Hello! I am a middle-high school librarian in New York. I often use these book entries as a quick reference when connecting kids with books. They are not necessarily new titles, but ones I see my students reading or others that merely catch my attention. Please check out the sidebar for more lists. Book summaries are from reviews, the publisher, or Follett's Titlewave.com. Comments, of course, are my own! Eleanor Funk Schuster
Kids series : Galileo, Newton, Einstein (all have activities as well as info)
Series: Masterpieces, artists and their works
boy who harnessed the wind
By Kamkwamba, WilliamDewey: 621.4
The author details how he ignored naysayers and was
able to bring electricity and running water to his Malawian village when he
built a makeshift windmill out of scrap metal and spare parts.
dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins : an illuminating history of Mr. Waterhouse
Hawkins, artist and lecturer : true dinosaur story in three ages ....
By Kerley, BarbaraDewey: 567.9
The true story of Victorian artist Benjamin
Waterhouse Hawkins, who built life-sized models of dinosaurs in the hope of
educating the world about what these awe-inspiring ancient animals were like.
da Vinci : artist, inventor, and Renaissance man
By Koestler-Grack, Rachel ADewey: 709
Profiles the life and works of artist, sculptor,
inventor, writer, and scientist, Leonardo da Vinci, and describes how much of
his work became forerunners of many modern machines such as the automobile and
da Vinci by Barbara Witteman (biography)
Series: Masterpieces. Artists and their Work.
Romare Bearden: Collage of Memories by Jan Greenberg Recounts the life of the twentieth-century African-American collage artist who used his southern childhood. New York City, jazz, and Paris to influence his bold and meaningful art.
messenger : a book depicting the life of a famous scientist, mathematician,
astronomer, philosopher, physicist, Galileo Galilei
By Sis, PeterDewey: 520
Describes the life and work of Galileo who changed
the way people saw the galaxy, by offering objective evidence that the earth
was not the fixed center of the universe.
By Haddix, Margaret PetersonDewey: -Fic-
In a society that allows families to have only two
children, a group of third-borns tries to save themselves and others like them.
By Leonard, M. GDewey: -Fic-
Darkus Cuttle has taken care of his father ever since
his mother died, but his father vanished from a locked vault at the Natural
History Museum, and now he lives with his eccentric uncle. One day he finds a
large and unusually intelligent and self-aware beetle, and soon he and his two
friends are caught up in a struggle to protect an intelligent super species of
By McElligott, MatthewDewey: -Fic-
While working on a science fair project, a
Philadelphia school boy discovers both a secret laboratory in his basement and
Benjamin Franklin, who comes to life after receiving a jolt of electricity.
By Cottrell Boyce, FrankDewey: -Fic-
Dylan and his sisters have some ideas about how to
make Snowdonia Oasis Auto Marvel into a more profitable business, but it is not
until some strange men arrive in their small town of Manod, Wales with valuable
paintings, and their father disappears, that they consider turning to crime.
By Novesky, AmyDewey: -Fic-
Artist Frida Kahlo finds her own voice and style
when her famous husband, Diego Rivera, is commissioned to paint a mural in San
Francisco, California, in the 1930s and she finds herself exploring the city on
By Gibbs, StuartDewey: -Fic-
"Dashiell Gibson, who lives on Moon Base Alpha,
has to solve a murder of one of the moon's most prominent
doctors"--Provided by publisher.
7 professors of the Far North
By Fardell, JohnDewey: -Fic-
Eleven-year-old Sam finds himself involved in a
dangerous adventure when he and his new friends, brother and sister Ben and
Zara, set off for the Arctic to try and rescue the siblings' great-uncle and
five other professors from the mad scientist holding them prisoner.
By McKay, HilaryDewey: -Fic-
After learning that she was adopted,
thirteen-year-old Saffron's relationship with her eccentric, artistic family
changes, until they help her go back to Italy where she was born to find a
special memento of her past.
"Jane Austen's family is eager to secure her future by marrying her off. But Jane is much more interested in writing her novels, and finds every suitor lacking--until the mysterious Mr. Lefroy arrives. Could he be the one? Before Jane can find out, she must solve a murder, clear her family's name, and face a decision that might cost her true love." -The Publisher
Entertaining murder mystery with some romance that may tempt readers to discover the real Jane Austen. Writing reflects formality of the time period (the late 1700's), but is an appropriate reading level for students.
Horn Book Guide (Fall 2014) "The summer before ninth grade, Nina is adrift: she's growing apart from her best friend, and her family hardly speaks to one another. Then she decides to do one small, anonymous kind act each day, hoping to bring some good to her neighborhood. Nina is a thoughtful, inspiring hero who proves that one person really can make a difference."
Love, love this book! You have suspense, the difficulties that sometimes come with friendship, loneliness, happiness, triumph, and a lot of great characters in one small neighborhood.
Put this on your recommended list for middle school.
