Good books are even better when people discuss them. In fact, we label books “discussion starters” when they offer much food for thought. A Wrinkle in Time is one such book. Unfortunately, kids often read this book at far too young an age and think they don’t like it. Even if your child reads at…

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The Tripods: classic science fiction from the 1960s that’s still enjoyable for today’s young teens. The Tripods Series by John Christopher: The White Mountains, The City of Gold and Lead, The Pool of Fire, When the Tripods Came. Aladdin, 2014. (boxed set; the first book was originally published in 1967) Reading Level: Young Adult, ages…

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Skunk and Badger are a delightful new odd couple in chapter book format, perfect for newly independent readers. *Skunk and Badger by Amy Timberlake and illustrated by Jon Klassen. Alonquin, 2020. 136 pages. Reading Level: Chapter Books, ages 6-10 Recommended For: Ages 6-10 (all, as a read aloud) Badger is a geologist who lives in…

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Are you brave enough to rescue a bully from a hazardous substance, at your own risk? A thought-provoking middle grades read from the author of Holes. Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar. Delacorte, 2015. 208 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Recommended For: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 “Fuzzy mud” is a mud that gets, well,…

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Bioluminescent fungi, a strange death, and zombie-like side effects threaten Maggie and Nate’s small town. Can they solve the mystery in time to save the town? The Mutant Mushroom Takeover (A Maggie and Nate Mystery**) by Summer Rachel Short. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2020. 256 pages. Reading Level: Middle grades, ages 10-12…

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Idris, Bard of Blackthorn, is on a quest for answers in this darkly brooding fantasy for teens and adults. The Door on Half-Bald Hill by Helena Sorensen. Rabbit Room Press, 2020. 302 pages. Reading Level: Adult (ages 16 and up) Recommended For: Teens and adults, ages 16 and up Blackthorn is dying: water, people, and…

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Meeting George MacDonald I first met George MacDonald through the pages of his poetry and then, later, in his novels (the versions edited by Michael Phillips). I much preferred his poetry to his novels. And then I discovered his fantasy. I promptly told my college thesis advisor that I wanted to write my senior thesis…

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*The View From Saturday by e. l. konigsburg. Atheneum, 1995. 176 pages. Reading Level: Middle grades, ages 10-12 Recommended For: Middle grades and up, ages 10+ Fact: Mrs. Olinski’s sixth grade Academic Bowl team, the Souls, is the best Epiphany Middle School has ever had. Fact: Noah, Ethan, Nadia, and Julian make up the Souls.…

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