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Book of the Week Archive for 2012
2012 Archive

A Story From the Underground Railroad

by Henry Cole
Ages 4-8

A young girl's courage is tested in this haunting, wordless story.

When a farm girl discovers a runaway slave hiding in the barn, she is at once startled and frightened.

But the stranger's fearful eyes weigh upon her conscience, and she must make a difficult choice. Will she have the courage to help him?

Unspoken gifts of humanity unite the girl and the runaway as they each face a journey: one following the North Star, the other following her heart.

Henry Cole's superb original storytelling and visual rendering of the Underground Railroad speaks directly to our deepest sense of compassion.

In the Author's Note in back of book, Cole talks about his childhood around the Thanksgiving and Christmas table listening to his elderly relatives talk about the Civil War.
--Scholastic Press 2012

ICE!: The Amazing History of the Ice Business
by Laurence Pringle
Ages 8-12

In the early 1800s, people began to harvest ice, store it in ways that limited melting, and transport it to homes and businesses. Eventually, almost everyone had an icebox, and a huge, vital ice business grew. In this riveting book, acclaimed writer Laurence Pringle describes the key inventions and ideas that helped the ice business flourish. He points to the many sources of ice throughout the East and Midwest and spotlights Rockland Lake, “the icebox of New York City,” to offer a close-up look at the ice business in action. Pringle worked closely with experts and relied on primary documents, including archival photographs, postcards, prints, and drawings, to capture the times when everyone waited for the ice man and his wagon to deliver those precious blocks of ice.
--Calkins Creek 2012

Scaredy Squirrel Prepares for Christmas:
A Safety Guide for Scaredies

by Melanie Watt
Ages 4-8

'Tis the season for worrying, planning, decorating, wrapping, entertaining, carolling and, worst of all, fruitcake!

Scaredy Squirrel returns with a quirky safety guide filled with practical tips and nutty step-by-step instructions to help readers prepare for a perfect Christmas. A fun-filled guide sure to appeal to all the Scaredies out there!
--Kids Can Press 2012

This has been kid-tested with 3-1/2 to 7 year-olds, and they beg for more!

Spirit Seeker:
John Coltrane's Musical Journey

by Gary Golio
Paintings by Rudy Gutierrez
Ages 9-12

Growing up, John was a seeker. He wondered about spirit, and the meaning of life. And whether music could be a key to unlocking those mysteries. Like his grandfather’s preaching and his parents’ songs, could John’s music bring people closer to God?

Told in moving prose and powerfully illustrated, this is the story of a shy, curious boy from a deeply religious family who grew up to find solace and inspiration in his own unique approach to both spirituality and music. John Coltrane—a legendary jazz musician whose work shattered boundaries and continues to influence countless artists to this day.
--Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (October 2012)

The Extraordinary Music of Mr. Ives: The True Story of a Famous American Composer
by Joanne Stanbridge Ages 5 and up

When the Lusitania was attacked in 1915, the American composer and New Yorker Charles Ives transformed the experience of this heartbreaking news into a musical piece. It begins with a jumble of traffic noises, then the hurdy-gurdy swells into the lovely old hymn “In the Sweet Bye-and-Bye.” In lyrical text and watercolors—sometimes in dramatic wordless spreads—this thoughtful picture book reveals not only a wartime tragedy, but a composer’s conviction that everyday music can convey profound emotion—and help heal a city. Young readers will understand that if they listen, music can be heard in the unlikeliest of places, from the busy chatter of a market to the wail of a fire engine.
--Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (October 2012)

The Warrior's Heart: Becoming a Man of Compassion and Courage
by Eric Greitens
Young Adult

In this adaptation of his best-selling book, The Heart and the Fist, Eric Greitens speaks directly to teen readers, interweaving memoir and intimate second-person narratives that ask the reader to put themselves in the shoes of himself and others.

Readers will share in Eric’s evolution from average kid to globe-traveling humanitarian to warrior, training and serving with the most elite military outfit in the world: the Navy SEALs. Along the way, they’ll be asked to consider the power of choices, of making the decision each and every day to act with courage and compassion so that they grow to be tomorrow’s heroes. Sure to inspire and motivate.
--Houghton Mifflin Books for Children 2012

