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Pre2006 Reviews – M

MacCready, Robin Merrow Buried 198 p. Penguin – Claudine wakes up one morning and finds that her mother is gone – again. As Claudine tries to hold everything together, it all just falls apart more rapidly, and the world’s largest arrangement of Post-it notes can’t stop the truth from being exposed – in the midst of a hurricane. Claudine’s descent is heart-wrenching poignant and you need to know about the small amount of swear words (11), with three of the being the dreaded “f”. So read it for yourself and think hard, because this novel is just not to be passed up. HS – ESSENTIAL, MS – Your call. . Cindy, Library Teacher


MacCullough, Carolyn Falling Through Darkness – Ginny’s boyfriend Aidan died in a car crash, which she survived, but it has left her unable to cope with the world. Switching from the past to the present, we see their developing relationship, the night of the crash and how Ginny has decided to cope with the present. Though Ginny is not a very strong character, her story is very compelling and interesting to read as it unfolds. MS-ADVISABLE, HS-ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Machling, Lauren Dream Girl, 320 pgs. Random House. Language-F, Sexual Content-F, Violence-G; Ever since Claire was little she has been having these strange visions that haven’t been so clear, but when she suddenly gets a birthday present from her grandmother they become strangely clear. I think that this is a really good book, it kept me up half of the night wondering what was going to happen. MS – ADVISABLE. Student Reviewer: SA


Mack, Tracy and Michael Citrin Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars: The Fall of the Amazing Zalindas, 259 p. Orchard Books – This story displays another example of Sherlock Holmes amazing detective skills. With the Help of the Baker Street irregulars (a loyal gang of homeless boys), A huge mystery is unfolded. Sherlock Holmes is called upon to explain many mysterious and strange occurrences. The question is if they are somehow correlated. This mystery involves the deaths of a family circus Act, Stolen Jewels from the palace, and a sinister masterminds plans. This is a very captivating book. It is very much like the original Sherlock Holmes adventures and holds the same amount of suspense and mystery. This is definitely a book worth reading! NO. Student Reviewer: EC


MacKall, Dandi Daley Crazy in Love, 232 p. Penguin – Mary Jane has broken the cardinal rule of girlfriends and fallen in love with one of the gang’s boyfriends. But she knows that Star has cheated on Jackson on the side. So, when Jackson flirts back, she decides that it may be time to take a stand. Even when Star resorts to the most basic of girl bullying tactics – trashing Mary Jane’s reputation. Mary Jane has some hard decisions in front of her. Ms. Mackall does an excellent job of weaving together many tough decisions in a girl’s life without resorting to titillation or foul language. Fans of Sarah Dessen with love this title. MS-ESSENTIAL, HS-ADVISABLE


Mackler, Carolyn The Earth, My Butt and other Big, Round Things – I read ten pages and put this one down. All I picked up was that the main character was wondering when the boy (whom she doesn’t even like) whom she is making out with on a regular basis will finally make the move to “second base”. My seventh grade son read the whole things and said he didn’t like it. NO. Cindy, Library Teacher


Mackler, Carolyn Vegan Virgin Valentine – Mara Valentine is a sober, studious, attentive daughter and a virgin. When her slutty, alcoholic, chain-smoking nice (who is only one year younger than Mara) comes to live with her family, Mara wonders is being an upright citizen is all that it should be. I hated this book on so many levels – the swearing, the sex talk, the idea that people who don’t drink, smoke, do drugs or have sex have no joy in their lives. NO. Cindy, Library Teacher


Mackrel, Kathy Alien in a Bottle 194 p. – Tagg Orion is running from a deal gone bad. He lands on Earth and into the hands of Sean, a glass blowing fanatic, who needs something spectacular in order to win an art contest and tuition to the local art private school. Along with Olivia, the girl of Sean’s dreams, Sean tries to keep Tagg alive. This book, believe it or not, has lots of layers – not too deep, but layers none the less. Fans of whacky science fiction will enjoy this one too. EL, MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


MacLachlan, Patricia Edward’s Eyes, 116 pgs. Atheneum (Simon). Language-G; Sexual Content-G; Violence-G; Jake knows that he has his brother Edward, a lover of baseball, music, books and their little sister, for a friend. But when an accident happens, Edward’s eyes help somebody else. Good, but a little deep for the age level. I wasn’t convinced that Edward really loved any of these things; they were mentioned but not expounded upon, maybe because of the shortness of the book. The story line was a little bit confusing because of the flashbacks and it needed more explaining on every person and experience. EL – OPTIONAL. Student Reviewer: KD


MacLachlan, Patricia More Perfect than the Moon, 80 p. – 8 year old Cassie finds out that her mother Sarah is expecting a baby. She is old enough to be very worried, because she knows that Caleb and Anna’s mom died in childbirth, so she is determined to protect her mama from the “terrible baby.” EL,MS-ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


MacLeod, Elizabeth and John Mantha Samuel de Champlain, 32 p. Kids Can Press, 2008. Level 3 Reader. The life of the explorer is laid out very simply in this beginning reader book. It contains just enough information for a short report or presentation on the explorer. K-2 – OPTIONAL. Reviewer: Cindy, Library-Teacher


MacLeod, Elizabeth George Washington Carver: An Innovative Life 32 p. Kids Can Press – Biography. An extremely detailed and useful book about the life of Mr. Carver. The easy format makes it useful for elementary students, but the wealth of information also makes it a good resource for middle schools. EL, MS – ADVISABLE


Macphail, Catherine Underworld, 284 p. -Five misfit students are chosen to attend a special school-sponsored outing of cave exploration with an unbeloved teacher. Angie is a blubbering, fat follower. Zesh is goodie-goodie brownnoser. Fiona is an antiestablishment walking contradiction. Axel is a large-bodied bully. Liam is his sneaky, dangerous right-hand man. The five students are stuck in the cave with an unconscious teacher after a violent cave-in. While Axel and Liam want to leave the teacher behind, The others insist on dragging him along. When a chance word changes the balance of power, everyone’s lives are in more danger, if that’s possible, than they were before. Even though the story is a little hokey in parts, what I really liked is that the children are true to their personalities. There is no kiss and make up, no pacts to be friends forever, no life-long bonding through their hours of danger. Though they are changed a little, they are not changed forever, which I think is more realistic. MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


Madden, Kerry Louisiana’s Song, 278 p. Penguin – Language: PG, Violence: G, Sexual Contact: G – This story is about a family whose dad gets into a car wreck and loses his memory. As they try to get it to return, they have many adventures. I liked this book, it was very interesting. I also liked the last part a lot! At first, it was hard to get into, but as soon as I started to get into it, it was amazing. Older EL, MS OPTIONAL. Student Reviewer: KH


Maddox, Marjorie A Crossing of Zebras: Animal Packs in Poetry, illustrations by Philip Huber. Boyds Mill Press, 2008. PICTURE BOOK. Some of these collective nouns maybe familiar and others will probably be new to you, but the humorous poems, combined with the detailed and imaginative scratchboard drawings combine for a visual treat. I plan on giving this book first to the Art teacher, because of those wonderful detailed works of art. And if the amusing poems help students remember the odd words we have for different collections of animals, so much the better. EL, MS, HS – ADVISABLE


Magrs, Paul The Good, the Bat and the Ugly 245 p. – Years ago, Jason’s father was a famous puppeteer. Now Jason has taken Tolstoy, his father’s bat puppet, out of the attic and discovered that not only is Tolstoy alive, but he has a thirst for vengeance against all other puppets everywhere – a death vengeance. There is ridiculous and then there is RIDICULOUS. Don’t waste your time on this one! NO. Cindy, Library Teacher


Mahy, Margaret Alchemy – Roland is being blackmailed by a teacher to spy on Jess Ferret. Drawn into the mysterious “quietness” of Jess’s house, Roland also must confront an evil magician who has haunted his drams since childhood. A strange and cool combination of fantasy and ghost and mystery. OPTIONAL. . Cindy, Library Teacher


Mahy, Margaret; Maddigan’s Fantasia, Pgs. 499; Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books; Language: G, Sexual Content: G, Violence: PG, Garland Maddigan is apart of Maddigan’s Fantasia which is a wandering circus, and being a Maddigan she feels very happy to be the last true Maddigan of the family. Times have changed since the past of cars, buildings, and such and life is harsher. But Maddigan’s Fantasia travel all around to bring joy and happiness to people all around who are still carrying on. When something horrible happens to the entire Fantasia, no one knows what will happen or if they can even carry on. Hope seems about lost until Garland sees two strange boys who just may help them on their fabulous journey. I really liked this book. This book has many twists and surprising turns. Can get a bit confusing at the end but you eventually get it as it explains itself more. I loved it and would recommend it to everyone around!!! MS, HS ESSENTIAL. Student Reviewer: AN


Malkin, Nina Orange is the New Pink, 272 p. Babylon has won her dream summer job as an intern at the hottest new girls’ magazine around. Four other winners provide her support group and her rivals as they work to put out an issue of Orange and compete for a year-long column. Boy distractions and plenty of drama await Babyl this summer. Unfortunately, as good as the message is, the two dozen useless swear words give this book my NO vote. It will be published in paperback in July, so give it a shot if you want to. NO


Malloy, Brian Twelve Long Months. 320 pgs. Scholastic Press. Language-PG-13 (only 3 “f”s); Sexual Content-PG; Violence-G. Molly, who is hopelessly in love with Mark, discovers that they will both be going to New York after high school graduation. When she figures out that she is entire wrong for Mark, even the wrong gender, will her love for him go away, or will she always have a special place for Mark? The beginning was very shallow and had no depth to it. It wasn’t intriguing until about page 100. There wasn’t any wow factor to it. It was just another book with the same characters and same stories. HS- OPTIONAL Student Reviewer-KD


Malone, Peter Close to the Wind: The Beaufort Scale PICTURE BOOK Putnam’s (Penguin), 2007. Through the eyes of a young midshipman, a sea voyage unfolds, illustrating and explaining each step of the Beaufort Scale for measuring wind force before there were instruments for such a thing. If you know anyone who is fascinated by sailing ships and life on the sea, they will thoroughly enjoy this picture book. An elementary class could very quickly use this book in a lesson about wind, or when reading a novel about life on the sea. EL – ADVISABLE, MS – OPTIONAL


Maloney, Alison The Family Book, 182 pgs. Language-G; Sexual Content-G; Violence-G. If you’ve ever been stuck inside with your family just staring at each other, this is the book for you. Gather the family because this book has many fun things for the whole family to do together. There were many fun things to do that will bring your family together. Each age group will find something to do. It probably wouldn’t be checked out if it is in a school library, a public library would be better for it. EL-ESSENTIAL Student Reviewer-KD


Maltby, Richard Jr. Miss Potter: The Novel, 189 p. Penguin – Beatrix Potter has illustrated an written small tales for the children of her friends and relatives for several years to entertain them or celebrate with them the milestones of their lives. A chance conversation with a kind gentleman sends Beatrix on her way to actually publishing her little books and learning about love. Novelized by the original author of the screenplay. I have not seen the movie, so I can’t judge how well it follows the big screen version, but the novel does make for a sweet story. And since it was released in paperback, the nice price of the book totally makes up for it flaws. EL, MS – OPTIONAL


Manning, Dr. Phillip Lars Dinomummy: The Life, Death and Discovery of Dakota, a dinosaur from Hell Creek, 61 p. Kingfisher (Houghton), 2007. Tyler Lyson, a teenager, is fascinated with dinosaurs. Luckily, he lives right next to some of the richest fossil beds in the country. One day he finds the vertebra of a dinosaur. In emails to Dr. Manning, the two realize that this is more than bones or fossils – this is an actual mummified dinosaur, complete with skin and scales. Thus begins a very important discovery, which is still in progress today. The text includes photographs of the present day, with very clear explanations and beautiful drawings of what might have created the circumstances that mummified “Dakota” in the first place. My science teachers were very excited about this book for their classes, not only because our knowledge of dinosaurs has changed so much in the last decade, but because of the clear explanations and extensive graphics that make this book so accessible. EL, MS, HS – ESSENTIAL


Manning, Mick and Brita Granstrom Viking Longship PICTURE BOOK Frances Lincoln – The Viking longship has a long, productive life as it follows several owners down through the Viking raiding days, through settled life, and a flaming farewell. Though the pictures and plain and sketching, interesting details and explanations add character tot his title. Elementary students will poring over it and slightly older students could find plenty on which to base a project. El-ADVISABLE, MS-OPTIONAL


Manning, Sarah Guitar Girl – Molly and her girlfriends start a band in support of the girl revolution. With a couple of guys added on, they find themselves moving on to stardom. Does contain implied sex. MS – ADVISABLE. . Cindy, Library Teacher


