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Winger
by Andrew Smith

Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781442444928 *Starred Review* After he opened a vein in YA lit with The Marbury Lens (2010) and then went completely nutso in Passenger (2012), about the only thing that Smith could do to surprise would be a hornball boarding-school romantic romp. Surprise! Well, sort of. At 14, Ryan Dean West is a couple years younger (and scrawnier) than the rest of the juniors at Pine Mountain. He is a plucky kid despite a tendency to punctuate his every thought with I am such a loser who stars in the rugby team due to his speed and tenacity. The rail ties of his single-track mind, though, are his exploits (or lack thereof) with the opposite sex, particularly his best friend Annie, who thinks he is adorable. In short, Ryan Dean is a slightly pervy but likable teen. He rates the hotness of every female in sight but also drops surprising bombs of personal depth on a friend's homosexuality, the poisonous rivalries that can ruin friendships, and his own highly unstable mix of insecurity and evolving self-confidence. Much of the story seems preoccupied with the base-level joys and torments of being a teenager, content to float along with occasional bursts of levity from some nonessential but fun minicomics by Bosma. But at its heart, it is more in line with Dead Poets Society, and by the end this deceptively lightweight novel packs an unexpectedly ferocious punch.--Chipman, Ian Copyright 2010 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781442444928 Gr 9 Up-Smith takes readers inside the mind of Ryan Dean West, nicknamed Winger for his position on the rugby team of his tony private school. He's brilliant, immature (a 14-year-old junior), and anxious to prove himself to his teammates and especially to his crush, 16-year-old Annie. "You push things too far" advises his best friend and teammate Joey, who is gay and accepted for his honesty about it and his status as team captain. With only Joey, Annie, and the Tao of rugby to guide him, it's no wonder Ryan Dean has more than his share of missteps while trying to reinvent himself. Some are painfully awkward, and some are laugh-out-loud hysterical, especially his sponge bath by a hot nurse. The team's on-field camaraderie deteriorates into simmering hostility off the field, rife with drinking, crudeness, profanity, and constant verbal slurs. Still, readers will be shocked by a climactic violent act against Joey that leaves Ryan Dean changed forever. Smith's understanding of teen males is evident; nuances add depth and authenticity to characters that could have been cliches. However, Annie feels a bit idealized: one wonders what she sees in Ryan Dean. The pace moves quickly and holds readers' interest, punctuated by Bosma's charts and graphic-novel pages that cleverly depict the boy's hilarious inner turmoil. Readers don't need to know anything about rugby to appreciate this moving, funny coming-of-age novel.-M. Kozikowski, Sachem Public Library, Holbrook, NY (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781442444928 This brutally honest coming-of-age novel from Smith (Passenger) unfolds through the eyes of Ryan Dean West, a 14-year-old, rugby-playing junior at the exclusive Pine Mountain school. He's two years younger than his classmates, hopelessly in love with his best friend Annie, and stuck in Opportunity Hall, the residence reserved for the worst rule-breakers. As Ryan Dean struggles with football-team bullies, late-night escapades, academic pressures, and girl troubles, he also discovers his own strengths. Like puberty itself, this tale is alternately hilarious and painful, awkward and enlightening; Bosma's occasional comics add another layer of whimsy and emotion, representing Ryan Dean's own artistic bent. The characters and situations are profane and crass, reveling in talk of bodily functions and sexual innuendo, and the story is a cross between the films Lucas and Porky's, with all the charm and gross-out moments that dichotomy suggests. That's what makes the tragedy near the very end all the more shocking and sudden, changing the entire mood and impact of Ryan Dean's journey. The last-minute twist may leave readers confused, angry, and heartbroken, but this remains an excellent, challenging read. Ages 12-up. Agent: Laura Rennert, Andrew Brown Literary Agency. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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Rudas: Ninos Horrendous Hermanitas.
by Yuyi Morales


