Archive for October 31, 2012

Unplugged: Ella Gets Her Family Back

By Laura Pedersen

Illustrated by Penny Weber

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Young Ella wishes her family members were less plugged in to their devices and more attentive to each other. Where are the old days when they played word games, and talked with each other, and did things together?

Papa is on his computer.  Mama is on her cell phone. Maya forgets the promise she made to her younger sister, Ella, and Carlos finds his video game more attractive than the word game they used to play together.

Ella decides to take action. She  finds a solution that third grade readers will enjoy. While her family is out, she gathers up all the chargers in a laundry basket, leaving at each plug point a note that says “Talk to Ella”. What fun! Her solution brings her exactly what she wants–the family talking to her.
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About Habitats – Oceans

By Cathryn Sill
Illustrated by John Sill

Outstanding Science Trade Book 2013 By the National Science Teacher’s Association and the Children’s Book Council (click for info)

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About Habitats—Oceans provides a good introduction to the world beneath the surface of the salty water that covers more than two thirds of our planet.
In spare text that presents basic facts about animals, plants, geological features, and the ecology of the ocean, the author provides the sort of basic information young children are often interested in. Throughout the book, information is presented as straightforward facts, not as a narrative. The language is simple and quiet, leaving room for questions from children or discussion questions from the adult reading the book to them. As such, the book would be a good read-aloud book, and would work well as a starting point for further ocean-related investigation or activities.
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Nature’s Patchwork Quilt: Understanding Habitats

By Mary Miché
Illustrated by Consie Powell

Outstanding Science Trade Book 2013 from the National Science Teacher’s Association and the Children’s Book Council (click for more info)

Finalist for the 2013 Foreward Magazine Book of the Year

2013 Children’s Literary Classics Seal of Approval

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In the book Nature’s Patchwork Quilt: Understanding Habitats, readers learn that nature, “…has many different habitats all pieced together to create our wonderful planet.” By extending the quilt analogy through the entire book, author Mary Miché and illustrator Consie Powell provide a solid introduction to the world’s habitats.
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Being Frank

By Donna W. Earnhardt
Illustrated by Andrea Castellani

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Frank, like many children, has been told that “honesty is the best policy”, so he tells the truth at all times, even in situations where honesty is clearly not appreciated. One such time his mother was pulled over by a policeman. Frank confessed to them that his mother knew how fast she was going because he had just told her. There was also the time that he told his teacher, Ms. Zaroma, that her breath smelled funny. That outburst got him sent to the principal’s office.
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NERDS Book 4: Villain Virus

By Michael Buckley

Illustrated by Ethen Beavers

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Silliness runs rampant in this fourth installment of the NERDS series. NERDS is a team of nerdy kids whose challenges have been turned into strengths by nanoparticles. Now they are super spies that go around saving the world. The NERDS are nearly defeated in this book, while the world gets dangerously close to complete chaos. A virus is infecting everyone and turning them into villains who have the intent of taking over the world. Not only are the victims angry and capable of turning anything into a weapon of terrible destruction, but the team has been promoted to middle school. They got away with unexplained absences in elementary school by being charming and having good help. However, the principal of Thomas Knowlton Middle School has her eye on Julio Escala aka Flinch, one of the NERDS. She keeps giving him detention when the team needs him the most. Flinch is hyperactive and once his powers are activated, he moves faster than the human eye can see. In the first missions of the book, the boss puts Flinch in charge, but it’s a disaster. As he expected, things went crazy just like his thoughts normally do. Because of his unique metabolism, he is immune to the virus and, when everyone else succumbs to their own delusions of grandeur, he is the only one left. Flinch has to overcome his self-doubt to save the world. He does just that in the nick of time.
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Dare!: Book Two (The Weird Series)

By Erin Frankel

Illustrated by Paula Heaphy

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The characters from The Bully Free Kids series are back in this picture book, and this time its about the bystander, Jayla. Sam has been picking on Luisa and Jayla can’t bring herself to do anything about it. Sam picked on Jayla last year and it made her feel terrible. Now that Sam is picking on Luisa, Jayla is relieved to be excluded from Sam’s torment, but she worries about Luisa. She feels guilty because she knows how it feels, but doesn’t know what to do. Sam even expects Jayla to pick on Luisa as well. By going along with Sam, Jayla thought she would feel accepted, but she just feels worse. The only thing to do is take steps to stop the bullying. She is scared at first, but she gains courage and confidence as things improve once she and Luisa stand up to Sam.
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The Adventures of Titch & Mitch: Shipwrecked!

By Garth Edwards

Illustrated by Max Stasyuk

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The Adventures of Titch & Mitch: Shipwreckedis an excellent chapter book for the third grade level reader.  It offers quirky characters that second graders will love to read about and the plot triggers the imagination making children of this age want to keep reading to see what more fun adventures come along.

While the book is about a fun and whacky adventure of two young pixies, Titch and Mitch, the language might be challenging to comprehend for some third grade readers. The lesson of friendship will not go unnoticed by the third grade reader and they will love the characters from yellow seagulls to flying bicycles and talking turkeys. There is also a fairy, a hedgehog, and so much more.
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Wings Within

By Franklin Hill, Ph.D.

Illustrated by Aries Cheung

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“I’m tired of being a plain old turtle,” says Myrtle, the main character in Wings Within, “I want to be a BUTTERFLY!”  Myrtle thinks butterfly thoughts and imagines that if she tucks into her shell she will be able to grow beautiful wings and fly. Try as she might, though, Myrtle remains a turtle.
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The Boy and His Mud Horses and other stories from the Tipi

Written and Illustrated by Paul Goble

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At first glance, this lovely story collection is a bunch of random myths and legends that have nothing in common.  On closer inspection, magic is the common theme.  The foreword and introduction written by a tribal leader, Albert White Hat, and the author, Paul Goble, talk about the role that storytelling played for Native Americans.  White Hat emphasizes how stories teach about life, both the good and the bad.  Goble talks about how stories teach in a symbolic way that is meaningful in different ways during different times of a listener or reader’s life.  Goble urges readers to allow time to let the stories take hold in the imagination.  At the heart of all the stories, there is a mystical happening, an ever-present knowledge that there is more than what we humans can see.
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A History of Voting Rights

By Tamra Orr

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The early settlers to this land left their old countries in search for freedom. They wanted a place where they could live as they pleased and make their own decisions. The author, Tamra Orr, makes a very profound point in the first chapter of the book “The right to vote is the right to have a voice in all kinds of decisions, big and small, local and national.”
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