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Pre2006 Reviews – A

Abbott, Hailey Summer Boys, 214 p. – Jamie is looking forward to a summer with her hot boyfriend. Ella wants to steal the gorgeous new guy from her own sister. Beth realizes that her best friend forever is actually looking very tempting. Sand, water, boys and girls scantily clad – all make for a book completely inappropriate for any school setting. NO. Cindy, Library Teacher

Abbott, Tony The Postcard, pgs.354 Little Brown and Company Language- PG-13; Sexual Content-G; Violence- PG; Jason is surprised when his grandma dies. He goes to help his dad and finds an old postcard. There’s nothing written on it, although there is a hole in the postcard right through a window. He goes to the hotel that’s on the postcard and finds the second part of a manuscript that his grandma hadn’t found. He gets a new friend and finds the rest of the manuscript. He’s in a living mystery. I thought that this book was really good. It took a little while to get into, although it was actually better than I thought it would be. Interest Level- EL, MS. OPTIONAL. Student Reviewer: SH

Abdel-Fattah, Randa Does my Head Look Big in This? 352 p. Scholastic – Near the end of the Christmas holidays, Amal, a Muslim girl, decides that she wants to start wearing the hijab, the head scarf, full time. Her parents try to talk her out of it for now, but she sticks to her decision and works through the problems, from her private school classmates and strangers on the streets, as she tries to get on with her life and express this new dimension of her faith. I really enjoyed this book about a culture that I don’t know much about. I especially liked the discussions about the difference between religion and culture, a challenge I run into frequently in my own life. MS, HS – ESSENTIAL

Ada, Alma Flor Daniel’s Pet Illustrated by G. Brian Karas, Harcourt, Inc., 2003. PICTURE BOOK. This is a bi-lingual early reader. There is very little text in the first half of the book. In the second half are some “Think About It” questions and a simple craft activity. It is about a boy named Daniel who keeps a small chick as a pet that grows up and lays eggs. The value of this book is that it is bi-lingual. The art is simple and engaging. EL (K-1) – OPTIONAL. Reviewed by Susan Huff, Area Library Media Specialist

Adams, Kendall Hook Up or Break Up, 247 p. HarperTeen. Language: PG13, Sexual Content: PG13, Violence: G – The main character, Donny, is running around the whole book trying to find someone to make out with basically. She has a choice of three guys who say yes when she asks them out. Then you, the reader, choose a section of the book to turn to, and read about what would happen for each guy she asked out.I didn’t like the sexual references. NO; Student Reviewer: MW

Adams, Simon The Kingfisher Atlas of the Modern World. Illustrated by Kevin Maddison, 45pgs. Kingfisher, 2007. Fun historical as well as modern pictures, a great timeline, and interesting little historical vignettes makes this a interesting read. However, this atlas seems to have some incongruence. First the title states that it is an atlas of the modern world, but it is in actuality an historical atlas. Second, there is an index at the end that does a good job of indexing the texts such as the mention of cricket becoming popular in the West Indies under British rule, but none of the locations are indexed! So the West Indies or Jamaica don’t show up in the index. EL (5-8) – OPTIONAL. Reviewed by Susan Huff, Area Library Media Specialist

Addasi, Maha The White Nights of Ramadan, illustrated by Ned Gannon. Boyds Mill Press, 2008. PICTURE BOOK. Noor and her family are devout Muslims living on the Rabian Peninsula. This year Noor is very eagar for Girgian, a festival celebrating the middle of Ramadan, when she and her brothers will go from house to house to collect treats. The author’s note in the back explains that this particular tradition is celebrarted manily in the Middle East where Muslims make up such large numbers of the population. For schools wanting to add more depth to their Middle East collection, this would be a good selection. EL, MS – ADVISABLE

Addy, Sharon Hart Lucky Jake illustrated by Wade Zaharis, PICTURE BOOK Houghton Mifflin – Jake and his father acquire a pig as a pet in the gold fields of California. From a series of lucky happenstances, the pair find themselves running a lucrative restaurant and trading post business, instead of panning for gold. The illustrator’s use of bold colored pastels in mostly blue, green and oranges make for a visually striking book that would be interesting for an art class to see. The simple story is a better bet for an elementary school than an older group. EL – OPTIONAL

