Favorite Books of 2012

Have you ever read a book that you just couldn’t forget?

Did it make you laugh? Cry? Shout?

 Today’s post is about my favorite books from 2012. These are the standout books from a year of reading.  Even though I may have read them months ago, I still think about them and consider them book friends. When I see the cover, or think of a passage from the book, I get a smile on my face. Not all of these books were written in 2012, although most of them were. I am in the process of reading all the Newbery Medal winners, so one book was published years ago. All, except the young adult books are available in our library. I hope you will stop in and check them out!

Tomorrow the American Library Association will announce all of the Youth Media Awards at their Mid-Winter Conference here in Seattle. I will be at the press conference for the very first time!  I can’t wait to see what books won medal and honor awards. Above any other books, I have my fingers crossed for The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate and Wonder by RJ Palacio.

Here are my standouts from a year of reading!

Categories: Favorite Graphic Novels, Favorite Picture Books, Favorite Non-Fiction Picture Books,Favorite Middle Grade Novels, Favorite Young Adult Novels, Favorite Audio Books

So there you are…my favorites. Not all will win awards tomorrow at the ALA conference. However, they have already won a special award in my heart because each of these books has touched me in a very personal way. I’m looking forward to lots of reading in 2013 and seeing where my reading travels take me!


Were any of these books favorites for you this year?

Is there a book I should have included?

Leave us a comment and let us know!

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The One and Only Katherine Applegate

Amazing, fabulous, wonderful, spectacular, superb! Those are only a few of the ways we could describe our visit with Katherine Applegate this week!

Katherine came with her daughter Julia, and HarperCollins editor, Anne Hoppe and gave us a presentation on her book The One and Only Ivan. Ivan is dedicated to Julia, and her name is also used for one of the main human characters in the book.

Katherine is the author, and co-author with NYT bestseller Michael Grant of over 150 books for children and young adults, including Animorphs, which has sold over 35 millions copies. In the library world, she is a ROCKSTAR, yet, a nicer, more humble author you could not meet.

In a fabulous presentation created by her 15 year old son Jake,Katherine led us through the story of Ivan, the “shopping mall gorilla,” who spent 27 years in the B & I shopping Mall in Tacoma, and the inspiration of her novel. After reading a newspaper article many years ago when Ivan’s future was being debated, Katherine learned about this silverback gorilla stuck inside a 14 x 14 cement cage.  She later saw a National Geographic documentary on urban gorillas that included Ivan’s history. “I couldn’t get this story out of my head,” she told us.

She told us she remembered Toni Morrison’s quote,

She did research through the years and even went to Tacoma to get more information. Yet, she knew his story would also have to be fictionalized. Stella, the older elephant and Bob, the dog didn’t really live with Ivan in real-life, and neither did Ruby, the baby elephant. These were the touches she added to his story to give it depth, poignancy and heroism.

Students also had a chance to ask Katherine questions where she let us know that her best advice for student writers is summed up in two words:

 what if ….

Put yourself in any situation, and ask yourself “what if” and you have the basis for a new story! It’s as simple as that! She also urged student writers to be proud of what they write. She spent many years as a ghost writer for some well known series like Sweet Valley High, or used pseudonyms before she took the plunge to write under her own name.


The culmination of the morning was lunch for eight lucky students, who spent an hour with Katherine, Anne and Julia talking about books, Ivan and her life as a writer.

We even had a special cake made for the occasion! I got the idea for this cake from Mr. Schu. You can visit his blog here.

Following lunch, Anne signed a book for each of the “Applegate Lunch Bunch” and had their picture taken with her.

Sadly, the morning came to an end and we waved Katherine, Julie and Anne goodbye! They we off to enjoy the day in Seattle and then return to Parkplace Books in Kirkland for another visit the following day with students at two other local schools.

If you live in the Seattle area, she will be at Elliott Bay books this afternoon, Wednesday, April 18th at 3pm doing another book signing!

We can’t thank you enough for visiting our school!  It was truly an honor and a day I will personally treasure close to my heart.

 Here is the special bulletin board we prepared especially for her visit.

 Anne Hoppe, editor for The One and Only Ivan visits with Katherine and Julia.

 Katherine with Mrs. Hembree and her husband. Mr. Hembree remembered visiting Ivan in Tacoma when he was a child.


Have you ever met an author in person before?

What is your “what if” story idea?

Do you have a special animal story?


