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Tera's Reviews

Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff

Albie is starting a new school for his fifth grade year. Maybe he can do better this time—at least not get an email home alerting his parents that he has an “achievement gap.” Albie knows his parents wish they had a son who shined at something, but Albie doesn’t seem to be much good at anything, except maybe finding the best donuts in Manhattan and entertaining Calista, his new babysitter. (He’s too old for a babysitter, but she’s actually kind of cool.) As if his parents’ disapproval weren’t enough, a kid at Albie’s new school starts picking on him, calling him a dummy, especially when Albie sticks up for Betty, the shy girl in class who stutters. What will it take for Albie to realize he has something special? As Calista puts it, he’s a hero with the superpower of kindness. Perfectly crafted short chapters with lots of humor make this a fun and very touching read. Grades 3 to 5.
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ISBN: 9780399164057
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Published: Philomel Books - June 12th, 2014

Frostborn by Lou Anders

Twelve-year-old Karn is a master gamer when it comes to playing Thrones and Bones. He’s not so good at striking hard bargains for the sake of his father’s tribe. If only there wasn’t so much pressure on him to be the next leader! Likewise, Thianna is a disappointment to her clan of ice giants, standing at only 7 feet tall, half the size of her peers. The two unlikely friends meet when their different tribes converge on an icy mountain for a tense round of trading. When unexpected enemies attack, they find themselves on the run, outracing wyverns and avoiding avalanches. Pulling on little-known Norse mythology, this brilliantly accessible fantasy really is for all those Percy Jackson fans clamoring for a new series. Grades 4–6.
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By Lou Anders, Justin Gerard (Illustrator)
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ISBN: 9780385387781
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Published: Crown Books for Young Readers - August 5th, 2014

Ghosts of Tupelo Landing by Sheila Turnage

A warm, rollicking, and beautifully written mystery from Newbery Award winner Sheila Turnage. Spunky Mo LoBeau is back as the unforgettable self-appointed detective of all things strange in Tupelo Landing. This time she goes after a ghost in this witty page-turner that has heaps of Southern charm. Grades 4–6.
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ISBN: 9780803736719
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Kathy Dawson Books - February 4th, 2014

Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms by Katherine Rundell

Wilhelmina’s father calls her “wildcat” and wouldn’t change a hair on the unkempt mane of her head. Will has a life she loves: a best friend in Si, a neighbor boy with a hand for horses; her own horse and a monkey for companions; and the entire mud-baked countryside surrounding Captain Browne’s Zimbabwean farm to explore. The farmhands respect her even though she’s white and a girl. But when her life is shaken up and she’s shipped off to an English boarding school, Will’s gorgeous freedom is threatened. Rundell’s eloquent and perceptive prose keeps you rooting not just for Will’s survival, but for the return of her bright joy. A truly wild ride of a book and the children’s books staff’s favorite of the year. Grades 4–6.
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$18.99
ISBN: 9781442490611
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Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - August 26th, 2014

Zane and the Hurricane by Rodman Philbrick

Zane flies into New Orleans the day before Hurricane Katrina strikes. To call that bad timing, Zane remarks, “is the understatement of the century.” What happens next is an adventure story amidst chaos and flooding. It includes the plucky mutt named Bandit; new friends like Malvina and her jazz musician guardian Mr. Tru, who pluck Zane off a rooftop in their pliable canoe; and a few sinister enemies. With a light touch, constant bits of humor, and sharp descriptions of the ravaged city, Philbrick pulls you into the experience of being afloat during the greatest American storm of the century. It’s both a gripping survival story and a thoughtful look at the different types of people swirling in the boiling cauldron of New Orleans during the storm. Grades 5–8.
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ISBN: 9780545342384
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Published: The Blue Sky Press - February 25th, 2014

