MSBA Book Buzz

A place for you to buzz about the books you are reading!

2013-2014 MSBA List August 3, 2010

Note: Unless otherwise indicated, all summaries are taken from Goodreads.
 
Giants Beware!
Jorge Aguirre  (illus. Rafael Rosado)
Recommended grades:  4-6

Claudette’s fondest wish is to slay a giant. But her village is so safe and quiet! What’s a future giant slayer to do? With her best friend Marie (an aspiring princess), and her brother Gaston (a pastry-chef-to-be), Claudette embarks on a super-secret quest to find a giant—without parental permission. Can they find and defeat the giant before their parents find them and drag them back home?

Prairie Evers
Ellen Airgood
Recommended grades: 4-6

Prairie Evers is finding that socialization isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. She’s been homeschooled by her granny and has learned the most from traipsing through nature. But now she has to attend public school, and feels just like her chickens–cooped up and subject to the pecking order. School is a jolt for Prairie until she meets Ivy, her first true friend. But while raising chickens and the great outdoors have given Prairie wisdom and perspective, nothing has prepared her for the give and take of friendship. When Prairie finds out that Ivy’s home may not be the best place for Ivy, Prairie must corral all her optimism and determination to hatch a plan to help.

The One and Only Ivan
Katherine Applegate
Recommended Grades:  4-6
 

Ivan is an easygoing gorilla. Living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, he has grown accustomed to humans watching him through the glass walls of his domain. He rarely misses his life in the jungle. In fact, he hardly ever thinks about it at all. Instead, Ivan thinks about TV shows he’s seen and about his friends Stella, an elderly elephant, and Bob, a stray dog. But mostly Ivan thinks about art and how to capture the taste of a mango or the sound of leaves with color and a well-placed line. Then he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family, and she makes Ivan see their home—and his own art—through new eyes. When Ruby arrives, change comes with her, and it’s up to Ivan to make it a change for the better.

 
Little Dog, Lost
Marion Bauer Dane
Recommended Grades: 4-6
 

Buddy is a dog who needs a boy. Buddy has an owner already, but not one who understands the kind of love and care—the “something more”—a dog needs.  Mr. LaRue is a neighbor who needs a community. He’s alone all the time in his huge old house—and everyone needs more than that.  Over the course of a summer thunderstorm and one chaotic town council meeting, these three characters cross paths and come together in a timeless tale ripe with emotions and told in verse that resolves with love, understanding, and a sense of belonging—plus a place to play a game of fetch.

 
Malcolm at Midnight
W. H. Beck
Recommended Grades: 4-6
 

When Malcolm the rat arrives as the pet at McKenna School, he revels in the attention. He also meets the Midnight Academy, a secret society of classroom pets that keeps the nutters (kids) safe. There’s just one problem…rats have a terrible reputation! So when the Academy’s iguana leader is kidnapped, Malcolm must prove his innocence—and that even rats can be good guys.

 
Kepler’s Dream
Juliet Bell
Recommended Grades: 5-8
 

When eleven-year-old Ella’s mother has to be hospitalized to undergo a dangerous cancer treatment, Ella spends the summer at “Broken Family Camp” with her eccentric grandmother, whom she’s never met. The situation is hardly ideal for either of them. Ella is scared her mother may die, but her grandmother seems to care more about her library full of books than she does about her very own granddaughter.  But when a rare and beloved book, Kepler’s Dream of the Moon, is stolen from her grandmother’s amazing library, Ella and her new friend Rosie make up their minds to find it. Finding the beautiful book her grandmother loves so much could even be the key to healing Ella’s broken family.

