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Home Kids Good Books Book Blog Staff Reviews by Reviewer

Reviews by Alice J.

Titles are listed alphabetically by the author's last name. You can click the title of each book to check its availability in the WPL catalog.

Book Cover Annexed
Sharon Dogar

Based on The Diary of Anne Frank, this is Peter Van Pels's story. He describes how the eight came to the annex, how they managed and what their days were like. Living together in close quarters gave Peter and the others very little privacy. Peter is at first annoyed and then amazed at Anne's cheerfulness and her constant writing. He admires her outlook and later values her ideas. This continues with a fictionalized version of what Peter must have endured in the concentration camps. It is a realistic portrayal of the Nazi horrors written for mature readers.

WPL Call Number: Y Dogar
Review Date: 11/15/10

 

Book Cover The Kind of Friends We Used to Be
Frances O'Roark Dowell

Middle school changes Kate's relationship with her best friend and neighbor Marylin. While Marylin is a cheerleader and needs to follow the style of the others, Kate wants to play the guitar and dress like a girl guitarist. Two new classmates interest Kate and Marylin and cause both to realize that they can indeed still be close friends. A realistic view of friendship for ages 9 and up.

WPL Call Number: J Dowell
Review Date: 9/4/09

 

Book Cover The Secret Language of Girls
Frances O'Roark Dowell

Starting middle school changes the relationship between neighbors and best friends Kate and Marylin. As they start sixth grade, new neighbor Flannery intrudes by hovering around Marylin while excluding Kate. Talk about boys and cheerleading leaves Kate feeling immature. School and family issues cause both girls to miss the closeness they once had. A very realistic portrayal for ages 9 and up.

WPL Call Number: J Dowell
Review Date: 10/20/04

 

Book Cover Runaway
Wendelin Van Draanen

Imagine being just twelve years old and not having anyone care about you! This is the story of a young girl who runs away from an abusive foster home. After the death of her drug addicted mother, Holly is placed in foster homes where she is either neglected or abused. She explains in her journal that she has decided to run off to California so she can be near the ocean. During her struggle to escape, Holly realizes that she has no one to call and no one who will miss her. This amazing survival story is suitable for ages 12 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Draanen
Review Date: 12/28/06

 

Book Cover Ethan, Suspended
Pamela Ehrenberg

Ethan has to move from his comfortable suburban Philadelphia home to live with his grandparents in their inner-city Washington, D.C., home. After an incident with his "friends" at school, Ethan's mother decides it is the best place for him while she adjusts to a separation from Ethan's father. His grandparents' lifestyle seems very strange: dinner at 4:30 every day, no junk food, no computer, no cell phone. At first he is angry, but Ethan actually learns about his family, his friends and himself. A realistic and very funny family story for ages 12 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Ehrenberg
Review Date: 8/27/07

 

Book Cover Everything Is FIne
Ann Dee Ellis

Mazzy is taking care of her mother who does not talk and will not get out of bed. While Mazzy keeps neighbors and a family services worker away, she assures everyone that they are okay and don't need help. Her absent father calls and has food deivered but Mazzy will not speak to him. During the hot summer days, Mazzy sits in the sprinkler and tries to interact with the boy next door, her only friend. This sad story will appeal to those in 6th grade and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Ellis
Review Date: 6/18/09

 

Book Cover Tropical Secrets: Holocaust Refugees in Cuba
Margarita Engle

This is a story told in verse of a 13 year old Jewish boy sent to Cuba by his parents to protect him from the Nazi Holocaust in Germany. While Daniel hopes to be reunited with his musician parents, he must learn to adapt to his new life on this tropical island. His new friend, Paloma hesitates to reveal the role her father plays in securing safe landing for European refugees. This is an interesting yet little known chapter from history suitable for ages 10 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Engle
Review Date: 2/16/10

 

Book Cover Julia's Kitchen
Brenda A. Ferber

Cara's mother and sister die when their house burns down on a Saturday night while Cara is at a sleepover. Cara's grief is compounded by the fact that her father seems lost and distant. Unable to speak to him about the fire, she tries to deal with her changed life. Cara questions her belief in God and wonders how this could have happened to her family. An emotional story for ages 10 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y / Ferber
Review Date: 8/3/06

 

Book Cover The Summer I Got a Life
Mark Fink

Andy is excited about his family's planned summer vacation in Hawaii. Suddenly these plans change and Andy has to spend 2 weeks with his brother in rural Wisconsin at an unknown aunt and uncle's house. While the boys have never been close, they become good friends when they experience this drastic change to their California lifestyle. Dealing with their relatives, small town life and making friends gives them a great summer experience. For grades 7 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Fink
Review Date: 4/12/10

 

Book Cover The Fabled Fourth Graders of Aesop Elementary School
Candace Fleming

This class of unusual fourth graders has such a bad reputation that no teacher wants them. An unusual new teacher comes in and each chapter focuses on some of the students. A specific incident is described and there is a moral at the end of the chapter. A humorous story about an active group of students for grades 3-6.

WPL Call Number: J Fleming
Review Date: 1/10/08

 

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