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Read Aloud Tuesdays Resumes


“Mrs. Hembree, what’s the new read aloud book?”
“Are you starting today?”
“We’re going to choose it?”
“Wow, okay, I’ll be there! Still at noon, right? Still on Tuesdays?”


On Tuesday, the Read Aloud Club Kids chose Bigger Than a Bread Box as their next choice for me to read during our read aloud recesses.

Bigger Than a Bread Box is the story of 12 year old Rebecca who is forced to move to her grandmother’s house in Atlanta with her mom and little brother while her mom tries to figure out her marriage. Dad is back in Baltimore along with all of her friends and everything she’s ever known.

Rebecca is angry, confused and alone when she finds a magic box in the attic of her grandmother’s house. A box that delivers her wishes. Like better jeans, and a new watch and new tennis shoes. She gets everything she wants, except her dad. Is having stuff enough to make Rebecca feel happy again? We will read Bigger Than a Bread Box to find out!

Watch the book trailer by Lily, age 12 who made the trailer with a Canon SD 1300 Digital Elph camera and iMovie.


But wait there’s more!

The kindergarten-3rd grade students are starting Read Aloud Tuesdays too! From 12:30-12:55, Mrs. Hembree will be reading a chapter book to the younger students. We have something for everyone in the cold, wet, wintery months!


The men and older boys always go on a Dragonquest each year, but Darek is still too young to go. When they come back with a Great Blue, the largest and fiercest of all the dragons, Darek discovers a baby dragonling in the Great Blue’s pouch. He decides to take the dragonling back to the fearsome Valley of the Dragons.

Dragonling is a moving and adventureful fantasy story, perfect for younger readers. It is my personal favorite for introducing readers to the fantasy genre.

So, remember, come on Tuesdays to the library for your chance to get out of the rainy, cold outside and into a world of books!


What would you wish for if you had a magic bread box?

What is the best book you’ve ever heard?



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Our First Student Book Reviews

Today’s post features student written reviews of books! We love to showcase student writing and we especially love to publish book reviews!

Any student can submit a book review as long as they follow a few simple guidelines. First, all student reviews much be completely original and written by the student. They need to be under 300-400 words and positive in nature. I understand that sometimes there are books we don’t like, but this library blog isn’t the venue to share negative opinions.  I believe strongly in maintaining our positive digital footprint. I would hate to publish something that could hurt an author’s feelings.

New book reviews are the most interesting to our readers! If you have read one of the new books in our library, be the first to have your review published! Kids want to know what to read! They especially like the new books!

Do some extra research! Find out the author’s website, or  his/her audio reading of the book! Send me the link or URL address. Sometimes there are book trailers that we can link to with our blog. A book trailer is just like a movie trailer. It gives you a hint of what the book is going to be about so you will want to read it!

Even better – make your own book trailer! You can easily make a book trailer using Photostory or MovieMaker and the work will be all yours! We will load it onto SchoolTube and this blog will showcase your work. Not sure how to make a book trailer? Visit Book Trailers for Readers by Teacher Librarian Michelle Harclerode. She has some great examples and even a “how to” presentation you can view.

Now to our first student reviews of the school year, presented by Abi, Ella, Josa, Mathias, and Morgan!

Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier

Review by Josa

Peter Nimble is the main character. He is a ten year old blind orphan who is forced to become a thef in order to survive. One day he steals a mysterious box that contains three pairs of magical eyes. When he tries on the first pair, he is instantly transported to a hidden island and then sent on a journey to save a lost kingdom.

This book will have you reading about a princess, a knight who is the victim of a curse, sea dragons, an army of talking apes and of course, Peter Nimble, the most fantastic hero of all time. (for ages 9+)


11 Birthdays by Wendy Mass

Review by Morgan

Amanda is about to turn 11 and her party is not something she is looking forward to. When she goes to bed after her birthday, she is relieved that the day is finally over! But, when she wakes up the next morning, it’s her birthday all over again…

I recommend this book to people who like realistic fiction which is what I love and enjoy. I enjoyed reading this book because of everything that keeps repeating over and over, but slightly different each time. If you want to know what I mean, check out 11 Birthdays and experience the 11 days of Amanda. (ages 9+, a Battle of the Books selection for 2012)

To hear some behind the scenes info on how 11 Birthday’s was written, along with a short reading by Wendy Mass,  visit teachingbooks.net