Manning, Sarra Diary of a Crush: French Kiss, 214 p. Penguin – Language: R (said F three times and other swears), Sexual content: PG-13, Violence: G – This book was about a girl, Edie, who lives in Europe, and is read through her diary. Her photography class is given the chance to go to France for five days, and over those five days she falls in love with Dylan, another art student. Although it was a good book, there are others I would recommend first. There were times I connected with Edie, but there were times when I didn’t. I read it pretty quickly, but it didn’t exactly capture my interest like other books have. I would suggest it for an easy read at a public library. MS- NO Student Reviewer: JH


Manning, Sarra Diary of a Crush: Kiss and Make Up 264 p. – Language: R (many F’s and a LOT of others in between), Sexual Content: R (four + sex scenes, not too graphic), Violence: G *There is also a scene where a girl is drugged that might be considered offensive to some. – In this sequel to French Kiss, Edie breaks up with Dylan and gets together with Carter. About halfway through the book, this changes. I liked this book a little more than the first, but the sex scenes and use of the F word made it inappropriate for younger grades and even older grades might find it offensive. The characters were more developed in this one and were easy to connect with. I would recommend it to people who don’t mind the content and who are looking for a very real novel. HS, MS, NO Student Reviewer: JH


Manning, Sarra Diary of a Crush: Sealed With a Kiss 278 p. Language: R (many F’s and a LOT of others in between), Sexual Content: PG-13 (a few sex scenes, not graphic), Violence: G – In the last book of this trilogy, the author did a very good job. Her characters were (finally) completely fleshed out, and the story line was pretty good too. Edie and Dylan save up and take a road trip through the States over a few months. There is some sex and even more language than the last one, but I would recommend it to people who don’t mind and are looking for a perfect example of some of the complications of life. HS, NO. Student Reviewer: JH


Manning, Sarra Guitar Girl – Molly and her friends start up a band to be part of the girl revolution. They pick up a mysterious drummer and a controlling guitar player (guys) and find themselves on the way to stardom. Even though two of the characters end in bed together, it is handled in a way that makes this a book I will get of my library. OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Manning, Sarra Let’s Get Lost 308 p. Penguin – Isabel has decided that being mean is the best way to be in control of her teenage years, and her so-called best friends and her school mates fall for it. Things get even uglier after her mother dies in a horrible car crash and Isabel sets herself on a path towards self-implosion, not caring who she immolates in the journey. Another angry teenaged girl who has what she believes in the secret to end all secrets. Doen in the British style with a plethora of swear words including a hearty dose of “f”. I don’t; know if authors think they are being brave or cool or what using swear words so liberally, but I thinkit is stupid. And I think it is much more challenging to write a book that makes the point without devolving into the swear word crutch NO. Cindy, Library Teacher


Manushkin, Fran The Shivers in the Fridge PICTURE BOOK Penguin – A family of five finds itself in a cold, dark place. As each family goes off in search of a warm, brighter home, each disappears, snatched by a bright light and huge, ominous hand. A delightful look at perspective and young children and older children can enjoy. EL – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Mara. Wil The Cut, 289 p. St. Martin’s Press, 2007. T.J. Brookman has played brilliantly for the New York Giants, but he and his agent and most of the world agrees that he deserves more money. Instead of negotiating, the Giants refuse and launch a counterattack, calling in three decoys to pre-season boot camp, hoping to thwart Brookman’s ploy. The three decoys don’t know it, and instead works will all their heart and body to make the cut. This is a fine piece of football fiction, unfortunately it won’t work for schools because of the extremely high swear count, including more than a dozen “f”. Too bad – I really liked it. NO


Mara, Wil The Draft, 303 p. St. Martin’s, 2006. The star quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens has landed in the hospital after a terrible car accident. Its only two weeks until the college draft and now the general manager must pull off the miracle of courting the lastest college phenom and stealing him from his greatest rivals. Back-stabbing, lying and creative player switching are just part of the game that is professional football in the intense drama that peeks into the back corridors of the popular sport. Football fans will love it. And as an added bonus – there is little enough swearing that it will also work in a high school setting. HS – ESSENTIAL


Marchetta, Melina Saving Francesca 243 p. – Last year Francesca was at St. Stella’s, where her best friends rescued her from geekdom and showed her how to act. This year she is at St. Sebastians, a boys school which thinks labeling one bathroom makes it coed. The girls who also came from her old school are freaks and weirdos and the boys aren’t any better. When her mother refuses to get out of bed one day, Francesca finds very unexpected sources of strength, comfort and friendship. One short book review doesn’t do this book justice. It is great reading on so many levels. Unfortunately, it also contains a large smattering of swearing and body talk from the uncouth boys in the crowd. Keep this one out of the middle school.. HS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


Margolis, Leslie Fix, 240 p. Simon Schuster – Before she started at her new high school, Cameron Beekman had a nose job, which turned her into one of the beautiful people. Four years later, she runs into some of those old tormentors and realizes that she will never be happy until her body looks the way she wants it to and she sets about trying to convince her family and friends that a breast augmentation is the way to go. Meanwhile, her little sister, Allie, is resisting her mother’s idea of a nose job for Allie and a face lift for herself While Cameron comes off as extremely shallow and Allie is the deep one, the book is a fairly balanced view of the pros and cons of cosmetic surgery. After Cameron’s enhancement she talks about her breast in a fairly clinical manner, but the descriptions are graphic enough that most schools will be put off by them. But, if you audience is a little more liberal, this would be a powerful addition to your collection. Already in paperback. HS-OPTIONAL


Margolis, Leslie Price of Admission, 217 p. Simon and Schuster – Sitting, mnourning at her former boyfriend’s memorial service, Jasmine learns that her life may be over. Not literally. But word gets out of a brilliant screen play that Austin wrote and his father is getting produced – unfortunately, that screenplay is actually Jasmine’s diary of the most excruciating time of her and her family’s lives. And now the world might see her pain – unless she can figure out a way to stop it. Unfortunately, I counted four uses of “f” and 8 incidences of other swear words before I stopped counting. Though Jasmine’s story may be funny and engaging, it isn’t worth the casual use of swearing throughout the text. NO


Markle, Sandra Animals Robert Scott Saw: An Adventure in Antarctica, 43 p. Chronicle Books, 2008. Though you might expect a picture book list of the animals along Robert Scott’s journey, instead, this short book is a wealth of information about the expedition, life along the way, research methodology, and the many hardships and challenges confronted by the explorers. Besides the author’s illustrations, the book contains sketches, paintings and photographs from the original expedition. The only things that would make this book better would be to have included first person quotes, but even without those, this small book is an important addition to any school at any level that talks about exploration, discovery, fighting against the odds and survival. EL, MS, HS – ADVISABLE


Markle, Sandra Finding Home 29 p. Charlesbridge PICTURE BOOK. The story of a koala mother who escapes a bushfire with her joey on her back. With her home range destroyed, she travels a long distance in search of food. She finds a swamp mahogany tree in a suburban area where she is initially challenged by a dog. Traveling from yard to yard, she eventually crosses the highway back into a forest, finding a new home. The water color illustrations are beautiful and reflect the respect shown the koalas by the inhabitants of the homes she visits on her journey. This is an appealing tale of animal survival. Grades 2-4 ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Debbie Herget, Elementary Library-Teacher


Marks, Graham Zoo, 266 p. – AS Cam Stewart steps out of his home, he is snatched off the street in broad daylight. Escaping from his captors, he manages to kill one of them and has no idea why he was a target or who might actually be the enemy. Instead of going to the police, he takes refuge with two teens who give him a lift. With the girl’s help, he manages to unravel the mystery surrounding his very existence. This is one of the books that I bought after glancing at it at ALA this summer. And its one of the reasons I keep telling myself I need to read everything before I actually buy it! Not that ist is terrible, its just not great. And it has a handful of swear words (d, s) scattered throughout. I would buy this in paper and not spend the hardcover price. MS, HS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Marks, Graham Missing In Tokyo, 253 Pages Bloomsbury – Language: PG-13 (Excessive pointless swearing), Sexual Content: PG-13, Violence: G – A phone call informs Adam (a college student in London) and his parents that his older sister Charlie has gone missing in Tokyo. Only one thing can be done which will actually help find her…and that’s for Adam to go there himself. I enjoyed the book for the reality shown in it. Adam is definitely no hero, just a typical guy that wants to find someone dear to him. MS/HS – OPTIONAL; Student Reviewer:KH


Marks, Graham Omega Place, 254 p. Bloomsbury, 2007. Paul Hendry has had enough of his whiny mother and his overbearing step-father. Now he has taken off on his own and landed with a crowd calling them selves Omega Place – dedicated to stop government surveillance with hidden cameras. Of course, the group’s agenda goes deeper than Paul knows, including his role as scapegoat and fall guy. Unfortunately, Paul’s story in constantly interrupted by his and his friend’s potty mouths (including “f”) and I couldn’t relax into the narrative. NO


Marley, Louise Singer in the Snow, 304 p. – Emle has trained all of her life to act as a Cantrix in her world where summer comes only once every five years. Unfortunately, though her singing voice is beautiful, the power to create heat eludes her. As she tries to work through her block, she is sent with Mreen, a powerful Cantrix without a voice, to act as her translator. There Emle meets, Luke, a young horseman who is being abused by his stepfather Axl and Gwin, Luke’s little sister, a budding Cantrix who is desperately hiding her power from the same stepfather. When Axl kidnaps Gwin to turn her in for a ransom, only Emle can help Luke rescue her. And in order to make it to safety, Emle will need to find her power. Though the story seems to be about Emle, the most powerful part for me was the interplay in Luke’s family. Ms. Marley does an excellent job of scripting their story. The magic is well done too. MS, HS-ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Marriott, Zoe The Swan Kingdom, pgs.257 Candlewick Press. Launguage-G; Sexual Content PG; Violence-G; Alexandra has lived in the Kingdom all her life. One day though, a strange and evil beast kills her mother. Her father soon after marries a woman whose eyes reflect no light. When Alexandra’s brothers disappear, and the once lavish Kingdom withers away. It’s up to Alexandra to save them and to save the kingdom. Great book, it’s one of you’re classic girl-heroine books. Guys probably wouldn’t like it. EL,MS-ADVISEABLE. Student Reviewer:RH


Martin, Ann Here Today, 308 p. – Ellie’s family lives on the wrong side of the tracks in a small Midwest town in 1963. Ellie and her best friend Holly are just trying to survive middle school, while Ellie’s mother, who makes her children call her by her first name, decides that she is too big for this town and takes off for New York and catch her dream. While I am not too thrilled by Doris’ self-centered shenanigans, the end of the book is very poignant, as Ellie comes to terms with her mother’s choices. I’m not sure how many kids will be patient enough for the story to develop. EL, MS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Martin, Clem The Plague (Crow Chronicles #2), 267 p. – Kyp’s mentor Kalum is killed by a vicious Kuper, who survived the cat attack. Then Kym, his friend, is taken captive by humans after a mysterious plague strikes down the flock. Kyp collects a small band of isolated crows as he journeys across the country, narrowly escaping danger many times, as he searches for Kym. Who ever thought I would care about a bunch of crows. At least they act like crows, and only a bit smarter than you might expect. A good series for students who have finished the Guardians of Ga’Hoole or Silverwing series. EL, MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


Marsdan, John While I Live 299 pages Scholastic – Language: PG-13 (Scattered “H” and “D” words, along with a few “B” words), Sexual Content: PG, Violence: PG – Ellie, a young woman living in Australia, has endured war all of her life. Now the fighting is supposed to have stopped. But one day, Ellie returns home at the sound of gunshots and finds her parents slaughtered. Now Ellie must grapple with the immense amounts of debt left on their farm, as well as watch over Gavin, a deaf orphan in her unofficial charge, all entirely on her own. Slowly she finds herself brought back into a fight that’s supposed to be over as she becomes involved in mysterious group called “Liberation” as they try to free prisoners of war. I expected this book to contain a lot more action. Instead it was more of Ellie’s coming-of-age story as she tries to come out on top of her mounting problems. Even so, I think that as characters develop in the books that will likely follow this one, it will be more appealing to readers who expect a more action-packed war story. MS-ADVISABLE; Student Reviewer: KR


Marsden, Carolyn Silk Umbrellas, 131 p. Candlewick, 2007. As Thailand’s economy industrializes, Noi’s family is struggling to earn the pennies they need to buy the food to survive. Her older sister is sent to work in a radio factory and Noi is worried that she will soon follow. Her grandmother is unable to paint her beautiful work on silk umbrellas, and Noi tries to find the artist within her to help her family. This short, simple book would e a good read-aloud for a younger class studying world cultures. It is already in paperback. EL – ADVISABLE


Marsden, Carolyn. The Buddha’s Diamonds, 105p. Candlewick Press- Language:G, Sexual Content:G, Violence:G- Tinh, a ten year old boy, lives in Vietnam. He is finally old enough to help his father. Proud and willing, he sets to work. But when a terrible storm strikes, Tinh panics. All he wanted was to show his father that he was capable of taking care of the boat. Now he has to prove if he is a man. I thought it was a heart warming story. A sweet and meaningful book. EL, MS- ADVISABLE. Student Reviewer: CW