 
Giant Squid: Searching for a Sea Monster (summary from Amazon.com)
Mary M. Cerullo
Recommended Grades: 4-8
 

This sea monster is real. It lurks in the freezing black depths of underwater canyons. Nearly 50 feet long, it hunts with its long arms and tentacles. Its powerful suckers leave giant round scars on those that live through a battle with it. But this enormous beast, with its huge, strange eyes, remains hidden from humans. We rarely see it and know little of its ways. What is this monster?  The giant squid.  This famed member of the cephalopod group has a history of frightening fishermen, starring in fictional adventure tales, and keeping scientists guessing. What is the story of this mythic creature? Why is it so hard to study? What secrets does it keep?  Clyde Roper, ocean scientist and squid expert, has been seeking this secretive creature for decades. Come along as he and other researchers unravel its mysteries

 
Always October
Bruce Coville
Recommended Grades: 4-6
 

No doubt about it, little brothers can be monsters. When sixth grader Jake Doolittle finds a baby on the doorstep and his mother decides to keep it, those words are more than just an expression. Instead, they perfectly describe the way his new little brother, LD, sprouts pointy ears, thick fur, and fangs in moonlight.  Not only is LD a monster. . . . other monsters have plans for him. But together with his friend “Weird Lily” Carker, Jake isn’t about to let anything happen to the baby. The little guy is still his brother, even if it turns out that LD may be the key to saving the world–or destroying it.  Soon Jake and Lily are on a perilous quest through Always October, a world populated with monsters ranging from the venomous to the ridiculous.

 
Horten’s Miraculous Mechanisms: Magic, Mystery, & a Very Strange Adventure
Lissa Evans
Recommended Grades: 4-6
 

As if being small for his age and also having S. Horten as his name isn’t bad enough, now 10-year-old Stuart is forced to move far away from all his friends. But on his very first day in his new home, Stuart’s swept up in an extraordinary adventure: the quest to find his great-uncle Tony–a famous magician who literally disappeared off the face of the earth–and Tony’s marvelous, long-lost workshop.  Along the way, Stuart reluctantly accepts help from the annoying triplets next door… and encounters trouble from another magician who’s also desperate to get hold of Tony’s treasures.

 
Earthling!
Mark Fearing (illus. Tim Rummel)
Recommended Grades:  4-6
 

Every kid worries about making friends at a new school, but when nine-year-old Bud accidentally catches the wrong bus and finds himself launched into deep space, new friends are the least of his problems! At Cosmos Academy, Bud learns that Earthlings are the most feared creatures in the galaxy, and even Earth’s location has been hidden! With the help of his new friend, Gort, Bud goes undercover as a Tenarian exchange student. Unfortunately that means everyone thinks he’s a pro at anti-gravity Zero-Ball (even though he’s really only a pro at watching sports). And with paranoid Principal Lepton threat ening to expel any Earthlings (into outer space) and only Gort’s hacked Blip computer to help them determine Earth’s co-ordinates, will Bud ever find his way home?

 
The Last Dragonslayer
Jasper Fforde
Recommended Grades:  6-8
 

In the good old days, magic was indispensable—it could both save a kingdom and clear a clogged drain. But now magic is fading: drain cleaner is cheaper than a spell, and magic carpets are used for pizza delivery. Fifteen-year-old foundling Jennifer Strange runs Kazam, an employment agency for magicians—but it’s hard to stay in business when magic is drying up. And then the visions start, predicting the death of the world’s last dragon at the hands of an unnamed Dragonslayer. If the visions are true, everything will change for Kazam—and for Jennifer. Because something is coming. Something known as . . . Big Magic

 
On the Day I Died: Stories from the Grave
Candice Fleming
Recommended Grades: 6-8
 

This collection of  ten ghost stories sure to send chills up the spines of teens and older tween readers. Set in White Cemetery, an actual graveyard outside Chicago, each story takes place during a different time period from the 1860’s to the present, and ends with the narrator’s death. Some teens die heroically, others ironically, but all due to supernatural causes. Readers will meet walking corpses and witness demonic posession, all against the backdrop of Chicago’s rich history—the Great Depression, the World’s Fair, Al Capone and his fellow gangsters

 The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom (summary from Amazon. com)
Christopher Healy
Recommended Grades:  4-8
 

Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You’ve never heard of them, have you? These are the princes who saved Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, and Rapunzel, respectively, and yet, thanks to those lousy bards who wrote the tales, you likely know them only as Prince Charming. But all of this is about to change.  Rejected by their princesses and cast out of their castles, the princes stumble upon an evil plot that could endanger each of their kingdoms. Now it’s up to them to triumph over their various shortcomings, take on trolls, bandits, dragons, witches, and other assorted terrors, and become the heroes no one ever thought they could be.

