Written and illustrated by Chris Gall
Grade level: Preschool – 2
Boys will love this book by the author of DinoTrux, and I did too! A boy inventor builds the best robots ever. They’re also the tiniest, like microscopic! He enters them in a contest, only to discover his competition is a gigantic robot. The nanobots are ready to quit, till they notice his parts don’t fit. Instead of cruising to victory, the nanos fix him using their micro-talents, but will they still win the contest? Read and find out! Don’t skip the end pages where you can learn about real nanotechnology. Fun Fact: Did you know the first micromachine was invented in 1960? It was the size of the tip of a pin. Wow!
Commander in Cheese #2: Oval Office Escape
Written by Lindsey Leavitt
Illustrated by A.G. Ford
Ages: 7 – 10
Grade level: 2 – 5
I just finished this book and thought it was perfect for President’s Day. Ava and Dean live inside the White House walls with their own Secret Service Agent. They’re mice, of course! The action begins when Agent Gregory must get food to their aunt in the Situation Room. The team’s been up all night researching the new president. The kids arrive in time to discover a real situation, the president has a C-A-T. Mouse security cams inside the Oval Office zero in on the C-A-T, until its cage moves in to block their shots. Gregory’s sent on moving detail but winds up trapped in the cage. Read to discover how Ava and Dean’s quick thinking, plus Eisenhower’s meat hammer, save the day and make a truce with the C-A-T. The end pages are great! They have quirky facts about this story, the White House, and its presidents. P.S…if you liked this book, there are three more in the series.
The Kraken’s Rules for Making Friends
Written and illustrated by Brittany R. Jacobs
Grade Level: Preschool – 2
Ages: 3 - 7
I absolutely love this book! Kraken, monster of the deep, scares every fish in the sea, and, he just wants a friend. Poor Kraken! No matter how hard he tries, no one will give him a chance. After discovering that even the Great White Shark has friends, he turns to him for advice and is rewarded with Shark’s rules of friendship. Read and find out what happens when Kraken tries to follow them. Will he finally make a friend?
The Boys who Challenged Hitler:
Knud Pedersen and the Churchill Club
By Phillip Hoose
Ages: 12 - 18
Grade Level: 6 – adult
What a book! I read it a year or two ago and remember it vividly. Set during WWII after the German invasion of Denmark, Knud Pederson, his brother, and a handful of friends are ashamed of Danish government’s cooperation with the Nazis. The Norwegians fought back, and they inspire these middle schoolers. The boys form the Churchill Club, to honor hero Winston Churchill. They start on bikes, changing signs and painting mock swastikas. Their small acts of sabotage irritate the Germans, who don’t suspect kids on bikes. The boys go bigger, finding guns and ammunition, starting fires and explosions. They’re discovered and serve 2 years in jail. Upon release, the boys learn they’ve sparked full-blown resistance. If you love history, or you want to discover how one person can make a difference, this is your book. I was enthralled watching kids do what adults feared. I also found it eerie to discover that Knud lived long enough to share his story and see it headed toward publication. In Phillip’s end notes, he wrote about the push to get Knud’s story. He also gives his primary and secondary sources so you can learn more about the Churchill Club, where middle school boys changed history.
Aaron and Alexander: The Most Famous
Duel in American History
Written and illustrated by Don Brown
Ages: 5 - 7
Grade Level: K – 4
A biography, finally! I love this book, especially the first. It starts something like this: Aaron and Alexander could have been friends. They were a lot alike, but their differences made them the worst of enemies. The rest of the book tells how these similarities and differences took them from birth to death. Their conflict turned into a lose/lose result. Alexander died in their famous duel, but Aaron never recovered either. Most of the country cursed him, and his reputation was ruined. As an old man, Aaron said, “I should have known the world was wide enough for Hamilton and me.” Something we should all remember with those we disagree with. I also love the end pages which give you factual information and sources.