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Library Media
Books by Genre - Cultures, Adventure/Survival, Animals, Fantasy

Fiction:  Cultures

Recommended titles

Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan (India)
A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park (Medieval Korea)
Lupita Manana by Patricia Beatty (Mexican American)
Habibi by Naomi Shihab Nye (Palestine/Israel)
Shabanu by Suzanne Fisher Staples (Pakistan)
The Other Side of Truth by Beverly Naidoo (Nigeria/England)
Extra Credit by Andrew Clements (Afghanistan)
The Dreamer by Pam Munoz Ryan & Peter Sis (Chile)

Reviewed titles

Kira Kira by Cynthia Kadohata

Katie and her sister, Lynn, stay close through the difficult times of growing up as Japanese Americans in rural Georgia in the 1950s. The extended family endures many hardships and eventually, a tragedy, with love of family as the prevailing force within. Winner of the 2005 Newbery Medal.

Shadow Spinner by Susan Fletcher

Marjan is a servant girl who visits the Sultan's harem to sell jewelry to Sharazade, the famed storyteller. Marjan also fancies herself a storyteller. When Sharazade overhears a story Marjan weaves, she knows she has found a rich source of new tales. Only Marjan doesn't have the complete ending to this one which sets off an exciting romp through the ancient city in search of the story's end. Villains, disguise, hidden passages and mystery abound.

Ties That Bind, Ties That Break: A Novel by Lensey Namioka

Set in China in the year 1911, young Ailin is horrified to see her sister's foot deformed by the practice of binding women's feet to make them more desirable as a wife. Her father is more progressive, however, and allows her to give up the practice. But Ailin soon learns that the society around her shuns her because of this decision which in turn changes the whole course of her life. For mature readers.

How Tia Lola Came to Stay by Julia Alvarez

Ten-year-old old Miguel is very wary when he first meets his flamboyant aunt who arrives from the Dominican Republic to visit his family in their new home in Vermont. All he needs is to have his friends meet this crazy Tia Lola, with her flower print dresses and her maracas. On top of that, she only speaks Spanish! Miguel is anxious to fit in and make friends since his parent’s divorce and this recent move. So, Tia Lola’s visit doesn’t fit into the picture. She does, however, seem to weave a magic over everybody she meets with her warmth, enthusiasm, great food and surprise parties and Miguel eventually falls under her charms.

Fiction: Adventure/Survival

Recommended titles

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo
Point Blank (An Alex Rider Adventure) by Anthony Horowitz
Red Midnight by Ben Mikaelsen
The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
The Wreckers by Iain Lawrence
Rescue Josh McGuire by Ben Mikaelsen
Countdown by Ben Mikaelsen
Jason's Gold by Will Hobbs
Hero by Mike Lupica

Reviewed titles 

The Billionaire's Curse by Richard Newsome

One day Gerald Wilkens gets called down to the principal's office for what he assumes is a minor offense. Once there, he is whisked away by his parents to the United Kingdom where he learns he has inherited the bulk of Great Aunt Geraldine's estate. His aunt has left him some letters which indicate she was probably murdered for secrets she would not reveal. It is up to Gerald to set things right. A high stakes adventure, ideal for 39 Clues fans.

Heist Society by Ally Carter

Kat Bishop has been an art thief since she was seven, part of an extended family in the business.  As she turns 16, Kat is determined to leave her past behind to become a normal student.  But soon a mobster threatens to kill her father if his art pieces aren't returned, even though her father doesn't have them.  Kat has two weeks to figure out who stole the art and how to steal it back.

I.Q. : Independence Hall by Roland Smith  .

It doesn't take long for Angela and Quest (Q) to figure out each other's talents once they become part of a stepfamily. Angela is fierce in martial arts and keen observation. Quest is great with card tricks and slight of hand. They'll need all those skills to figure out if Angela's mom is dead or alive, or working as a terrorist as some suspect. All the adventure and intrigue is wrapped around the musical careers of their other parents, their tour bus, and the international security agencies after the truth.

Young Bond: Silverfin by Charlie Higson 

This is a great adventure of young James Bond before he grew up and got all those gadgets. He goes to Eton Boarding School after losing both parents in a tragic accident. There he is confronted by bullies, arrogance but also support and friendship. He visits his aunt in the Scottish highlands over the holidays and there gets involved with a nasty and vicious laird who is the father of school nemesis, George Hellebore. The action becomes intense and will please middle schoolers looking for adventure-filled stories.

Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen

Cole is a boy exploding with anger. His way of dealing with problems is through violence, so after viciously beating up Peter Driscoll, he knows his parents can’t bail him out of this one and he’ll face jail time. His parole officer believes in him enough to propose Circle Justice, an ancient Native American practice that focuses on healing rather than punishment. Cole elects to do this in what he thinks is an easy way out. He begins his sojourn exhibiting the anger and violence that have marked his whole life.