Ivy + Bean Make the Rules (Book 9)
by Annie Barrows
Chapterbook - Ages 7-9

Bean's older sister, Nancy, is going to Girl Power 4-Ever Camp, where she will do Crafts and Music and First Aid and other secret things that Bean will never know about because girls have to be eleven to go to Girl Power 4-Ever Camp. Bean doesn't care. She doesn't want to go to camp. She wouldn't go even if they begged her. So ha. So ha ha. So—wait a second! Bean and Ivy can make their own camp, their own better camp: Camp Flaming Arrow, where counselors Ivy and Bean will give a whole new meaning to Crafts, Music, First Aid, and hands-on learning!
--Chronicle Books 2012

I Ain't Gonna Paint No More! Board Book
by Karen Beaumont
David Catrow, Illustrator

A dab of blue here, a splash of red there, a goopy smear of green . . . everywhere. To the tune of "It Ain't Gonna Rain No More," one creative kid floods his world with color, painting first the walls, then the ceiling, then himself! Before this feisty artist is through, he'll have painted his head, back, hands, legs, feet, and . . . Oh, no, here comes Mama! Zippy text and zany illustrations turn an infamous childhood activity into raucous story-time fun, giving a truly silly twist to the fine art of self-expression.
HMH Books 2012

Fish Eyes: A Book You Can Count On
by Lois Ehlert

If you could truly have a wish, would you wish to be a fish?
Get ready to put on scales, fins, and a tail and dive underwater for a marvelous fantasy adventure.

Look closely, and you'll find a friend guide to accompany you on your journey—and help out with couting and some simple addition along the way. A fresh look at a favorite Ehlert book.

Zora!: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston
by Dennis Brindell Fradin and Judith Bloom Fradin
Ages 9 and up

Zora Neale Hurston was confident, charismatic, and determined to be extraordinary.

As a young woman, Hurston lived and wrote alongside such prominent authors as Langston Hughes and Alain Locke during the Harlem Renaissance. But unfortunately, despite writing the luminary work Their Eyes Were Watching God, she was always short of money.

Though she took odd jobs as a housemaid and as the personal assistant to an actress, Zora often found herself in abject poverty. Through it all, Zora kept writing. And though none of her books sold more than a thousand copies while she was alive, she was rediscovered a decade later by a new generation of readers, who knew they had found an important voice of American Literature.
Clarion Books 2012

Molly, by Golly!: The Legend of Molly Williams, America's First Female Firefighter
by Dianne Ochiltree
Kathleen Kemly, Illustrator
Ages 7-9

This legendary tale introduces young readers to Molly Williams, an African American cook for New York City's Fire Company 11, who is considered to be the first known female firefighter in U.S. history.

One winter day in 1818, when many of the firefighting volunteers are sick with influenza and a small wooden house is ablaze, Molly jumps into action and helps stop the blaze, proudly earning the nickname Volunteer Number 11.

Relying on historic records and pictures and working closely with firefighting experts, Dianne Ochiltree and artist Kathleen Kemly not only bring this spunky and little-known heroine to life but also show how fires were fought in early America.
--Calkins Creek 2012

by J. Patrick Lewis and Jane Yolen
Ages 9-12

Not your average poetry collection.

That poor old chicken never saw it coming. Neither did the owl who was slain by one of his own. And what about that bear who just wanted to lose a little more weight? If only he hadn’t insisted on hibernating for quite so long…

Children’s Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis and the inimitable Jane Yolen team up in this ironic and witty take on the last moments in the lives of a variety of animals. Each poem in this darkly humorous collection is an epitaph of a different animal. Grouped by animal type, these posthumous poems are full of clever wordplay and macabre humor that will appeal to kids (and adults) of all ages.

Aside from the comical nature of this book of poetry, complemented perfectly by Jeffrey Stewart Timmins’ dark yet amusing illustrations, the length of the poems—which range from one to eighteen lines—create an inviting way to introduce readers to this often intimidating form of literature.

This book is good for your brain because it provides: Poetry, rhythm and rhyme, good for the reluctant reader, humorous, life science, animal study, figurative language, word play
--Charlesbridge 2012

by Helen Lester
Ages 4-7

A book about sharing for one and all! Gruntly is a hog-a ball hog, a snack hog, a treasure hog! He doesn't share his toys with his pals and, in fact, helps himself to theirs! And when Gruntly finds out about Saturday's treasure hunt, he can't wait for the first clue so that he may be the one to find the treasure and keep it . . . all for himself. From the delightful duo that created Tacky the Penguin and Hooway for Wodney Wat, Helen Lester and Lynn Munsinger deliver another playful and delightfully illustrated tale about the dangers of going hog-wild and show, in the end, that sharing just might have its own rewards!
--Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2012

The Mighty Mars Rovers: The Incredible Adventures of Spirit and Opportunity
by Elizabeth Rusch
Ages 10 and up

