Book Reviews

Rules of the Road by Joan Bauer

Rules of the Road by Joan Bauer. Speak, 2005. 208 pages Reading Level: Young Adult, ages 12-15 Recommended for: ages 12-16 Bottom Line: Good-hearted Jenna ...
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That Hideous Strength 2: Development

Previous Posts: Introduction Part One: Setup Almost all the main characters have been introduced and the potential conflicts are in place.  Now development: that phase ...
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*The Dragon’s Tooth by N. D. Wilson

*The Dragon’s Tooth (Ashtown Burials, Book One), by N. D. Wilson.  Random House, 2011, 482 pages. Reading Level: Young Adult, ages 12-15 Recommended for: ages ...
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That Hideous Strength 1: the Setup

Beginning our first-ever Readalong: here's the Introduction. The action takes place at three fictional locations: Edgetow, a university town similar to Cambridge, but smaller; St. ...
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That Hideous Strength: An Introduction

In the summer of 1945, George Orwell wrote a review for the Manchester Evening News, beginning, "On the whole, novels are better when there are ...
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On Eagle’s Wings

Book 2 of the epic adventures of the three children who are heirs to a kingdom, sought by the Fangs of Dang, and as normal ...
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Growing Up Shakespearean

Shakespeare and Story Bibles As I was searching recently for Shakespeare resources for my kids--who are 3 and 5--I harbored a nagging, undefined feeling that ...
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Shakespeare R Us

Dallas, 1970: Storm clouds gather over the Texas prairie, where the students of a small junior college are presenting A Midsummer Night's Dream in an ...
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In Front of God and Everybody by K. D. McCrite

In Front of God and Everybody by K. D. McCrite

The Confessions of April Grace: In Front of God and Everybody, by K. D. McCrite. Thomas Nelson, 2011, 390 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages ...
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Small Town Summers

The Luck of the Buttons, by Anne Ylvisaker. Candlewick, 2011, 224 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages  8-10 Recommended for: ages 8-12 Bottom Line: The ...
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Breakpoint’s Youth Reads with Sherry Early

Last week, Janie had the privilege of sharing radio waves with Chris Fabry on his national radio show.  You can find out more about the ...
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God-Haunted

The death of God has been announced since the beginning of time (see Ps. 14:1), but God doesn't seem to stay dead--not even with Darwinism and nihilism ...
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Should Christian Kids See Harry Potter?

Or for you parents, will your kids be going to see the final Harry Potter movie released to theaters this week?  If so, for what ...
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One More For the Road

Around the World in 100 Days, by Gary Blackwood.  Dutton, 2010, 358 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: ages 10-14 Bottom Line: ...
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The Living Past: An Interview With Cheryl Harness

We end our extended history week with what some consider to be the purest form of history: biography.  The old argument of whether great events, ...
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‘Oh Say, I Can’t See’ Anyone Else But Me

Boy Humor, and How I Came to Terms With It One of my earliest realizations of the strange, otherness of boy humor is embodied in ...
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Is Historical Fiction Dead?

Short answer: no, but it's showing signs of dementia. Historical fiction has one of the longest roots of any literary form. You might say that ...
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Free Audiobook: BBC’s Romeo and Juliet

A few weeks ago, I wrote about Overdrive software in relation to online library rentals of audiobooks.  Today Sync Audiobooks, a website that offers free ...
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Covenanters: Then and Now

Duncan's War, by Douglas Bond (Crown and Covenant #1).  P&R Publishing, 2002. 270 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, 10-12 Recommended for: ages 10-12 and up ...
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The Betrayal of Maggie Blair by Elizabeth Laird

The Betrayal of Maggie Blair by Elizabeth Laird

The Betrayal of Maggie Blair, by Elizabeth Laird.  Houghton Mifflin, 2011, 420 pages. Reading Level: Young Adult, Ages 12-15 Recommended for: Ages 14 and up ...
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4th of July Round-up

Here it is: my 4th of July round-up!  Books about the Revolutionary War era recommended for ages 4-12, arranged from youngest to oldest. Saving the ...
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Entwined by Heather Dixon