Adlington, L.J. The Diary of Pelly D., 282 p. – Toni V is part of a crew digging up a wrecked plaza when he discovers an battered water can filled with the pages of a diary. The diary is from a girl named Pelly, who lived the life of a rich girl until her city was divided by aggressive racism, ending in the removal of an entire genetic family, including Pelly. Its hard to gauge the time difference between the end of Pelly’s world and Toni’s discovering her diary. It just doesn’t seem long enough that Toni wouldn’t know and understand the circumstances Pelly went through. And enough background details are missing from Pelly’s diary that I spent too much of my time feeling puzzled and out of the loop. HS-OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Agee, Jon Nothing PICTURE BOOK Hyperion, 2007. Just as Otis emptys his store, the richest woman in town walks in and decides that “nothing” is just what she wants to buy. Now the whole town is determined to own “nothing”, so Otis has plenty of things to fill up his empty store. A humourous look at the silliness of following the crowd without deciding for yourself. A perfect little lesson for a young crowd. EL – ADVISABLE

Agell, Charlotte Welcome Home or Some Place Like it – Starts out really cute, but I wouldn’t read past the part where the girls talked about what their breasts looked like. NO. Cindy, Library Teacher

Ahlberg, Allan The Improbable Cat 107 p. – David’s family takes in a stray kitten, who seems to put the other family members under a spell, with increasingly ridiculous appetites and growth. David and his best friend George try to come up with some scheme that will free his family from the spell. I have seen Ahlberg’s picture books, but not read any of his novels. I had a difficult time engaging with this book enough to believe the improbable. EL – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Ahlberg, Allan and Bruce Ingman Previously PICTURE BOOK Candlewick, 2007. Instead of following nursery tales to their end, the authors instead take us back in time to what each character was doing previously, with various familiar characters interacting in unforeseen ways. While the premise has potential, instead of being charming and delightful, the book instead is so simplistic, that it feels flat. I wonder how this would work in a novel? EL – OPTIONAL

Aidan, Pamela These Three Remain 437 p. Simon Schuster – Final novel of Fitzwilliam Darcy trilogy. Darcy and his cousin attend to their Great Aunt Catherine and there Darcy comes face to face with Elizabeth Bennet, whom he has just vowed to put from his mind and his heart. When Elizabeth rejects his marriage proposal, Darcy returns to London and does some soul-searching. I loved these novels, which add depth to the original Pride and Prejudice, showing the faults and cracks and humanity behind Fitzwilliam Darcy. Not so much for the school set, but lovers of Austen will not be disappointed with these. Cindy, Library Teacher

Aidinoff, Elsie V. The Garden – Suppose that the Serpent was actually charged with raising Eve and God was doing a pretty poor job of raising Adam in the Garden of Eden, and there you have the plot for this novel. Here’s my religion showing through, but unless someone gives me an excellent argument in favor of this novel, I just fell no need to read more than the 100 pages I did read and will not put it my my library. NO. Cindy, Library Teacher

Aiken, Joan Midwinter Nightingale OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Ain, Beth Levine The Revolution of Sabine, 224 p. Candlewick, Sept 2008. Sabine is the daughter of an impoverished prince and a social climbing mother in Paris, during the beginnings of the American Revolution. While she hates the way her mother manipulates her, it isn’t until she reunites with a childhood playmate, meets Benjamin Franklin and reads Candide, that she begins to see that she may have other choices for her life. The origins of the French Revolution are clearly visible in this plot, without being fixated on royalty or the peasantry. Sabine’s story moves swiftly once she is awakened to life beyond pretty dresses, leaving me without a feeling of depth. However, if middles school girls are drawn to pick up the book because of the beautiful girl on the cover. Then they will read a simple bit of historical fiction and maybe just learn something on the way. IT will be interesting to see if this inspires a run on Candide reading by teen girls! MS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library-Teacher.

