November 6, 2016

We are two days away from the election. The first book I’m featuring does a great job of explaining the electoral voting process to children in a tangible way they can understand.

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Grace for President, (2008)

words by Kelly DiPucchio, pictures by LeUyen Pham

Goodreads summary: Where are the girls? When Grace’s teacher reveals that the United States has never had a female president, Grace decides to be the first. And she immediately starts off her political career as a candidate the school’s mock election. But soon, she realizes that she has entered a tough race. Her popular opponent claims to be the best man for the job–and seems to have captured all the male votes–while Grace concentrates on being the best person. In this timely story, author Kelly DiPucchio not only gives readers a fun introduction to the American electoral system, but also teaches them the value of hard work, courage, and independent thought–and offers an inspiring example of how to choose our leaders.

Watch a Grace for President book trailer here.

This next book is a 2017 RI Children’s Book Award nominee.

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Ratscalibur, (2015)

by Josh Lieb

Goodreads summary: The New York Times bestselling author of I Am A Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to Be Your Class President reinvents the Excalibur legend—with rats!

When Joey is bitten by an elderly rat, he goes from aspiring seventh-grader to three-inch tall rodent.

At first, Joey is amazed by his new rat self. The city streets call to him at night. Smells that would have repelled him before are suddenly tantalizing. (A chicken bone? Yes! A squashed cockroach? Like perfume!) And wow, the freedom! But when a bout of hunger leads Joey to pull the spork from the scone, he finds himself at the center of a longtime rat prophecy.

Joey has unwittingly unlocked the sword Ratscalibur; and now, it is up to him to protect his new rat friends from the evil crows who seek to destroy their peaceful kingdom. But what does an eleven-year-old know about actual swordplay? And what happens when Joey no longer wants to be a rat?

Watch a Ratscalibur book trailer here.

This next book is a 2017 Mock Newbery nominee. Attention, all dog lovers!

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Maxi’s Secrets: (or what you can learn from a dog),  (2016)

by Lynn Plourde

Goodreads summary: When a BIG, lovable, does-it-her-way dog wiggles her way into the heart of a loudmouth pipsqueak of a boy, wonderful things happen that help him become a bigger, better person.

Timminy knows that moving to a new town just in time to start middle school when you are perfect bully bait is less than ideal. But he gets a great consolation prize in Maxi—a gentle giant of a dog who the family quickly discovers is deaf. Timminy is determined to do all he can to help Maxi—after all, his parents didn’t return him because he was a runt. But when the going gets rough for Timminy, who spends a little too much time getting shoved into lockers at school, Maxi ends up being the one to help him—along with their neighbor, Abby, who doesn’t let her blindness define her and bristles at Timminy’s “poor-me” attitude. It turns out there’s more to everyone than what’s on the surface, whether it comes to Abby, Maxi, or even Timminy himself.

Read an interview with Lynn Plourde here.

Over the summer I had the opportunity to attend Nerd Camp in Michigan.  It was an incredible experience because I’ve been able to bring so many things I’ve learned back to the library this year.  Ruth Barshaw has a terrific hybrid series for our readers who love picture books in their chapter books.  I’m excited to introduce them to our HMS readers this year!

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The Show Must Go On, (2013)

by Ruth McNally Barshaw

Goodreads summary: When Ellie McDoodle signs up to help with her school’s production of The Wizard of Oz, she never expected it to be so much work! There are sets to help paint, costumes to plan, and then there’s casting. When her best friend Mo gets cast as Wicked Witch–and not the coveted Dorothy–Mo and Ellie have their first big fight. As the student director, Ellie should have helped her get the starring role, right? Mo thinks so.

Ruth McNally Barshaw’s creative doodles take Ellie through her first big drama production at school. And just like the main characters in Oz, Ellie and her friends will find courage, heart, brains, and that there’s no place like home!

Read an interview with Ruth McNally Barshaw here.

The last book I’d like to feature this week is by the very talented New Englander who brought us Growing Up Pedro. Those of you who took part in our first family book club featuring The Man Who Walked Between the Towers will enjoy this one.

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Crossing Niagara: The Death-Defying Tightrope Adventures of the Great Blondin, (2016)

by Matt Tavares

Goodreads summary: Applaud Matt Tavares’s latest feat — a gripping tale of real-life daredevilry perfectly balanced by stunning illustrations.

“Monsieur Blondin is to cross Niagara Falls this afternoon, or perish in the attempt.” — Troy Daily Times, June 30, 1859

When the Great Blondin announced that he was going to walk from America to Canada across the Niagara River on a rope that was more than 1,100 feet long and just 3 inches wide, hanging 160 feet above the raging river, people came from everywhere. Some came to watch him cross. Some came to watch him fall. Some thought he wouldn’t show up at all. But he did show up. And he did walk across the river. And then he did something else amazing. He crossed the river on that tightrope again and again, adding another death-defying flourish each time. Matt Tavares’s gorgeous, riveting account of the daredevil of Niagara Falls is sure to hold readers in its grip, just as Blondin’s feats enthralled those spectators on the cliffs more than one hundred and fifty years ago.

Read an interview with Matt Tavares here.

Watch the Charles Blondin Wheelbarrow Story here.

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