Booktalks are added to my Booktalks Quick and Simple webpage http://www.nancykeane.com once a month. See some of Booktalker's booktalks before they are published on the website. Make comments and give suggestions, too. Listen to Booktalks daily podcast: http://nancykeane.com/rss.html And don't forget to check out my wiki ATN Reading Lists http://atn-reading-lists.wikispaces.com
Lowe, Natasha. THE POWER OF POPPY PENDLE New York : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2012 IL 3-6, RL 5.3 ISBN 144244679X Ten year old Poppy Pendle was born to ordinary parents. The non-magical type that is. Poppy’s passion is baking. She is amazingly good at it, and her talents are well known. However, when it is discovered that Poppy has inherited her Great Aunt Mabel’s magical talent, the family has other ideas. Join Poppy on her adventures as she tries to convince her family her talents really lay with the non- magical baking. (Booktalk by Catherine Ryan, GSF Committee)
Beck, W. H. MALCOLM AT MIDNIGHT New York : Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2012 IL 5-8, RL 3.8 ISBN 0547681003 Imagine being a rat. Not just any rat, but one that became the class pet because the teacher thought the class was getting a mouse! That is how Malcolm came to be the class pet. Under false pretences…. But it wasn’t his fault. When Malcolm discovers the Midnight Academy, a secret society of classroom pets at McKenna School, he also discovers he must keep his identity secret. After all, who trusts a rat? When strange events occur, and the Academy’s leader, the iguana, disappears, Malcolm is determined to prove his innocence and prove even rats can be good guys. Or can they? (Booktalk by Catherine Ryan, GSF Committee )
Clifton, Lutricia. FREAKY FAST FRANKIE JOE New York : Holiday House, 2012 IL 3-6, RL 3.9 ISBN 0823423670 Frankie Joe’s mom was in jail. It really wasn’t her fault…how could she know that the package stashed in her purse contained drugs? She was just trying to help a friend…that’s how she was. Frankie was happy to stay in their trailer by himself, enjoying the company of his elderly neighbors, but soon enough he was found out, and was sent from Laredo, Texas all the way to northern Illinois with a stranger who was actually his father. He was shocked to learn that he had a stepmother and four half brothers awaiting his arrival. The eldest, Matt, was no happier about the arrangement than he was…Frankie had bumped him out of firstborn status in the rigid family pecking order. Only 11 months, Frankie thought…then Mom would be out of jail.But he couldn’t bear it for 11 months, so he hatched a secret plan to earn some money and bike his way back to Texas. In school, he was demoted to fourth grade, since there were so many gaps in his education. Brother Matt quickly labeled him “Freaky Slow Frankie Joe”. But when he showed Matt up in a bike race, he suddenly became “Freaky Fast Frankie Joe.” Frankie started a pizza delivery business to earn money for his trip, so he could leave before winter snows arrived. But an early blizzard foiled his plan. Would Frankie ever make it back to Texas? And what of his Mom…what were her plans? What surprises did life hold in store for Frankie Joe? (Booktalk by Luci Albertson, GSF Committee Bedford Public Library)
Ibbotson, Eva. ONE DOG AND HIS BOY New York : Scholastic press, 2012 IL 3-6. RL 5.4 ISBN 0545351960 Most children would be thrilled with all the expensive toys Hal’s parents lavished on him for his 11th birthday…Hal could see that. But all he had ever wanted, with every fiber of his being, was a dog; his parents were equally adamant that this would not happen. “Too much mess…too much bother,” they declared, and the matter was settled. When Hal’s father saw how terribly dejected his son was, he decided to rent a dog for the weekend (the details were never spelled out to Hal); the boy would tire of the dog quickly, and that would be the end of it.But it was not the end of it…when Hal found out Fleck had been a rental from Easy Pets, and not is own for keeps, he hatched a desperate plan. He would go to the pet shop and snatch Fleck away, and take him on the train to his grandparents’ home on the coast. However, there were some things he hadn’t counted on…like the fact that the girl in charge of pet care at the shop had felt sorry for some of the other dogs in her care, and let them loose, as well. When they all showed up at the train station, expectantly watching him with their trusting eyes, what was he to do? Booktalk by Luci Albertson, GSF Committee Bedford Public Library)