 
Unusual Creatures: A Mostly Accurate Account of Some of Earth’s Strangest Animals
Michael Hearst
Recommended Grades:  4-8
 

With humor and flair, Michael Hearst introduces the reader to a wealth of extraordinary life-forms. Which animal can be found at the top of Mount Everest, 10,000 feet under the sea, and in your backyard? Which animal poops cubes? Which animal can disguise itself as a giant crab? These fascinating facts and hundreds more await curious minds, amateur zoologists, and anyone who has ever laughed at a funny-looking animal.

 
One for the Murphys
Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Recommended Grades:  4-8
 

Twelve-year-old Carley Connors can take a lot. Growing up in Las Vegas with her fun-loving mother, she’s learned to be tough. But she never expected a betrayal that would land her in a foster care. When she’s placed with the Murphys, a lively family with three boys, she’s blindsided. Do happy families really exist? Carley knows she could never belong in their world, so she keeps her distance.  It’s easy to stay suspicious of Daniel, the brother who is almost her age and is resentful she’s there. But Mrs. Murphy makes her feel heard and seen for the first time, and the two younger boys seem determinded to work their way into her heart. Before she knows it, Carley is protected the boys from a neighbourhood bullly and even teaching Daniel how to play basketball. Then just when she’s feeling like she could truly be one of the Murphys, news from her mother shakes her world

 
Chained
Lynne Kelly
Recommended Grades:  4-8
  

After ten-year-old Hastin’s family borrows money to pay for his sister’s hospital bill, he leaves his village in northern India to take a job as an elephant keeper and work off the debt. He thinks it will be an adventure, but he isn’t prepared for the cruel circus owner. The crowds that come to the circus see a lively animal who plays soccer and balances on milk bottles, but Hastin sees Nandita, a sweet elephant and his best friend, who is chained when she’s not performing and hurt with a hook until she learns tricks perfectly. Hastin protects Nandita as best as he can, knowing that the only way they will both survive is if he can find a way for them to escape

 
Fourmile
Watt Key
Recommended Grades:  5-8

Twelve-year-old Foster knows in his gut that Dax Ganey, the man dating his widowed mother, is a bad seed. Then a mysterious stranger arrives at their Alabama farm, a former Army Ranger in Iraq rambling across the country, and Foster believes he has found an ally against Dax. The stranger proves a fascinating mentor, full of wisdom and secrets. And Dax soon has reason to resent not just him and Foster but also Foster’s mother. A spurned Dax will be a dangerous enemy, but Foster is increasingly aware that the stranger is just as dangerous, if not more so.

 
Ungifted
Gordon Korman
Recommended Grades:   4-8
 

The word gifted has never been applied to a kid like Donovan Curtis. It’s usually more like Don’t try this at home. So when the troublemaker pulls a major prank at his middle school, he thinks he’s finally gone too far. But thanks to a mix-up by one of the administrators, instead of getting in trouble, Donovan is sent to the Academy of Scholastic Distinction (ASD), a special program for gifted and talented students.  It wasn’t exactly what Donovan had intended, but there couldn’t be a more perfect hideout for someone like him. That is, if he can manage to fool people whose IQs are above genius level. And that becomes harder and harder as the students and teachers of ASD grow to realize that Donovan may not be good at math or science (or just about anything). But after an ongoing experiment with a live human (sister), an unforgettably dramatic middle-school dance, and the most astonishing come-from-behind robot victory ever, Donovan shows that his gifts might be exactly what the ASD students never knew they needed

 
The Cloak Society
Jeramey Kraatz
Recommended Grades:   5-8
 

Ten years ago they were defeated by the Rangers of Justice and vanished without a trace. But the villains of Cloak have been biding their time, waiting for the perfect moment to resurface. And twelve-year-old Alex Knight wants to be one of them.  Alex is already a junior member, and his entire universe is Cloak’s underground headquarters, hidden beneath an abandoned drive-in theater in Sterling City, Texas. While other kids his age are studying math and history, Alex is mastering his telekinetic powers and learning how to break into bank vaults. His only dream is to follow in his parents’ footsteps as one of the most feared supervillains in the world. Cloak is everything he believes in.  But on the day of his debut mission, Alex does the unthinkable: he saves the life of a young Ranger named Kirbie. Even worse . . . she becomes his friend. And the more time he spends with her, the more Alex wonders about the world outside of Cloak–and what, exactly, he’s been fighting for

