Winnie the witch has a problem. She lives in a biiiiiiiiig black house with black everything. The floors are black, the walls are black, the furniture is black, even her bathtub is black. Winnie loves the color black.
Like most witches, Winnie also has a black cat. His name is Wilbur. Winnie loves her cat Wilbur. There’s just one problem…
When Wilbur is awake, she can see him just fine. When Wilbur is asleep and his eyes are closed, Winnie cannot… and she is always tripping over him.
So Winnie turns him green. But that doesn’t work out at all either. Neither does the next color. Or the next. Finally, Winnie waves her wand at Wilbur and turns him into a five-colored rainbow cat! Let’s see him blend in to anything now!, she thinks.
But poor Wilbur is miserable, embarrassed that he looks so absolutely ridiculous. And Winnie doesn’t want her poor cat, her best friend who she loves more than anything in the whole world, to be sad. What on earth will she do in order to stop tripping over him?
Winnie the Witch kicks off a series of British picture books I wish we owned all of at the library. She is a delightful character, and the illustrations are simply wonderful.
Chloe’s older sister, Ruby, is the girl everyone looks to and longs for, who can’t be captured or caged. When a night with Ruby’s friends goes horribly wrong and Chloe discovers the dead body of her classmate London Hayes left floating in the reservoir, Chloe is sent away from town and away from Ruby. But Ruby will do anything to get her sister back, and when Chloe returns to town two years later, deadly surprises await. As Chloe flirts with the truth that Ruby has hidden deeply away, the fragile line between life and death is redrawn by the complex bonds of sisterhood. With palpable drama and delicious craft, Nova Ren Suma bursts onto the YA scene with the story that everyone will be talking about. (Description from GoodReads)
I got this book as an ARC from LibraryThing, and didn’t remember reading anything about a supernatural aspect to the book in the description - so for a lot of the book, I struggled to figure out whether or not there was something supernatural going on, or if the descriptions were just very mystical and spine-tingling. Once I realized there was something spooky going on, the book completely shifted focus - it was almost as if the author planned for the somewhat confusing & thoroughly creepy novel to suddenly become even MORE creepy as the reader realizes that wait, that nagging suspicion you had from the beginning but wrote off as crazy is actually what’s going on. The book reminded me completely of the movie Silence Becomes You - it’s absolutely beautiful, confusing yet easy to understand, and intensely creepy. I recommend this book highly.
When Eleanor’s babysitter Bibi moves far away, Eleanor is devastated. Life without her favorite person is hard. Everything Eleanor used to like to do is now unpleasant and sad because it reminds her of Bibi. It’s awful - way worse than pickle juice on a cookie. Things get even worse when Eleanor’s parents hire a NEW babysitter.
Written in verse, this short, charming novel explores loss in a fresh way - no one dies; Bibi has only moved away and still cares very much about Eleanor. Eleanor learns to accept and even come to like her new babysitter, but no one can ever replace Bibi.
Ida Mae Jones dreams of flight. Her daddy was a pilot and being black didn’t stop him from fulfilling his dreams. But her daddy’s gone now, and being a woman, and being black, are two strikes against her. When America enters the war with Germany and Japan, the Army creates the WASP, the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots - and Ida suddenly sees a way to fl y as well as do something significant to help her brother stationed in the Pacific. But even the WASP won’t accept her as a black woman, forcing Ida Mae to make a difficult choice of “passing,” of pretending to be white to be accepted into the program. Hiding one’s racial heritage, denying one’s family, denying one’s self is a heavy burden. And while Ida Mae chases her dream, she must also decide who it is she really wants to be. (Description from GoodReads)
This book was a little slow, but ultimately, this is a great historical fiction novel. I asked a kid I was talking to about this book a week ago whether he thought this was more a book about race, or a book about gender. He said race, but honestly, I feel like this book was far more about gender than it was race. Ida Mae passed so well, and was never caught (which sort of bothered me… the book ended very quickly) that the book focused on gender for me. It’s not a book that I fell off my seat reading with excitement, but I did take it home from work to finish it off the clock, which is pretty rare.
Sixteen-year-old Jack gets drunk and is in the wrong place at the wrong time. He is kidnapped. He escapes, narrowly. The only person he tells is his best friend, Conner. When they arrive in London as planned for summer break, a stranger hands Jack a pair of glasses. Through the lenses, he sees another world called Marbury. There is war in Marbury. It is a desolate and murderous place where Jack is responsible for the survival of two younger boys. Conner is there, too. But he’s trying to kill them. Meanwhile, Jack is falling in love with an English girl, and afraid he’s losing his mind. Conner tells Jack it’s going to be okay. But it’s not. Andrew Smith has written his most beautiful and personal novel yet, as he explores the nightmarish outer limits of what trauma can do to our bodies and our minds. (Description from GoodReads)
This is one of those books that, once you finish it, you need to pick it back up again and re-read in order to find out what the hell just passed through your brain. I haven’t had a chance to re-read this yet. But I can tell you right now, it’s the best psychological novel I have read in a long time. I’m not a huge Michael Grant fan, but his blurb on the front is damned accurate: “Andrew Smith’s the Marbury lens will own you, mind, body and soul. You can’t put it down, but you’ll want to. you’ll want to put it down and away but that is not happening. The Marbury Lens crawls into your head and won’t leave.”
Shark isn’t afraid of anything - and why should he be? He’s a terrifying SHARK!!!
Shark swims about the ocean, reminding all the other sea creatures how scary and terrifyingly awesome he is.
