Rebecca

Rebecca is a long-time Saturn customer who has returned home after college to, well, READ!  She's a full-time teacher at Joburg HS, and is pretty knowledgeable about kid-lit, so come in, look down (she'a a tiny one), and ask her what she's reading now!

 

<Mel  Diane>             

 

 

 

$10.99
ISBN: 9780142415436
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Speak - April 6th, 2010

If I Stay is an interesting story about the difficult choice that the main character, Mia, has to make after a tragic accident.  The accident causes Mia to lose the most important thing to her, her family.  It leaves her in a coma, but she has an out of body experience, and can see and hear everything around her.  She has to decide whether or not she is going to pass on and join her family, or stay with her surviving family and friends.

While Mia is in the hospital, her boyfriend Adam rushes to be by her side and pleads with her to stay.  Even though Mia has lost her parents and younger brother, Mia and Adam’s love story shows that she does still have things to live for.

If I Stay is a quick read, and the story pulls you in.  While the story could have been really sappy, author Gayle Forman does a nice job of keeping it grounded and concentrates on what we have to be thankful for in our lives.


By Herman Parish, Lynne Avril (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062334206
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Greenwillow Books - September 2nd, 2014

The Amelia Bedelia stories have always been one of my favorite collections.  So, I was excited to hear that Amelia Bedelia will now have her own chapter books, set when she was a young girl. 

The first book in the series is Amelia Bedelia Means Business.  Amelia Bedelia loves her bike, but when one of her classmates comes to school with a brand new bike, Amelia Bedelia has to have one just like it.  Her parents agree to pay half, if Amelia Bedelia can come up with the other half.  Her disastrous attempts to make money include a waitressing job, a lemonade stand, and a bike parade.

I chuckled the entire time I read this book.  It’s a wonderful way to introduce the next generation to the ridiculous oddities of Amelia Bedelia.  This is a great series for young girls who are just starting to read chapter books.


$14.00
ISBN: 9780140481389
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - October 28th, 1976

Though I love to read, there are many classics I haven’t read, and I decided that it was something I needed to remedy. I started with Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. The Crucible is a short play, but communicates a lot in each page.

The Crucible is a historical play, based on the events of the Salem witch trials. It explores how fear can impact a whole society. Miller chose to tell this story for a reason. He wrote it during the Red Scare, when people saw communists everywhere. The finger pointing that happened during the Salem witch trials was duplicated in the hearings that happened in the 1940s-1950s. Miller used his play to illustrate the point that fear could bring down a society.


$17.99
ISBN: 9780062135964
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper Teen - June 10th, 2014

Gardnerville is a town in which those who are terminally ill don’t die, and the effects of old age are slowed. However, all of this comes at a cost. When children hit adolescence, their thoughts, wishes, and demands can come true, and almost always comes with deadly consequences. Teenagers who cause the death of someone because of their actions are sent to the reformatory until they are deemed no longer dangerous.

Sky and Piper Gardner had made plans to try and end all of the craziness in their town, but when Piper commits an act that causes her to be sent to the reformatory, Sky spends the next few years trying to forget what happened.

Four years later, the town starts falling apart and Sky believes that it’s Piper telling her it’s time to bring the town down. However, Sky has spent the four years in a fog, and as she begins to come out of it and search for the answers to the questions she’s been running from, will she be able to handle the answers?

Don’t You Forget About Me is an interesting sci-fi for young adults, and has an ending you won’t see coming.


$25.99
ISBN: 9781250048837
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Minotaur Books - May 20th, 2014

I don’t often read British novels, but The Stranger You Know sounded like an interesting mystery, and it didn’t disappoint.

Women are being murdered all over London, and detective Maeve Kerrigan is brought into the case after the murders are connected. The murderer is very good at what he or she does, and leaves little evidence behind. However, once the murders have been connected, the police find that they’re very similar to a cold case, one in which Maeve’s partner was a suspect.

This is a really well written mystery, with suspense, intrigue, and several surprising plot twists.


$16.99
ISBN: 9780545419772
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Scholastic Press - June 24th, 2014

One of my favorite children’s mystery series is the Silver Jaguar Society books by Kate Messner. The Silver Jaguar Society is a group of adults who are descendants of famous artists, writers, and thinkers. They help protect famous artifacts from a group known as the Serpentine Princes. In the first book, several children of society members ended up getting involved in a case, and became junior members.

Manhunt is the third book in the series, and Henry, Anna, and Jose are in Paris with their family members, trying to protect priceless works of art from the Serpentine Princes. However, there is a traitor in the Silver Jaguar Society, and this time the Serpentine Princes have also made a threat against society members.

Not knowing who to trust after their relatives don’t come home after a mission, Henry, Anna, and Jose aren’t sure what to do. The only thing they know is that they need to protect the Mona Lisa, though first they need to find the painting.