On June 10, 2003, a little rover named Spirit blasted off on a rocket headed for Mars. On July 7, 2003, a twin rover named Opportunity soared through the solar system with the same mission: to find out if Mars ever had water that could have supported life. The Mighty Mars Rovers tells the greatest space robot adventure of all time through the eyes-and heart-of Steven Squyres, professor of astronomy at Cornell University and lead scientist on the mission. It captures the hair-raising human emotions felt during the adventures with two tough rovers.
-Houghton Mifflin Books for Children 2012

Pluto Visits Earth!
by Steve Metzger
Illustrated by Jared Lee
Ages 5-8

Pluto visits Earth in a truly out-of-this-world adventure!

Pluto is not pleased when he learns that astronomers have downgraded him from planet to dwarf planet. He embarks on a fun and out-of-this-world adventure across the solar system to visit Earth and reclaim his planetary status.

Along the way, Pluto bumps into his moons and other planets. But it's a boy on Earth who makes him realize that, big or small, planet or not, he's still special!
--Scholastic Press 2012

Catty Jane Who Hated the Rain
by Valeri Gorbachev
Ages 3-7

Catty Jane hates the rain, A LOT. But her spirited friends love almost everything about it. Piggy frolics through the rain in her designer boots, twirling a matching umbrella. Froggy speaks poetically of the droplets’ effect on the river’s surface. And Goose splashes through the storm with verve and gusto. Can Catty Jane’s friends help her overcome her aversion? In this satisfying story about friendship, Catty Jane learns a thing or two about having fun.
--Boyds Mills Press 2012

The Secret Tre
by Natalie Standtford
Ages 8-12

Minty’s neighborhood is full of mysteries. There’s the Witch House, a spooky old farmhouse on the other side of the woods from where Minty and her best friend, Paz, live. There’s the Man-Bat, a seven-foot-tall half man, half bat who is rumored to fly through the woods. And there are the Mean Boys, David and Troy, who torment Minty for no reason, and her boy-crazy older sister, Thea, who acts weirder and weirder.

One day Minty spots a flash in the woods, and when she chases after it, she discovers a new mystery – a Secret Tree, with a hollow trunk that holds the secrets of everyone in the neighborhood. Secrets like: I put a curse on my enemy. And it's working. I'm betraying my best friend in a terrible way. No one loves me except my goldfish.

Raymond, a new boy, is also drawn to the Secret Tree, and together he and Minty start watching their neighbors. They have a curse to fix, and mysteries to solve. But first they have to get through some secrets of their own . . . secrets that will end up changing everything.
--Scholastic Press 2012

The Stourbridge Lion: America's First Locomotive
by Karl Zimmerman
Steven Walker, Illustrator
Ages 5 and up

On August 8, 1829, a small town in northeastern Pennsylvania witnessed something never seen before in America: the first locomotive to run on commercial rails. The engine was named the Stourbridge Lion. The iron contraption chugged down the track, belching steam, to the sound of cheers and booming cannon. This concise and lively history follows the Stourbridge Lion’s journey from Stourbridge, England, where it was built, to Honesdale, Pennsylvania, where it made its historic run, marking the dawn of American railroading. Here is the story of the real little engine that could.
--Boyds Mills Press 2012

A Hen for Izzy Pippik
by Aubrey Davis
Marie LaFrance, Illustrator
Ages 5-8

When Shaina finds a magnificent hen, she knows that Izzy Pippik, the hen's owner, is sure to return for her. In the meantime, Shaina decides she will care for the animal. But when dozens of eggs hatch and rowdy chickens scatter throughout the village, Shaina must fight the entire town if she has any hope of protecting the birds. Inspired by Jewish and Islamic traditional texts, this is a beautiful tale about doing the right thing, even in the face of adversity.
--Kids Can Press 2012

Frogs! Strange and Wonderful
by Laurence Pringle
Ages 7-9 years

Is a frog waterproof? The latest title in the popular Strange and Wonderful series delivers the awe-inspiring variety of the world’s hoppiest amphibians. The goliath frog is more than a foot long. The tiny gold frog could sit on a dime. Some frogs have camouflage. Others wear bold colors warning their enemies that they are poisonous. Some frogs leap, others hop, one is a runner, and a few glide from tree to tree with their big, webbed hands and feet! Laurence Pringle’s knack for choosing and presenting surprising facts and Meryl Henderson’s gift for beautiful, realistic nature illustrations come together once again in a celebration of one of nature’s most fascinating marvels.
--Boyds Mills Press 2012

