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					WHALES ON STILTS! M.T. Anderson Kids. I must warn you about a very serious event that is facing the world – whales on stilts. What? Why are you laughing? Listen. When you put together a boy technonaut, the slayer of Horror Hollow, and an ordinary girl things are bound to happen. And this time, the thing that happens is whales on stilts. Oh. And they also have laser beam eyes. So, as you can see, this is no laughing matter. There’s also this crazy madman who wears a paper bag over his head. I don’t think you really understand how serious this book is. I’m going to read you a selection: Page 19 until end of chapter. There you have it. It’s got danger, adventure, cranky whales and even a couple of zombies. Whales on Stilts, a seriously thrilling tale.

WHALES ON STILTS! M.T. Anderson Finding out her Dad worked for a Mad Scientist was the last thing Lily Gefelty expected to find out when she went to work with him on Career Day. But what else could he be doing working in that Abandoned Warehouse. Her Dad doesn’t buy her theory, after all if his boss Larry wants to be a half-human, half whale mutant, Lily’s Dad doesn’t think that’s anybody’s business but Larry’s own. Fortunately, although Lily considers herself to be a short, boring and quiet girl, she has some very interesting best friends. With the help of Katie Mulligan, heroine of the Horror Hollows book series, and Jasper Dash, Boy Technonaut, they will stop Larry’s world take-over. All that is standing in their way is an army of full size whales walking around on stilts, with a few accessories: like spray bottles that keep them wet, laser implants in their eyes, and mind controlling antenna’s on their heads.

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Shakespeare’s Secret Elise Broach Hero Netherfield hates that her parents named her after a character from a Shakespeare play. She also hates that she has to be the new girl in school, again! (Start reading from the top of page 24: “Oh hello……..” to midway down pg. 25 ending with “she would always be the girl named after the dog”. But things start to turn around for Hero when she finds out from her elderly neighbor Mrs. Roth that the million dollar Murphy diamond may be hidden in Hero’s house. In her quest to solve the mystery of the Murphy diamond, Hero teams up with an unlikely partner: Danny Cordova the most popular boy in school. Will Hero find the Murphy diamond? Will being friends with Danny help her make friends at school? Read Shakespeare’s Secret to find out!

Shakespeare’s Secret Elise Broach This book is about Hero. What were her parents thinking of, naming a girl Hero. Her family has moved around a lot and this year she is going to yet another new school. She is worried about making friends. The first day at her new school she is introduced to the class and another child blurts out “Hero? Hey that’s my dog’s name! This leads to a full day of dog jokes “down girl”” roll over” She had never wanted to go home so badly in her whole life! But, things are not all bad. Miss Roth her next door neighbor is really friendly. Then there is Danny Cordova who is really nice to her. Does he want to be friends? Or is he just interested in solving the mystery. Did I mention there could be a million dollar diamond hidden in Hero’s house? Do they find the diamond? Does she live down the dog jokes? Does she make any friends? And why did her parents name her Hero? Read Shakespeare’s Secret to find out!

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Double Identity Margaret Peterson Haddix Everybody’s parents are a little overprotective, but Bethany’s have been smothering her from the day she was born. That’s why it is so peculiar when they suddenly decide to abandon her with a complete stranger in the middle of the night just before her thirteenth birthday. That is only the beginning of the weirdness, though. This stranger, who claims to be her aunt, seems to know everything about Bethany, even her favorite foods. Mysterious calls from her parents and strangers in town acting like they have seen a ghost when they meet her don’t help matters either. Slowly the secrets of her past begin to emerge. Who is Elizabeth, and why does everybody think Bethany looks exactly like her? What happened to her parents before she was born that made them so sad and scared of everything? Why are they running now, are they still in danger? Is she? Read Double Identity by Margaret Peterson Haddix to find out.

Double Identity Margaret Peterson Haddix Thirteen year old Bethany’s parents have always been overprotective, but when they suddenly drop out of sight, leaving her with an aunt she never knew existed Bethany begins to ask questions. Why has her mother been crying so much, and why is her father watching every move she makes? Why have her parents suddenly dropped out of sight? Even when she calls them on her cell phone to beg them to come back, all she gets are, “This number is out of service” messages. Then there are more questions: Why do people act like they’ve seen a ghost when they meet Bethany? Why does her aunt seem so uncomfortable around her and who is that strange man stalking her? Bethany uncovers shocking secrets that have been kept from her and when the truth is revealed it’s astonishing and devastating.

