Journey of the Pale Bear by Susan Fletcher

Journey of the Pale Bear by Susan Fletcher

This is a fictional story that takes as its starting point the real polar bear that was given to King Henry III of England by King Haakon IV of Norway in 1252.  Who might the bear’s Norwegian keeper have been? Why did he stay in England to care for the now royal bear? By turns […]


Love to Everyone by Hilary McKay

Love to Everyone by Hilary McKay

Hilary McKay has written a historical novel of WWI, with the endearing Clarry Penrose as main character. Clarry’s mother died in childbirth so she’s never known a mother’s love. But she loves her brother fiercely and loves her cousin Rupert in Cornwall whom she sees every summer. She’s determined to fend for herself and get […]


Island War by Patricia Reilly Giff

Island War by Patricia Reilly Giff

Izzy comes to the island with her birder mother after the death of her father; Matt reluctantly accompanies his aloof father, engaged in military intelligence. Izzy and Matt are secretly left behind while the Japanese soldiers evacuate and occupy the island, following the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Will Matt and Izzy survive? Or will the […]


Louisiana’s Way Home by Kate DiCamillo

Louisiana’s Way Home by Kate DiCamillo

Have you read Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo? This is the devastatingly beautiful sequel. You can read it without having read the previous book, but not matter what, read it. It is vintage Kate DiCamillo — loopy, sweet, painful, sorrowful and lovely. One of the best books I read this year.  I will recommend it […]


Rosetown by Cynthia Rylant

Rosetown by Cynthia Rylant

Sweet “just beyond beginning chapters” book about a year in the life of  Flora Smallwood. Her dog has died and her parents are taking a breather from their marriage and she’s about to start 4th grade. This book is tailor made for those sensitive kids who don’t want bad things to happen, just like our […]


My Year in the Middle  by Lila Quintero Weaver

My Year in the Middle by Lila Quintero Weaver

Compelling and well written book about a Argentinian immigrant girl in 1970 Alabama during the first year of racial integration in fictional Red Grove AL. She’s caught in the middle of racial strife, and between her culture and American culture and between the Pro-George Wallace faction and the Anti-Wallace faction at school and in the […]


Drum Roll, Please by Lisa Jenn Bigelow

Drum Roll, Please by Lisa Jenn Bigelow

Wonderful summer read for 4th – 9th grade! Melly is a shy drummer heading off to Camp Rockaway, a rock music camp. For Melly, it was hard enough to head off to a new camp, but the day before she leaves, her mom and dad tell her they are divorcing. Then, at camp she meets […]


The Unicorn Rescue Society #1 The Creature of the Pines

The Unicorn Rescue Society #1 The Creature of the Pines

Here is a fun series written for readers who’ve enjoyed Magic Tree House but are ready for a little more depth to their stories. Two kids in NJ find a magical creature (The Jersey Devil of myth and legend) while on a field trip to the Pine Barrens which leads to their induction into a […]


The Mad Wolf’s Daughter by Diane Magras

The Mad Wolf’s Daughter by Diane Magras

Compulsively readable adventure about the youngest of the Mad Wolf’s war band who must rescue her father and brothers from the lord’s castle where they’ve been taken for rough justice. Complex, true to Scottish history (and magic), and full of great characters, this book is impossible to put down. Betsy Bird calls this book, “a […]


The Boy, the Bird and the Coffin Maker by Matilda Woods

The Boy, the Bird and the Coffin Maker by Matilda Woods

A dark story with gentle characters that ends triumphantly, Matilda Wood’s The Boy, The Bird and the Coffin Maker grabbed me from the first page. It reads like a fairy tale — one with lots of death and disease and a desperate flight from domestic violence (mostly in the back story). The story itself is […]