*Entwined by Heather Dixon

*Entwined, by Heather Dixon.  Greenwillow, 2011, 472 pages. Reading Level: Young Adult, ages 12-15 Recommended for: Ages 12-15 Bottom Line: Entwined is a fairy-tale romance ...
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Enchanted: Three new fairy tales

Heartless, by Anne Elisabeth Stengl.  Bethany House, 2010.  Age/interest level: 14-up (first in a series) Princess Una is a romantic sort, indulged by her father and ...
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Rebel by R. J. Anderson

Rebel by R. J. Anderson. Enclave Publishing, Reprint edition, 2015. 308 pages. Reading Level: Young Adult, 12-15. Recommended for: Ages 12-15 Bottom Line: Rebel, a story ...
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‘Creative’ Retellings of Paul Revere’s Ride

The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  Illustrated by Christopher Bing.  Ages 4-8.  40 pgs. Roughly 150 years ago, a poem entitled ...
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Reflection in a Dragon’s Eye

The main problem with Christian fantasy may be, what do you do with Christ? Honestly: can it be "Christian" without him?  But it's not easy to ...
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Knights in Training

The Brave Young Knight, by Karen Kingsbury, illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard.  Zonderkidz, 2011.  Age/interest level, 4-7 In the spirit of Will, God's Mighty Warrior, here's ...
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Is Your Son ‘God’s Mighty Warrior’?

Will, God's Mighty Warrior by Sheila Walsh, Ages 4-7, 32pgs.   “This book is a favorite with my boys, 2 and 5. They really like ...
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Turn On the Light

At least twice a year, it seems, there's a controversy blowing up in the Young-Adult book trade.  The latest brouhaha began with an article in ...
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The Charlatan's Boy by Jonathan Rogers

*The Charlatan’s Boy by Jonathan Rogers

*The Charlatan's Boy, by Jonathan Rogers.  WaterBrook Press, 2010, 305 pages. Reading Level: Middle grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: Ages 10-12 and up Bottom Line: ...
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Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg

Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg

Prom and Prejudice, by Elizabeth Eulberg.  Point (Scholastic), 2011, 227 pages.  Reading Level: Young Adult, ages 12-15 Recommended for: Ages 12-14 and up Bottom Line: ...
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Enthusiasm by Polly Schulman

Enthusiasm by Polly Schulman

Enthusiasm, by Polly Schulman. G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2006, 198 pages.  Reading Level: Young Adult, ages 12-15 Recommended for: Ages 12-14 Bottom Line: Enthusiasm, a ...
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Library Loans: Late Fees and Summer Camp

SUMMER CAMP We are eventually going to do our first summer camp next month.  But in the meantime, I have been looking for ways to ...
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The Year We Were Famous by Carole Estby Dagg

*The Year We Were Famous by Carole Estby Dagg

*The Year We Were Famous by Carole Estby Dagg.  Clarion, 2011, 241 pages with author note. Reading Level: Young Adult, ages 12-15 Recommended for: Ages ...
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Press Here by Herve Tullet

*Press Here by Herve Tullet

*Press Here by Herve Tullet.  Chronicle Books, 2011.  56 pages. Reading Level: Picture Books, ages 0-4 Recommended for: Ages 0-4 and up Those of you ...
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Queen of the Falls by Chris Van Allsburg

Queen of the Falls by Chris Van Allsburg.  Houghton Mifflin, 2011, 37 pages.  Reading Level: Picture Book, ages 9-12 Recommended for: Ages 4-8 On the ...
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The Graduate

In anticipation of our interview with Dr. Veith next week (see Emily's anticipatory post), I intended to write some thoughts on life after homeschooling to ...
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Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent, by Veronica Roth. Katherine Tegan Books (HarperCollins), 2011, 487 pages. Reading Level: Young Adult, ages 12-15 Recommended for: Ages 15-18 and up Bottom Line: ...
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Hereville by Barry Deutsch

*Hereville by Barry Deutsch

*Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword (graphic novel), by Barry Deutsch. Abrams (Amulet), 2010, 139 pp. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 8-10 Recommended for: Ages 8-10 ...
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Thomas the Train: All Aboard for Fun!

