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Sunday, October 31, 2010


One of my dedicated readers encouraged me to read this book when I asked him for suggestions for next year’s reading list. Gone is the first book in a series by Michael Grant. In a split second, everyone who is fifteen years of age and older disappears. To make matters worse, all technological media has quit working…no television, no internet, and no telephones. The survivors must create some sort of order to take care of the younger children left behind. A lot of the kids look to Sam, who once saved a bus full of students, for direction. Sam has secret powers. He isn’t the only one. Other kids have special talents. Someone from Sam’s past wants to defeat him before he vanishes. What is the barrier that surrounds them? Why are animals mutating? How can the teens stop from disappearing on their fifteenth birthday? Read Gone to find out. The other books in the Gone series include Hunger and Lies. Click on the fan based book trailer below.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


SLOB, by Ellen Potter, is on the 2010-11Texas Lone Star Reading List. This realistic fiction is narrated by twelve-year-old Owen Birnbaum. Owen explains how difficult it is to be an overweight kid. He started putting on weight two years ago after he and his younger sister experienced a traumatic event. Owen is extremely intelligent, but is bullied on a daily basis because of his weight. In fact, someone is stealing the few precious Oreos that Owen allows himself to eat each day. Is it a coincidence that Mason Ragg, the guy with the horrible scar on the side of his face and switchblade in his sock, has Oreos at lunch? Could he be the thief? Owen is determined to teach the robber a lesson. Can Owen stop the biggest bully of all - his PE Coach, Mr. Wooly? Owen teams up with the unlikeliest character to put a stop to Mr. Wooly’s antics. Will Owen finally find closure from the fateful day that changed his life forever? Read SLOB to find out!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Heist Society

Ally Carter, author of the popular Gallagher Girls series (I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You), brings the secret world of skilled thieves to her readers in her newest book, Heist Society. Katarina Bishop has tried to break away from her criminal past by separating herself from her family. Although she successfully conned her way into a prestigious boarding school, a family friend, Hale, tells her that she is needed for the biggest heist of her life. Her father has been accused of stealing expensive art from a dangerous mobster named Arturo Taccone. Mr. Taccone gives Katarina a two week deadline to steal the art collection back or else. This book leads us on an adventure across the globe with just the right amount of mystery, history, and suspense. Click on the video below to hear the author tell you about her book.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Batboy

Mike Lupica’s, The Batboy, is a must read for all you baseball fans. Fourteen-year-old Brian Dudley has started his dream job - being the batboy for the Detroit Tigers. Brian’s father, a former major league pitcher, walked out on him and his mom two years before. Brian’s love for baseball stems from his relationship with his father. It was their connection. Brian plays baseball as well and aspires to be like his idol, Hank Bishop. Things seem to be looking up when the Tigers add Hank Bishop to their roster. Hank is just returning to the major leagues with a tarnished image from his use of steroids. Nevertheless, Brian has always believed in Hank’s accomplishments at the plate. What happens when the person you look up to most isn’t who you imagined him to be? How do you get yourself out of a hitting slump when everything you have tried fails? Although a predictable storyline, the characters (especially the minor ones) will make you glad that you read this one. Check out Mike Lupica’s other great books: Heat, Travel Team, Miracle on 49th Street, Summer Ball, The Big Field, and Million-Dollar Throw. Click on the book trailer below for an introduction to The Batboy.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Shadow Project

Disclaimer – I had oral surgery this morning to extract a molar (remnants of a broken crown)…may not be as coherent as I would like. Advice to my students – brush, floss, read, repeat! I find it coincidental that a few of my students have been asking me for books about paranormal activity and I just finished this great book filled with it. The Shadow Project by Herbie Brennan is a spy thriller set in England. Danny, raised by his grandmother, is an intelligent boy involved in petty crimes. He happens to break into a house being occupied by The Shadow Project, a government espionage organization. The head of the institution sees that Danny has a natural gift for this project and bribes him to join forces with them. Opal, the beautiful daughter of the head official of MI6, has been training for these missions. Michael, a newcomer from Africa, has first-hand knowledge of the black magic they will face. The teens, using out of body telepathy, join forces to hunt down the notorious leader of a terrorist cell called the Sword of Wrath. They must face their biggest fears and evil djinns to be successful. This is a great recommendation for Alex Rider fans looking for another action-packed read. Click on the video below to hear from the author.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Three Rivers Rising

Jame Richards’ debut novel, Three Rivers Rising: A Novel of the Johnstown Flood, has two of my favorite styles of writing…novel in verse and multiple points of view. Although the genre is historical fiction, the most powerful part of this book is each fictitious character’s narrative. They include an upper-class young girl who becomes disowned by her family for falling in love with the hired help, a nurse who has experienced her own personal tragedy before the flood ever occurs, and the loving wife of a heroic railroad conductor. The characters’ stories represent the voices of the victims of the fateful 1889 Johnstown flood, where 2,209 people lost their lives due to the failure of the poorly managed South Fork Dam. My students should pair this book with the nonfiction book, The Story of the Johnstown Flood by R. Conrad Stein (974.8 STE). Click here for more information about this tragedy. The video below depicts what happened on May 31, 1889.