Vampire School: Stage Fright

Written by Peter Bently
Illustrated by Chris Harrison

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The kids from St. Orlok’s Elementary, a vampire school, return with more monster mayhem. This time, they’re preparing for the big phantomime of Snow Fright and the Seven Dwarfs. After bat lessons with the three S’s (swooping, swerving, and skulking), the vampire children prepare for their performance. Their teacher also explains the three C’s for hiding (columns, curtains, and corners) and the three D’s (dark, damp, and dingy). Gnashful is the angry dwarf. The others are Gappy, Snappy, Flappy, Creepy, Chompy, and Shock. Lucy is typecast as the Wicked Queen. When Bella loses her voice, Lee volunteers to let her lip synch to his voice. Bella and Lee are subsequently cast in the upcoming production of The Sound of Screaming, in which there are seven children and a nanny. It will be produced by local impresario Harker Winegum.
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Mallory McDonald: Super Snoop

Written by Laurie Friedman
Illustrated by Jennifer Kalis

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What do you get when a ten-year-old girl’s brother has an official girlfriend and the sister wants to know what the couple is doing?Lots of trouble. That’s what. In this eighteenth installment from the “Mallory McDonald” series, Mallory and brother Max are at home with babysitter Crystal while their parents are out of town. Max and his girlfriend are working diligently on a secret science project, and Mallory is not convinced they are really working on the project. Mallory goes to extreme lengths to discover the truth, asking everyone she knows, including her cat, for advice. She talks to her best friend, to Crystal, to other friends, and even sends an email to an internet advice columnist. They all tell her to leave her brother alone, but she doesn’t like this advice. She finally witnesses an innocent kiss by hiding in a closet. Not satisfied with her knowledge, she embellishes the event to the point of embarrassment for all involved. Needless to say, she pays dearly for her lies. Her friends are appalled, and everyone else is very angry. Mallory has to figure out a way to start the healing.
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The Conference of the Birds

Retold by Alexis York Lumbard
Illustrated by Demi

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Alexis Lumbard has taken a 12th century Persian poem, modernized it, and made it fun to read. This is the story of a search for the King. The birds of the land were in search of somebody who would lead and care for them. They flew all across the world, searching for their King. There were many problems to be faced along the way; one of the biggest problems for each one of the birds was their depth of commitment. How far were they willing to go, and what were they willing to give up to be able to come before the King?

The many different birds will each come face to face with their own deepest fears: Am I strong enough? Am I worthy? Can I give up my beautiful jewels? Can I stand before him as I am, without pretext?
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My Favorite Bible: The Best Loved Stories of the Bible

Written by Rondi DeBoer and Christine Tangvald

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My Favorite Bible: The Best Loved Stories of the Bible just might be this moms favorite bible for kids!In our home we have more than a few chunky kids’ bibles on the shelves. After twenty years of raising children, one tends to gather quite a collection and many have been sent packing because they didn’t quite make the grade. My Favorite Bible is certainly a keeper because this chunky kid’s bible is different than any other I’ve laid hands on.

Author’s Rondi DeBoer and Christine Tangvald have done a superb job bringing bible stories to life. They’ve included most of the main Old Testament stories and just as many New Testament stories, which isn’t always common among children’s bibles. Each story is written in an easy to understand way and uses the God’s Word Translation, giving it extra readability. It’s written at about a third grade reading level, but would also make an outstanding read aloud for younger children.
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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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Tashi and the Tibetan Flower Cure

Written and Illustrated by Naomi C. Rose

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Naomi C. Rose weaves a heart-warming tale about the resolve of a little girl to help her Popola get well. This story is perhaps best suited for a third grade class; it speaks of a little girl’s Tibetan grandfather who is healed by the power of nature and people’s enveloping companionship and love. As a third grade class reads this book, it encourages reading skills in comprehension. There are several culturally relevant words that students will perhaps have to research or at least dig deep into the text for context clues. Words such as “Tibetan chants,” “mala,” “thangka,” and “solja” encourage students to look up their meanings to deepen comprehension. The theme of this book is a girl’s determination on behalf of her grandfather. She rallies a community to help heal him from the spirit outward. An easy journal assignment after reading <em>Tashi and the Tibetan Flower Cure</em> would be to have students write how they can relate to Tashi. Perhaps students could share what they would be willing to do for a beloved family member.
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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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