Category Archives: Kid Life

When You Reach Me

When You Reach Me

When You Reach Me

Miranda is in the sixth grade and lives in an apartment building in New York City. The school year is moving along pretty much like any other until the Friday Miranda comes home from school and discovers her apartment door unlocked…and the spare key missing from its secret hiding spot. Miranda’s mom is immediately concerned and has the lock on the door changed.

On Monday, Miranda discovers a note hidden in her backpack:

M, This is hard. Harder than I expected, even with your help. But I have been practicing, and my preparations go well, I am coming to save your friend’s life, and my own. I ask two favors. First, you must write me a letter. Second, please remember to mention the location of your house key. The trip is a difficult one. I will not be myself when I reach you. 

If the spare key was stolen on Friday, why would someone ask where it was hidden on Monday? It’s already gone. Weird. As Miranda’s mom says, “Someone with the key wouldn’t have to ask where the key is. It makes no sense.”

What’s weirder is Miranda keeps fiinding more notes, and the second one starts out “Miranda” not “M,” so the notes are definately for her. The writer of the notes knows things no one else should know. And then the notes start to mention things that haven’t happened…yet. When the notes start to predict what happens later, that’s when things start to get really interesting.

This story is a puzzle. It’s the kind of story you want to read again to catch how all the puzzle pieces fit together. The author had me really guessing until the very end. Author: Rebecca Stead 2010 Newbery Medal Winner

If you liked When You Reach Me try these time-bending adventures:
The Tomorrow Code Found Sent
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Faith, Hope and Ivy June

Faith, Hope and Ivy June

Faith, Hope and Ivy June

Ivy lives in the mountains in a tiny house with her Grandparents in Thunder Creek, Kentucky. She takes a long bus ride to school everyday. Her house doesn’t have an indoor bathroom.

Catherine lives in a large house in Lexington, Kentucky. Catherine’s mom drives her to school everyday. Her house has four bathrooms.

It’s hard to imagine that these girls are alive at the same time, since their way of life seems so different. Ivy seems like a girl from the past, but she isn’t.  Their different ways of life are the reason each girl has been chosen to represent her school in an exchange program. Ivy will go live with Catherine for two weeks and then Catherine will go live with Ivy for two weeks. Can these two girls with such different lives find anything in common? Can they be friends?

As part of the exchange, each girl is asked to keep a journal of the time they spend together. The journal entries are part of the story. Ivy writes about finding out that Catherine shares a whole indoor bathroom with just her sister. Catherine writes about the fact that Ivy only washes her hair once a week and that the bathtub is a large tub on the back porch!

I really liked reading how each girl felt as she met and learned to know the other girl’s family. I liked reading about how the girls worried about what school would be like and what the kids would think. In the journals the girls are honest. Sometimes they don’t like what they are finding out and sometimes they do. I really liked the girls’ families and how each one reacted to their visitor.

“Different” doesn’t mean “better” or “worse,” it just means different, and different can be really, really good. Author: Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

If you like the idea of an exchange, try The Whipping Boy or Freaky Friday. In both stories kids trade places just like Catherine and Ivy to walk a mile in someone elses shoes. You also might like Extra Credit. The kids in this story don’t actually trade places, but they do write each other letters to find out about a very different life.
The Whipping Boy Freaky Friday Extra Credit

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Kaleidoscope Eyes

Kaleidoscope Eyes

Kaleidoscope Eyes

13 year-old Lyza lives in New Jersey in 1968 with her Dad and her hippie sister. Lyza’s mother has abandoned the family and they are trying to keep it together with just the three of them. As Lyza says about the time since her mom left, ”our family began to unravel/like a tightly wound ball of string.” This book is written as a series of poems that make Lyza’s experiences seem even more real. It’s kind of like reading her diary or listening in on her thoughts.

Lyza’s grandfather’s death is another emotional blow for a family already on the edge. While cleaning out his house, Lyza discovers something curious, an envelope labeled, “for Lyza only.” In the envelope are old maps and clues that may lead to the pirate treasure of Capt. Kidd – a treasure that might be buried somewhere in Lyza’s hometown.

Lyza recruits her best friends Malcolm and Carolann to help her understand the clues and old maps. The kids operate in secret, doing their research by day and sneaking out at night to do their digging.

For Lyza, there are some mysteries she can’t solve by herself, like the reason her mother left. Other mysteries, like the whereabouts of Captain Kidd’s treasure, she just might be able to unravel with the help of a few good friends.

This story is set during the Vietnam war. Lyza has a lot of loss around her. Her mom has left, her Grandpa dies and boys from her town are dying in the war. All of this could make a person sink into despair, but instead, Lyza chooses to be alive. She chooses to grab the adventure that is handed to her. I really liked that about her. Life is unpredictable and sometimes very hard. But it IS life and life has all kinds of wonderful things and good surprises in it too. You can’t really have one without the other. I liked reading about a girl who is learning how to handle both. Author: Jen Bryant

all the broken pieces is the story of a boy from Vietnam who survived the war and is learning to accept life as it comes. If you liked the treasure hunt part of Kaleidoscope Eyes, try the next three.
All the Broken Pieces The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey Maze of Bones Treasure Hunts Treasure Hunts
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Kid Review: Bridge to Terabithia

Kid Review: Bridge to Terabithia

Bridge to TerabithiaSPOILER ALERT: If you don’t want to know a MAJOR thing that happens in this book, don’t read the next sentence!……i hated the part when lesley died it was so horrible but the book was great. Author: Katherine Paterson Reviewer: Joy’e

Joy’e is right, this book is great. She’s also right about that little part she gives away. This book is about a really special friendship between a boy and a girl growing up in rural Virginia. They both have really good imaginations and have a special hideaway they call Terabithia in the woods where they play. This book won the Newbery Medal in 1978. As they say, it’s an oldie but a goodie.

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Kid Review: Bud Not Buddy

Kid Review: Bud Not Buddy

Bud Not Buddy

This is a very good or I mean a very interesting book. It talks about a guy that lived in an orphanage, until one day the Amos’s adopted him. Author: Christopher Paul Curtis.” Reviewed by: Katherine

Bud’s life with the Amos’s is tough and he eventually decides to run away. Bud has some clues about who he thinks his father is and is determined to find him. This book won the The Newbery Medal AND the Coretta Scott King Award in 2000. Author: Christopher Paul Curtis

Another really excellent book by Christopher Paul Curtis is Elijah of Buxton. Read the blog post about that one.

  • Read Chapter One from Elijah of  Buxton
  • Listen to an Exerpt of Elijah of Buxton
  • Watch a video interview with Christopher Paul Curtis
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