Monday, December 19, 2011

The Short List...

Members of the FES Mock Newbery Book Club have been busy reading titles from the three reading lists. Students recently nominated their favorite titles for the short list. 
It was a tough choice for many students because there were 25 excellent titles on the lists this year.
Readers used the Newbery criteria to evaluate the books and looked for books that were distinguished.


Here is the 2012 short list (in alphabetical order):


Bigger Than a Bread Box by Laurel Snyder


Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu

The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens


Ghetto Cowboy by G. Neri

The Great Wall of Lucy Wu by Wendy Wan-Long Shang

No Passengers Beyond This Point by Gennifer Choldenko

Small as an Elephant by Jennifer Richard Jacobson

True...sort of by Katherine Hannigan

A Mock Newbery assembly will be held on Friday, January 13th for all fourth and fifth grade classes. Each book will be featured during the assembly, and the Mock Newbery Book Club members will vote for their favorite books at this time.





Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Aviary by Kathleen O'Dell


From the publisher:
In late nineteenth-century Maine, isolated, eleven-year-old Clara Dooley gains a friend and uncovers a magical secret that changes her life when she learns to care for the once-feared birds in the aviary attached to the Glendoveer mansion where she lives.

Never Forgotten by Patricia McKissack


From the publisher:
In eighteenth-century West Africa, a boy raised by his blacksmith father and the Mother Elements--Wind, Fire, Water, and Earth--is captured and taken to America as a slave.

The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall

From the publisher:
When the three younger Penderwick sisters go to Maine with Aunt Claire and are separated from oldest sister Rosalind for the first time in their lives, an uncertain Skye is left in charge as the OAP--oldest available Penderwick.

Secrets at Sea by Richard Peck

From the publisher:
In 1887, the social-climbing Cranstons voyage from New York to London, where they hope to find a husband for their awkward older daughter, secretly accompanied by Helena and her mouse siblings, for whom the journey is both terrifying and wondrous as they meet an array of titled humans despite their best efforts at remaining hidden.
 

The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann

From the publisher:
In a society that purges thirteen-year-olds who are creative, identical twins Aaron and Alex are separated, one to attend University while the other, supposedly Eliminated, finds himself in a wondrous place where youths hone their abilities and learn magic.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bigger Than a Breadbox by Laurel Snyder


From the publisher: A magical breadbox that delivers whatever you wish for—as long as it fits inside? It's too good to be true! Twelve-year-old Rebecca is struggling with her parents' separation, as well as a sudden move to her Gran's house in another state. For a while, the magic bread box, discovered in the attic, makes life away from home a little easier. Then suddenly it starts to make things much, much more difficult, and Rebecca is forced to decide not just where, but who she really wants to be.

Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu

From the publisher: Hazel and Jack are best friends until an accident with a magical mirror and a run-in with a villainous queen find Hazel on her own, entering an enchanted wood in the hopes of saving Jack's life.

The Cheshire Cheese Cat by Carmen Agra Deedy & Randall Wright


From the publisher: A community of mice and a cheese-loving cat form an unlikely alliance at London's Cheshire Cheese, an inn where Charles Dickens finds inspiration and Queen Victoria makes an unexpected appearance. 

Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos


From the publisher: In the historic town of Norvelt, Pennsylvania, twelve-year-old Jack Gantos spends the summer of 1962 grounded for various offenses until he is assigned to help an elderly neighbor with a most unusual chore involving the newly dead, molten wax, twisted promises, Girl Scout cookies, underage driving, lessons from history, typewriting, and countless bloody noses. 

The Friendship Doll by Kirby Larson






From the publisher: I am Miss Kanagawa. In 1927, my 57 doll-sisters and I were sent from Japan to America as Ambassadors of Friendship. Our work wasn't all peach blossoms and tea cakes. My story will take you from New York to Oregon, during the Great Depression. Though few in this tale are as fascinating as I, their stories won't be an unpleasant diversion. You will make the acquaintance of Bunny, bent on revenge; Lois, with her head in the clouds; Willie Mae, who not only awakened my heart, but broke it; and Lucy, a friend so dear, not even war could part us. I have put this tale to paper because from those 58 Friendship Dolls only 45 remain. I know that someone who chooses this book is capable of solving the mystery of the missing sisters. Perhaps that someone is you.

The Great Wall of Lucy Wu by Wendy Wan-Long Shang


From the publisher:
Lucy Wu, aspiring basketball star and interior designer, is on the verge of having the best year of her life. She's ready to rule the school as a sixth grader and take over the bedroom she has always shared with her sister. In an instant, though, her plans are shattered when she finds out that Yi Po, her beloved grandmother's sister, is coming to visit for several months -- and is staying in Lucy's room. Lucy's vision of a perfect year begins to crumble, and in its place come an unwelcome roommate, foiled birthday plans, and Chinese school with the awful Talent Chang.
Her plans are ruined -- or are they? Like the Chinese saying goes: Events that appear to be good or bad luck often turn out to be quite the opposite, and Lucy finds that while she may not get the "perfect" year she had in mind, she can create something even better. 