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PRINCESS ACADEMY Shannon Hale
What do you think it takes to be a princess? That thought never crossed the minds of the girls living on Mount Eskel until they heard that their small village is the home of the future princess. Most of girls thought they would work in the Linder stone quarries like their ancestors. Miri, is 14 years old and sent along with the other teenage girls to an academy set up by the king’s ministers, to educate them for royal life. The school is cold and isolated. The school mistress, Olana is cruel and demanding. She begins the term with “…the king and his ministers are quite uneasy about marrying the prince to an unpolished girl from an outlying territory. Therefore the king granted me the solemn responsibility to verify that every girl sent to the ball is fit to become the princess. If any of you fail to learn the basic lessons I teach you this year, you will not attend, you will not meet the prince, and you will return to your village disgraced.” Just a little pressure for these girls! The people of Mount Eskel use a kind of telepathy to communicate with one another in the quarry. While at the Princess Academy Miri learns that the “quarry-speech” works by sharing memories through the rock of the mountain itself and can be used to communicate warnings or instructions in the quarry. When the time comes for the oral test the girls must pass in order to attend the ball with the prince, Miri notices Gerti struggling to answer a question, and she finds “quarry-speech” is a way to convey the answer. In this story we have girls, a school mistress, family bonds and bandits. The girls develop friendships and eventually a trust of one another after bandits appear at the school. Will the bandits kidnap the future princess? Who will be the future princess?

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Princess Academy Shannon Hale
This is the story of 14 year old Miri who lives in a small village on Mount Eskel. In this village, when a child turns 8, they start to help the family in the quarries mine for Linder, which is the stone that is their livelihood. All Miri wants, is to help her family, but for some reason, her father forbids her to work at the mines, and she feels worthless that she is not allowed to do what other children do. One day, the priests of the kingdom predict that the future princess of the kingdom will come from Mount Eskel. To prepare for this, any girl from the age or 12 to 17 will have to leave home and attend a school where they will be taught to be a princess. At the end of the year, the prince himself will come to the academy and choose his bride. At first Miri doesn’t want to go. She does not want to leave her family, and her sister is too old to attend the academy with her. But once Miri gets to the Academy she discovers there are things that she likes about it. She learns to read, and she is excited about the opportunities that being a princess will provide. One day, she discovers something. Something special that only the people from Mount Eskel can do. When danger comes to the academy, that something else may be needed to save them all…
(Heavy pause…..Snap book shut and encourage children to read the book to find out the rest)

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The Day Joanie Frankenhauser Became A Boy Francess Lin Lantz Joanie’s mom wants her to act more “like a girl,” but who can play basketball in a skirt and cute plastic sandals? When tomboy Joanie moves to a new school, her new teacher mistakes her name as John, she makes a splitsecond decision during roll call to pose as a boy. Suddenly—happily—she is accepted at recess basketball games instead of standing on the sidelines. she jumps at the chance to reinvent herself. But how long can she keep pretending? And even if she could keep her identity secret, would she want to? However, it doesn't turn out to be as free and fun as she'd assumed it would be. Boys, too, have social pressures. Joanie witnesses several instances of cheating and cruelty, and must ultimately decide whether to "go along with the boys" or stand up for herself and reveal her true identity. A thought-provoking novel about friendship and self-discovery.

The Day Joanie Frankenhauser Became A Boy Francess Lin Lantz 10 year old Joanie Frankenhauser is a tomboy. None of that “girlie stuff” for her – Thanks anyway. Give her football and basketball and all the other things that boys get to do – JUST BECAUSE THEY ARE BOYS! When Joanies’ family moves and she has to attend a new school, she gets the chance of a lifetime! During roll call, the teacher calls out JOHN Frankenhauser instead Of Joanie, and she seizes her big opportunity – JOANIE FRANKENHAUSER IS A BOY! Read Pg. 89-“Everyone turns to Mom. She hasn’t said a word through all of this. What’s she thinking? I can’t exactly see her cleaning up Amigo’s poop. She doesn’t even like vacuuming up his hair.” Read Pg. 91- “It’s my fourth day as a boy, and I’m getting used to it. I hardly ever have to remind myself to slouch or burp or keep my voice low and even. It’s all pretty much second nature now. “ Can she fool them all? Will she be found out and if she is, what will happen to her? What will happen if she gets found out, and even more importantly, how will she handle going to the bathroom? To find out –read The Day Joanie Frankenhauser Became a Boy.

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A Dog's Life Ann M. Martin What if one day your Mom didn't come home? What if you lost your home and only brother? How would you find food and shelter? And a friend? This is what happened to Squirrel. She will tell you in her own words about the kind and the cruel humans she met, the dangers and struggles along the way as a stray dog. Until one day she makes two friends ....changing her life forever. Read “A dog's life”

A Dog’s Life Ann M. Martin
“We were born in the wheelbarrow, Bone and I. Mother ... managed to climb into it early that first morning, having decided that it was an ideal nest for her puppies. Mother gave birth to five puppies, but only Bone and I survived. Two of the puppies were born dead, and a third lived for less than an hour… Bone and I were strong, though. We nuzzled into Mother and nursed from her … And when, after our first night, Mother saw that Bone and I were still strong and active and eating well, she gave us our names. She chose, as mother dogs do, names of things that are important to her. So I was known as Squirrel, and my brother was known as Bone. My earliest memories are of warmth, comfort, and food…” (pgs 11-12) My life would not always be like this… Squirrel is not like most dogs. At first she has companions on her journey – her mother and her brother, Bone. But when they’re separated, Squirrel must experience the world in a different way. As a stray, she must make her own way, facing busy highways, changing seasons, and humans who can be both friendly and cruel. It’s a hard life for a dog… until Squirrel makes two friends who will change her life forever. This is Squirrel’s story, told in her own words. It is a story no reader will ever forget.

