Thursday, June 25, 2015

Middle School Summer Reading Series

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Summer Reading List for Rising 5th Graders.

Get Started Right Away

Fiction – Adventure/Action

Aertker, Paul. Brainwashed (Crime Travelers #1) FSP, 2014 While sleeping on the roof of his father’s hotel, thirteen-year-old Lucas Benes finds a baby alone and learns that the Good Company has restarted its profitable kidnapping business. Lucas leads a group of teenage spies through the hotspots of Paris—from the catacombs to the Eiffel tower—in an all-out effort to sabotage a brainwashing ceremony that could potentially turn them all into “Good” kids. Amazon bestseller in Children’s Travel. ISBN-13: 978-1-940137-11-7

Appelt, Kathi. The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp. Atheneum Books, 2013. Raccoon brothers Bingo and J’miah are the newest recruits of the Official Sugar Man Swamp Scouts. The opportunity to serve the Sugar Man is an honor, and also a big responsibility, since the swamp critters rely heavily on the intel of these hardworking Scouts. Best Book of the Year 2013 and Notable Children’s Books of 2013.

Barry, Dave and Ridley Pearson. Peter and the Starcatchers. Hyperion, 2004. Peter, an orphan boy, and his friend Molly fight off thieves and pirates in order to keep the secret safe from the Black Stache and his evil associate Mister Grin. Also read the sequels, Peter and the Shadow Thieves, Peter and the Secret of Rundoon, and Peter and the Sword of Mercy.

Birdsall, Jeanne. The Penderwicks. Random House, 2005. While vacationing with their father in the Berkshire Mountains, four lovable sisters share adventures with a local boy, much to the dismay of his snobbish mother. Also read The Penderwicks on Gardam Street, The Penderwicks at Point Mouette, and The Penderwicks in Spring (2015).

Black, Holy. Doll Bones. McElderry Books, 2013. Three friends from a Pennsylvania middle school, who have long enjoyed acting out imaginary adventures with dolls and action figures, embark on a real-life quest to bury a doll made from the ashes of a dead girl. Newbery Honor Book 2014.

Burg, Ann. Serafina’s Promise. Scholastic, 2013. In a poor village outside Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Serafina works hard to help her family, but dreams of becoming a doctor – then the earthquake hits and Serafina must summon all her courage to find her father and still get medicine for her sick baby brother as she promised. A novel written in verse. Best Books of the Year 2013.

Carman, Patrick. Floors. Scholastic, 2011. Leo, the son of the maintenance man of the Whippet Hotel, opens a series of cryptic boxes which reveals hidden floors, strange puzzles, and unexpected alliances that lead him on an adventure to save the building. Read the sequel, 3 Below (2013).

DiCamillo, Kate. Flora and Ulysses. Candlewick, 2013. After Flora saves a squirrel named Ulysses from a run-in with a vacuum cleaner, they team up to use Ulysses’ superpowers to conquer villains and protect the weak. Newbery Winner 2014.

DuPrau, Jeanne. City of Ember. Random House, 2003. In the city of Ember, twelve-year-old Lina trades jobs on Assignment Day to be a Messenger and finds a message that she and her friend Doon must decipher before the lights go out on Ember forever! Read the sequels in the series: The People of Sparks, The Prophet of Yonwood, and The Diamond of Darkhold. Grabenstein, Chris. Escape From Mr . Lemoncello’s Library . Random House, 2013.

Gutman, Dan. Mission Unstoppable (Genius Files Series). Harper, 2011. On a cross-country vacation with their parents, twins Coke and Pepsi try to come to terms with being part of a top-secret government organization known as The Genius Files. Includes Google Maps coordinates to follow along. Read sequels: Never Say Genius (2012), You Only Die Twice (2013), From Texas With Love (2014) andLicense to Thrill (2015).

Hanal, Rachel. Can You Survive an Earthquake? Interactive Survival Adventure. Capstone, 2013. You’re in the middle of one of the most unpredictable natural disasters, an earthquake. No place is safe as the ground shudders, shakes, and splits. How will you survive? Readers can choose how the story ends in different adventures about survival during an earthquake. Read any title in the series. S

Jenson, Marion. Almost Super. Harper Collins, 2014. Two brothers in a family of superheroes are forced to reexamine everything they knew about being super when the powers they receive are total duds and their enemy is revealed to be just like they are.

