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
Polak, Monique. FINDING ELMO
Custer, WA : Orca Book, 2007
IL 5-8, RL 3.8
Tim really enjoys working at his father’s pet store. They have only been at this location for a few months and sales are not going well. Every morning, Tim does the rounds of feeding the animals and spending time with them. His father has told him over and over again not to get attached to the animals because they are here to be sold. Tim can’t help getting attached to a cockatoo by the name of Elmo. Elmo was given to the store by an owner who could no longer keep him. He has been with them for a long time. No one seems to want to pay the $2,000 price tag. The store is in financial trouble and Tim’s dad has to find creative ways to pay the rent to Mr. Morgan. When Mr. Morgan says he will reduce the rent for the month if he can rent out the store for a party, it seems like a way to get them through the month. But will things go as planned?
Paterson, Katherine. THE SIGN OF THE CHRYSANTHEMUM
New York : Harper, 1988
IL 5-8, RL 5.6
Set in 12th century Japan, the story centers on 14 year old Muna. Living in a small village, Muna longs to find the father he has never known. His mother has told him tales of a great warrior who came to the village years ago. He was a fierce samurai with a tattoo of a chrysanthemum on his shoulder. When she passes away, Muna stows away on a ship bound for the city in search of his father. He is discovered and a likable ronin named Takanobu takes him under his wing. Muna soon realizes that Takanobu is a bit of a scoundrel, but he has been kind to Muna and deserves loyalty. One night, a fire breaks out in a bar where Takanobu has been drinking. Muna tries to save him, but suffers smoke inhalation and is not successful. Fukuji, a master swordsmith, takes Muna in and helps him heal. After, Muna stays with Fukuji doing chores around the house to earn his keep. Muna is happy with his life and hopes that one day Fukuji will take him on as an apprentice. But fate has other plans for Muna.
Offill, Jenny. WHILE YOU WERE NAPPING
New York : Schwartz and Wade, 2014
IL K-3, RL 2.5
Have you ever fought taking a nap because you thought you might miss something? The little boy in this story sure does. But his sister tells him she will let him know if anything good happens. And what a story she tells when he wakes up. It is all about pirates and fireworks and trips to outer space. She really makes her brother regret falling asleep.
Georgina has not always lived this way. She used to have both a mother and father and they lived in an apartment. Until her father walked out and left them with very little money. Now, Georgina, her brother and her mother are homeless and living in their car. It is very hard at school as the other kids are starting to make comments about her wrinkled clothes and dirty hair. She isn’t doing her homework so her grades are falling. Everything is going wrong. But when she sees a poster about a lost dog, Georgina comes up with a plan – steal a dog and collect the reward. Then they will have enough money to move into a real place and not have to live like this. Georgina and her brother scout out different areas looking for the right dog. It has to be a friendly dog owned by a rich person who can pay the reward. When they find the right dog, they put their plan into action. What they don’t count on is that the owner doesn’t have any money for a reward. Georgina and her brother stash the dog at an empty house in the woods. Is this really going to work? Will they be able to pull this off?
Naidoo, Beverly. JOURNEY TO JO'BURG
New York : Harper, 1988
IL 3-6, RL 5.1
The book takes place in South Africa during the time of Apartheid. Naledi is afraid when her young sister becomes very ill. Although her grandmother is doing her best, Dineo needs medical help. There is no money for doctors or hospitals. Naledi’s mother works in Johannesburg, 300 kilometers away. There is no way to get word to her about Dineo. Naledi and her younger brother,Tiro, decide to walk to Jo’burg to get their mother. They really have no idea how far it is. As the two journey, they learn about the harshness of apartheid and the kindness of strangers who help them on their journey. They also learn about the people who have risked everything to fight for the rights of blacks in South Africa.