Wild River P. J. Peterson

Review by Ella

This book is about a family of four who go on a river rafting trip. The two main characters, Ryan and Tanner are very different and go through an amazing adventure. I could not stop reading this book. It was fantastic and readers who love adventure will like this. (ages 9+, a Battle of the Books selection for 2012)




The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne

Review by Mathias

The Mysterious Island is a great book. It’s fantastic, combining complicated science with a theme of survival. Being complex in several ways, I would recommend this book for young adults and teens who like survival stories with some twists. I absolutely love this book, and after having read the book Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea think this book is absolutely fantastic. Though very scientific and complex, this book will have you holding back tears, resisting angry emotions, and fighting the urge to leap out of your chair yelling with happiness. This book could surely teach you a thing or two. (ages 11+)

Skeleton Key by Anthony Horowitz

Review by Abi

Skeleton Key rocked my whole mind because he’s a teen superspy working for the M16. Alex is about to face something more dangerous than he can imagine, a man with a nuclear weapon that will stop at nothing to get his world back. Read the book to find out! I love this book because it has a breathless plot with a page turning thriller. I would recommend this book to someone who likes adventure and action. If you like this, then, this is the right book for you! (ages 9+, F  HOR Action/Adventure)


Which one of these books interest you now?
Have you read any of them?
Do you recommend any new books to our reviewers?
Leave us a comment and let us know!
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Our Readers Meet Rick Riordan

Some of our current and former Bulldog Readers had the opportunity of their lives on Sunday, when they met the author Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson and the new Heroes of Olympus series! He has over 30 million books in print and his books have been translated into over 37 languages in 36 countries.

Elizabeth, Julia and Bridget attend the book signing event in Olympia.

 “The gods may live on Mt. Olympus, but they vacation in Olympia,” declares the tagline of the winning proposal by the Tumwater Timberland Library.

 Rick Riordan’s visit to Olympia was part of a week long tour promoting the second book, Son of Neptune, launch in the Heroes of Olympus series. He only made seven stops in the US and Canada on his book tour.


Hundreds of proposals were submitted to Disney Publishing Worldwide for the Olympia Week contest. The proposal title “Poseidon’s Fish Market” developed and written by Joella Peterson, was chosen for its creative ideas in planning activities to celebrate the series and love of reading.

Riordan arrived by yacht and then spoke to his audience before signing books. The audience members could participate in any of the activity booths available while they waited for their time to meet Mr. Riordan.

Rick Riordan's arrival to Olympia, WA.

 Elizabeth, Julia and Bridget were able to make it down to Olympia to be part of this amazing day. They got their books signed and one for our library too!

It's book signing time! That one is going in the library!

 On Monday, I had a chance to get Julia’s thoughts about here experience meeting Mr. Riordan.

 How did you find out about Rick Riordan’s visit to Olympia?

How I found out about Rick Riordan’s visit to Olympia was from one of my best friends, Elizabeth. Her aunt, Linda, works at the Tumwater Timberlake Library; the library that sponsored this event. The event was held at the Port of Olympia and was called Poseidon’s Fish Market.

 How did you get the tickets?

My mom and dad drove us to Tumwater Library a week ago where we got the tickets. I was kind of let down when I was told I was the 750th person to get their book, but at the event, I got my books signed within an hour!

What was it like? Tell us about the experience there? Lots of people? Did you listen to him talk?

The event was crowded. At first, I was one of about a hundred people. In the next 45 minutes, I was probably one of two thousand people. In was fun in the beginning though. Elizabeth was working at the Fish Facts and Barnacle Bubbles station and I helped her with the crosswords and word searches that kids got to fill out. The prizes for completing the word search was either a poster of The Son of Neptune or a golden drachma key chain. Other booths were about fishing, face-painting, and information about the sea’s environment. When Rick Riordan arrived by yacht, I got pictures of him coming off the boat, he and his family were waving from the boat. He got off, answered questions about his latest book and then went to his book-signing booth.

 What were the best parts of the experience?

The best parts about “Poseidon’s Fish Market” were Rick Riordan arriving, because the crowd suddenly went quiet when they saw him and then the kids and parents started screaming their guts out. Also, finding out about the books he’s planning to write in the future. The third book in the Kane Chronicles is coming out in May 2012 and then Rick Riordan is planning to write a series about Norse mythology after he completes the Heroes of Olympus series.

Bridget also filmed Rick Riordan’s entire talk in Olympia! If you wish you had been there, but couldn’t go, here is the next best thing!


