Posts from the ‘middle grades’ Category

A BREATH OF FRESH AIR #EarthDay

To Run The Rugged Crest

Written by Pierre De Moin

This book might best be described as a memoir or travelogue. The author developed a love of sports and the outdoors from a very young age. After graduating high school he traveled to Alaska where he lived off the land using Outward Bound skills. After spending most of his adult life in California hiking and pursuing outdoor adventures in his spare time, he decided to hike The Three Gun Trail in the Sandia Mountains of New Mexico.

As the author narrates the adventure. readers learn about the vegetation at each level and the types of wildlife that inhabit them. DeMoin carries on some interesting conversations with these creatures. The author discusses the clothing, equipment, and mindset needed to be successful on the trail run. The photos that document each step in the journey are a nice touch. They allow the reader to participate in the experience.

This book is a quick, entertaining read for any age group. Nature lovers and sports enthusiasts will particularly enjoy it.

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#FindYourPark #NationalParkWeek

It’s National Park Week – April 21-29!

Dreaming about summer vacation? Ready, set, go!

This week, you are invited to explore the parks of our National Park system. This year’s theme is “Park Stars.” There are many resources to help you explore the dozens of ways that you can explore our national parks throughout the country this year.

Here are three resources to bookmark:

National ParkWeek.org to detail special programs and discounts for this week.

National Park Calendar Service calendar of events will alert you to special events all over the country and the exact dates they are featured.

National Park Foundation offers free guides for hikers, historians, family excursions, or a romantic stroll.

The Little Miss HISTORY Travels to…book series will enlighten and inspire everyone in the family and prepare you for that once in a lifetime family vacation. Check out the whole series at http://LittleMissHISTORY.com

 

 

SOUP TO NUTS #POETRY MONTH

It’s Crazy in Here!: Fun Poems for Fun Kids of all Ages

Written by Malia Ann Haberman

 

This is a fun book that will have even those children who would never read a poem change their minds. The author has chosen a wide variety of topics that will appeal to boys and girls. There are monsters, fleas, dragons, dogs, cats, and bedbugs. Situations, like eating leftovers, classroom pranks, and falling in love, are explored with finesse and humor.

April is poetry month. Teachers might use this book to entice their students to explore poetry. While the book is recommended for ages five and up, I would especially recommend it to middle-grade students.

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THE FIRST WORLD CONFLICT

World War I in 50 Events

Written by James Weber

The author has taken a chronological/event-based approach to narrating the events of World War I. This book is divided into four main sections. The introduction discusses the groundwork leading to the outbreak of work going back to the end of the Franco-Prussian War and the enmity between France and Germany. It continues to the Battle of Mons. The next section picks up with the Russians suffering defeat at Tannenberg and ends with the British initiating military conscription. Section Three shows the tide of war changing as the Allies become actively engaged in Caporetto and concludes with the Turkish losing at Megiddo. The last section covers events from the Central Powers collapse and surrender to the signing of The Treaty of Versailles. Unfortunately, the severe terms of the peace treaty lay the groundwork for simmering tensions, the rise of dictators, and the conflicts leading up to World War II.

Each event is discussed in a few pages. Weber singles out the most important issues, including photos of battle scenes and portraits of the important players. The text is set in large font, although the illustrations are rather small. While the information is not extensive on any one particular topic, the author manages to create a rather detailed, easy to read reference study. I would recommend the book to history buffs, middle and high school students and home school parents who wish to learn about the topic.

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HAPPY EASTER! – A Delightful Doll

The Little Girl Doll (The Wurtherington Diary) Book 1

Written by Reynold Jay

This book is based on a restored diary belonging to a mute girl named Tammy. She lives with her aunt and uncle. Tammy is thrilled to receive a sewing machine as a birthday gift. She begins to fashion clothing for dolls. One day a mouse in the toolshed comes to laugh and convinces Tammy to accompany him to Kira. On her journey, Tammy meets Captain Flynn and his pirates, Zeke, a flying squirrel and an opossum.named Zeke. Her talking animal friends guide her to a kingdom ruled by two sorceresses, Lucinda and Catherine. Tammy passes through the kingdom of Hoarggs before arriving at the kingdom in an attempt to free the subjects.Will Tammy accomplish her mission? Will she be reunited with her guardians?

The book is beautifully restored with color photographs, reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland. Children who love fairy tales and magic will love the adventure. There are different versions of this tale; this is the longest length which is appropriate for readers ages nine and older.

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TRAINING FOR THE FUTURE

The Innovative Engine

Written by Jim Gribble

Illustrated by Jack Gribble

This book is a unique tale combining technology, fairy tales, and student writers. The Innovative Engine grew up in New York City hearing the tales of the little engine that could. One day she received a letter from a teacher with a special request that she readily accepted. A group of student bloggers would board her at Grand Central Station. There they would begin a nationwide trip stopping at cities, farms, and lake country to learn about innovation and write about their discoveries.

After stopping at Washington D.C. and receiving a tour of the Capitol, the students travel west to explore old technology and experiment with new ideas. The Innovative Engine is then equipped with solar panels, the students learn about using magnets for transportation, and how to transform the engine into a vegetable garden to feed the hungry. At the end of their journey, the President greets them and thanks them for blogging about their discoveries.

Readers find a pleasant mix of traditional characters, a dose of upcoming technologies, and meet some student journalists of the future.  Illustrations and images that were drawn by the students for their blog entries are included. The plot is unique, fanciful and creative. Particularly recommended for middle-grade students, but an enjoyable read for all ages.

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SANTA’S HELPER

The Search for South Pole Santa: A South Pole Santa Adventure (Book 1 in a series)

Written by Jingle Belle Jackson

 

This book combines a bit of magic, romance, holiday traditions, and fantasy in a whimsical adventure. There are two main plots: Sandra’s story detailing her life on a tugboat named Mistletoe moored on an island in the South Pacific, and the contest Santa Claus decides to hold to find a second Santa to cope with the world’s exploding population of children.

Sandra’s parents are missing and presumed dead. They had recently enrolled her in the St. Annalise Academy where the students are all gifted, whether they be human or part supernatural. Throughout the story, Sandra learns more about her lineage and special talents. At the same time, readers are introduced to her new friends. When Sandra learns about the contest for a second Santa, she immediately applies. Cappie, her guardian, and her island friends encourage her. Readers are taken on a colorful journey to the North Pole, where they participate in the fun-filled but grueling competition to determine the winner. There are lots of twists and turns, holiday magic and fun, mixed in with a bit of romance and coming of age in both parallel plots.

In the end, what will Sandra’s future hold? Will she learn how to cope with the loss of her parents, her talented friends, and the boy who seems to disdain her? Who will win the Santa competition? Stay tuned for more answers in the next book of the series.

This book was a fun read. It is highly recommended for middle grade and young teen readers. Adults looking for a light holiday read will also enjoy if willing to suspend reality for a few hours.

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