Spring Break Reading

Reading is one of my favorite Spring Break activities (though I also took lots of walks in the gorgeous weather, tanned by the pool, went to a baseball game, and saw a couple movies). I decided to challenge myself this week and only read books for 4th-6th grade readers, an age group that I neglect the most in my reading. I love picture books, I can fly through some early chapter books, and I adore young adult fiction, but when it comes to books for kids in the middle, I just don't read as many. This week, I read 5! We have a couple in the King School Library, and the others I will be ordering shortly.

Eight Keys by Suzanne LaFleur --- Does that author look familiar to you? Well, it should because it's the same author who wrote Love, Aubrey - an instant girl favorite here at the King Library. In Eight Keys, Elise is just starting middle school and feeling a little different about the activities she and her best friend Franklin do. Playing pretend isn't "cool" in middle school, and Elise thinks she wants to fit in. She lives with her aunt and uncle - her mother died when she was born, and her dad died when she was very young - and she loves them like parents. But one day, when Elise is feeling ready to grow up and out of her childish ways, she discovers a key hanging in the barn, a key that has her name on it. When Elise finds the door that matches that key, she's thrown into a puzzle created by her father especially for her - one that will help her remember her past, take note of her present, and believe in her future. One key down, seven to go!

Wonder by R.J. Palacio --- Wonder is one of those books that all the librarians think will win the Newbery Award in January. I'm not one of them. Not because it's not a good book! It's a great book. But it didn't hook me like it did the others. It's about a boy named August who has never been to a real school because of his severe facial deformities. He's had loads of operations and surgeries in his 10 year-old life, and he just hasn't had the time to go to regular school... until now. August is starting 5th grade at a private middle school, and for good reason, he is terrified. What if the kids make fun of him? What if he can't make friends? What if his teachers stare at him? What if the homework is too hard? Starting middle school is hard enough for a normal kid, but how hard will it be for someone who looks so different from everyone else? 

The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis --- Mmm, did I love this book! Miss Deza Malone has just finished the school year as the top student in her class, and she is flying high. She's living in 1930s Gary, Indiana, where times are tough for most folks, but all she can think about is how her teacher wants to personally tutor her next year and how she just got the most beautiful blue gingham dress as a gift. Her family is fantastic, with an alliterating father who affectionately calls her the Mighty Miss Malone because of her smarts and sassiness, a mother who always tries to do the right thing, and a brother who will always defend her honor. But it's the 1930s, and the Great Depression is making it hard for families to earn a living and stay together. So the story goes for the Malones too when Deza's father moves to Flint, Michigan to find a job, and the family later follows in hopes of reuniting with him. 

The Other Half of My Heart by Sundee T. Frazier --- Minerva (Minnie) and Keira King are twin sisters, but you couldn't tell by looking at them. Minnie takes after their father, with her pale skin, freckles, and red hair, while Keira looks more like their mother, dark-skinned and dark-haired. Their differences don't mean much to the girls - at least not to Minnie, our narrator. When their maternal grandmother invites them to North Carolina for ten days during the summer to compete in the Miss Black Pearl Preteen pageant (I mean, program), Keira is thrilled because it means performing and prancing (all things a diva like her enjoys) and getting in touch with their African-American roots. Minnie, on the other hand, is less than thrilled - not because she doesn't want to learn more about her black history, which she desperately does, but because she's so shy and timid. This is most definitely a book about identity - finding out who you are and who you want to be. 

Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver --- I wanted to read this book because I've read two other books by this author that I really enjoyed, and I had to have more. I'm not quite done with it yet, but I hope to finish the book in bed tonight. So far, the story is about a little girl named Liesl who has been locked up in an attic by her stepmother (stop thinking Cinderella - it's not). Her father has recently died, and Liesl is just heartbroken. Then, she meets Po, a ghost who appears in the attic and who can communicate with her father. The two set off on an adventure to spread her father's ashes in the place he loved the most, a willow tree by their old house. I love how magical this book is, and how it can make a very sad time have hope and possibly a happy ending. 

What did YOU read over Spring Break?


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