Hoodoo Hatcher was born into a family with a tradition of practicing folk magic: hoodoo; using potions and charms to evade evil and bring good luck. A mysterious Stranger comes to town bringing evil shadows and dark nightmares. He wants something from Hoodoo and threatens the entire town to get his ends. Everybody says that the little heart shaped birthmark under Hoodoo's eye is a sign. Can he find the courage, the magic and most of all the heart to save those he loves and himself? Hoodoo learns that "Having heart is being brave, even when everything looks dark as night....Having heart is believing in yourself, if you didn't know."
Tessa's Picks, 4th grade, Horror, 3rd&4th summer 2016, People of Color.
Rudger can be a bit shy but he's always willing to go on adventures with Amanda. Whether they're sailing the high seas on a pirate ship or exploring a jungle, Amanda knows Rudger will always be there by her side. That's why he's her best friend, even if he is imaginary. Rudger feels the same way about Amanda, but when a suspicious stranger who can actually see Rudger comes knocking and Amanda ends up in the hospital, Rudger is left to face real danger on his own. He finds a haven for imaginary friends where he discovers that he's not the only one who has encountered this monster in a Hawaiian shirt, and he has all of them terrified. But Amanda is a special girl and Rudger will do anything to save her, even if the other imaginaries warn him that to do so is to face certain death.
This surreal horror story about a monster that eats imaginary friends is utterly bizarre and fantastic. The mythology Harrold develops around imaginary friends and how they work is wonderfully creative. I particularly like how they hang out at a library in-between gigs because they're hot spots for imagination. The imaginary friends are hilarious and touching and the monster is actually quite creepy. The illustrations just make it all the more wonderful with their fanciful details. The Imaginary by A.F. Harrold, illustrated by Emily Gravett
Jocelyn Hook knows that one day she will follow in the footsteps of her famous father Captain Hook: scourge of the seven seas! The only problem is that she's never actually met him, or set foot on a pirate ship. That, and her mother and grandfather who are determined to cinch her into corsets and stuff her with teacakes until she finally succumbs and turns into the meek lady of good breeding that they hope to marry off one day. But while suffering through the tortures of finishing school she finally hears from her father. The note promises danger, encounters with terrible beasts, and a wardrobe entirely free of corsets. Jocelyn doesn't have to think twice before accepting her father's request and jumping headlong into adventure!
Jocelyn is a firey, witty, young girl who is full of bravado but still has doubts. This book is full of adventure and heart and did I mention the humor? The book had me laughing out loud. Plus there's the appeal of Peter Pan, Smee, and all those other familiar never-land faces.
"There was a city that could not be mapped, and inside it a house that could not be drawn." Milo lives with his parents in a rambling old inn filled with as many secrets as the smugglers that come to stay there. The inn sits high on a hill overlooking a harbor with two ways up: a steep path, or a cable railway. Tourist season was long over and snows were arriving to leave them stranded from the main town. Which is why Milo was surprised when the cable railway's bell rang to notify them of a waiting passenger. Soon Milo's quiet holiday has turned into a loud and chaotic mystery as eccentric guests fill the inn and begin to hunt for hidden treasure. Milo joins forces with a new friend to solve the mystery and find the treasure, but what starts as a game to pass the time soon turns into a dangerous adventure.
An old inn in a smuggler's bay trapped by a winter storm--what more could you ask for from a mystery setting? The characters are eccentric but well-rounded. Milo and his new friend use the framework of a role playing game to provide a cover and give them courage to investigate the inn's mysteries. I'd give this to anyone looking for a good adventure or mystery.
Erica's Picks 4th - 6th Grade Tags: Adventure, Family Life, Mystery, People of Color
“Everybody is smart in different ways.But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its life believing it is stupid.”
Ally has managed to hide the fact that she can’t read by creating disruptive distractions.You feel her anguish at being a smart girl whom classmates have labeled “dumb” and “loser”.A new teacher sees the clever artist and math whiz in her and finds a way to turn her secret toward a path to overcoming her dyslexia.With the help of two quirky sidekicks, the trio of outsiders turn impossible into possible. This heartwarming novel from the author of One For The Murphys, will have you laughing and cheering for its courageous heroine and her inspiring teacher.
