Looking for a gift that's easy to ship, comes completely assembled, and hardly ever breaks? Try buying a book for that special someone in your family. Many organizations have just published Best of the Year lists of middle grade children's books including Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal, Publishers' Weekly, and Amazon.com.
Arundel Family Library
Stuart Gibbs, the New York Times bestselling author of the Spy School and Fun Jungle series spent the day with students in the 3rd-8th grade on November 28th. In three humorous presentations, Gibbs revealed the inspiration for his books, the secrets of charismatic megafauna, and why we find some animals cute. Students were happy to suggest new animals to feature in his Fun Jungle series. Some like the narwhal were discarded out of hand but others might end up starring in later books.
Author Stephanie Sabol took the Middle School inside WhoHQ, the wildly popular biography and history series. Sabol who works for the publisher, Penguin Young Readers, shared how she volunteered to write a biography of her favorite rock star and fellow New Jersey native, Bruce Springsteen. The book took her almost two years to write, and unfortunately, she did not get to meet Springsteen in the process. But she did get to meet Jane O'Connor, the author of the Fancy Nancy series. O' Connor was her editor for the books and our students saw the hard work and collaboration that goes on between author and editor. Sabol has also written Where is Our Solar System? and What Was the Titanic? Special thanks to Mrs. Furr for arranging this informative and entertaining visit from her college friend.
The library loans Kindles to allow children to access our ever-growing collection of e-books through Overdrive. Students can borrow the Kindles and then check Overdrive for books they would like loaded on to the kindles. Before a Kindle can be borrowed students and parents need to fill out a permission slip. There is a small fee for lost Kindles.
Students can also borrow portable mp3 players to listen to e-audiobooks.
If you would like to load digital material onto your own devices (kindles, ipads, iphones etc.) you will need to obtain a user number from the librarians. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for that information. Tutorial videos for the use of Overdrive are available here.
Awards season has begun as the ALA has announced the winner of the Newbery Award for 2018, Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly. Hello, Universe is a lovely tale of four sixth graders whose lives mysteriously intersect on one fateful afternoon. Click here for a brief video intro from the author.
Newbery Honors went out to Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes, Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds, and Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson. For the first time ever, all four Newbery books were written by authors of color.
Here is a complete list of the 2018 awards.
Audio Book Reviews by Middle School Students
We now have a large selection of E-Books available to download. To view the collection, click here.
24 Hours in Nowhere by dusti Bowling
I am not alone in my fondness for Louis Sachar’s Holes. Students often ask me for a book like Holes, and up until now I have not felt any book meets this high standard. 24 Hours in Nowhere by Dusti Bowling does. It is a compelling read about four young people of different backgrounds forced together by circumstance in the hardscrabble, sun scorched and impoverished town of Nowhere, Arizona. The action rarely wavers as the four acquaintances try to find a lost treasure in a treacherous mine. The repartee between the characters is often hilarious and always feels authentic. Bowling’s excellent first book, Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus dealt with big questions (physical disability and Tourette’s Syndrome) straight on while this book tends to question racism and poverty less directly in quiet interludes between the next perilous escape. Despite a few plot contrivances, the book holds together well. I am eager to see what Bowling will produce next.