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Books categorized as 'MCBA 2012-2013'

Heart of a Samurai

heart of a samurai coverHeart of a Samurai by Margi Preus
Recommended for: Grades 4 and up

The journey of Manjiro is an amazing one.  In 1841, the 14 year old is shipwrecked and stranded on an island with his Japanese fishermen peers.  Rescued by an American whaling ship, Manjiro learns English, and quickly becomes a surrogate son for the kind captain.  He travels to America and attends school in New England.  After living his formative years away from his home, he serves on another whaling ship with the hopes of making it back to Japan.
This book, based on the true story of Manjiro, was utterly fascinating.  I learned so much about Japanese history, whaling, and the power of curiosity and perseverance.

Reviewed by: Mrs. Waring

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The Sixty-eight Rooms

The Sixty-eight Rooms by Marianne Malone
Recommended for: Grades 4-7

Friends Ruthie & Jack go on a school field trip to the Chicago Art Institute. The highpoint for both are the Thorne Rooms – 68 perfectly detailed miniature rooms representing different times and places.  Something magical happens sending Ruthie & Jack on an exciting adventure and trying to solve mysteries both historical and modern.
If you ever go to Chicago, visit the Thorne Rooms. They are amazing!

Reviewed by: Mrs. McIntire

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Mamba Point

Mamba Point by Curtis Scaletta
Recommended for: Grades 4-7

Linus and his family move to Liberia when his Dad gets a job at the US Embassy. Linus longs to project a bolder image of himself to any new friends he makes in his new life.
He comes into immediate and frequent contact with the deadly black mamba snake and is very hesitant to go out, but he gradually notices changes in himself.  He dares to do things he never would before.  Is it because of his connection with the mamba? Is the mamba his kaseng – an animal with which he has a special connection?

Reviewed by: Mrs. McIntire

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My Life As A Book

My Life As A Book by Janet Tashjian
Recommended for: Grades 6 and up

All Derek wants is to spend the summer lounging around with his dog and launching avocado grenades at his best friend.  It looks like what he’ll get is a lot of assigned reading and some enforced play dates with the class goody-two-shoes, but things get lively when he finds an old newspaper article in the attic.  This book has just the right combination of intrigue, silly antics and hilarious stick figure doodles.  A perfect summer read.

Reviewed by: Mrs. White

 

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The Golden Ghost

Golden GhostThe Golden Ghost by Marion Dane Bauer
Recommended for: Grades 1-4

Delsie yearns for a pet, especially a dog, but her father is allergic. Read this story to find out how she gets a very special kind of pet!

Reviewed by: Mrs. Teixeira

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Roberto and Me

Roberto and Me coverRoberto and Me by Dan Gutman
Recommended for: Grades 4-6

This is another book in the baseball time-travel series of Joe Stoshack (“Stosh”), who visits and tries to help well-known baseball players of the past. In Roberto and Me, Stosh goes back in time to help Roberto Clemente, a great humanitarian as well as ballplayer, who died while attempting to airlift supplies for earthquake victims in Nicaragua in 1972. Stosh goes back in time to warn Clemente not to get on the plane, which will crash, killing all people aboard. This book was enjoyable to read, as are all the books in this series. One difference in this book is that Stosh travels to the future in addition to the past. Read the book to find out what he discovers!

Reviewed by: Mrs. Teixeira

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Moon over Manifest

Moon over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool
Recommended for: Grades 5 & up

2011 Newbery Award Winner
Abilene jumps off a train in Manifest Kansas in 1936.  For most of her 12 years, she has traveled with her father as he worked the rails.  She is lost when her father feels she needs a more settled life and sends her to Manifest, where he once lived.  Though she misses her father, she hopes to discover clues to his past life.  Abilene soon meets 2 friends and together they have a summer of “spy hunting”.  The story shifts between Abilene’s narrative in 1936 Manifest, and Manifest during World War I.  Abilene finds a box of keepsakes and also is given access to the town’s old newspaper articles.  When she begins helping old Miss Sadie, a “diviner”,  Abilene gets closer to the truth about her father and learns secrets from the past that still affect Manifest’s residents.
The author combines humor, sorrow and mystery into an enjoyable first novel.

Reviewed by Mrs. McIntire

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Because of Mr. Terupt

Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea
Recommended for: Grades 4 – 7

Seven 5th-graders start the school year with their new teacher, Mr. Terupt.  As the students narrate their own chapters, we get to know each one’s personality, their problems and insecurities.  Their impressions of their new teacher change with each passing month.  With his guidance and understanding, they begin to come together as a class.  An unfortunate accident changes the mood and confidence of their class, and each student feels responsible for their role in causing it.
You will laugh and even shed a tear as you get to know these students and their very special teacher.

Reviewed by: Mrs. McIntire

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One Crazy Summer

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
Recommended for: Grades 5 and up

In 1968, 11 year-old Delphine and her two younger sisters have been sent to spend the summer in Oakland with the mother who abandoned them years ago.  Their mother, a dedicated poet and artist, is cold and distant, refusing to welcome her daughters into her solitary life.  The girls end up spending much of their summer at the local Black Panthers-run camp.  A beautiful coming-of-age story filled with humor, love, and realistic sibling relationships, One Crazy Summer is also a unique look at a tumultuous time in recent American history.
Winner of the 2011 Coretta Scott King Award.

Reviewed by: Mrs. Waring

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