Shank, Marilyn Sue. CHILD OF THE MOUNTAINS New York : Delacorte Press, 2012 IL 3-6, RL 4.7 ISBN 0385740794 “My mama’s in jail. It ain’t right… I got to get her out.” Lydia is a child of the mountains of West Virginia. The year is 1953. Lydia’s cherished little brother BJ was born with cystic fibrosis, and had to be hospitalized in Ohio when his illness flared up. Her daddy had died in a construction accident a few months before, so her sweet mama and her wise old granny were the mainstays in her life. Then Gran passed on, as well. When Lydia persuaded her mama to sneak BJ out of the hospital against regulations, so he could die peacefully at home, that’s when the real trouble began… Her mama was taken off to jail, and Lydia was sent to live at a coal mining camp with her somewhat aloof Uncle William and Aunt Ethel Mae. Poor Lydia was consumed with loneliness and an aching desire to free her mother from jail…but how? And what deep family secret is Uncle William hiding from her? (Booktalk by Luci Albertson, GSF Committee Bedford Public Library)
Korman, Gordon. UNGIFTED New York : Balzer + Bray, 2012 IL 5-8, RL 5.6 ISBN 006174266X Donovan Curtis (IQ 112) is not gifted. Seventh grader Donovan Curtis is impulsive. Act before thinking is his major character trait and that has made him the frequent focus of appointments with the principal and school meetings with his parents. In fact as the novel opens we find him in this same scenario, only this time it is the office of Dr. Schultz, (IQ 127), the Superintendent of the Hardcastle Independent School District, 47 buildings, 30,000 students. Why you may ask? Well it has something to do with a bronze statue of Atlas, no longer holding the weight of the world, that rolled through the double glass doors of the Hardcastle Middle School gym during a major basketball game.How this leads to Donovan being sent to the gifted Academy for Scholastic Distinction (ASD) is a plot very much in the style, and humor of author Gordon Korman.Told in alternating chapters from the viewpoints (and IQs) of the major characters, this realistic fiction novel weaves in robots (you will love Tin Man), a pregnant sister, a somewhat bizarre dog, health education classes and a brother-in-law in Afghanistan.What this novel also weaves in is a look at different perspectives of giftedness and the gifted child and what gifts even the “ungifted” might possess and be needed by the best and the brightest. (Booktalk written by Kathleen Fencil, GSF Committee Bedford Middle School)
Stead, Rebecca. LIAR AND SPY New York : Wendy Lamb Books, 2012 IL 5-8, RL 3.8 ISBN 0385737432 Georges (the s is silent) is a seventh grader who has just moved from a beloved Brooklyn home into an apartment building, because his father has lost his job. His mother is a nurse who often works double shifts in order to support the loss of this income. Although Georges is able to attend his same school, his best friend has joined forces with the group of the class bully, Dallas Llewellyn, who makes Georges’ daily school life miserable in a continually annoying way. E.g. calling him “Gorgeous.” It is helpful to know at this point that Georges is named after Georges Seurat, the pointillism painter who is known for A Sunday on La Grande Jatte, his mother’s favorite painting. From his childhood Georges has often referred to him as “Sir Ott.”Just to add another layer to this complex novel, Georges makes the acquaintance of the children of a bit of an eccentric family, Candy and Safer, who are home schooled. Here is where the spyglass plot comes into play.From Bob English Who Loves To Draw, Candy (who, you guessed it, loves candy), Safer (who is the inside person, in more ways than one, of the spy team), and a mother/son Scrabble™ communication, we are led through the maze of Liar & Spy. The lens of truth of this novel and these characters will not reveal itself until the end. Who is the liar, who is the spy? Read Liar & Spy and puzzle this out for yourself. (Booktalk written by Kathleen Fencil, GSF Committee Bedford Middle School)
