Books for Ages 8 to 12
THREE TIMES LUCKY (2012), by Sheila TurnageWinner of multiple awards, including the Newbery Honor, this delightfully humorous mystery is a kid AND adult pleaser. The voice of the main character, Miss Moses LoBeau, age 12, is pitch perfect. Mo, as she calls herself, is thrust into a mystery along with her friend, Dale Earnhardt Johnson, III. Because she is who she is - plucky, determined, and bright - she gets to work on the problem that threatens her adoptive "family", an older man known as "the Colonel," and the hostess of his cafe, Miss Lana. The setting of Tupelo, NC, and everything esle in this story comes to vivid life for readers. A fine book all around!
THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN (2012), by Katherine Applegate with Patricia CastelaoHere's the opening: "I am Ivan. I am a gorilla. It's not as easy as it looks." And those aren't the only memorable lines. I can't recommend this Newbery winner highly enough. It's simply one of the finest books I've ever read, and remember, I am picky. The real Ivan was taken out of the jungle when he was a baby and used as an exhibit in a small Southern mall where he lived in a glass "cage" for nearly 30 years. This is the imaginative tale of his life in the mall, a schoolgirl who cared about him, an old elephant and a very young one named Ruby, and a small, stray dog. It is truthful, sometimes sad, but ultimately uplifting. A beautiful, special book told eloquently.
MYSTERIES OF THE RAIN FOREST: TWENTIETH-CENTURY MEDICINE MAN (1998), by Elaine Pascoe
A factual book that is highly interesting. Here, an ethnobotanist travels to South America to learn about plants growing in the rain forest from the natives, Trio Indians. "Talking plants with these Indians is like shooting basketball with Michael Jordan." The great fear of serious students of ecology is that precious, life-saving plants will be mindlessly destroyed by a burgeoning civilization. In this book you can find out yourself about plants, their ancient and current medicinal uses, and above all, why we need to preserve the rain forests and other places of high biodiversity. A glossary, list of websites, and other reading suggestions are included.
WONDER (2012), by R.J. PalacioThe 1st-person narrator says, "I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse." Born with a facial deformity, August Pullman, called Auggie, just wants to be part of the 5th grade class, but it's impossible to melt into the background when you look like he does. Other viewpoints come into the story, pulling the reader into Auggie's world. Despite the way it sounds, this is a powerful story of friendship, courage, and hope.
LIAR & SPY (2012), by Rebecca SteadOne great thing about this book is its author, Rebecca Stead, who wrote the Newbery-winning WHEN YOU REACH ME (2010). The next great thing is that both books have stories that move right along, which is always helpful if a reader is the least bit reluctant. In Liar & Spy, twelve-year-old Georges meets Safer, also twelve, who announces that he is a spy and recruits Georges to help him. The first assignment is to track Mr. X, who lives upstairs in the boys' Brooklyn apartment complex. Georges begins to question what his friend wants him to do, and as his questions grow more urgent, the suspense builds. Both titles are guaranteed good stuff!
- A GATHERING OF DAYS (1979), by Joan Blos
- NOTES FROM THE DOG, by Gary Paulsen.
- IRON THUNDER, by Avi.
- DON'T TALK TO ME ABOUT THE WAR, by David A. Adler.
- THE MAGICIAN'S ELEPHANT, by Kate DiCamillo. Ill. by Yoko Tanaka.
- THE BFG, MATILDA , and GEORGE'S MARVELOUS MEDICINE, by Roald Dahl.
- SERIES: PERCY JACKSON AND THE OLYMPIANS, by Rick Riordan.
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