Category Archives: Kid Life

Staff Pick: My Basmati Bat Mitzvah

Staff Pick: My Basmati Bat Mitzvah

My Basmati Bat Mitzvah

Tara Feinstein, proud of both her East Indian and Jewish heritage, questions what it means to have a bat mitzvah and deals with her own doubts about her faith.

Like more and more American kids, Tara struggles to find her identity among two cultures: one Jewish, one East Indian. At the same time, she is going through the universal experience of being a teenager: learning to find her own voice within her family, navigating changing relationships and owning up to her mistakes. If you feel like a minority in your school or if you have diverse classmates you are curious about, this is a great read. Particularly fun if you like languages (includes a Hindi-Hebrew-Yiddish-English glossary at the back)!

Recommended by: Danielle Wilkins – College Avenue Branch

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Favorite Teachers in Fiction

Favorite Teachers in Fiction

World Teachers Day
October 5, 2016, World Teacher’s Day & May 3, 2016, National Teacher Appreciation Day are both great times to remember favorite teachers, thank-a-teacherboth real and imagined. Is this the year for a favorite teacher for you? Do you have anybody that is McGonagall good? Listed below are some all-time favorite teachers from kids’ books. When the librarians in Indianapolis made suggestions for this list – Miss Honey from Matilda was suggested the most often. She gets a gold star!


Anne of Avonlea Miss Shirley in Anne of Avonlea – Anne, now sixteen years old and a teacher atAvonlea school, finds that she isn’t much different than her mischievous and spirited pupils.
Because of Mr Terrup Mr. Terupt in Because of Mr. Terupt – Seven fifth-graders at Snow Hill School in Connecticut relate how their lives are changed for the better by “rookie teacher” Mr. Terupt. Young Hoosier Book Award, 2012-2013, 4-6 Nominee
Clemetines Letter Mr. D’Matz in Clementine’s Letter – Clementine’s beloved teacher, Mr. D’Matz might be leaving for the rest of the year to go on a research trip to Egypt. The only solution, she decides, is to hatch a plan to get Mr. D’Matz back even if it means ruining his once-in-a-lifetime chance.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Professors Dumbledore, McGonagallSnape in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – Rescued from the outrageous neglect of his aunt and uncle, a young boy with a great destiny proves his worth while attending Hogwarts School for Wizards and Witches.
Ida B Ms. Washington in Ida B. – In Wisconsin, fourth-grader Ida B spends happy hours being home-schooled and playing in her family’s apple orchard, until her mother begins treatment for breast cancer and her parents must sell part of the orchard and send her to public school. A Junior Library Guild selection; Young Hoosier Book Award, 2006-2007, 4-6 Nominee
Junie B Alohaha Mr. Scary in the Junie B. Jones, First Grader Aloha-ha-ha! – Junie B. and her family are going on a vacation to Hawaii! And ha! Mr. Scary is giving Junie a real, actual camera to keep a photo journal of her trip! But taking good vacation pictures is not always easy. ‘Cause what if your airplane is full of grouchy ladies? And what if there is an unfortunate inner tube incident at the swimming pool? (And, oh my! Let’s not even mention what happens if a tropical bird gets tangled in your hair!) Will Junie B.’s vacation end up picture perfect? Or will her trip to Hawaii be-horrible?
Mockingbird Mrs. Brook in Mockingbird – Ten-year-old Caitlin, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, struggles to understand emotions, show empathy, and make friends at school, while at home she seeks closure by working on a project with her father. Young Hoosier Book Award, 2013-2014, 4-6 Nominee.
Operation Yes Miss Loupe in Operation YES by Sara Lewis Holmes In her first ever teaching job, Miss Loupe uses improvisational acting exercises with her sixth-grade students at an Air Force base school, and when she experiences a family tragedy, her previously skeptical class members use what they have learned to help her, her brother, and other wounded soldiers.
Gooney Bird is so Absurd Mrs. Pidgeon in Gooney Bird is so Absurd – Mrs. Pidgeon’s second grade class studies poetry and her students write haiku, couplets, free verse, and finally, a tribute to Mrs. Pidgeon‘s mother organized by the irrepressible Gooney Bird Greene.
Love That Dog Miss Stretchberry in Love That Dog – A young student, who comes to love poetry through a personal understanding of what different famous poems mean to him, surprises himself by writing his own inspired poem.
Math Curse Mrs. Fibonnaci in Math Curse – When the teacher tells her class that they can think of almost everything as a math problem, one student acquires a math anxiety which becomes a real curse.
Matilda Miss Honey in Matilda – Matilda applies her untapped mental powers to rid the school of the evil, child-hating headmistress, Miss Trunchbull, and restore her nice teacher, Miss Honey, to financial security.
Mr Lincolns Way Mr. Lincoln in Mr. Lincoln’s Way – When Mr. Lincoln, “the coolest principal in the whole world,” discovers that Eugene, the school bully, knows a lot about birds, he uses this interest to help Eugene overcome his intolerance.
Science Verse Mr. Newton in Science Verse – When the teacher tells his class that they can hear the poetry of science in everything, a student is struck with a curse and begins hearing nothing but science verses that sound very much like some well-known poems.
The Art of Miss Chew Miss Chew in The Art of Miss Chew – Describes how a teacher named Miss Chew encouraged individuality, and accepted learning differences, and helped a young student with academic difficulties get extra time to take tests and permission to be in advanced art classes. Inspired by the author’s memories of her art teacher.
The Secret Life of Mrs Finkleman Miss Finkleman in The Secret Life of Ms Finkleman – Spurred by a special project from her social studies teacher, seventh-grader Bethesda Fielding uncovers the secret identity of her music teacher, which leads to a most unusual concert performance and a tutoring assignment.
Sideways Arithmetic from Wayside School Miss Jewls in Sideways Arithmetic from Wayside School – Join Mrs. Jewls’s class and try solving over fifty math puzzles and brainteasers.
The View from Saturday Mrs. Olinski in The View From Saturday – Four students, with their own individual stories, develop a special bond and attract the attention of their teacher, a paraplegic, who chooses them to represent their sixth-grade class in the Academic Bowl competition.
The Wednesday Wars Mrs. Baker in The Wednesday Wars – During the 1967 school year, on Wednesday afternoons when all his classmates go to either Catechism or Hebrew school, seventh-grader Holling Hoodhood stays in Mrs. Baker’s classroom where they read the plays of William Shakespeare and Holling learns much of value about the world he lives in.
Word After Word After Word Ms. Mirabel in Word After Word After Word – A visiting author teaches five friends about the power of wordsand writing. A Junior Library Guild selection
The Year of Miss Agnes Miss Agnes in The Year of Miss Agnes – Ten-year-old Fred (short for Frederika) narrates the story of school and village life among the Athapascans in Alaska during 1948 when Miss Agnes arrived as the new teacher.
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Staff Pick: The Rat with the Human Face