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The Scarecrow and His Servant Phillip Pullman What would you do if a scarecrow came to life and asked you for your help? And then, promised you a life filled with adventure? If you’re an orphan like Jack, who doesn’t even have a home and is hungry most the time, you’d say yes. Jack and the scarecrow set off on their adventure to stake their claim on Spring Valley, the scarecrow’s home. Along the way, they encounter battles, brigands, broken hearts, and a ship-wreck at sea. More danger threatens them as they are pursued by the crooked Buffaloni family who desperately wish this spirited scarecrow had never sprung to life! Will Jack and Scarecrow be able to survive by only their wits?

The Scarecrow and His Servant Phillip Pullman Mr. Pandolfo has a world of troubles he can’t do anything about; he’s getting older, his rheumatism is acting up, his pet raven flew away, there are soldiers causing havoc in the countryside, and then there is the trouble of Mr. Pandolfo’s cousins, the all-powerful Buffalonis. Like vultures in the wings they are waiting for him to die so they can acquire his idyllic estate of Spring Valley and transform it into yet another chemical factory. None of this is Mr. Pandolfo’s control, but he does have one trouble he can do something about: those pesky birds out in the field stealing his crops. So Mr. Pandolfo builds a scarecrow, stuffs it with something special, and sets it up in the field to frighten off the birds. Well admired, the fine scarecrow is stolen and stolen again, each act of thievery moving it further and further away from Spring Valley. Then in one of those strange situations where all circumstances align just right for something remarkable to happen, lightening strikes the scarecrow and it comes to life. Spurred on by its pea sized brain and an inner conviction that it is destined for great things, the noble but confused Scarecrow leads his acquired servant Jack into a fairy tale like world full of troubles of their own in a quest to find Spring Valley whilst evading the looming threat of the Buffalonis.

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Listening for Lions Gloria Whelan
Have you ever thought what it would be like to be an orphan? How many of you have heard about a “flu epidemic” or SARS? – did you know that there was already a flu epidemic? The “Great Flu Epidemic” struck in 1919 and millions of people died. That is how Rachel Sheridan became an orphan all in the blink of an eye. Think about how helpless you would be if both your parents died and you had no other relatives. Now imagine how it would be if nobody cared what happened to you and your parent’s employers were the only ones who knew you existed. Rachel was that child – Rachel was left in the middle of Africa at an empty Mission Hospital, abandoned when her parents died. No one cared about Rachel but her African friends, who could not help her. Then, she was snatched up by a pair of unscrupulous neighbours and sent back to England. There they hoped to use her to cheat an old man of his fortune by pretending to she was his granddaughter. Find out how Rachel uses honesty and innocence to outwit this pair- and along the way finds an adopted Grandfather and a life filled with love, happiness and wealth. Read how Rachel is given everything she needs to fulfill her dream of going home to the place she belongs.

LISTENING FOR LIONS Gloria Whelan
Africa was once the only home I knew. The sounds of the lions in the distance comforted me. I grew up in a mission where my mother was a teacher and my father was a doctor. Then influenza killed them leaving me an orphan among strangers. I was swiftly latched up by my neighbors, the Pritchards only to be manipulated into playing a role in their deceptive scheme. They were sending me to England to pass myself off as their dead daughter Valerie to help them get back in to her Grandfather’s will. I tried to escape only to return to newly barred windows after I was captured. I, who loved Africa, was to become Valerie who hated Africa. I couldn’t to do it. Like a lion silently gathering my strength, I would wait for my time to come. I would say nothing now, but I would devise a plan.

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KIDS READ! Edmonton
The Mystery of the Graffiti Ghoul Marty Chan Ten-year-old Marty knows a few important things. One is that he is definitely Chinese and no other kid in his French-Canadian school is. He also knows that the Boissonault brothers and other bullies could pound him into dust; that teachers don't get mad, they just get disappointed; and that Remi Boudreau is his only trusted friend. But when someone tags school property with graffiti and his friend is the number one suspect, Marty knows that he must learn a lot more if he's to catch the real culprit and solve The Mystery of the Graffiti Ghoul. Laced with humour and realistic boyhood codes of honour, friendship, and justice, Chan's The Mystery of the Graffiti Ghoul makes for an inviting adventure and engaging read. Recommended for anyone who has ever had to endure elementary school.