This is another thrilling tale by Messner.


$26.95
ISBN: 9780399169281
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Putnam Adult - June 12th, 2014

A Long Way Home is the amazing story of a 5-year-old boy from India who gets lost while traveling with his older brother, manages to survive on the streets of some of India’s most dangerous cities on his own, and eventually is adopted by an Australian couple.

Saroo lived with his mother, two older brothers, and younger sister. His brothers would hop on trains and search in nearby towns for work they could do to support their family. On one such trip, Saroo tagged long. However, he got on the wrong train, traveled for several hours, and ended up getting hopelessly lost. After surviving on the streets, a teenage boy finally noticed him and took him to a police station. Saroo spent some time in homes, until being adopted by an Australian couple.

While growing up, Saroo tried to remember everything about his life in India, in the hope that one day he would be able to see his family again. But, none of the names of places he remembered panned out. Years later, Saroo begins to find new possibilities through new technology. After months of searching using Google Earth, he finds what he thinks is his home. He travels there to check it out and, hopefully, to find some closure.

Saroo gets his happy ending, and his tale shows that with perseverance, hard work, hope, and some luck, people can do almost anything they put their minds to. This is a wonderful, hopeful, true story about life, and it shows how small acts of kindness can make a big difference.


$8.99
ISBN: 9781416971719
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Atheneum Books for Young Readers - May 1st, 2012

Melody has cerebral palsy and is stuck inside her own head. She has tons of knowledge, but cannot share it, or even say a simple “I love you,” to her parents. A few special people in Melody’s life realize how smart she is, and fight to get her what she needs in order to be heard.

At school, Melody has always been treated like a young child, learning simple math and the alphabet over and over again. Then, in fifth grade, she and her fellow special education students get a new teacher and several new aides who get them included in general education classes.

One day, Melody is able to communicate to her aide that she wants a computer like Stephan Hawking has. The computer allows her to communicate with the rest of the world, but not everyone is ready for that.

This is a wonderful, amazing story. I loved it, and I think it’s an important book for children to read because they will gain new understandings of those people they might not normally get to know.


$17.99
ISBN: 9780670785025
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Viking Children's Books - June 12th, 2014

An interesting and unique tale, in The Glass Sentence the world has been torn into different time zones. The surviving civilizations call this the Great Disruption, and have tried to adapt to this new life the best they can.

 

Many people became mapmakers, mapping the various corners of the globe and assisting in stabilizing this new world. Sophia’s parents and her Uncle Shadrack did this, but her uncle stopped traveling to care for his niece when Sophia’s parents disappear one trip.

 

Years later, when Sophia is a teenager, changes start coming to the land, and Shadrack decides it is time for him and Sophia to go and try to find her parents. However, before they can begin their venture, Shadrack is kidnapped. Sophia, with the help of a boy named Theo, travel the different lands in an attempt to find her uncle, and by doing so Sophia learns more about the world around her. She also discovers many dangers that she never could have imagined, and finds out that there is one danger that may be close to destroying the world.

 


$16.00
ISBN: 9780142180211
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Plume Books - May 27th, 2014

June works at a bank in New York City where she is responsible for closing independent businesses that haven’t been paying their bills. When the news comes that her great-aunt has passed away and left her children’s bookstore to June, she has to go home to handle it. June hasn’t been home in a long time, and her plan is to close the bookstore and sell the building so she can return to New York City. However, she finds a few surprises when she returns. Her great-aunt has left a scavenger hunt for June, consisting of letters between herself and Margaret Wise Brown, the author of Goodnight Moon and other children’s books. The two women were best friends, and they shared everything. June learns a lot about her aunt, including the fact that there were a few secrets her great-aunt kept that June becomes determined to discover.

This is a wonderful book and is going to be my next staff pick! It is very well-written, with an intriguing plot. Goodnight June is a perfect book to read during your summer vacation.


$4.99
ISBN: 9780786017157
Availability: Special Order
Published: Pinnacle - January 1st, 2005

I loved P.J. Parrish’s Heart of Ice, so I decided I needed to read another one of the books in this series. I went back to the beginning of the series, Dark of the Moon.

Detective Louis Kincaid goes from Detroit, down to Black Pool, Mississippi, to be with his dying mother. Things are pretty quiet in the small southern town, until the day that the bones of a young black man are discovered. Soon after, two white men, prominent members of the community, are also found dead.

The case brings up racial tensions that have simmered in the town for generations. Louis finds himself with no allies, and has to deal with traditions and a way of thinking that is very difficult to break. While trying to find justice for those who have been murdered, Louis himself finds himself in danger of ending up another victim.


