The Girl Who Could Not Dream
Written by Sarah Beth Durst
Age Level: 10 - 12
Grade Level: 5 – 7
Dreams are a powerful force! That’s probably why this twisted title caught my eye, and the plot didn’t disappoint. Imagine a teen ager who doesn’t fit in and can’t dream. Add in parents who have a book store that’s a front for their real business, selling dreams and nightmares. Sophie notices a couple girls who look beyond tired. She raids her parents’ store to get them dream catchers. Sophie trades the used nightmare-catchers for fresh ones, and she starts to fit in, until Mr. Nightmare walks into the shop and threatens everyone. Only Sophie, the nondreamer, can save them. This is a great story for middle school kids with its mix of fantasy, dreams, and accepting yourself. Bonus points go to Sophie’s clever sidekick, her pet Monster, who’s a cat with tentacles instead of legs.
Owl Diaries #6: Baxter is Missing
Written and Illustrated by Rebecca Elliot
Age Level: 5 - 7
Grade Level: K – 2
This is a great series for young readers who want to get into chapter books. Eva has two problems to solve. Her pet bat Baxter is missing. It’s all she can think about even though she’d love to win a writing contest. It’s impossible! !How can Eva write a story when Baxter might be in danger? Don’t be afraid! Eva finds a happy ending for both her problems!
The Seven Tales of Trinket
Written by Shelley Moore Thomas
Age Level: 8 - 12
Grade Level: 4 – 6
This was one of the first books I read when I started journaling about my reading. I remember loving this story back in 2012. I still do!
Trinket is an orphan. Her mother died, and her father disappeared. There’s only one thing to do – to become a storyteller like her father. She sets off on a quest to become a bard. She must find seven tales of her own, and that isn’t easy. Each story becomes more difficult to find, to tell. Along the way Trinket learns what happened to her father, and it changes her life forever. Curious? You’ll have to read all seven tales for yourself.
Written by Raman Prinja
Illustrated by Chris Wormell
Age Level: 8 – 12
Grade Level: 3 – 7
Welcome to the Museum, to the Planetarium! This is a Big Book, almost 15 inches tall, and every inch of it is beautiful. Confession – I didn’t read the whole book, but I looked at every single page at least once. I read the pages I was interested in. This book would make a great resource for a school or classroom library. It would also make a great present for someone who loves space. It was so well written, and best of all it wasn’t so technical I couldn’t understand it.
The left side of each page has 3-4 paragraphs of text. The right side has an illustration with a key that’s either numbered or lettered to guide you through what you’re seeing.
Did you know space begins 62 miles above the earth? Take a stroll through the 6 galleries of the Planetarium:
Written by Betsy Cornwell
Age Level: 12 and up
Grade Level: 7 – 9
This is one of my favorite books! It’s Cinderella, but she’s a magical inventor. Nicolette is Cinderella. She must fight her stepsisters AND the magical predjudice that divided her parents. Her own father hated magic so much he refused to buy the medicine that would have saved her mother’s life. He remarries someone who’s normal, AKA nonmagical. When he dies, Nicolette finds herself servant to the steps. To survive she renames herself and retreats into a cocoon. But on her 16th birthday, magic finds its way inside. Like Cinderella Mechanica rises from the ashes. You’ll have to read to find out how, but warning . . . this version comes without the perfect Cinderella ending, and it’s still ONE GREAT BOOK!
PS- if you would like to help me and my book, NEIL ARMSTRONG’S WIND TUNNEL DREAM, please consider doing one or both of these things – 1. Write an honest review and post it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Good Reads. It helps new readers find my book. 2. Recommend my book to your favorite library or librarian. Getting a book in a library opens up a new world of readers for me and Neil. If your library is short on cash, please consider gifting it to the library in your child’s honor. It’s a wonderful thing for you, your child, and most of all for your fellow readers. All the best – Rinda
Miss Ellicott's School for the Magically Minded
Written by Sage Blackwood
Age Level: 8 - 12
Grade Level: 3 – 7
This story had me at the first line. It reminds me of Harry Potter, but with girl power. Chantel goes to magic school in the kingdom of Lightning Pass. Outside marauders are fighting to get inside. Seven sorceresses maintain the walls using magical buttons, but the balance of power shifts when the Head Teacher/ Sorceress Miss Ellicott is kidnapped. Chantel and her familiar (a snake) must save Miss Ellicott, and the Kingdom. They summon the spirit of Queen Haywith who says Chantel is thinking too small. Find out if she can go BIG ENOUGH to save the sorceresses, and the kingdom of Lightning Pass.
Written by Patricia MacLachlan
Age Level: 7 and up
Grade Level: 2 – 4
This is a lovely story, quiet and beautiful, about the power of a good teacher. Sylvia Bloom just finished 4th grade with the best year ever, but now summer stretches ahead, with no teacher to guide her writing. Even worse, she’ll have to get used to a new one next year.
Everything changes when her teacher’s husband, the local sheriff, offers her a summer job writing short pieces for the town newspaper. Along the way Sophie finds the answer to the question that’s haunted her – why her mother would leave behind fame, fortune, and travel as an opera singer for a Wyoming farmer who sings Willie Nelson and does the Texas two-step. Read, and maybe Sylvia’s answer can help you too!
Some Writer! The Story of E.B. White
Written and Illustrated by Melissa Sweet
Age Level: 7 –10
Grade Level: 2 – 5
I LOVED THIS BOOK! I’ve been a fan of Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little since I discovered them in the 60’s.
I can also recommend it as a retired teacher and as a writer. As a teacher, this is great material for a book report. Melissa Sweet included her own illustrations AND E.B.’s. She has photos of him, plus photocopies of real letters he wrote. As a fan girl, I loved every page, and it was good to the last one. The end pages include a timeline, Melissa’s sources, a bibliography of E.B.’s books, a thank you from Melissa, and an index to help you search out important facts. The book ends with an afterward from EB’s granddaughter. This is SOME book!
And now as a writer, I appreciate the wisdom Melissa found and shared. Here are my four favorite writer facts:
Jagger Jones and the Mummy’s Ankh
Written by Melayna Evans
Age Level: 9 – 12
Grade Level: 4 – 7
Have you ever wanted to travel to Egypt, to see the pyramids or the sphinx? You don’t have to buy a ticket. Just check out this book by Malayna Evans, author AND Egyptologist. Travel back in time to meet the family of King Tut. He doesn’t figure in this story, but his sister does. She calls Jagger Jones, a kid from the South Side of Chicago back in time. Jagger must fight Egyptian gods and their magic to save the royal family and keep his own sister safe. What a great adventure! I was with Jagger every step of the way hoping he’d beat the bad guys and save the princess. Jagger, thanks for a great trip back to visit ancient Egypt!
Laila and the Sands of Time
Written by Shirin Shamsi
Age Level: 8 – 12
Grade Level: 4 – 6
If you’re looking for a story about a different time, a different culture, this is it! Laila was supposed to go on a pilgrimage to Mecca with her father, but everything changed when cancer took him away. Her aunt and uncle take her instead, and that’s when Laila finds herself swept back to 7th century Arabia. She makes a new friend who must get her baby sister out of Mecca, and out of danger. The two girls find a caravan crossing the desert. They’ll follow it part-way then sneak away so they can reach safety in Yathrib, modern-day Medina. Can Laila navigate danger to protect the baby? Will she return home again? If you’re seeking adventure, this is the book for you!
Whenever I read or write, I find a comfy chair with a great view. I get my favorite drink, stretch out, and let the words take me away.