- From www. martychan.com

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INTERMEDIATE BOOKTALKS

CODE ORANGE Caroline B. Cooney
Mitty Blake had an assignment due in his advanced biology class and he hadn’t even chosen his topic. He thought that the topic of the assignment, infectious disease, was just too depressing but now it was Sunday afternoon at about 4 o’clock and he was at the family week-end place in the country. Then he remembered some books that his mother had bought from the estate of an old doctor. The book he found first was called Principles of Contagious Disease and was printed in 1899 and when he opened it he felt a raised place and discovered an old envelope. Someone had written on the front: Scabs—VM epidemic, 1902, Boston. He opened the envelope, turned it upside down and tapped out the contents onto his hand. It really was scabs. Mitty rubbed one between his fingers, it crumbled. He sneezed and the sneeze made his fingers tighten around the remaining scabs. Mitty didn’t know what VM stood for but he soon discovered that it was smallpox. When he started to develop symptoms similar to the ones he was studying it became clear that he might be the cause of a major epidemic.

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CODE ORANGE Caroline B. Cooney
(pg.51)- “In a maximum facility in Atlanta, the world’s most dangerous prisoner sits in solitary confinement, awaiting execution. Wanted for the torture and death of millions of people, this mass murderer was captured in a global dragnet lasting more than a decade.”Hey, this is true! The world’s most dangerous prisoner is named Variola Major. But Variola isn’t a person, Variola Major is a virus, and one you may not even have ever heard of. It’s Small Pox. -Small Pox was unintentionally introduced to Mexico by the Spanish in 1520, and within seven years, millions of Mexicans had died, allowing Cortez to destroy the weakened Aztec empire. Small Pox had also ravaged Asia and Europe, but saddest of all, it was actually used as a biological weapon by the British in North America in 1754; the blankets of Small Pox patients were intentionally given as gifts to the Native Americans believed to have aided and sympathized with the French.In Caroline Cooney’s novel, Code Orange, the world’s most dangerous prisoner introduces itself to New York City’s most laid-back, slacker student, Mitchell Blake. Everyone likes and calls him Mitty, even Mr.Lynch, the biology teacher who has threatened to dump him into a lower level bio course and away from Olivia, his complete opposite. Mitty will have to bear down and somehow overcome his slacker habits and actually turn in ten pages of notes for his paper on the subject of an infectious disease. How Mitty comes to meet his subject, Variola, representatives of the Centre for Disease Control, and a bio-terrorist group, first hand, is something you can only learn, if you read, Code Orange, by Caroline Cooney.

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FLUSH Carl Hiaasen
Noah, his sister Abbey and a colourful cast of characters including a stinky drunk, a bartender and a mysterious pirate help prove that their father’s suspicions about a floating casino, the Coral Queen is flushing human waste into a Florida Keyes harbor. It’s Father’s Day and Noah is visiting his father who is in jail for sinking the Coral Queen. “So what’s the deal?” Abbey asked after I got back from the jail. “He says he got carried away again,” I said. Abbey raised her eyebrows and snorted. “No duh”. “He’s lost his marbles” Abbey muttered. “Who Dad? No way” I said. “Then why did he do it?” “Because Dusty Muleman has been dumping his holding tank into the water,” I said. Abbey grimaced. “Yuck. From the toilet?” The drunk disappears before his court appearance, the bartender helps the kids by dumping dye into the holding tanks and Abbey is rescued by the pirate. Between the characters and the numerous plot twists, this environmentally centered story is a real page turned and a delightful read for everyone.

FLUSH Carl Hiaasen
So it’s like this – my Dad is holed up in jail for sinking Dusty Muleman’s casino boat, the Coral Queen. He was trying to stop the illegal dumping of raw sewage into the bay which is against the law in Florida. But the casino is up and running again and my Dad can’t do anything much cause he’s in jail and talking about going on a hunger strike. So I guess it’s up to me, Noah Underwood, to step in and do something to catch the lawbreakers. Can’t do it on my own though: Dad asked me to get Lice Peeking who used to work on the Coral Queen to help. Then there’s my little sister, Abbey, and Lice’s girlfriend Shelley. We are up against some pretty mean, sneaky and dangerous characters but there is a mysterious pirate man who keeps popping up and saving our bacon from time to time - he even knows my name and Abbey’s; though I am not sure how! All the same our mission is not going to be easy. As far as my Mum is concerned, my Dad is stupid for getting himself into so much trouble so I definitely can’t let her know what we are planning. Let’s hope Operation Royal Flush works before the bad guys catch up to us, and Mum and Dad find out.

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Alice Macleod, Realist at Last Susan Juby So. My life is a disaster. My boyfriend, Goose, is flying the coop and moving to Scotland. My mother is in prison for that whole mine protesting thing she did. Plus, people are still talking about the way I dress. (I’m sorry, but I get how well fur vests and plaid pants go together even if the rest of conventional society remains clueless.) This year blows! At least I’m expressing myself – I’ve begun a screenplay entitled Of Moose and Men. One day the world will marvel at my creative mind and all my toils will fuel masterpieces of blockbuster success. I’m Alice MacLeod, A Realist at Last.

Alice Macleod, Realist at Last Susan Juby You wouldn’t want to be Alice! Her boyfriend is in Scotland. Her best friend is far away in Wisconsin. Her environmental protestor-mother is in jail. Her father is unemployed. Her therapist doesn’t understand her – AND she is unable to get or keep a job. Throughout this unfortunate summer Alice writes an ongoing screenplay with herself as the star. “OF MOOSE AND MEN A SCREENPLAY BY ALICE MACLEOD. She shares her e-mail with us (Read back cover.)