Hunt, Lynda Mullaly. ONE FOR THE MURPHYS New York : Nancy Paulsen Books, 2012 IL 5-8, RL 3.5 ISBN 0399256156 Carly Connors is a foster child who has been placed in a family of three boys, one of whom, Daniel, closest in age to her, (12), is resentful of the attention she will take from his mother. The Murphys seem to be one of those “perfect” families. Mrs. Murphy is a very tuned-in mother with boundless love to give. What’s not to like about this placement? Although welcomed by the younger brothers Adam and Michael Eric especially, Carley knows she could never belong in their world. It is too happy family perfect. Having been blindsided by a placement in a foster home, one in CT and not LA where she was used to living. Carly uses her street smart sense and puts up a fortress of protection for her emotional self. “Be Someone’s Hero” is the engraved sign hanging over the bed in her room at the Murphy’s. There are several quiet heroes and even superheroes in this debut novel and the ending will leave the reader twisting in two directions, just like Carley. Don’t miss the significance of the endpapers after you finish this read; I want to go, I want to go, I want to go, I want to go, I want to …. (Booktalk written by Kathleen Fencil, GSF Committee Bedford Middle School)
Bauer, Marion Dane. LITTLE DOG LOST New York : Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2012 IL 3-6, RL 4.4 ISBN 1442434236 "Once there was a small black dog named Buddy. She had brown paws and a brown mask, and a sweet ruffle of brown fur on her bum. She had ears like airplane wings that dropped just at the tips. She also had a boy. At least she had a boy until his family had to move away."This is the story of Buddy, told in immensely appealing free verse. She needs to find a new boy. It's also the story of a boy, Mark, who wants and needs a dog, but his mom doesn't want him to. Buddy takes herself on an adventure to find a new boy and she finds the unexpected. In the course of a crazy summer night, Mark finds an unexpected solution to his problem, too. This is a book that will have you rooting for Buddy and Mark, because there's nothing like the friendship between a boy and his dog! (Booktalk written by Sara Zoe Patterson-GSF Committee/ New Franklin School)
Carter, Scott William. WOODEN BONES New York : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2012 IL 3-6, RL 6.4 ISBN 1442427515 What happens after Pinniochio and Gepetto's Happily Ever After isn't so happy. They try to live a quiet, private life on the edge of town, just a man and his now real living boy. But Pinocchio, called Pino, thinking he is doing something wonderful for Gepetto and himself, creates a life size wooden puppet woman that looks exactly like Gepetto's long dead wife, and brings her to life. She's no replacement, she's a zombie of a person, but the townspeople get wind of it, and insist that if Gepetto gets to have a real boy and a wooden wife, they should get to have loved ones brought back from the dead, too. But the woman isn't really alive, not like Pinocchio, and when Gepetto refuses the townspeople, the townspeople run Gepetto and Pinicchio out of town as a desperate, angry mob, forcing them to flee from fire and wolves. Injured and exhausted, they climb into the trees, where Pinniochio makes a horrible discovery (and brings trees to life to walk them away from the danger). Yes, he can make wooden things come alive, but when he does so, a little bit of him turns back to wood each time. Pino and Gepetto find themselves on the run as the people they meet seek to use and abuse Pinocchio's powers. This book is nice and scary, a dark and creepy nonstop start to finish adventure. (Booktalk written by Sara Zoe Patterson-GSF Committee/ New Franklin School)