Ghetto Cowboy by G. Neri


From the publisher: When Cole’s mom dumps him in the mean streets of Philadelphia to live with the dad he’s never met, the last thing Cole expects to see is a horse, let alone a stable full of them. He may not know much about cowboys, but what he knows for sure is that cowboys aren’t black, and they don’t live in the inner city. But in his dad’s ’hood, horses are a way of life, and soon Cole’s days of skipping school and getting in trouble in Detroit have been replaced by shoveling muck and trying not to get stomped on. At first, all Cole can think about is how to ditch these ghetto cowboys and get home. But when the City threatens to shut down the stables— and take away the horse Cole has come to think of as his own— he knows that it’s time to step up and fight back. Inspired by the little-known urban riders of Philly and Brooklyn, this compelling tale of latter -day cowboy justice champions a world where your friends always have your back, especially when the chips are down.

Hound Dog True by Linda Urban

From the publisher:
Do not let a mop sit overnight in water. Fix things before they get too big for fixing.Custodial wisdom: Mattie Breen writes it all down. She has just one week to convince Uncle Potluck to take her on as his custodial apprentice at Mitchell P. Anderson Elementary School. One week until school starts and she has to be the new girl again. But if she can be Uncle Potluck’s apprentice, she'll have important work to do during lunch and recess. Work that will keep her safely away from the other fifth-graders.
But when her custodial wisdom goes all wrong, Mattie's plan comes crashing down. And only then does she begin to see how one small, brave act can lead to a friend who is hound dog true.

The Mostly True Story of Jack by Kelly Barnhill

From the publisher:
When Jack is sent to Hazelwood, Iowa, to live with his crazy aunt and uncle, he expects a summer of boredom. Little does he know that the people of Hazelwood have been waiting for him for a long time. . . .
When he arrives, three astonishing things happen: First, he makes friends-not imaginary friends but actual friends. Second, he is beaten up by the town bully; the bullies at home always ignored him. Third, the richest man in town begins to plot Jack's imminent, and hopefully painful, demise. It's up to Jack to figure out why suddenly everyone cares so much about him. Back home he was practically, well, invisible.
The Mostly True Story of Jack is a tale of magic, friendship, and sacrifice. It's about things broken and things put back together. Above all, it's about finding a place to belong.

Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier

From the publisher: "Now, for those of you who know anything about blind children, you are aware that they make the very best thieves. As you can well imagine, blind children have incredible senses of smell, and they can tell what lies behind a locked door- be it fine cloth, gold, or peanut brittle- at fifty paces. Moreover, their fingers are so small and nimble that they can slip right through keyholes, and their ears so keen that they can hear the faint clicks and clacks of every moving part inside even the most complicated lock. Of course, the age of great thievery has long since passed;today there are few child-thieves left, blind or otherwise. At one time, however, the world was simply thick with them. This is the story of the greatest thief who ever lived. His name, as you've probably guessed, is Peter Nimble."

Saturday, July 2, 2011

True...(Sort of) by Katherine Hannigan

From the Publisher:
True: Delly Pattison likes surpresents (presents that are a surprise). The day the Boyds come to town, Delly's sure a special surpresent is on its way. But lately, everything that she thinks will be good and fun turns into trouble. She's never needed a surpresent more than now.

True: Brud Kinney wants to play basketball like nothing anybody's ever seen. When the Boyds arrive, though, Brud meets someone who plays like nothing he's ever seen.

True: Ferris Boyd isn't like anyone Delly or Brud have ever met. Ferris is a real mysturiosity (an extremely curious mystery).

True: Katherine Hannigan's first novel since her acclaimed Ida B is a compelling look at the ways friendships and truths are discovered.
It's all true ( . . . sort of)

Gr. 4-6

The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens

From the Publisher:
John Stephens' aptly-titled new fantasy trilogy begins auspiciously with a nimble, fast-paced tale of three siblings. Kate, Michael, and Emma have suffered through ten years of odious orphanage "care"; now they have slipped into the care of the eccentric, disturbingly mysterious Dr. Pym. While exploring their new home, the children discover a magical green book. With that discovery, a decade of tedium dissolves into cascades of dangerous time travel adventures and struggles with a beautiful witch and decidedly less attractive zombielike Screechers.
Gr. 4-7

The Romeo and Juliet Code by Phoebe Stone

From the Publisher:
Felicity's glamorous parents have a secret. When they leave her with distant relatives in Maine, Felicity hopes they won't leave her long. Her new Uncle Gideon hides things. Her Aunt Miami is star-crossed. And Derek, a kid her age, refuses to leave his room.
But Felicity needs Derek's help. Gideon is getting coded letters from Felicity's parents, and she's sure they're in trouble. Can Felicity crack the code, heal the family and save her parents, all while surviving her first crush? It's a tall order, but - like THE SECRET GARDEN'S Mary Lennox before her - Felicity's up for the challenge.

