March 26, 2017

We have a combination of new and old titles this week.

Towards the end of the summer and into the fall many friends were singing the praises of this next book. Somehow, it slipped past me when ordering new titles for the library. Imagine my chagrin when I realized we did not own it the day of the ALA awards when it received THREE stickers! I’m happy to say we finally own a copy and it’s just as amazing as everyone said.

Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan, (2017)

by Ashley Bryan


Goodreads summary:

Newbery Honor Book
Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book
Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book

Using original slave auction and plantation estate documents, Ashley Bryan offers a moving and powerful picture book that contrasts the monetary value of a slave with the priceless value of life experiences and dreams that a slave owner could never take away.

Imagine being looked up and down and being valued as less than chair. Less than an ox. Less than a dress. Maybe about the same as…a lantern.

You, an object. An object to sell.

In his gentle yet deeply powerful way, Ashley Bryan goes to the heart of how a slave is given a monetary value by the slave owner, tempering this with the one thing that CAN’T be bought or sold—dreams. Inspired by the actual will of a plantation owner that lists the worth of each and every one of his “workers”, Bryan has created collages around that document, and others like it. Through fierce paintings and expansive poetry he imagines and interprets each person’s life on the plantation, as well as the life their owner knew nothing about—their dreams and pride in knowing that they were worth far more than an Overseer or Madam ever would guess. Visually epic, and never before done, this stunning picture book is unlike anything you’ve seen.

Watch a Freedom Over Me book trailer.

Learn more about author Ashley Bryan.

Dan Gemeinhart is a librarian who recently stepped away from the position to write full-time. We’ve loved everything he has written. His book, The Honest Truth (2015), was a 2017 RI Children’s Book Award nominee. His book, Some Kind of Courage (2016), made me want a fourth grade classroom again because I think it’s the perfect read-aloud for kids. Can’t wait to read this one too!

Scar Island, (2017)

by Dan Gemeinhart


Goodreads summary: Jonathan Grisby is the newest arrival at the Slabhenge Reformatory School for Troubled Boys — an ancient, crumbling fortress of gray stone rising up from the ocean. It is dark, damp, and dismal. And it is just the place Jonathan figures he deserves.

Because Jonathan has done something terrible. And he’s willing to accept whatever punishment he has coming.

Just as he’s getting used to his new situation, however, a freak accident leaves the troubled boys of Slabhenge without any adult supervision. Suddenly the kids are free, with an entire island to themselves. But freedom brings unexpected danger. And if Jonathan can’t come to terms with the sins of his past and lead his new friends to safety . . . then every boy on the island is doomed.

Watch the Scar Island book trailer.

Learn more about author Dan Gemeinhart.

There is a fifth grade cutie pie who checks out cookbooks every week without fail. I finally asked her about it and she said she plans to be a famous chef someday and cooks for her family most nights. I ordered this book with her in mind and she loved it. We will be ordering Stars of Summer ( All Four Stars #2) and Stars So Sweet (All Four Stars #3) for the library too. If you have a budding chef at your house, keep this series in mind. Also, we have a subscription to Ingredient magazine your child can check out too.

All Four Stars (All Four Stars #1), (2014)

by Tara Dairman


Goodreads summary: Meet Gladys Gatsby: New York’s toughest restaurant critic. (Just don’t tell anyone that she’s in sixth grade.)

Gladys Gatsby has been cooking gourmet dishes since the age of seven, only her fast-food-loving parents have no idea! Now she’s eleven, and after a crème brûlée accident (just a small fire), Gladys is cut off from the kitchen (and her allowance). She’s devastated but soon finds just the right opportunity to pay her parents back when she’s mistakenly contacted to write a restaurant review for one of the largest newspapers in the world.

But in order to meet her deadline and keep her dream job, Gladys must cook her way into the heart of her sixth-grade archenemy and sneak into New York City—all while keeping her identity a secret! Easy as pie, right?

Watch a book trailer for All Four Stars.

Our kids love the Choose Your Own Adventure series. When students started placing their own holds, I was surprised to see this series come in through inter library loan for a student. I immediately placed an order to get the series for our library. They are always checked out!

Summer Freeze! (You Choose Stories: Batman), (2015)

by Brandon Terrell and Ethan Beavers

You Choose Stories: Batman series by various authors


Goodreads summary: Mr. Freeze blankets Gotham City in a blizzard, turning the city into an enormous snow globe. Should the Dark Knight take the case or turn to the police instead? Will Mr. Freeze go easily or put up a fight? Does Batman use his brains or his brawn to stop the super-villain? In this digital story, YOU CHOOSE the path Batman should take. With your help, hell melt the super-villains Summer Freeze!

I wanted to highlight another hybrid series that students cannot get enough of. The Dork Diaries series is incredibly popular with our students. The 11th book in the series came out this past November. And the best news: there’s a Dork Diaries movie in the works!

Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life (Dork Diaries #1), (2014)

by Rachel Renee Russell


Goodreads summary: It’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid for girls in this hilarious novel!

Meet Nikki Maxwell! She’s starting eighth grade at a new school—and her very first diary packed with hilarious stories and art in Book One of the #1 New York Times bestselling Dork Diaries series!

New school. New mean girl. New crush. New diary so I can spill about all of it…

I put a lot of really personal stuff in this diary along with my sketches and doodles.

But, mostly it’s about how TRAUMATIC it was transferring to my new private middle school, Westchester Country Day.

And, how a lot of the CCP (Cool, Cute & Popular) kids were really SNOBBY and made my life TOTALLY miserable. People like, oh, I don’t know, maybe…


And, it just so happened that I got stuck with a locker right next to hers. I could NOT believe I had such BAD luck. I knew right then and there it was going to be a VERY, VERY long school year 😦 !

Watch a Dork Diaries book trailer.

Learn about author Rachel Renee Russell.


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