Today's Article is a Guest Post by Libby Minor.  See more about her below. "The morality of the stories was clear and Christian: misbehaviour led ...
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Beautiful by Cindy Martinusen-Coloma

Beautiful by Cindy Martinusen-Coloma

Beautiful: Truth's Found When Beauty's Lost, by Cindy Martinusen-Coloma.  Thomas Nelson, 2009, 272 pages. Reading Level: Young Adult, ages 12-15 Recommended for: Ages 12-14 and ...
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Good Christian Girls

I remember when Jeanette Oke and "deliverance" stories were about the only options teenage girls had if they wanted to read some Christian fiction.  The ...
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Love Will Keep Us Together by Anne Dayton

Love Will Keep Us Together by Anne Dayton

Love Will Keep Us Together, by Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt.  Hatchett: 2010, 287 pages.  (Miracle Girls series #4) Reading Level: Young adult, ages 12-15 ...
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Becoming Me by Melody Carlson

Becoming Me by Melody Carlson

Becoming Me, by Melody Carlson.  Multnomah, 2010.  (Diary of a Teenage Girl series #1.) Reading Level: Young Adults, Ages 12-15 Recommended for: Ages 12-14 and up ...
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Motorcycles, Sushi, and One Strange Book by Nancy Rue

Motorcycles, Sushi, and One Strange Book by Nancy Rue

Motorcycles, Sushi, and One Strange Book, by Nancy Rue.  Zondervan, 2010, 211 pages.  (Real Life series #1) Reading Level: Middle grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: ...
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Is Your Daughter “God’s Little Princess”?

I know I'm in murky water here.  Early in my daughter's infancy, my husband and I began the argument: is our daughter a princess? Now ...
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The Airborn trilogy by Kenneth Oppel

The Airborn trilogy by Kenneth Oppel

Airborn, by Kenneth Oppel.  HarperCollins, 2004, 355 pp.  Skybreaker (2007); Starclimber (2009). Reading Level: Middle grade, ages 10-12 Recommended for: Ages 10-12 and up One-line ...
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The Leviathan Trilogy by Scott Westerfeld

The Leviathan Trilogy by Scott Westerfeld

Leviathan, by Scott Westerfield, illustrations by Keith Thompson.  Simon Pulse, 2009, 434 pages plus historical note. Reading Level: Young Adult, ages 12-15 Recommended for: Ages ...
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Steampunk!

Example of Clanker technology from the 1914-ish world of "Leviathan." According to Wikipedia, the term was probably coined by science-fiction writer K. W. Jeter as ...
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‘The Dawning’ by George Herbert

Awake sad heart whom sorrow ever drowns; Take up thine eyes, which feed on earth; Unfold thy forehead, gathered into frowns; Thy Saviour comes, and ...
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Music of ‘The Little House’

Saturday happy: Just found out that folksinger/songwriter Caroline Herring just put a CD out called The Little House.  It's a retelling of Virginia Lee Burton's ...
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Saving Zasha by Randi Barrow

Saving Zasha by Randi Barrow

Saving Zasha, by Randi Barrow.  Scholastic, 2011, 225 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades (ages 8-10) Recommended for: Ages 10-12 One-line Summary: In post-WWII Russia, Mikhail ...
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A Dog's Way Home by Bobbie Pyron

A Dog’s Way Home by Bobbie Pyron

A Dog's Way Home, by Bobbie Pyron.  HarperCollins, 2011.  321 pp.  Reading Level: Middle grades, ages 8-10 Recommended for: Ages 10-12 Bottom line: When Abby ...
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Brave Little Digital World

In Surprised By Joy, C. S. Lewis wrote about the flowering of his imagination at an early age--especially through books, which were piled up everywhere ...
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Easter Gifts 101: Last Minute Warning!

