Reviews by Lisa B.
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.
Better Nate Than Ever|
Nate wants nothing more than to leave his small Pennsylvania town, where he fits in with nobody except his best friend Libby, and become a Broadway star in New York City. When auditions are announced for E.T.: The Musical, Nate's got to go. But is he up to lying to his parents (and just about everyone else), navigating the big city on his own, and dealing with a bunch of snotty show biz professionals? This funny, heartfelt read will make you cheer for Nate as his world expands and he discovers a place he can truly fit in. Recommended for readers in grades 5 and up.
WPL Call Number: Y Federle
Cass, a white girl living in Florida, finds a kindred spirit in Jemmie, a black girl who moves next door. They both love to run more than anything in the world. The problem is, Cass's dad doesn't like black people, and Jemmie's mom doesn't like white people. Cass's dad forbids her to be friends with Jemmie, but the two friends decide their friendship is too important to let such rules stand in the way. This is a compelling story of friendship in the face of adversity, and a down-to-earth look at the way racial prejudice persists today. Recommended for readers grades 5 and up.
WPL Call Number: Y Fogelin
The Homeschool Liberation League|
After Katya's exciting and empowering summer at wilderness camp, sitting at a desk in middle school sounds like torture. Instead, she wants to pursue her own interests, especially botany, at her own pace. Convincing her parents to let her homeschool, though, is a major project of its own! As Katya fights for her right to self-educate, she meets teens and adults who give various perspectives on homeschooling. This would be an interesting read for kids who are curious about schooling options that don't involve sitting in a desk every day. For grades 6 and up.
WPL Call Number: Y Frank
Brendan Buckley's Universe and Everything in It|
Sundee T. Frazier
Ten-year-old Brendan is a budding scientist, so it's no surprise the rock and mineral show at the mall catches his eye. The surprise is the president of the local rock club is Brendan's grandfather - the white grandfather he's never met before. Insatiably curious, Brendan sets out to discover what happened between Grandpa DeBose and his parents (white mom, black dad) so many years ago, meanwhile forging a special friendship with his "new" grandfather. What results is a realistic but light-hearted look at family dynamics and racial identity. Recommended for readers grades 4 and up.
WPL Call Number: J Frazier
The Other Half of My Heart|
Sundee T. Frazier
Eleven-year-old Minerva (Minni) and her twin Keira are spending the summer with their grandmother, who is grooming them for the Miss Black Pearl Preteen of America contest. Minni and Keira are biracial, and for the first time light-skinned Minni begins to see how her darker-skinned sister is treated differently from her -- even by their own grandmother! Will the twins' special bond survive the summer? What do words like "black" or "white" mean, anyway? This thoughtful novel is warm and funny as well as a great discussion-starter. Minni and Keira's distinctive personalities give them great chemistry. Their pranks on their crotchety grandmother are especially entertaining. Highly recommended for grades 4 and up.
WPL Call Number: Y Frazier
The Black Paw|
Heather Vogel Frederick
Glory Goldenleaf is a first-class spy who also happens to be a mouse. Like all the best spies, she also has an arch-enemy: Dupont, a nasty rat who is out to rid Washington, D.C., of all "short-tails" (i.e., mice). Fortunately, Glory meets Oz. He's the new boy in town, James Bond's biggest fan, and the school bullies' main target. In this humorous and exciting spy adventure, Glory and Oz must join forces to put rats and bullies in their places. This is the first book of the new "Spy Mice" series. For readers ages 8 to 11.
WPL Call Number: J Frederick
How to Scratch a Wombat|
From the creators of the picture book Diary of a Wombat comes this entertaining and informative chapter book about the roly-poly marsupials. French describes the creatures’ fascinating and peculiar habits (bum-biting, among others), throwing in plenty of humorous personal anecdotes about Smudge, Moriarty, and dozens of other wombats she has known. Suggested for grades 3 and up. Illustrated by Bruce Whatley.
WPL Call Number: J599.2 FR
The Patron Saint of Butterflies|
Agnes and Honey have grown up at Mount Blessing, a reclusive religious commune. When Agnes's little brother is badly injured and the commune's prophet fails to perform a miracle, her grandmother kidnaps the children for their own safety. Agnes is devastated to leave her family and friends. Honey is joyous to escape to the "real world." What will the future bring, now that they've left the only home they've ever known? An unusual and thought-provoking story for readers in grades 7 and up.
WPL Call Number: Y Galante
A Tale Dark and Grimm|
If you think you know your fairy tales, think again! In this darkly humorous mash-up, twins Hansel and Gretel encounter not only the usual house of sweets (and its cannibalistic inhabitant) but weave their way through other, less familiar Brothers Grimm stories as well. The narrator -- who breaks into the story at various times to issue warnings to sensitive readers -- spares not a gleefully gory detail; beheadings abound. My favorite episode was the one in which Hansel dresses up as the Devil's grandmother. While not for the faint of heart (or weak of stomach), this quick-paced fantasy will appeal to many readers in grades 4 and up.
WPL Call Number: J Gidwitz
Girl to the Core|
Fifteen-year-old Molly has never missed her mother more than now. Her boyfriend Trevor is messing with her head. Her best friend Vanessa is bossing her around. Molly doesn't know how to stand up for herself. She isn't even sure who "her self" is! If only her mom were here to help her figure it all out. Then Molly gets involved in her little neighbor Claire's Girl Corps troop. At first it's just to help out -- you wouldn't catch Molly dead wearing that silly red cape -- but then Molly starts to wonder if she could learn something from Girl Corps, too. Can she learn to gain the confidence to stand up to Trevor and Vanessa? An accessible, realistic novel for grades 7 and up.
WPL Call Number: Y Goldblatt
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