Archive for Contemporary

The Enchanted Attic: Saving Moby Dick

Written by L.L. Samson

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Picture a reluctant young reader with two reading choices: classics in one pile and contemporary fiction in the other. Which will be the favored pile? LL Samson, the author of The Enchanted Attic books, makes the task easier by melding the two piles into one. He created a series that brings the characters of the classics into the modern world and introduces readers to the classics in an un-putt-downable fashion. Saving Moby Dick is the second book in the series.
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A Picture Book of Sam Houston

Written by David A. Adler and Michael S. Adler
Illustrated by Matt Collins

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While Texans know and love Sam Houston and learn about him in school, this American hero may not be as well known to readers in the other 49 states.David and Michael Adler rectify this situation with an informative and exciting picture book that is sure to capture the imagination of third-grade readers, no matter where they live.

Sam Houston was a war hero who went on to become the president of the Republic of Texas and later the state’s governor. The Adlers start their story with one of the most dramatic and dangerous moments of Houston’s life: his surprise victory over the Mexican army at the Battle of San Jacinto in 1836. From there, the book goes back to follow Houston’s life, which was never boring! » Read more

The Stone Cutter & The Navajo Maiden

Written by Vee F. Browne
Illustrated by Johnson Yazzie

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The Stone Cutter & The Navajo Maiden is a heartwarming children’s picture book written for the second and third grade level reader about a young Navajo girl who sets out to mend the precious family heirloom, the family cutting stone which has broken while grinding corn into flour.The plot takes the third grade reader on a realistic journey to meet a Moccasin Maker, a Potter, and the Stone Cutter as she seeks help in repairing the stone.

The book is beautifully illustrated which serves to enhance the meaning of the text, but what is so unique about this story is this – it also gives the Navajo translation of each paragraph below the English version. How cool is that? Teachers and parents alike will enjoy this introduction into another culture and another language beginning with the word metate- an ancient grinding stone that has been passed down in the family of Cinnibah, the ancient Navajo maiden. As Cinnibah visits with others in her village trying to find someone to fix the stone, she learns the importance of family, a concept that many third grade level readers will comprehend. She also learns that some things cannot be fixed, but must be replaced, as she begins to deal with all she has learned.
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Hunter Moran Saves The Universe

Written by Patricia Reilly Giff

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Tinwitty Day is coming (soup ahoy). Five-year old Steadman is following (“The stakes are high. One sound and we are stuck.”).The report card is about to breathe its last (and has to be given a proper burial).  The dentist is plotting (Hunter and Zack are on his trail).  Mary is screaming (the house is out of milk). Linny is shouting (“Where’s the milk for Mary? Someone drank it all?”). William is painting (big globs of paint are everywhere). Mama is in the kitchen (maybe cooking). And Papa is in the office (working).  All this in just the first chapter!  Oh what an exhausting book already!
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The Wild Parrots of San Francisco

Written by Ellen Leroe

Illustrations by Kathy O’Malley

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“They flash overhead in a burst of color, bright as kites in the sky. They fill the air with joyous shrieks.” No, it’s not Superman and his buddies, it’s the wild parrots of San Francisco!

In her book, The Wild Parrots of San Francisco, author Ellen Leroe shares the story of this famous flock of cherry-red and blue-crowned conures. The flock, believed to have originated from six birds that escaped or were released after being imported from Ecuador decades ago, now numbers 200 or more. The birds have historically spent most of their time on Telegraph Hill, but current news articles suggest that they have moved into suburban areas of the city, too.
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The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee

Written and Illustrated by Tom Angleberger

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First there was The Strange Case of the Origami Yoda, then there was Darth Paper Strikes Back. Now there is The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee. A colorful and quirky cast at McQuarrie Middle School uses Star Wars culture to help them navigate the complicated world of middle school.  Dwight introduced Origami Yoda in the first book, a finger puppet made from folded paper that could give advice for life’s most challenging situations while the gang solved a mystery. But Dwight is suspended from McQuarrie in this book and becomes a mystery himself. He stops talking to his friends after he goes to his alternative school and begins to act very un-Dwight-like, in other words, normal. Before he goes, he supposedly leaves a paper fortune teller shaped like Chewbacca with Sara. Thanks to a Han Solo puppet that can translate Wookiee-speak, she is able to give advice that rival Yoda’s. In spite of the day-to-day drama/advice success, they still miss their friend Dwight and set about convincing him that his real place is with his friends at McQuarrie.
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Tough! (Book 3: The Weird Series)

Written by Erin Frankel

Illustrated by Paula Heaphy

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Tough! pulls off the difficult feat of being an engaging story for young readers and an effective discussion starter.It is part of a trilogy — the other two in the series are Weird! and Dare!. The three books are written from different viewpoints; Tough is Sam’s (the bully) story. Weird! is written from the perspective of the bullied, and Dare! is the bystander’s viewpoint.
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The Night before Christmas Deep under the Sea

Written by Kathie Kelleher
Illustrated by Dan Andreasen

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A familiar tale with a quaint twist, The Night before Christmas Deep under the Sea is a nice story for a third grade class. Kathie Kelleher takes the cadence and cheerful spirit of Clement C. Moore’s original poem and places the story deep in the ocean. Dan Andreasen has created a merry setting with vivid colors and lively sea creatures.
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Puffling Patrol

Written and illustrated by Ted and Betsy Lewin

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Every April, the Westman Islands off the coast of Iceland become home to hundreds of thousands of puffins, making the islands one of the largest puffin colonies in the world.Adult puffins return to the island every year to lay eggs. By August, the young birds, called pufflings, are ready to leave home and fly off to sea. However, some of the birds become confused when they see the lights of nearby towns and flutter down into the streets instead of flying into the waves. Groups of children and adults, called The Puffling Patrol, roam the streets every night looking for lost birds and bringing them back to the beach so they can make it out to sea.
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Grandfather’s Wrinkles

Written by Kathryn England

Illustrated by Richard McFarland

A Bank Street Best Children’s Book for 2008 for Outstanding Merit

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A heartwarming book filled with family love. Lucy calls her grandfather’s face “crinkly.” Granddad laughs and tells Lucy that those wrinkles come from smiling many times. Lucy asks for specifics and Granddad remembers a special smile to go with each wrinkle: one when he married Grandma, one when Lucy’s Mommy was born, one when funny things happened to Mommy, one when Mommy married Daddy, and, of course, two big ones on either side of his mouth when Lucy was born. » Read more

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