Wiley, Melissa. THE PRAIRIE THIEF New York : Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2012 IL 3-6, RL 6.0 ISBN 1442440562 Louisa Brody is beside herself when her Pa is accused of stealing from their neighbors, the Smirches. To make matters worse, she has to stay with them while her father is locked up in jail thirty miles away. Life with the Smirches is awful, but Louisa finds a friend in Jessamine, the Smirches's orphaned niece. Jessamine is lively and full of stories. Jessamine claims to have seen a wee person – a brownie. Louisa doesn't believe her-until she comes face to face with the little man herself. Though he seems cranky he has a good heart. Can this cranky Brownie help solve the mystery of the stolen goods and help free Louisa’s Pa from jail? Read The Prairie Thief and find out. (Booktalk written by Lorreen Keating- GSF Committee/North Hampton Public Library)
Herlong, M H. BUDDY New York : Viking, 2012 IL 5-8, RL 3.9 ISBN 0670014036 My name is Tyrone Elijah Roberts but everybody calls me “Li’l T”. I’m twelve and I live in the Ninth Ward in New Orleans, Louisiana. I’ve wanted a dog since the day I was born. So one spring morning, we are on our way to church when “WHAM” we hit a dog. We take the dog to the vet and his leg is broken so bad that they have to cut it off. So that’s how I got my dog Buddy. My Buddy. Buddy needed a lot of care and encouragement like any dog with only three legs would need, but he turned into one real good dog. I worked hard mowing lawns all summer to help pay for Buddy’s food and care, but then along came Hurricane Katrina. We had to evacuate the city and there was no room in the car for Buddy. I thought we would just be gone a couple days so we left Buddy on the second floor with food and water. Well as you know, Katrina hit the ninth ward in New Orleans real bad. Our house was surrounded by a lake of dark, polluted water. I didn’t get to go back to check our house until weeks later. When my Daddy and I got there, our house had a big black “X” on it which means that is was searched and somebody wrote “one dog” too. Buddy wasn’t there. Well, I sure hope you will read my story to find out all the rest! (Booktalk written by Lorreen Keating- GSF Committee/North Hampton Public Library)
Evans, Lissa. HORTEN’S MIRACULOUS MECHANISMS: MAGIC, MYSTERY, AND A VERY STRANGE ADVENTURE New York : Sterling Children’s Books, 2012 IL 3-6, RL 6.1 ISBN 1402798067 Stuart Horten is NOT looking forward to this summer---his parents have dragged him away from his friends and familiar surroundings to move to this boring old town—just because this is where his father grew up!Exploring the community on his bicycle he discovers a couple of things: #1, he has a great-uncle Tony—an amazing inventor of magical contraptions, who mysteriously disappeared years ago, and#2—he has three incredibly annoying girls living next door---they’re triplets that are nearly impossible to tell apart, and they will not leave him alone.When Stuart discovers a handful of old coins that seem to be clues to the location of Tony’s hidden workshop, his summer takes an exciting turn---someone else wants those coins, and it seems they’ll stop at nothing to discover the workshop first! Can Stuart solve the mystery of his great-uncle’s past on his own, or will he have to enlist the help of the terrible triplets?It’s a summer full of hidden things---workshops, contraptions, sneaky opponents, and just maybe—friendship. (Booktalk written by Sarah Hydorn GSF Committee Amherst Town Library)
Simmons, Jane. SHIP’S CAT DORIS New York : Orchard Books, 2010 IL K-3, RL 3.7 ISBN 1408308967 Poor Doris!When his new owners adopted him as a kitten, he was named Doris, because they thought he was a girl-kitten! He’s not! Doris is a big, strong, black-and-white kitten who loves his new owners, and feels ready to take his place on their boat (the “Prosperity”) as official Ship’s Cat. However, the “Prosperity” already has several occupants, and they aren’t very welcoming. Will Doris ever be accepted by mean Madge the dog and frightening Frida the hen? And what will he do when faced with Jasper, the bully cat of the shipyard?Join Doris as he learns about making friends, standing up for himself, and dealing with the changes that life can bring. (Booktalk written by Sarah Hydorn GSF Committee Amherst Town Library)