Egg and Spoon by Gregory Maguire

The essence of all Russian mythology is encapsulated on one gorgeous, astronomically expensive Fabergé egg, intended for the prince of Russia. There’s the Firebird, democratic if reluctant granter of wishes, biding his time before going up in a poof of smoke. There’s the Ice Dragon, who snoozes through winter; when he wakes, spring comes. And there’s Baba Yaga, the witchy meddler in destinies, who may or may not eat children, but who certainly lives in a house with chicken legs. If only these creatures existed just in myth, things would be a whole lot easier for Cat and Elena, two girls who happen to look very similar and whose paths coincide one day when a train breaks down on its way to the winter ball in St. Petersburg. Elena is so poor she eats wild turnips and acorns, if she’s lucky. Cat is rich and a little snobby, though she doesn’t know it. And none of their adventures would have happened if it weren’t for the egg (worth more than both their heads) going astray. Gregory Maguire, the creator of Wicked, gives us not just adventure but a memorable coterie of mythological creatures with a whole lot of sass. Grade 6 & up.
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$17.99
ISBN: 9780763672201
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Published: Candlewick - September 9th, 2014

I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

At 13, Jude was the daredevil: surfer, cliff diver, and boy magnet. Her twin brother, Noah, knows she’s their athletic father’s favorite and everything he is not: popular, poised, fearless. But at least Noah has their mother’s devotion—she sees Noah’s artistic genius and encourages him to go to the top-notch art school in their neighborhood. Three years later, the twins have turned upside down. Jude is the oddball-out at the fancy competitive art school and Noah pals around with his bros on the cross-country team, ignoring his gift and living a bland, safe life. With a fresh voice in teen literature, Jandy Nelson spins a funny, playful, heart-wrenching tale of two teens lost in translation. Grades 9 & up.
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$17.99
ISBN: 9780803734968
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Published: Dial Books - September 16th, 2014

Tyrant’s Daughter by J.C. Carlson

Laila now lives in a narrow apartment in the placid suburbs south of Washington, DC, with her mother and 7-year-old brother, “the little king.” But she remembers opulent palaces, riots at the gates, and her father’s calm reassurance. He was the king of their (unnamed) Middle Eastern country—at least, that’s what she was told. It isn’t until an emergency evacuation brings the remnants of her family to America that Laila realizes they aren’t royalty at all. But what are they? Her broken mother tells her one thing, the newspaper reports tell another. The threatening man who hovers nearby refuses to tell her anything at all. Her new friends at school and a boy who likes her can’t make sense of her, despite how hard she tries to flirt and gossip and hide her panic. Who is Laila? And as she starts to understand the truth of her old world, will she stand up for what she knows is right? An explosive, perception-altering story from a former CIA agent, pulled from the headlines of today’s newspapers but transformed into a gripping personal drama. Grades 7 & up.
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ISBN: 9780449809976
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers - February 11th, 2014

Girls Like Us by Gail Giles

Quincy and Biddy are “speddies”—that is, special education kids—who have made it through the school system and who now need to be put somewhere by the state; their families sure don’t want to take them back. The two very different girls wind up in a tidy garage apartment, trading work for rent from the elderly, insightful Elizabeth. Quincy doesn’t trust her, but then, Quincy doesn’t trust anyone, not since her mother tricked her grandmother into taking her in and then ran off. Biddy is an open book, gullible and slow, but she hides secrets under the huge trenchcoat she sports all hours of the day. As the girls navigate their new lives and each other, an unexpected resilience and even wisdom begins to shine through. A supremely well written and surprising tale that will upset your preconceptions while sucking you in from the first few lines. Grades 10 & up.
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$16.99
ISBN: 9780763662677
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Candlewick - May 27th, 2014

Emma's Poem: The Voice of the Statue of Liberty

Few people are familiar with the life of Emma Lazarus, the poet behind the iconic lines inscribed on the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor/Your huddled masses…”. Glaser movingly tells Lazarus’s story, while the delicately composed and whimsical art of Claire Nivola creates an elegant and playful vision of her life. A striking biography and a beautiful picture book. Grades K–4. 

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By Linda Glaser, Claire A. Nivola (Illustrator)
$7.99
ISBN: 9780544105089
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Published: HMH Books for Young Readers - September 10th, 2013

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