Easter is almost here, and while you could just pick a board book up at Walmart while you're getting the Paas dye, you've still got ...
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The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens

The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens

The Emerald Atlas (#1 in the Books of Beginning series), by John Stephens. Knopf, 2011, 432 pages. Reading level: Middle grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: ...
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Looking For Love: The Paranormal Teen Romance

Several years ago I started noticing references to a new YA novel that was enjoying sensational sales, especially among adolescent girls.  As months passed, excitement ...
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Free Audio Book: Corrie Ten Boom’s ‘The Hiding Place’

Can't wait for my kids to read this in a few years.  If you don't have a copy already, here's a great way to enjoy ...
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Stalking the Elusive Boy Reader

Supposedly, one of the most-asked questions in children's publishing divisions is, "Will boys read it?"  Will boys read anything?  Or only books that have "butt" ...
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Peak by Roland Smith

Peak by Roland Smith

Peak by Roland Smith.  Harcourt: 2007, 246 pages.  Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: Ages 10-12 and up One-line summary: Fourteen-year-old Peak Marcello's ...
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What Ginger Plowman Taught Me About Kids’ Books

Roughly three years ago, I read Ginger Plowman's book, Don't Make Me Count to Three.  It's a fantastic resource with lots of practical advice for ...
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Dust Devil by Anne Isaacs

*Dust Devil by Anne Isaacs

Dust Devil, by Anne Isaacs, Illustrated by Paul Zelinsky, Schwartz & Wade, 2011. Reading Level: Picture Books, ages 4-8 Recommended for: Ages 4-8 and up ...
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Indestructables: Give your baby a taste for books!

You'd think a mother of triplets would have enough to do, but a few years Amy Pixton took the time to dream up and create ...
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Author Interview: Caldecott Finalist Ima B. Twitt

Now that April Fool's Day is over, I should probably introduce this as my post on April 1st... Recently I had the extraordinary opportunity to ...
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90 Miles to Havana by Enrique Flores-Galbis

90 Miles to Havana by Enrique Flores-Galbis

An 11-year-old boy flees revolutionary Cuba with his brothers and learns American enterprise in this vivid, fast-paced middle-grade historical novel. 90 Miles to Havana, by ...
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Escaping the Tiger by Laura Manivong

Escaping the Tiger by Laura Manivong

Escaping the Tiger by Laura Manivong. HarperCollins, 2010. 210 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 12-14 Recommended for: Ages 15-18 Bottom line: The experience of ...
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Shooting Kabul by N. H. Senzai

Shooting Kabul by N. H. Senzai

Shooting Kabul, by N. H. Senzai.  Simon & Shuster, 2011, 253 pages plus glossary and author note. Reading level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: ...
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Easter Gifts 101: Bible stories and The Story of the Bible

“I just ordered Happy and Honey, Bob Books set 1, and the Starfall readers—books you recommended—for Lois's and my African-American great-grandson. Could you recommend an ...
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Young Adult or Adult “Youngs”?

Once upon a time there was no such thing as YA in the publishing world.  That may be because there was no such thing as ...
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The Prince's Poison Cup cover image

Easter Gifts 101: ‘The Prince’s Poison Cup’ by R. C. Sproul

The Prince's Poison Cup is perfect for young boys ages 4-8, but I think it will also appeal to many girls. It's that time of ...
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“Jane! Jane!”

Few literary cries have echoed down the ages as persistently as that one: the ultimate impassioned plea from the ultimate gothic romance, which stands as ...
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‘True Grit’ and True Grace

“Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for ...
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The Perilous Gard

*The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope

The Perilous Gard, by Elizabeth Marie Pope.  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2001, 288.  Age/interest level 12-up. Reading Level: Teens/Young Adults Recommended for: Ages 15-18 Bottom line: ...
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Contest Winners and More

$20 Bookshelf Challenge Winner Today is the big day for one Redeemed Reader: the announcement of our $20 Bookshelf Challenge winner.  Thank you to everyone ...
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The Bartimaeus series by Jonathan Stroud

The Bartimaeus series by Jonathan Stroud

The Bartimaeus Trilogy, by Jonathan Stroud: The Amulet of Samarkand (Hyperion/Miramax, 2003), The Golem's Eye (2004), Ptolemy's Gate (2005). Reading Level: Young Adult, ages 12-14 ...
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The Ring of Solomon by Jonathan Stroud

