a poster offering a $500 reward for a lost dog, she thinks she may have a way to help her family get back to normal. Georgina makes a plan and attempts to follow it with her brother’s help. Then there are unexpected problems that must be solved, and she begins to doubt herself.  Georgina learns about being responsible for the consequences of her plan.

Georgina’s experiences  make us think about what is really important in our lives.

Reviewed by: Mrs. McIntire

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Weedflower

Weedflower by Cynthia Kadohata
Recommended for Grades 5 and up

Sumiko and her family own and operate a flower farm in southern California. She may not fit in with the other white girls in school, but her family and her flowers make her feel like she belongs. When the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor Sumiko’s whole world changes. Her grandfather and Uncle are taken away to a prison camp across the country. Their home and farm are picked apart and purchased by people they’ve never met. And finally one day, Sumiko, her little brother and the rest of their family must leave their home and go to a camp in Arizona. At the camp, Sumiko begins to make friends, grow flowers in her garden, and learns about discrimination and patriotism. This historical fiction is a quietly moving story and a fascinating glimpse into a time in American history that is frequently forgotten.

Reviewed by: Mrs. Waring

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The Lemonade War

The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies
Recommended for :Grades 3 to 5

Evan Treski and his younger sister Jessie, only 14 months apart in age, are good friends with different strengths.  Evan has a great way of dealing with and understanding people.  Jessie is a super student.  Trouble begins in their relationship when Jessie will skip 3rd grade and they will be in the same 4th grade class.  A “lemonade war” starts during the last week of summer, as they use their skills, and compete to earn $100 from lemonade stands.  Winner will take all!  Davies story is realistic in the friendships and relationships among children, both positive and negative.  Her tone deals well with bullying and mean-spiritedness at the same time as compassion and understanding.  A very true to life sibling story!

Reviewed by:  Mrs. Baumgartner

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Simon Bloom: The Gravity Keeper

Simon Bloom: The Gravity Keeper by Michael Reisman
Recommended for: Grades 5 and up

When The Teachers Edition of Physics falls out of a hole in the sky and knocks Simon Bloom on his head, he has no idea how much his life is about to change. The book gives him the ability to control the laws of physics by speaking complicated formulas aloud, and he must use these powers to battle a mysterious and evil woman who wants the book for herself. Simon isn’t alone, though; he teaches powerful physics formulas to his friends Owen and Alysha so they can help him with the fight.
This book has a lot of fast-paced action and some great battle scenes as well as a lot of humor. It reminded me often of the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series. For a laugh-out-loud science adventure, Simon Bloom is a guaranteed good time.

Reviewed by: Mrs. Waring

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Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat

Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat by Lynne Jonell
Recommended for: Grades 4-7

Emmy Addison was a regular child whose parents inherited a large fortune and huge house.  Unfortunately with the money came a very mean nanny, Miss Barmy.  Emmy’s parents became obsessed with money and status, and she became miserable and invisible to her classmates!  This funny story intertwines Emmy’s attempts of figuring out how a collection of rodents is being used to affect her and her parents behaviors with Miss Barmy attempts to get the Addison fortune.

Reviewed by: Mrs. Baumgartner

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Abby Takes a Stand

Abby Takes a Stand by Patricia C. McKissack
Recommended for: Grades 3-4

Grandma Gee tells the story of her childhood in Nashville, Tennessee in the 1960’s.  As a African-American she had some rights but she was not served in a lunch counter because of the color of her skin.  Even though she was not 18 years old and not allowed to be part of the sit-ins, she found ways to help out with the Civil Rights Movement.  The author’s writing as the personal experience of a child gives the reader a real sense of the feelings, patience and persistence that helped to gain equality for African-Americans.  Look for more stories to come in McKissack’s “Scraps of Time” series.

Reviewed by: Mrs. Baumgartner

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