Marsh, Katherine The Night Tourist, 232 p. Hyperion, 2007. Jack almost died when he was hit by a car. Now his father has sent him to see a specialist in his old hometown of New York – the town they left after Jack’s mother died in a terrible accident. The doctor doesn’t seem to do much, but in Grand Central Station, Jack Meets Euri, a girl who offers to show him around the Station, who shows him right across the River Styx and into the underworld. Once Jack accepts that Euri is dead, he uses his time to search for his mom, hoping that him might be able to bring her back into life. Unexpected revelations and decisions are around the corner as Jack tries to stay ahead of The Clubber, who is determined to catch him and kill him for good. Fun and clever and even better if a student knows their mythology. Great for fans of Riordan. MS – ESSENTIAL


Marsh, Katherine The Twilight Prisoner, 246 p. Hyperion, 2009. Content G (though is it talking about the after life). Sequel to The Night Tourist. Jack made it back successfully from his previous excursion to the afterworld, but when he returns, this time with guests, in order to impress a girl, he creates more trouble than even before. Now the underworld is on high alert and Jack has to keep Cora from exposing herself as a mortal, convince Euri to help them and find a way out that no one in the underworld has ever used before. The same kids who read The Lightning Thief should also enjoy these books. MS-ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library-Teacher


Martin, Ann Here Today, 308 p. – Ellie’s family lives on the wrong side of the tracks in a small Midwest town in 1963. Ellie and her best friend Holly are just trying to survive middle school, while Ellie’s mother, who makes her children call her by her first name, decides that she is too big for this town and takes off for New York and catch her dream. While I am not too thrilled by Doris’ self-centered shenanigans, the end of the book is very poignant, as Ellie comes to terms with her mother’s choices. I’m not sure how many kids will be patient enough for the story to develop. EL, MS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Martin, Ann M. ‘Tis the Season, 208 p. Scholastic, Oct 2007. Winter has arrived in Camden Falls and Christmas is just around the corner. Flora and Ruby are unsure how they will make it through their first Christmas since their parents died, but they are surrounded by a loving grandmother and the friendly townfolk, including their new best friends – Olivia and Nikki. Those two have problems of their own, however. Olivia’s parents are out of work and are looking at new retail space a few towns over. Nikki’s abusive father has left town, but now the family aren’t sure how they will be able to make ends meet, or supply a Christmas for the littlest ones. I love how Ms. Martin mixes an old-fashioned feeling with typical problems of modern life. Absolutely adorable without being sickening sweet. EL – ESSENTIAL, MS – ADVISABLE


Martin, Ann M. Main Street: Welcome to Camden Falls (92 p.) AND Needle and Thread (208 p.) Scholastic – Flora and Ruby’s parents have died and now, after finishing the school year, they must go to live with their grandmother in tiny Camden Falls. From their previous visits they already know some of the people around them, but its not the same as with Mom and Dad. And the next year, with important anniversaries and holidays, will be a difficult period of adjustment. On the surface these books hark back to the simpler times of the Betsy-Tacy books or Laura Ingalls, but the modern themes bring small town life in to the 21st century. Upper elementary girls will love these. EL-ESSENTIAL, MS-ADVISABLE


Martin, Nora Flight of the fisherbird – Clementine rescues a Chinese man from a near drowning and ends up fleeing from her own uncle in order to save the man. MS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Martin, Rafe Birdwing, 358 p. Arthur A. Levine Books – Language: PG, Sexual Content: G, Violence: PG – This story is about a boy with a cursed swan wing replacing his left arm. He goes on a journey to the south, intent on meeting back up with the swans, but is in for a rude awakening. He finds true happiness within himself and the people he loves. When my English teacher first told me to read it, I was a bit apprehensive. The book was a little hard to get into, but it soon smoothed out and became one of my favorites. MS – ESSENTIAL. Student Reviewer: KH


Martini, Clem The Mob, 238 p. – First in the Feather and Baone: The Crow Chrinicles series. Two others are already planned. Kalum is the Chooser in the Great Crow flock. At the yearly great Gathering, he is forced to exile a adolescent crow, Kyp, for his part in antics that lead to the death of a young crow female and the mob action that Kyp led in retaliating against the cat who killed her. On an extremely stormy, snowy night, the crows and the cats collide in a final battle. Students who enjoy animals with human characteristics books will probably like these also. I will wait until they come out in paperback, though. MS-OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Martin, Clem The Plague (Crow Chronicles #2), 267 p. – Kyp’s mentor Kalum is killed by a vicious Kuper, who survived the cat attack. Then Kym, his friend, is taken captive by humans after a mysterious plague strikes down the flock. Kyp collects a small band of isolated crows as he journeys across the country, narrowly escaping danger many times, as he searches for Kym. Who ever thought I would care about a bunch of crows. At least they act like crows, and only a bit smarter than you might expect. A good series for students who have finished the Guardians of Ga’Hoole or Silverwing series. EL, MS – ADVISABLE


Martino, Alfred Pinned, 306 p. – Ivan and Bobby seem to be opposite ends of the school life spectrum. Both of them, though, are dedicated wrestlers who look at winning their weight division at the state tournament as their only salvation. Both of them starve themselves to stay at wrestling weight; both of them alienate people around them in their pursuit of excellence. This is probably a really good book about wrestling, but I have no interest in the sport and what these boys do to themselves to maintain their wrestling weight just disgusts me. Peeking into their minds is no better. There is no clear good guy to root for (well done Mr. Martino), but the swearing and the sex are a huge turnoff for me. NO. Cindy, Library Teacher


Marven, Nigel Dinosaurs, 57 p. Kingfisher (Houghton), 2007. Our knowledge of dinosaurs has increased dramatically over the last few years. Mr. Marven has drawn together a simple and well-thought out book detailing these changes, including much background information laid over vibrant illustrations and photographs. Time to replace those dusty old dino books! EL – ESSENTIAL; MS – ADVISABLE


Marzollo, Jean Ten Little Christmas Presents. Cartwheel (Scholastic), October, 2008. PICTURE BOOK. Ten forest animals receive Christmas presents from a mysterious benefactor and they open them one by one in a countdown style with a game at the end. This would be really cute as a board book or well worth it as a paperback. EL – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library-Teacher.


Mason, Adrienne Build it! Structures, systems and you PICTURE BOOK Kids Can Press – An early elementary teacher will have a couple of days of science lessons planned quickly if she uses this simply written and illustrated book with her students. The basic activities described in the book are easy to do with few materials, and will help little students understand the subject. EL – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Mason, Adrienne Change it! Solids, liquids, gases and you PICTURE BOOK Kids Can Press – A very basic look at the nature and process of changing states of matter. Very simple activities will be easy to do with children in the earliest grades. EL – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Mason, Prue Camel Rider, 204 p. Charlesbridge (Penguin), 2007. Adam finds himself in the middle of the desert when he heads for “home” to rescue his dog, instead of heading out of the country with all of the others who are fleeing a Middle Eastern war. His only companion is an abused boy who speaks no English. Some how the two manage to communicate and struggle to find their way to home or to safety. Adam would have died right away without Walid and his desert savvy, but it makes Adam look particularly stupid at almost every turn. Somewhat contrived, I vote for Deathwatch as a much better desert survival book. MS – OPTIONAL


Mass, Wendy Leap Day – Follow Josie Taylor on t her Leap Day birthday – #4 for her, though the world counts her as 16. She has to take her driving test, audition for the school play and participate in a major scavenger hunt. It is not a very good sign when on the second page of the book the main character talks about one of her breasts being larger than the other. And the boob references just keep going from there. The book would have been wonderful without the reference to body parts. I really liked how the author showed some action and then went back and showed us into other characters heads and even a little of their future lives. But, this one is not going into my library. OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Masson, Sophie Snow Fire Sword 354 p. Random House – Language-G, Sexual Content-G, Violence-PG. Dewi and Adi always thought they were ordinary kids. That is, until both of their guardians were kidnapped. Now they must run all over Jayangan running into gods, jinns, and sorcerers, all the time trying to find Snow Fire Sword. The problem is they have no idea what Snow Fire Sword is, but they do know that without it their world is doomed. I would not say this book is one of my favorites, but I did like it. It was very interesting learning about Indonesian myths, culture, and religion. At times it can be a little borin,g but it always keeps you guessing. MS – Optional Student Reviewer: JB


Matthews, L.S. Fish, 183 p. – Tiger and his Mom and Dad are driven out of the village they are working in by a revolution. The Guide helps them struggle through mountain passes to safety, bringing along a lone fish that Tiger rescued from a almost dry mud puddle. Please forgive me, but I don’t get this book at all. Though the actual struggle to freedom was interesting, the mystical nature of the Fish and the Guide were too much for me to swallow. NO. Cindy, Library Teacher


Mayall, Beth Mermaid Park, 248 p. – Amy Rush hates the way her step father is constantly taking verbal jabs at her. Then, when her family goes to visit her mother’s best friend, Amy discovers Mermaid Park, where girls swim in a huge tank so that it looks like they are real mermaids. Amy is fascinated, and she jumps at the chance to stay the rest of the summer with “Aunt Lynne,” so that she can at least be near the park, if not one of the mermaids. And a startling revelation about her own life gives Amy what she needs to change her life. This is a very good book that will resonate many with older students. Amy’s step father is very angry and uses harsh language (yes, including “f”). Some girls will find that they need to read this book. HS-OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Mazer, Anne Sister Magic: The Trouble with Violet, 96 p. Scholastic – Young Mabel tries as hard as she can to be patient with her little sister Violet. When their eccentric Uncle Vartan arrives, Mabel learns an extremely interesting family secret. As a stand alone title, the book is only useful for beginning readers (2nd, 3rd grade?). It seems to be formatted as a series. Luckily the titles will be coming out as paperbacks, otherwise I wouldn’t be as quick to recommend it. EL – OPTIONAL


McAllister, M.I. The Heir of Mistmantle, 316 p. Hyperion, 2007. All seems well at Mistmantle with the birth of Catkin, the king’s daughter and heir. Then soon after a night of “riding stars”, the heir disappears and mysterious reports of the return of Husk, Mistmantle’s enemy, start to surface. Animals’ lives are in danger and hopefully disaster can be averted. Third in the Mistmantle Chronicles, and though they are cute, I do hope that this isn’t a never-ending series like Redwall. I can only take so many talking animals. Great for elementary. EL, MS – ADVISABLE


McAllister, M. I. Urchin of the Riding Stars, 282 p. – Years earlier, Urchin was “dropped from the sky” onto the beach of Mistmantle. Now he has become the page of an important figure, Crispin, one of the King’s Captains. Then Crispin is accused, found guilty and exiled for the murder of the King’s small son. Urchin and Crispin’s other supporters are left behind to find the real murderer before a great evil takes over Mistmantle. Kids who love Brian Jacques will also love this. I personally don’t understand the whole animal thing, but I did love the book as a good read. EL, MS – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


McAllister, M.I. Urchin and the Heartstone Hyperion, 304 p. – The baddies have been banished and Mistmantle is preparing for the crowning of King Crispin. A mysterious ship arrives and spirits Urchin away to an island ruled by a mad king and populated by Mistmantle exiles who have plans to conquer Mistmantle. I like how this author uses the characteristics of the animals to make a difference how they act and think; I always thought that was missing from Jacques’ books. A cute addition to the series. EL, MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


McBay, Bruce Waiting for Sarah – One of the best ghost stories I have ever read. Mike has lost his family and legs in a car accident. He is finally persuaded to go back to school and will write a school history in order to get out of the class of a history teacher he hates. Sarah, an eighth grader, helps him with his research, but she disappears the day he finds her beaten and bleeding, and Mike searches for her. ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


McCann, Michelle R. and Luba Tryszynska-Fredrick Luba: The Angel of Bergen-Belsen PICTURE BOOK, illustrations by Ann Marshall. Tricycle Press, 2003. In 1944, Luba, a prisoner in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, finds 54 Dutch children hiding in a field. Against all odds, she takes them into her barracks, hides them, nurtures them and keeps them alive (only two died) through extreme hunger, cold and the typhus epidemic that killed Anne Frank and her sister Margot. A beautiful, dramatic tale of courage and perseverance. Any Holocaust unit would be enriched by this offering. EL, MS, HS – ESSENTIAL


McCarthy, Maureen Rose by any Other Name, 336 p. Roaring Book, March 2008. Rose is on her way, with an unwanted passenger (her mother), to say good-bye to the grandmother whom she doesn’t even like. A year ago life seemed so easy. Then after a betrayal from her best friend and a betrayal of the heart, everything changed. Now Rose feels alienated from everyone whom she used to love and from herself. While her trip along the coast of Australia may feel undesired, it may be what Rose needs to come to terms with her choices of a year ago and give her the will to move on. Fans of Maureen Johnson and Sarah Dessen may find McCarthy’s American debut (she’s already popular in her native Australia) just their kind of book. School librarians need to be aware of the more than 100 swears (more than a dozen “f”) and suggest this only to your most mature readers. HS – OPTIONAL. Reviewer: Cindy, Library-Teacher.