Trombone Shorty
by Troy Andrews


Whipping Boy: The Forty-Year Search for My Twelve-Year-Old Bully
by Allen Kurzweil


Bubble Trouble
by Margaret Mahy

Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780547074214 The trouble begins when sister Mabel blows a bubble that bobbles over baby and wafts him away. Baby floats over mother, past the neighbors, and through the busy streets as bystanders join the chase. How to bring baby down? A human ladder forms and a slingshot finally solves the problem, but then who's going to catch the baby? Mahy is clearly in love with language here, as she offers a text that flounces and bounces like the baby in the bubble: But she bellowed, / 'Gracious, Greville!' / and she groveled on the gravel / when the baby in the bubble / bibble-bobbled overhead. Dunbar uses watercolors accented with cut paper to chronicle the silliness. The story goes on a bit long for the youngest, but children will find their ears perking up at the tongue-twisting text, and they may become word lovers, too, after listening to this.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2009 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780547074214 Starred Review. PreS-Gr 2-A truckload of trouble and mountains of mayhem ensue when young Mabel blows a bubble that enfolds her baby brother and carries him aloft. He is pursued by his frantic mother and sister, "crumpled Mr. Copple and his wife," "feeble Mrs. Threeble," "Greville Gribble," the chapel choir, and other townsfolk. The text floats in waves along with the bouncing baby across the energetic watercolor and cut-paper spreads. Dressed in stripes and plaids, nightshirts and jogging suits, the crowd sprints along through backyards and gardens, gesticulating wildly as the smiling infant floats by. Eventually, the rescuers form a human ladder to reach him. But Abel, "a rascal and a rebel," performs a dastardly deed with his slingshot and the people watch in horror as the baby plummets through the air. It takes three page turns for readers to reach the delightful resolution of this perilous predicament. There is no mistaking the baby's happy landing as his smiling face and waving arms and feet fill the spread. This tale, with its over-the-top silliness, is a storyhour gem. And with some practice, the rhyme, alliterative phrases, and names will fall trippingly off the tongue. Fabulous fun!-Marianne Saccardi, formerly at Norwalk Community College, CT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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Spit and Sticks: A Chimney Full of Swifts
by by Marilyn Grohoske Evans


