On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein

On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert EinsteinOn a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein
by Jennifer Berne
For Kindergarten & up

What a fantastic introduction to Albert Einstein for young and old alike! The words are beautiful and the pictures draw in the readers, explaining Einstein’s background and accomplishments in a friendly and accessible way. Children will want to know more about this great man and his contributions to our scientific knowledge and understanding of the world around us.

The Grooming of Alice

The Grooming of Alice (Alice, #12)The Grooming of Alice
by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Grades 7 & up

Alice, Pamela, and Elizabeth make a pact to run every morning the summer before ninth grade, so they can fix the flaws they see in their bodies. But when Elizabeth takes it too far, and Pamela continually fights with her dad, Alice is stretched in more directions than ever. How can she make the right choices, and help her friends with theirs? An emotional read as life turns more complicated going into high school.

Al Capone Does My Homework

Al Capone Does My Homework (Al Capone at Alcatraz, #3)Al Capone Does My Homework
by Gennifer Choldenko
Grades 5-8

I enjoyed this third book in the series much more than the second. It is grittier, and there is a lot more at stake. Moose’s father has just been promoted to Assistant Warden after the events in book two. At his first day on the job, the family apartment is set on fire, and Moose’s autistic sister Natalie is immediately blamed. Moose, Jimmy, Annie, Theresa, and even Piper band together to find out what really happened. They uncover a lot of secrets along the way. I recommended reading the first two, so you will better understand the social dynamics of the kids growing up on Alcatraz Island.

The Qwikpick Papers: Poop Fountain!

The Qwikpick Papers: Journey to the Fountain of PoopThe Qwikpick Papers: Poop Fountain!
by Tom Angleberger
Grades 3-6

Lyle, Marilla, and Dave hang out at the Qwikpick gas station and convenience store where Lyle’s parents work. Realizing that they each have nothing to do on Christmas Day for a variety of reasons, they end up planning an adventure to visit the “poop fountain” at their town’s waste treatment management center. Scheduled to be closing in order to be replaced with updated technology, they want to see it before it is gone for good. Told through photos, notes, and journal entries, this is a great adventure through the outskirts of suburbia. I am so glad that I couldn’t smell what they were describing!

ARC provided by publisher.
This is a new version of the previously published 2007 edition.

Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909

Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers' Strike of 1909Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909
by Michelle Markel
Grades 2 & up

An excellent and engaging look at this period in history. Clara shows the difference that one person can make in inspiring hundreds of people to work together for the betterment of all. Especially timely in light of the recent fast food worker strikes and minimum wage increase debates.

The Watermelon Seed

The Watermelon SeedThe Watermelon Seed
by Greg Pizzoli
Grades PreK-2

Any child who has eaten watermelon should be able to relate to this 2014 Geisel Award winner. From the ecstasy over the delicious watermelon to the agony of swallowing a seed, we watch Crocodile come to terms with his watermelon obsession. A fun beginning reader, perfect for summer.

Serafina’s Promise

Serafina's PromiseSerafina’s Promise
by Ann E. Burg
Grades 4 & up

Told in free verse poetry, this powerful book is a testament to the power of hope and love. Serafina faces many obstacles on her way to becoming a doctor. First, she must go to school, which is no easy feat when there is no extra money for tuition, books, or uniforms. She works hard every day doing chores around the house so that her family might survive. It is not always enough, and she is often hungry. But the love and unfailing spirits of her father and grandmother help to keep her strong and on the path to her dreams. This takes places in modern day Haiti, though it feels as if it is another time entirely.

Emily Windsnap and the Land of the Midnight Sun

Emily Windsnap and the Land of the Midnight SunEmily Windsnap and the Land of the Midnight Sun
by Liz Kessler
Grades 3-6

In Emily Windsnap’s fifth adventure, she and Aaron have been sent by Neptune on a top secret mission to the fjords of Norway. Unfortunately, he is not sure exactly what they must do, but has confidence that they will figure it out when they get there. As half-mers, Emily and Aaron have the ability to be people on land and merpeople while in water. Their quest takes them on an exciting adventure involving glaciers, icebergs, and hidden lakes. Can they solve the mystery in time to save the world? And how will they know whom to trust?

Al Capone Shines My Shoes

Al Capone Shines My Shoes (Al Capone at Alcatraz, #2)Al Capone Shines My Shoes
by Gennifer Choldenko
Grades 5-8

In this sequel to Al Capone Does My Shirts, Moose is worried about what favors he owes to Mr. Capone for his help in getting Natalie into the special school in San Francisco. Moose has to deal with all of the regular middle school issues — friends, girls, baseball, etc. But living on Alcatraz Island where his father works as a guard adds a whole other layer to every problem. The warden has cons working in his home, who seem friendly enough. But are they? Excellent historical fiction, particularly for kids interested in organized crime in the 1930s.

Star Wars: Jedi Academy

Star Wars: Jedi AcademyStar Wars: Jedi Academy
by Jeffrey Brown
Grades 3-7

The tales of a middle school and all of the difficulties and awkwardness that comes with it, told through drawings and pictures. Sound familiar? But wait! This one is set firmly in the world of Star Wars. To say Roan is disappointed when he does not get accepted to the Pilot School is putting it mildly. His hopes and dreams are destroyed, and he is afraid that he will have to live as a farmer on Tatooine forever. Until, that is, the day a mysterious letter arrives inviting him to attend the Jedi Academy. Roan faces the same challenges as any middle schooler — making friends, dealing with homework, and figuring out who he really is. But coupled with that, he must learn to use the Force. Perfect for your Star Wars and Wimpy Kid fans alike.