Discussion Starters

Nine Months by Miranda Paul

Nine Months shows the development of human life, from embryo to newborn, in gentle rhymes and beautiful paintings. Nine Months: before a Baby Is Born ...
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Adulting 101 by Josh Burnette and Pete Hardesty

Adulting 101: #Wisdom4Life by Josh Burnette and Pete Hardesty. Broadstreet Publishing Group, 2018. 192 pages. Reading Level: Ages 16 and up Recommended For: Ages 14 ...
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Beast Rider by Tony Johnson

Beast Rider offers a sympathetic take on the immigration issue through the experience of one Mexican boy. Beast Rider by Tony Johnson and Maria de ...
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Bible Review: CSB Defend Your Faith

The Defend Your Faith Bible equips middle graders for apologetics with arguments for the reasonableness and accuracy of the scriptures. CSB Defend Your Faith Bible: ...
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Eventown by Corey Ann Haydn

Eventown is a place of forgetting, but how much forgetting does that take before you forget yourself? Eventown by Corey Ann Haydn.  HarperCollins, 2019, 326 ...
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*Forward Me Back to You by Mitali Perkins

Mitali Perkins' latest novel takes two conflicted teens to India to confront human trafficking and challenges to their Christian faith. *Forward Me Back to You ...
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Checked by Cynthia Kadohata

In Checked, one family's deep involvement in hockey provides the background for life questions. Checked by Cynthis Kadohata.  Atheneum, 2019, 404 pages. Reading Level: Middle ...
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Rickshaw Girl by Mitali Perkins

Naima loves to draw, but how can she use that gift to help her poor Bangladeshi family earn some much needed income? Rickshaw Girl by ...
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*Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins

Chiko and Tu Reh learn to face challenges and love their enemies in modern day, war-torn Burma in this realistic fiction novel for teens. Starred ...
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Graphic Novel Roundup: The Giver and A Wrinkle in Time

Two recent graphic-novel adaptations of classic stories have their strengths, but overall demonstrate the adage, "the book is better." A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine ...
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New Kid by Jerry Craft

New Kid offers a fresh and funny graphic-novel take on the middle-school blues. Reading Level: Middle grades, ages 8-10 Recommended for: ages 8-14 From Washington ...
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Hey Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Krosoczka, author of the Lunch Lady graphic novels, tells his own story in Hey Kiddo, a graphic novel memoir that is by turns harsh and tender. ...
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*You Who by Rachel Jankovic

You Who: Why You Matter and How to Deal with It is a refreshing take on the "find yourself" messages blaring from our culture for ...
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*Monster Blood Tattoo Trilogy by D. M. Cornish

Foundling, Lamplighter, and Factotum by D. M. Cornish. G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2006-2010. Ages 12 & up. Reading Level: Young Adult, ages 12-14 Recommended for: ages 12 & ...
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*The Young Man’s Guide to Awesomeness by Barrett Johnson

The Young Man's Guide to Awesomeness is a well-organized, humorous, straight-talking guide for young men as they mature into godly adults. *The Young Man's Guide to Awesomeness: How to Guard Your Heart, Get the Girl, and Save the World by Barrett Johnson. INFO For Families, 2017. 158 pages. Reading Level: Teen, ages 12 and up Recommended For: Upper middle grades and up (ages 10+) Growing up is never easy. There are physical changes, ...
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Faith, Fiction, & Fellowship: A Read Along for Girls Ages 10-100

It's time to reclaim "Women's History Month" (March). How about "Women in the Church Month," complete with deep conversation about our shared faith, discussion about ...
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7 Books for Thoughtful Teens

Not every teen is hanging out in the YA section of the library, wallowing in teen angst.* Plenty of teens are ready for meaty, engaging ...
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Courage in the Face of Evil by Mark Shaw

Vera König must decide if she can trust the enemy in this moving, true Holocaust story of a Christian in Hitler's camps. Courage in the ...
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Missionary Biographies and Prayer: Love Your Neighbor Book Club Edition

  The Biographies and Discussion Questions To start our year off for the Love Your Neighbor Book Club, everyone read a missionary biography of their ...
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Sign Here: Twenty-Two Unofficially Official Pull-Out Forms

Perfect activity for your list-loving child on a cold winter’s day. Sign Here by Gabrielle Djanogly & Adele Mildred.  Prestel Junior, 2018.  48 pages.   Reading Level: Ages ...
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2019 Newbery Buzz #3: Sweep by Jonathan Auxier

Janie, Hayley, and Betsy team up to (virtually) discuss Sweep by Jonathan Auxier: does it have what it takes to win a Newbery? We discuss themes, ...
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The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street: the Love Your Neighbor Book Club Edition