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ELDEST Christopher Paolini War is coming to the land. The Emperor is evil and quite mad. His dark arts have been used to recruit many evil,dangerous creatures to his service: Urgals, the insectoid Ra’zac, and the Shade Durza. Outside the dwarves underground city of Trohnheim, a mighty battle had been fought against the Urgals. Eragon has managed to stab the shade Durza in the heart, then Eragon himself is saved by his dragon Saphira and the Elvish girl Arya. He is seriously wounded and takes a long time to recover. As he lies ill and in great pain, Eragon realizes that he must complete his Dragon Rider training – he has some skill with magic, but only enough to be dangerous. He must improve his fighting skills and learn to ride Saphira and direct his magic properly. The council of the Varden decide that he must be sent north into the elvish lands for his training. He will be accompanied on this arduous journey by Arya and his dragon Saphira. The way will be long – much of it underground. Eragon’s cousin Roran in the meantime has come home from his time away earning his fortune, to find that his father has been murdered by the Emperor’s minions, his farm has been burned, the fields destroyed and the well poisoned. He has no future and no prospects, but still he wants to marry his sweetheart Katrina, and she him.. He is bitter towards Eragon, although he knows it really wasn’t the boy’s fault. When the Ra’zac come looking for him, Roran flees into the hills to wait them out. More murder and burning are visited upon the village and finally the evil creatures and their soldiers leave. Roran descends from the mountains and determines that the villager wish to defend themselves if they can. They look to him as leader – but quickly realize that they are no match for superior fire power and black magic. Ten disaster strikes,they are betrayed by Katrina’s father and she is kidnapped by the Ra’zac. Roran realizes that he has no choice. In order to get her back, he must go south to the Varden and fight in the Resistance. The whole village flees into the mountains, 300 hundred people – and struggles to cross the spine, sail down the coast to join the coalition of dwarves and humans…to fight or die. War has come to the land.

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Criss Cross Lynne Rae Perkins She wished something would happen. to her. Looking at the bright, fuzzy picture in the magazine, she thought, Something like that. Checking her wish for loopholes she found one. Hoping it wasn’t too late, she thought the word soon.

Criss Cross Lynne Rae Perkins Have you ever wished for something to happen? That’s what Debbie does in Criss Cross, she wishes for something good to happen to make her an exciting person. Find out how her necklace becomes wound within the wish and how it’s one of the links to many criss crossing adventures. Discover what connects Debbie to Hector, and why he needs a guitar, and how the guitar links him into a criss cross pattern of his own. Find out why Patty is important to Debbie, and Phil to Hector, and how drama arises with the arrival of Peter and Meadow. Highlights happen as Hector goes on a serious mission into a ravine, and the venture turns into a humorous event, and then Lenny teaches Debbie to drive his Dad’s truck and she has to use the quick lesson in an emergency. You will journey through enchantment in everyday life in this story that criss crosses patterns of who the characters are and who they will become as they transform from childhood to adulthood. There are many surprises, especially at the end.

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The Lightning Thief Rick Riordan My name is Percy Jackson. The doctors say I have ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. My brain seems to fall asleep or something, and the next thing I know I’ve missed something important, as if a puzzle piece fell out of the universe and left me staring at the blank space behind it. And I know something just happened, but I don’t know what. Last year, things started to get completely out of control. Our class was on a field trip, and a girl I really don’t like somehow fell into a fountain and got soaked. She said I pushed her. Our teacher, Mrs. Dodds, took me aside for a “little talk”. I knew I was in big trouble. [Read from p. 12:] ‘Then the weirdest thing happened. [Mrs. Dodds’] eyes began to glow like barbeque coals. Her fingers stretched, turning into talons. Her jacket melted into large, leathery wings. She wasn’t human. She was a shriveled hag with bat wings and claws and a mouth full of yellow fangs, and she was about to slice me to ribbons.’ Was I imagining the whole thing? [Shrug, eyes wide, confused, apprehensive] You tell me!

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The Lightning Thief Rick Riordan
Percy Jackson is always in trouble. Field trips are especially hazardous. In grade four Percy dunked his whole class in the shark tank at Marine World. In grade five he shot a cannonball at his school bus. In grade six Percy outdid himself and turned his evil math teacher into a pile of yellow dust. Percy doesn’t understand why these accidents happen to him, but it does explain why he keeps getting kicked out of boarding schools. At school he can avoid Gabe, who is stinky, rude, obnoxious and unfortunately, his stepfather. Smelly Gabe is even mean to his mom, and she is the nicest lady in the world. Bullies pick on his best friend Grover who is scrawny, cries easily, has probably flunked a couple of grades (he has a wispy beard), and walks funny because of his crippled legs. Percy tries to take care of his mom and friend, but it always goes wrong somehow. When school is over Percy and his mom go camping. They have a great time until Grover arrives in the middle of the night. Something terrible is chasing them. They have to leave immediately. There is a raging storm, but it can’t quite hide the horrible bellowing noise of whatever has found them. Then Percy realizes Grover is not crippled after all. Where his feet should be there are hooves. Grover is not human. And neither is whatever is chasing them. Sequels: The Sea of Monsters The Titan’s Curse