Kelly, Lynne. CHAINED New York : Farrar Straus Giroux, 2012 IL 5-8, RL 5.2 ISBN 0374312370 Deep in the jungle of modern-day India, a boy is struggling to survive. 10-yr-old Hastin has taken a job with a rural circus-trainer in order to earn money to pay for his little sister’s medical care. Little did he know, when he took the job, that his employment would turn out to be more like slavery---given barely enough food to eat, excuses instead of pay, and kept locked in with the elephants at night, Hastin begins to despair. The only thing that makes life bearable is his developing friendship with the kindly old cook, Ne Min, and with the young elephant, Nandita, who he is helping to train. However, the training methods at the circus are terribly cruel, and soon Hastin becomes convinced that neither he nor Nandita will survive if he can’t find a way for them to escape.Will Hastin come up with a plan in time to save them both?Read Chained to find out! (Booktalk written by Sarah Hydorn GSF Committee Amherst Town Library)
Timberlake, Amy. ONE CAME HOME New York : Knopf, 2013 IL 5-8, RL 4.9 ISBN 037596925X Georgie Burkhardt is known for two things: her uncanny aim with a rifle and her habit of speaking her mind plainly. When she sees her sister kissing an old boyfriend, she feels she must tell her current beau. In 1871, a kiss is not a small thing. And Mr. Olmstead promptly breaks off his relationship with Agatha. In turn, Agatha runs away. Georgie is very upset but things get worse when the Sheriff returns with a body that he says is Agatha. Georgie won't believe that and sets off in search of her sister. Along the way, she encounters wild animals, counterfeiters and even a marriage proposal. But can she find Agatha? Or is she really gone?
Staake, Bob. BLUEBIRD New York : Schwartz & Wade Books, 2013 IL K-3 ISBN 0375870377 In this wordless picture book, we see the bird before the boy does. But the two become friends. We share their joy as they travel through the city after a rough day at school. They play hide and seek, share a cookie, and become friends. But as the day ends, they are confronted by bullies who want to steal the boat the boy is playing with.
Smith, Cynthia Leitich. FERAL NIGHTS Somerville, MA : Candlewick Press, 2013 IL YA ISBN 0763659096 In the first of a new series, we find ourselves once again in the universe of the Tantalize series. This companion series begins with wereopossum Clydye and human Aimee investigating the murder of werearmadillo Travis. They are joined by Werecat Yoshi as the head off to Austin Texas in search of Ruby who has been missing since this whole trouble began. Along the way, they are kidnapped and find themselves on an island where they are being hunted for sport by wealthy vampires. How will these friends get out of this one?
Salisbury, Graham. CALVIN COCONUT : EXTRA FAMOUS New York : Wendy Lamb Books, 2013 IL 3-6, RL 3.3 ISBN 037599047X Calvin Coconut -- zombie. I mean it. He's a zombie. Well at least he is hoping to be. Calvin and his friends have been recruited by Benny Obi to be extras in his uncle's new movie. How c
Ribar, Lindsay. THE ART OF WISHING New York : Dial, 2013 IL YA ISBN 0803738277 Have you ever dreamed of having a genie grant you three wishes? Do you know what those wishes might be? When Margo McKenna does not get the lead in the school play, she can’t believe it. The lead went to Vicky! A talentless sophomore! Margo is given a small part and is not happy. When she finds a ring in the girls bathroom, things begin to change. When she picks up the ring, a genie appears. Oliver looks nothing like the genies we may imagine. He looks like a regular kid. But he tells her that Vicky used to be his master. That makes sense. There is no way she would have gotten the lead in the play on her own. And now Margo has a chance to make her three wishes. She takes it slowly trying to be smart about what she wants. But Oliver is in a hurry. Another genie is out to kill him and he must keep moving. Can Margo find a way to help Oliver?
Reed, Amy Lynn. CRAZY New York : Simon Pulse, 2012 IL YA ISBN 1442413476 Connor and Isabel met last summer when they were both counselors at a sleep away camp. There was an instant attraction between the two and now they are keeping up their friendship via emails. It is clear through the emails that Connor has feelings for Isabel, and that she may not feel the same about him but treasures her friendship. We see that Isabel has intense highs and lows and is becoming increasingly more self-destructive. Can Connor’s friendship help her? Should he?