December is such a wildly busy month: Christmas concerts and recitals and school performances and parties. Travel plans and/or welcoming extended family into your home. ...
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*Tales of Wonder edited by Phillips, Bianco, and Kern

Tales of Wonder provides parents and teachers a wonderful resource to use as they enjoy fairy tales with their students and children. *Tales of Wonder, ...
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Good News for Little Hearts: A New Christian Picture Book Series

Three new picture books in the Good News for Little Hearts series help us coach children through difficulties and point them to Christ. Zoe's Hiding ...
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*Prepare Him Room by Marty Machowski

Celebrate the birth of Christ with stories, Scripture, and song in this Advent family devotional guide, perfect for busy families or used in a classroom ...
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Tangerine: Love Your Neighbor Book Club Edition

To date this school year, our Love Your Neighbor Book Club has read Save Me a Seat and A Long Walk to Water, both of ...
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The Science of Breakable Things by Tae Keller

Natalie is desperate to win an egg drop contest so she can use the prize money to help cure her mom's depression in this sweet middle ...
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Buried beneath the Baobab Tree by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani

Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree is a tough but vital read for thoughtful Christian teens. Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani.  HarperCollins, ...
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Save Me A Seat: Book Club Tips and Questions

Readers, it's almost October! Let me pour myself some Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice Tea. (You can have your pumpkin spice lattes!) Are you ...
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The Dollar Kids by Jennifer Richard Jacobson

How a sensitive boy handles death and guilt is the subject of The Dollar Kids: one of our “discussion starter” titles.  Ages 10-15 The Dollar ...
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Illegal by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin

Illegal, a graphic novel, puts readers into the perils of a refugee from Africa while stimulating important questions about refugees worldwide. Ages 12-15 Illegal by ...
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The Love Your Neighbor Book Club: Its Beginnings

Love God. Love your neighbor. Those, in brief, are the two greatest commandments, the commandments that sum up all the Law and the Prophets. And one ...
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Inside Out and Back Again by Thanha Lai

Inside Out and Back Again is a beautiful, timely middle grades verse novel about a young Vietnamese girl's refugee experience. Inside Out and Back Again ...
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Retro Reads: The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's adventure classic, The Lost World, a book that has clear links to Jurassic Park! The Lost World by Sir Arthur ...
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Isle of Blood and Stone by Makiia Lucier

Mysterious maps, sea creatures, and an island kingdom where dark secrets threaten to emerge . . . All the makings for an excellent story. Isle ...
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Philosophy, Science, Ethics: the Need for Science Fiction

Are You a Sci-Fi Fan? Are you a Trekkie? A Star Wars fan? Perhaps you've faithfully watched Dr. Who, Stargate, or Battlestar Galactica. Or perhaps you are a ...
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Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

The story that inspired the movie chain: Jurassic Park is more complex than the movie in every way--and not for kids. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. ...
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*Harriet Tubman: Conductor on the Underground Railroad by Ann Petry

A well-written, engaging middle grades biography of Harriet Tubman, conductor on the Underground Railroad, that tells young readers about her life from birth to death. ...
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*In the Land of the Blue Burqas by Kate McCord

In a beautifully written memoir full of vignettes, McCord gives readers glimpses of the people and culture of Afghanistan through her eyes as a Christian NGO. ...
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I Dared to Call Him Father by Bilquis Sheikh

A Pakistani Muslim woman recounts how God spoke to her, calling her out of her Muslim background, and how she dared to call him "Father" ...
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The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty

A lightning strike turns a 13-year-old girl into a math genius, but she has a lot to learn about human relationships and living in the ...
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*Tangerine by Edward Bloor

A realistic sports story that is so much more than a sports story, Tangerine blends soccer, environmentalism, bullying, racism, and physical disability into a well-written, ...
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Disenchanted by Megan Morrison

Readers eager for more tales from Tyme will be disappointed by a story that is for more political than its precursor.   Disenchanted: The Trials of ...
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Hunger by Donna Jo Napoli

Hunger stalks Lorraine and her family as they struggle to cope during Ireland's potato famine in this historical fiction middle grades novel. Hunger: A Tale ...
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The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani

A young girl in the middle of the Indian partition of 1947 shares poignant thoughts and fears in The Night Diary. Ages 12-15 The Night ...
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Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool

Early Auden is Jack's guide to Pi as they voyage to find the giant bear and complete their quest in this thought-provoking, intricate historical novel.  Ages ...
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The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson

Matthew, housebound because of his OCD, uses his detailed observations of his neighbors to help solve the disappearance of a toddler in this middle grades ...
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*Twelve Days in May by Larry Dane Brimner

For middle grades and up: a photographic, journalistic look at those famous twelve days in May when a group of whites and blacks bravely tried ...
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Learning to Lead: Another RedeemedReader Booklist!

