Posts from the ‘middle grades’ Category

BY THE LIGHT OF THE MOON

The Moth and the Moon

Written by David Kelley

 

This is an intriguing tale that is told in the first person by a newly hatched moth and the friends she makes on the windowsill of a garden shed. Upon opening her eyes, the moth is irresistibly drawn to the light from the moon shining through the window,

Readers follow her development as her friends name her Flutter. She learns quickly from her friends, Horsey the Wasp, her two ladybug friends, and Bumble, the bee. Flutter finds herself in trouble with their arch enemy, Sinister, the Spider. Flutter learns to develop trust and courage that she will one day find her moon.

There are many pitfalls along the way, and some of her friends will be lost to Spider. Will Flutter discover a way to achieve her dream and still retain her bonds with the friends who have nurtured and protected her?

This tale is written clearly and the story flows smoothly. Its length of approximately 100 pages is a bit long for a beginning reader even though the plot sustains interest. I would especially recommend it to middle-grade and young teens, but adults might enjoy it as well.

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A WORLD OF MANY COLORS

UNDERSTANDING BOBBY’S AUTISM DIAGNOSIS: A Social Story

Written and illustrated by Bozena Zawisz

This book explains how an autistic child views his world. It is a valuable reference tool for parents and teachers of autistic children to use to explain autistic behavior. Many autistic children on the higher end of the spectrum are educated in inclusive classrooms. Children can become confused when these children avoid eye contact, have slower speech, and sensitivity to stimuli that other children think normal.

The author uses simple analogies like an abundance of twig branches to explain why autistic children may have difficulty focusing. She talks about teacher adaptations and how they assist an autistic child in learning. Different intensities of the colors of a rainbow is another good example of how all of us are different in the way we behave. Bobby and his friend John have overcome all these difficulties and have become the best of friends. Each of us has unique talents and skills All children need to give and receive respect for these strengths and differences.

I highly recommend this book which contains simple sketches for parents and teachers of elementary school and middle-school children who have contact with children on the autism spectrum.

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A WOMAN AHEAD OF HER TIME

Catherine The Great: A Life from Beginning to End

Hourly History Series

This short summary of Catherine The Great’s life provides good insight into a woman who was able to turn ambition into fulfillment. Catherine was born in modern-day Poland. Her mother’s wealthy relatives played a prominent part in her rise to power. She was betrothed to Peter, the prospective Tsar of Russia. Catherine despised Peter, but she did everything in her power to gain the love and support of the Russian people. She learned the Russian language, converted to the Eastern Orthodox faith, and acquired the support of the Russian military guard.

Catherine was an early feminist. She supported educational reforms for men and women, reformed the farming system by introducing European reforms, and introduced the principles of European Enlightenment, counting the philosopher, Voltaire, as one of her friends. Catherine extended the territorial boundaries of Russia and succeeded in many of her military goals. She devoted her life to power and did not shirk from using violence to achieve it. The principles she set forth laid the foundation for modern Russia.

Recommended as an introduction to Russian history or as a reference for student research into the subject. The essay is easy to read and is recommended for middle-grade and young adult readers as well as adults interested in biographies and history.

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FOUR FRIENDS SIT FOR A SPELL #HappyEaster #EarthDay

Cassie’s Coven: The Case of the six-legged frog (The Cassie Coven Series Book 1)

Written by Helen Allan

The first book in this middle-grade mystery series features four Australian girls. Cassie and Lolly share a love of horses and attend school together. One day Cassie buys an old book and discovers it is a magic book of spells. Shortly after Cassie finds a sickly fox kit and Lolly discovers a six-legged frog in a nearby creek. The book talks about a coven of four witches, yellow, black, white and green. Lolly and Cassie invite Charlotte and a new girl at school, Pia to join their group. Pia’s great-grandmother offers an old cottage on her property as a clubhouse. Soon the girls are using it to solve the mystery of why nearby animals and cattle are becoming sick and dying. Lolly and Cassie fall ill, and they show symptoms of poisoning.

The four girls decide that Mr. Larkin, a neighbor, seems too eager to scare them off his property and they vow to investigate why. They use the clubhouse to get close and are shocked to discover that the book of spells can help them to solve the mystery. This is the first book of the series that combines fun adventures of four ten-year-old friends, some magic, and issues related to the environment set in Australia. Recommended for readers ages ten and older.

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CLEVER KATZ

THE KATZ PAJAMAS: THE MISS KITTY MYSTERY

Written by Jack Lugar

Katz is the name of a clever, Maine Coon cat who is a private investigator. Katz is sitting in his office when Kitty Cat, a famous nightclub performer strolls into his office. Kitty wants to hire him to find out who has been stealing personal possessions from her dressing room. Katz jumps at the chance and he is invited to her club to investigate the mystery.

Katz meets Bogey, Kitty’s dog, Rufus, the bouncer, Cali the state manager, Thom, the stagehand, and Mr. Bigly, Kitty’s guard. He carefully observes and looks for clues as the night progresses. Before long, Katz has the solution to the mystery. He calls together the cast of characters and explains how he solved the case. Of course, he is saddened that there is no longer a reason for Kitty to pay attention to him because Katz has developed quite a crush on Kitty.

This is a cute chapter book of fewer than one hundred pages. The characters are charming and the dialogue clever and humorous. There are no illustrations. While the book is targeted for ages five through ten, I believe it better suited for ages seven through twelve. It is a fast-paced fun read and I would read other books in the series.

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SLOTHS 101

Sloths! Two-Toed and Three-Toed Sloths

Written by Leanne Annett

Sloths! Sloth Book On Two-Toed Sloths & Three-Toed Sloths For Children: Fun Animal Picture Book for Kids with Interesting Facts & Wildlife Photos (God's Amazing Creation Series 3) by [Annett, Leanne]

 

This book discusses the two family groups of sloths which are further broken down into six species. Annett presents information about what they eat, where they live, their relatives, the dangers they face, how they move, and daily living habits. There are lots of color photographs that display sloths in all sorts of positions and situations.

Annett introduces the book by explaining that she feels all the creatures in her book series are part of God’s amazing plan. She urges her young readers to marvel at nature’s beauty. The rest of the book is a nonfiction narrative.

The Fun Sloth Facts is a summary of the most important facts contained in the book. It is a good starting point for those who wish to do a report or additional research on sloths. A glossary is helpful for students who may not be familiar with some of the more scientific terms.

I would recommend the book to readers of all ages who are interested in these curious, friendly creatures. Children of all ages will enjoy looking at the photos and learning about them.

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ONLINE SAFETY

How to Protect Children from Online Predators and Cyberbullies: Survival Guide for Non-Techie Parents

Written by Ram Muthiah

I found this guide informative and essential for parents with children growing up in a world dominated by digital technology. The author wrote this book for two reasons: as a supplement to a novel based on true experience and as a practical guide to help parents navigate the rapidly changing world of the internet in which their children engage daily. Muthiah wants to protect children from those who use the internet to engage in crimes that prey on children. The author’s opinion is that the most important thing parents can do is to gain the trust of their children so that they can engage in honest conversations about internet abuses.

Pedophiles use the internet to lure children into meeting them or to collect pornographic pictures of them. Cyberbullies are cowards to hide behind the anonymity of the internet to attack and scar children mentally. The Internet is a tool to set up human trafficking networks. This author covers all the social media networks like Facebook, Skype, Instagram et al and breaks down different social networks and how they can be used as traps to engage children. He provides links to effective tools for screening out the threats and includes an appendix of secret internet language used by children and teens with which parents may not be familiar,

I would urge parents, teachers, and all those who work with children to keep this book on their shelf as valuable reference material.

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