Posts from the ‘young adult’ Category

OUT OF THIS WORLD

Alien Kid

Written by Kristen Otte

 

Charlie Baker is the new sixth grader in Silver Lake Middle School. Middle school is a difficult period in any child’s life, but for Charlie, things are especially tough. Charlie and his family tell everyone that they have just moved to upstate New York from Cleveland, but they are aliens from Jupiter’s moon, Europa. A revolution led to a militaristic faction gaining control. Charlie’s family had to flee in order to survive. The family struggles to blend in on Earth, but their ability to read minds is both a blessing and a curse.

Charlie is bullied by Caden and Jordan. He falls in love with a fellow student named Maya, to whom he reveals his secret. But Maya wants Charlie to use his gift to help others. Charlie is having enough problems trying to understand the culture and the language. He says things like “hot spaghetti” and “oh pug” leaving his fellow sixth-graders mystified. The book focuses on middle-grade issues like bullying, peer-school relationships, and first love. This tale will appeal to students struggling to fit into a new school or neighborhood. The characters are believable and realistic.

Recommended especially for readers in fourth through seventh grades, but the story is well-written and appealing for any age.

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SUCKS YOU IN…

Monsterland Reanimated

Written by Michael Okon

This book follows Monsterland, which was written by Okon under the pen name, Philip Cash. The story begins on the first night after the Monsterland catastrophe. Death and destruction had reigned over the theme park. There were few survivors. Wyatt and his family struggle to find food supplies and clean water. World leaders had been murdered; governments had collapsed. Wyatt will need to move beyond his hometown to contact the outside world and warn them about a traitor.

Meanwhile, inside Monsterland an army of mummies and a strange, gelatin-like ooze, nicknamed the Glob has arisen. Can anyone survive the terrors which haunt the community?

The characters are well-developed. I could not put the book down. Be prepared to be frightened. Looking forward to reading more thrillers from this author. Recommended for young adults and adult audiences.

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AN UNEXPECTED REWARD

Hazelita And The Magic Broom

Written and illustrated by Hope Finning

Hazelita is a destitute, lonely old woman. Every day she wanders from village to village with her only valuable possession, an old broom passed down to her from her mother. At night she knocks on the door of a local inhabitant seeking a warm meal and a place to state. In return, she promises to sweep their home in gratitude for their kindness. Hazelita cries herself to sleep each night because she has no family to care for her. After a while, word spreads around that her broom is magic and that it will grant any wish the family requests.

One evening she comes to a family headed by Thomas who goes out of their way to shower kindness upon Hazelita. The next day, they refuse to allow her to sweep as she is their honored guest. But Hazelita is horrified to discover the next day, that her broom has lost its magic. What will happen to Hazelita now that she cannot pay for her room and board? The answer lies in kindness rewarded. Read the book to find out how.

This book teaches children the value of community responsibility and the lesson that we should not expect rewards for everything we do. I would recommend the book to elementary and middle-grade students.

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SPY DOGS AND SCI-FI

Spy Dogs (1): A Suspicious Neighbor

Written by Amma Lee

 

This book is the first in a series of spy dog detective mysteries. Puggy is an adorable pet who is totally devoted to Bill, his human master. When Puggy notices a new neighbor dragging a large black plastic bag into the house next door, he immediately becomes suspicious. Puggy peeks into the neighbor’s window and discovers lots of computers, strange mechanical devices, and caged dogs. Puggy learns that many dogs in the area have recently been kidnapped so he develops a plan to spy on the neighbor and unravel the mystery. Puggy is astonished to learn that this neighbor is actually an alien who has a plan to use the dogs to control humans. The faithful dog must mislead his master and risk his own life in an attempt to unravel the mystery. This book is the first in a series and ends on a cliffhanger.

This series is of interest to mystery and adventure enthusiasts. I believe it will especially appeal to middle-grade audiences.

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SAVE SMART, START YOUNG

A Guide to Investing for Kids: Teaching Them About Money While They Are Young

Written by Stephanie R. Baker

This book is based on the author’s theory that children who learn how to be financially independent and conscious of tracking their own expenses grow up not only to be self-aware but good global citizens. Baker gives reasons for children to learn fiscal responsibility like how to invest and be responsible for handling their own money by choosing their own purchases wisely. They learn financial independence from their parents and awareness of community needs around them. These children acquire goals and dreams of future financial success.

Children may learn how to invest by talking with their parents and picking up knowledge from schools and community programs. There are many different platforms offered for children’s investment, and Baker lists several of them with links to finding them on the internet. Alternatives to stock investment include lotteries and investing in independent funds that parents set up for them. Certainly, if many children would choose investment and financial independence the entire world community would benefit both in the short and long term.

I think this book is a worthwhile investment for parents and grandparents to consider in creating strong, resilient, independent, successful citizens of the future. Recommended for children age eight years and older to read and discuss with parents and teachers.

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HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY – TRANSFORMATIONS

Weeds in Nana’s Garden: A heartfelt story of love that helps explain Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias.

Written and Illustrated by Kathryn Harrison

This well-written book is poignant and beautiful. The author tackles a difficult subject with which many families are forced to face. By using the metaphor of a garden overcome with weeds, the author introduces the subject of Alzheimer’s disease and related forms of dementia.

The protagonist is a young girl who enjoys planting seeds in her Nana’s garden every spring. She laughs and dances as her grandmother explains the fairies are sprinkling their magic dust in the garden. They work the garden as the flowers spring to life. They observe the changes in the garden as the seasons change.

Then one summer, the little girl notices weeds growing in the garden. She inquires of her Nana whether they should pull them out, but her grandmother just nods. Confused, the little girl asks her mother why Nana does not remove the weeds and her mother tenderly explains that Nana’s brain is sick and that like the garden it is becoming tangled and confused. She reminds her daughter that like the flowers growing among the weeds, the Nana they remember is still underneath.

As time goes on, the weeds multiply and Nana’s condition worsens. The little girl has grown and she learns to deal with reality. She sings and dances in the garden once more, now taking over the responsibility for the garden while her grandmother rests sitting underneath a tree.

The author reminds us that our mothers and grandmothers are treasures, but like the cycle of the seasons, they will not be with us forever. There is a wonderful list of questions and answers that can be used to explain dementia to children. Harrison donates 20% of her sales to the Alzheimer Foundation in Canada. Recommended for parents, grandparents, teachers and children ages six and older.

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WALT DISNEY- THE STORY BEHIND THE MAN

Walt Disney- A Kids Book with Fun Facts About the History and Life of Walt Disney

Written by Jacob Smith

 

This is an informative book about the life and history of Walt Disney and his artistic career. It begins with his life as a child on a farm in Kansas and the struggles of Walt’s father, Elias, to provide for the family. At school, Walt tended to daydream and draw pictures. Walt also became enamored of trains, and the nascent motion picture industry. During his high school years in Chicago, Walt began drawing cartoons. After serving in World War II, Walt began his own animation business. Soon he made his way to Hollywood where he invented his Mickey Mouse character, for which he received an Academy Award in 1932. He then moved on to create longer features and new characters including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and The Three Pigs. Walt combined his fascination with trains with the concept of a theme park. Disneyland was born. That led to numerous spin-offs and merchandise. Walt’s legacy continues to evolve with new technological developments in the animation industry.

Smith has created an easy to read biography and history of Walt Disney’s life and career achievements. Pertinent photos are included. Recommended for children ages eight and older. The book is a fascinating read for adults as well.

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