We now have two copies of Son of Neptune in our Bulldog Library. Stop by and put a reserve slip in to reserve your place in line to read it!

If you want to learn more about Rick Riordan and his books, visit his website www.rickriordan.com

Many thanks to Bridget, Julia, and their parents, Elizabeth and to the Timberland Regional Library for sharing their photos, film,  and background information for this blog post.


Have you ever been to a book signing?
Who would you like to meet?
Please leave us a comment and let us know!
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February Student Book Reviews

February Book Reviews on PhotoPeach


Deltora Quest by Emily Rodda – Review by Julius

This is a magical and mysterious book about wizards and sorcerers. There are two boys that are best friends and one happens to be the king of all the land. The king’s best friend, Jarred is accused of trying to kill the king. He is banished from the palace and has to survive in the poor town of Del.

            Suddenly he finds out that there has been a great darkness that has been attacking Del for a long time. His son and his partner in crime have to set out and find the stones that complete the belt of light and defeat the shadow lord. CAN THEY SURVIVE?

            There are many reasons why I liked this book. Here are a few; this book has a lot of adventure and fantasy, and I love adventure and fantasy. Also, this book reminded me of Harry Potter because it has that whole wizards and wands defeating the darkness effect.

Another reason why I love this book is that it was very suspenseful. Throughout the book, I was so scared to turn the page because you didn`t want something horrid to happen to the characters, but yet you didn`t want to stop because you were also dying to know what happens next.   

  This is a quite easy read and is fairly short. I really recommend this book to any age, although you have to be a fantasy and adventure lover because this book contains a lot of it.  Even so, you should still give this book a go because I am betting you will like it.

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow -Review by Blake

 This is a great, fun filled book about Winston, but please calls him Marcus. He is only 17 years old, but he has figured out how the system works and he works the system; a smart, fast and wise, networked world.  He has no trouble outwitting his high school surveillance systems.  His whole world changes when he and his friends skip school and get caught in the after math of a terrorist attack in downtown San Francisco.  He is captured by the Dept. of Homeland Security and whisked away to a secret asylum.  Read the book to find out the rest!

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth by Jeff Kinney – Review by Elliott

This is about a kid named Greg who is having a hard time in middle school. He is trying to fit in with all the so called popular kids. He also just lost his best friend, but deep inside they still want to be friends. They are both trying to find new friends, but keep ending up together somehow. You will be taken on a long and funny ride with Greg as you experience his life and his friends. Be sure to read the other books first, as this is number 5 in the series. If you like really funny books, this one is for you!

Captain Underpants and the Wrath of the Wicked Wedgie Woman  by Dave Pilkey- Review by Mark

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes action because it is funny and it has a lot of fighting in it.  It is really interesting because the teacher turned into a villain and had hands coming out of her hair!!  The author gives a lot of details in the story; for example when they were about to go to sleep and they heard something in the bushes and it turned out to be the Wedgie Woman! She took them and made a portrait of George and Harold so the other children would not notice that they are not there.  The author makes the story interesting and you do not want to do anything until you finish it.

Bud Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis – Review by Devon

      Have you ever felt so lonely, that you want to rip the despicable out of everybody you never met? Well I could tell you, not the best idea…. But don’t try to explain this to Buddy….. I MEAN BUD!

 Bud is not too bright, which means that his imagination can lead to some drastic things, but cause some great adventures… Would you try to escape from a foster family with a boy who sticks pencils up your nose and makes your nose drip in the puddles of blood, when they lock you outside the house in a scary dark shed?  I guess not, but Bud can’t stop himself.   He’s pretty smart which greatly adds to the adventures of Bud Cosweld on the lam!

 This book is amazing… a perfect book for anybody who wants to read an amazing story they can’t put down.  This book is my favorite!

Eldest by Christopher Paolini–Review by Moses

 Eldest, the second book of the Inheritance series is a timeless fantasy! After the death of Durza (Gallbatorix’s right hand man) and the victory for the Varden, Eragon suffers from a fatal scar from the duel with Durza in the first book. Too make matters worse Adjaid, king of the Varden and Murtagh dies, Eragon mourns for them. Meanwhile Gallbatorix is planning something to avenge his defeat. I recommend Eldest for older readers because of violence. I really enjoy this book, Check it out today!

Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan -Review by Jack

           “Look, I don’t want to be a half blood.” This is what Percy Jackson said before he started his long journey. He did not know the gods were tangling him in a mystery of the stolen lightning bolt. One that no simple person would have imagined. He could see what no normal person could see. Percy never wanted to be a half-blood. He just was.  

