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"A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted. You   should live several lives while reading it." 
--William Styron
 
 
 
 
 
Featured Book Lists
Book JacketLandline
by Rainbow Rowell
Book JacketMiddle school cool
by Maiya Williams
Book JacketGrandpa Green
by Lane Smith
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781596436077 In this reflective tale, Smith (It's a Book) departs from his customary irony to muse on the memories, talents, and traditions passed down through generations. Smith's young narrator, in overalls and rubber boots, describes his great-grandfather. The boy waters plants and tidies up in a magnificent topiary garden, lined in delicate ink and decorated with ornamental hedges in the shapes of people, animals, and iconic objects. "He was born a really long time ago, before computers or cell phones or television," says the boy, and the first topiary depicts a crying baby. Other creations include rabbit- and chicken-shaped shrubs to suggest a childhood farm; a head-shaped bush dotted with red berries ("In fourth grade he got chicken pox"); and an erupting cannon to signify wartime. Smith works in an impressionistic range of emerald, moss, and seaweed hues, memorializing Grandpa Green's life events in meticulously pruned shrubs. The child eventually catches up with an elderly man who "sometimes forgets things. But the important stuff, the garden remembers for him." It's a rare glimpse into Smith's softer side-as skillful as his more sly offerings, but crafted with honesty and heart. Ages 5-9. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781596436077 K-Gr 3-A boy tells the story of his great-grandfather's life as he gives readers a grand tour of the man's glorious topiary garden. Verdant shades predominate but graceful pen-and-ink drawings and colorful accents lend interest and whimsy to the towering constructions. (Aug.) (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781596436077 The idea of a garden as a lockbox of memories is not a new one, but rarely is it pulled off with this kind of panache. Lane drops us into a story of an unnamed person. He was born a really long time ago, before computers or television. Who we see, though, is a fairly modern-looking boy tending to an increasingly impressive topiary garden featuring creations sculpted to visualize each stage of the person's life. Chicken pox are represented by berries across a humanlike shrub's face. Going off to war is visualized by a cannon-shaped shrub with branches shooting from its muzzle. Sketched with a finely lined fairy-tale wispiness and dominated by verdant green, the illustrations are not just creative but poignant especially after it is revealed that the boy is the great-great-grandson of the old man whose life is being described, and whose failing memories are contained in this garden (most impressively in a four-page fold-out spread). Possibly a bit disorienting for the very young, but the perfect book to help kids understand old age.--Kraus, Danie. Copyright 2010 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781596436077 K-Gr 3-A clever premise, brilliant pacing, and whimsical illustrations offer a distinctive look at the life and artistic vision of one great-grandfather. A boy recounts the essential facts of the man's life: "He was born a really long time ago." "After high school his wish was to study horticulture." The imaginative art fills in what the words leave out by ingeniously chronicling Grandpa's story through the fanciful topiaries he creates. The sinewy tree limbs in black line have a sculptural quality, while airy line art drawn in a subtle palette depicting the boy, his great-grandfather, and the general landscape of the garden allow the fantastic creations to stand out. From the formal design of boxwood mazes to fantasy-inspired hedges, Smith uses a broad range of green hues and textures to create ornamental foliage that is inventive and charming. There is harmony in the overall design yet each page surprises and delights. Discerning viewers will identify a playful homage to The Wizard of Oz. Other more quirky creations may be open to interpretation. As he narrates his great-grandfather's story, the boy strolls through the garden picking up the pieces of Grandpa's trade, a garden glove here, a watering can there-Grandpa is getting forgetful. With a powerfully charged and perfectly placed line-"But the important stuff, the garden remembers for him"-readers are treated to a dramatic double gatefold revealing the panorama of Grandpa's life depicted in the living sculptures. Visually intriguing and emotionally resonant, this is a book to pore over and talk about. With each subsequent reading, it offers new layers of meaning and visual connections.-Caroline Ward, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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Book JacketGrandfathers Journey
by Allen Say

Book list Ages 5 and up. Say won the Caldecott Medal for this autobiographical story of his grandfather's journey from Japan to the U.S. It is a version of the American dream that includes discovery and adventure but no sense of arrival. He gets our homesickness, our restlessness, wherever we are.

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Say transcends the achievements of his Tree of Cranes and A River Dream with this breathtaking picture book, at once a very personal tribute to his grandfather and a distillation of universally shared emotions. Elegantly honed text accompanies large, formally composed paintings to convey Say's family history; the sepia tones and delicately faded colors of the art suggest a much-cherished and carefully preserved family album. A portrait of Say's grandfather opens the book, showing him in traditional Japanese dress, ``a young man when he left his home in Japan and went to see the world.'' Crossing the Pacific on a steamship, he arrives in North America and explores the land by train, by riverboat and on foot. One especially arresting, light-washed painting presents Grandfather in shirtsleeves, vest and tie, holding his suit jacket under his arm as he gazes over a prairie: ``The endless farm fields reminded him of the ocean he had crossed.'' Grandfather discovers that ``the more he traveled, the more he longed to see new places,'' but he nevertheless returns home to marry his childhood sweetheart. He brings her to California, where their daughter is born, but her youth reminds him inexorably of his own, and when she is nearly grown, he takes the family back to Japan. The restlessness endures: the daughter cannot be at home in a Japanese village; he himself cannot forget California. Although war shatters Grandfather's hopes to revisit his second land, years later Say repeats the journey: ``I came to love the land my grandfather had loved, and I stayed on and on until I had a daughter of my own.'' The internal struggle of his grandfather also continues within Say, who writes that he, too, misses the places of his childhood and periodically returns to them. The tranquility of the art and the powerfully controlled prose underscore the profundity of Say's themes, investing the final line with an abiding, aching pathos: ``The funny thing is, the moment I am in one country, I am homesick for the other.'' Ages 4-8. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list Ages 4 and up. See Focus p.1974.

