Category Archives: Kid Life



Griffin Bing, “the Man with the Plan” is back with his friends from Swindle to solve another mystery and put some more shady adults in their place.

The day Savannah’s pet monkey Cleo goes missing gets worse when the kids discover the monkey is being held captive in a crummy, run-down zoo. As if running a crummy zoo with tiny cages and questionable animal care isn’t bad enough, the zoo is actually stealing pets to fill up the zoo…and the kids aren’t going to stand for it. The grown-ups the kids  go to for help are no help at all, so the kids decide that what they need…is a plan. Enter Griffin “the Man with the Plan”, who assembles the team:

  • Savannah: Animal Expert
  • Antonia AKA “Pitch”:  Rock Climber
  • Melissa: Eletronics Expert
  • Logan: Actor
  • Ben: the Small Guy

The plan is “Operation Zoobreak”.  The kids need to get to the zoo in the middle of the night, distract the night watchman, free Cleo from her cage and get out again without being seen. The plan requires precision. The plan requires stealth. The plan falls apart when the kids realize that freeing just Cleo means leaving all the other animals behind…and that’s not good enough. In a last minute alteration to “the plan” they free more than 40 other animals, divide them up and stash them in their houses…withough their parents or anyone else noticing. If you don’t think this plan will work, well, then you havn’t met Griffin Bing.

Sometimes grownups make mistakes or drop the ball or just don’t get it. When this happens, kids like Griffin and his friends step in to set things right. If you like reading about a kid like Griffin, try on of these:
Swindle The Legend of the Blue Bonnet Operation Redwood Adam Canfield of the Slash
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The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook

The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook

The Secret Science Alliance

Genius Julian is psyched to start a new school. He has a plan called “Operation Act Odinary” to finally be someone other than the smart nerd. On the first day of school he resists raising his hand and exclaims, “Only geeks like chess. I hate chess!” On the second day he can hardly stand it and eventually blurts out a complicated physics answer and immediately earns the nicknames “Einstein” and “Brainiac.” He’s the smart kid again and he’s really bummed!

What Julian doesn’t know is that there are kindred spirits in his school…and they’ve been watching him. Watching and waiting. And then they make contact by encoded message, a message only a fellow genius would figure out. Classmates Ben and Greta show up at the rendevous and induct Julian into their covert club, The Secret Science Alliance. They even have a top secret hideout full of high tech toys and gadgets and all kind of parts to invent things with.  Look inside their hideout – a smart kid dream come true!

The kids start to meet up everyday after school and on weekends to work on their projects: the stink-o-meter, nightsneak goggles and a hovercraft, just to name a few. When a rival scientist steals their book of ideas and is sure to use it for his evil plans, it takes all of their genius and gadgets to bring him to justice.  Author: Eleanor Davis Award: Booklist Top 10 Graphic Novels for Youth 2010.

This book is full of colorful, busy, interesting illustrations – it’s a graphic novel so every page is illustrated. There are diagrams of inventions and cutaways so you can see inside things.

A lot of the pictures look like Rube Goldberg machines. Rube Goldberg was a cartoonist famous for drawing funny, complicated machines that do very simple things…like sharpen a pencil or put toothpaste on a toothbrush.  At Rube’s Official Website you can look at a gallery of his drawings. These drawings were inspirations for some of what you see in The Secret Science Alliance. There are lots and lots of details in each picture and the diagrams contain many steps and lots of labels. Purdue has a famous contest each year named after Rube Goldberg.  During the contest, students try to build the most complicated machine to perform a simple task. The task for the 2010 contest is…dispensing hand sanitizeer…or course!

If you like gadgets and technology, try these:
Trackers NERDS M is for Mama's Boy STORM The Infinity Code
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The Last Invisible Boy

The Last Invisible Boy

My name is Fin Garrett and this is my book and this is my story.

There will be some silliness, lots of my sucky drawings, a pop quiz and fun homework assignments, three or four family photos, and a few of my favorite memories. Caution: Sometime the story will get a little sad. But it won’t always be sad.

I began disappearing this past June, right after what I call The Terrible Day That Changed Everything…

Fin writes his story a lot like Greg in Diary of a Wimpy Kid. He draws a lot of pictures and he tries really hard to explain what is happening in his life and how he feels about it. At first, you wonder if this is a superhero story. Maybe Fin really IS turning invisible, but then you get to the part about the terrible day that changed everything and the book becomes something much different. Fin is right, his story does get a little sad, but the best thing about Fin’s story is how you watch him live through the sad thing and then start to figure out how to live with the sad thing having happened.

I don’t know how to say anything else unless I tell you what the sad thing is, but I don’t want to give it away. Just undertand that this book might LOOK like one of Greg’s Wimpy Kid diaries but it has more emotional punch to it. It has really funny parts. I think you will like Fin and he’ll make you laugh. He’ll also, well, he he’ll also probably make you cry a little bit too. Isn’t that just like a good friend in real life?

