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Search tags: sunshine-state-17-18
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review 2018-02-13 04:40
The Nerdy Dozen
The Nerdy Dozen #1 - Jeff Miller

 

The enemy fighter jets surged past Neil Andertol, soaring over desolate, sandy terrain.

- opening line

 

 

So, another 6-8 grade Sunshine State nominated book. I wasn't planning on reading this one because I didn't think I would like it. That's what I get for judging a book by its cover. Anyway, one of the 4th-grade students was really enjoying it and she asked me to read it with her. It's actually pretty good and I can't wait to talk to her about it tomorrow. Though I finished it and she is probably around halfway through.

 

Neil loves video games, like most 13-year old boys these days. He especially enjoys one called Chameleon. Chameleon, it turns out is a training tool used by the Air Force to teach pilots to fly an actual plane called the Chameleon that is capable of seeming invisible. Neil and a bunch of other kids get recruited by the Air Force to find a lost plane and save the day. I know, I know. Big suspension of disbelief here, but kids love that sort of thing.

 

Anyway, Neil ends up meeting a few people in real life that he only previously knew online. So, there are expected surprises there. And the kids make a couple of decisions that mess up something that Major Jones had planned, resulting in more unlikely situations. At least the kids don't make some half-assed decision based on their guts and end up being right over the Major who is an adult and should know better than them.

 

This is a fast-moving story that kids will devour. And now that there are 3 books in the series, it will keep the kids reading.

 

Good for 4th - 8th graders who enjoy video games, strong female characters, soldiers, edge of your seat adventures... it has something for everyone.

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review 2018-01-28 04:44
The Hero Two Doors Down
The Hero Two Doors Down: Based on the True Story of Friendship Between a Boy and a Baseball Legend - Sharon Robinson

 

I read this book to the students in my Sunshine State Club. It's the story of a boy (Stephen) living two doors down from his hero, Jackie Robinson in Brooklyn in the year 1948. The book was written by Sharon Robinson (Jackie's daughter) and is based on "the true story of a friendship between a boy and a baseball legend."

 

The kids loved the book and it was fun to discuss what it was like to live in the 1940's. It's hard for them to imagine life without a cell phone, let alone life where you can only hear baseball on the radio, instead of watching on tv. We learned about Jackie Robinson and his courage and integrity. We learned about egg creams, transistor radios, and stoopball. And we learned about what it was like to live in a Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn in 1948. It was also fun to talk to the kids about who their heroes are and what it would feel like to be friends with them.

 

This book is great for elementary students, especially sports fans.

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review 2018-01-06 04:07
How to (Almost) Ruin Your Summer
How to (Almost) Ruin Your Summer - Taryn Souders

 

 

Someone once told me that money can't buy happiness. They obviously never had to ride a baby bike to the first day of middle school.

-opening lines

 

Chloe is determined to earn money this summer (maybe by babysitting). What she didn't plan for is her parents deciding to send her to career camp. There she will have the opportunity to see what it's like to be a cake decorator, athlete, scientist, or veterinarian. Well, Chloe knows for sure she doesn't get along with animals, by maybe she could work with the cake decorating thing. But, life has other plans... Between spiders, a goat named King Arthur, a rude girl named Victoria, and Director Mudwimple, Chloe's summer is looking ruined. But luckily Chloe meets a friend, a bouncy girl named Paulie (who Chloe nicknames Pogo), and finds out two of her friends from home are also there, Nathan (her secret crush) and Sebastian.

 

The story is told through Chloe's experiences and nightly journal entries. Chloe is relatable and the drama seems pretty accurate for a bunch of middle school aged girls living in a cabin together. Chloe's friendship with Pogo and the difficulties with the bully Victoria seem to be accurate portrayals of middle school relationships. Chloe doesn't always make the right choice, but in the end, she does the right thing. I read this quickly in one sitting and I think 4th through 8th graders will enjoy it.

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review 2018-01-06 03:42
Mark of the Dragonfly
The Mark of the Dragonfly - Jaleigh Johnson

Piper, a young girl with a talent for fixing mechanical things, finds Anna (a young girl with amnesia who needs her help) and together they take the 401 train trying to escape the man pursuing them. There they meet Gee, a boy who can transform into a dragon and who might be able to help them.

 

Piper is smart, brave and mechanically inclined, who could ask for a better heroine. She is alone and barely scraping by until she finds Anna in the meteor field (each meteor shower brings items from other worlds that the scrappers find and fix or sell). Anna doesn't know who she is but she has the mark of the dragonfly which means she is someone important to the king. Piper sees her chance to help Anna and maybe get a reward that could change her life at the same time.

 

This story is filled with magic, adventure, steampunk, humor, and a smidge of romance. I highly recommend it to readers in grades 4 through 8 (and adults who enjoy strong female characters and a bit of western/sci-fi; sort of like Firefly for the younger set). A promising series which I plan to continue.

 

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review 2017-10-11 03:18
Vanishing Coin
The Vanishing Coin [The Magic Shop Book 1] - Magician Mike Lane,Kate Egan,Eric Wight

 

I finished reading this to the students today. When I asked if they liked the book, 15 out of the 18 said yes. Their favorite part overall was the magic tricks. They liked when Mike performed the tricks, but they also liked that the book contained instructions for them to learn the tricks too. Next week we are having a magic show, discussing the book, making flyers to help promote the book, and picking our next read.

 

This book is part of a series of books revolving around Mike. He is a smart kid but has difficulty focusing and thinks he isn't good at anything. Then he discovers the White Rabbit and its proprietor, Mr. Zerlin. Mike finds out that he is good at something after all, magic.

 

This book is sure to be a winner with young readers. Many kids love magic and learning magic tricks. Also, many kids will see shades of themselves in this book. Kids often get distracted or have difficulty focusing, and this book allows them to see that it happens to other kids too. It doesn't make them stupid, they just need to find their own kind of magic.

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