This book is about his big adventure to unlock the mystery of Zeus’s stolen lightning bolt. Only Percy and his two friends are on the journey. All the Greek gods think he stole it, except his father. Percy was set to have an adventure he never asked for. One a half blood had to face, even though Percy never asked to be a half blood, or have a marvelous adventure. It was hard enough with the mystery of his father’s disappearance and his mom’s terrifying boyfriend.   

If you like the Greek gods, or want to read about a half blood’s exclusive adventure, this is the book for you. I recommend this book to everyone.

Bella The Bunny Fairy by Daisy Meadows- Review by Diana

Bella is a fairy that had a bunny until Jack Frost took the magical bunny. Rachel and Kristy are both best friends they also are friends to the fairies. The setting is in Rachel’s cousins house at Easter.  The pets found a hole in the castle wall, so they escaped to the human world. Will the friends rescue the bunny or will the goblins take the bunny back to the castle?  Read this book to find out.

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Did You Say Talking Chipmunks?

Enter  into the world of talking animals with Thelonious Chipmunk!  All the animals wonder….did humans really exist or are they just some kind of ancient legend?

Everyone tells Thelonious that humans aren’t real, but he believes he has proof they really did exist.  Join Thelonious on his adventure from the City of Ruins to Fog Mound to find out where the humans really went.

 The Fog Mound series by Susan Schade and Jon Buller are part graphic novel,  regular novel,  adventure,  fantasy  and science fiction!

Josa donated these books to our library and hopes you will join him on a Theolious Chipmunk adventure.  He says these books are good because “they are the type of book with writing and comics. They tell a good story about a chipmunk on an adventure. It’s just so cool to imagine that a chipmunk could go on this kind of adventure!”  You have to read them to find out more! Find them in our graphic novel section of the library!


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Student Book Reviews- See What We Like

The Lost Hero By: Rick Riordan Review by Tracy

         lostThe Lost Hero is about a prophecy that needs to be completed. This is the first book of the series The Heroes of Olympus.  This book is about 3 demigods, Jason, Piper, and Leo. Jason woke up on a bus forgetting his memories. Piper, a girl who says that Jason is her boyfriend,  has a secret. And Leo has his way of using tools to create amazing items. The prophecy that was for told was very eerie to me; “Seven half-blood shall answer the call. To storm or fire, the world must fall. An oath to keep with a final breath and foes bear arms to the Doors of Death.”

Together these three must overcome every obstacle in their way to save the queen of Olympus. Will they succeed or will they fail?  Read to find out the story that’s about to unfold.

This book also has Percy Jackson and a bunch of his other previous characters that he used in the series Percy Jackson and the Olympians. This is the author of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians, which include The Lightning Thief, Sea of Monsters, Titians Curse, Battle of the Labyrinth, and The Last Olympians. Also, he is the author of the Kane Chronicles, which  has The Red Pyramid, and the author of Maze of Bones the first book of 39 clues. So if you’re an adventure loving, Greece lover then this is a superb book to read.   I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did!

Later Gater by Lawrence Yep Review by Diana

This book is about a boy named Bobby.  Tomorrow is his birthday and his brother Teddy has to buy him a present. Bobby’s mom tells Teddy to get an animal instead of a pair of socks. So, Teddy drove to a pet store on a bus with a ton of people while Bobby was with his dad at work having fun.

 When Teddy went inside the pet shop, the owner said he should get a hamster or a turtle. Teddy thought that they were too nice. So Teddy got an alligator because he wants to scare Bobby. Do you think Bobby got scared? Read this funny book to find out.

sab The Missing: Book 3, Sabotaged By: Haddix Review by Alice

     This book is the 3rd book in “The Missing” series by Haddix. In this book, Jonah and Katherine take a girl, Andrea, one of the 36 missing kids from history, back to Roanoke Colony. If you are in the 5th grade, I am sure you know of Roanoke Colony, one of the settlements England brought to the USA. Although, mysteriously, when John White (the colony’s leader), goes back to England for 3 years and comes back. everything is missing. No clues, except one carving that says “Croatoan”

            So, when they go back into time, they see nothing, they lost the Eculator. The Eculator is a time travel device that keeps them camouflaged and safe. On their walk they bump into tracer Natives. They follow them and find something surprising! They later find out why time seems messed up. They are being sabotaged.

