Dec 142018

The Christmas Town by Donna VanLiere starts out the list on a sentimental, hopeful note. That note won’t last long so please enjoy it while it does. This little story reads like a Hallmark movie. Everybody is just a bit too good to be true. However, if ever there is a time for mawkishly sentimental fluff, Christmas would be that time.

Well, I told you the sweet, sentimental reads wouldn’t last. Lauren Wolk’s Wolf Hollow is packed with characters so alive you expect to run into them at the grocery store. Unfortunately, about 25% of those characters are up to no good. Annabelle’s school life goes down hill when Betty moves to town. Betty is a bully who enjoys hurting and tormenting those around her and when she lays the blame for an awful injury at the door of a transient vet suffering from PTSD, Annabelle decides enough is enough. Set in the WWII era, this book’s plot is full of palpable prejudice against “others”. This book is an Accelerated Reader book with a reading level of 4.9; however, I would recommend it to 6th grade and up as the subject matter is somewhat dark. A 2018-2019 Golden Sower Nominee.

Adults who are seeking a way to explain the terrorist attacks of September 11th to a Middle Grade audience should check out Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes. A complex and nuanced look at the event and the fear, trauma, grief, and loss it caused. This little novel gets extra points for diverse, believable characters. Accelerated Reader reading level is 3.3.

A young girl doesn’t understand why her father can’t hold a job, why he is so anxious and why it causes him distress to find out she is studying the terrorist attack of September 11. She doesn’t understand why her sweet Muslim friend stays indoors each year on the anniversary of the attack. As she learns more about the events of that horrible day, she begins to understand how the events of one day can shape an individual, a school, a city, and a nation.

If you haven’t watched the sensational Scottish Grammy reading The Wonky Donkey on youtube, you are missing out! A clever narrative of a most unusual donkey walking up the road. Repetitive, humorous lines and fantastic illustrations keep kids and adults laughing.

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