Four students, with their own individual stories, develop a special bond and attract the attention of their teacher, a paraplegic, who chooses them to represent their sixth-grade class in the Academic Bowl competition.
This is a classic that isn’t as old as most that we have featured- it was published in 1996 and won the Newbery Award. Still this heartwarming tale about being kind, civil, and inclusive is undoubtedly a classic. My favorite part of the book was that it was written from multiple perspectives which allowed me to feel as though I was getting to know each of the students. This is perfect for upper elementary school readers who enjoy realistic fiction, and for those who enjoyed the recent Newbery winner Hello Universe by Erin Kelly Entrada.
You can find The View from Saturday in the Juvenile Fiction section at J KONIGSBERG.
Lives of four misfits are intertwined when a bully’s prank lands shy Virgil at the bottom of a well and Valencia, Kaori, and Gen band together in an epic quest to find and rescue him.
This book was the winner of the 2018 John Newbery Medal, which is awarded by the Association of Library Service to Children to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children during the year. What I loved most about this book was how unique each character was – each one was struggling with feeling different and struggling with their own personal fears but each one also had their own strengths. I really loved all of the little stories that Virgil’s grandmother Lola told him to try and cheer him up, and the illustrations of Virgil’s guinea pig Gulliver at the beginning of chapters added charm to the whole book. There’s a little bit of something for everyone in this book – I especially recommend it to those who like stories of friendship and self-acceptance and for people who like stories where the characters learn to stand up to bullies!
You can find this book in the Juvenile Fiction section at J KELLY.
For this Throwback Thursday we’re highlighting: A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
Sara Crewe, a pupil at Miss Minchin’s London school, is left in poverty when her father dies but is later rescued by a mysterious benefactor.
This book was first published in 1905 (and was an expanded version of a short story that had been published in 1888), and has been adapted into many different movies – one of the most well known stars Shirley Temple.
The Vanderbeeker family have been happily living in their Harlem brownstone apartment unit their landlord refuses to renew their lease. Now, they have five days before Christmas to convince him to let them stay. Each of the five siblings craft a different strategy to change his mind.
Today I recommend Hot Cocoa Hearts by Suzanne Nelson.
Hot Cocoa Hearts is a fictional romance novel about a high school girl, Emery who is not a fan of the holidays (especially Christmas.) To her dismay, Emery has to work at her parent’s santa photo booth at the mall, dressed as an elf! At the mall between her shifts of work, she talks to Alex from the hot cocoa shop. The more she talks to Alex, the more she doubts that she hates Christmas as much as she says she does. He is practically the opposite of Emery, he is optimistic and loves the holidays. Also, Emery has a crush on Sawyer, a brooding member of a band.
I really actually loved this book. I normally do not read romance books, but this book sucked me in. Even though it is not currently near the holiday season, it was quite interesting. My favorite parts were when Emery sent and received secret santa gifts in her first period class at school. I recommend this book to anyone who wants a small, sweet love story.
~Elizabeth, teen blogger
Brave is a humorous graphic novel about a middle school boy named Jensen. Everyday, Jensen must brave the difficult math class, bullies who follow him around, and getting along with his art club friends. On top of that, he deals with trying to find a partner for English class, and helping out his frantic friends who are in the newspaper team. Everyday, Jensen needs to be brave to survive the craziness at school.
I absolutely loved this graphic novel so much. It was humorous and the cartoonish art style is amazing! Every once in awhile, Jensen day-dreamed about being a hero, whether he was an astronaut, or stopping a zombie apocalypse from eating everyone at school. My favorite character was Jenny, the lead student of the newspaper team. She was hard working and dedicated to being in the newspaper team. When she was mad, she was “the wrath of the angels/apocalypse Jenny” and was drawn with fire in her eyes. (She was very mad at times.) The world of Brave and its characters overlapped with the book Awkward. However, Jensen was a background character in Awkward. As you can see, I loved this book and recommend this to everyone because it is a fun, quick read.
~Elizabeth, Teen Blogger
You can find Brave in the Juvenile Graphic Novel section at J CHMAKOVA.
After his parents die, Jeffrey Lionel Magee’s life becomes legendary, as he accomplishes athletic and other feats which awe his contemporaries.
Published in 1990, this book by Jerry Spinelli was an American Library Association Children’s Notable Book in 1991 and won the Illinois Reader’s Choice – Rebecca Caudill Young Reader’s Book Award in 1993. Readers who enjoy realistic fiction will love this classic!
You can find this book in the Juvenile Fiction section at J SPINELLI.
Hoping to win a cash prize in a pizza eating contest after racking up a tab on his mother’s credit card, David must juggle his competitive eating training with the responsibility of looking after his autistic younger brother.
This book has it all – suspense, friendship, and horrifyingly gross descriptions of competitive eating. It addresses David’s feelings of being the ‘forgotten’ middle child in his family without ever losing the humor that is necessarily part the book as David works to stretch his stomach and win a competitive eating contest in order to pay back his mom. I winced a little every time he decided to hide his mistake and lie a little more but that situation certainly added to the suspense of the story – you’ll want to know whether or not David can win right from the beginning!
You can find Slider in the Juvenile Fiction section at J HAUTMAN.
For this Throwback Thursday I recommend: The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes.
None of her classmates pay much attention to Wanda Petronski, a Polish-American girl, until she announces she has 100 dresses in her closet. Everyone laughs and teases her so much that she stops coming to school. Then, her classmates discover she really does have 100 dresses and discover something about teasing and themselves.
The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes is the tale of a young girl, Wanda, who is bullied by her classmates for wearing the same dress each day to school. Wanda tells her peers that she has one hundred dresses at home, but everyone knows that it is not true. As a result, Wanda is bullied even more. One day, Wanda is pulled out of the school and the class begins to feel terrible for their behavior toward her. Maddie, a student from Wanda’s class, decides that she needs to take a stand so no classmate is bullied ever again. If you like stories that are heart-felt and teach a lesson, then The Hundred Dresses is for you!
This classic story first published in 1944 was a Newbery Honor Book in 1945, and can be found in the Juvenile Fiction section at J ESTES.
If You Liked Wonder by R.J. Palacio… you might also like:
Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff: (J GRAFF) Ten-year-old Albie has never been the smartest, tallest, best at gym, greatest artist, or most musical in his class, as his parents keep reminding him, but new nanny Calista helps him uncover his strengths and take pride in himself.
Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key by Jack Gantos: (J GANTOS) To the constant disappointment of his mother and teacher, Joey has trouble paying attention or controlling his mood swings when his perscription medicine wears off and he starts acting wired.
Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper: (J DRAPER and YA DRAPER) Considered by many to be mentally retarded, a brilliant, impatient fifth-grader with cerebral palsy discovers a technological device that will allow her to speak for the first time.
Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks: (J WEEKS) Ravi has just moved to the United States from India and has always been at the top of his class; Joe has lived in the same town his whole life and has learning problems–but when their lives intersect in the first week of fifth grade they are brought together by a common enemy (the biggest bully in their class) and the need to take control of their lives.