Grayson lives with his aunt and uncle, having become orphaned when he was in preschool.For years he would look in the mirror and see himself as the girl he longs to be, a princess twirling in front of her castle.As a sixth grader Grayson is well aware of the ridicule he would face if his secret that he is in the wrong gender’s body were to come out.Hiding his true self has made Grayson isolated and unhappyat school where is called “loser” and “freak.” New friends and trying out for and landing the female lead in the school play open the path to Grayson’s transition.Grayson is an engaging character who will have you cheering for "him" to become "her". This is a touching book about identity, friendship, and the human spirit.Don’t miss it.
As E.E. Cumming’s says “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”
Tags: Tessa's picks, LGBTQ, Contemporary fiction, 4th Grade, 5th grade, 6th grade, School stories, Family life.
Albie has always been an 'almost'. No matter how hard he tries his work is only ever almost good enough. So he wasn't surprised when he found out that he was only almost good enough for his private school and he had to leave it for a public one. That means no more school with his best friend, one in a set of two triplets whose family is now starring in their own reality TV show. But Albie is starting to make new friends at his new school and they have a special math club there that is way better than sitting through regular math class. Perhaps this new school year will be better after all. Or perhaps it will just turn out to be another 'almost.'
I love how heartfelt this novel is without ever becoming saccharine (unless you count all the doughnut references.) The book is full of great characters, memorable small moments, and valuable life lessons. If you're looking for a realistic school story, this is an excellent choice.
Erica's picks 3rd - 5th grade Tags: Character Driven, Contemporary Fiction, Family Life, Friendship, School Stories
When Molly and her brother Kip enter sourwoods it is eerily silent and foreboding. Dire straits have forced them to accept work as servants at the manor house that stands within its confines. Approaching the crumbling mansion they notice a towering tree has intertwined its branches into and around the house. The inhabitants are not welcoming and the children soon find that the house is visited each night by a malevolent specter , the night gardener, who brings them bad dreams and steals their life force to feed the tree. As the humans grow pale and shadowy, the tree grants them their dearest wishes insuring that they never leave. Can the children break the spell and free them from the evil that has sent out roots to ensnare them all. A spooky tale from the masterful storyteller who brought us Peter Nibble and His Fantastic Eyes.
Have you ever had gum stuck in your hair? How did you get it out? Gabby's mother uses peanut butter to do the trick, and warns Gabby to stop her constant chewing. But Gabby can't resist. She blows a giant bubble that touches the telephone wires and zaps her. This turns her into the gumazing gum girl! At first Gabby just wants to get out of the sticky situation, but she soon realizes that being gum girl has its advantages. Will Gabby save the day or will her bubble burst?
This quick read is packed full of laughs and classic superhero tropes. The illustrations are in black, white, and bubblegum-pink and show off gum girl's special powers and crime-fighting action scenes. An excellent early chapter book for fans of superheroes and humor.
The Gumazing Gum Girl! by Rhode Montijo
Erica's Picks 1st - 3rd Grade Tags: Fantasy, Humor, People of Color, School Stories
Bogles are good at hiding. The only hint of one might be that children keep disappearing. There are those as don't believe in bogles, but Birdie knows better. She's been a bogler's apprentice for quite some time and she's helped her master to catch many monsters. Bogles love children, so they make excellent bait. All Birdie has to do is stand in a circle of salt and sing. What could be simpler than that? It's a lot better than many of the other jobs orphans take. Except of course that a moment's hesitation or a stumble could mean that her apprenticeship will come to a swift and deadly end.
Birdie is strong-willed and independent as she fights to be recognized for the hero she is despite people constantly underestimating her. The other characters are fun to read about as well from the dodger-like Ned to the impressive Miss Eames. The bogle-catching episodes provide plenty of suspense while the bigger story provides a mystery to be solved. Jinks, as usual, finds ways to slip humor in throughout the story.