Sunday, February 23, 2014

WONDER by R.J. Palacio

315 pages.Bullying; Self Perception; Overcoming Adversity; Kindness; Friendship; Middle School. 

NY Times Bestseller

Description from"Notes: Ten-year-old Auggie Pullman, who was born with extreme facial abnormalities and was not expected to survive, goes from being home-schooled to entering fifth grade at a private middle school in Manhattan, which entails enduring the taunts and fear of his classmates as he struggles to be seen as just another student.
From the Publisher: I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse."

Horn Book (Fall 2012)
"Born with a severe facial deformity, formerly homeschooled Auggie is starting fifth grade. We learn how desperately he wants friends but little of what he might offer in return, as he seems to be defined by his disability. Still, this novel is a heartbreaker, and one that for many readers may provide a new definition of bravery in the face of adversity."

This a perfect choice for summer reading lists and classrooms. It will provide much material for discussion. Fair Warning: Readers will most likely cry! The message of friendship, love, and kindness is much needed today. Thank you R.J. Palacio.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Welcome Library Info 6!

Welcome to Mrs. Schuster's Library Info 6 Class!

Please tell me about a book that you have enjoyed. It can be a book from when you were little or a book that you are reading now.

Click on the comment link below.
Use the 'anonymous' option so you don't have to sign in.

Write the following:
1. Your first name, D2 P4

2. Book Title and author if you remember.

3. Why you like it.

I'm reading The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien with my eighth grade book club right now. Frodo Baggins tries to carry the all powerful ring given to him by his Uncle Bilbo to the safety of Rivendale. It's a great adventure!
I am looking forward to seeing what you are reading. Please click on the comment link below. Make sure to sign your book suggestion with your first name so I can give you credit!

Thank you.

Mrs. Schuster

Thursday, January 09, 2014

PAPERBOY by Vince Vawter

222 pages. Coming of Age, Disabilities, Stuttering, Racism, Historical Fiction

"An 11-year-old boy living in Memphis in 1959 throws the meanest fastball in town, but talking is a whole different ball game. He can barely say a word without stuttering, not even his own name. So when he takes over his best friend's paper route for the month of July, he knows he'll be forced to communicate with the different customers, including a housewife who drinks too much and a retired merchant marine who seems to know just about everything." (

Great choice for classroom discussions. Older elementary, middle school and up. The issues raised will encourage thinking from a new perspective. Wonderful read.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

BEFORE I FALL by Lauren Oliver

Grades 9-12 mature content.  Fiction: Death, Interpersonal relations, Popularity, Conduct, High School, BullyingLoved this book! Lauren Oliver explores the topics of bullying, insecurity, friendship, and courage in a realistic portrayal of the high school experience. I began reading it with trepidation because I thought it was going to be a teenage angst, groundhog day story, but I was completely wrong. This is one to recommend to high school students.
"Grades 9-12. If you could relive your last day, what would you do differently? This is what Samantha asks herself when, after a fatal accident driving from a party on Friday, she wakes in her bed to find she must repeat the entire day again. And again. As Samantha lives through multiple Fridays, desperate to prevent her death, she is struck by how even the most insignificant acts, like running late for school instead of being on time, can change everything. Suddenly she is noticing uncomfortable things—about her friends, about herself—she has never noticed before. It’s the ultimate learning experience, and it takes Samantha seven times—not to save her own life but to leave with one she can be proud of. Oliver, in a pitch-perfect teen voice, explores the power we have to affect the people around us in this intensely believable first novel. Samantha grows from an entitled, popular, yet insecure girl to one with the compassion and guts to make the right decisions. This is a compelling book with a powerful message that will strike a chord with many teens." Booklist (October 15, 2009 (Vol. 106, No.4))


Monday, December 16, 2013


Please click on the comment link below to suggest good books for middle school students.

Write your suggestion for a good book to read.
1. Write the title, author (if you know)
2. Genre? (mystery, adventure, fantasy, science fiction, historical fiction, realistic fiction, nonfiction - you get the point!)
3. Who would you recommend this book to? Who is the perfect audience?
4. Sign your first name only please
5. Select the anonymous option
6. You may have to fill in the random letter form to prove you are an actual person and not some robot!
7. Click publish

Thank you and happy reading!
Mrs. Schuster

Check out some of these titles!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Niko is one of my middle school students who is an avid reader, especially of Science Fiction and books featuring superheroes. Here are some of his suggestions. He promised to give me more!

See descriptions below
The Vindico by Wesley King
The Feros by Wesley King
Dragonworld Trilogy by Margaret Weis
Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz
God of Manhattan by Scott Mebus
The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan
Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan
Pendragon series by D.J. MacHale

THE VINDICO by Wesley King
"Notes: When supervillains of the Vindico realize they are getting too old to fight the League of Heroes, they kidnap and begin training five teens, but James, Lana, Hayden, Emily, and Sam will not become the next generation of evil without a fight.

From the Publisher:
X-Men meets The Breakfast Club in this darkly humorous adventure

The Vindico are a group of supervillains who have been fighting the League of Heroes for as long as anyone can remember. Realizing they're not as young as they used to be, they devise a plan to kidnap a group of teenagers to take over for them when they retire--after all, how hard can it be to teach a bunch of angsty teens to be evil?