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 3 Up-A personal history of three generations of the author's family that points out the emotions that are common to the immigrant experience. Splendid, photoreal watercolors have the look of formal family portraits or candid snapshots, all set against idyllic landscapes in Japan and in the U.S. (Sept., 1993) (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list Ages 6^-8, older for reading alone. Winner of the 1994 Caldecott Medal, this is an exquisitely illustrated account of the restless journey of an early Japanese American immigrant who came to California and always felt caught between his new home and the one he left behind.

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

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Book JacketTraction Man is Here
by Mini Grey

Publishers Weekly A cluttered house, lovingly rendered in comic-book panels by Grey (The Very Smart Pea and the Princess-to-Be), provides a perilous landscape for the titular square-jawed action figure. Readers infer Traction Man's origins from a "Dear Santa" letter on the title page ("I expect you know about what happened to my old Traction Man and the Terrible Parachute Accident") and a gift-box on a sleeping boy's bed. The new Traction Man, replete with special outfits, soon meets trouble in a flowerbed and among dirty dishes: "Traction Man is diving in the foamy waters of the Sink (wearing his Sub-Aqua Suit....) Oh, no! This Poisonous Dishcloth will envelop Traction Man and suffocate him!" Pursued by the glaring, squidlike Dishcloth, Traction Man is pulled to safety by a "brave little Scrubbing Brush," portrayed as a doglike sidekick with bristles for feet. Brown-paper thought balloons with italic type indicate the real-time story line; "I think it's someone's bathtime..." signals the hero's encounter with the Mysterious Toes, which he tickles into submission. Artful watercolor panels alternate with full-page compositions, and the keyed-up narrative is printed on torn graph-paper scraps for a casual, homemade effect. Grey sets the events on a damp English Christmas, but the holiday takes the back seat to the boy's implied stage-managing of Traction Man and transformation of ordinary objects. Will Traction Man rescue the quivering Cupcake from the villainous Doctor Sock? Stay tuned. Ages 4-8. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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Book JacketDivergent
by Roth, Veronica