 
Island of Thieves (summary from School Library Journal)
Josh Lacey
Recommended Grades:  5-8

Little did Tom Trelawney know that after accidentally burning down his family’s shed he would embark on the adventure of a lifetime. Tom’s parents are about to leave on a long-awaited vacation and send Tom to stay with Uncle Harvey. When Tom arrives, he discovers that Harvey is planning to leave him alone for the week while he journeys to Peru in search of a buried treasure, the clue to which was discovered on an old piece of paper in junk shop. Determined not to miss out on the adventure, Tom convinces his uncle to take him along. As soon as they land, they are confronted by an evil foe of Harvey’s and forced to flee for their lives. This action-packed, danger-filled, Indiana Jones-like tale continues across the Peru, from the high Andes to the coastal islands, as Tom and his uncle try to find the treasure and keep one step ahead of the bad guys.

The Lions of Little Rock
Kristin Levine
Recommended Grades:  5-8
 

Twelve-year-old Marlee doesn’t have many friends until she meets Liz, the new girl at school. Liz is bold and brave, and always knows the right thing to say, especially to Sally, the resident mean girl. Liz even helps Marlee overcome her greatest fear – speaking, which Marlee never does outside her family.  But then Liz is gone, replaced by the rumor that she was a Negro girl passing as white. But Marlee decides that doesn’t matter. Liz is her best friend. And to stay friends, Marlee and Liz are willing to take on integration and the dangers their friendship could bring to both their families

National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry
J. Patrick Lewis (editor)
Recommended Grades:  4-6
 

Lovingly selected by U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis and paired with vibrant animal photography, this collection of poems is an exuberant celebration of the animal kingdom and a beautiful introduction to this genre of literature.  Divided into chapters that group the poems by theme for extra resonance, the collection is a mix of old and new, classics, and never-before-published. A foreword from Lewis, sets the scene for helping children appreciate this gift of language and this visual feast for the eyes.

Starry River of the Sky
Grace Lin
Recommended Grades:   4-8
 

The moon is missing from the remote Village of Clear Sky, but only a young boy named Rendi seems to notice! Rendi has run away from home and is now working as a chore boy at the village inn. He can’t help but notice the village’s peculiar inhabitants and their problems-where has the innkeeper’s son gone? Why are Master Chao and Widow Yan always arguing? What is the crying sound Rendi keeps hearing? And how can crazy, old Mr. Shan not know if his pet is a toad or a rabbit?  But one day, a mysterious lady arrives at the Inn with the gift of storytelling, and slowly transforms the villagers and Rendi himself. As she tells more stories and the days pass in the Village of Clear Sky, Rendi begins to realize that perhaps it is his own story that holds the answers to all those questions.

 
Capture the Flag
Kate Messner
Recommended Grades:  4-6
 

Anna, José, and Henry are complete strangers with more in common than they realize. Snowed in together at a chaotic Washington D.C. airport, they encounter a mysterious tattooed man, a flamboyant politician, and a rambunctious poodle named for an ancient king. Even stranger, news stations everywhere have announced that the famous flag that inspired “The Star-Spangled Banner” has been stolen! Anna, certain that the culprits must be snowed in too, recruits Henry and José to help catch the thieves and bring them to justice.  But when accusations start flying, they soon realize there’s more than justice at stake. As the snow starts clearing, Anna, José, and Henry find themselves in a race against time (and the weather!) to prevent the loss of an American treasure.

 
Cinder
Marissa Meyer
Recommended Grades:  6-8
 

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . . Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future

The False Prince
Jennifer Nielsen
Recommended Grades:  5-8
 

In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king’s long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner’s motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword’s point — he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage’s rivals have their own agendas as well.  As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner’s sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that, in the end, may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together.

 
Wonder
R.J. Palacio
Recommended Grades:  5-8
 

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He’s about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances?