Olshan, Matthew. THE MIGHTY LALOUCHE New York : Schwartz & Wade, 2013 IL K-3 ISBN 0375962255 One hundred and a few odd years ago, a mild mannered postman lived in Paris with his pet bird. He was a humble man who didn't complain about his life. He lived in a tiny apartment with no windows. Everyday he would deliver the mail and then go home to his tiny home. When his boss showed him a new contraption called an electric autocar that would deliver the mail much faster. Now Lalouche was out of a job and in fear of losing his tiny apartment. When he saw a poster recruiting boxers, he decided to give it a try. But could this tiny little man hold his own in a boxing ring with The Piston, The Anaconda and other famous boxers?
Oliver, Lauren. THE SPINDLERS New York : Harper, 2012 IL 3-6, RL 5.8 ISBN 0061978086 When Liza’s brother comes down to breakfast, she just knows there is something wrong. No one else can see it but Liza knows what happened. The Spindlers have gotten her brother. They have snuck in during the night and stolen his soul. Soon the fake Patrick will turn to dust and thousands of Spindlers will be born. Of course, no one believes her. So it is up to her to save her brother’s soul. She must venture Below to find her brother. Along the way she meets many of the scary characters she heard about in her babysitter’s stories but she has to overcome her fear to save Patrick. Can she do it?
Moriarty, Jaclyn. A CORNER OF WHITE New York : Arthur A. Levine Books, 2013 IL YA ISBN 0545397367 Fourteen year old Madeleine and her mother are now living in a small flat in Cambridge, England after leaving their old life behind. They are now living in poverty and having to adjust to a brand new lifestyle rather than the life of luxury they are used to. Madeleine meets Elliot when she sees him put a letter into a crack in a sculpture. Elliot sort of lives in the same place. Well, he actually lives in the Kingdom of Cello which is an alternate place. People have stopped traveling between Cambridge and Cello a very long time ago but Elliot has discovered a small crack between the two worlds that allows him to correspond with Madeleine. The two strike up a friendship but Madeleine thinks all the talk about Cello is some wonderful imaginary fairy tale that Elliot has made up. But through the letters, the two begin to understand that by helping each other, their own worlds make more sense.
Magnin, Joyce. CAKE New York : Zonderkidz, 2012 IL 3-6, RL 4.0 ISBN 0310733332 Willa Sue is going to her third foster home and she doesn't hold out much hope that this will be any better than the others. She just doesn't want to end up back in the Daylily Home for Children. She is placed with sisters Ruth and Naomi. They are former African missionaries who are a bit eccentric. They raise chickens and bake cakes. In spite of her doubts, Willa Sue settles in and is soon part of the routine. But try as she might, she just can't discover the magic ingredient that makes all the cakes just right for the person they are baked for.
Luedeke, Lisa. SMASHED New York : Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2012 IL YA ISBN 1442427795 "If you drink some wine and there's no one around to see it, does it still count against you?" Katie is hoping it doesn't count. She is a high school senior with a scholarship to college. Away from this tiny town. Away from her dysfunctional family. Away from her problems. But the drinking is causing more problems. She meets Alec. He is the sweetest guy you would ever want to meet. Until he gets drunk. When he gets drunk at a party and pursues Katie, she just wants to get away from him. That's the only reason she would get behind the wheel of a car when she had been drinking. But this is a night that will change things for both teens.
Look, Lenore. ALVIN HO : ALLERGIC TO BABIES, BURGLARS, AND OTHER BUMPS IN THE NIGHT New York : Swartz & Wade Books, 2013 IL 3-6, RL 4.1 ISBN 0375970339 Alvin Ho is back and is as quirky as ever. He thinks his mother is just putting on weight from eating too much. But it turns out that she is having a baby. Alvie is not too sure this is a good thing. With babies come so much responsibility. And what if the baby is a girl?? Now Alvin is really worried. In fact, Alvin starts imagining he is having the baby and starts to have all sorts of feelings. Adding to his worries is the news that a burglar has been spotted in the neighborhood. But Alvin has come fact to face with many scary things in the past like school, camping, birthday parties and even dead bodies. Can Alvin overcome his fears this time?