Looking for some good books to read? Why not check out what the Blue Duke himself is reading? That's right. The Blue Duke has his own reading blog. Read about the books and then get to the library to "check them out!"
Lewis, J. Patrick.
New York : Schwartz Wade, 2014
Two of children’s poetry’s most prolific and entertaining writers pair up to bring you a collection of wild and wonderful poems about cars. But you won’t see these cars on the highway! The poets and illustrator Jeremy Holmes have created a fantastical world full of imaginary automobiles like the bathtub car, the banana split car and the eel-ectric car. Filled with word play, rollicking rhymes and illustrations that are even wackier than the poems that inspired them, this book is impossible to read only once! (Booktalk by Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice Award Committee)
FOOTER DAVIS MIGHT BE PROBABLY IS CRAZY
New York : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2015
IL 5-8, RL 5.4
Footer Davis' mother just "ain't right". That's what they all say. Actually, she has bipolar disorder. When she is sent to a mental hospital, Footer misses her so much. To distract herself from thinking about her mother, Footer and her best friend Peavine Jones set out to investigate the disappearance of two children. Both girls take the investigation seriously and want to find out what happened. But Footer begins to have hallucinations and worries that she is going crazy just like her mother.
LOOT : HOW TO STEAL A FORTUNE
New York : Scholastic, 2014
IL 5-8, RL 4.2
Advice from Alfie McQuin to his son, March:
*Never trust a guy who says “trust me”.
*If you think nothing can go wrong---you’d better think again.
*Panic doesn’t get you anything but arrested.
March McQuin has led an “interesting” life so far. Being raised by his widowed dad, who also happens to be an international jewel thief, has resulted in many moves to many countries and countless transfers from one school to another. Through it all, though, they’ve always had each other, and Alfie has passed on his wisdom as well as “homeschooling” March in the art of burglary.
But Alfie’s latest heist has gone terribly wrong. Now March is on his own, and he’s being followed. He’s going to need all of the skills and wisdom his father gave him just to survive, let alone to solve the mystery of Alfie’s last request---“Find jewels…”
What jewels? Or, maybe, who is Jules? March will find friends and allies where he least expects them, but there are enemies out there, too. And they’re all trying to be first to find….the loot.
This high-speed adventure will have you hooked from the first chapter to the last. (Booktalk by the NH Great Stone Face Committee)
HALF A CHANCE
New York : Scholastic, 2014
IL 3-6, RL 4.3
When you take pictures do you just point and shoot? Do you frame your picture? Do you consider the “story” the photo will tell?
Lucy’s family has just moved into a year round home on a lake in New Hampshire, her third move in her twelve years. Lucy’s Dad, a famous photographer, never stays in one place too long, and truth to tell he will be taking off within a day for a summer long assignment in Arizona leaving Lucy and her Mom to sort out the move and settle into this new life. Even before unpacking her first box Lucy is driven to grab her own camera and, with her dog Ansel (after Ansel Adams), “capture a first New Hampshire photo, so that in time she will feel the relief and comfort of looking back at this first one and remember how brave and scary everything was then, and realize she ‘made it’ once again. Like creating a memory in reverse.”
Memory and photography intertwine in the telling of this story.
Very quickly, Lucy meets Nate, the boy next door, and his family who are summer residents in the cottage owned by his Grandma Lilah. Grandma Lilah is passionate about participating with the Loon Preservation Society’s annual egg count and hatchings. However, she can no longer manage daily kayaking to the loon nesting island and enlists the help of Nate, his sister, and “Lucy of the Loons” as she dubs Lucy on her first venture. Sometimes another neighbor Megan, who sees Lucy as a rival, participates as well. As you will discover, Grandma Lilah is having more trouble managing other things as well this summer.
Through a desire to help Grandma Lilah and a secret longing to have her photography skills measure up to her father’s highly demanding standards, Lucy, with Nate’s interest and help, work to gather samples for a Photo Scavenger Hunt run by a magazine, nine photos reflecting a creative approach to nine words or phrases. Ethical issues arise when Lucy has to enter the contest under Nate’s name since her father is one of the contest judges. But even more difficult ethical, friendship, and creative choice issues arise over the use or non-use of a particular photo of Grandma Lilah that “reveals a story, show me why I care?” but one that Nate cares too much to want to see.
(Kathleen Fencil, NH Great Stone Face Committee, 2015)
Hunt, Lynda Mullaly.
FISH IN A TREE
New York : Nancy Paulsen, 2015
IL 5-8, RL 4.2
Ally Nickerson spends a lot of time in the Principal’s office. She does not always understand what she did wrong to get there. She has also had to move a lot, seven schools in her twelve years. Her father is in the military and is currently deployed overseas.
Ally demonstrates unique brightness and interesting drawing capabilities as she doodles in her “Sketchbook of Impossible Things,” but at other times her good intentions lead to disastrous consequences, all because she cannot tell the absolute truth, not to her principal, not to her teacher, not to her Mom, not to her friends. Ally still cannot read, no matter how hard she tries. And she does try, but reading for Ally is “still like trying to make sense of a can of alphabet soup that’s been dumped on a plate. She just doesn’t get how other people do it. Ally Nickerson + reading = Impossible!
To say that Ally stands out is stating the obvious, but she is not totally alone. She develops friendships with a couple of other class misfits; “Tell–it-like-it-is Keisha and science and fact obsessed Albert who wears the same “Flint” shirt to school everyday and is often seen with mysterious bruises.
In the course of their school year they get a new teacher, Mr. Daniels who sees the child first, before the student. There are heroes in this book and they are not only the adults.
This book is a “Silver Dollar” read.
The Fish in a Tree title comes from a quote often misappropriated to Albert Einstein;
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
The truth of a quote has nothing to do with who it came from, but it would be fine and fitting had it been Einstein.
(Kathleen Fencil, NH Great Stone Face Committee)
New York : HarperCollins, 2014
IL 3-6, RL 5.5
Rye O’Chanter and her best friends Quinn and Folly know well the history of Village Drowning, a village said to be “built on a foundation of secrets, rules, and lies but mostly just mud.” The children have heard tell of the hideous Bog Noblins–creatures who wear human feet as necklaces–and the bands of lawless men known as Luck Uglies, both thought to be long-gone from the village. But when Rye herself has a horrible encounter with a Bog Noblin late one night and a mysterious cloaked and tattooed man appears in the village, Rye and her friends learn that things aren’t always what they seem and what becomes history isn’t always true.
The author creates a multi-layered, rich world inhabited by characters that sparkle with life and practically leap from the pages. Readers will be thrilled to know that this engrossing fantasy is the first book of a series. (Booktalk by the NH Great Stone Face Committee)
Hahn, Mary Downing.
WHERE I BELONG
New York : Clarion, 2014
IL 5-8, RL 5.3
“If only I had someplace to go besides home. A safe place where I’d belong and nobody would call me names or beat me up or laugh at me. No school. No teachers. No mean kids. No Mrs. Clancy. Just me, Brendan Doyle”. (p. 13, Where I Belong)
No one is nice to sixth-grader Brendan Doyle: his foster mother, his teachers, his classmates, and especially the teens who bully him. He escapes in books, drawing, carving, and daydreaming. When Brendan meets an old man near his treehouse in the Virginia woods, he believes that this is the Green Man, the magical spirit guardian of the forest. Brendan builds a treehouse and retreats into his fantasy world. With the help of another new friend, a girl named Shea with secrets of her own, Brendan just might find a place where he belongs. (Booktalk by the NH Great Stone Face Committee)