Monday, August 22, 2016

High Tide, Happy Reading: Catching a Late-Summer Wave of Historical Fiction

We're strolling The Book Beach on this August Morning,
and look what's washed ashore:
a heap of page-turning historical fiction!

Music, Magic, and Miracles: Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan (585 pages, RL 5.3). Lost and alone in the gloomy Black Forest, Otto meets three mysterious sisters and is drawn into a quest involving a prophecy, a promise, and a harmonica. Many years later, Friedrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California find their destinies connected to the same harmonica as they struggle to rescue a father, protect a brother, and hold a family together during difficult times.
Fourth Grade Language Arts teacher Mr. Cleary offers a rave review: "A terrific three-part tale, Echo takes the reader through three different time periods, capturing our interest with its fascinating main characters. Centered around the theme of overcoming adversity through music, Echo is beautifully written, describing the impact of how a single tune from a simple instrument can change everything."

Mr. Cleary treats us to a single, simple tune on the harmonica.

More Munoz Ryan: Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan (262 pages, RL 6.2). Esperanza can’t imagine living anywhere other than El Rancho de las Rosas. She has spent the first twelve years of her life as the pampered only child from a wealthy family in Aguascalientes, Mexico. When Papi is murdered, Esperanza and her mother flee their privileged life to find work at a Southern California farm camp, where they experience hardship, discrimination, and harsh working conditions of the eve of the Great Depression.
For uplifting summer reading, Library Media Specialist Mrs. Cifrodella suggests Esperanza Rising.
 I like to... go to sailing camp. --Emerson
Danger and Drama... Iron Thunder: The Battle between the Monitor and the Merrimac: A Civil War Novel by Avi (203 pages, RL 4.3). After his father is killed fighting for the Union, thirteen-year-old Tom Carroll takes his place as head of the family. He finds work at the ironworks in his Brooklyn, New York, hometown, where dozens of men are pounding together the most extraordinary ship Tom has ever seen—a vessel made of iron, a boat meant to battle the Confederacy’s ironclad monster, the Merrimac. Tom becomes assistant to the ship’s gruff inventor, and he soon finds himself caught between two dangerous possibilities... a showdown with murderous Confederate spies and an ironclad battle at sea.
Lafayette Readers Get into Historical Fiction!
I like to... sail. -- Declan
Inspired by Real-Life Events: An Elephant in the Garden by Michael Morpurgo (199 pages, RL 4.9). In World War II Dresden, Germany, Lizzie and Karl’s mother Mutti works at a local zoo while their father fights in France. The family becomes attached to an orphaned elephant named Marlene, who is slated to be destroyed so she and other animals don’t run wild should the zoo be bombed. The family takes Marlene into their garden for protection. When the city comes under air attack, the family flees with thousands of others... but how can they travel safely with a baby elephant in tow?
Fifth grade Language Arts Teacher Mrs. Worden recommends An Elephant in the Garden. "I am nuts about elephants! I love to read about these gentle giants," she explains. "This book is inspired by true events, and it is a story of companionship in the face of danger and World War II."

Courageous Historical Fiction: The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine (298 pages, RL 3.9). In 1958 Arkansas, twelve-year-old Marlee befriends new girl Liz. When Marlee’s bright, bold, and brave friend suddenly stops attending middle school—and rumors fly that Liz is an African –American passing herself off as white—the two girls must confront prejudice, integration, and the dangers that their continuing friendship could bring to their families.
Library Aide Mrs. LaChance thinks The Lions of Little Rock... rocks!
The Lions of Little Rock Poster Project by Jessica P.
by Penelope E.

The engine starts up
We speed down the runway
We're up in the air!

Rivers, too.

Wispy milk clouds
Coat the sky
Small houses fill the land

A boat tugs through the royal water
Then clouds sweep the view
Clouds shadow the water and islands spot down there, too.

I like to...go on vacation. -- Kyle G. 
 Historical Fiction sweeps us to far-off shores 
and long-ago times. 
Where will summer reading take us next?

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Mystery and Adventure: Eye Spy, You Spy, We All Spy Summer Reading!

Original Artwork for The Book Beach by Devon P.
On The Book Beach,
we're clued into mysteries and adventures...
reading that keeps us on the edge of our beach chairs!