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-In a futuristic Chicago, the populace is divided into distinct factions, each devoted to a particular virtue: Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity, and Erudite. At 16, Beatrice parts ways with her family and chooses her own path, only to find that the highly structured society isn't as perfect she's been led to believe. A dystopian thriller filled with secrets, suspense, and romance. (June) (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list In the future, you are born into one of five factions, each of which has its strength and focus: Abnegation (service), Candor (truth), Erudite (intellect), Amity (friendship), or Dauntless (fearlessness). But on your sixteenth birthday, you can choose a new faction if you are so compelled, and that's what happens to Tris, who shocks everyone by exchanging the drab gray robes of Abnegation for the piercing and tattoo stylings of Dauntless. What follows is a contest, where only the top 10 initiates are accepted into the final group. This framework of elimination provides the book with a built-in tension, as Tris and her new friends and new enemies go through a series of emotional and physical challenges akin to joining the marines. Roth is wisely merciless with her characters, though her larger world building is left fuzzy. (Is there a world beyond this dystopian version of Chicago?) The simplistic, color-coded world stretches credibility on occasion, but there is no doubt readers will respond to the gutsy action and romance of this umpteenth spin on Brave New World.--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-In a future Chicago, the population is divided into five factions-Abnegation, Candor, Dauntless, Erudite, and Amity-each of which believes its opposite is the root of human evil. Sixteen-year-olds are tested for aptitude and must choose whether to remain in their birth faction or select another. They are aided in this selection by a simulation in which their decisions indicate which faction best suits them. Occasionally, though, the simulation indicates multiple choices. These individuals, known as Divergents, are perceived as threats by leaders who want members to behave and think in specific ways. Beatrice Prior is a Divergent, born into the selfless Abnegation faction but fascinated by the outrageous Dauntless. She chooses to become an initiate there and leaves her family behind, little knowing the challenges she will face. Despite her slight build and her meek upbringing, she must demonstrate her courage in physical combat and in simulations designed to present her with her deepest fears. Only 10 initiates will be accepted, and there are those willing to let cruelty take the place of courage. Beatrice comes to realize that another faction plots against Abnegation and that it may take a Divergent to save them. Roth paints her canvas with the same brush as Suzanne Collins. The plot, scenes, and characters are different but the colors are the same and just as rich. Fans of Collins, dystopias, and strong female characters will love this novel.-Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids, WI (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Book JacketMoon Over Manifest
by Clare Vanderpool
School Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780385738835 Gr 5-8-History and fiction marry beautifully in this lively debut novel. It's as if readers jump off the train in Manifest, KS, in 1936 with Abilene Tucker, 12, the feisty, likable, and perceptive narrator. She is there to live with Pastor Shady Howard, her father's friend, while her father works on the railroad back in Iowa. An equally important story set during World War I is artfully intertwined. Since her mother went off on her own 10 years earlier, Abilene and Gideon have been alone. Though their life together is unsettled, their bond is strong. Shady's place is shabby, but he is welcoming. The mystery about Manifest and Gideon unfolds after Abilene finds a box filled with intriguing keepsakes. It includes a letter dated 1917 to someone named Jinx from Ned Gillen that has a warning, "THE RATTLER is watching." This starts Abilene, with the help of new friends Ruthanne and Lettie, on a search to learn the identity of the pair. The story cleverly shifts back and forth between the two eras. Abilene becomes connected to Miss Sadie, a "diviner" who slowly leads her through the story of Ned and Jinx. Though the girl is lonely, she adjusts to her new life, feeling sure that her father will come for her at summer's end. The Ku Klux Klan and its campaign against the many immigrants working in the coal mines and the deplorable conditions and exploitation of these men provide important background. This thoroughly enjoyable, unique page-turner is a definite winner.-Renee Steinberg, formerly at Fieldstone Middle School, Montvale, NJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780385738835 *Starred Review* After a life of riding the rails with her father, 12-year-old Abilene can't understand why he has sent her away to stay with Pastor Shady Howard in Manifest, Missouri, a town he left years earlier; but over the summer she pieces together his story. In 1936, Manifest is a town worn down by sadness, drought, and the Depression, but it is more welcoming to newcomers than it was in 1918, when it was a conglomeration of coal-mining immigrants who were kept apart by habit, company practice, and prejudice. Abilene quickly finds friends and uncovers a local mystery. Their summerlong spy hunt reveals deep-seated secrets and helps restore residents' faith in the bright future once promised on the town's sign. Abilene's first-person narrative is intertwined with newspaper columns from 1917 to 1918 and stories told by a diviner, Miss Sadie, while letters home from a soldier fighting in WWI add yet another narrative layer. Vanderpool weaves humor and sorrow into a complex tale involving murders, orphans, bootlegging, and a mother in hiding. With believable dialogue, vocabulary and imagery appropriate to time and place, and well-developed characters, this rich and rewarding first novel is like sucking on a butterscotch. Smooth and sweet. --Isaacs, Kathleen Copyright 2010 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780385738835 Set in 1936, this memorable coming-of-age story follows 12-year-old Abilene Tucker's unusual summer in her father's hometown of Manifest, Kans., while he's away on a railroad job. Having had an itinerant upbringing, Abilene is eager to connect to her father's childhood, a goal that proves difficult. The immigrant town has become rundown, but is populated with well-developed, idiosyncratic characters and has a dynamic past involving the KKK, an influenza scare, and a bootlegging operation. Manifest's history emerges in stories recounted by Miss Sadie (a Hungarian medium) and in news columns written in 1917 by Hattie Mae Harper, "Reporter About Town." With new friends Lettie and Ruthanne, Abilene pieces together the past, coming to understand, as Miss Sadie says, that "maybe what you're looking for is not so much the mark your daddy made on this town, but the mark the town made on your daddy." Witty, bold, and curious, Abilene is as unforgettable as the other residents of Manifest, and the variety of voices allows the town's small mysteries to bloom. Replete with historical details and surprises, Vanderpool's debut delights, while giving insight into family and community. Ages 9-12. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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Book JacketMaking Things: The Handbook of Creative Discovery
by Ann Wiseman
School Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780316947565 Gr 4-8?A compilation of the "best selections" from Making Things and Making Things 2, published in the 1970s, this book has many inspirational quotes, philosophical tidbits, and a wealth of creative ideas. "Save Things for Making Things" is a valuable list that opens the presentation. Not only are there things to save, but also reasons for doing so. Several excellent articles, "Connecting Things with Ideas," "Questions," and "Solutions," are appended. The body of the book has many activities to stimulate creativity and will be a valuable resource for adults, but is not a source children should be given for independent use. The projects are mainly for beginners, often children, but the author minimizes precautions and requests for adult help. Pages are very busy with directions that jump from the gutter edge to the margin, numerous diagrams, and personal asides. Those who are looking for some craft ideas and have time to read everything carefully first, and make a sample so that they are familiar with steps that need guidance, may want to consider this book. Nancy Blakey's Lotions, Potions, and Slime (Tricycle, 1996) will better serve adults who have any apprehensions about their own craft abilities or about crafting with children as active participants.?Marilyn Fairbanks, East Junior High School, Brockton, MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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Book JacketImage by: AmazonWhat If?
by Randall Munroe
Book JacketThe Years of Extermination: Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939-1945
by Saul Friedlander
Book JacketThe Elected Member
by Bernice Rubens