Dragon Teeth
by Michael Crichton


The War that Saved My Life
by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780803740815 Gr 4-6-Bradley turns her keen historical eye from Monticello (Jefferson's Sons, Penguin, 2011) to the British home front during World War II. Ada isn't exactly sure how old she is; for as long as she can remember, she's been a virtual prisoner in her mother's third floor one-room apartment. She was born with a clubfoot and her mother uses her disability as an excuse to abuse her both emotionally and physically. Ada watches the world through the narrow confines of the apartment window, waves to neighbors in the street, and carefully gauges the danger of being beaten during each encounter with her hateful mother. She envies the freedom of her little brother, Jamie, who goes to school and generally roves the neighborhood at will. When her mother prepares to ship Jamie out to the countryside with other children being evacuated from London, Ada sneaks out with him. When the two fail to be chosen by any villagers, the woman in charge forces Susan Smith, a recluse, to take them in. Though Susan is reluctant and insists that she knows nothing about caring for children, she does so diligently and is baffled by the girl's fearful flinching anytime Ada makes a mistake. Though uneducated, Ada is intensely observant and quick to learn. Readers will ache for her as she misreads cues and pushes Susan away even though she yearns to be enfolded in a hug. There is much to like here-Ada's engaging voice, the vivid setting, the humor, the heartbreak, but most of all the tenacious will to survive exhibited by Ada and the villagers who grow to love and accept her.-Brenda Kahn, Tenakill Middle School, Closter, NJ (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780803740815 Gr 4-6-Bradley turns her keen historical eye from Monticello (Jefferson's Sons, Penguin, 2011) to the British home front during World War II. Ada isn't exactly sure how old she is; for as long as she can remember, she's been a virtual prisoner in her mother's third floor one-room apartment. She was born with a clubfoot and her mother uses her disability as an excuse to abuse her both emotionally and physically. Ada watches the world through the narrow confines of the apartment window, waves to neighbors in the street, and carefully gauges the danger of being beaten during each encounter with her hateful mother. She envies the freedom of her little brother, Jamie, who goes to school and generally roves the neighborhood at will. When her mother prepares to ship Jamie out to the countryside with other children being evacuated from London, Ada sneaks out with him. When the two fail to be chosen by any villagers, the woman in charge forces Susan Smith, a recluse, to take them in. Though Susan is reluctant and insists that she knows nothing about caring for children, she does so diligently and is baffled by the girl's fearful flinching anytime Ada makes a mistake. Though uneducated, Ada is intensely observant and quick to learn. Readers will ache for her as she misreads cues and pushes Susan away even though she yearns to be enfolded in a hug. There is much to like here-Ada's engaging voice, the vivid setting, the humor, the heartbreak, but most of all the tenacious will to survive exhibited by Ada and the villagers who grow to love and accept her.-Brenda Kahn, Tenakill Middle School, Closter, NJ (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780803740815 When word starts to spread about Germans bombing London, Ada's mother decides to send her little brother, Jamie, to the country. Not 11-year-old Ada, though she was born with a crippling clubfoot, and her cruel mother treats her like a slave. But Ada has painfully taught herself to walk, so when Jaime departs for the train, she limps along with him. In Kent, they're assigned to crotchety Susan, who lives alone and suffers from bouts of depression. But the three warm to each other: Susan takes care of them in a loving (if a bit prickly) way, and Ada finds a sense of purpose and freedom of movement, thanks to Susan's pony, Butter. Ada finally feels worthy of love and respect, but when looming bombing campaigns threaten to take them away from Susan, her strength and resolve are tested. The home-front realities of WWII, as well as Ada's realistic anger and fear, come to life in Bradley's affecting and austerely told story, and readers will cheer for steadfast Ada as she triumphs over despair.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2010 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780803740815 Bradley (Jefferson's Sons) examines WWII through the eyes of a disabled child eager to escape her life of neglect and abuse. With the threat of German bombs being dropped on London, most parents are anxious to get their children out of the city. But Ada's mother, shamed by her daughter's deformed foot, doesn't seem to care. Ada takes it upon herself to board an evacuee train with her younger brother and, without their Mam's knowledge, they arrive in a country village with a crowd of students. Malnourished and filthy, the siblings are placed with Miss Smith, a woman lacking any experience with children, who claims she isn't "nice." Nonetheless, she offers Ada and Jamie food, clothing, and security, and she owns a pony that Ada is determined to learn to ride. In this poignant story, Bradley celebrates Ada's discovery of the world outside her dismal flat, movingly tracing her growing trust of strangers and her growing affection for Miss Smith. Proving that her courage and compassion carry far more power than her disability, Ada earns self-respect, emerges a hero, and learns the meaning of home. Ages 9-12. Agent: Ginger Knowlton, Curtis Brown. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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Holes
by Louis Sachar

Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780374332655 Gr. 6^-9. Middle-schooler Stanley Yelnats is only the latest in a long line of Yelnats to encounter bad luck, but Stanley's serving of the family curse is a doozie. Wrongfully convicted of stealing a baseball star's sneakers, Stanley is sentenced to six months in a juvenile-detention center, Camp Green Lake. "There is no lake at Camp Green Lake," where Stanley and his fellow campers (imagine the cast from your favorite prison movie, kid version) must dig one five-by-five hole in the dry lake bed every day, ostensibly building character but actually aiding the sicko warden in her search for buried treasure. Sachar's novel mixes comedy, hard-hitting realistic drama, and outrageous fable in a combination that is, at best, unsettling. The comic elements, especially the banter between the boys (part scared teens, part Cool Hand Luke wanna-bes) work well, and the adventure story surrounding Stanley's rescue of his black friend Zero, who attempts to escape, provides both high drama and moving human emotion. But the ending, in which realism gives way to fable, while undeniably clever, seems to belong in another book entirely, dulling the impact of all that has gone before. These mismatched parts don't add up to a coherent whole, but they do deliver a fair share of entertaining and sometimes compelling moments. --Bill Ott
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780374332655 Gr 5-8-Stanley Yelnats IV has been wrongly accused of stealing a famous baseball player's valued sneakers and is sent to Camp Green Lake, a juvenile detention home where the boys dig holes, five feet deep by five feet across, in the miserable Texas heat. It's just one more piece of bad luck that's befallen Stanley's family for generations as a result of the infamous curse of Madame Zeroni. Overweight Stanley, his hands bloodied from digging, figures that at the end of his sentence, he'll "...either be in great physical condition or else dead." Overcome by the useless work and his own feelings of futility, fellow inmate Zero runs away into the arid, desolate surroundings and Stanley, acting on impulse, embarks on a risky mission to save him. He unwittingly lays Madame Zeroni's curse to rest, finds buried treasure, survives yellow-spotted lizards, and gains wisdom and inner strength from the quirky turns of fate. In the almost mystical progress of their ascent of the rock edifice known as "Big Thumb," they discover their own invaluable worth and unwavering friendship. Each of the boys is painted as a distinct individual through Sachar's deftly chosen words. The author's ability to knit Stanley and Zero's compelling story in and out of a history of intriguing ancestors is captivating. Stanley's wit, integrity, faith, and wistful innocence will charm readers. A multitude of colorful characters coupled with the skillful braiding of ethnic folklore, American legend, and contemporary issues is a brilliant achievement. There is no question, kids will love Holes.-Alison Follos, North Country School, Lake Placid, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780374332655 This wry and loopy novel about a camp for juvenile delinquents in a dry Texas desert (once the largest lake in the state) by the author of There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom and the Wayside School series has some serious undercurrents. Stanley Yelnats (appropriately enough for a story about reversals, the protagonist's name is a palindrome) gets sent to Camp Green Lake to do penance, "a camp for bad boys." Never mind that Stanley didn't commit the crime he has been convicted of?he blames his bad luck on his "no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather." He digs five-foot-deep holes with all the other "bad" boys under the baleful direction of the Warden, perhaps the most terrifying female since Big Nurse. Just when it seems as though this is going to be a weird YA cross between One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Cool Hand Luke, the story takes off?along with Stanley, who flees camp after his buddy Zero?in a wholly unexpected direction to become a dazzling blend of social commentary, tall tale and magic realism. Readers (especially boys) will likely delight in the larger-than-life (truly Texas-style) manner in which Sachar fills in all the holes, as he ties together seemingly disparate story threads to dispel ghosts from the past and give everyone their just deserts. Ages 12-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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Isaac Newton and the Scientific Revolution
by Gale Christianson

Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780195092240 Gr. 8^-12. Christianson, a distinguished professor who has written extensively on Newton and his times, makes few concessions to the lay reader in this biography in the Oxford Portraits in Science series. Those who know some physics will find the science fascinating, but the technical explanations aren't easy: just what did that falling apple show Newton about gravity? How did he come to his theory of the calculus? What are the connections with Einstein's work on relativity and quantum mechanics? However, all readers will enjoy the personal life story, and they will feel the excitement of Newton's discoveries of the laws that govern an orderly and knowable universe. Far from reverential, Christianson shows us a genius who could be treacherous, revengeful, and arrogant: "Time itself must stand still for Isaac Newton; after all, he was one of the Lord's anointed." Bibliography; chronology; many contemporary prints and diagrams. --Hazel Rochman
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780195092240 Gr 8 Up?This is not just a great biography?it's one of the best-written science books around for young people. Christianson has sifted through the historical documents and accounts of Newton to paint a convincing and intelligent picture of the complex and at times irascible genius. Even more remarkable, the biographical portrait he presents is a compelling story. It begins with a beheading?that of Charles I?and ends with the poetic image of visitors to Newton's gravesite pausing "in silent tribute to the sacred permanence of the dead." The author demonstrates a remarkable sense of Newton and his times. For example, while many other biographers struggle to explain his experiments in alchemy, Christianson puts them in context of the great scientist trying to unravel the mysteries of the atomic world with the best tools available to him. The narrative also shows how Newton changed as he grew older: from a young, intense, reclusive academic to a living legend justifiably vain about his reputation. Reproductions of documents, Newton's sketches, and paintings of well-known figures illustrate this fine book.?Alan Newman, American Chemical Society, Washington, DC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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Knock knock my dads dream for me
by written by Daniel Beaty and illustrated by Bryan Collier

Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780316209175 Beaty's spoken-word performance about a childhood lived in the shadow of incarceration can be seen online, and its impact is powerful. This print version, meant for a younger audience, is gentler but equally affecting. Collier's (Fifty Cents and a Dream) watercolor collages capture the sadness of a thoughtful African-American boy whose father disappears and whose mother will not say where he has gone. The "knock knock" of the title stands for the game played by the boy and his father in happier times: "He goes knock knock on my door, and I pretend to be asleep till he gets right next to the bed." But when his father disappears, "the knock never comes." The boy writes to his father, but lets the letter sit instead of sending it; eventually, his father writes to him, turning "knock knock" into a symbol of possibility: "Knock knock down the doors that I could not." By sharing his experience, explained in an afterword, Beaty lends his voice to children struggling with the absence of a parent and the grief that goes with it. Ages 3-6. Illustrator's agent: Marcia Wernick, Wernick & Pratt. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780316209175 K-Gr 3-Beaty tells a poignant, heart-wrenching tale of love, loss, and hope. A boy narrates how every morning he and his father play the Knock Knock game. He feigns sleep while his father raps on the door until the boy jumps into his dad's arms for a hug and an "I love you." One day, there is no knock. Left with his mother, the child deeply misses his papa and writes to him for advice, receiving a moving letter in return. Collier's watercolor and collage illustrations enhance the nuanced sentiment of the text. Following the protagonist's journey from a grief-stricken child to an accomplished strong adult, the lifelike images intermingle urban and domestic backgrounds with the symbolic innerscape of the narrator. As the boy writes the letter and tosses paper airplanes out the window, he glides out on a life-size paper plane expressing his plea, "Papa, come home, 'cause there are things I don't know, and when I get older I thought you could teach me." Author's and illustrator's notes at the end of the book elaborate on the personal meaning of this eloquent story that speaks especially to children who are growing up in single-parent homes.-Yelena Alekseyeva-Popova, formerly at Chappaqua Library, NY (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780316209175 Every morning a boy and his father play a game: KNOCK KNOCK, says papa, and the boy pretends to be asleep, before jumping into his father's arms. Then one morning papa doesn't come anymore. Collier's gorgeous watercolor and collages begin with rich hues and joyful light on the beginning pages and turn somber and dark as the boy realizes his father is gone for good. Buildings, fabric patterns and wood grains, photographs, and torn paper are delightfully complex, framing the emotional painterly portrayals of a sad and disappointed boy. Children can follow the tromping paisley elephants and paper airplanes as well as papa's signature hat as the boy grows up and finds happiness. In a rare topic for younger children, Beaty explores the theme of permanent separation from a parent (it could be prison, death, or abandonment). The desire for guidance encountering life's experiences is told from a small child's point of view with candor, as well as hope, as he ends quoting papa's advice to KNOCK KNOCK down the doors that I could not. --Gepson, Lolly Copyright 2010 Booklist
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