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!
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 understand that this book might LOOK like one of Greg’s Wimpy Kid diaries but it has a 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 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.
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.
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!
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.
Don’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.
Piper and The Gypsy Club (Piper and her friends Hailey, Michael and Nicole) have a problem. Since Piper moved and left her treehouse behind, there is nowhere good for them to hold their Gypsy Club meetings. They find an ad in a magazine for the perfect clubhouse – it has window boxes, wooden shingles…and it only costs $1,999.00. Now that’s cash The Gypsy Club doesn’t have, but they figure if they each ask their parents, at least ONE set of parents ought to say yes.
They figured wrong. Three sets of parents (Michael & Nicole are twins)=three answers:
“We aren’t rich like the Trumps in New York.”
“No, no, and no with a cherry on top.”
“No way. Money doesn’t grow on trees.”
On to plan B. The kids decide that the only way they can get their clubhouse is to earn the money themselves – that’s $500 each. Piper is so intent on earning her money she says “yes” to every job she can get: planning a three-year-old’s birthday party, drawing the pictures for her sister’s book and babysitting…for triplets! Unfortunately Piper schedules these things all for the same weekend. As if she hasn’t heard, “Piper Read, you’re in trouble” before! Piper finds out that bringing home the bacon takes more than just doing the work, you have to have a good plan and good friends to get all the jobs done. And it helps a lot to get your homework done first too. Author: Kimberly Willis Holt