Alama, Pauline The Eye of Night- Jereth’s family died in a boat accident seven years earlier. After six years in a monastery, his now on his own. He meets Trenara, the beautiful idiot and Hywn, the deformed dwarf with the voice of an angel. Together they take an impossible journey through a troubled land to rediscover the northern city of Larioneth and the destiny of the Eye of Night, which Hwyn carries. A good fantasy novel without elves or wizards or even a personification of evil. Definitely suited for higher level fantasy readers. MS-OPTIONAL, HS-ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Albert, Michael An Artist’s America. Henry Holt, 2008. Besides being the founder of an organic juice company, Michael Albert is also a master collagist. His bright, profound works entertain the eye and make pointed statements about consumerism and politics. I want to show this to my son’s Theory of Knowledge (International Baccalaureate) teacher, because he and the students could find a lot to say about these re-imagines cereal boxes, candy wrappers, and other commercial products. EL, MS, HS – ESSENTIAL

Albert, Michael An Artist’s America. Henry Holt, 2008. Besides being the founder of an organic juice company, Michael Albert is also a master collagist. His bright, profound works entertain the eye and make pointed statements about consumerism and politics. I want to show this to my son’s Theory of Knowledge (International Baccalaureate) teacher, because he and the students could find a lot to say about these re-imagines cereal boxes, candy wrappers, and other commercial products. EL, MS, HS – ESSENTIAL

Alegria, Malin Estrella’s Quinceanera, 272 pages – Language-PG; Sexual Content-PG; Violence-G – Estrella’s mom is deep in Spanish tradition, which means having an unwanted quinceanera (like a coming out party). After falling for a boy that her father has forbade her from seeing, her life seems to get worse because of her nosy family and critical friends. Malin Alegria puts a new twist on the classic: mother making daughter do things that she doesn’t want to, dad not letting daughter go out with a guy so daughter dates him secretly. I think that it would be a good choice for our library. MS-ESSENTIAL Student Reviewer: KD

Alegria, Malin Sofi Mendoza’s Guide to Getting Lost in Mexico, 276 p. Simon and Schuster, 2007. Sifi Mendoza has headed to Tijuana to party with her friends and to snag the guy if her dreams. On the way back to the States, however she discovers that her green card is a fake and now she is doomed to live with her aunt and cousins in a dusty little village unless something will happen to rescue her. If you can struggle through 60 pages of drunken, rauchy spoiled-princess-ness, then you will finally reach the heart of the story. Luckily Sofi isn’t rescued quickly, but is forced to stay in rural Mexico long enough to actual find true love and learn a life lesson. Too much drunken sexiness for my taste. HS – OPTIONAL

Alexander, Lloyd The Golden Dreams of Carlo Chuchio, 306 p. Henry Holt, 2007. Carlo Chuchio is a day dreamer who can never quite please his merchant uncle. In the market he fins a storyteller who gives him a book of tales. Rather than working, he sits hidden away and reads the fanciful tales. In the spine of the book he finds an old map that he believes will lead him to untold treasure. Frustrated, his uncle kicks him out of his employ and his house and Arlo goes in search of the treasure along the “Road of Golden Dreams”. Along the way, he meets interesting characters who join him in his quest, including a disreputable scoundrel, Baksheesh; A brave girl, Shira, who is on her own quest; and Solomon, a wise, mysterious traveler. They are attacked by by robbers, captured by barbarians and lost in the desert, but along the way, chance meetings with mystic characters aid them on their quest. In the end, Carlo finds that what is most valuable in life may not be riches and gold. EL, MS – ADVISABLE. Reviewer: SH

Alexander, Sally Hobart and Robert Alexander She Touched the World: Laura Bridgman, Deaf-Blind Pioneer, 84 p. Clarion Books, 2008. In 1841, Laura Bridgman was more famous than most rock stars are now. She and her teachers proved to the world that deaf and blind children were perfectly capable of learning, if they were taught early enough. This is Laura’s story and the story of the roots of the modern ASL, deaf and blind communities. This is the story of the woman who taught Annie Sullivan – the woman who then went on to bring the world to Helen Keller. Though on the outside this looks like a picture book, it is instead, a wonderfully easy to read biography of a remarkable girl. If it were reformatted to a small page size, it could easily be one of those 100 page biographies that teachers are so fond of assigning. Either way, you still need to get this one! EL, MS – ADVISABLE