I loved this book because the terrible thing that changed everything in Fin’s life also happened to me, and the way he describes his feelings are so like how I felt. Fin seemed real to me and I believed the words in his journal. Listening to Fin is like listening to a close friend tell you his story. And in the end, Fin’s right, his story isn’t always sad.  It’s good to know that people can and do live through sad things. They learn to be happy and laugh again.  Author: Evan Kuhlman

Like I said, this book is a lot like the Wimp Kid Diaries, so if there is anybody left out there who hasn’t read about Greg – get to it!  Umbrealla Summer and The Girl Who Threw Butterflies are about kids like Fin who have had to adjust to a major change. These two books might make you cry a little bit too, but both will leave you feeling good in the end.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid Umbrella Summer The Girl Who Threw Butterflies

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

The Umbrella Summer

The Girl Who Threw Butterflies

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The Last Newspaper Boy in America

The Last Newspaper Boy in America

The Last Newspaper Boy in America

Wilson David the fifth, or “Wil,” for short, is about to turn 12 years old. He can’t wait for his birthday because it signals the day he can take over his older brother’s paper route. The David boys have delivered The Cooper County Caller newspaper to the people in tiny Steele, Pennsylvania for as long as anyone can remember. The first David boy to deliver the route was Wil’s Grandfather.

Wil has been practicing and is more than ready to take over. He can fling newspapers as he rides his bike past houses. He can fling them so that they land squarely on people’s porches, right by the door, but not blocking the door – perfect. Wil’s also ready for some spending money of his own and has his eye on a laptop computer.

Wil’s dreams are brought to a screeching halt the day before his birthday when the newspaper calls and tells him that they have cancelled home delivery in Steele and no longer need a paperboy. Wil is devastated. That laptop vanishes before his very eyes, but what’s more, he doesn’t get the chance to do what all of the David boys have done for three generations…deliver the daily newspaper.

The more Wil thinks about it the more unfair it seems. His laptop dreams start to fade as he considers the fact that the people in his town will no longer be able to read the daily news or even look for jobs in the classified ads. Steele is so small, there is no cable TV. The newspaper is the only way most of the people in the town get any news.

Find out why the people in Steele call Wil “Wil of Steele”. What can one boy do to fight injustice? The Cooper County Caller is about to find out.  One boy rallying one tiny town – it’s the little guys against the big corporation.

More books featuring kids who fight for justice by taking on something bigger than themselves:
Adam Canfield of the Slash Operation Redwood My Life in Pink and Green Scat
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My Life in Pink and Green

My Life in Pink and Green

Lucy’s Mom and Grandma run a small town pharmacy. Lucy hangs out there a lot to help out. She straightens shelves and runs the cash register too, but her favorite part of the pharmacy is the beauty aisle. Lucy reads all the boxes and tries out the samples and even though she’s only twelve, she’s kind of an expert.

The problem with the pharmacy is that it is in trouble. There is a lunch counter and soda fountain that nobody is visiting anymore. Too many people are going to Wal-mart instead of their small main street pharmacy. Bills are not getting paid and there’s talk that the family may have to sell their house.

When the local homecoming queen comes in with a major hair disaster, Lucy is able to fix her up for the big night. The beauty queen and her friends become loyal customers.

You saved my friend from horrible hair humiliation at homecoming. You’re like a a hair-care prodigy.

Word gets around and Lucy is soon dishing out beauty tips, make-up lessons, doing nails and offering beauty advice. While kids are there for beauty tips, they begin ordering from the soda counter and buying things. When Lucy joins her school’s Earth Club, her plan really begins to come together, she’s determined to open an Eco-Spa right in her family pharmacy and save it from going out of business

While on the internet, Lucy discovers a grant application for businesses going green. With the help of her college age sister Lucy puts together the grant proposal to make her eco-beauty dreams come true. Will her Mom and Grandma stop bickering long enough to listen to her plan? Do they notice that Lucy has loyal customers of her own, returning for their beauty treatments before the prom and graduation? Do they realize that Lucy has a plan, a real business plan, even if she is just a kid? This is a story for any kid who has ever been frustrated by grownups that won’t take them seriously, just because of their age. Old people don’t want discriminated against because of their age – neither do kids!

Lisa Greenwald Official Website

Here are some books about other kids who take charge when there is something to fix or fight for. They also don’t like grownups not believing they are capable of big things.
Adam Canfield of the Slash The Last Newspaper Boy in America Operatin Redwood Scat

origami-dayDon’t miss World Origami Day tomorrow, Saturday, November 7 from 10:00am to 4:00pm. Drop in and try some paper folding with the Indianapolis Regional Origami Network (IRON) of Folders. This program will be held in The Learning Curve. Questions? Call Central Library 275-4100.

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