The Goat

The Goat

By Anne Fleming

Berkeley: Groundwood Books, 2017.

Grades: 5 – 7    Genre: Realistic Fiction   Pages: 154

This is a quirky little book about a so-called goat living on the top of a 12 story building in New York City. This is a series of short stories that is combined into one story about a boy named Kid. Kid came from Toronto with his parents to dog sit, for Cat (short for Catherine the Great) a distant cousin’s dog.

The story is told in short segments by home-schooled and very shy Kid, her friend 61T8RFOslAL._SX337_BO1,204,203,200_Will whose parents died in the Twin Towers on 9/11 and harbors many fears, a man who is recovery from a stroke, a blind skateboarding author and a man with many regrets who might just know something about mountain goats. All these characters come together to tell a humorous and heartfelt story of life—overcoming fears and believing some things are just worth looking for!

Author Website: Anne Fleming

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Positively Izzy

Positively Izzy

By Terri Libenson

New York: Blazer and Bray, 2018.

Grades: 5-7   Genre: Graphic Novel Realistic Fiction

You met Emmie in Libenson first novel, Invisible Emmie—now meet Izzy and her two sisters—Dani in 10th grade and Ashley who is in 6th grade and Izzy’s friend, Brianna. In middle school sometimes you get a label—like jock or nerd but Izzy’s nickname was dreamer and Brianna’s was the brain.  Sometimes you like what label you get and sometimes you don’t. Brianna likes her label and tries to live up to it every day but Izzy’s label not so much—she just always has a hard time focusing in class!  Funny thing about labels, sometimes they restrict you from other adventures one might be missing out on! izzy

One thing Izzy for sure dreams about is acting—she loves to act and she can’t wait to show off her talent in the Middle School Talent Show. Brianna wants nothing to do with the talent show—especially since her mom is the new drama teacher—she also does not want to tarnish her label. Unexpected happenings occur just before the talent show—one girl gets grounded and the other gets “forced” on stage—drama for sure!  

Breakout

Breakout

By Kate Messner

New York: Bloomsbury, 2018.

I love everything that this author writes and Breakout is no exception!  Nora Tucker, is so looking forward to summer break away from her middle school routine.  Swimming, reading and just hanging out with friends top her list. With under two weeks of school left her language arts teacher gives an assignment (for extra credit for next year). Students must submit five items to a Wolf Creek Community Time Capsule that will be opened in fifty years.  Nora is intrigued with Breakoutthis assignment and since she loves journalism she decides that this will help her keep her skills up so that next year she can be editor of the school newspaper.

Wolf Creek is a small community of predominately white families and is home to one of the state’s maximum security prison. Most of the community works or is somehow connected to the prison. Nora’s father runs the prison. Everybody knows everyone in this small community.  During the last two weeks of school a new black family moves into town and Elidee is in the same grade as Nora.  As Nora talks with Elidee she finds out that her brother is in the town’s prison and they moved to Wolf Creek to be closer to her brother so that they could visit and support him as he serves his thirteen year sentence.

During the last week of school everything has been put on hold and the school goes into lockdown as two dangerous prisoners have escaped prison. Road blocks and restrictions in place for weeks as they try to track down the escapees. At first Nora is intrigued as she interviews police, guards and even some national press—then all that Nora believes is turned upside down.  She comes to realize that most families in Wolf Creek are white, most of the guards at the prison are white and most of the prisoners are black and her new friend Elidee gets different treatment than her white friends do in Wolf Creek. Nora is now grappling with racism as she completes her summer assignment.

This books is told from multiple perspectives (poems, articles, interviews, texts) and is great for voice and character development. Loved this book!

Be Prepared

Be Preparedummer

By Vera Brosgol

New York: First Second, 2018.

Grades: 5 -7  Genre: Graphic Novel Realistic Fiction

Please come get me from summer camp—I hate it!  Heard this before? Vera is desperately trying to fit; first at a sleep over birthday party and then at camp. Vera is the girl at the birthday party who made her gift, has a worn out sleeping bag, has no “American Girl like” doll and her Russian background makes her a little naïve. At night they talk about going to all kinds of summer camps for the summer—not Vera as they could never afford that; her mom is just finishing school and dad pays no child support.  But then Vera finds out that her Russian Orthodox Church gives preparedscholarships for a Russian Summer Camp—here students do all the regular camp stuff and polish up their Russian and learn a little more about their home country.

Vera is all in—either that or it hanging out with her little brother all summer. Camp is not any easier—Vera age 9 is put into a tent with two 14 year old girls named Sasha.  The two Sasha have been coming to this camp and bunking together since they were six—and this is just the beginning of a two week sad stay at camp O.P.P.A. When mom comes to pick her up—she informs her that she is done with school and has a job interview out of town and she has enrolled her for 2 more weeks of camp.  Come along with Vera and see if she can ever fit in at camp!

This book is loosely based on the author’s experiences at camp—it will make your heart ache and hopefully make you more accepting of others who are different!

The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl

The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl

By Stacy McAnulty

New York: Random House, 2018.

