Ha is ten years old and lives in Saigon, Vietnam during the Vietnam war. For the first ten years of her life the war happened far away from where she lived but now danger has come too close and her family has decided to flee. It’s a hard decision because Ha’s Dad is missing and leaving means leaving him behind.
Ha’s family manages to get to a refugee camp in Florida. To leave, an American must volunteer to sponsor the family; to help the adults find work and begin sending the children to school.
A man comes to the camp wearing a cowboy hat and cowboy boots. Ha is sure he has a horse he will let her ride – he is an American…and aren’t all Americans cowboys?
This is the story of all of the things Ha believed about America before she arrived, compared to what reality turns out to be. Some things she learns are really funny and some things she learns are really sad. It is also a story of all of the new things Ha has to try; like chicken nuggests (she gags), American clothes (she mistakenly wears a nightgown to school) and English. (When Ha reads “See spot run” she doesn’t understand how a stain (a spot) can move really fast.)
And then there are the kids at school who just aren’t very nice to Ha at all. Some of the adults aren’t either, actually. But there are a few, especially Ha’s neighbor Mrs. Washington, who turn out to be just the American friends she is looking for.
This is a great book for getting to know exactly what it would be like to go somewhere totally new and have to learn to speak and read all over again as well as understand all of the unfamiliar things people do. Ha is one brave girl. Author: Thanhha Lai
Nate ends up in detention again but it isn’t his fault, it’s Artur’s fault. Nate loses his skateboard but it isn’t his fault, it’s Artur’s fault. Nate’s still in love with Jenny but she doesn’t love him back…and IT’S ARTUR’S FAULT.
When Artur misunderstand’s Nate and leads Nate’s archnemesis Gina to believe Nate loves HER…well, that is definitely Artur’s fault and Nate has had it up to HERE with Artur! Artur “Mr. Perfect.” Artur “Mr. Always has the answer the teacher wants.” Artur “Mr. the Guy who is dating Jenny”…which is just WRONG.
When the Timber Scouts announce a new fundraising effort with the top prize being a new customized skateboard, Nate is determined to beat Artur and win that skateboard. Since Nate thinks the wall hangings he’s supposed to sell are lame, he decides to make as much money as he can doing what he wants and then use THAT money to buy enough wall hangings to beat Artur. As Spongebob would say, “Patrick, your genius is showing!” As usual, Nate’s genius gets him into all kinds of trouble! Author: Lincoln Peirce
In The Strange Case of Origami Yoda we met Dwight and his finger puppet Yoda. According to the casefile Dwight’s friends put together Yoda was no ordinary finger puppet. Origami Yoda gave out wise advice and seemed to be able to see into the future. (If you want to read the evidence for yourself, you’ll have to read it for yourself.)
Despite the evidence in the casebook, there is still one person at school who is NOT a true believer – Harvey – who calls Origami Yoda “that green paperwad.”
In Darth Paper Strikes Back Harvey makes a finger puppet of his own and names it “Darth Paper”. He uses it to harrass Dwight and constantly remind everyone that Origami Yoda is a hoax. When Dwight gets in trouble for something Origami Yoda says and is suspended from school, it looks like the dark side is getting the upper hand.
But the other kids aren’t ready to give up on Origami Yoda, or Dwight, just yet. They decide to make ANOTHER casebook – this time to show how much they need Dwight back in their school…and it isn’t just for Origami Yoda’s dating advice. Author: Tom Angleberger
I know you’ve read this kind before – the story of the girl or girls trying to be popular or at the very least fitting in. This book is the quest for popularity…in reverse. Dina is starting a new school and is used to being liked; to being popular, at least, used to being popular enough.
“This whole starting-a-new-school thing would be easier if I had a T-shirt that stated the truth, or a removable tattoo on my forehead, or something, just so peple would know: I was cool at my old school. Really, I was. Yeah, it was a private school with fifty kids in the grade. Everyone was artsy in his or her own way. And it wasn’t very cliquey. But I was cool. People liked me. Shouldn’t it be automatic that if I was someone there, I’d be someone here, too?” (pages 1-2)
After her fist day Dina finds out that it isn’t automatic and that being liked, well, it takes a lot of work. When Dina gets paired with the school queen bee Chelsea for a video project she’s sure this is her ticket into Chelsea’s group – the “in” group. But the project takes both girls to a place they never thought they’d go – up close and personal with kids they never even knew existed: the knitters, the guitar players, the t-shirt collectors, the cartoon obsessed, and the kid who is compelled to arrive at school every morning at 7:43am. Exactly. And this new place, this other place, it’s really pretty interesting. The girls take a good hard look at what cool is and are surprised at what they find. Author: Lisa Greenwald
When Danny gets caught trying to cross his name off the “Geek” list in the girls’ bathroom, he’s sent to detention. Bullies torment him mercilessly — until they discover that Danny can draw. He enjoys his new “bad boy” status, supplying tattoos and graffiti, until he’s unknowingly drawn into a theft. Turns out the bullies took a comic book from Danny’s favorite store. Can he steal it back before they get caught — and break off with the bullies before he gets in too deep?
I loved it it was amazing book similar to diary of a wimpy kid.
I totally missed this one Elliott – thanks! If you like reading about Danny and Greg Heffley from Diary of a Wimpy Kid (and while you are waiting for Diary of a Wimpy Kid #6 Cabin Fever to come out…November, 2011) try one of these: