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Books categorized as 'MCBA 2013-2014'

The Unwanteds

the unwanteds coverThe Unwanteds by Lisa McCann
Recommended for: Grades 4 – 7

The city of Quill is populated by the Wanteds, the Necessaries and the Unwanteds. Quill’s yearly Purge sends Unwanted 13-year olds to their deaths. Those marked as Unwanteds have somehow shown a creative side to their nature, even if only one time.
Alex and a group of Unwanteds are brought to the “death farm” beyond the locked gates at the edge of the city, run by the Eliminators. Instead of death, they find themselves saved by Mr. Today, a magician in the magical world of Artime. Marcus Today created Artime to save all Unwanteds and teach them to use their creativity as a weapon in case of war with Quill.
I liked the fantastical creatures who turned out to be instructors, and also the Magical Warrior Training the select Unwanteds undergo.
This fantasy is the first in an exciting series.
Reviewed by: Mrs. McIntire

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Jake and Lily

jake and lily coverJake and Lily by Jerry Spinelli
Recommended for: Grades 4 – 6

Jake and Lily are twins with a special connection they name Goombla.  But the year they turn 11, things change between them. Jake becomes friends with a bully (whom Lily hates) & his pack. After the pack has encounters with a “goober” and don’t treat him kindly, Jake learns to think for himself instead of just being a follower.
Meanwhile, feeling abandoned, Lily is encouraged by her Poppy to get a life of her own. Soon she finds new friends, Sydney & her little brother Devon. This leads to new experiences and activities for Lily.
Jake and Lily reminds us that growing up is hard, especially when those close to you seem to leave you behind.

Reviewed by: Mrs. McIntire

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The other half of my heart

other half of my heart coverThe Other half of My Heart by Sundee Tucker Frazier
Recommended for: Grades 4-6

Keira & Minna, 11, are twins of interracial parents. They share a very close relationship, but Minna often wonders why she is different from Keira in so many ways.  Minna’s peaceful world is threatened when their African-American grandmother persuades their Mama to let the twins enter the Miss Black Pearl Pre-Teen of America Competition in North Carolina.  Being the fair-skinned twin, Minna’s insecurities become worse during this experience, while Keira seems to shine.  Can Minna survive the competition without the support of her sister?

Reviewed by: Mrs. McIntire

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The Trouble With Chickens

the trouble with chickensThe Trouble With Chickens by Doreen Cronin
Recommended for: Grades 2 – 4

Retired search and rescue dog J.J. Tully is called to action when the barnyard’s Chicken Mom reports 2 of her little chicks MISSING! Offered a cheeseburger as reward, he accepts the job. Sprinkled with unusual names (Vince the Funnel), fancy vocabulary (rendezvous), fabulous illustrations  by Kevin Cornell, and changing narrators, this playful mystery provides suspense and fun for young readers.

Reviewed by: Ms. Wettergreen

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The Yggyssey

the yggyssey coverThe Yggyssey by Daniel Pinkwater
Recommended for grades 5-7

Yggdrassil (Iggy) Birnbaum lives in a haunted hotel in Hollywood, California.  Iggy and her friends travel to a city on another plane to find out why all the ghosts are disappearing from Hollywood. The story takes place in the fifties and is filled with fantastic locations and zany characters (ghosts included).  Sequel to The Neddiad

Reviewed by: Mrs. McIntire

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Small as an Elephant

small as an elephant coverSmall as an Elephant by Jennifer Richard Jacobson
Recommended for: Grades 5 & up

Jack’s mother plans a whirlwind trip to Maine full of experiences from her own childhood that she wants to share with him.  They set up camp in the dark on Friday night, but when Jack wakes up on Saturday morning she’s gone.  Jack is two states away from home with a tent, his clothes and fourteen dollars.

Some kids might freak out, but eleven year old Jack has been alone before.  However, being left in the apartment with food and shelter is a little different from being left on Mount Desert Island.  If anyone discovers what his mother has done, they are sure to take Jack from her for good, so he sets out to locate her and get home without anyone finding out.  As days go by and Jack’s problems grow it’s hard to imagine how his relationship with his mother can survive.  This is a fast-paced emotionally charged survival adventure.

Reviewed by Mrs. White

 

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Inside Out & Back Again

Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai
Recommended for:  Grades 4-6

Winner 2011 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature
How would you feel if you had to leave your home forever? If you had only a small bag to put a few belongings in before you got on a boat and sailed away in the dark of night?  What would it be like to land in a foreign country, where you don’t understand the language, the landscape, or the culture?  When Ha is 10, she escapes Vietnam with her mother and 3 brothers.  They are sponsored by a family in Alabama, where they finally settle and try to start a new life.  This novel, told in spare verse, is beautiful, funny, moving, and full of life.  I loved getting to know Ha and her family and learned so much about a refugee’s journey.

Reviewed by: Mrs. Waring

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