Miller, Pat Zietlow. SOPHIE'S SQUASH
New York : Schwartz & Wade Books, 2013
IL K-3, RL 2,7
Sophie picked out a squash at the farmer's market. Mother thought it would be nice to have for supper. But Sophie drew a face on the squash and named it Bernice. She took it everywhere. No one could convince her that it was getting a bit squishy and should be eaten before it rotted. When Sophie asked the man at the farmer's market how to make Bernice better, will she take his advice?
MacLachlan, Patricia. SKYLARK
New York : HarperCollins, 1994
IL 3-6, RL 3.3
In this sequel to Sarah, Plain and Tall, we pick up the story after the marriage of Sarah and Jacob. The family is doing well and are happy living on the prairie. Things are about to change, though. There has been very little rain. The crops are drying up and some families are leaving. Papa refuses to even think about that possibility. He says that they were born there and that their names are written in the land. But the drought is getting worse every day. When they lose the barn to a fire, Papa knows that he needs to make a drastic decision.
Lobel, Anita. LENA'S SLEEP SHEEP
New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2013
IL K-3, RL 1.9
Lena is all tucked into bed and ready to start counting her sheep. There's a full moon out and Lena asks her parents to keep the curtains open so she can look at the beautiful moon. Little does she know that her sheep are really scared of the moon. They think it is a horrible beast. How can Lena convince the sheep that the moon is friendly and that it is ok to come out?
Lawson, Robert. THE GREAT WHEEL
New York : Walker, 2004
IL 5-8, RL 6.5
Cornelius Terence Kilroy, better known as Conn, is a young boy growing up in Ireland in the late 1800s. His family is poor and there is not much hope that Conn will have a better life. When the letter arrives from America, this all changes. Uncle Michael is living in New York and has a prospering construction business. But he has all daughters and hoped his brother would become his partner. But Uncle Patrick has other ideas and no liking for the city life. So Conn is his next hope. He is sending money for Conn to come to America and work in the family business. Conn is both excited and scared. On the ship to America, Conn meets a young girl from Germany. Trudy is going to live with her Uncle Otto in Wisconsin. Conn tells her of his aunt’s prophecy years ago that said Conn would follow the sun to the west and ride a huge wheel. Trudy says she hopes he will find his way to Wisconsin. In New York, Conn learns his uncle’s business quickly and becomes accustomed to the city life. When Uncle Patrick comes to visit, Conn is given a chance for another adventure. Will he leave to start again? And will his aunt's prophecy come true?
Klise, Kate. LETTERS FROM CAMP
New York : Harper, 2000
IL 5-8, RL 6.4
Told in a series of letters, memos, receipts, and ledger pages. Three sets of siblings are off to Camp Happy Harmony. Brisket Roast whose father says is as lazy as a slug and his sister, Barbie Q. who is as spirited as a mustang. Charlie and Charlotte Lee who are described as wonderful kids who are liked by everyone except each other. Ivan and Mimi Gems who have no social skills and won’t go to bed but stay in their rooms for hours. The counselors are also siblings and used to appear in the singing group The Harmonys. They have advertised their camp as specializing in sibling relationships. For the next four weeks, the children will learn to get along. Sounds perfect. Things are not what they seem.
Kehret, Peg. TERROR AT THE ZOONew York : Puffin, 2001IL 5-8, RL 4.6ISBN 0142300284Ellen was
just given the best birthday present ever. Well, she has
to share it with her little brother but that is fine.
Together with their grandparents, they are going to camp out at
the zoo for the night! They both love the zoo and have
spent lots of time there. But never at night. They
will be staying with their grandparents anyway since their
parents will be away. This is going to be just about
perfect. But then there is a change of plans.
Grandmother has broken her leg and can’t go camping. But
it will fine since their parents have changed their plans and
now will be home to share the camping trip. When the time
arrives, their parents aren’t home. The plane has been
delayed. The grandparents have gone to the hospital to
have grandma’s leg reset. Fearing they will have to miss
the camping trip, Ellen and Corey decide to take a taxi to the
zoo and wait for their parents there. They leave a note so
their parents will know to meet them at the zoo. When they
get to the zoo, their parents aren’t there and the coordinator
is anxious to leave since her daughter is having a baby.