Allen, M.E. Gotta Get Some Bish, Bash, Bosh, 198 p. – The main character (who is un-named) is a teenaged British boy who right off gets dumped by his girlfriend, just as the school year begins. He desperately struggles to find the IT factor, as it is known in America, that will help him find popularity again. Though the book is not a bad look into the psyche of a teenaged Brit, it is also full of disjointed teen thoughts and British slang, which make sit a very hard read. MS, HS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Almond, David Clay 250 pgs RandomHouse – Language: R- too many pgs to count, Sexuality: PG, Violence: PG13 – Clay is about Davie, a Catholic boy, who meets the dark Stephen. Stephen recruits Davie to help him create a monster made of clay. This was an awful book. I would not recommend it to anyone; it wasn’t written well at all and I soon lost interest in reading it, I couldn’t even force myself to finish reading all of it! NO! Student Reviewer

Alphin, Elaine Marie Picture Perfect, 244 p. – One morning Ian’s best friend is not there to walk with him to school; Teddy never came home last night. Ian feels like he should know something about Teddy’s whereabout’s and a voice in his head from the past keeps trying to push him in the right direction. As tidbits of Ian’s tension filled homelife are divulged and as the different parts of Ian’s life start interfering with even his sanity, the novel rushed to a desperate and exciting conclusion. Two excellent Alphin books in so many days! Word of mouth will keep this one hopping off the shelves. MS, HS – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Alphin, Elaine Marie The Perfect Shot, 359 p. – Months earlier, Brian’s girlfriend Amanda, her mother and her little sister were murdered in her driveway while he was playing basketball just down the street out of sight. Now Amanda’s dad is on trial for the murders. Brian is trying to hold it together in school and on the court as he works his way through his grief. Major challenges in the form of a huge history project and a partnership with a school reject may be the catalysts Brian needs to help Amanda’s father and to move forward with his life. I LOVE Alphin’s work. She writes compelling material that will draw all kinds of students in, yet she doesn’t resort to using sex, violence or foul language. MS, HS – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Alton, Steve The Firehills, 188 p. – After the battle with the Malifex, Sam and Charly are left altered. The two teens must rescue Amergin when he is taken captive by very angry Faerie who want to rule the world. Charly is ready, but Sam is reluctant because saving the world may mean losing himself. I loved the Malifex and flies off the shelf because of the great cover. Though not quite as wonderful, fans of the first will still enjoy the second. MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Amateau, Gigi Claiming Georgia Tate, 196 p. – Georgia Tate has lived her entire life with her grandparents. Her mother is dead and her father is not worth knowing. But, even after a disastrous summer visit with her father, when Georgia Tate’s grandmother dies, her grandfather sends her off to live with dear old dad. There she learns way too much about life way too soon. Then her father does something unforgivable to her and Georgia runs to a neighbor to hide and hopefully find her way back to her beloved grandfather. There’s not much easy reading about this book. Georgia’s father does not take her into a pretty world. When he rapes her, it talks about pulling down her panties and “pulling out”. There are a few swear words and reference to titties and “tee-tee”. It’s a hard book to make a choice about. I don’t think it will work well in my community, but in yours it may be what someone needs to read. MS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Anderson, Janet S Last Treasure ESSENTIAL MS – An extremely cute mystery book about a treasure hidden for each generation to discover for themselves. MS – ESSENTIAL.  Cindy, Library Teacher

Anderson, Jodi Lynn Peaches, 311 p. – Over spring break, Murphy is assigned to do court-ordered service in the Darlington Peach Orchards, owned by the parents of Birdie, a girl in Murphy’s classes at school. Also banished to the orchards is Leeda, Birdie’s pretentious cousin, whose mother doesn’t want her around the house while she’s busy planning her other (favorite) daughter’s wedding. Over those two weeks and then the subsequent summer of the harvest, the three girls learn much about themselves and about friendship. Unfortunately, the author starts the book with talk about Murphy letting boys up her shirt from the age of 13 and the subsequently down her pants. There is also a scene where Leeda’s boyfriend takes off her shirt and rubs his hands up and down her body. Otherwise, it’s a pretty good book. The girls don’t have an idyllic friendship. Instead they go through hardships and misunderstandings. I will not be gracing my shelves with it, but maybe you will. MS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Anderson, Laurie Halse Prom 215 p. – High school senior Ashley has no desire to go the prom. She barely can make it through the school day, obsessed as she is with her dropout boyfriend TJ. But when the prom funds are stolen, Ash steps in to help her best friend pull together something to celebrate. Even if it means defying the vice principal and risking arrest. It sounds great and Ms. Anderson even says that she is writing this book for all of those “normal” kids out there. Well, those normal kids have foul mouths and are obsessed with sex. Maybe in a high school library, but not any younger. NO. Cindy, Library Teacher