 
 
Summer of the Gypsy Moths
Sara Pennypacker
Recommended Grades:  4-6
 

Stella loves living with Great-aunt Louise in her big old house near the water on Cape Cod for many reasons, but mostly because Louise likes routine as much as she does, something Stella appreciates since her mom is, well, kind of unreliable. So while Mom “finds herself,” Stella fantasizes that someday she’ll come back to the Cape and settle down. The only obstacle to her plan? Angel, the foster kid Louise has taken in. Angel couldn’t be less like her name—she’s tough and prickly, and the girls hardly speak to each other.  But when tragedy unexpectedly strikes, Stella and Angel are forced to rely on each other to survive, and they learn that they are stronger together than they could have imagined. And over the course of the summer they discover the one thing they do have in common: dreams of finally belonging to a real family

 
The Ghost of  Graylock
Dan Poblocki
Recommended Grades: 6-8
 

Everyone’s heard the stories about Graylock Hall.  It was meant to be a place of healing – a hospital where children and teenagers with mental disorders would be cared for and perhaps even cured. But something went wrong. Several young patients died under mysterious circumstances. Eventually, the hospital was shut down, the building abandoned and left to rot deep in the woods.  As the new kid in town, Neil Cady wants to see Graylock for himself. Especially since rumor has it that the building is haunted. He’s got fresh batteries in his flashlight, a camera to document the adventure, and a new best friend watching his back.  Neil might think he’s prepared for what he’ll find in the dark and decrepit asylum. But he’s certainly not prepared for what follows him home.

 
Shadow on the Mountain
Margi Preus
Recommended Grades:  6-8
 

After Nazi Germany invades and occupies Norway, 14 year old Espen and his friends are swept up in the Norwegian resistance movement. Espen gets his start by delivering illegal newspapers, then graduates to the role of courier and finally becomes a spy, dodging the Gestapo along the way. During five years under the Nazi regime, he gains—and loses—friends, falls in love, and makes one small mistake that threatens to catch up with him as he sets out to escape on skis over the mountains to Sweden.

Fenway Fever
John H. Ritter
Recommended Grades:  4-8
 

“Stats” Pagano may have been born with a heart defect, but he lives for three things: his family’s hot dog stand right outside fabled Fenway Park, his beloved Red Sox, and any baseball statistic imaginable. When the family can no longer make ends meet with the hot dog stand, life becomes worrisome for Stats. Then the Sox go on a long losing streak and the team’s ace pitcher–and Stats’s idol–becomes convinced the famed Curse of the Bambino has returned. Stats just has to help . . . but how? As the Sox faithful sour on their team, Stats forms a plan that ultimately unifies an entire city and proves that true loyalty has a magic all its own.

 
Deadweather and Sunrise
Geoff Rodkey
Recommended Grades: 6-8
 

It’s tough to be thirteen, especially when somebody’s trying to kill you.  Not that Egg’s life was ever easy, growing up on sweaty, pirate-infested Deadweather Island with no company except an incompetent tutor and a pair of unusually violent siblings who hate his guts.  But when Egg’s father hustles their family off on a mysterious errand to fabulously wealthy Sunrise Island, then disappears with the siblings in a freak accident, Egg finds himself a long-term guest at the mansion of the glamorous Pembroke family and their beautiful, sharp-tongued daughter Millicent. Finally, life seems perfect.  Until someone tries to throw him off a cliff. Suddenly, Egg’s running for his life in a bewildering world of cutthroat pirates, villainous businessmen, and strange Native legends. The only people who can help him sort out the mystery of why he’s been marked for death are Millicent and a one-handed, possibly deranged cabin boy.

The Mighty Mars Rovers: The Incredible Adventures of Spirit and Opportunity
Elizabeth Rusch
Recommended Grades:  4-8
 

On June 10, 2003, a little rover named Spirit blasted off on a rocket headed for Mars. On July 7, 2003, a twin rover named Opportunity soared through the solar system with the same mission: to find out if Mars ever had water that could have supported life.A thrilling addition to the acclaimed Scientists in the Field series, The Mighty Mars Rovers tells the greatest space robot adventure of all time through the eyes—and heart—of Steven Squyres, professor of astronomy at Cornell University and lead scientist on the mission.