But even terrifyingly awesome sharks can be scared of some things….
Once upon a time, I was a little girl who disappeared. When Alice was ten, Ray took her away from her family, her friends her life. She learned to give up all power, to endure all pain. She waited for the nightmare to be over. (Description from GoodReads) Simultaneously haunting and terrifying, Living Dead Girl is one of those books you wish you hadn’t read, but are sort of oddly glad that you did. It’s beautifully written, for a topic so disturbing and terrifying.
Once upon a time, my name was not Alice.
Once upon a time, I didn’t know how lucky I was.
Now Alice is fifteen and Ray still has her, but he speaks more and more of her death. He does not know it is what she longs for. She does not know he has something more terrifying than death in mind for her.
This is Alice’s story. It is one you have never heard, and one you will never, ever forget.
Once upon a time, I was a little girl who disappeared.
When Alice was ten, Ray took her away from her family, her friends her life. She learned to give up all power, to endure all pain. She waited for the nightmare to be over.
(Description from GoodReads)
Simultaneously haunting and terrifying, Living Dead Girl is one of those books you wish you hadn’t read, but are sort of oddly glad that you did. It’s beautifully written, for a topic so disturbing and terrifying.
Eulah is a square cat who wishes more than anything in the world that she was round like her friends. Then she would be able to have the same kind of fun that the other cats do. Poor Eulah.
Then her friends show her the things that are wonderful about a square cat — all the great things she can do!
It is good to have friends who care.
Doug Swieteck and his lousy older brother just moved to a brand-new town that will be probably just as lousy as the old one - and with less baseball. And, just like in his old town, everyone who’s anyone (teachers, the police, his dad, Lil Spicer down the street) thinks that Doug’s just a skinny good-for-nothing kid who won’t ever amount to anything except for trouble.
Despite Lil and Doug’s initial dislike of each other, they begin to bond nonetheless. In his friendship with Lil, Doug manages to deal with his lousy situation, including his abusive father and older brother just back from Vietnam. Doug also finds solace in the public library’s Audubon bird plates, first tracing the shapes and feathers with his fingers and then learning to draw them, with the help of a kind librarian.
Part laugh-out-loud, part tear-jerker, all American coming of age story, Okay For Now is not one to miss.
Take a jaunt through famous scenes as you search for a goofy walrus. Great for kids & parents alike.
When Alton’s ageing, blind uncle asks him to attend bridge games with him, he agrees. After all, it’s better than a crappy summer job in the local shopping mall, and Alton’s mother thinks it might secure their way to a good inheritance sometime in the future. But, like all apparently casual choices in any of Louis Sachar’s wonderful books, this choice soon turns out to be a lot more complex than Alton could ever have imagined. As his relationship with his uncle develops, and he meets the very attractive Toni, deeply buried secrets are uncovered and a romance that spans decades is finally brought to a conclusion. Alton’s mother is in for a surprise! (Description from GoodReads)
Loved this book, despite knowing absolutely nothing about bridge. The characters were very well fleshed out. Having a picture of a whale before boring bits about bridge (followed by a neat summary of what I missed) was genius. All this said, I won’t be picking up the game. I didn’t expect to really enjoy this book, but I trusted Louis Sachar to steer me well — and I was not disappointed.
Beatrice “Tris” Prior has reached the fateful age of sixteen, the stage at which teenagers in Veronica Roth’s dystopian Chicago must select which of five factions to join for life. Each faction represents a virtue: Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity, and Erudite. To the surprise of herself and her selfless Abnegation family, she chooses Dauntless, the path of courage. Her choice exposes her to the demanding, violent initiation rites of this group, but it also threatens to expose a personal secret that could place in mortal danger. Veronica Roth’s young adult Divergent trilogy launches with a captivating adventure about love and loyalty playing out under most extreme circumstances. (Description from GoodReads)
This wasn’t any different from recent dystopian romances like Wither, Matched, Delirium, Across the Universe… shall I go on? So why did I like it, you ask? Well, being from Chicago, I definitely enjoyed the setting. Ziplining off the Hancock building isn’t something I’d ever do, nor is climbing the Ferris wheel at Navy Pier or jumping out of a moving El train… but then again, I would never have chosen Dauntless. I really really liked Four, and was totally sucked into the descriptions of Tris falling for him. I liked Al, and Christina, and Tris of course. I found myself waiting for something terrible to happen to Four and Tris, that they would be separated, and was quite relieved when they were not.
In conclusion, this book isn’t anything you haven’t read before. But I think it’s worth it.
What do two ferrets named Fudge and Einstein do when they meet a cat who thinks that they would be a perfect snack?
Convince him otherwise, that’s what!
When you’re the janitor’s kid, you don’t have many friends. You don’t have any friends. Andy is no different, but when he hears a rumor that the school outcast, Blake, has a gun in his locker, he decides to make friends with Blake. When the boys do become friends, Andy must choose between protecting his only friend and protecting a school full of kids who could care less about him?
Just Another Hero by Sharon Draper
Shooter by Walter Dean Myers
Jumped by Rita Williams-Garcia
Echo by Kate Morgenroth
Give a Boy a Gun by Todd Strasser
Where the Steps Were by Andrea Cheng
For older readers:
Hate List by Jennifer Brown
Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
Rabbit is SO SO SO happy to see you he can barely stand it. But he isn’t excited for long - soon he is demanding to know where on earth you were and WHY you weren’t with him??
A delicious follow-up to the Scaredy Squirrel series.