Anderson, Laurie Halse Twisted, 250p. Viking (Penguin) – Violence: PG; Sexual Content: PG-13; Language: PG-13 – This novel is about a senior in High School and his comeback from being arrested for spray painting the school. He does community service with the janitors of his high school and works construction. I liked this book somewhat for the story and that’s about it. I wouldn’t recommend it to very many people, if any. The story is written from the viewpoint of a sexually driven, testosterone high teenage guy. There were a lot of comments throughout the book that I didn’t care to know. Yes, it was well written in style, but not in cleanliness of mind, ethics, or any of the things I look for in a book. (I am glad to say that he never actually slept with anyone, which I appreciated immensely, despite the fact that the opportunity arose.) NO. Student Reviewer: JH

Anderson, M.T. The Game of Sunken Places, 260 p. – Brian and Gregory find a mysterious board game in Uncle Max’s creepy old house. As they begin to play, they find themselves caught up in a struggle between good and evil. I know, I know – Jumanji – Just stop thinking that way right now! While the premise at its most basic sounds on so familiar, the actual execution is so different. While the book has depth, it is a great romp for children. EL, MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Anfousse, Ginette A Terrible Secret, 108 p. – Maggie was the only family member there when her brother was killed in a hit and run auto accident a year earlier. It doesn’t help any that the beautiful new boy next door with the scooter seems to be dating Maggie’s bitter enemy, either. Maggie’s older brother is in danger, her family is falling apart, and even her best friend Chloe isn’t always there for her. An okay book, but not great. I want to try this out on a couple of “reluctant” readers and see what they think. I, meanwhile, deem this OPTIONAL (MS). Cindy, Library Teacher

Anthony, Piers Currant Events, 333 p. – Clio, the Muse of history finds a strange book on her shelf which she can’t even read. When she goes to Good Magician Humphrey, he makes her perform a service for his help, just like any other Xanthian. As Clio wanders around Xanth, follow the blue compass point on her arm, she collects a group of friends, even as she worries about the effects of her personal curses – no beauty, danger every day and an early death. Piers Anthony’s books are extremely funny a great reads, but he is overly obsessed with “The Adult Conspiracy” and letting characters peek at each others panties or body parts (nothing descriptive, but very suggestive). MS – OPTIONAL, HS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher

Antieau, Kim Mercy, Unbound, 164 p. – Because she is becoming an angel, Mercy has stopped eating – angels don’t need to eat. In desperation, Mercy’s parents admit her to a eating disorder facility, where she is adopted by a group of girls determined to buck the system and keep to their starving ways. Mercy, because she is an angel, not a human girl starving herself, feels somewhat disconnected from the girls, but still watches and listens as the girls plot. Then a major shock causes Mercy to run and blackout. When she comes to she has no idea who or where she is, but is taken in by kind strangers and starts on her road to healing. A large amount of swear words (majority of them the “F” word) will keep this out of most, if not all schools; which is too bad, because teenaged girls need honest books about eating disorders and treatment. Write this one down and give it to the school counselor, keep it on file file for that girl who may be reaching out for help. NO. Cindy, Library Teacher

Antieau, Kim Broken Moon, 183 p. Simon Schuster – Nadira was punished unjustly for a crime that her brother never committed. Now she will never find a husband and feels she has no value. When her little brother Umar is sold to the slavers, she volunteers to search for him herself – facing a world where small boys are expendable and who survive by tormenting each other. Similar in flavor to The Breadwinner and Homeless Bird; if these books are popular in your library, add this one too. MS – ADVISABLE

Applegate, Katherine The Buffalo Storm, illustrated by Jan Ormerod. PICTURE BOOK Clarion Books, 2007. A young girl must leave her beloved grandmother behind as she and her parents venture across the prairies to Oregon. She finds little pleasure in her journey until a young calf and a storm of buffalo awaken her joy in the journey. Sounds like a cute book, but the illustrations and words do nothing to inspire me. EL – OPTIONAL