In his Confessions, Augustine wrote this on the subject of "time": “I understand well enough what time is, so long as no one asks me.” ...
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*Betty Before X by Ilyasah Shabazz and Renée Watson

For middle grades: A compelling look into the life of Betty before X (Malcolm X) and the influence of the black church in the racially charged 1940s. ...
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*The Book of Boy by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

The Book of Boy breathes life into the squalor and splendor of the late middle ages, with the tale of a parentless child and a ...
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*Abigail Adams: Witness to a Revolution by Natalie S. Bober

Starred review for this young adult biography that showcases a thoughtful--and thought-provoking--Abigail Adams against the backdrop of tumultuous American history. *Abigail Adams: Witness to a ...
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Every Day by David Levithan

The movie version of Every Day, based on David Levithan's YA novel of the same title, opens today.  Here's our review from 2012 that addresses ...
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Bronze and Sunflower by Cao Wenxuan

Bronze and Sunflower is a gentle, thought-provoking peek into the cultural revolution in China, its effects on two children, and the importance of sacrificing for your family. ...
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2018 Newbery Buzz #2: Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder

We're back for our second Newbery Buzz discussion of 2019. Last week, Hayley and Janie discussed Tumble and Blue. This week, Hayley and I (Betsy) discuss Orphan ...
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Interview with Keith Robinson, author of the Origins Series

Pamela interviews Keith Robinson, author of the Origins trilogy and other Christian sci-fi works. Read on for more information about Robinson, his work, and his many ...
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Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

In Long Way Down, a grief-stricken and confused 15-year-old in "the projects" has a desperate choice to make after the death of his brother. Long ...
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The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson: the Kids Discuss….

Four middle grades kids discuss The Best Christmas Pageant Ever: what stands out in this funny, modern Christmas classic? The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara ...
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*Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore

Same Kind of Different As Me is an emotional and spiritual memoir of two men who became friends despite their backgrounds, races, and preconceptions. *Same Kind ...
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One Last Word by Nikki Grimes

One Last Word showcases poems from the Harlem Renaissance alongside contemporary poems by Grimes that build on and reflect those earlier poets.  One Last Word: ...
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Retro Reads: *The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

The Witch of Blackbird Pond is a modern classic with good reason: young Kit Tyler faces the questions all adolescents face as she tries to ...
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*The Tech-Wise Family by Andy Crouch

Starred review for this book about a tech-wise family that is characterized by 10 commitments reflecting the proper pace of technology in a family's life ...
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10 True Stories for Teens

10 True Stories for Teens It's hard to beat a good, true story. Something about the it really happened aspect just makes it better, don't you ...
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Irresistible by Adam Alter

Irresistible by Adam Alter

Irresistible is a fascinating look at technology's impact on humanity, particularly in the light of behavioral addiction. Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the ...
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Posted by John David Anderson

A class of seventh graders deal with verbal bullying in this thought-provoking novel (with cautions). Posted by John David Anderson.  Walden Pond (HarperCollins), 2017, 365 ...
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Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray

Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray.  Little, Brown and Company, 2017. 512 pages. Noemi Vidal will die for her country, but an abandoned spaceship and a ...
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Wisdom & Wonder Week 6: Generosity and Love in Literature

Betsy: It’s hard to believe we’re at the end of our Wisdom & Wonder Summer Reading Challenge! On a personal level, this has been a ...
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Week 6 : God So Loved, He Gave

Introduction This summer reading challenge has flown by!  Can you believe it’s Week 6 already?  (Granted, we did take a week off for the Fourth ...
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Teach Literary Elements With … Movies!

All stories share the same literary elements, be they written or acted, books or movies. Summer Blockbusters For the Win And movies are a terrific ...
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Which Path & Which Friend Discussion

This week, the Redeemed Reader team discusses what it looks like to take the right path and our favorite friendships in literature.   Pilgrim's Progress ...
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Wisdom & Wonder Week 4: Which Path and With Whom?

Welcome to Week 4 of Wisdom and Wonder!  We hope you had a wonderful Fourth of July.  Now, back to the reading challenge! For a ...
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The State of our Heart – Virtual Discussion

The Redeemed Reader Team is discussing books this week in light of our Wisdom & Wonder Week 1 Theme: Turning to God/Away from sin. We ...
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Wisdom and Wonder: Week 1 – Turning Towards God and Away from Sin

Welcome to week 1 of our Wisdom & Wonder Summer Reading Challenge! Wisdom and Wonder Week 1: Turning to God and Away from Sin! This ...
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Wisdom and Wonder Booklist – Week 1

Wisdom & Wonder Week [1] Booklist: Weekly Theme: Turning towards God and Away from Sin Wise-Up #1 (Real Wise Man) and #2 (Heart of the ...
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Sad Dog Stories: They’re a Thing—and a Necessity