McCaughrean, Geraldine Cyrano, 128 Pages. Harcourt. Language – PG (O=6 Restricted to one sentence); Sexual Content – G; Violence – PG; Cyrano de Bergerac: Renowned French poet, duelist, philosopher, soldier, musician, “general figure of fun”, and above all else, Lover. He has been smitten by his cousin Roxane ever since they were children, but one large barrier stands in the way: An extremely large nose. Even worse, she has fallen in love with a soldier under his command. This may possibly be a story of more woe than that of Juliet and her Romeo. If not more woeful, ’twas at least a sweet romance, as well as a story that should be repeated more often. MS/HS – ESSENTIAL. Student Reviewer: KH


McClafferty, Carla Killough In Defiance of Hitler: The Seret Mission of Varian Fry, 172 p. Farrar Straus Giroux, 2008. In 1935, Varian Fry, an American magazine editor, was in Germany and witnessed the beginnings of the horrors that were to come. It wasn’t until 1940, however, that he went to France to undertake his heroic and dangerous mission to spirit Jews out of that country. Varian was in France just a bit more than a year and his efforts had a profound effect upon the lives of all those who helped him and all those whom he helped. The scope of this book is far beyond the autobiography that Fry wrote back in 1945. Because of its depth, it more suited to older students who need to do in-depth research on one particular Holocaust figure. Fry’s accomplishments should not be forgotten; he is as important a person as Oskar Schindler. HS – ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Cindy, Library-Teacher


McClymer, Kelly Competition’s a Witch, 235 p. Simon and Schuster – Prudence is desperate to test out of remedial spell-casting and become a full-fledged witch. Her testing date is set for midnight on Halloween. Meanwhile, she is also fighting an uphill battle convincing the witchy cheerleaders that “dirtshuffler” technique is more important than flying ability. AND, while she is trying to make a spot for herself with the “kewl” kids, she’s not so sure she is ready to leave behind the kids who were so nice to her when she was no one. Out in paperback and definitely cute! Second in the series; number three should be coming soon. MS -ESSENTIAL


McClymer, Kelly She’s a Witch Girl, 254 p. Simon and Schuster, 2007. Now that Pru has convinced Tara and the other cheerleaders that they should use mortal ways to actually beat the other cheerleaders at Regionals and probably Nationals, she just needs to get them up to par, hide everything from their parents, keep up her grades, find Daniel, keep up her tutoring sessions with Samuel, keep Tara away from Alonso (the hottie mortal next door), and fend off hostile actions from Agatha – the headmistress who totally has it out for her. Nothing that she can’t easily do with a little luck and some help from her new day planer – a talking troll doll. The third in the series and the best written of the bunch so far. The action is less schizophrenic than before, with Tara mostly focused on cheerleading, and the background stories don’t take up nearly as much of the space, but only get what room they need to grow. MS – ESSENTIAL


McClymer, Kelly The Salem Witch Tryouts, 261 p. Simon Schuster – Even though she was born a witch, Prudence has not been allowed to use her powers to their full extent, because her mother is married to a mortal and they live in the mortal world. Now, though, her bratty brother needs special schooling and the family moves to the heart of witchdom – Salem Massachusetts – where honors students Prudence is suddenly stuck in remedial witch classes. And unless she can acquire some skills, she may not even make it onto another cheer squad. Another campy, fun book that is full of harmless fun. And, BONUS, it’s already in paperback and it’s the start of a series. MS – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


McCord, Patricia Pictures in the Dark 288 p. – Sarah and Carlie spend their evenings huddled in their bare attic room wondering when they will do something that will set their mom off. Their inattentive dad doesn’t seem to notice anything odd when the girls only eat in the kitchen away from the parents and are never downstairs for evening TV watching. When their mother starts back to work, they hope that they can have some normalcy, like taking a bath. Without becoming graphically abusive, this novel does an excellent job of showing the intensity and emotional roller coaster caused by an abuser. The girls want so hard to figure out what will make their mother love them. Even though the end is a little too simplistic, the book is well worth reading. EL, MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


McCorkie, Mark and Schooley, Bob Liar of Kudzu, 183 p. Simon & Schuster – Language: G; Sexual Content: G; Violence: G – The finest truth bender in all of Dixon County has a cruch on the new girl. He gets a chance to impress her, but things don’t go acording to plan. On (what he thinks is) their “first date” they find a key to future, but no one believes the boy who cryed wolf. The main character in the book has an overactive imagination, which makes the story interesting. And to make things more interesting the kid has a bit of a lying streak, which i think some of us can relate to. EL, MS – OPTIONAL. Student Reviewer: TT


McCormick Patricia Sold 263 p. Hyperion – Thinking that she will help her family by taking a job as a maid in the big city, thirteen-year-old Lakshmi finds herself instead in a brothel, saddle with a huge debt that she might never be able to pay off. She refuses to submit to the attentions of men, but is tricked and broken down and defeated. How can a destitute, used up little girl find the strength to walk out? The story is beautifully written prose that is quickly read and reread. Though Ms. McCormick skillfully writes the scenes in the brothel, they are too graphic for middle school, but I think that high schools will find this book powerful enough that they should carry the title. If you have concerns, email me and I will tell you specifically about the passages you should know about before you purchase. HS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


McCully, Emily Arnold Marvelous Mattie, 30 p. – PICTURE BOOK Mattie has invented things since she was old enough to pick up a pencil. When she creates an award-winning design for a paperbag folder (still used today), an unscrupulous gentleman tries to steal her idea by claiming that a woman is not smart enough to invent such a complicated machine. Based on the true story of Margaret E. Knight. A good book about the changing roles of women during the Industrial Revolution. Could be used in many different classrooms. EL, MS-ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


Mcdermott, J.M. The Last Dragon 390 p. Wizards of the Coast Inc.- Language: PG13 Violence: R Sexual Content: R- This is a fantasy story about journeys, vengeance, and empires. The story is intricately interwoven to the point of confusion. It requires very careful reading just to maintain a semblance of plot understanding. Bearing in mind that I am not a fantasy aficionado, I found this tale tedious and aggravating. The language was unduly harsh and the themes are dark and disturbing. There are also numerous references to adult situations. NO. Reviewer: JB


McDonald, Janet Off-Color, 162 p. Farrar, Strauss, Giroux, 2007. Cameron and her mother are hanging on. She likes her place in the world and her girlfriends – and then mom loses her job and they have to move to the projects. Even worse, however, Cameron finally learns that she not a white girl who tans really well; instead she is a girl with a white mother and a black absentee father. Besides coming to grips with a whole new neighborhood, she has to figure out how to come to terms with her new perception of herself. The feel of this book is exteremely authentic. I personally appreciate the strong school figures who actually council and mentor Cameron in a loving way. The multi-racial musings are extremely appropriate and timely in our increasingly mixed society. Cameron’s crowds colorful language is not for every school; urban, hipster schools can better embrace this book. MS – OPTIONAL


McDonnell, Margot Torn to Pieces, pgs. 258 Delacorte press. Language- PG-13; Sexual Content- PG; Violence- G; Anne’s life has been hard for her. Her mom left to go who knows where and her grandparents aren’t really her grandparents. Her mom was someone that she wasn’t and her boyfriend turned out to be a total and complete jerk! Is Anne every going to get control of her life? I conpleately loved this book. I fell in love with the characters and the author uses real things that really do happen to some people. I couldn’t put it down. Interest Level- MS, ADVISABLE. Student Reviewer: SH


McGee, Marni and Ian Beck Winston the Book Wolf PICTURE BOOK Walker – Winston Wolf loves the TASTE of words. The librarian chases him off and young Rosie teaches him how to read, so that he can enjoy reading the books as much as he used to love eating them. While not so flattering a portrait of librarians, any avid reader can understand Winston’s passion for words. The cover looks like Winston took a huge bite right out of it. Perfect for a starter on how to treat books, or the love of literature. EL-ESSENTIAL, MS- OPTIONAL


McGhee, Alison Mrs. Watson Wants Your Teeth, illustrated by Harry Bliss PICTURE BOOK Voyager Books, Harcourt Inc. 2006. The cutest thing about this book is the cat who pops in and out of the illustrations. A little girl is excited to start first grade until she is told by a second grader that her teacher is an alien who steals teeth. The second grader gives the girl all the signs to look for. The girl decides not to open her mouth for the entire year. Luckily she finds out, when her tooth pops out, that her teacher is NOT an alien after all. This was a cute idea and the illustrations are delightful, but the story left a lot to be desired. There is really no reason for the little girl’s acceptance of the teacher and one wonders why the second grader steered her wrong in the first place. EL (1st) – ADVISABLE. REVIEWER: SH


McGill, Alice Way Up and Over Everything, illustrated by Jude Daly. PICTURE BOOK . Houghton Mifflin, 2008. In this African American folktale , Jane is 16 when five new slaves join the plantation. It’s obvious from the start that they are not happy about losing their freedom, so they watch for the first opportunity to run to the top of the highest hill where Jane witnesses as they simply fly up and over the countryside back to their home far across the sea. Jane is the author’s great-great grandmother, and the story has been passed from generation to generation. Daly’s wispy watercolor illustrations effectively capture the mystical essence of this story. ALL – ESENTIAL. Reviewer: Beverly Stout, Elementary Library Specialist.


McKay, Hilary Caddy Ever After, 218 p. Simon Schuster – In a very convoluated manner, Rose, Saffy, Indigo and Caddy each tell part of the circumstances of Caddy standing at the altar to marry someone who is not Darling Michael. As much as I enjoyed reading the first three books (I just found them for the first time this spring), this particular entry was too convoluted for me to enjoy. I kept losing the thread of who was talking and every tidbit to further the storyline had to be pried from the narrative. Not so charming. EL, MS-OPTIONAL (i.e., wait for the paperback) . Cindy, Library Teacher


McKay, Hilary Indigo’s Star, 266 p. – Indigo has been home recovering from a serious bout of mononucleosis, sprouting up several inches and getting a reprieve from the incessant bullying at school. Back at school, Indigo isn’t unhappy when the gang finds a new target – the new boy, but later finds himself becoming friends with him. Meanwhile at home, Rose is desperate to make her father return to the family fold from his more permanent base of London. She tries all the gimmicks she can to get his attention, but it seems to be an impossible task. I have not read either Saffy’s Angel nor Permanent Rose, which proceed this book, but I enjoyed this title anyway. My favorite part is the author’s convention of not using the gang members names until they start acting and thinking for themselves. EL, MS-ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


McKinley, Robin Dragonhaven, 352 p. Putnam (Penguin), 2007. Jake Mendoza has spent his whole life living in a dragon sanctuary. The day he rescues a dying baby dragon at the request of its murdered mother, is the day that everything – Jake’s life, the sanctuary and the world as we know it – is turned on its head. But Jake is too busy learning how to keep the baby alive to notice all of the chaos he has caused. From what I can tell, Ms. McKinley is writing this book as if she were a teenaged boy who has very little time to get events straight in his head. Which makes for an almost unreadable book, at least for me, because I pretty much don’t like stream-of-consciousness writing. Instead of being able to enjoy the book, I had to constantly wade through Jake’s babblings to figure out what he was trying to say. Soory, it doesn’t work for me. MS, HS – OPTIONAL


McKinley, Robin Sunshine – “Sunshine” finds herself captured by vampires as bait for a rival vampire master. Instead, she and the rival escape and their lives become intertwined. I was VERY disappointed that the author’s idea of a more “mature” book means that it must include described sex. It is going to be hard to resist putting this in your middle schools and highs schools, but resist you MUST! NO. Cindy, Library Teacher


McKinty, Adrian The Lighthouse Land 387 Pages – Jamie O’Neill’s mother inherits a small island in Ireland. They move from their home town of Harlem and go to Ireland. On this island there is a lighthouse that takes him to another place and time: the light house land. The people on this land have been waiting for him to come so that his can save them from their enemies with his “magic tricks”. I really liked this book. It took me a while to get into it, but once I did I really liked it. MS-ADVISABLE Student Reviewer: LW


McKissack, Patricia A Friendship for Today 176 p. Scholastic – Rosemary and her friends are about to start a desegregated school, but this puts her in the same class as her most hated enemy, Grace – a white girl also from the neighborhood. After a rocky start, the girls slowly become allies and then good friends. A beautiful book about the roots of prejudice of all sorts. EL, MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


McLarin, Kim Jump at the Sun, 306 p. HarperCollins – Language: PG13, Violence: PG, Sexual Content: R – When Grace Jefferson gets pregnant for the third time, she contemplates abortion and abandoning her husband and children. This book deals with very mature themes that are not really relevant to middle or high school students. It is about a mother going through an identity crises. Her struggles deal with regret from the life choices she’s made (marriage over career). In addition, there is some sexual content that is inappropriate. This book will not appeal to or interest many high school students. Interest Level: HS – NO. Reviewer: MM


McMullan, Kate My Travels with Capts. Lewis and Clark by George Shannon, 263 p. – George Shannon is apprenticed to his uncle when he meets Capt. Meriweather Lewis and wins his way on the famous expedition as its youngest member. He faithfully keeps a record of the expedition in a journal that his mother gave him. On the whole, I enjoyed this record much more than any of the books I have read so far fictionalizing this journey. I think I enjoyed the perspective of someone who was essential, but not “important” to the journey. EL, MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


McMullan, Margaret When I Crossed No-Bob. pg.207, Houghton Mifflin Company. Language-G, Sexual Content-G, Violence-PG. Addy O’Donell is struggling, struggling between a choice between family and justice for a friend. When she’s with her family she feels that she doesn’t belong. When she’s with any one outside her family she feels like a misfit. Will she go against her family and give her dead friend justice or will she stay silent. I really liked this book; it is a story about how a young girl who doesn’t fit in. As she goes along on her journey she finds that she must choose between family and friends. I would add this book to my personal collection. ES, MS – ADVISABLE. Student Reviewer- MP


McNamara, Margaret and Richard Egielski The Whistle on the Train: a rollicking railroad pop-up book. Hyperion, 2008. Jus tin time for Holiday giving, The Wheel on the Bus has been remade into a pop-up book for train lovers. The repetitive nature and fun sounds will entertain children and annoy parents for a long time to come. If you know a pre-school teacher, this would also be a good gift book for them! Prek-K – ESSENTIAL. Reviewer – Cindy, Library-Teacher


McNamee, Graham Bonechiller, 294 p. Wendy Lamb (Random), 2008. Language: PG-13(45 swears); Violence: PG. Danny and his father are not really part of the Harvest Cove community, but they have drifted into town, care-taking during the winter months for an absentee owner. While Danny has a made a couple of friends, and even found a girl that he really likes (shhh – don’t tell her), danger awaits them all, as an ancient evil awakens during the extra cold winter and they are its targets to quench its hunger. The group of friends must be extra smart and extra brave in order to save their own lives. There is a bit of sexual innuendo during the course of the book, but most of the attention is on the excitement and danger as the kids solve the puzzle. The title is an eye-catcher, so the books should sell itself. HS – ESSENTIAL; MS – ADVISABLE. Reviewer – Cindy, Library-Teacher


McNaughton, Janet The Secret Under my Skin, 262 p. – Blay was raised in a workhouse where she was taught to fear technology and especially Lem Howl – a man who is accused of destroying the planet. Now, in her new role of tutoring one of the bio-indicators, special people who are supposed to safeguard the health of the environment, Blay learns not only who she is, but sometimes people withhold information in order to keep themselves in power. Parts of this book could be used in an ecology class, other parts could be used in government. I enjoyed it, but I don’t think kids will love it as much as they do Margaret Haddix’ future books. MS-OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


McNish, Cliff The Silver Child, 192 p. – Unexplainable things start happening to random children, who find themselves drawn to a garbage dump in an awful part to town. Walter has become a giant, Helen can read minds, the twins scuttle across the ground like insects and can sense things. But Thomas, who has the power to heal is insecure and snobby and has a hard time accepting the more disturbing Milo, who glows. This book calls itself the first in the Silver Sequence, so I have no idea who long the series is. But, the book was confusing that I don’t think I will be picking any more up, at least until they are in paperback. EL – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


McPhail, David Dot and Bob, unpaged. Green Light Readers (Harcourt), 2008. LEVEL 1 READER. Bob the dog is eager to help Dot’s mom dig a hole for the new tree – but his enthusiasm may mean a much deeper hole than needed! When my children will little, I went through A LOT of these kinds of books as they learned to read. There are even questions in the back so that you can check for understanding! PRE-K – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library-Teacher.


McWilliams, Kellie Doormat 131 p. – Jaime’s best friend Melissa thinks she is pregnant. And as usual, Melissa can’t do any thinking for herself. If Jaime doesn’t step in and coordinate all of Melissa’s actions, nothing may happen at all. But Jaime isn’t sure that she wants to be Melissa’s slave any more. As Jaime starts exerting herself, she finds that though Melissa may still be her best friend, other people in school can be her friends also. In every friendship there is the leader and the follower. This book is for all those followers who need to wake up and take back their lives. It does discuss teen pregnancy issues, but everything is well done. MS, HS – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Mead, Alice Dawn and Dusk, 152 pages FSG – Azad’s family has been broken apart, and his country is at war with Saddam Hussein and Iraq. But as he gets older, he learns what danger his life as a Kurd holds, and the chance of a normal life slips away. He learns that his father once turned his mother in, but she is an insurgent. His father is drunk and dangerous, but his mother nearly surrendered everything to help a girl she didn’t even know. All the while, people are getting killed everywhere, and the threat of being bombed hangs over Azad and all of his family and friends. First and foremost, I am pleased to comment on the fact that this book was completely clean of bad language and inappropriate content. Woohoo! I felt like this book was meant to be one that could give a reader of any age an accurate background knowledge about the issues in the middle-east in 1987. It combined facts with a well-written story. If any suggestions could be made, I would have suggested giving the characters some more depth. This would make it more enjoyable for a slightly higher age-group too. EL – ADVISABLE; Student Reviewer:KR


Mead, Richelle Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy #3), 443 p. Razorbill, 2008. Language: PG-13 (50 swears, 1 “f”); Sexual Content: PG (implied). Rose and the other guardians in training are about to go through their final tests before graduation, but Rose is distracted by the appearance of Mason’s ghost at the most inopportune times and by the news that Victor Dashkov’s trial for his crimes against Lissa, Rose’s soul-bound Moroi charge. If that isn’t enough, a renegade band of teen Moroi, searching for power, will instead put the lives of everyone at the school in danger. Rose will be forced to choose between guarding Lissa and saving DImitri, the love of her life. As much as I love the Vampire Academy series, there is just a bit too much swearing for these to be in the middle school. Which makes them perfect for the high school vampire crowd! HS – ESSENTIAL. Reviewer – Cindy, Library-Teacher


Mead, Richelle Vampire Academy, pgs. 332 Penguin Group. Language- PG- 13; Sexual Content- PG; Violence- G; Rose is training to be a guardian. She hates training so she runs away and takes the princess she is supposed to guard with her.. I really enjoyed this book. Rose may be annoying and a jerk, but she can also be nice. I don’t really know why, but I think I liked it because vampires are awesome and because that the author did a very good job describing the setting and the characters. Interest Level- Ms, Hs; ADVISABLE. Student Reviewer: SH

Meehling, Laura and Laura Moser All Q, No A; More Tales of a 10th-Grade Social Climber, 272pgs – Language: R 15 pgs worth; Sexual Content: PG13; Violence: PG – Mimi Schulman is a 10th-grader attending Baldwin , an expensive private school. She is assigned a simple story for the school newspaper which soon turns into a giant exclusive that leaves her scared for her life when she’s not already worried about her more average high school social needs. It was an okay book, though it seemed kind of rushed near the end. It was a little far fetched, but it also had its down-to-earth moments that were easier to connect with. MS – NO. It’s not that the book was particularly bad, but there are just better books to spend money on and put in a school library. Student Reviewer: JN


Melling, O.R. The Hunter’s Moon, 274 p. – Gwen and her cousin Findabhair are finding themselves in a summer journeying around Ireland searching for existence of elves and fairies. Instead, Findabhair is willingly taken by the King of Faerie, while Gwen fails her first major challenge and has to fight her way back in to rescue her cousin, who really doesn’t want rescuing. While not as meaty as Susan Cooper or McKinley or Diana Wynne Jones, the book will still be well received. EL, MS, HS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


Meltzer, Milton Tough Times, 168 p. Clarion Books, 2007. Tough Times is historical fiction based on events surrounding the Bonus March that took place during the Great Depression. WWI veterans were promised a bonus of around $500 to be paid to them in 1945. When many were unemployed during the depression 20,000 veterans marched on Washington DC asking President Hover for the bonus to be paid early. Hoover called out the army armed with tanks, machine guns and bayonets to force the vets off government property. Several veterans were killed. In this story, a teenage boy name Joey is working as a milk delivery boy to help make ends meet. His father is a vet, but refuses to talk about how awful his war experience was. His dad washes windows for a living, but the family is barely getting by. The rich shoe factory owner in town tells Joey’s father that if he wants to keep the window washing contract at the factory, he has to now do the windows at the mansion for nothing. In the meantime the factory owner is buying costly paintings and is honored for lending them to the local museum. Joey confronts him about his miserly ways and his father loses the contract. All around him lives are falling apart. Joey’s friend, Hank, stages a robbery at the mansion so that Joey will get in trouble. Kate, Joey’s girlfriend, has a father who is a successful journalist. When he has a story published that tells the truth about how desperate people are because of the depression, he gets fired. Joey and his father go with Hank and his father on the Bonus March to Washington DC. There Hank is killed. Joey feels responsible because he ran away rather than confronting the soldiers. He strikes out on his own and rides the rails with a gang of teenagers. Finally he meets up with Kate’s father again and he encourages Joey to write about what has happened to him. Joey does, and the story is published. Plenty of action, school relationships that kids will relate to, and a little bit of romance make this a very inviting story. But the main strength is that it that tells about an era in history that is often neglected. MS, HS – ADVISABLE. Reviewer: SH


Mercer, Sienna Mercer My Sister the Vampire, 208 p. > HarperCollins Publishers – Language : G, Sexual Content : G, Violence : G – Olivia had to move to a new school and had to start all over > again. But all she could thinbk about wasjoining the cheerleader team > until she met her twin sister. Personally I didn’t like this book because > thebook really didnt have any depth to it. It briefly said that her > sister was a vampire and it didnt really go any further. NO Student Reviewer: AA


Merveille, David Juke Box. PICTURE BOOK. Kane/Miller, 2008. Every person that comes to the juke box desires a different kind of music. With very few words and extremely expressive pictures, the author/illustrator evokes the feeling of each musical style. Make sure you turn every single page. A music class at any level could have great fun this charming books. EL, MS, HS – ADVISABLE


Metz, Melinda Raven’s Point, 244 p. – Jane’s brother Elijah has been in a coma for almost a year. On the day he wakes, things in Raven’s Point start getting strange. A dark force from the past seems to have taken over the people who have been close to Elijah. Only four young people, if they join together and risk their lives, can save the town from evil. Though the book is well written and very tense, the graphic nature of the violence reminds me of Stephen King, so I won’t be putting it in my library. If you carry Mr. King, by all means, buy this book. HS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


Mendle, Jane Better off Famous?, 231 pgs. St. Martin’s Griffin. Language-PG; Sexual Content-G; Violence-G; Annie is just a normal girl, but when she takes a trip to The Big Apple, she is turned into a movie star. Everything starts out great, all the cool stuff and not to mention her hot tutor; however, when the paparazzi catch her in her worst moment, things go down hill quickly. The main character was perfect because she was a normal girl that did normal things like playing the violin. It illustrated how hard it is for celebrities to put a good impression out after having a mishap. MIDDLE-ESSENTIAL. Student Reviewer-K.D.


Meyer, Carolyn Duchessina, 272 p. Harcourt – Language: PG, Sexual Content: PG-13, Violence: PG-13 – Catherine De’ Medici was an orphan at a very young age. She was known as Duchessina by the people that knew her. When war strikes up against the Medici power, it will take all the courage she has to fight for her beliefs and even her life. I really liked this book. I had looked at it a couple times thinking that I would never read a historical fiction, but I’m glad I did. I loved how she fought even though her courage was running thin and I think that I will read more historical fiction because of this. MS – ESSENTIAL. Student Reviewer: KH


Meyer, Carolyn In Mozart’s Shadow: His Sister’s Story, 368 p. Harcourt – Language: G, Sexual Content: PG, Violence: G -Nannerl Mozart was the sister of the famous composer Mozart. All of her life she dreamed of being a famous pianist. But soon her brilliant music skills are forgotten by the audiences and even her own father. Will she be able to prove to her father that her future is valuable too? You have got to read this book to find out. This book was amazing. From the beginning to the end I couldn’t stop. The author made me feel the feelings of Nannerl. Whenever she felt mad at her father for ignoring her, I felt the same way. This is one book you’ve got to read. MS, HS -ESSENTIAL. Student Reviewer: CW


Meyer, Carolyn, In Mozart’s Shadow, 368, Harcourt Children’s Books, Language – G, Violence – G, Sexual Content – G, Review : Nannerl was an amazing piano player and would receive wonderful gifts for her talents but her brother was always one step up above her. While he could sight read a piece in seconds, Nannerl had to work for hours to get it as good as her brother on his first try. As soon as his fame took flight she only got to perform duets with Wolfgang. While trials were going on with his family he was traveling the world and treating his family with neglect. Nannerl had to face it that she was not going to get the fame and fortune that her brother got so effortlessly. This is the story about the other Mozart. This book is very hard to sum up in only one paragraph. Even though it was a historical fiction it was an interesting book. But at some times it was just so repetitive or slow. MS/HS, ADVISABLE. Student Reviewer: AA


Meyer, Carolyn Marie, Dancing, 252 p. – Release: October 2005. Marie is an impoverished dancer in the Paris Opera when Edgar Degas asks her to pose for him. She hopes that through him she can earn enough money to keep her little family afloat – an ambitious older sister, a drunken mother, and a talented little sister – without resorting to the foyer de la danse, where so many dancers prostitute themselves to wealthy patrons. But in Marie’s world, there are no easy choices, no easy paths to fortune. The story is based on the little bits that are known of the life of the model for Dega’s famous sculpture la Petite Danseuse. This is a departure from Meyer’s royal history books, but you can tell how Ms. Meyers loves the subject as she pieces together this young girl’s life. You will have to help this book find its audience, but they should love it too. MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher



Meyer, Kai The Water Mirror, 249 p. – Merle and Junipa have been taken from their orphanages to be apprenticed to a magician who creates magic mirrors in another Venice. The city is under siege by the mummy armies of Egypt who are attempting to conquer the entire world. The city’s only hope is the Flowing Queen, who can keep the enemy at bay. Then Merle happens into a plot that has captured the Flowing Queen; in order to save her, Merle must surrender to her by swallowing her essence. Only with the help of a fabled flying stone lion can Merle hope to escape the city to search for some other sort of help. Full of magic mirrors, secret plots, demons and captive mermaids, I would have thought that I would fall in love with this book. The cover certainly caught my eye. Instead, I was left kind of disappointed. I am going to hand it off to my 11 year old daughter and get her opinion. But for me it just didn’t strike the right notes. Maybe it reads better in its native German. EL, MS –OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Meyer, L.A. Curse of the Blue Tatoo, 488 p. – Jacky was unmasked as a girl and has been forced to leave her ship and attend a finshing school to become a young lady. She discovers that she may be very good at living on the streets, but she has much to learn when it comes to society intrigue. Determined to have her way at all costs, she finds herself thrown in a Boston jail and then demoted to serving woman. She still continues to fight the system, including the preacher next door who seems to be a little too interested, especially when Jacky finds out that his last ward died under mysterious circumstances. The boys in your school will probably not be too interested in this sequel, but the girls will. The next book seems to have promise as a sea tale, because Jacky takes off on a whaling ship at the end of this book. MS-ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


Meyer, L.A. Under the Jolly Roger, 518 p. – Jacky Faber is back on the high seas. When she goes to contact her beloved Jaimy, she sees him in the arms of another woman and as she flees, she is shanghaied onto the boat of a very cruel captain who makes plans for her when he discovers that Jacky is female. A very narrow escape and Jacky is off on more adventures that put her life in danger again. So much more satisfying than book #2, Though you can see why Jacky needed to go to that horrible school. There is more talk of near rape and Jacky almost “sleeps” with someone, so I wouldn’t put this one in front of youngsters. MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


Meyer, Stephenie Eclipse. Little Brown. Another book that doesn’t need a summary or explanation. Fans of Bella and Edward will have a ball. And parents should be happy because of Edward’s stance on marriage – even if he is a vampire! Plemty of romance and lots of tension. MS, HS – ESSENTIAL


Meyer, Stephanie Twilight, 499 p. – Release: October 2005. Isabella is punishing herself by moving to the gloomiest town in America – Forks, Washington – the home of father, whom she loves, but now she will not be able to see her beloved sun. First day at school – she feels the hatred of a boy she has never met. After a few days absence he returns and seems to be determined to be nice to her. The two of them are drawn closer together and his secret is revealed, bringing mortal danger to Bella. An extremely romantic vampire book which be gobbled up by romance lovers. Boys will probably be disappointed, but not girls. HS, MS – ADVISABLE


Michael, Livi City of Dogs, 256 p. The Penguin Group – Language: PG, Sexual Content: G, Violence: G- Jenny is a small dog who tries to save her beloved master and ends up twisting fate. She escapes into our world where she meets a kind boy and a bunch of dog friends. She is very content with her new life until she finds that she has brought a terrible war to this new world. It’s going to take all the help she can get from her friends to save her new life. For me, an animal lover, I enjoyed this book. Although the switching back and forth with POV’s between chapters was a bit confusing, it was a very good book and I would recommend it to all my friends. Upper EL, MS – ESSENTIAL. Student Reviewer: KH


Michael, Livi The Whispering Road, 324 p. – Joe and Annie were left in a workhouse by their mother, who never returned for them. Then they were acquired by a very cruel farmer and his family to be worked like slaves. The two children escape, first getting help from a kindly tramp and then joining a freak show traveling the countryside. Joe gets tired of dealing with his sister, who has visions of dead people, and he sells her to the manager and runs off to Manchester alone. There he finds that life on the street can be very difficult and that many people have their own ideas of how the poor should be dealt with. Kind of Dickensian in its portrayal of life in big city England during the industrial revolution, but on an easier reading level. I enjoyed it, but I kept wondering when it was going to become a fantasy (it never did). I don’t think it will ever find a huge audience. EL, MS-OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Michaels, Rune Genesis Alpha, 193 p. Atheneum Books (Simon and Schuster) – Language: PG; Sexual Content:G; Violence: PG-13 – Josh and his older brother Max are playing Genesis Alpha (An online game) when all of a sudden, Max disappears. Later that night, Josh’s family gets a call saying Max is in prison for the brutal of a young girl. But that’s ridiculous…isn’t it? This book kept me on edge throughout the whole thing. Many interesting twists are added with the perfect timing. Although, there are definitely a few parts that creeped me out. MS, HS – ADVISABLE. Student Reviewer: KH


Michelson, Richard Tuttle’s Red Barn: The Story of America’s Oldest Family Farm PICTURE BOOK Putnam (Penguin), 2007. In the 1600’s John Tuttle was granted 7 ½ acres by the King of England. Thorugh 12 generations, the Tuttle family and worked the land and kept the house (converting it to a barn later), turning a profit, creating a family and seeing history be made around them. While at first the book seems to be an self-indulgent book about one family, it is really the story of America. This book is a quick easy way to show readers a swift panorama of American history. It would be useful in a geography class or a history class. EL, MS – ADVISABLE


Michelson, Richard Across the Alley PICTURE BOOK Penguin – Abe and Willy live across the alley from each other, but miles apart, with Willy having to take violin lessons to learn songs for the Jewish temple and Abe practicing pitching for his father’s Negro baseball team. Each boy learns the other’s skill and when their elders discover their secret, they also find a way to bridge the gap. An excellent companion to Woodson’s The Other Side. A medium length narrative. EL, MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


Mikaelsen, Ben Tree Girl 225 p – Gabriale loves trees. When soldiers kill all of the other Indios in her small Guatemalan village, she escapes with her little sister. Together they rescue a newborn baby. In another village, Gabriela witnesses unmitigated brutality as she hides in the safety of a tree. Mikaelsen pulls no punches when describing the military’s brutal actions in the village. The repeated rapes will keep this book out of most MS libraries, but I think HS’ should take the leap. HS –ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Miklowitz, Gloria Enemy has a face – Netta and her family have relocated temporarily from Israel to Los Angeles, and when her seventeen-year-old brother mysteriously disappears, she becomes convinced that he has been abducted by Palestinian terrorists. MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


Miller, Kirsten Kiki Strike Inside the Shadow City 380 p. – Language-PG; Sexual Content-G; Violence- a high PG or Low Pg-13 – Through out the world there are many hidden cities. They are mostly under ancient civilizations. But did you know that there is one under New York. In this book you will get to explore the shadow city with six interesting girls, who have some amazing talents. I really liked this book. It has a lot of information that you could actually use. It isn’t really realistic though. It was an amusing and fun book. MS – ADVISBLE. Student Reviewer: JB


Millard, Glenda Kaito’s Cloth, Illustrated by Gaye Chapman, Philomel Books, 2006. PICTURE BOOK. Kaito takes her butterflies to visit the Lord of Flight but when she goes to release them, she finds them dead. The Lord of Flight cannot revive them and tells Kaito they fulfilled their purpose. He sends Kaito back home where she designs a kite that allows her to fly like the butterflies. The combination of color and line gives the illustrations an airy look. The text is symbolic and the message too obscure for most children. Grades K-3, OPTIONAL. Reviewer: Debby Herget, Elementary Library-Teacher.


Miller, Kate Poems in Black and White, 39 p. Boyds Mill – Cute poems and beautiful ink prints make this book most useful for elementary. I just see a teacher building a unit with the students writing their own poems and then making monotype prints to go along with the text, all inspired by this book. EL-ADVISABLE


Miller, Kirsten Kiki Strike: The Empress’s Tomb, 369 p. Bloomsbury – Language: PG, Sexual Content: G, Violence: PG – The Irregulars are on a mission to save their friend Oona and possibly New York from the evil Fu-Tsang gang. Plotting to steal precious paintings and maybe even a thousand year old mummy the Irregulars are finding themselves in a bind. Will they be able to save Oona from her own father and his evil gang? I was captivated by the enticing mystery. All I knew was that I couldn’t put down the book for one second . It shows how really teenage girls can even have a great impact on the world. Being the second in the series the third may be coming out soon! MS, HS -ESSENTIAL. Student Reviewer: CW


Miller, Mary Beth On the Head of a Pin, 250 p. – In a freak accident, Helen is killed. When the boys involved try to cover it up, the situation just gets direr, until one of them takes desperate measures in order to silence the others. Everyone has other secrets and problems that add layers and dimensions to the crisis. Some swearing, sexual innuendo, push this book into the high school crowd. Well-constructed on many levels. HS-ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


Miller, Sarah Miss Spitfire: Reaching Helen Keller, 208 p. Atheneum, 2007. Many books have been written about Helen Keller and her teacher Annie Sullivan. This poignant book details the beginning of the pair’s relation – those weeks when Annie wasn’t sure she could reach Helen and culminating in that brilliant moment when Helen made the leap from letters to language. A perfect read aloud for a younger class studying Helen., but will be just as well received as a fiction read. EL, MS – ADVISABLE


Minor, Wendall Yankee Doodle America: The Spirit of 1776 from A to Z, PICTURE BOOK – A abecedarian of important persons, places, things and events from the years surrounding 1776. Illustrations are photos of paintings done in the style of old American tavern signs. Great for a quick overview of important parts of American history. In a middle school or high school each item could be assigned out to individuals or partners for more in depth research. EL, MS, HS-ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


Minter, J. The Insiders, 280 p. – More Mean Girls like trashy high school insider trash writing. NO. Cindy, Library Teacher


Mitchard, Jacquelyn All We Know of Heaven, 320 p. Harper, 2008. Language: PG (25 swears); Sexual Content: PG (innuendoes). Two very similar looking best friends were in a terrible accident. First everyone thought that Bridget, the popular out-going one had survived, while poor Maureen had died. But after her own funeral, Maureen makes it known that she is the one who is alive and Bridget has died. Bridget’s family is devastated and succumbs to grief and pain, while Maureen must work ever so hard to regain functionality. Bridget was her life and it looks like there is no one to keep Maureen going, until Bridget’s boyfriend steps in to fill the gap. Based on a true story. Maureen’s journey is heart-wrenching and gripping. Older readers will be fascinated by this. MS, HS – ESSENTIAL.


Mitchell, Elizabeth Journey to the Bottomless Pit: The story of Stephen Bishop and Mammoth Cave, 97 p. – As a slave, Stephen Bishop has to do what his master orders. When he was ordered to learn about and explore Mammoth Cave, Stephen finds that he loves the act of discovery and devotes himself to exploring every nook and cranny of the extensive cave system. Though he was never honored in life, Stephen Bishop is now recognized as the first great cave explorer in America. Though I personally found the book interesting, I’m not sure that kids will pick it up. It doesn’t have the excitement of a Will Hobbs or Gary Paulsen novel. Buy it, but wait until it is out in Paperback. EL, MS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Mitchell, Todd The Traitor King 368 p. Scholastic – Release Date: April 2007 – Darren’s family always meets for the summer at the old family home, now owned by their eccentric Uncle Will. This year, however, he has only left behind a mysterious message and odd clues that only the children might be able to answer. Little do they know that the answers will lead them right out of this world and right into a very dangerous situation. A delightful addition to the body of fantasy literature. I can tell that Mr. Mitchell has more adventures ready for Darren and his family. EL, MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


Moesta, Rebecca and Kevin J. Anderson Crystal Doors, 292 p. – Language-G, Sexual Content-G, Violence-PG – After Gwen’s parents die she goes to live with her cousin Vic and his dad Cap. Everything seems to be going well, but after a killer whale almost kills Gwen Cap decides they should lie low for a while, except Vic and Gwen accidentally go through the crystal door without Cap. Now in Elantya they have to learn all they can about the crystal doors, look for Vic’s mom, and try to find a way home. I really like this book. It is interesting from beginning to end. There is a lot of action. I can’t wait for the next one to come out. MS – ESSENTIAL Student Reviewer: JB


Molloy, Michael Peter Raven Under Fire, 480 p. – Peter Raven has always wanted to go to sea. On his first voyage he meets a mysterious commodore and benevolent captain. Then his ship is hijacked by a mad man who kills almost everyone on board; Peter barely escapes. Meeting up with Commodore Beaumont, they make plans to get revenge and foil Napoleon’s plans for America. An exciting nautical adventure. A great stepping stone into the Hornblower series and a good companion for the many other sea-going adventures that have come out in recent months. I think it is too bloody for elementary schools, though. MS, HS-ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Moloney, James Black Taxi, 264 p. – When her grandfather lets Rosie take charge of his black taxi while his behind bars, she finds herself in the middle of a dangerous jewelry heist, complete with threatening phone calls. Boring! NO. Cindy, Library Teacher


Monthei, Betty Looking for Normal, 185 p. – Annie and Ted are pulled out of their classrooms and told that their father has shot their mother and then committed suicide. The kids go to live with their mother’s parents, and Grandma seems to alternate between showering them with affection and resenting them. Annie looks back at life before her parents’ marriage went sour and tries to help her brother figure out how not to set Grandma off, until something happens so awful happens that no one, especially Grandpa, can ignore the fact the Grandma and the rest of the family desperately needs help. The cover is pretty innocuous, but word of mouth will help this book along. It should be a steady circulator. MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


Mooney, Bel You Never Did Learn To Knock 253 p. Language-PG, Sexual Content-G, Violence-G – This book is about 14 girls and their relationships with their moms. I thought t was kind of boring. Some of the stories were good. I picked it because I want to have a better relationship with my mom. The pats I thought were good are the parts that my mom and I can get a better relationship. MS – NO Student Reviewer: JR


Moore, Perry Hero, 428 p. Hyperion, 2007. Thom knows that his father was an important super hero, even though he didn’t have any actual super powers. Mom has been gone for years now, the things at home are not cozy. When Thom discovers he has superpowers and is invited to join the League, he is afraid to tell his father. Thom’s misfit group of recruits have a long struggle ahead and even worse, Thom believes that something is terribly wrong within the League itself. I have no problems with Thom’s homosexuality, but the plethora of swear words and a descriptive sexual situation distract from what could have been an exciting book. Stick with Michael Carroll’s Quantum Prophecy series instead. NO


Moran, Alex What Day Is It? Illustrated by Daniel Moreton, Harcourt, Inc., 2008. LEVEL 1 READER. The story of an ant who sadly thinks his friends have all forgotten that it’s his birthday. Having planned a surprise party, his friends say nothing about his birthday until the party. This would be a good addition for collections where both English and Spanish books are needed. The illustrations are simple but inviting and the ant’s facial expressions are very true to his feelings. Activities that go along with the story are included at the back of the book. Grade 1 – OPTIONAL. Reviewer: Debby Herget, Elementary Library-Teacher.


Moranville, Sharelle Byars A Higher Geometry, 212 p. Henry Holt – Anna Conway, a young lady of the 1950s is having a hard time convincing her parents that an advance education might be worthwhile for a girl. Her love and genius with goes a long way to helping her cause. She also has to deal with the possible stigma if she were to be discovered having sex with her boyfriend in age that birth control waw basically unknown. Though I kind of enjoyed the math bits (and the scenes at math competitions may be useful for a math class), I realized at the end that I had pretty much been bored and that the book felt incomplete. Does involve undescribed teen sex. HS, MS-OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Moredun, P.R. The World of Eldaterra, 292 p. – Young James finds himself in danger in another world when he steps through a mysterious arch on the beach. He, his father and his grandfather play very special parts in thwarting a plot long in planning by dragons in human guise to dominate Earth and invade their old world of Eldaterra, which is really the magic part of Earth, placed in hiding years earlier to protect both dimensions. A little gruesome, but always exciting. How much more fantasy can you fit in your collection? Well, find room for this one. After having read Harry #6, it is so nice to go back to young heroes who actually DO SOMETHING! MS – ADVISIBLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


Morgan, Clay The Boy who Spoke Dog 166 p. – Sage and a group of sheep herding dogs were left behind on an island with a flock of sheep when all of the human habitations burned down. Now, years later, all of the original dogs have died, except Sage and Fango, a dog who has gone feral. Now there are two groups of dogs on the island, one group keeping the dogs safe and the other running wild in the forest. Then one day a human boy is shipwrecked on the island. Though I was a bit let down by the end, the rest of the book is still a good read. EL, MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


Morgan, Melissa J. Camp Confidential Alex’s Challenge, 156 p. – G – Alex is the main person in the story she loves to play sports and is outgoing but recently she hasn’t been active so everyone is trying to figure out what was wrong. I really like this book because it shows what some girls do just for friends so I’d recommend this book to girls. MS – ESSENTIAL Student Reviewer: NM


Morgan, Nicola The Highwayman’s Footsteps, 354 p. Candlewick Press. Language – PG, Sexual Content – PG, Violence – PG; William de Lacey, son of a highborn gentleman, has run away from his home after being insulted by his father and brother. He steals a purse, and finds himself on the run from soldiers. He gets held up by a highwayman, who turns out to be an injured girl, and they become friends. This was a very captivating book, and it was extremely well written. It brings up interesting questions of what is right and wrong. At one point in the story, it swears, but otherwise there is no foul language. There are some mildly questionable (sexual content) parts near the beginning and when the soldiers find Bess and Will, but nothing descriptive or too suggestive. The deaths are slightly graphic, as well. This is an excellent book, and I would suggest reading it. MS, HS – ADVISABLE. Student Reviewer: RG


Morgan, Nicola Fleshmarket 208 p. – Robbie’s mother died after she was operated on under horrible circumstances. Scotland in 1822 is a dangerous and living is risky. Robbie’s father disappears and in order to keep himself and sister alive, Robbie takes on a job with some shady men. In his desire to get revenge on the man who killed his mother, Robbie makes some big mistakes and is on the path to ruining his life completely. Though this is not the kind of book that the cover seems to suggest, anyone who picks it up will not be disappointed by the story. MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


Morgan, Robert Brave Enemies – During the American Revolution. Josie is raped by her stepfather, disguises herself as a boy and hides with an itinerrant preacher. When the preacher discovers her identity, he marries her in secret. John, the preacher, is taken away by British soldiers as a traitor. Josie, now pregnant, but still diguised as a boy, tries to follow and ends up getting severely wounded at the battle of Cowpens. Besides the descriptive sex scene turning me off to this book, the style for me was very dull. I cannot figure out what this author is trying to bring to the body of fiction based during the War of Independence. NO. Cindy, Library Teacher


Morgenroth, Kate Echo, 137 p. Simon and Schuster – Justin’s younger brother died in a terrible moment of misunderstanding. On the one year anniversary, Justin has not come to terms with his anger, his grief, his guilt. His rage and sorrow burst out on that day in a continual spew of misery that culminates in an almost unforgivable final act. As compelling as the summary is, the books flow is constantly interrupted by the constant use of the “f” word. I mean – I could forgive some, because the book is about rage and sorrow and an angry young man, but I just couldn’t take it any more. Instead of being a tool that could be used to help students see the value of working through grief and sorrow, instead the book is useless for school libraries. NO


Moriarty, Jaclyn The Year of Secret Assignments – Lydia, Cassie and Emily are exchanging pen pal letters with boys from the rival Brookfield High. Lydia’s and Emily’s pal seem like pretty cool guys, but Cassie’s pal seems like a pyschopath. Then the group finds out that Cassie’s pal doesn’t even exist. Extremely cute book, perfect for the middle school crowd. MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


Morpurgo, Michael Kensuke’s Kingdom – Michael falls overboard, and ends up on a Pacific island, rescued by Kensuke, an old Japanese man who was a doctor before he became stranded on the island at the end of World War II. MS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Morpurgo, Michael Private Peaceful, 195 p. – Tom Peaceful has all night to relive his memories. He goes through is childhood with his brothers Big Joe, a lovable but disabled oldest brother, and Charlie, the brother he hero worships. When Word War I starts, Tom follows Charlie into the battlefields around Iepers, the killing fields of Flanders, Belgium, where Charlie’s refusal to be lead around by the nose puts both brothers in permanent danger. The first half of the book is pretty slow, but for those who persist, it makes a stark contrast to the last half on the battlefields. Its a good reminder that every gory war book is based on the lives of ordinary people. MS, HS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Morpurgo, Michael The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips, 116 p. – Release: April 2006. Boowie’s grandmother ran away. Now she has sent back a letter with an amazing story of her life as she grew up during World War II. Her letter tells the virtually unknown stories of the little English coastal villages that were forcefully evacuated during the war so that the soldiers could practice for the big D-Day push. Morpurgo does an excellent job of bringing alive Lily’s young life, with enough about the war to satisfy the boys, but he also manages to add a depth to the narrative that romantics will enjoy. EL, MS-ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


Morpurgo, Michael The Mozart Question, illustrated by Michael Foreman, 68 p. Candlewick, 2008. A young journalist is sent to interview a violin genius, but cautioned not to ask him the “Mozart Question”. Not sure what the “Mozart Question” is, she stumbles around it, embarrassed. The violinist feels her anguish and unburdens his own heart with a very important story that answers the “Mozart Question” and teaches the world something very important. This short little book about the Holocaust, specifically about a group of Jewish orchestra members who were forced to play as the other Jews exited the cattle cars and marched towards the furnaces, is a sublimely perfect little book that could easily be read out loud to any level of class which is covering the subject. EL, MS, HS – ADVISABLE.


Morris, Carla The Boy Who was Raised by Librarians PICTURE BOOK Peachtree – Three librarians foster a young man’s love for reading, as he practically grows up at the library. Librarians, get your pocketbooks out – Whatever level you teach or whatever kind of library you work at, you are going to want this book for your personal collection. And this would be a very cute book for elementary schools; its bright illustrations will attract a student’s eye – and maybe it will inspire one of them to become a librarian too. EL-ADVSIABLE


Morris, Gerald The Quest of the Fair Unknown, 262 p. Houghton – Language G, Sexual Content G, Violence PG. Imagine being in a forest all alone with only your mother to keep you company, not even have seen another human before. Well that’s what happened to Beufil. He lived in a forest sheltered form the rest of the world for 17 years of his life. On her death bed his mother sent him on a Quest to find his father, a Knight of Camelot. With not even the name of his father he sets of on this Quest. He helped others on their Quests but forgot about his own Quest. It was a fun book, and yet again a fun, easy book. ES, MS, ESSENTIAL. Student Reviewer: AB


Morris, Jennifer Come, Llamas, 198 p. – Joe lives on the family llama farm in Alaska with his parents, brother and Grandad. AS Joe starts his own little llama herd with one small animal, he also notices that his Grandad is becoming more disoriented and frail. A grizzly attacking the herds just adds to all of Joe’s problems. This is a well written book that probably won’t attract many readers. EL – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Morris, Taylor Class Favorite, 279 p. Simon and Schuster, 2007. Sarah Thurman’s mother announces to all the school that Sarah has “become a woman”, with the delivery of roses to her at school. Now Sarah is trying to live down the embarrassment. Plus, besides feeling alienated from her best friend, she also has a new girl town who seems to be kind of clingy. Sarah thought this might be the year that she could actually win the place of “Class Favorite”, but now she’s not sure she wants anyone to know her name. An extremely cute and apt lesson for tweens and teens. MS – ADVISABLE


Morrison, P. R. Wave Traveler, 318 p. Bloomsbury- Language: G, Sexual Content: G, Violence: PG- Archie Stringweed had just defeated Huigor, his family curse. He thought that he was done with fighting curses, until a curse hit his hometown of Westervoe. He has no idea what to expect. In addition to that curse, Huigor may awaken again. Will he be able to get rid of both curses? Or will Westervoe be wiped off and gone forever? This was an enchanting book. The tension was so high, I couldn’t stop reading. This is a must read series. I could read it over and over again. Second it the series, I hope that a third is coming soon. EL, MS- ESSENTIAL. Student Reviewer: CW


Morrison, P.R. Wind Tamer 336 pages Bloomsbury – Archie is a young boy who has just turned ten. Suddenly, his Uncle Rufus shows up and give Archie a strange present before telling Archie a great family secret. The eldest male child in the Stringweed family is affected when they turn ten by a tornado named Huigor that causes them to lose their courage. Archie’s overprotective parents don’t want him to know about this curse, and have been in denial, but now that Archie knows, he wants to break the curse to recover his father’s courage and save his own. I found this book to be poorly written with a weak storyline that could have been done much better. Also, there are certain details that seriously take away from the book. Particularly was Archie’s age and naïveté. His goal in life is to learn how to whistle well, and when he goes missing, the first thing his mother worries about is not who or where he could possibly be, but if he is wearing his seat belt. Other such incidents occur throughout the book, causing me to consider within a lower tier of books. EL – OPTIONAL Student Reviewer: KR


Morrison, Taylor Tsunami Warning PICTURE BOOK Houghton Mifflin – Since 1946, when a devastating tsunami hit the islands of Hawaii, scientists have worked through different ways to help bring accurate warning of this kind of disaster to the world. First telling the story of the Hawaiian disaster, the author then recreates the steps of the scientific community. The scientific information is very good and well worth a read through by a middle school or high school science class. The illustrations are sadly lacking, however, not making this a good candidate for leisure reading in an elementary school. You should only buy those book if you know you have a teacher who will use it in the classroom. MS, HS -OPTIONAL


Morrow, James The Cat’s Pajamas and other stories, 209 p. – Okay, I only read two stories in this collection, but the second one was about sex acts as public art. I think I can safely say that for a school library, this book is a NO. Cindy, Library Teacher


Morton-Shaw, Christine The Riddles of Epsilon, 375 p. – Jess’ family has moved to a new house and she is caught up in communication with a mysteriously being that has a puzzle that he needs Jess to solve. I don’t mind a book that is built around a riddle. What I do mind is a book that has a purposeless riddle, a book that spends all of its time just being mysterious. And when the answer to the riddle is finally revealed, it just doesn’t seem that important or interesting. It’s just another good vs evil thing that isn’t very compelling. I don’t like the protagonist either. NO, not even optional. Save your money. Cindy, Library Teacher


Moses, Sheila P. Joseph, 174 p. McElderry (Simon), 2008. Content: (everything is implied, not explicit). Joseph’s papa doesn’t want to leave him with his drug-addicted mother, but he has been called up to serve in Iraq. Now Joseph is trying to keep it all together and keep out of the clutches of social services and out of his relatives, because even though he knows they love him, he is worried that no one will take care of his mama. I have no life experience to tell me what it is like for the children of drug addicts, but I would bet that Ms. Moses has nailed it. I felt so sorry for Joseph, alternating between being mad that he couldn’t let her go and sad that she doesn’t care about herself at all. Even though it talks about drugs and addiction and mentions prostitution, it does in such a skillful and mindful matter that any school could have this in their library. EL, MS – ESSENTIAL. Reviewer – Cindy, Library-Teacher


Moses, Shelia P. Sallie Gal and the Wall-a-Kee Man, illustrated by Niki Daly, 160 p. Scholastic. Sallie and her family work as sharecroppers on a Southern farm. Once a week the Wall-a-Kee (Wallace) man drives his car up to the farm to sell a variety of goods to the folks around. Sallie desperately wants pretty hair ribbons like her best friend, but her mother insists that she earn every penny first and not accept charity. Young Sallie doesn’t understand her mother’s resolute stand. This time and place is not so long ago, but most children today will not be able to relate to the problems Sallie Gal has to deal with. If they do find this book, they will see a whole different side of life. EL – OPTIONAL


Mowll, Joshua Operation Red Jericho, 271 p. – Release: Sept 2005. Rebecca and Douglas’ parents disappeared during a trip to China. Wearing out their welcomes with every other relative, the two are now on their Uncle MacKenzie’s research ship, which turns out to have a mysterious mission involving drugs, mysterious Chinamen, desperate rescues, explosive, battling ships and much, much more. Filled with detailed diagrams, maps, pictures and a lot of adventure, this book will fascinate the right kind of student. EL, MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


Muchamore, Robert The Dealer, 301 p. – This time James is on a mission to investigate a big time drug dealer. He and two other cherubs are supposed to get near the dealer’s kids. Hundreds of millions of dollars and an international crime ring only add to the danger. A small amount of drug use and drinking, but a lot of excitement and danger. MS – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Muchamore, Robert The Recruit, 335 p. – First in the CHERUB series. When James mother dies he enters a group home and gets in trouble with the police. Instead of getting kicked out of the home, he is instead recruited by a very elite group of junior spies for the British government. If he can make it through the grueling 100 day training period then he will be a full-fledged member of the team. If you can buy into (or overlook) the fact that these are 12 year old kids doing all of this, then you will enjoy this series. Akin to the Alex Rider series. EL, MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher



Muchamore, Robert Man vs Beast, 323 p. Simon and Schuster – James and his little sister Lauren are off on another mission. This time they are infiltrating a animal rights group that may have ties to a more radical group that is not above torturing humans in order to make their point. Be aware there is the usual level of swearing for these books, so you make the call for your middle school. MS-OPTIONAL, HS – ESSENTIAL


Muldrow, Diane Recipe for Trouble, 154 pgs. Grosset & Dunlap. Language-G; Sexual Content-G; Violence-G; Twins, Molly and Amanda, go on a trip to New Orleans. Not soon after they get there, these two kid chefs, find a mystery in the kitchen. This book has already been out for a while, they are just giving the covers a new picture. I remember reading this series in fourth grade and liking them a lot. It was really easy to understand all of the characters and their trip sounded like one that my family would go on. The idea for kid chefs with their own cooking business hasn’t been used a lot either, so it was a fresh, new idea. ADVISABLE-UPPER ELEMENTARY. Student Reviewer: KD


Murdock, Catherine Gilbert Dairy Queen 278p. Houghton Mifflin/06. LANG:PG SEX:PG VIO:PG D.J. is just your average farmgirl who’s family doesn’t talk with big secrets betweem them, has two older brothers that were legends for their high school football team, and by doing what she wants most, she’ll be betraying the ones she loves. I enjoyed reading Dairy Queen. It had a nice twist on the story that made it unique and that keeps your interest.MS-ADVISABLE.Student Reviewer:JN


Murnane, Maria Perfect on Paper, 314 p. United States of America – Language PG 13, Sexual Content G, Violence G – When Waverly Brysons fiancé calls off their wedding at the last minute she is crushed. He was everything she ever wanted and more….wasn’t he? Waverly’s life seems to get extremely difficult after she and her fiancé broke up and it continues to get worse. Then she finds something she really enjoys doing and her life starts to sort out. She meets a cute, fun and nice guy named Jake. Only problem is, every time she goes near him she makes a total fool out of herself. I really enjoyed reading this book. It was funny and really entertaining. I thought it was very well written and it kept my attention all the way to the end. Unfortunately there was some very colorful language throughout the entire book. I would not suggest this book to be placed in school libraries. Interest Level: MS, HS – NO. Student Reviewer: AR


Murphy, Claire Rudolf Children of Alcatraz: Growing up on the Rock 60 p. Walker and Company (Bloomsbury) – Through interviews and a whole lot of research, Ms. Murphy pieces together a history of the children who lived on Alcatraz Island. Each piece of history is a short vignette into this world, accompanied by photographs and documents, from its earliest history up through the present day. I could see children reading Al Capone Does My Shirts also reading this book to learn more about the island. EL, MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


Murphy, Louise The True Story of Hansel and Gretel -Two children are abandoned in the forests of Poland during WWII. This is a book written for adults to appreciate. Don’t put it in the MS or HS –NO. Cindy, Library Teacher


Murphy, Pat The Wild Girls, 288 p. Viking (Penguin), 2007. Joan finds a friend almost right away when she moves with her family to a new town. “Fox” isn’t your normal girlie girl, but the two have a great time together. School is fine, but the girls feel a little on the outside. Then a story they submit to a contest wins a big prize and they ar invited to an exclusive writing class on the UC-Berkeley campus for the summer. There they find other kids who also just a bit off the radar and really find a place to belong, even through the troubles that affect both of their families. The summary may be alittle simple, but I really enjoyed this book. The 1970’s setting doesn’t suffocate, in fact it really isn’t historical fiction at all. The most compelling part is how “Newt” (Joan) uses the techniques she learned to improve her writing to get real answers from her parents about their problems. This could be a good candidate for a classroom novel; hopefully it will also be checked out on its own. MS – ADVISABLE


Murphy, Rita Looking for Lucy Buick, 164 p. – Ever since she was discovered in the backseat of a Buick won in a card game, Lucy has been raised by the maiden aunts of the Sandoni clan. After her last “aunt” passes away, Lucy takes a chance and runs away. She finds herself in a small Midwest town, where she starts her search for her “real” people, the “Buicks”. A mid-quality story about the well-known fact that family isn’t always the people who birthed you or the people who raised you, but the people who hold your heart. MS-OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Murray, Jaye Bottled Up – Pip’s body attends school, but his mind is on drugs, until the day a concerned principal insists that he get counseling that may help him stop his downward spiral. ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


Myers, Anna Hoggee 180 p. – After the canal boat season is over, Howard decides to stay behind because of the promise of a job in town. When he loses the job, he almost starves to death. He is rescued by the taciturn muleteer, who nurses him back to health at the encouragement of his three granddaughters. The oldest granddaughter is deaf and mute. When the canal season starts up again, it brings along Howard’s older brother Jack, who competes with Howard for everything, even the affection of the middle daughter Sarah. Well-written and would probably interest many adults, but unless it is part of an American historical fiction collection, I’m not sure how much it will appeal to students. EL, MS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Myers, John Silverlock, 510 p. – Clarence Shandon has been washed up on shore after a shipwreck and is plunged into a word populated with characters from ancient and modern literature. This is a reprint of the 1949 original with lots of other commentary and praise thrown in. Personally, I don’t understand the hype. So, I will give this one a NO. Cindy, Library Teacher


Myers, Walter Dean Autobiography of my Dead Brother, 212 p. – Rise and Jesse have always promised each other that they would never join a gang. Now, as teens, Rise has decided to take any path open to get out of the mean streets. Jesse, on the other hand, can’t understand the changes in his “brother” and can’t even seem to draw the boy he has know his whole life. A stark narrative combined with gritty pictures by the author’s son make for a moving book about the urban African American experience. I am especially impressed that Mr. Myers accomplished a great work without using one swear word. I don’t know if that was a conscious effort or not, but shows me again that it can be done. MS-ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher


Myers, Walter Dean Harlem Summer, 151 pages, Scholastic – Mark Pulvis is a normal boy in Harlem New York. That is, until he gets into some money trouble with Harlem’s biggest Hoodlum. Now he has to pay back a whole list of hoodlums all without his mom finding out. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes historical fiction. Its a little slow at the beginning but gets really good as you get into it. MS – ESSENTIAL; Student Reviewer: LW


Myers, Walter Dean Shooter – After a high school shooting spree, the friends (or accomplices) of the shooter are interviewed by the police, FBI and a psychologist who are trying to find out how this happened and if it can be prevented in the future. WOW! This one totally threw me off, because I thought I knew what the outcome was going to be and I was wrong. That’s what I get for making assumptions. Your older students will pick this one up for the title, and read it all night because it is so good. MS, HS-ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher


Myracle, Lauren Rhymes with Witches, 209 p. – Any book that contains a group of high school girls who calls themselves “The Bitches” and presume that they “rule the school”, should be avoided at all costs. Besides the use of the “club name” over and over again in the book, I have yet to find a book that is any better than Mean Girls, or, to back a little further, Heathers. NO. Cindy, Library Teacher


Myracle, Lauren The Fashion Disaster that Changed my Life, 135 p. – On the first day of 7th grade, Alli comes to school with a pair of her mother’s underwear static-clinged to her pants. From this disaster Alli attracts the attention of the “cool crowd” and ends up betraying the one true friend she really has. A really good book that the author made the unfortunate decision to have male genitalia (say it six times), Playgirl and underaged drinking all on two pages. I would pass this one by and get Amy Koss’ The Girls, or Con-fidence by Todd Strasser. NO. Cindy, Library Teacher


Myracle, Lauren Twelve. pgs. 208 Penguin Group. Language-G; Sexual Content- PG; Violence- G; Winnie just turned twelve. She just started her period and her mom makes a huge deal out of it. One of her friends has a pool party while Winnie has her period. She realizes that no matter how much trouble she has she loves being a girl. I think that this book is interesting and an okay book. I wouldn’t recommend it because it is too weird and strange. I wouldn’t buy it and read it over and over. Interest level- EL. NO. Student Reviewer: SH


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