Splendors and Glooms
Laura Amy Schlitz
Recommended Grades: 6-8
 

The master puppeteer, Gaspare Grisini, is so expert at manipulating his stringed puppets that they appear alive. Clara Wintermute, the only child of a wealthy doctor, is spellbound by Grisini’s act and invites him to entertain at her birthday party. Seeing his chance to make a fortune, Grisini accepts and makes a splendidly gaudy entrance with caravan, puppets, and his two orphaned assistants.
Lizzie Rose and Parsefall are dazzled by the Wintermute home. Clara seems to have everything they lack — adoring parents, warmth, and plenty to eat. In fact, Clara’s life is shadowed by grief, guilt, and secrets. When Clara vanishes that night, suspicion of kidnapping falls upon the puppeteer and, by association, Lizzie Rose and Parsefall.  As they seek to puzzle out Clara’s whereabouts, Lizzie and Parse uncover Grisini’s criminal past and wake up to his evil intentions. Fleeing London, they find themselves caught in a trap set by Grisini’s ancient rival, a witch with a deadly inheritance to shed before it’s too late.

Endangered
Eliot Schrefer
Recommended Grades:  7-8
 

The Congo is a dangerous place, even for people who are trying to do good.  When one girl has to follow her mother to her sanctuary for bonobos, she’s not thrilled to be there. It’s her mother’s passion, and she’d rather have nothing to do with it. But when revolution breaks out and their sanctuary is attacked, she must rescue the bonobos and hide in the jungle. Together, they will fight to keep safe, to eat, and to survive.

Bomb: The Race to Build — and Steal — the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon
Steve Sheinkin
Recommended Grades:  7-8
 

In December of 1938, a chemist in a German laboratory made a shocking discovery: When placed next to radioactive material, a Uranium atom split in two. That simple discovery launched a scientific race that spanned 3 continents. In Great Britain and the United States, Soviet spies worked their way into the scientific community; in Norway, a commando force slipped behind enemy lines to attack German heavy-water manufacturing; and deep in the desert, one brilliant group of scientists was hidden away at a remote site at Los Alamos. This is the story of the plotting, the risk-taking, the deceit, and genius that created the world’s most formidable weapon. This is the story of the atomic bomb.

Liar & Spy
Rebecca Stead
Recommended Grades: 5-8
 

Georges (the s is silent) has a lot going on. He’s having trouble with some boys at school, his dad lost his job and so his mum has started working all the time – and they had to sell their house and move  into an apartment.  But moving into the apartment block does bring one good thing – Safer, an unusual boy who lives on the top floor. He runs a spy club, and is determined to teach Georges everything he knows. Their current case is to spy on the mysterious Mr X in the apartment above Georges.But as Georges and Safer go deeper into their Mr X plan, the line between games, lies, and reality begin to blur.

Cardboard
Doug TenNapel
Recommended Grades:  6-8
 
Cam’s down-and-out father gives him a cardboard box for his birthday and he knows it’s the worst present ever. So to make the best of a bad situation, they bend the cardboard into a man-and to their astonishment, it comes magically to life. But the neighborhood bully, Marcus, warps the powerful cardboard into his own evil creations that threaten to destroy them all!
 
Dark Lord: The Early Years
Jamie Thomson
Recommended Grades: 6-8
 

The Dark Lord is confounded when he awakens in the middle of a small town on a planet he’s never seen before. What is this strange place, why do they keep calling him Dirk Lloyd, and why is he powerless against these earthlings who insist on finding his parents? Could it be that Dirk Lloyd is really a human incarnation of the Dark Lord who, after a cataclysmic final battle with his arch nemesis, was hurled into the Pit of Uttermost Despair, aka Earth? Or is he just a lost and confused boy? The Dark Lord must regain his rightful place in the universe before his powers of domination and destruction are lost forever, and help comes from a most unlikely source . . . a human friend.

My Family for the War
Anne Voorhoeve
Recommended Grades: 6-8
 
 
At the start of World War II, ten-year-old Franziska Mangold is torn from her family when she boards the kindertransport in Berlin, the train that secretly took nearly 10,000 children out of Nazi territory to safety in England. Taken in by strangers who soon become more like family than her real parents, Frances (as she is now known) courageously pieces together a new life for herself because she doesn’t know when or if she’ll see her true family again. Against the backdrop of war-torn London, Frances struggles with questions of identity, family, and love, and these experiences shape her into a dauntless, charming young woman.
 

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