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Summer 2009 Reading List & websites for further exploration Intermediate - suggested grade level for each entry: 4–6 The Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall. Life for the four Penderwick sisters is going along as it should…until their father contemplates dating, prompting his panicked daughters to concoct a “Save-Daddy Plan.” The Diamond of Darkhold by Jeanne Duprau. Lina and Doon (first introduced in The City of Ember) return to the underground city to retrieve supplies, but instead encounter hostile new inhabitants. Well Witched by Frances Hardinge. Three children fall under the power of an elemental divinity after stealing coins from a wishing well in this deliciously creepy tale. Heart of a Shepherd by Rosanne Parry. With his four older brothers away at school or in the service and his Army-Reserve father serving an extended tour in Iraq, sixth-grader Ignatius is the only one left to help his grandparents run the family ranch. The Swamps of Sleethe by Jack Prelutsky. With comically creepy illustrations and flawless meter, Prelutsky’s macabre poems introduce readers to planets they’ve never heard of and probably wouldn’t want to visit. King George: What Was His Problem? by Steve Sheinkin, Two Miserable Presidents by Steve Sheinkin. Entertaining histories cover the Revolutionary and Civil wars and include personal, frequently irreverent, accounts of the participants. Best Friends by Jacqueline Wilson, illustrated by Nick Sharratt. When Gemma’s friend Alice moves to Scotland, both girls must find ways to deal with the change and remain “best friends forever” despite the distance. Middle School-suggested grade level for each entry: 6–8 3 Willows: The Sisterhood Grows by Ann Brashares. Ama, Polly, and Jo, who sealed their friendship in third grade by planting trees, begin to reconnect during a challenging summer after drifting apart during middle school. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. After his family is killed by a sinister man named Jack, young Bod is raised in a graveyard, with ghosts as his surrogate parents, and taught otherworldly secrets. Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale. In this graphic novel, Rapunzel escapes from her fabled tower by becoming a gutsy, hair-whip-toting cowgirl, then joins with goose-stealing rapscallion Jack to end her stepmother’s reign of terror. Phenomena: Secrets of the Senses by Donna M. Jackson. In this engaging work of nonfiction, Jackson moves beyond the basics of sensory perception to explore its alluring edges — the place where our fascination with the unseen and the unexplained meets the limits of scientific explanation. One Small Step by P. B. Kerr. NASA asks thirteen-year-old Scott, son of an Air Force flight instructor, to man a pre–Apollo 11, top-secret spaceflight to the moon with a crew of chimponauts. Every Soul a Star by Wendy Mass. In this moving story, three middle-schoolers’ lives intersect at a campground during an eclipse. Hannah’s Winter by Kierin Meehan. Staying with the Maekawa family after she’s dragged to Japan by her mother, twelve-year-old Hannah discovers a ghost — a young boy who needs her help. Nation by Terry Pratchett. In an alternative nineteenth century, a tsunami shipwrecks Ermintrude on a tropical island, where she meets Mau, the only survivor of the island’s nation, and the two forge a poignant friendship. Into the Volcano written and illustrated by Don Wood In this graphic novel, two brothers embark on a seemingly harmless camping/hiking trip on a remote island that quickly turns into a dangerous game of treachery, kidnapping, double-crosses, and spectacular natural perils. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Katniss is drawn to her district’s other representative in the Hunger Games, a compulsory, government-sponsored reality-TV show from which only one of twenty-four teenage contestants will emerge alive. Waiting for Normal by Leslie Connor Longing for the loving family life her younger half-sisters have with her former stepfather, resilient sixth-grader Addie copes with living in a trailer in Schenectady, New York with her neglectful mother. Bodies from the Ice: Melting Glaciers and the Recovery of the Past by James M. Deem In this exploration of the archaeology of glacier science, Deem’s visual presentation engages readers through period newspaper illustrations, paintings, maps and photographs of ice mummies and artifacts from four continents. The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba's Struggle for Freedom by Margarita Engle. Hauntingly beautiful free verse prose breathes life into this finely crafted story that illuminates Cuba’s fight for independence from Spain in the 1800’s. The Way We Work: Getting to Know the Amazing Human Body by David Macaulay. The amazing human body gets an equally amazing treatment for all its systems and functions. Thorough explanations, visual and verbal, offer an inside look of the body’s marvels. Tiger Moon by Antonia Michaelis. A betrayed woman facing death, a most unlikely hero, and a sarcastic talking white tiger in colonial-era India come together in a magical story within a story. This masterfully crafted tale moves seamlessly from reality to fantasy as it reveals the profound power of story. Afghan Dreams: Young Voices of Afghanistan by Tony O’Brien and Mike Sullivan. Young people from various backgrounds around Kabul share their hopes and dreams in this amazing and heart-rending collection of full color photo portraits. Here Lies Arthur by Philip Reeve. Reeve places his Arthur in the Dark Ages of the sixth century where Myrddin embellishes his story by creating a modern spin on this ancient tale that combines wishes, lies, and dreams into the now familiar legend. After Tupac & D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson. Bonded by Tupac’s music, three girls explore the lure of freedom and build a friendship that redefines their own identities.
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