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PowerPoint Presentation - 2006-2007 Virginia Readers' Choice


Virginia Readers’ Choice
          Al Capone Does My Shirts
                                          by: Gennifer Choldenko
   When his father gets a job as an
    electrician at Alcatraz, Moose's
    family moves to the famous prison
    island. Against this vividly evoked
    setting, Moose butts heads with the
    warden's scheming daughter and gets
    help from a surprising source for his
    older sister, who exhibits the
    symptoms of autism (the book is set
    in 1935, before the disease was
    identified). The solid novel concludes
    with a historical note.

   Classifications: Fiction
   Reading Level: 3.5
   Subjects: United States Penitentiary, Alcatraz Island,
    California Fiction.
    Alcatraz Island (Calif.) History Fiction.
    Autism Fiction.
    Family problems Fiction.
    Brothers and sisters Fiction.
    Historical fiction.
                Becoming Naomi Leon
                                            by: Pam Ryan

   Eleven-year-old Naomi's long-absent
    mother shows up at the trailer park
    where Naomi, her brother, and their
    great-grandmother have been happily
    living for the past seven years. With its
    quirky characterizations and folksy
    atmosphere, this engrossing family
    drama resembles a Sharon Creech
    novel on the surface, but it has its own
    uniquely affecting emotional core.

   Classifications: Fiction
   Reading Level: 5.4
   Subjects: Great-grandmothers Fiction.
    Brothers and sisters Fiction.
    Family problems Fiction.
    Mexican Americans Fiction.
    Mexico Fiction.
        Blue Fingers: A Ninja’s Tale
                                         by: Cheryl Whitesel

   In this adventure story set in feudal
    Japan, young Koji is kidnapped by
    ninjas and trained to become one of
    them. Fans of the genre will appreciate
    the action, though the book is slow
    moving at times. A parallel plot, about
    Koji's family, is less smoothly related
    than the intriguing ninja story. A
    historical note is appended.

   Classifications: Fiction
   Reading Level: 5.2
   Subjects: Japan History Period of civil wars,
    1480-1603 Fiction.
    Ninja Fiction.
    Samurai Fiction.
    Historical fiction.
                        Chasing Vermeer
                                            by: Blue Balliett

   Sixth-grade classmates Petra Andalee
    and Calder Pillay are drawn into a
    mysterious claim that some of the
    works attributed to Johannes Vermeer
    were not, in fact, painted by that
    seventeenth-century Dutch artist. The
    protagonists are smart and appealing,
    the prose style is agreeably quirky, and
    fans of puzzle-mysteries will enjoy
    cracking the codes presented within
    the text and hidden in the illustrations.

   Classifications: Fiction
   Reading Level: 5.4
   Subjects: Art Fiction.
    Vermeer, Johannes, 1632-1675 Fiction.
    Mystery and detective stories.
               Last Shot: A Final Four
                                     by: John Feinstein
   As winners of a writing contest,
    eighth-graders Steven Thomas and
    Susan Carol Anderson travel to the
    NCAA Final Four as journalists. In
    addition to meeting college basketball
    celebrities, the two also uncover a plot
    to fix the championship game. As the
    fast-moving mystery takes off, the
    book becomes the reader's own press
    pass to a behind-the-scenes look at the
    Final Four.

   Classifications: Fiction
   Reading Level: 4.8
   Subjects: Journalists Fiction.
    NCAA Basketball Tournament Fiction.
    Basketball Fiction.
    Gambling Fiction.
    Extortion Fiction.
    Mystery and detective stories.
    Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place
                                       by: E.L. Konigsburg

   Margaret Rose Kane spends the
    summer with a pair of great-uncles
    who have devoted their lives to
    building three sculpture towers in their
    backyard. When a local group plans to
    have the structures demolished,
    Margaret Rose rallies a group of
    kindred spirits to save the towers.
    Konigsburg tackles some big themes
    without sacrificing her usual incisive
    characterizations and inventive

   Classifications: Fiction
   Reading Level: 5.5
   Subjects: Social action Fiction.
    Individuality Fiction.
    Uncles Fiction.
    Hungarian Americans Fiction.
    Camps Fiction.
                               Sea Of Trolls
                                          by: Nancy Farmer

   Drawing upon history, Norse and
    Celtic myth, and Farmer's own
    abundant imagination, this story is
    long but engrossing, a cruel tale with
    a merry heart about a Saxon boy and
    what befell him upon his and his
    younger sister's capture by marauding
    Northmen (and, later, trolls). The
    book is effectively sparing in its use
    of fantasy elements, but when Farmer
    pulls out all the stops, she does so
    with aplomb and assurance.

   Classifications: Fiction
   Reading Level: 4.7
   Subjects: Mythology, Norse Fiction.
    Druids and druidism Fiction.
    Vikings Fiction.
    Bards and bardism Fiction.
    Saxons Fiction.
    Brothers and sisters Fiction.
    Trolls Fiction.
                         Teacher’s Funeral
                                            by: Richard Peck

   Within days of his teacher's
    (unlamented) passing, fifteen-year-old
    Russell finds himself an unwilling
    pupil of her replacement: his older
    sister Tansy. Set in 1904 rural Indiana,
    the novel recounts events at the one-
    room Hominy Ridge School in a
    highly comic style, but beneath the
    humor there are clear emotional
    currents that make the final chapter
    particularly moving.

   Classifications: Fiction
   Reading Level: 4.7
   Subjects: Education Fiction.
    Teachers Fiction.
    Country life Indiana Fiction.
    Indiana History 20th century Fiction.
    Humorous stories.
    Historical fiction.
                                        The Trial
                                         by: Jennifer Bryant

   The Bruno Hauptmann trial might not
    seem a likely focus for middle-school
    historical fiction, but Bryant has a
    capable witness in twelve-year-old
    Katie, a nascent journalist. The free-
    verse novel succeeds in drawing
    together the events of the kidnapping
    trial and its attendant media storm with
    Depression-era events and both of
    those with Katie's own life; its picture
    of celebrity and justice offers
    contemporary resonance as well.

   Classifications: Fiction
   Reading Level: 6.1
   Subjects: Lindbergh, Charles A. (Charles
    Augustus), 1902-1974 Trials, litigation, etc.
    Trials (Kidnapping) Fiction.
    Flemington (N.J.) History 20th century Fiction.
    Historical fiction.
                                             by: A.LaFaye

   An accident has almost cost eleven-
    year-old Nate his leg, making him
    useless for farm work. When his father
    brings home an orphan boy to help
    him work their Nebraska homestead,
    the new arrival heightens Nate's
    feelings of frustration, anger, and
    sadness. Each boy wants what the
    other has, and both boys yearn for the
    love of their fathers. This short tale has
    a quietly epic sweep.

   Classifications: Fiction
   Reading Level: 4.5
   Subjects: Frontier and pioneer life Nebraska
    Fathers and sons Fiction.
    Orphans Fiction.
    Nebraska History 19th century Fiction.
    Historical fiction.

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