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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince J.K. Rowling
As Harry enters his 6th year at Hogwarts, he is informed that he will be receiving extra lessons from Dumbledore in how to breach and read Voldemort’s memory, with the hopes of better understanding the Dark Load’s past and weaknesses. This year Harry has been appointed Captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch team. It is up him to find replacement players for the recently departed team-members. This will not be easy as some of new players are either dismal and uncoordinated or those that are at least passable, want to takeover the team for themselves. Romances bloom for a number of familiar characters, but the match ups may not be with those whom you would think. Read on to discover what happens to Harry; the dangers of invading other peoples memories, find out how or if Harry manages to hold on to the team, and discover whose romances bloom and whose crash and burn.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince J.K. Rowling
Things are not looking good for Harry Potter as he begins his sixth year at Hogwarts. Never mind that Voldemort, the most feared dark wizard in history, is back and wreaking havoc across the wizard and muggle worlds. It’s bad enough that Rufus Scrimgeour, the new Minister for Magic, wants Harry to be the Ministry’s poster boy. Not to mention that Harry is convinced that Draco Malfoy is up to no good, and even Ron and Hermione don’t believe him. But worst of all, Snape has been appointed to the Defense Against the Dark Arts position, and suddenly Harry’s favourite class becomes his worst. Things are as bad as they’ve ever been. The only things that keep Harry going are his private lessons with Dumbledore, where the two of them delve into Tom Riddle’s past to try to solve Voldemort’s mysteries, and the surprising skill Harry discovers in Potions class, thanks to the previous owner of his textbook. The Half-Blood Prince soon becomes Harry’s greatest teacher, and as Harry struggles with the rest of his life, he ignores all concerns about this mysterious figure. But as the year draws to a close, Harry’s lessons with Dumbledore will become a dangerous quest, and the Half-Blood Prince will become more significant than anyone could have possibly imagined.

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Uglies Scott Westerfeld Tally can’t wait to turn 16, because that’s when she’ll turn Pretty. She and the rest of the Uglies in Uglyville have to wait till their 16th birthday to have surgery that will make them stunningly gorgeous, and then they can move across the river to New Pretty Town, where all they’ll have to do is party and have fun! That’s how it works in Tally’s world, and Tally’s all set to follow along until she meets Shay. Shay is different, more adventurous than anyone Tally’s ever met, and teaches her to ride a hoverboard. Shay isn’t sure she wants to be pretty but airheaded, and decides to run away to join a group of rebels outside the city. The authorities then give Tally a terrible choice – she can either tell them where Shay is, or never be allowed to be Pretty. Other titles in the trilogy – Pretties, Specials

Uglies Scott Westerfeld It’s only a few days until Tally Youngblood’s sixteenth birthday. Tally is an Ugly and the most wonderful thing will happen to her on this birthday! She will become a Pretty! A Pretty who will have nothing to do but party and play for the rest of her life! Tally is so excited. It’s all she thinks about until she meets Shay. But Shay has run away to the mysterious Smoke? Could Shay want to stay Ugly? Tally must follow her or risk the unthinkable, remaining an Ugly forever.

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Peaches Jodi Lynn Anderson
(Act out each character as if they’re being interviewed. Small changes of clothing and accessories with posture changes will help to bring out each character’s personality)

Peaches has three different girls sharing one summer. Meet Murphy: Why am I here? A stupid B & E and the ultimate prank. Yeah, it was worth it…it’s not like being home in a trailer for the summer is any better. What’s that? Describe myself in one word? It’s a tie between thrill-seeking and sexy! Meet Leeda: I didn’t mean to blurt out that I’d rather spend the summer with my cousin Birdie. I was just angry with my family, tired of planning perfect Danay’s wedding and watching my parents fawn over her. One word you say…then let it be flawless. And meet Birdie: Isn’t obvious why I’m here. I live here. I love the peaches and Poopsie and the other workers. Oh there are my puppies, Majestic and Honey Babe. And somebody’s got to take care of Daddy since Mom’s run off. One word…well, Poopsie would say I was sweet, yeah, sweet as a Georgia peach. One of these girls is going to steal the other’s boyfriend. One of these girls is going to find love, but might lose everything else. And one of these girls is going to uncover a secret that changes the way she views her world. Three girls…one summer…join them as they find mischief; discover the meaning of true friendship and witness a miracle. You can’t help but love them: Peaches by Jodi Lynn Anderson.