Arena, Felice Sally and Dave: A Slug Story PICTURE BOOK Kane/Miller, 2008. Sally is sleek and beautiful, while Dave is a lump of useless slug flesh. That is, until the day that Dave saves Sally from being eaten by a bird, then Sally discovers that every “slug” has his good points, too. Great for elementary students and middle school Teacher Advisory as a little lesson at looking carefully before judging. EL, MS – ADVISABLE

Arnold, Caroline Giant Sea Reptiles of the Dinosaur Age, illustrated by Laurie Caple. PICTURE BOOK Clarion, 2007. Ms. Arnold updates our knowledge of ancient sea reptiles. Short, but chock full of information and wonderful illustrations for the young, or not so young dinosaur fan. EL – ADVISABLE; MS – OPTIONAL

Arnold, James R. The Aftermath of the French Revolution, 139 p. Twenty-First Century (Lerner), 2009. Sure, everyone knows all about the guillotine and about Marie Antoinette, but who can really articulate what impact the French Revolution had on not only France, but also on the world. In depth research and excellent writing make this a necessary resource for high schools and middle schools that teach about France, French language or World History. This will not go unused. MS, HS – ESSENTIAL. Reviewer: Cindy, Library-Teacher

Arnold, Tedd Hooray for Fly Guy! 30 pages. Cartwheel Books (Scholastic), 2008. Fly Guy and Buzz return in this adorable story of an innovative friendship and team play on the football field. Young boys who are beginning to read will love all the books in the Fly Guy series. EL – ADVISABLE

Arnosky, Jim The Brook Book: Exploring the smallest streams. Dutton (Penguin), 2008. PICTURE BOOK. Arnosky shared his love for nature with every teacher and students with this how-to book for exploring nearby brooks and streams. This book is meant to be read before a trip to the water, so that students can explore safely and sensibly and know things that they should be alert for. The details and drawings are perfect for any age of elementary student. EL – ESSENTIAL

Aronson, Marc Witch-hunt OPTIONAL – a decent non-fiction title about The Salem Witch trials. Cindy, Library Teacher

Aronson, Sarah Head Case, 173 p. Roaring Brook, 2007. Driving drunk, Frank not only kills his girlfriend, but also lands himself permanently in a wheel chair – a paraplegic. Not only does he feel angry and helpless, but also everyone in town seems bent on increasing his feelings of self-loathing and guilt. Only one anonymous blogger seems to be on his side. As interesting as seeing into the head of a paraplegic may seem interesting, but this young man’s head is full of sex dreams and swear words. I can’t recommend this title. NO

Arrington, Frances Prairie Whispers OPTIONAL – Colleen’s baby sister has died, but she rescues the newborn baby of a woman left in a wagon on the prairie. Then the baby’s father shows up and starts to make trouble. Cindy, Library Teacher

Asch, Frank The Earth and I. Voyager (Harcourt), 2008. PICTURE BOOK. Bright, beautiful, cleverly composed illustrations make this book of limited text a delight. Reflecting a child’s close connection to and empathy for Nature, the book would be appropriate to read aloud to young students or for reading by early readers. EL (PK-3) – ADVISABLE. Reviewer: BS

Asch Frank and Dein Asch Like a Windy Day. Voyager (Harcourt), 2008. PICTURE BOOK. A young girl discovers all the things the wind can do, but playing and dancing along with it. The beautiful illustrations in this book appeal to all ages, and the text is suitable for early readers. EL (K-3) – ADVISABLE. Reviewer: BS

Asch, Frank The Sun Is My Favorite Star 28 p. Harcourt, Inc. PICTURE BOOK. A little boy’s encounters with the sun throughout the day are smartly portrayed with bright, colorful illustrations in this picture book. There is little text which makes this a great choice for the very young. Children will relate to the little boy’s experiences with the sun as it wakes him up, plays hide and seek with him, follows him, and casts his shadow on the wall. Grades K- 1 – ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Debbie Herget, Elementary Library-Teacher

Ash, Sarah Lord of Snow and Shadows – SNORE – Don’t waste your time. Cindy, Library Teacher

Ashby, Joan Sea Gift – A boy finds directions to a long ago buried treasure. Elementary level book, not for MS or HS OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

