The Road to Paris

The Road to Paris is a picture of a short period in the life of nine year old Paris, a girl in foster care. She’s been in some really horrible situations, but now she’s with the Lincolns in a more stable and loving home, learning who she is, how to cope, and what she wants […]


Scorpions is a realistic novel published in 1988 and set in a similar time period. It’s the story of Jamal, a 12 year old who is pulled into a gang after his 17 year old brother, Randy—the leader of the gang—is jailed for a robbery in which a clerk is killed. Mack, who was Randy’s […]

Talkin’ About Bessie

Talkin’ About Bessie: The Story of Aviator Elizabeth Coleman is an interesting conglomeration of things. It’s a biography, but it’s all told in poems. It’s filled with beautiful illustrations on each page, but it will probably appeal most to kids well past the target age for picture books. Bessie Coleman overcame both sexism and racism to […]

One Crazy Summer

You can hardly see the cover of One Crazy Summer because of all of the award emblems on it—Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction, Coretta Scott King Award, Newbery Honor, and National Book Award Finalist, with a list of more awards on the back. The story is set in 1968. Delphine, our narrator who is […]


Like many Laurie Halse Anderson books, Chains often feels like a punch to the gut, but you also just can’t put the book down until you get to the end. This historical novel tells the story of Isabel, a young slave from Rhode Island in 1776. When her relatively kind mistress dies, Isabel knows that […]

The Thief

Review written by Jonathan Lavallee. It’s always interesting when someone takes a fantasy novel and kind of moves it away from the Tolkien England/Norse “standard” fantasy you’ll find in a lot of books. In The Thief, Megan Whalen Turner gives the place far more of a Mediterranean feel. On an island next to a big continent […]

The Whipping Boy

The Whipping Boy tells the story of, well, a whipping boy and the prince whose punishments he gets. The whipping boy hopes to be dismissed from the castle so he can go back to the sewers to work as a rat catcher like his father did.  He fondly remembers the freedom of that life. The […]

The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z

I read The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z. several months ago, and now that my own daughter is in seventh grade and spent the first few months of the school year pulling together her own leaf project, this book has frequently been on my mind. It’s a slice of life type story about Gianna, who […]

A Mango-Shaped Space

There are a lot of issues dealt with in A Mango-Shaped Space. It won the ALA Schneider Family Book Award which honors “artistic expression of the disability experience.” Mia has synesthesia, which means that she sees sounds, numbers, and letters in colors. The novel covers the several months during Mia’s 8th grade year when she’s […]


Review written by Jocelyn Koehler. Hatchet is one of my favorite-est “boy books” (more on that below). It freaks me out to think that it’s 25 years old! Maybe that’s partly because it seems like it should be ageless. The core of the story is a boy living alone in the woods, and no amount […]