PEACHES Jodi Lynn Anderson
Have you ever laughed so hard that you peed your pants? Well, that’s the sort of thing that happens in Peaches. You couldn’t find three girls who were more different. Murphy’s got a bad reputation, but she’s also a genius who loves a good prank. Leeda’s a little rich girl, who constantly lives in her perfect sister's perfect shadow. Birdie…well, she really is a scared little bird. She lives a completely sheltered life and her only friends are her dogs. The girls are stuck working on a peach orchard together and surprisingly, a friendship develops. It’s the kind of friendship where you can pee your pants laughing and still know that your girls aren’t going to abandon you. Throw in a couple of hot boys, some skinny dipping and you’ve got the perfect summer. Well, perfect, until it all falls apart. Read Peaches by Jodi Lynn Anderson.

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Anansi Boys Neil Gaiman
Don’t talk to spiders. “Fat Charlie” Nancy could have avoided so much trouble and misery, if only he hadn’t whispered drunkenly to a spider: “If you see my brother, tell him to come by and say hello.” Guess who stops by, like magic, the very next morning? Now Fat Charlie can’t get rid of him… Poor Fat Charlie. No one ever mentioned his dead father was an actual West African GOD – the pesky, meddling, conniving, Spider God, Anansi. He just thought his Dad was weird, strangely charming, but weird. Or that he even had a brother, Spider, who was taller, and cooler, and leaner than Fat Charlie, and so much smoother with the ladies. Until now, Fat Charlie was clueless. About almost everything. “Your father always said you were the stupid one, but I never believed him.” “Well, how was I to know?” Fat Charlie protested. “My parents never said, ‘By the way, you have a brother you don’t know about. Invite him into your life and he’ll have you investigated by the police. He’ll sleep with your fiancée, he’ll brainwash you, then move in and bring an entire extra house into your spare room…’” Sadly, Fat Charlie has inherited no godlike powers, but he’s got to squash Spider before he completely ruins his life.

Anansi Boys Neil Gaiman
This is a story about family. Really! Honest! It’s not close. It’s a jokester father who loved to walk in a spot light, and a son who lived in the shadow of embarrassment. Charles Nancy spent his life trying to avoid embarrassment. It would seem that an ocean and separate continents aren’t enough. Just Charlie or Charles would have been nice, but his father’s nickname “Fat Charlie” stuck to him like a fly in a web. You see we all have to go sometime. A funeral is not the best time to discover family secrets. Well this one has a few whoppers. It seems the neighbors know everything, and kids are always the last to know anything. Where to begin! First, his father is the Anansi Spider God. Second, he has a brother. To add insult to injury his brother Spider got everything. He is charming, suave, and cool with the ladies. If you want to see him you talk to a spider. However, be warned. A god for a brother is likely to make your life so much more interesting than you would ever want it before you get your own back!

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Looking For Alaska John Green
When sixteen year old “Pudge” Halter trades his safe, uneventful existence in Florida for the Culver Creek Boarding School in Alabama he has no idea how his life will change. There are two main cliques in the school, the rich locals and the students who are there24/7. “Pudge” becomes part of a close-knit boarding school group whose main focus seems to be smoking, drinking and pranks. This unique group includes his roommate the ”Colonel”, so named because of his military-style planning of elaborate pranks; Alaska Young “the hottest girl in all of human history”; and Takumi, the Japanese kid with the southern accent. Unfortunately being part of this group does lead to him being wrapped in duct tape and thrown in the lake – with these friends, life is anything but boring! It’s a whole new world, one which will include pain and sorrow as a terrible tragedy takes place and “Pudge” will be changed forever. *This book has been optioned for a film for 2008 by the creator of the OC.

Looking for Alaska John Green Looking for Alaska is a story about a boy named Males Halter, who leaves his ordinary life in Florida to attend Culver Creek boarding school in Birmingham Alabama. Once there, Miles, nicknamed Pudge, is introduced to some new friends that are extremely rebellious and fun-loving. His new roommate Chip a.k.a. Colonel, who unlike all the other students at Culver Creek, is poor and is attending the school on Scholarship. Miles is not sure he is going to find the adventure and excitement he is searching for until he is introduced to Alaska, “the hottest girl in all human history”. Before he knows it, Pudge is smoking, drinking and pulling pranks that could get him expelled from the school. Pudge soon learns the repercussions of his self destructive behavior and whether it was worth searching for the “Great Perhaps”.

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Looking for Alaska John Green
Miles Halter is a rising junior in a boarding school in rural Alabama. The Florida teen is used to the sun, but not the stifling, sticky heat of the Deep South. He's also not used to being one of the gang, but at Culver Creek this shy, gangly boy is accepted for what he is, albeit after being wrapped in duct tape and thrown into a lake. Like any school, there are cliques, the biggest two being the rich locals who go home for the weekend and the kids who are there 24/7. The latter group adopts Miles, and within that group his particular circle of friends is certainly unique: there's The Colonel, his brilliant but slightly insane roommate; Takumi, the Japanese kid with the Southern accent; and Alaska Young, "the hottest girl in all of human history." Apart from a demanding academic load, their main amusements consist of smoking, drinking and the Culver Creek tradition of playing pranks on the other group—all while avoiding the searing gaze of The Eagle, the school's headmaster. The experiences come fast and furious to Miles, but the center of his universe is definitely Alaska. Alternatively flirty and distant, friendly and angry, unattainable (with a boyfriend in college) and available, and fiercely intelligent, the force of her personality leads Miles and his friends into a labyrinth of emotions that, after a shattering tragedy, leave him wondering if there's any way out. REVIEW BY SAM HOBBS/Children’s Book Page