Gr. 4-6

No Passengers Beyond This Point by Gennifer Choldenko



From the Publisher:
Three siblings - India, Finn, and Mouse - have less than forty-eight hours to pack up all their belongings and fly, without Mom, to their uncle Red's in Colorado, after they lose their house to foreclosure. But when they land, a mysterious driver meets them at the airport, and he's never heard of Uncle Red. Like Dorothy in Oz, they find themselves in a place they've never heard of, with no idea of how to get home, and time is running out.
Gr. 5-8 

The Great Migration: Journey to the North by Eloise Greenfield

From the Publisher:
In this collection of poems and collage artwork, award winners Eloise Greenfield and Jan Spivey Gilchrist gracefully depict the experiences of families like their own, who found the courage to leave their homes behind and make new lives for themselves elsewhere. 
Gr. 2-8 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Small as an Elephant by Jennifer Richard Jacobson

 
Small as an Elephant Book Trailer created by Mrs. Potter


From the Publisher:

 Ever since Jack can remember, his mom has been unpredictable, sometimes loving and fun, other times caught in a whirlwind of energy and "spinning" wildly until it’s over. But Jack never thought his mom would take off during the night and leave him at a campground in Acadia National Park, with no way to reach her and barely enough money for food. Any other kid would report his mom gone, but Jack knows by now that he needs to figure things out for himself - starting with how to get from the backwoods of Maine to his home in Boston before DSS catches on. With nothing but a small toy elephant to keep him company, Jack begins the long journey south, a journey that will test his wits and his loyalties - and his trust that he may be part of a larger herd after all. 
Gr. 4-7

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Trouble with May Amelia by Jennifer L. Holm

 

From the publisher:
May Amelia lives in pioneer Washingon State in 1900, and she just can't act the part of a proper young lady. Working a farm on the rainy Nasel River isn't easy - especially when you have seven brothers and a Pappa who proclaims that Girls Are Useless. May Amelia thinks she may have finally earned her father's respect when he asks her to translate for a gentleman who's interested in buying their land and making them rich. But when the deal turns out to be a scam, Pappa places all the blame on May. It's going to take a lot of sisu - that's Finnish for guts - to make things right.
Gr. 5-7

Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt


From the publisher:
As a fourteen-year-old who just moved to a new town, with no friends and a louse for an older brother, Doug Swieteck has all the stats stacked against him. So begins a coming-of-age masterwork full of equal parts comedy and tragedy from Newbery Honor winner Gary D. Schmidt. As Doug struggles to be more than the “skinny thug” that his teachers and the police think him to be, he finds an unlikely ally in Lil Spicer—a fiery young lady who “smelled like daisies would smell if they were growing in a big field under a clearing sky after a rain.” In Lil, Doug finds the strength to endure an abusive father, the suspicions of a whole town, and the return of his oldest brother, forever scarred, from Vietnam. Together, they find a safe haven in the local library, inspiration in learning about the plates of John James Audubon’s birds, and a hilarious adventure on a Broadway stage. 
Gr. 5-8 

Friday, April 1, 2011

Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai

 
From the Publisher:
No one would believe me but at times I would choose wartime in Saigon over peacetime in Alabama.

For all the ten years of her life, HÀ has only known Saigon: the thrills of its markets, the joy of its traditions, the warmth of her friends close by . . . and the beauty of her very own papaya tree.
But now the Vietnam War has reached her home. HÀ and her family are forced to flee as Saigon falls, and they board a ship headed toward hope. In America, HÀ discovers the foreign world of Alabama: the coldness of its strangers, the dullness of its food, the strange shape of its landscape . . . and the strength of her very own family.
This is the moving story of one girl's year of change, dreams, grief, and healing as she journeys from one country to another, one life to the next. 
Gr. 4-8 

Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Ameila Earhart by Candace Fleming

From the Publisher:
From the acclaimed author of The Great and Only Barnum—as well as The Lincolns, Our Eleanor, and Ben Franklin's Almanac—comes the thrilling story of America's most celebrated flyer, Amelia Earhart. In alternating chapters, Fleming deftly moves readers back and forth between Amelia's life (from childhood up until her last flight) and the exhaustive search for her and her missing plane. With incredible photos, maps, and handwritten notes from Amelia herself—plus informative sidebars tackling everything from the history of flight to what Amelia liked to eat while flying (tomato soup)—this unique nonfiction title is tailor-made for middle graders.
Gr. 4-7