Corey lies and says his parents have just pulled up. Now
everyone is gone and Ellen and Corey are alone in the zoo.
Hunter, Erin. A HIDDEN ENEMY
New York : Harper, 2013
IL 5-8, RL 5.5
Lucky has rejoined the pack of Leashed Dogs in the start of the second book of the Survivors series. Lucky still wants to be a Lone Dog but he knows that the Leashed Dogs need him and they may not survive without his help. His litter mate Bella is doing her best to lead the dogs but there are dangers out there that she has never encountered. She is a smart dog and has a plan that involves Lucky. She wants him to join the Wild Pack and find out what they are up to. If they are willing to share the water and the hunting, there is plenty for both groups to live in the valley. What Lucky finds is a brutal pack system. The Alpha dog is actually part wolf and he rules with an iron paw. His partner is Beta who is actually Sweet who Lucky knew in the city. Lucky is able to join the pack and finds out what time they are at the water and when they hunt. He returns to his Leashed Pack and tells Bella what he has learned. She is happy with the news but tells Lucky to remain with the Wild Pack. Lucky is reluctant but does what Bella asks. Just what is going on here?
Hunter, Erin. THE EMPTY CITY
New York : Harper, 2012
IL 5-8, RL 5.2
Book 1 in the Survivors series introduces us to Lucky. Lucky is a Lone Dog. He has been caught and is in a kennel when a major earthquake hits. The story is told from Lucky’s point of view and he uses his words to describe his environment. Humans are longpaws and the earthquake is the Big Growl. Only one other dog survived in the kennel. Lucky is a Lone Dog but he takes Sweet into the city in search of food. What they find is total destruction. The buildings have collapsed and the longpaws have run away. Sweet decides she needs to find other dogs but Lucky wants to go it alone. When he is attacked by a group of foxes in a mall, a small group of dogs comes to his rescue. What will Lucky do now?
Holing, Dwight. THE SECRETS OF CORAL REEFS
New York : London Town Press, 2005
IL 3-6, RL 7.3
Coral reefs are found in many different oceans. They are known for their beauty and diversity of inhabitants. This expository text explains how the reefs are created and introduces the reader to some of the inhabitants. Many creatures call the coral reefs home. This book is filled with facts and photographs of the coral reefs and the animals who live there. There is information about how to save this ecosystem included.
Grey, Mini. HERMELIN THE DETECTIVE MOUSE New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2013 IL K-3, RL 3.6 ISBN 0385754337 Hermelin is a little mouse living in the attic at 33 Offley Street. He was walking down the street one day and saw a message board filled with notices for lost items. He realized that he could find these items easily. Using his handy typewriter, he sent notes to the victims explaining where to find their lost items. Everyone was so delighted and curious about just who Hermelin really is. What will they do when they find out he is a mouse?
Fleischman, Sid. THE MIDNIGHT HORSE New York : Harper, 2004 IL 3-6, RL 4.4 ISBN 0060722169 Touch is a young boy who is riding in a coach on his way to Cricklewood, New Hampshire. There are three passengers on the coach - Touch, Mr. Hobbs, the blacksmith, and the mysterious Otis Cratt. Touch is an orphan and is off to meet his uncle. On the way, Touch hears the tale of The Great Chaffalo who was a great magician who could turn straw into a horse. But Chaffalo passed away long ago and is now a ghost that some have seen. When the coach arrives in Cricklewood, Mr. Hobbs invites Touch to join him for breakfast at the inn. There he meets the innkeeper, Sally. There are no guests at the inn. It is said to be haunted by the ghost of a guest who checked in but disappeared. When Touch meets his uncle, he is not impressed. The judge tries to cheat Touch out of his inheritance, but Touch runs away. And he sees Otis Cratt leaving the judge's house. Touch must keep hidden as his uncle has threatened to send him to the orphan's home. When Touch asks Sally if he can hide at the inn, Sally tells him that the judge is also pressuring Sally to sell him the inn. Sally feels she has no choice since there are no guests and the bills need to be paid. Can Touch find a way to help them both?