Grades: 5 and Up

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Meet Lucy Callahan she has acquired servant syndrome! You might ask; what does that mean? At age 8 Lucy was struck by lightning while climbing on a wire fence during a thunderstorm, she was rendered unconscious and her heart stopped for about 5 minutes until a maintenance man used a defibrillator to bring her back to life. After that day Lucy, known as “Lightning Girl,” can solve almost any math lightningproblem, even college math problems because a part of her brain became damaged. Amazing right? This condition exists in real life—although very rare.

Fast forward 4 years—Lucy is now 12, is home schooled, has scored a perfect score on her SAT’s and has taken many college math courses and is now trying to go to seventh grade in a public school! Which would be all well and good except Lucy also has obsessive-compulsive disorder. She knows that she could keep her genius math skills a secret but there was no hiding of her compulsions—the need to sit stand 3 times before actually standing, taping of her feet, the compulsion to sanitize everything she touches.

Follow this heartwarming story of a young girl who can calculate anything except the probability of friendships and hardships of middle school!  I loved this book even though it has a dog in it!  LOL

Sparrow

Sparrow

By Sarah Moon

New York: Scholastic, 2017.

sparrowGenre: Realistic Fiction

Grades: 7 and Up –has some language issues deals with suicidal ideation.

This story opens with Sparrow in mental ward/psychiatric ward. She was taken by ambulance when she was found on the roof of the school.  Sparrow says that she wasn’t trying to commit suicide but no one believes her. Sparrow’s mom checks her out of the hospital and sets appointments with Dr. Katz.

This is Sparrow’s story of being different, being very shy, and being bullied at school. The story takes you along her path of recovery, finding herself and reconnecting with her mom.

The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl

The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl

By Stacy McAnulty

New York: Random House, 2018.

Grades: 5 and Up

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Meet Lucy Callahan she has acquired servant syndrome! You might ask; what does that mean? At age 8 Lucy was struck by lightning while climbing on a wire fence during a thunderstorm, she was rendered unconscious and her heart stopped for about 5 minutes until a maintenance man used a defibrillator to bring her back to life. After that day lightningLucy, known as “Lightning Girl,” can solve almost any math problem, even college math problems because a part of her brain became damaged. Amazing right? This condition exists in real life—although very rare.

Fast forward 4 years—Lucy is now 12, is homeschooled, has scored a perfect score on her SAT’s and has taken many college math courses and is now trying to go to seventh grade in a public school! Which would be all well and good except Lucy also has obsessive-compulsive disorder. She knows that she could keep her genius math skills a secret but there was no hiding of her compulsions—the need to sit stand 3 times before actually standing, taping of her feet, the compulsion to sanitize everything she touches.

Follow this heartwarming story of a young girl who can calculate anything except the probability of friendships and hardships of middle school!  I loved this book even though it has a dog in it!  LOL

All Summer Long

All Summer Long by Hope Larson

New York: Farrar Straus Giorux, 2018.

Genre: Graphic Novel—Realistic Fiction

Perhaps this books should have been titled Long Summer, as thirteen year old Bina is off for the summer but her best friend from birth and who lives next door, is going away to camp for the summer—Austin.  Austin and Bina have been  summerinseparable every summer—they even have “summer fun cards” to prove it.  This summer is different, Austin has been acting strange and Bina struggling through boredom and trying tange and white/black. 

Grades: 6 to 8.

Author Facebook: https://twitter.com/hopelarson

 

The Lifters

By Dave

Not If I Save You First

Not If I Save You First

By Ally Carter

New York: Scholastic, 2018.

Grades: 6 an Up

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Maddie and Logan were unlikely best friends. They became friends when Logan’s dad became President and Maddie’s dad head of the President’s security detail. Both kids were restricted from most activities but not from each other and so by age ten they were best friends. They believed they would be best friends for life—until one night Russians attempted to kidnap the First Lady. Both Maddie’s dad and Logan were injured that night. The next thing Maddie knows, dad retires and they go off grid to Alaska. Maddie continues to write Logan—almost every day (for 6 years) but to her dismay no letters—now she loathes him.Save

Out of the blue who drops in with daddy one cold evening? You guessed it—Logan.  Camped outside is secret service. Maddie heads off in the morning with instructions from her dad “not to be soft” with the President’s son.  So they head off to cut some wood when someone throws Maddie over a ridge and Logan is handcuffed and taken away. Only the kidnapper did not realize just how tough Maddie was and  what kind of survival skills she had. Maddie has a fleeting thought—why should I care about what happens to Logan??

This mystery will keep you on the edge of your seat—another great read by Ally Carter.

The Stars Beneath Our Feet

The Stars Beneath Our Feet

New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2017.

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Grades: 6/7 and Up.  Students need to be mature enough to deal with the language in this book. 

Where you grow up does not determine who you become but your future is determined by the people who come in and out of your life, that touch you in a way that shapes and influences your decisions. I did like this book a lot! This book is jammed packed with issues of today—gang violence, having two moms, autism, police disconnect, gun Starsviolence, drugs and murder of a sibling. It also deals with strong friendships, importance of family relationships, school counselors, being different, and Legos!

For Wallace losing his older brother to gang violence was devastating especially when the week before he died they weren’t speaking to one another. Lolly, as he was known was looking for a way to deal with his life and loss and found a way to express himself through building and creating with Legos. 

A great redeeming story! It is both hard and soft!

Author Website:David Barclay Moore