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Dark Sons Nikki Grimes Betrayal, anger, hurt. How is a teenage boy expected to feel when his dad leaves him and his mother for another woman? "Why does he have to run off? To start some new family? With her?" Sam’s rage grows as does his hatred for the woman who stole his father and turned Sam’s life upside down. This is also the story of Ishmael of biblical times. Part slave, part free. Part loved, part hated. Rejected by his father, Ishmael is doomed to wander the desert. Pain and confusion consume his life. Two sons. Two life times. Both stories of betrayal. Both stories of loss.

DARK SONS Nikki Grimes “Dark Sons” is a story about two boys, written in free form verse. Both are teenagers. Both are the “…spawn of kick-butt mothers.” (pg. 216 pbk) Both have been abandoned by their fathers. Both boys share similar thoughts and feelings, but they are also separated by time, geography and cultures. This is the story of their struggle to find forgiveness and their coming to terms with the love they feel for their younger step-brothers. For, after all, they are two dark sons, finding faith and hope with the only father they can count on.

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SHACKLETON’S STOWAWAY Victoria McKernan
Tomorrow they will sail off. Maybe they will make it. Many times I didn’t think we would ever get here, and here we are. I don’t know what to feel right now. No matter what happens, everything in my life from now on will be different. I do want this to be over. But I also don’t. That is crazy but true. I know this for sure, that I would rather die being one of these men than otherwise live my whole life without knowing them. (206) The year is 1914 and 18 year-old Perce Blackborow is stuck in Buenos Aires, an ocean away from his home in England. Desperate to find work and adventure, he stows away on the Endurance… the ship that will carry Ernest Shackleton, worldfamous explorer, on his expedition to cross the entire South Polar continent. Will he be accepted by Shackleton and the crew? Will he survive this harrowing adventure? Based closely on real-life events, you will meet the men who sailed with Shackleton upon this ill-fated adventure, enduring enormous physical and mental hardships as they struggle to survive the bitter cold, the desolation… fighting to stay alive and make it home once again.

Shackleton’s Stowaway Victoria McKernan
Take yourself back to 1914. World War I is imminent. Eighteen year old Perce Blackborow has just survived a shipwreck in the South Pacific and is looking for another ship to work on when he hears that Ernest Shackleton, the famous explorer, is hiring crew for a second expedition to the South Pole. More than anything else, Perce wants to be part of that mission. When Shackleton turns Perce down because he’s too young, Perce’s friend Billy Bakewell, helps him to stow away on board the Endurance. Little do Perce and Billy imagine what lies ahead as the Endurance is destroyed by the ice off Antarctica. While all of the men manage to escape into the lifeboats, they are stranded on an ice flow and later on desolate Elephant Island with little to eat but seal and penguin meat. For three cold, dark, and hungry months they wait for Shackleton to return from his seemingly hopeless mission to seek help. If you like harrowing tales of adventure and heroism, grab onto an ice flow and prepare to read about one of the greatest real life stories of all time.

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Midshipwizard Halcyon Blithe James M. Ward
Halcyon Blithe has late discovered his magical powers, at sixteen and from along line of seafaring wizards great things are expected. Halcyon now on his first assignment is ready to assume his proper place in the world that seeks fortune among those who tend and sail the dragonships. Halcyon must learn to serve his country as he moves through the ranks of his majesty’s navy. Read Passage from Pg. 106 Halcyon would have offered her his hand and apologized, but the corporal wasn’t interested in his pity. She charged him again. Her look murderous. She wasn’t practicing anymore; she wanted to do real damage to him. Blithe took a step back and held his pike just as the captain suggested. Quite by accident, the butt of his weapon struck the deck. All Halcyon had in mind was to keep the pike head between his body and the corporal’s. He also didn’t want her to be able to bat aside his weapon as easily as she had before. He gripped the blast-pike as tight as he could to stop her from doing it again. “Corporal, calm down!” the chief shouted, but she wasn’t listening.

MIDSHIPWIZARD HALCYON BLITHE James M. Ward
16 year old Halcyon Blithe has just graduated from the Academy, designation Midshipwizard Fifth Class. Midshipwizard Blithe has orders to report to His Majesty’s Dragonship the Sanguine immediately….and he’s late. The Maleen fleet is bearing down on Arcania and the Sanguine must sail quickly if it is to intercept the enemy warships in time to defend the shores of Arcania. Halcyon’s white hair and eyebrows identify him as a wizard, whose talents as a spellcaster are crucial weapons in the war against the extremely powerful Maleen navy. This is Halcyon’s first real action and when the shells start to fly, Halcyon must be prepared to fight not only the battle hardened Maleen and their shapechangers, the young midshipwizard must also be ready to do battle with something he could never fully conquer… his own demon blood.

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