Bossley, Michele Martin. KICKER Custer, WA : Orca Book Publishers, 2007 IL 5-8, RL 3.9 ISBN 1551437066 Best friends Izzy and Julia are on the same soccer team. Julia is really the star and sometimes Izzy gets a bit jealous, but they have been best friends forever. When a man in a suit and clipboard shows up during a game, Izzy speculates that it is a scout for a national team. When teammate Nicola overhears this, she begins to send Julia anonymous nasty text messages in an attempt to make Julia mess up on the field. At the same time, bad things are happening to their soccer field. First the nets are cut and the police won't let the team use the field, since there could be other vandalism done. Then the city gets a call that the field might be contaminated with chemicals. Finally, the city finds areas of lead contamination that makes the field unusable. Just what is going on here?
Staake, Bob. MY PET BOOK
New York : Random House, 2014
IL K-3, RL 1.8
Do you have a pet? Some people like cats and dogs for pets. Some like something more exotic. But the boy in this book wanted a pet that was truly unique. He wanted a book. Books don't need to be fed, they don't drink from the toilet, they don't have fleas, and they don't run away. They are the perfect pet. So the family went to the local book store and found the perfect book. The boy loved his pet book and wheras very careful with it. When he got home from school one day, the book was gone!! Where could it have gone with no feet?
Shepherd, Jessica. GRANDMA
New York : Child's Play, 2014
Oscar loves his grandmother and they have of fun together. But something is changing. She is acting funny. She doesn't seem to remember things like before. His parents tell him that Grandma can't take care of herself anymore and that she is going to live in a place where people can take care of her. Oscar doesn't understand what is happening to his beloved Grandma and it scares him.
Sheehan, Monica. LOVE IS YOU AND ME
New York : Little Simon, 2013
IL K-3, RL 1.5
What do you think when you hear the word love? A hug? A day at the beach? Spending time with someone you love? In this book, a dog and his mouse friend let us know what they think of when the hear the word love.
Shaw, Susan. TUNNEL VISION
New York : Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2011
Just an ordinary day. Liza is on her way home. When she gets to the tunnel, there are a few men standing in there. She has to force her way through them but doesn't think much about it. On the other side of the tunnel, Liza sees her mother in the yard and she is coming towards her. What is going on? Her mother shouts something and tackles Liza. What the heck? Why is mom acting so strange? What was she yelling about? And why isn't she getting up? When Liza finally looks at her mother, she realizes that she has been shot. Only hours after her death, another attempt is made on Liza's life. Who could want her dead? She's nobody. But now she and her father are put into witness protection and made to leave immediately. They have new names and new lives. But that doesn't mean Liza is safe.
Sedgwick, Marcus. SHE IS NOT INVISIBLE
New York : Roaring Brook Press, 2014
This may just be one of the stupidest things she has ever done. And she is dragging her little brother into it as well. But she can't go without him. She needs him. And she is convinced that this is the only way she can find her father. She has gotten an email from someone in New York saying he found her father's notebook. What is her father doing in New York? He said he was going to Austria. Her mother is not concerned but Laureth just knows something is wrong and she is determined to find out what. So after her mother leaves for a weekend away, Laureth packs up some clothes, grabs her 7-year-old brother, takes out some money from her mother's ATM and heads off to Heathrow Airport to go to America. It would be hard enough for any 16-year-old to pull this off. But Laureth is blind and relies on her brother to get her around. Can they pull this off? What will they find if they do? Can it all be a huge coincidence?
Roth, Veronica. ALLEGIANT
New York : Katherine Tegen Books, 2013
In the final book of the Divergent trilogy, we find Tris and Tobias on trial as traitors. They are able to escape the city and join a group in the outskirts of Chicago. Here they learn about how the factions came to be and why this experiment went so wrong. Finding out about genetically altered people and how they fit into the equation is very upsetting to both Tris and Tobias. While Tris is determined to try to make things right, Tobias is devastated by learning his genetic makeup.