Staff Pick: The Rat with the Human Face

The Rat with the Human Face

While searching for the Rat with the Human Face, friendships fray as club members Dave and Lyle compete for Marilla.

Lyle, Dave and Marilla from The Poop Fountain are on another adventure. This time, the trio is out to find a rat with a human face that lives in the basement of a scientific research facility. Calling themselves the Qwikpick Adventure Society after the gas station owned by Lyle’s parents, the group overhears an electrician talk about the mysterious animal he saw while doing work in the building. They knew immediately they had to see this rat for themselves.

As with any plan, logistics are important. How do they get to the science building that is 40 miles away? How can they get away without their parents finding out? How can they avoid getting caught illegally entering a building?

The story is presented as an unofficial report of the society (with extra sheets paper clipped on to cover more personal matters not appropriate for the report) written by Lyle. We know from the beginning that after the adventure the society has been banned and that Marilla is not allowed to see Lyle anymore (which is too bad because he likes her and she may like him).

The kids are smart, fun and a little too curious for their own good. Their third adventure, To Kick a Corpse, is also available.

Recommended by: Will Smither – Decatur Branch

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Big Nate Blasts Off

Big Nate Blasts Off

Big Nate Blasts Off

In this latest misadventure, Nate, the all-time record-holder for detentions, is in trouble up to his eyeballs again. His mouth…well, sometimes he just can’t help himself.

Rather than take Nate’s advice for making the headlines of the school newspaper less boring –  “Lunch Stinks! Students’ Lives at Risk” – Kayla suggests he use his cartooning talents for a gossip column. Nate jumps at the chance, providing cartoons that tease both students and staff members alike. When the new issue comes out EVERYBODY is laughing…except the Principal, who thinks Nate crosses the line and Randy, who does not appreciate the public exposure and retaliates with an ominous “you’re dead” directed at Nate in the hallway.

Uh-oh. This is war! Can Nate once again save himself…from himself? Lincoln Peirce

Big Nate Series:
1: Big Nate in a Class By Himself
2: Big Nate Strikes Again
3: Big Nate On a Roll
4: Big Nate Goes for Broke
5: Big Nate Flips Out
6. Big Nate In the Zone
7. Big Nate Lives It Up
8. Big Nate Blasts Off

If you think Nate is funny, try some of these:
Dog Days Smile Amelia Rules Calvin and Hobbes Lazy Sunday
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Staff Pick: Sunny Side Up

Staff Pick: Sunny Side Up

Sunny Side Up

From the groundbreaking and award-winning sister-brother team behind Babymouse comes a middle-grade, graphic-novel memoir. Following the lives of kids whose older brother’s delinquent behavior has thrown their family into chaos, “Sunny Side Up” is at once a compelling “problem” story and a love letter to the comic books that help the protagonist make sense of her world.

In this graphic novel, ten year old Sunny goes to Florida visiting her Gramps for the summer, leaving her family and friends behind. Sunny’s not looking forward to it, and things don’t go how she hopes. As the story progresses, we learn more about Sunny’s family back home and that there’s more to her trip than just a visit with Gramps.

Recommended by: Mary Luzader – Eagle Branch

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