The Beetle Book
by Steve Jenkins
Ages 6-12 years

Beetles squeak and beetles glow.
Beetles stink, beetles sprint, beetles walk on water.
With legs, antennae, horns, beautiful shells, knobs, and other oddities—what’s not to like about beetles?
The beetle world is vast: one out of every four living things on earth is a beetle.
There are over 350,000 different species named so far and scientists suspect there may be as many as a million.
From the goliath beetle that weighs one fourth of a pound to the nine inch long titan beetle, award-winning author-illustrator Steve Jenkins presents a fascinating array of these intriguing insects and the many amazing adaptations they have made to survive.
This is an amazing book!
--Houghton Mifflin 2012

Edgar Allan Poe's Pie: Math Puzzlers in Classic Poems
by J. Patrick Lewis
Ages 6-9 years

Is this poetry? Math? A brainteaser? Yes! It’s all that and more. The poet J. Patrick Lewis has reimagined classic poems—such as Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” and Langston Hughes’s “April Rain Song”—and added a dash of math. Between the silly parodies and the wonderfully wacky art, kids will have so much fun figuring out the puzzles, they won’t guess they’re learning! Answers appear unobtrusively on each page, and engaging information about the original poets is included. Math games and concepts, poetry and poet biographies—it’s all so cleverly put together. This funny book is a treat for fans of words and numbers alike.
Buy it for your school.
--Harcourt Children's Books 2012

The President's Stuck in the Bathtub:
Poems about the Presidents

by Susan Katz
Ages 6-9 years (and All)

Playful political poems about the penchants and peccadilloes of the presidents!

Sure, William Taft got stuck in his tub, but did you know that John Quincy Adams used to skinny-dip in the Potomac? Herbert Hoover spoke Chinese with his wife, and Gerald Ford had his name changed from Leslie Lynch King. It’s true! In The President’s Stuck in the Bathtub, the lives of the presidents are served up as fact-filled and fanciful poems that will make you laugh, cringe, and gasp with amazement at the colorful cast of men and women who have lived in the White House. With footnotes relating the facts behind the inspiration for each poem, and a section called “Presidential Notes and Quotes” in the back, this is one hilarious history lesson that kids will elect to read over and over again! Should be in every school.
--Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2012

by Michael de Guzman
Ages 9-12

Growing Up Rita is the story of twelve-year-old Rita Martinez, who was born in the United States to Alicia, who came here illegally from Mexico. When her mother is swept up in an immigration raid, Rita is left alone. She must find the courage and resourcefulness to survive while she tries to find her mother and get her back. This story is about a kid who populates the margins of society, who has something big to face, who takes action on her own behalf, and who is aided by adults who live on the margins themselves.

From Growing Up Rita

Rita turned and ran. If they could take her mother, they could take her. She tore out fo the building and across the street. She looked back. Nobody was chasing her, but she was certain they would be any minute. She kept running, trying to remember how she'd come. The purse slipped from her shoulder. Its contents emptied on the sidewalk. She looked up as she retrieved them. A white truck was barreling up the street. They were coming for her. It sped past. She breathed a sigh of relief. She started running again. She fairly flew, clutching the purse under her arm. She was afraid to look back. The station came into view. She descended to the platform. Waiting for the train she expected them to appear at any moment. She searched for an escape route. There was none.

Michael de Guzman wrote Growing Up Rita because he wanted kids to read about other kids who live a different life. And because the more we know about each other, the better off we are.
--CreateSpace 2011

by Olivier Dunrea
Ages 2 to 5

Meet Gideon, the newest addition to Olivier Dunrea’s gaggle of adorable goslings! Gideon likes to splash with the ducklings, hop with the frogs, play chase-the-piglets, and scamper all over the farmyard. But one thing busy Gideon does not want to do is take his nap, no matter how many times his mother asks . . . until he gets tired, of course. Another darling gosling makes his debut in this spunky story, with Olivier Dunrea’s perfectly pitched storytelling and illustrations that Gossie & Friends fans have come to cherish.
--Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2012

Gideon & Otto
by Olivier Dunrea
Ages 2 to 5

Otto is an octopus, and he’s Gideon’s favorite friend! Gideon has a favorite friend, his toy octopus. He brings Otto with him everywhere. But one day Otto doesn’t stay right where Gideon put him . . . In this second book about Gideon, we learn more about his sidekick, Otto, and their important bond. Another charming romp with the latest irrepressible, adorable gosling in the bunch!
--Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2012