MacHale, D. J. STRIKE
New York : Razorbill, 2014
Tucker Pierce and his friends are still fighting against the enemy. Now they find themselves behind enemy lines and being used as slave labor to build barracks for more workers. The prisoners are being conditioned to take commands without question. When the based is attacked, Tucker, Tori and Kent have a chance to escape. Instead, the investigate the huge dome that is being guarded. What they find is unthinkable. The final book in the SYLO trilogy will answers the questions that have been asked all along. What the kids find inside the dome will change everything -- including the kids themselves.
Rosoff, Meg. PICTURE ME GONE
New York : G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2013
Mila has a unique ability to read people. She can sense emotions and can tell what is going on in a room. Her father is pretty clueless when it comes to reading people. The two set off for America to visit his father's best friend Matthew. But Matthew isn't there. He has left his home, his wife and his infant son and has vanished. Mila and her father set off on a quest to find Matthew and bring him home. Will Mila be able to help Matthew find his way back?
Rosenthal, Amy Krouse. UNI THE UNICORN
New York : Random House, 2014
IL K-3, RL 3.6
Uni is a regular unicorn but a bit more special. Everything about her is just a bit better than the other unicorns. Even her imagination. The other unicorns make fun of her for that. You see, Uni believes in little girls. Everyone knows there is no such thing as little girls. Or is there?
Rodkey, Geoff. DEADWEATHER AND SUNRISE
New York : Putnam's Sons, 2012
IL 5-8, RL 5.5
Thirteen year old Egbert has one of the worst families you can imagine. He is constantly abused by his brothers and his father usually takes their side. They live on an island and work farming ugly fruit. Egbert knows little about the outside world except what he reads in books. He lives a life of hard work and pirates. When his father suddenly announces the family is going to the island of Sunrise, Egbert is thrilled. He will get to see a life beyond his drab existence. When they get to Sunrise, they are taken in by a rich businessman and Egbert does get to see another way of living. One of nice clothes, enough food to eat and people who are nice to him. But things may not be all they appear to be. Join Egbert on an adventure with pirates, hidden treasures and swashbuckling fun.
Rosenstock, Barb. THE NOISY PAINT BOX : THE COLORS AND SOUNDS OF KANDINSKY'S ABSTRACT ART
New York : Knopf, 2014
IL K-3, RL 3.6
When Vasily Kandinsky was given his first paint box, he had an experience that most of us cannot understand. The colors swirled together in his mind and he could hear music playing. He tried to understand the world as others saw it but he just couldn't. He suffered from a condition that made him hear colors and see sounds. Try as he might to learn to paint the way others did, he couldn't. And he became one of the first abstract painters of his time.
Robbins, Trina. HEDY LAMARR AND A SECRET COMMUNICATION SYSTEM
New York : Capstone, 2007
IL 5-8, RL 4.0
Have you ever heard of Hedy Lamarr? Maybe not. She was a famous actress back in the 1940s. She was originally from Austria but escaped to the United States and began starring in movies in glamorous roles. Because she was so beautiful, no one thought that she was more than a pretty face and good actress. Little did people know that she was also very bright. During World War II, Hedy was concerned that the Germans had developed a way to block radio signals from American torpedoes. These signals guided the missiles. Hedy came up with an idea to fix that. Although her idea was not used during the war, her spread spectrum communications is used in cell phones, wireless Internet, mobile health systems, bar code scanning and even satellite guided missiles. Learn about this remarkable woman.
Reed, Aimee. MAMA'S DAY WITH LITTLE GRAY
New York : Random House, 2014
IL K-3, RL 1.8
Little Gray wondered when he grows up, will Mama grow down? Mama assures him that she may look smaller to him but she will always be his mother. Then Little Gray thinks about lots of things he and his mother can do together when he is grown. What do you think he wants to do?