Asher, Jay Th1rteen R3asons Why (Thirteen Reasons Why), 304 p. Razorbill (Penguin), October 2007. Clay comes home from school and finds a box addressed to him – a box of cassette tapes, from Hannah – a girl who committed suicide just a few weeks earlier. Clay works his way through the tapes as Hannah chronicles the incidents and people that led her to the choice of taking her life. Intense and powerful. This book will fly off the shelves as word spreads. I could only wish the lessons within its pages actually were learned by the students who read it. As Hannah gives up, the pathos increases, without ever becoming tasteless. It does have a lot of swear words and a graphic rape scene and an implied rape scene. But this book is so powerful that it needs to be read. I can promise you that when you read this book, your life never be the same again. HS – ESSENTIAL*

Ashford, Sandy & L. Harrison David Dude! 240 p. Language: PG, Sexual content: G, Violence: PG – This collection of stories and skits would be fun for elementary aged boys I think. I didn’t enjoy it that much, I think it’s directed to a younger group. EL – ADVISABLE; Student Reviewer: MW

Askounis, Christina The Dream of the Stone, 290 p. Simon and Schuster – Sarah’s parents have died in a terrible accident and she is forced to live with a hated uncle and aunt, because her older brother is obsessed with his new job. A mysterious message from her brother, delivered by a mysterious messenger, sends Sarah out of this universe, literally, on a quest to save not just her brother, but Earth and maybe the galaxy. Originally released in 1993, this novel feels as contemporary as anything I have recently read. Schools that need a little more science fiction, will find this a good choice. MS-ADVISABLE

Atkins, Catherine Alt Ed ESSENTIAL – The fat girl, the gay guy, the jock, the cheerleader, the slut and the thug are all stuck in an after school counseling class. Of COURSE there are secrets to be revealed. Cindy, Library Teacher

Atkins, Jeannine Anne Hutchinson’s Way, pictures by Michael Doling. PICTURE BOOK. Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2007. Anne Hutchinson and her family want to practice their religion as they see fit, but their minister in the new world has other ideas. Anne holds her owm meetings and refuses to stop even through threats and intimidation. Anne is jailed for her teachings and eventually the family leaves the colony to find a place where they can worship in peace. A true and simple retelling of the story of one of America’s first heroines. A good addition to a picture book lesson on American History. EL, MS – ADVISABLE

Averbeck, Jim In a Blue Room, illustrated by Tricia Tusa PICTURE BOOK Harcourt, Inc., 2008. This book is chuck full of charm. It is a book about senses. Alice only likes blue, but her mother brings her a string of non-blue things to help her sleep. There are sweet smelling flowers, a mug of warm tea, a soft warm blanket, bells to lull her to sleep, and when the light goes out, all are blue. The illustrations are whimsical watercolors and match the rich text perfectly. EL (PK-1) – ESSENTIAL. REVIEWER: SH

Avi Iron Thunder, 192 p. Hyperion, 2007. Young Tom Carroll must find a way to help his family in the midst of the Civil War. His mother finds his him a job in a ship yard, for a totally new kind of ship – the Monitor, an ironclad vessel. He works with Capt. Ericsson, the designer and builder, and a Rebel spy wants the secrets. The only way to keep from his clutches is to live on the boat – and leave with it as it goes into battle against the Merrimac, the ironclad being built by the South. A fine piece of historical fiction; danger and war that will be interesting to boys who might have to read a piece of history. MS – ADVISABLE

Avi Traitor’s Gate, 351 p. Atheneum, 2007. John’s father is deeply in debt and refuses to to take responsibility for his problems. His mother and sister are useless and so it is up to John to find the money to pay the debts and find the people who are behind his father’s problems. In tribute to Charles Dickens, Avi weaves a tale in old London with an old-fashioned voice. I have read similar books that I enjoy more than this offering. I hate to say that about Avi, the story doesn’t catch my attention. MS – OPTIONAL

Selected by Avi Best Shorts, 400. Houghton Mifflin Company Books for Children. Language – G, Sexual Content – G; Violence – G; Best shorts is a book with many short stories. They are all different from each other. There are scary shorts, funny, plain, anything you can think of. I liked reading through the stories and seeing how unique each of them were. I loved some of the silly ones; especially the one about the boy scouts. I also liked the one about the call from her dead aunt. As you can tell from those two examples that the stories are all unique. . EL – OPTIONAL Student Reviewer: KC

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