Friday, September 30, 2011

A Year Without Autumn by Liz Kessler

A Year Without Autumn
     Imagine going up in an old cranky elevator to visit your best friend in a condo you know she lives in for one week every summer while your families are on vacation.  Only when you knock on the door it is opened by a lady you've never seen.  Turns out a year has gone by and Jenni, our elevator rider doesn't remember a thing about it.  She learns that her best friend, Autumn, is in a different condo and that Autumn's family has suffered a tragedy and that her own family is a mess. And that is just the beginning.

     What starts off as a simple contemporary story twists into a time travel work of science fiction.  Written so well we believe that the world has moved on without Jenni and she is left to play catch up.  Three times!  Jenni is up to the challenge of putting puzzle pieces together and because of her love and loyalty to her family and Autumn's she works hard to try to make things right.  While the chapters are a little long for young readers they are cliff hangers that will keep readers turning the pages.  Fans of When You Reach Me and A Wrinkle in Time will enjoy A Year Without Autumn and  girls in grades 4-8 who enjoy stories about friendship, mysteries and light sci-fi.  Read as an ebook arc courtesy of Candlewick Press via Netgalley.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Lily Renee, Escape Artist by Trina Robbins

World War II is one of the most requested non-fiction subjects in a school library.  Graphic novels are also quite popular.  A graphic novel about a World War II event is sure to find it's niche.

Lily Renee lives a comfortable life in Vienna enjoying all the culture the city has to offer.  Told in accessible language that young readers can understand, Trina Robbins  tells the story of Hitler's rise to power including how friends turned their backs on the Jews, the beginning of ghettos, and Kristtelnacht, the night of broken glass, the event that led to Lily's parents sending her out of the country.  Lily is shown on the train and boat as one of the 10,000 children saved by being sent out of Nazi rule.  While not so lucky with the family she was sent to live with in London Lily leaves them and becomes a nurse's assistant surviving the bombings.  Finally Lily makes her way to America to be reunited with her parents. She dines in an automat ( I have too!)and gets a job which ultimately leads her to be a successful comic book artist.

Throughout her life Lily overcame the horrific obstacles dropped in her way but this book is written so young children get just enough information about the situation and perhaps be inspired to seek more. Lily is an admirable girl and I would recommend this book for a biography report, a non-fiction report or casual reading.  While the illustrations by Anne Timmone may not be as eye popping as manga or anime they work well with this story. Read as an ebook arc courtesy of Lerner Publishing Group via Netgalley.

Honestly, Red Riding Hood was Rotten! by Trisha Speed Shaskan

Each spring in my school library I share different versions of a few fairytales with my students.  Red Riding Hood is always one.  While some versions are a little scarier and the pictures a tad more gory, this version told in the wolf's point of view is actually laugh out loud funny.  From the first page to the last you can't help smiling.

The wolf is starving and dreaming about apples which are now out of season.  Little Red looks an awful lot like a red apple while granny looks like a green one.  They are both so vain and self possessed and the wolf is spot on when he says "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree."  Gerald Guerlais's digitally produced illustrations are simply beautiful.  I look forward to sharing this version along with other more traditional ones and having the students compare them.  Read as an ebook arc courtesy of Capstone via Netgalley.

Prince William & Kate:A Royal Romance by Matt Doeden

Back in 1981 I remember watching Prince Charles and Diana's wedding which was just a few months before my own.  Thirty years later I was not one of the millions who woke early to watch Prince William and Kate's wedding, I did however catch glimpses of it on-line.  Therefore most of what I know about it I learned from Matt Doeden's book.

Filled with lots of pictures from Prince William and Kate's relationship over many years including the most recent from their wedding.  Doeden has made it accessible to young readers.  Anyone interested in the royals will enjoy this quick reading factual book.  Read as an ebook arc courtesy of Lerner Publications via Netgalley.