The Ring of Solomon by Jonathan Stroud

The Ring of Solomon, by Jonathan Stroud.  Hyperion/Disney, 2010, 398 pages.  Reading level: Middle grades, 10-12 Recommended for: Ages 12-14 One-line Summary: The witty narrator ...
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Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson and the Olympians, by Rick Riordan: The Lightning Thief (Hyperion/Miramax,2005), The Sea of Monsters (2006), The Titan's Curse (2007), The Battle of the ...
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$20 Bookshelf Challenge: Best Books for Beginners

  Everybody seems to be pinching pennies these days.  I am admittedly pretty miserly when it comes to buying books.  As much as I value ...
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Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool

Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool

Moon Over Manifest, by Clare Vanderpool. Delacorte, 2010, 342 pages plus historical notes. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: Ages 10-12 Bottom line: ...
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Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer Holm

Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer Holm

Turtle in Paradise, by Jennifer Holm.  Random House, 2010, 177 pages plus historical notes.  Reading level: Middle Grades, ages 8-10 Recommended for: Ages 10-12 Bottom ...
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One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

One Crazy Summer, by Rita Williams-Garcia. HarperCollins, 2010, 215 pages. Reading level: Middle Grades, 10-12 Recommended for: Ages 10-12 Bottom line: One Crazy Summer is ...
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*The Year Money Grew on Trees by Aaron Hawkins

The Year Money Grew on Trees by Aaron Hawkins.  HMH, 2010. 301 pages Reading Level: Middle Grades, 10-12 Recommended for: Ages 10-12 Bottom Line: Middle-grade ...
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*Lawn Boy by Gary Paulsen

Lawn Boy by Gary Paulsen. Random House (Wendy Lamb Books), 2007. 88 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 8-10 Maturity Level: 4 (Ages 10-12) Bottom ...
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a story, a story cover image

‘A Story, A Story’: Thinking Through African Mythology

The Anansi stories have been handed down through generations of Ashanti culture...Born in Ghana I left at aged 3, leaving much of the Ghanaian culture ...
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It's a Book

It’s a Book by Lane Smith

It's a Book by Lane Smith.  Roaring Brook Press, 2010.  32 pages. Reading Level: Picture book, ages 4-8 Recommended for: ages 10-12 and up Bottom ...
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The King of Mulberry Street by Donna Jo Napoli

In The King of Mulberry Street a 9-year-old Italian immigrant realizes the American dream in 1890s New York through a combination of luck, ingenuity, and ...
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On the blue comet cover image

They Don’t Write ’em Like This Anymore

In tone, appearance, and character, On the Blue Comet is straight out of the 1950s. On the Blue Comet by Rosemary Wells. Candlewick, 2010, 329 ...
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THe book thief cover image

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

The Book Thief, a literary novel for teens and adults, explores Nazi Germany and the Holocaust through the eyes of a child, in prose that ...
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Annexed cover image

Annexed by Sharon Dogar

Annexed is the fictionalized story of Peter van Pels, Anne Frank's fellow inmate, who offers a moving account of the Holocaust for teens, but no ...
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*Sneaky Sheep by Chris Moore

Sneaky Sheep is a light-hearted book about two silly sheep who go astray. The illustrations are worth the price of the book. *Sneaky Sheep by Chris ...
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Dystopia, Part Three

Part One. Part Two. What's the problem with a glut of grim, futurist fiction on the YA bookshelves? Maybe nothing. Youth is resilient, and most ...
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Dystopia, Part Two

(Find Part One here) Besides being uniformly grim, there are other traits the current crop of dystopian novels share: A post-apocalyptic future--the story opens after ...
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If Olivia Comes to Visit….

We live in an age of series picture books. Which, like having 27 McDonalds in every city, makes shopping a little less complicated for tired, ...
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The Whole Counsel of God: Complementing Your Story Bible

The claim that a story Bible isn’t actually a Bible may seem a bit shocking at first. I mean, it’s got the word "Bible" right ...
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Dystopia: Dead Ahead

Part One How's this for a scenario: In the future, the USA has been divided into thirteen districts, and the most prosperous oppresses all the ...
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Buying Your First Story Bible

You’re a new parent. You’ve got the baby crib with a fancy name, the swing, the bouncer, the burping pads. Now it’s time to choose ...
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