The Red Pencil–A Modern Day Anne Frank

I fully expected to NOT enjoy The Red Pencil because I had just finished another YA novel in this format. I was very pleasantly surprised to become caught up in Amira’s world and love this novel. The book opens peacefully enough as Amira celebrates a lovely,simple twelfth birthday celebration. She lives with her family in a picturesque village … Continue reading

“Beekle-The Unimaginary Friend”

Children have those lovely imaginations that allow them to put life into objects that adults don’t consider alive. This fantastic story by Dan Santat is narrated by Beekle. He is waiting, not so patiently, on an island far away to be imagined by a real child. At this point, he doesn’t have a name because … Continue reading

Two Great Boy Characters Plus Football and Soccer

I recently read two great YA novels in which the main characters were boys. They were fast-paced and included just enough football and soccer competition to keep it interesting to non-fans as well. These finds are important for anyone who has tried to motivate adolescent male reluctant readers. Both books also incorporate rich writing with … Continue reading

“Feathers” by Jacqueline Woodson

This is a short novel set in “post segregation” early 1970s, in an urban area that remains quite segregated after all. The story’s narrator is Frannie, who is in sixth grade at an all-black middle school. One of the plots is introduced in chapter one when a mysterious white boy enrolls at the school. There … Continue reading

“Night of the Howling Dogs”

It’s eye-opening to me to consider a book based on a 1975 event as “historical fiction.” Yet, 1975 was almost 40 years ago, so I have to accept that events I remember as “current events” are indeed now historical fiction. This fast-moving gem is based on a 1975 earthquake and tsunami in Hawaii. The author’s … Continue reading

Lincoln’s Grave Robbers

History written in a lively narrative form is what sets this book apart. Author Steve Sheinikin weaves the tale of the bizarre case of an attempt to steal Abraham Lincoln’s body from his grave.  I was distracted in the beginning chapters of the book because much attention is given to nineteenth century counterfeiters. Sheinikin skillfully … Continue reading

“These Hands” by Margaret H. Mason

I’m a firm believer in sharing black history stories through the year, not just during Black History Month. This lovely picture book is appropriate for sharing during any discussion and/or lesson about the Civil Rights era. Joseph is a young child whose “Grandpa” could do anything with his hands. Many children can relate to a … Continue reading