Fiction: Animals

Recommended titles

Poppy by Avi

Reviewed titles

Because of Winn Dixie by Kate Di Camillo.

This book has all the warmth and flavor of its down home, southern setting of Naomi, Florida. Ten-year-old Opal has just moved to town with her father and finds a stray whom she names Winn-Dixie. The dog’s exuberance helps Opal open up to people, something that has been hard for her ever since her mother abandoned them. Cynthia Rylant fans will feel at home with this one.

Fiction: Fantasy

Recommended titles

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien
Redwall by Brian Jacques
The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J. K. Rowling
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
Airborn by Kenneth Oppel
The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

Reviewed titles

Son by Lois Lowry

Claire was assigned by her society to be a Vessel and her newborn son, a Product. She is not allowed to raise the child herself. When a young boy takes the baby away to spare his life, Claire decides to take a perilous journey to find them. Satisfying ending to the Giver series.

A Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale 

Dashti, a maid, and Lady Saren, her mistress, are shut in a tower for seven years because the lady refuses to marry a man she despises. As food runs low, and the days go from boiling hot to freezing cold, it is all Dashti can do to keep them fed and comfortable. Eventually, Dashti must make the desperate choices of a girl whose life is worth more than she knows. This medieval tale set in Mongolia will please those students who like plucky girl characters, great adventure, and romance.

The Bartimaeus Trilogy: The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud

When Nathaniel, a magician's intern, is publicly humiliated by the magician, Simon Lovelace, the eleven-year-old boy seeks revenge. He studies magic unceasingly and as a result, summons a very clever and powerful djinni named Bartimaeus. He commands the djinni to steal Lovelace's prized amulet. But Nathaniel realizes too late the importance of the amulet and the lengths Lovelace will go to get it back. This rousing page turner is told in alternating chapters from the view of Nathaniel and Bartimaeus.

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson gets asked to leave every boarding school he's been in at year's end. Catastrophes seem to follow him everywhere. During the summer, he lives with his hardworking mother and his step-father, Smelly Gabe, who eats, throws trash, and plays poker all day. One day, his mom takes him to the beach where she reveals he is the son of a Greek god. Soon, Percy gets caught in the middle of a fiery feud among the gods and only a perilous quest to the Underworld can save him and possibly all of humanity. A humorous, action-packed fantasy with a sequel. The author cleverly combines a modern setting and dialogue with ancient Greek mythological characters.

Silverwing by Kenneth Oppel

Shade is the runt of the new batch of bats born this season. His father is missing and some fear dead. As a result, his mother is very protective. When Shade gets lost during the migration south, he meets both friends and villains. Some are bats with silver tags that show they have had encounters with humans. Shade is called upon to save his colony and possibly all of the animal kingdom. First in a series with characters you won't soon forget.

The Akhenaten Adventure by P. B. Kerr (Children of the Lamp) 

When the twins, John and Phillipa, both have their wisdom teeth out at the tender age of 12, the dream they have under anesthesia opens the door to their heritage as true members of the order of "djinn" or genies. Soon they join their uncle in trying to prevent the evil djinn from upsetting the balance of power in the world. They are whisked off to Cairo, get transformed into camels, spend some time in a glass bottle, and meet mummies. Part one of an eventual trilogy. 

The Witch's Boy by Michael Gruber   

Lump is a foundling child who is left on the doorstep of a witch in the woods. The witch is not exactly maternal, but decides to raise the child anyway with the help of a she-bear and a djinni as his tutor. In his adolescence, they are raided by humans who chase them out of their home. Now, they are faced with making a living and end up going from one medieval town to the next performing their circus act. The author weaves several fractured fairy tales into the story of Lump's magical adventures.

The Saint of Dragons by Jason Hightman  

Young Simon has spent most of his life at the Lighthouse School for Boys and knows nothing of his parents. One October day, a ragged-looking man shows up at his school claiming to be his father. Simon finds himself abducted by this stranger and carried off to take part in the family business of dragon hunting. His father, Aldrich St. George, is a direct descendant of the medieval dragon slayer and needs Simon's help to face the last of these evil creatures. This story will thrill fantasy readers as it is filled with dragon lore and nonstop action.

Now You See It by Vivian Vande Velde

Wendy has broken her glasses and without them, she can barely see. When she finds a substitute pair on her front lawn, she sees new vistas like interfering little blue men who like to flirt, perky cheerleaders transformed into old hags, and most importantly, portals into other times and places. A humorous and intriguing fantasy.

The Secret of Platform 13 by Eva Ibbotson

What is a "gump"? It's a grassy bump that's really a hidden door to a magical island. Every nine years it opens for nine days. When the story unfolds, the island's baby prince had been kidnapped nine years ago. An unlikely band of rescuers sets out to bring him back. Their quest proves to be more than they bargained for. Ibbotson has written a fast-moving fantasy with a flavor of Dahl and Rowling in the telling.

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       Historical, Humor, Mystery/Suspense
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