Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Mrs. J.'s Top 10 Books and Summer Reading

Happy Summer!

I know it's a little early to be thinking about summer assignments, but reading doesn't have to be like homework so I'm getting you started now.

If you're looking for an awesome book to read this summer, look no further than The Guide to Good Reading.  Books are organized by genre to make searching easier.  There is also a grade level Top Ten for a quick list of some of my favorites.

And if you if you want some suggestions to get you started, here are the titles on Mrs. J.'s Top 10 11 Books of 2012-2013.

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
In a world where dragons and humans coexist in an uneasy truce and dragons can assume human form, Seraphina, whose mother died giving birth to her, grapples with her own identity amid magical secrets and royal scandals, while she struggles to accept and develop her extraordinary musical talents.

Moonbird by Phillip Hoose
He can feel it: a stirring in his bones and feathers. It's time. Today is the day he will once again cast himself into the air, spiral upward into the clouds, and bank into the wind. He wears a black band on his lower right leg and an orange flag on his upper left, bearing the laser inscription B95. Scientists call him the Moonbird because, in the course of his astoundingly long lifetime, this gritty, four-ounce marathoner has flown the distance to the moon-and halfway back!  And he is only the size of a robin. (An award winner, I put this in my category of non-fiction that reads like fiction.)

Endangered by Eliot Schrefer
Sophie is not happy to be back in the Congo for the summer, but when she rescues an abused baby bonobo she becomes more involved in her mother's sanctuary--and when fighting breaks out and the sanctuary is attacked, it is up to Sophie to rescue the apes and somehow survive in the jungle.

Kizzy Ann Stamps by Jeri Watts
Kizzy Ann Stamps is starting at a new school, the just-integrated public school, and she's worried. She's worried that the white students won't like her, and she's worried they'll stare at the scar that runs from the tip of her right eye to the corner of her smile; the scar a neighbor boy gave her, in a farming accident. Now this same boy won't stop following Kizzy and her border collie, Shag.

Dodger by Terry Pratchett
In an alternative version of Victorian London, Dodger, a cunning and cheeky street urchin, unexpectedly rises in life when he saves a mysterious girl, meets Charles Dickens, and unintentionally puts a stop to the murders of Sweeny Todd.

Princess Academy: The Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale
Coming down from the mountain to a new life in the city is a thrill to Miri. There, she also has a chance to attend school - at the Queen's Castle. But as Miri befriends students who seem sophisticated and exciting she also learns that they have some frightening plans. Torn between loyalty to the princess and her new friends' ideas, between an old love and a new crush, and between her small mountain home and the bustling city, Miri looks to find her own way in this new place. (Sequel to Princess Academy, I thought this was even better- there is one scene that is so powerful it gave me goosebumps.)

Losing It by Erin Fry
Bennett Robinson loves baseball, especially watching Dodgers games with his dad while munching on burgers and fries. Baseball even helped Bennett and his dad cope with his mom's death from cancer. But on one perfect, baseball-watching day, Bennett's overweight dad has a stroke and ends up in the hospital. Bennett has to move in with his Aunt Laura and she makes it her personal mission to Get Bennett Healthy, even if that means taking over his life.  It’s time for Bennett to step up to the plate and learn that there are some things he can do after all . . . like talk to a girl, run a mile, and maybe even save his own life. (I really loved how honest this book was; it’s not about a quick fix or easy solution, it’s about working hard, having setbacks and picking yourself up anyway and moving forward.  I think you’ll love Bennett as much as I did.)

Cardboard by Doug TenNapel
Cam's down-and-out father gives him a cardboard box for his birthday and he knows it's the worst present ever. 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 jerk, Marcus, warps the powerful cardboard into his own evil creations that threaten to destroy them all!

Bomb: The Race to Build and Steal the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin
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. (Despite being non-fiction this won a Newbery honor this year.  It’s actually a very exciting read!)

The Terrible Thing that Happened to Barnaby Brocket by John Boyne
Barnaby Brocket is an ordinary 8-year-old boy in most ways, but he was born different in one important way: he floats. Unlike everyone else, Barnaby does not obey the law of gravity. His parents, who have a horror of being noticed, want desperately for Barnaby to be normal, but he can't help who he is. And when the unthinkable happens, Barnaby finds himself on a journey that takes him all over the world. From Brazil to New York, Canada to Ireland, and even to space, the floating boy meets all sorts of different people and discovers who he really is along the way.

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
When Ivan, a gorilla who has lived for years in a down-and-out circus-themed mall, meets Ruby, a baby elephant that has been added to the mall, he decides that he must find her a better life. (This won the Newbery this year and was definitely well deserved.  I can’t watch the trailer without choking up…if you have a few minutes, take a look http://theoneandonlyivan.com).

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