Held captive in a remote mansion, five teens train with their mentors and receive superpowers beyond their wildest dreams. Struggling to uncover the motives of the Vindico, the teens have to trust each other to plot their escape. But they quickly learn that the differences between good and evil are not as black and white as they seem, and they are left wondering whose side they should be fighting on after all . . .

With fast-paced action, punchy dialogue, and sarcastic humor, this high-stakes adventure from a talented new YA voice pulls you in from the first page." (
THE FEROS by Wesley King
"Notes: Sequel to: The Vindico. "James, Hayden, Lana, Sam and Emily use their new superpowers to try to save abducted members of the League of Heroes, and when Emily disappears, they must find their friend before it's too late"--Provided by publisher.
From the Publisher:
Wesley King follows up his darkly funny debut, The Vindico, with this high-octane sequel, delivering even more humor and explosive superpowered action.

After using your newfound super powers to defeat the most evil villains on the planet, what could you possibly do for an encore?
James, Hayden, Sam, Emily and Lana are finally ready to join the League of Heroes. Their new powers have made them stronger than ever (Hayden has perfected some particularly useful tricks for doing housework from the sofa), and the friends even gave themselves a name: the Feros. But as their induction into the League approaches, they are ambushed and arrested by a group of rogue Heroes. The only one who can clear their name is the League's leader, Thunderbolt—but he's gone missing. The Feros manage to escape capture, but with Thunderbolt gone and several League members defecting, there is no one left to trust.

Confident they can overcome anything together, the group's security is shaken when Emily is mysteriously abducted right out from under them. Have the Vindico somehow managed to escape the impenetrable Perch? Or are they fighting a new enemy that they can't see? One thing they know for sure is that even Sam's telepathic detection has proven useless against this unknown foe. Without their computer genius or their telepathic shield, how will the Feros ever find Emily and keep themselves—and their families—safe?" (

"Notes: "A Tom Doherty Associates book." Chaos and destruction looms when a new and inexperienced Mistress of Dragons is charged with maintaining the uneasy balance of power between humans and dragons." (

ALEX RIDER SERIES by Anthony Horowitz
"Notes: Sequel: Point Blank. After the death of the uncle who had been his guardian, fourteen-year-old Alex Rider is coerced to continue his uncle's dangerous work for Britain's intelligence agency, MI6." (

"Notes: Thirteen-year-old Rory discovers a spirit world that thrives alongside his contemporary New York City, filled with fantastical creatures and people from the city's colorful past who have become gods and goddesses and who have chosen Rory to perform a dangerous mission."

"Notes: Title from container.;The red pyramid -- The throne of fire -- The serpent's shadow. A boxed set of all three novels in Rick Riordan's "Kane Chronicles" series, in which the Kane siblings, Sadie and Carter, must fight against evil as the Egyptian gods are waking and threaten to plunge the world into eternal darkness." (

PERCY JACKSON by Rick Riordan
"Notes: The lightning thief -- The sea of monsters -- The Titan's curse -- The battle of the labyrinth -- The last Olympian. After learning that he is the son of a mortal woman and Poseidon, god of the sea, young Percy is sent to Camp Half-Blood for demigods like himself, where he gets into adventures, battles evil, and proceeds toward the prophecy that awaits him on his sixteenth birthday." (

"Notes: The scary adventures of Bobby Pendragon who, having learned that he is a traveler--someone who can ride "flumes" through time and space--is off to alternative dimensions." ( 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Brilliant by Rachel Vail

Realistic Fiction, Family Problems, School

"Notes: Sixteen-year-old Quinn struggles to maintain her image as a brilliant, good girl when her mother's major error at work leads to financial and legal troubles that turn Quinn's and her younger sisters' world upside-down.
From the Publisher:
Everybody knows who Quinn Avery is. She's the smart, calm, responsible Avery sister, the one who's kept it together in spite of all that's happened since their mom lost her job. But when the family house goes up for sale and Quinn faces the prospect of losing the home she loves, something snaps inside her, and a new, wild, reckless Quinn emerges.
Soon Quinn's lying, sneaking out, and partying with a brand-new crowd. When Quinn adds ditching her best friends and kissing the wrong boys—including her sister's boyfriend and her own piano teacher—to her list of crimes, she may finally have gone too far. Can Quinn find her way back to the family that needs her and the only boy she's ever loved?"

Kirkus Review
"This final book in the Avery sisters trilogy (preceded by Lucky, 2008, and Gorgeous, 2009) centers on introverted Quinn, the oldest and most responsible of the three. On the surface, Quinn is dealing well with her family's losing their home and many of their possessions, but her first-person narration shows a fair amount of inner turmoil. Not entirely sure of how to deal with the feelings no one expects her to have, Quinn engages in reckless boy-kissing and party-going. The only boy she's really interested in kissing, however, is her piano teacher, college student Oliver. Her insecurities about herself and her future lead her to make poor but understandable choices about her friendships and romances. Quinn's intelligence, which she expresses while still sounding authentic and often funny, allows for full exploration of her mixed feelings. Her calm nature also plays well against the personalities of her high-strung sisters. Vail ends this trilogy on a high note, one that should especially resonate with teens whose lives have changed with the economy. (Fiction. 12 & up) "
     - Kirkus 

Loved this! I appreciate the sensitivity and depth of Vail's writing which conveys realistic emotions and struggles that appeal to a wide audience. I will definitely recommend this series to my middle and high school students.

Go to Rachel Vail's website for more information