Friday, January 28, 2011

On the Clip Board

There are many familiar faces on the list this week.  Word of mouth and peer recommendations go far in our school, and these are some of our students' favs!

The Name of This Book is Secret, by Psuedonymous Bosch

The Falcon's Malteser, by Anthony Horowitz

Stanford Wong Flunks Big Time, by Lisa Yee

Peter and the Shadow Thieves, by Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson

TMBS and the Prisoner's Dilemma, by Trenton Lee Stewart

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Diary of a Wimpy Kid - The Ugly Truth

So, what was the release date of this book? November 9th or something?  Well, it left our shelf on that day and didn't come back until Friday.  I snagged it and used a couple of commutes to get it read so that I can put it on the shelf to disappear for the next 3 months!

Greg and Rowley are on the outs.  Greg is considering his options for new friends, but he has to face the fact that they are few and far between.  Christopher Brownfield is more of a summer friend (he's really great for keeping mosquitos away!) and Tyson Sanders has a bathroom habit that's hard overlook.

More is changing in Greg's life than just his body (a fact that he can't avoid thanks to  his teacher insisting showers happen after PE and his mother giving him an embarrassing puberty book).  His mother has decided to go back to school.  Since she is not around so much, Greg, his brothers and father are left to fend for themselves for dinner, cleaning and getting ready for school often to disasterous results, as you can imagine.

One of the best segments in the book happens when the school has a lock-in sleep over.  After all of the games and cellphones are confiscated, the fun begins with ice-breaker games, too many chaperones and an incident involving body parts and polaroid cameras! 

There were fewer laugh-out-loud moments in this installment, and Greg isn't really growing too much as a character, however, tweens are still eating up the series.  The vignette style means that readers generally will recognize their lives in the book somewhere, whether it's having to take care of an egg for health class, being locked in at school for a sleepover, or having a parent who goes back to work.  The stories are solidly in tween territory now with issues of friendship, puberty, family and the search for self swirling through the pages.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

On the Clip Board

Here are some titles our tweens checked out this week!

Crash, by Spinelli

Liberty Porter First Daughter, by DeVillers

Shug, by Han 

The Remarkable and Very True Story of Lucy and Snowcap, by Bouwman

The Green Lantern Chronicles, by Broome

What are your tweens reading?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

ALA Midwinter

I am back from sunny San Diego and the ALA Mid Winter meeting.  This is a time of committee meeting on top of committee meeting, and the drama of the announcements of the Youth Media Awards.

Highlights of this trip for me, were catching up with old friends, meeting new friends, passing Neil Gaiman on the street, awarding a grant to a very deserving program, and dipping my toes in Newbery work.

As I've stated before, this year the blog will feature older titles, what the kids are reading, and some author highlights.  I am thinking of profiling some tween readers as well. 

I look forward to reading all of your blogs to see what is catching your eyes and hearts this year!

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Violet in Bloom: A Flower Power Book

The girls are back ready to start really using their website and to get past the FIST incident (Fake Incident of the Stolen Turtle) that ended up bringing them all together in the first place.  After Katie-Rose posts a meet up on, Yassaman wants to get the girls to start to honor their second promise after being FFFs, which is to use their flower power for good.  She has an idea that she wants to share with the girls, but Katie-Rose's strong personality is making it hard to do.  Yassaman takes to their website to tell the girls.

Yassaman wants to launch a snack attack!  She has been doing some research and has discovered that the Cheezy Nips that their teachers hand out at snack are really bad for you and filled with the kind of ingredients that lead to being overweight and having heart problems.  She just needs to girls to help her come up with some ideas as to how to make their school a Cheezy Nip free zone.

Each girl is looking at the problem from her own angle, but each girl has something else going on in her life as well!  For Milla it's her crush on Max.  She's even willing to overcome her fear of his hamster to spend some quality time with him.  After all, he's smart and cool and nice...Milla figures that is worth holding Stewy (the hamster).  She even starts to like Stewy, and everything is going great until he gogo boot and Stewy get a little too close for comfort.  Now she's mortified, still crushing and she can't look Max in the eye.  The snack attack seems like a good distraction from her worries, so Milla digs into some research and finds out some stuff about the company that makes Cheezy Nips that really makes the girls want to get them out of their school.

For Violet, it's her mom.  Her mom is still in the hospital dealing with her issues, and Violet hasn't even been to see her, even though her dad has asked her to go.  Violet's just not ready.  But when she gets called down to the office one day for a phone call, and her mother's on the other end begging her to come visit, what can she do?  To make matters worse, Cyril was resting on a mat in the office and he heard the whole thing.  Sure Cyril doesn't talk much, but he is always writing in that notebook, and while Violet was on the phone he was scribbling away.  Just how much did he hear?  And what if he tells?

Katie-Rose is stressing because Natalia keeps shoving herself into the flower friends.  She has jumped on Yassaman's snack attack idea with vigor, even making cute buttons for kids to wear.  Katie-Rose does not like how Natalia is always with Yassaman and seems to be trying to push her out of the way.  Katie-Rose decides that she will be the one to make the snack attack idea work, no matter how over-the-top her methods may be.

Can these four friends put their own issues aside and get the job done?

Once more Lauren Myracle has written a friendship story that rings true.  There is so much going on in the middle school years, and 6th grade is definitely a time of transition.  The girls are passionate, but still trying to find their voices and their way.  It's easy to be mean without meaning to, especially with friends, and Myracle gets it just right.  The worrying, the loving and the anger.  I really like how each girl brings something to the story, and I really like how they genuinely care about one another.

If you have any doubts as to whether food ingredients or maltreatment of animals are issues that are on 6th graders' minds, let me tell you that they are.  The school where I work had significant cafeteria changes after a group of middle schoolers looked into the treatment of animals by a certain company.  The school no longer orders from that company...and it was all thanks to the students!

Fans of the first book will eat this one up, and new readers will not have a problem getting into this episode of the story.  The cover appeal alone will take this off the shelves, but readers will hand it from tween to tween and it may not come back to the shelf for a while!