$25.99
ISBN: 9780062244758
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow & Company - May 6th, 2014

In the Middle East there is a tradition known as bacha posh, which allows families who need a male to help with daily affairs to dress one of their young daughters as a boy until the girl is of marriage age. Rahima has a drug addicted father who is often gone and no brothers so she accepts the role as the boy in the family. Years earlier, her great-great grandmother, Shekiba, did the same thing.

Shekiba was unwanted by her grandmother and uncles after her parents and siblings died. Her father had treated her as a boy, but after his death, she had to accept a new role, and had trouble with this. She ended up going from place to place, and didn’t know where she belonged, or who she was.

Rahima plays the role of a son until she gets too old and her father marries her off. Her marriage is extremely unhappy, but change may be coming with the arrival of American troops.

Switching between the past and the present, this amazing story shows how two women are just trying to make sense of their place in their world. The women both show incredible courage against all odds in an attempt to improve their lives. People who liked The Kite Runner definitely need to read this book!


$18.00
ISBN: 9780316213608
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - May 6th, 2014

In this hilarious children’s book, a director just wants a simple movie about moose. He wants to show what a normal, everyday moose does in their daily life, but his actor doesn’t want to be a normal moose. The moose wants to be an astronaut. The situation gets crazier as the moose’s grandmother, who wants to play lacrosse, and a giraffe who wants to be a doctor join the scene.

What do you do when you are told you can’t be something? Ignore the naysayers and keep trying, of course!


$17.99
ISBN: 9780062280671
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper Torch - April 2014

Dorothy Must Die is a unique take on the classic tale of Dorothy and the Land of Oz. It’s very dark, odd at times, and everything has been turned upside down and warped.

Amy is a small town Kansas girl who, of course, ends up in Oz after being sucked into a tornado. She has seen The Wizard of Oz before, so she figures out pretty quickly where she is. However, Amy can also tell that something is terribly wrong.

It turns out that Dorothy got a taste for magic in Oz, figured out a way to come back, and began stealing the magic from all over the land. Oz survives on the magic that flows underground, so not only is Dorothy killing the land, she is killing those who live there by terrorizing and tormenting them. Dorothy, Glinda, the Lion, the Tin Man, and the Scarecrow have all been twisted by power and turned evil.

Amy joins up with a group of witches who were once considered evil. They believe the only way to save Oz and its people is to kill Dorothy, and they begin to train Amy to do just that because they feel that she is their only hope.


$14.99
ISBN: 9780062316868
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow & Company - April 2014

Based on the true story of 14 Irish immigrants traveling to the United States in search of a better life, The Girl Who Came Home explores another perspective of those who experienced one of the worst tragedies in our history, the sinking of the Titanic.

After her mother dies, Maggie’s aunt comes to Ireland to bring her back to America with her. 12 other people from their small village decide to go with them. The fourteen of them get third class tickets on the Titanic.

Decades later, Grace, Maggie’s great-granddaughter, is trying to find her own path. Grace was at college studying to be a writer until her father died and she decided to stay at home to take care of her sick mother. 2 years later, on her birthday, Grace’s great-grandmother decides to tell her the story of her travels on the Titanic.

The book flips between the stories of the two women, and their search for who they are and their hopes for the future.

The Girl Who Came Home is a wonderful story, but be sure to have a Kleenex box handy. Though it’s a story that has been told over and over, this book does a great job at remembering all those who lost their lives that night.


By Mo Willems, Mo Willems (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9781423190875
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Disney Press - April 1st, 2014

Mo Willems is one of my favorite children's authors.  He has a quirky sense of humor that is demonstrated in all of his books.  His newest book is the next in the Pigeon series, called The Pigeon Needs a Bath!

 

As you can probably guess from the title, Pigeon is filthy and smelly, and really needs a bath.  But Pigeon never wants to do what he is told, and the way he tries to talk his way out of taking a bath should sound familiar to any parent.  Pigeon finally agrees to a bath when a group of flies decides he needs a bath because he stinks!  But even after agreeing, Pigeon still tries to stall.  Just how long can he procrastinate and make excuses to avoid the bathtub?  Read the book and find out!


$15.00
ISBN: 9781476704418
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Washington Square Press - March 4th, 2014

After an accident kills her daughter, Hannah Scott makes the tough decision to donate her daughter’s organs. A year later, a chance encounter leads to Hannah meeting the Bell family, whose daughter Maddie is alive due to that organ donation.

Hannah and Maddie’s mother, Olivia, become friends, and Hannah finds that the Bell family isn’t as perfect as they try to appear. Olivia’s husband is abusive, but with a daughter who had a life threatening disease, she couldn’t leave him and now she feels stuck.

Maddie, after being sick for so long, is having trouble adjusting to a normal life. She also struggles with how to deal with her parents’ relationship and her father’s temper.

The three women form a unique bond, and in this bond, all of them start to heal. Safe with Me is an amazing story. It’s a tear jerker at times, but overall, it’s a hopeful story about love, and looking out for your friends and family.