            This book is recommended by me to all of the adventure, sci-fi, and mystery fans. This book will make you want to keep going and NEVER stop! Both genders will LOVE this book. But, I highly recommend reading the first and second book beforehand.

 Into the Gauntlet  Review by Mosesinto

Into The Gauntlet is the grand finale of the 39 Clues series.  Dan and Amy are hopeless, they have no leads. When they finally find the Clues, it is stolen.  Suddenly, they find a poem on their doorstep, but it is stolen by evil Isabel Kabra.  Somehow they manage to find out the Clues, but they do not know that they are followed by others.  The clues lead Amy and Dan to a small island, only to be discovered by everyone else.  They decide to team up and find out that the clues are the recipe to a serum which will make you the most powerful person in the world! Suddenly, evil Isabel crashes their celebration and she is holding a gun….  Read this wonderful book to find out what happens next.

 The Sorcerer’s Stone by J K Rowling Review by Moses

This book is one of the most delightful fantasy books I have ever read.  With a mix of Roald Dahl and J.R.R. Tolkien, it is both funny and suspenseful.  The story begins when Harry receives a letter from Hogwarts, a school for Wizards.  At the school he makes friends with a boy named Ron and a girl named Hermione.  They “accidentally” find out that there is a stone that can give any wish the user wanted.  They learn the hard way that someone else wants the stone too, and that someone will hurt, even kill anyone who gets”in the way”!  Who will win, who will perish?  Find out by reading this terrific book.

 Firestorm reviewed by Gabe

I liked this book a lot.  It is about a boy named Jack who goes on a quest to save the oceans.  On his quest he meets new friends and learns new skills. The reason that I liked this so much was because it has a good balance of action, adventure and science fiction.  It was also interesting because Jack learned about pollution and how it could affect his future.  I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Chocolate by Wendy Blaxland Reviewed by JudyAnn

This book is a great book to read if you adore chocolate like I do!  It tells interesting facts about chocolate.  For instance, chocolate is made from powdered cacao beans which are the seed of the cacao tree. Also, the first chocolate was made thousands of years ago and was loved by many Aztec Indians.  Well, now that I’ve told you so much about this book, you should check it out and I hope you enjoy it!

 Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins Review by Willhunger

The Hunger Games was the best book I have read in a long time!  I would recommend it to anyone who likes action, romance and suspense. The most suspenseful part of the book was when there were only three people left in the games.  Read it to see why.

dk Diary of a Wimpy Kid  Review by Yana

Greg’s life is miserable; his mom buys him a diary and makes him write in it, he is forced to join the swim team, his parents make him do everything that he does not want to!  Greg’s has to make sure that his friends do not find out about his diary.This book is funny and silly and I really enjoyed reading it.  I think that you would like it too.key

 Skeleton Key  Review by Mark

This book is very interesting because in the beginning it just tells you that no one knows where the skeleton key is.  I started to read it and I enjoyed it.  I would recommend this book for people who like adventure because this is big journey to a haunted house to get a key for an old kingdom.  When they find the key, they discover that it is cursed!  There is a letter saying that they will be taken to horrible places.  Read this excellent book to find out what happens to them.

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Black Book of Secrets & Bone Magician


 Librarians get recommendations from books from all sorts of places- the newspaper, magazines, catalogs, emails from book companies. However, the absolute best recommendations for me are from my students. Last week a former student Jenny stopped by to visit. Jenny and I have had lots of fun conversations about books in past years, so when she stopped by to visit me my first question after  the polite- “how are you, how is school,”etc, etc, was “What have you been reading?”   Her answers had me heading for the store to buy The Black Book of Secrets and The Bone Magician by F.E. Higgins.

F.E. Higgins is a British writer, who has an extraordinary talent for word choice. Even though this is a 21st century book, opening page one is like stepping into 19th century England.Every word, every phrase removes you from the chair you are sitting in, to the grim and macabre world of Ludlow Fitch and the pawnbroker Zoe Zabbidou who buys people’s inner most secrets and has Ludlow record them in his special black book.  I’m really at quite a loss for words as how to describe these books. I wish I had her talent for storytelling. What I can tell you is that once I opened each book, I couldn’t put them down.  If you are looking for a series that will take you on an extraordinary journey, start with the Black Book of Secrets. (ages grade 5+) Even better, see what F.E. Higgins has to say for herself! Keep Reading, Mrs. Hembree

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