Summer Book Club Choices Snicker Magic by Natalie Lloyd Fantasy – 4.7 Midnight Gulch used to be a magical place, a town where people could sing up thunderstorms and dance up sunflowers. But that was long ago, before a curse drove the magic away. Twelve-year-old Felicity knows all about things like that; her nomadic mother is cursed with a wandering heart. But when she arrives in Midnight Gulch, Felicity thinks her luck's about to change. A "word collector," Felicity sees words everywhere---shining above strangers, tucked into church eves, and tangled up her dog's floppy ears---but Midnight Gulch is the first place she's ever seen the word "home." And then there's Jonah, a mysterious, spiky-haired do-gooder who shimmers with words Felicity's never seen before, words that make Felicity's heart beat a little faster.
Ranger’s Apprentice: The Ruins of Golan by John Flanagan Fantasy/Fiction – 5.9 He had always wanted to be a warrior. The Rangers, with their dark cloaks and shadowy ways, made him nervous. The villagers believe the Rangers practice magic that makes them invisible to ordinary people. And now fifteen year-old Will, always small for his age, has been chosen as a Ranger's apprentice. What he doesn't realize yet is that the Rangers are the protectors of the kingdom. Highly trained in the skills of battle and surveillance, they fight the battles before the battles reach the people. And as Will is about to learn, there is a large battle brewing. The exiled Morgarath, Lord of the Mountains of Rain and Night, is gathering his forces for an attack on the kingdom. This time, he will not be denied….
Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff Realistic Fiction/Friendship – 4.7 Albie has never been the smartest kid in his class. He has never been the tallest. Or the best at gym. Or the greatest artist. Or the most musical. In fact, Albie has a long list of the things he's not very good at. But then Albie gets a new babysitter, Calista, who helps him figure out all of the things he is good at and how he can take pride in himself.
Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt Realistic Fiction/Multiple Intelligences – 3.7 “Everybody is smart in different ways. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its life believing it is stupid.” Ally has been smart enough to fool a lot of smart people. Every time she lands in a new school, she is able to hide her inability to read by creating clever yet disruptive distractions. She is afraid to ask for help; after all, how can you cure dumb? However, her newest teacher Mr. Daniels sees the bright, creative kid underneath the trouble maker. With his help, Ally learns not to be so hard on herself and that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of. As her confidence grows, Ally feels free to be herself and the world starts opening up with possibilities. She discovers that there’s a lot more to her—and to everyone—than a label, and that great minds don’t always think alike.
Home Run by Tim Green Contemporary/Realistic Fiction – 4.6 Josh’s life has just fallen apart. His father won’t be coaching the travel baseball team. Instead, he is moving from the family’s Syracuse home to Florida, forcing Josh to leave not only his mom and baby sister, but his two best friends Jaden and Benji. But when Josh learns that his mom is going to lose their house, things go from bad to worse. Josh goes back to Syracuse only to find himself in a small apartment on the wrong side of town. And even though he is still able to play on the travel baseball team, the new coach is a drill sergeant, pushing Jaden and Benji to the brink. Josh is in a bad way and feels there is no way out. But then Benji tells him about he homerun derby where the winner gets a brand new house. Will they win or loose everything?
Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate Realistic Fiction – 3.8 Jackson and his family have fallen on hard times. There's no more money for rent. And not much for food, either. His parents, his little sister, and their dog may have to live in their minivan. Again. Crenshaw is a cat. He's large, he's outspoken, and he's imaginary. He has come back into Jackson's life to help him. But is an imaginary friend enough to save this family from losing everything? Beloved author Katherine Applegate proves in unexpected ways that friends matter, whether real or imaginary.
Lincoln’s Grave Robbers by Steve Sheinkin Non-Fiction – 6.6 The action begins in October of 1875, as Secret Service agents raid the Fulton, Illinois, workshop of master counterfeiter Ben Boyd. Soon after Boyd is hauled off to prison, members of his counterfeiting ring gather in the back room of a smoky Chicago saloon to discuss how to spring their ringleader. Their plan: grab Lincoln's body from its Springfield tomb, stash it in the sand dunes near Lake Michigan, and demand, as a ransom, the release of Ben Boyd --and $200,000 in cash. From here, the action alternates between the conspirators, the Secret Service agents on their trail, and the undercover agent moving back and forth between the two groups. Along the way readers get glimpses into the inner workings of counterfeiting, grave robbing, detective work, and the early days of the Secret Service. The plot moves toward a wild climax as robbers and lawmen converge at Lincoln's tomb on election night: November 7, 1876.
The Boy on a Wooden Box by Leon Leyson Autobiography – 7.0 Leon Leyson (born Leib Lezjon) was only ten years old when the Nazis invaded Poland and his family was forced to relocate to the Krakow ghetto. With incredible luck, perseverance, and grit, Leyson was able to survive the sadism of the Nazis, including that of the demonic Amon Goeth, commandant of Plaszow, the concentration camp outside Krakow. Ultimately, it was the generosity and cunning of one man, a man named Oskar Schindler, who saved Leon Leyson’s life, and the lives of his mother, his father, and two of his four siblings, by adding their names to his list of workers in his factory—a list that became world renowned: Schindler’s List.
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson Non-Fiction/Poetry – 5.3 Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become.
Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein Fiction – 4.5 Kyle Keeley is the class clown, popular with most kids, (if not the teachers), and an ardent fan of all games: board games, word games, and particularly video games. His hero, Luigi Lemoncello, the most notorious and creative gamemaker in the world, just so happens to be the genius behind the building of the new town library. Lucky Kyle wins a coveted spot to be one of the first 12 kids in the library for an overnight of fun, food, and lots and lots of games. But when morning comes, the doors remain locked. Kyle and the other winners must solve every clue and every secret puzzle to find the hidden escape route. And the stakes are very high.
Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty Mystery/Adventure – 5.9 Twelve-year-old Serafina, who lives in the boiler room in the basement of the wealthy Biltmore estate with her pa, longs to know the truth about her life: What happened to her mother, why she must stay hidden away, and whether -- with only eight toes and unusual golden eyes -- she isn't fully human. At night, Serafina stealthily walks about the mansion, borrowing books from the immense library and, as a self-appointed "Chief Rat Catcher," traps rats that roam the mansion. One night, she sees a mysterious and foul-smelling man in a black cloak abducting a child and making her vanish. Serafina, along with the Biltmore's owners' nephew Braeden, sets out to solve the mystery of the man -- and uncovers the truth of her own past in the process.
Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar Contemporary Fiction Fifth-grader Tamaya has always been a good kid. When her chaperone for the walk home from school, seventh-grader Marshall, takes a shortcut through the fenced-off woods, Tamaya reluctantly follows. Marshall hopes to avoid a fight with Chad, but the bully tracks them down. Tamaya, to her surprise, hurls a handful of fuzzy mud at his face, and he stumbles off. She and Marshall soon find their way home, but something has changed: Tamaya's hand feels tingly and develops a rash. The next day, Chad is missing, the rash is worse, and soon Tamaya realizes that something far more sinister is at work than a schoolyard bully.
A Night Divided by Jennifer A. Nielsen Historical Fiction – 5.4 Gerta's father and brother Dominique have just left East Berlin amid growing unrest to seek an apartment in the West, when the Berlin Wall is erected over the weekend. Now divided, with increasing suspicions about each family member's activities and neighbors and friends who can no longer be trusted, Greta, her mother, and her other brother Fritz must keep theirs heads down while they plot the best way to reunite their family, all the while debating the very notion of what it means to be truly free.
The Eighth Day by Dianne K. Salerni Fantasy – 5.2 Ever since Jax's father died and left him with Riley -- a boy barely out of high school who barely remembers to pay the electric bill -- Jax has been angry and confused. Why can't he live with his cousin? He doesn't even like Riley. Then Jax turns 13, and his confusion multiplies. He wakes up one morning and the whole town is deserted. Just gone. He rides around in a panic, breaks into Walmart for emergency supplies, and stacks them in his closet. Then the next day he wakes up and the world's going on again like nothing ever happened. A week later it happens again, but this time he runs into Riley, who has some serious explaining to do. Riley tells him he's a Transitioner like him: those descended from knights and magicians in King Arthur's time who live one extra day between Wednesday and Thursday. Some people transition from both realms, while some descendants of evil magicians live in the eighth day permanently. Jax has so many more questions, but Riley remains secretive. He's determined to train him just enough and send him to his cousin's house; too much information is dangerous. But each Transitioner has a family gift, and Jax is an inquisitor. He quickly learns about the secret prisoner next door and Riley's true identity. He also learns that there are others out there who want to use his gifts, and suddenly his curiosity puts him in serious danger.
Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman Mystery Twelve-year-old Emily is used to moving around; her parents are on a mission to eventually live in all 50 states. But when she moves to San Francisco, she's particularly thrilled because it's the home of her favorite author, Garrison Griswold, the creator of Book Scavenger, a game that involves hiding books, finding clues, and tracking them down for points and bragging rights. The trouble is, Griswold has been shot, and a rare book in his possession has been lost. Emily gets her hands on it, but she still has to crack the code before the thieves who attacked Griswold do it first.
Booked by Kwame Alexander Realistic Fiction/Verse – sports This novel in verse tells the story of Nick, who has on his mind what every middle school soccer lover does: soccer, playing soccer video games, avoiding school assignments, and more soccer. Just as his plans for a fantastic soccer season are getting started, he learns his parents are getting a divorce. Navigating middle school gets even harder when Nick's bullies come back to school, his best friend has to play on another team, and his favorite rapping librarian keeps trying to get him to read all kinds of dumb books. Will Nick ever get his plan to become a world soccer star back on track?
El Deafo by Cece Bell Autobiography - 2.7 A bout with meningitis at age 4 leaves Cece with impaired hearing. As she goes off to first grade, she wears the Phonic Ear, a giant hearing aid strapped to her chest. Although she can understand some conversations, she still misses a lot of what's being said by those around her. She wants nothing more than to have a best friend, but can the Phonic Ear provide a way to find one?
*Required Novel for all Rising 5th Graders Number the Stars by Lois Lowry Historical Fiction – 4.5 As German troops begin their campaign to "relocate" all the Jews of Denmark, 10- year-old Annemarie Johansen's family takes in Annemarie's best friend, Ellen Rosen, and conceals her by pretending she's part of the family. Then, through Annemarie's eyes, readers watch as the Danish Resistance smuggles almost the entire Jewish population of Denmark — nearly 7,000 people — across the sea to Sweden.