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Recent Book Reviews

Horten's Incredible Illusions: Magic, Mystery & Another Very Strange Adventure
Lula Bell on Geekdom, Freakdom & the Challenges of Bad Hair
A Mutiny in Time
Starry River of the Sky
Pickle: The (Formerly) Anonymous Prank Club of Fountain Point Middle School
Iron Hearted Violet
Jake and Lily
Paris Pan Takes the Dare
Me and the Pumpkin Queen
Read All About It!
The Boy on Cinnamon Street
Nerd Camp
The Classroom
Smells Like Dog
Mission Unstoppable
On the Road to Mr. Mineo's
The Mark of Athena
A Whole Lot of Lucky
Alien on a Rampage
One for the Murphys

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Kidzone Blog

Second Helping of T.O.A.S.T.

No, I'm not talking about the beloved breakfast treat.  Though a slice of buttered goodness paired with scrambled eggs and bacon does sound delicious right about now.  Mmmmmm.  (Snap out of it, Katie Jane!  Focus on the real point of this blog!)  Right.  This blog.  This blog about the second title in James Ponti's T.O.A.S.T. series.

Vanished! by James Ponti (August 22, 2017)
A rash of pranks at an exclusive private school leads two young detectives all the way to the White House.Ponti positively shovels clues, secrets, coded messages, potential suspects, red herrings, distractions, and side mysteries, not to mention dazzling feats of deduction, into this second caper featuring white middle school sleuth Florian "Young Sherlock" Bates, his tough-minded and often equally acute BF Margaret, and their FBI supervisor, Marcus (both of the latter African-American). Posing as transfer students and enjoined to identify the culprit as circumspectly as possible, Florian and Margaret find their work cut out for them as not only does the school's headmaster have something to hide, but Lucy Mays, a white girl and the daughter of the president of the U.S., and also widely renowned Chinese musical prodigy Yin Yae are on the list of potential suspects. The stakes rise sky high when Yin vanishes partway through a performance at the Kennedy Center. Is it another prank? A kidnapping? Or is he defecting, with—a diplomatic disaster in the making—Lucy's help? As in Framed! (2016), fast brain- and footwork saves the day at the last moment, but watching Florian wow everyone, including Lucy's dad, with Holmes-style connecting of dots along the way is just as satisfying. A splendid whodunit: cerebral, exhilarating, low in violence, methodical in construction, and occasionally hilarious. (from Kirkus Reviews) 

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture

STEM for Girls

This list was curated by Edutopia, the George Lucas Educational Foundation.  Eclipse Day seems a perfect day to promote it on our blog!

K-3rd Grade
Rosie Revere, Engineer and Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beatty
Swimming with Sharks: The Daring Discoveries of Eugenie Clark by Heather Lang

Grades 4-6
The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm
Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science by Jeannine Atkins
Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky

Grades 7-8
Radioactive! How Irène Curie and Lise Meitner Revolutionized Science and Changed the World by Winifred Conkling
Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed History by Sam Maggs
3:59 by Gretchen McNeil

Grades 9-12
Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
In the Land of Invisible Women: A Female Doctor's Journey in the Saudi Kingdom by Qanta A. Ahmed
Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture

Salaam Reads

Founded in 2016, Salaam Reads is an imprint that aims to introduce readers of all faiths and backgrounds to a wide variety of Muslim children and families and offer Muslim kids an opportunity to see themselves reflected positively in published works. The imprint, which takes its name from the Arabic word for “peace,” plans to publish books for young readers of all ages, including picture books, chapter books, middle grade, and young adult.  I have read two of their titles already, and I am very impressed.  Click on any link in this blog post to learn more.

Amina's Voice by Hena Khan (Take a look at the reading guide.)
* also available as ebook
Amina has never been comfortable in the spotlight. She is happy just hanging out with her best friend, Soojin. Except now that she’s in middle school everything feels different. Soojin is suddenly hanging out with Emily, one of the “cool” girls in the class, and even talking about changing her name to something more “American.” Does Amina need to start changing too? Or hiding who she is to fit in? While Amina grapples with these questions, she is devastated when her local mosque is vandalized.  Amina’s Voice brings to life the joys and challenges of a young Pakistani American and highlights the many ways in which one girl’s voice can help bring a diverse community together to love and support each other.

The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi
* also available as ebook
It didn’t look dangerous, exactly. When twelve-year-old Bangladeshi-American Farah first laid eyes on the old-fashioned board game, she thought it looked…elegant.  It is made of wood, etched with exquisite images—a palace with domes and turrets, lattice-work windows that cast eerie shadows, a large spider—and at the very center of its cover, in broad letters, is written: The Gauntlet of Blood and Sand.  The Gauntlet is more than a game, though. It is the most ancient, the most dangerous kind of magic. It holds worlds inside worlds. And it takes players as prisoners.

The 2017-2018 school year has begun, and our teacher newsletter is poised and ready to help our educators be super prepared for what lies ahead.  Book Report is a monthly newsletter filled with information about the best books and latest tech trends for grades K-6.  Each two-page issue is posted in our Kid Zone downloads section at the beginning of the month, August 2017-May 2018.  Each issue covers these nine topics:  

  • The Blog Log -- Heads up on some of the daily blog posts on our website
  • Untangle the Web -- One or two educational websites featured per month
  • Read-Aloud Roundup -- One picture book and one chapter book featured per month
  • More Than Common Core -- Two nonfiction titles/series featured per month
  • Read This, Not That -- Read-alike list for popular book series
  • Review the New -- One book review of favorite new title per month
  • APProved -- One or two educational apps per month
  • Follow the Stars -- Upcoming library events for grades K-6
  • Bonus Round -- Random things you need to know

The August 2017 issue is already available.  Take a look and let us know what you think

* Helpful Hint *
Book Report is a PDF document with web links embedded throughout.  They lead directly to educational websites, book trailers, author interviews, and more.  So move your mouse to the colored and underlined text and get clicking!

Do you love Robin Mellom and her The Classroom series?  Me too!  That's why I'm so excited about her newest book!  It's based on the author's own experience as a principal's kid.

Confessions from a Principal's Kid (August 1, 2017)
During the school day, fifth-grader Allie West is an outsider. Everyone knows the principal's kid might tattle to her mom! But after school, Allie is an insider. She's friendly with the janitor, knows the shortest routes around the building, and hangs out with the Afters, a group of misfits whose parents are teachers at their school. Although Allie secretly loves her insider life, she's sick of being an outsider—so she vows to join the Pentagon, the popular math team led by her ex–best friend. But can Allie change her status without betraying where she really belongs?



The Kidzone has programs galore as well as books, movies, and other cool stuff. Read our blog below for more information and check out our upcoming events to get an idea of what's happening at the Kidzone! Our main phone number is 205.444.7830.