Page-Turning Mystery and Adventure: Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman (354 pages, RL 5.5). Soon after Emily and her family move to San Francisco, the twelve-year-old learns that her hero, local publisher and online literary scavenger hunt creator Garrison Griswold, has been viciously attacked and lies in a coma. Emily joins forces with new friend James in a race against time to solve the secrets of an odd book they find—a manuscript that connects them to Garrison Griswold and his attackers. Fifth Grade Language Arts Teacher Miss Sgroi enthusiastically recommends Book Scavenger, comparing it to another Lafayette favorite: “If you liked Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library [by Chris Grabenstein], you will love this story. It's full of adventure, puzzles, and hidden clues!” We can learn more about this new literary adventure and join in book-related activities at Book Scavenger. Click on the red-highlighted words to get started!

Scavenging for Summer Reading? Miss Sgroi suggests Book Scavenger!

Small Town, Big Mystery on the Great Plains… Room One: A Mystery or Two by Andrew Clements (162 pages RL 5.1). The only sixth grader in a one-room schoolhouse in his Nebraska town, Ted Hammond loves a good mystery. Right now, he has two on his hands: the nagging question of how his school can stay open and the puzzling disappearance of a local homeless family. A shrinking school in a struggling town… a fleeting face in the window of a boarded-up house... at first, these facts don't seem to be related. But Ted is about to learn that in a small town, there is no such thing as coincidence. One mystery is solved, and another begins…. 

Room One: A Mystery or Two is super summer reading!

Magnificent Magical Puzzle: A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff (230 pages, RL 5.2). In a magical world where everyone has a talent, eleven-year-old orphan Cady learns she has a special gift for cake-baking. Destiny leads her to a lost luggage emporium, a long-missing recipe, a peanut butter factory, a family of children searching for their own talents—and to a talent thief who will change her life forever. Will fate reunite Cady with a long-lost parent? Find out in this National Book Award-nominated book… a story told from multiple points of view, full of gentle humor and quiet insight… recipes included! 
Mrs. McGookin has it made in the shades with A Tangle of Knots!

Gordon Korman's Island series will sweep you away!
A Tidal Wave of Adventure: Island by Gordon Korman. In this action-packed series, six children try to survive on a remote tropical island in the Pacific Ocean after a storm destroys their boat. Titles include: Shipwreck (129 pages, RL 5.9), Survival (138 pages, RL 4.3), and Escape (132 pages, RL 5.2). We can learn more about the books and the characters—and take an online survival quiz at The Scholastic Stacks: Island. Click on the red-highlighted words to get started! 

Get into the Island series!

For Super Sleuthing and Classic Clues, 
Check out these series!

Nancy Drew: The Clue of the Broken Locket by Carolyn Keene (178 pages, RL 5.7). Braving a series of dangerous situations and sinister developments, Nancy attempts to solve two mysteries at the request of pretty, red-haired Cecily Curtis: is Cecily’s singer fiancé being cheated out of royalty payments, and is there family treasure hidden at Pudding Stone Lodge?

Take a summer reading break with Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys!
The Hardy Boys: The Tower Treasure by Franklin W. Dixon (180 pages, RL 5.3). A dying criminal confesses that his loot is stashed in the tower, but both turrets of a plundered mansion are searched with no sign of stolen treasure. It’s up to the Hardy boys to solve the mystery and clear the name of a friend’s father.

In the Summer I Like to...
Sail in my boat. I sail in a bay near my beach house.
I have been sailing for four years now.
The bay is infested by jellyfish!

Dangerous Books? The Mysterious Matter of I.M. Fine by Diane Stanley (201 pages, RL 6.0). A jelly worm fad… an epidemic of headaches… a rash of serpent surprises: Chillers, a popular series of juvenile horror novels, is having an alarming effect on the behavior of readers across the country. Is it innocent coincidence or something far more sinister? Best friends Franny and Beamer set out to track down a mysterious author and to determine if books are really causing all the trouble. 

Get into Mysterious Matters this summer!

Mouth-Watering Mystery: Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage (312 pages, RL 3.9). Washed ashore as a baby during a hurricane in tiny Tupelo Landing, North Carolina, this summer is looking good for eleven-year-old Moses LoBeau: she will take karate lessons with best friend Dale Earnhardt Johnson III, plot against confirmed enemy Anna “Attila” Celeste, waitress at the café run by her adoptive co-parents, Miss Lana and the Colonel, and continue a life-long search for her Upstream Mother. But summer takes an unexpected twist: the café’s crankiest patron turns up dead, and the Colonel is implicated in the crime. With another hurricane bearing down on Tupelo Landing, Mo and Dale start doing some detective work to solve an epic mystery. Lafayette teacher Mrs. McGookin recommends Three Times Lucky for scrumptious summer reading: “Pick up this Newbery Honor mystery and head to your nearest diner!” 

Shh... Mrs. McGookin recommends Three Times Lucky.

The secret is out:
mysteries and adventures make great summer reading!