"Twelve-year-old evil genius, Oliver, uses his great brain to become the third richest person in the world, and finds that overthrowing foreign dictators is easier than getting the kids in his middle school to vote him class president." -Publisher's description This kid is so evil. Forget role models! I couldn't stop reading it. It was grabbed up immediately by one of my students before I could finish it. He had just told me that he doesn't like to read, so if this book gets him reading, well then I love it!
Realistic Fiction, Overcoming Adversity, Assistive Technology, Friendship, Family, Courage
295 pages Grades 5-8
Horn Book Guide starred (Fall 2010) "Narrator Melody is a fifth grader with cerebral palsy. She's brilliant, but few people realize just how brilliant until she receives "Elvira," her Medi-Talker computer. Draper paints the picture of a real girl--with tantrums and attitude, problems with mean girls and oafish adults. This is an eye-opening book with an unforgettable protagonist and a rich cast of fully realized, complicated characters."
An unforgettable description of the frustration and heartache experienced by people who must cope with disabilities that cause others to stereotype and exclude them. A powerful book for class discussion or independent reading. Pair with Wonder by Palacio.
Historical Fiction, World War II, Disabilities, Courage, Family, Friendship, Horses
2015, 316 pages
Newbery Honor and many starred reviews
Horn Book Guide starred(Fall 2015)
Ten-year-old Ada, abused by her cruel, ignorant mam due to an unrepaired clubfoot, has never been outside her squalid London flat. With WWII imminent, her brother, Jamie, is evacuated to the countryside, and Ada determines to go with him. The emotional content feels completely true, especially in recognition of how far Ada's journey will be to both physical and mental health.
This is an absolute winner. It has a great story line and gives a vivid portrayal of a child's perspective of the war in England. Readers will be inspired by Ada's courage and the people who help her. Love this book! I give it 5 stars!
Realistic Fiction, Geniuses, Eccentricities, Family, Friendship, Loss
378 pages; 2014
Horn Book Guide starred (Spring 2014)
After her parents' death, twelve-year-old Willow Chance, a genius obsessed with plants and medical conditions, is taken in by her only friend, high schooler Mai Nguyen, Mai's mother Pattie, and Mai's surly brother, Quang-ha. What sets this novel apart from the average orphan-finds-a-home book is its lack of sentimentality, its truly multicultural cast, and its precise, poignant tone.
Love, love this book! Sloan, author of Apple Blossom Possum (a very different type of book), is a top notch author. Counting by 7's would be a great book club or class discussion.
Fantasy, Ghosts, Bullies 170 pages, 2012 A short, fun story that empathizes with the challenges of middle school social complexities.
"Billy Broccoli is new to the neighborhood, and wants cool friends and a spot on the baseball team more than anything. But the one thing he never wanted is his own personal ghost. So imagine his surprise when he ends up sharing a room with Hoover Porterhouse, a funny ghost with a whole lot of attitude. When an obnoxious school bully sets out to demolish Billy, the Hoove comes up with a plan for revenge. It’s all in the Hoove's Rule Number Forty-Two: Stay cool. And like it or not, Billy and the Hoove have to stick together if Billy ever wants to get in style, get even, and conquer the school." - from the publisher
Newbery Award 1991; Boston Globe/Hornbook Award 1990 184 pages, 1990
Let's not forget to recommend this powerful, heartwarming book! It exemplifies the strength of innocence and truth. An uplifting story that will also make you want to cry.
"In this modern-day tall tale, Spinelli ( Dump Days ; Jason and Marceline ) presents a humorous yet poignant look at the issue of race relations, a rare topic for a work aimed at middle readers. Orphaned as an infant, Jerry Magee is reared by his feuding aunt and uncle until he runs away at age eight. He finds his way to Two Mills, Pa., where the legend of ``Maniac'' Magee begins after he scores major upsets against Brian Denehy, the star high school football player, and Little League tough guy, John McNab. In racially divided Two Mills, the Beales, a black family, take Maniac in, but despite his local fame, community pressure forces him out and he returns to living at the zoo. Park groundskeeper Grayson next cares for the boy, but the old man dies and Maniac moves into the squalid home of the McNabs, who are convinced a race war is imminent. After a showdown with his nemesis, Mars Bar, Maniac bridges the gap between the two sides of town and finally finds a home. Full of snappy street-talk cadences, this off-the-wall yarn will give readers of all colors plenty of food for thought. Ages 8-12" -Publishers Weekly May 1990
Historical Fiction, 1960's, Cuban Missile Crisis 2010 Grades 5-8 ALA Notable Book 2011; Starred Reviews
"The narrator of this first-rate novel is eleven-year-old Air Force brat (and middle child) Franny Chapman. With JFK facing down Communists and a father on active duty, Franny has cause to feel on edge. Eye-grabbing graphic spreads of Cold War-era images, lyrics, speeches, and headlines are shrewdly interspersed throughout the book, providing most of the social commentary and historical explication." -Hornbook Fall 2010
This would be a fabulous book for classes studying U.S. History during the early 1960's. The primary resources interspersed bring this era to life. Very engaging and informative.