Korman, Gordon. The Hypnotist. Scholastic, 2013. Twelve-year-old Jackson Opus is descended from two powerful hypnotist bloodlines, but he has just begun to realize that he can control other peoples’ actions with sometimes frightening results – especially when the head of the Sentia Institute plans to use Jackson for his own benefit.

Lloyd, Natalie. A Snicker of Magic. Scholastic, 2014. The Pickles are new to Midnight Gulch, Tennessee, a town which legend says was once magic. Felicity is convinced the magic is still there, and with the help of her new friend Jonah the Beedle she hopes to bring the magic back.

Lord, Cynthia. Half a Chance. Scholastic, 2014. Lucy has just moved to a small rural community in New Hampshire, and with her new friend Nate she plans to spend the summer taking photos for a contest, but pictures sometimes reveal more than people are willing to see.

Lowry, Lois. The Willoughbys. Houghton Mifflin, 2008. A tongue-in-cheek take on classic themes, in which the four Willoughby children set out to become “deserving orphans” after their neglectful parents embark on an around-the-world adventure, leaving them in the care of an odious nanny.

Peck, Richard. The Mouse With the Question Mark Tail. Dial, 2013. Mouse Minor, an undersized orphan with a question mark-shaped tail, is uncertain of his heritage. He attends a prestigious school but is bullied by his classmates. He flees beyond familiar territory and ends up in the palace. All the while, he is unaware that spies are tracking his every move.

Paulsen, Gary. Hatchet. Atheneum Books, 1987. After a plane crash, thirteen-year-old Brian spends fifty-four days in the wilderness, learning to survive with only a hatchet. Read the sequels The River, Brian’s  Winter, Brian’s Return,  and Brian’s Hunt.

Selznick, Brian. Wonderstruck. Scholastic, 2011. Relates the stories of twelve-year-old Ben, who loses his mother and his hearing in a short time frame and decides to leave his Minnesota home in 1977 to seek the father he has never known in New York City; and Rose, who lives with her father but feels compelled to search for what is missing in her life. Ben’s story is told in words; Rose’s in pictures.

Stead, Rebecca. Liar & Spy. Wendy Lamb Books, 2012. Seventh-grader Georges adjusts to moving from a house to an apartment, his father’s efforts to start a new business, his mother’s extra shifts as a nurse, being picked on at school, and Safer, a boy who wants his help spying on another resident of their building.

Stewart, Trenton Lee. The Mysterious Benedict Society. Little, Brown, 2007. After passing a series of mind-bending tests, four children are selected for a secret mission that requires them to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, where the only rule is that there are no rules. Read the sequels. S

Weiner, Ellis. The Templeton Twins Have an Idea. Chronicle Books, 2012. Abigail and John, the Templeton twins, and their dog Cassie foil a pair of inept kidnappers intent on stealing one of their father’s newest inventions.

Monday, June 15, 2015

11 year old journalist at the Denver Post pens the best review ever

Fast, Fun, Summer Read

Vivian Weigel
In "Brainwashed," Lucas defeated  The Good Company  (who are involved in child trafficking) in Paris. Now, in the second book of the Crime Travelers trilogy, "Diamonds are for Never," he is on the hunt for his birth mom who was supposedly killed many years ago.

When he is nearly kidnapped by two Curukians (children who were trafficked and brainwashed), he is led to believe that the evidence is in his birth files may lead to his mother. As he begins to decode his files, the adventure continues in Rome where he discovers the code leads to his mother’s treasure. The mysteries of the past are unveiled in this new book.

Paul Aertker, the author of the books, told me “Whenever I write these stories, I don’t really have a set plot. I just let Lucas become the person he is meant to be and let Lucas lead the story.” Aertker has been approached by Hollywood producers, and we may be someday seeing Lucas on the big screen.

Recently, Aertker has been skyping with schools to talk about reading and writing. “I feel like the words on a page help kids imagine and become something more,” he said while describing why he tries to help schools make reading fun again. Visualization is an important element in making writing come alive. “If you can convert words on a page into pictures in your mind, you can make the invisible, visible, or the impossible, possible,” Aertker told me.

I recommend these books to both boys and girls who are looking for a quick, fun read. Eight to ten year olds would most definitely love them, but older kids would also enjoy the thrilling plots and humor that are mixed throughout. Be sure to check out "Brainwashed" and "Diamonds are for Never" to read more about Lucas and his wild journeys.
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