Does the Dog Die? (The Saddest of Sad Dog Stories!) "Miss Wanda," I stage-whispered to the children's librarian across from me, "I need to know. Does the ...
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The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies

Winner takes all in a bet between siblings Jessie and Evan Treski as they battle it out lemonade-stand style in this realistic fiction novel for ...
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Retro Reads: Mei Fuh by Edith Schaeffer

This is a guest post by Candice Watters, blogger at Family Making. Her original, longer review of Mei Fuh appeared there first. Welcome, Candice! Travel ...
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Beauty and the Beast Devotional # 5 – Love

This is the fifth devotional we've had on the key themes in Beauty and the Beast. To see links to previous three as well as ...
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Cruel Beauty: a Redeemed Reader Discussion

Some of the staff here at Redeemed Reader decided to discuss Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge as it relates to the story of Beauty and ...
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Till We Have Faces: a Redeemed Reader Discussion

Before you read Till We Have Faces, you must first know the myth. You can either read a picture book version or the one by ...
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To See or Not To See: The RR Team Reflects on the New Beauty and the Beast

This discussion is part of our Beauty and the Beast Adventure this month. The text below reflects several ongoing discussions the Redeemed Reader team has had via ...
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Beauty and the Beast – Devotional #3

Once upon a time there was beautiful girl who became a queen. . . .  And her name was Esther.  There's a definite fairytale quality ...
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Every Falling Star: A Beauty and the Beast Discussion!

Like our Newbery Buzz discussions, Janie and Betsy discuss Every Falling Star "virtually" in light of our Beauty and the Beast Adventure this month. We hope these discussions help ...
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The Queen of Katwe: Book and Movie Review

This is a featured title in our Beauty and the Beast Adventure. Redeemed Reader is not affiliated with or endorsing the new Disney Beauty and the ...
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Beauty and the Beast – Devotional #2: the Beast

See our first Beauty and the Beast Devotional if you missed it! This is part of our Beauty and the Beast Adventure which is focusing ...
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Beauty and the Beast Adventure

Join us as we dive into the themes and stories behind Beauty and the Beast during the month of March! And don't worry, it's not just for girls--we ...
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*The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson

An epic middle grades fantasy series full of adventure, toothy cows, heroes and heroines, and dragons. *The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson. Rabbit Room Press. ...
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*100 Cupboards Series by N. D. Wilson

Henry discovers 100 cupboards that lead to other worlds in this complex middle grades fantasy series that mirrors the creation-fall-redemption narrative framework of Scripture. 100 ...
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American Ace by Marilyn Nelson

Engaging and short, one teenager's search for answers will leave readers wanting to learn more about the Tuskegee Airmen.   American Ace by Marilyn Nelson.  Dial ...
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Freedom over Me by Ashley Bryan

An actual slave ledger from 1828 inspires this group portrait of eleven African Americans who remain free to dream. Freedom over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their ...
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Straight Talk About the Birds and the Bees

This is a review specifically for parents; librarians and teachers may benefit as well, but children should ask their parents first before reading further. This is also ...
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*Under Our Skin by Benjamin Watson

For Christians of all colors who are concerned about racial tension, Benjamin Watson shows the way to reconciliation. *Under Our Skin by Benjamin Watson.  Tyndale, ...
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Teaching Discernment: Bad Words in Books

True Story: We're getting in the car after a park date with our homeschool friends, and one of my 9-year-old sons says: Mom! We learned some ...
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Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier

A blind boy and an enchanted knight set off on an epic quest in this middle grades fantasy adventure.  Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes: A ...
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2017 Newbery Buzz: Some Writer! and Snow White

Historically—and overwhelmingly—the Newbery Award has graced the covers of fictional prose novels. And yet, even “back in the day,” there were some outliers. Nancy Willard’s A ...
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2017 Newbery Buzz: Pax and Wolf Hollow

January is Newbery month—that is, when the American Library Association holds their annual winter conference, the highlight of which is the ALA Youth Media Awards.  ...
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Twelfth Night: Shakespeare’s Christmas Play

Twelfth Night, or What You Will is not exactly a Christmas play, I'll admit. But "Twelfth Night" does refer to the 12th night of the ...
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Projekt 1065 by Alan Gratz

A 13-year-old saboteur in the Hitler Youth meets the challenge of his life in this page-turning World War II thriller. Projekt 1065 by Alan Gratz.  ...
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Should You Read Rick Riordan’s Latest: Magnus Chase?

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Hammer of Thor Rick Riordan’s The Hammer of Thor is the second book in his Magnus Chase ...
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*When the Sea Turned to Silver by Grace Lin

The power of stories is front and center in this beautiful, imaginative companion to Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. Starred review. A 2016 Christmas ...
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