15 stand outs from 2011 – perfect choices for your wish list. These are especially original or funny or action-packed. All of them have memorable characters and are the kind of stories that stick with you long after the last page .
If you like warriors:
Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus Based on the true story of a boy who is shipwrecked, rescued, threatened with execution, and thought to be the first Japanese person to ever set foot in America. He goes to school and learns to run a farm in 1840s America. Have you ever heard of this in history class? Me neither!
The Brotherband Chronicles #1: The Outcasts by John Flanagan Hal and his friends do battle against their peers in contests set up to test their strength, cunning and leadership. They outplay, outlast, and outsmart other teams that are bigger, stronger, older…and cheat! How the boys figure out how to cheat the cheaters would make even The Survivors proud. From the author of The Ranger’s Apprentice.
If You Like Magic and Fantasy:
Beyonders: A World Without Heroes by Brandon Mull the author of the Fablehaven series. I like it when characters are smart – even the bad guys. In this one, the bad guy is really, really bad. And he’s smart. And ruthless. It’s going to take some special people to defeat him. One of them is Jason, a kid probably a lot like you. Like Percy Jackson he is pulled into a new world and has to find his way on his own – discovering he has mortal enemies he never even new existed.
Heroes of Olympus #2: The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan Demigod Percy Jackson, still with no memory, and his new friends from Camp Jupiter, Hazel and Frank, go on a quest to free Death, but their bigger task is to unite the Greek and Roman camps so that the Prophecy of Seven can be fulfilled.
The Inquisitor’s Apprentice by Chris Moriarty In early 20th Century New York, Sacha Kessler’s ability to see witches earns him an apprenticeship to the police department’s star Inquisitor, Maximillian Wolf. His job is to help stop magical crime. With fellow apprentice Lily Astral, Sacha investigates who is trying to kill Thomas Edison, whose mechanical witch detector could unleash the worst witch-hunt in American history.
If you Like the Offbeat and Unusual:
The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place#2: The Hidden Gallery by Maryrose Wood If you A Series of Unfortunate Events, then I think you’ll like the Incorrigibles; the kids raised by wolves before acquiring their lovable nanny Penelope. Besides teaching the children grammar, history and geography, Penelope is their guide to the world of proper manners. She has to remind them “Hugs, not licks!”.
Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathon Auxier Peter Nimble is a boy on his own. Not only that, he’s blind. Peter is “discovered” by a man who decides to make Peter the very best thief ever. And so Peter’s life goes until the day he nicks a box that has something very unusual in it – three pairs of eyes. Peter pops a pair in and this begins a really original fantasy adventure with a blind thief as the swashbuckling hero fighting his way toward a destiny he never could have imagined.
If You Like Real Kids:
Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt When Doug’s Dad comes home early from work with his lunch pail and black eye, Doug knows that his Dad’s temper has cost him another job. The only thing Doug’s Dad has to say is, “we’re moving.” The rest of the family simply starts to pack. That’s how it is with Doug’s Dad because as Doug says, “Dad has quick hands.” Doug has learned to dodge them whenever possible. If you have ever felt trapped by the bad behavior of someone close to you, you’ll like Doug and his story.
The Absolute Value of Mike by Kathryn Erskine When Mike’s Dad wants to talk to him he calls. On the phone. From his study across the hall. Mike’s Dad is a genius and he’s busy. When he gets a chance to teach abroad he sends Mike away for the summer – living with an old Aunt and Uncle he’s never even met is NOT the summer Mike had in mind.
Penderwicks at Pointe Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall Skye, Jane and Batty are back for another Penderwick summer adventure. But where is Rosalind, the usual OAP (oldest available Penderwick)? She is off to spend two weeks with her friend at the beach. This leaves Skye, the second to oldest, in charge…and she isn’t too sure she wants to be! She is so nervous about her new responsibilities that she has been taking notes in preparation which are stuffed into her backpack so she won’t forget a single thing.
Darth Paper Strikes Back by John Anglebarger In The Strange Case of Origami Yoda we met Dwight and his finger puppet Yoda. Yoda was no ordinary finger puppet. He gave out wise advice and seemed to be able to see into the future. One person at school was NOT a true believer – Harvey. 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.
If You Like Technology & Superheroes:
H.I.V.E. #5: Rogue by Mark Walden Wing, Laura, Shelby & Nigel are still at H.I.V.E., (Higher Institute of Villainous Education) learning how to become the world’s top supervillains. Otto isn’t there though, he’s been missing since their last mission months ago and a video camera catches him at the scene of an attack. But Otto would never turn on his friends, would he? Otto’s friends don’t think so, Otto might be a villain in training, but he’s no traitor. The kids decide it’s their job to find Otto and figure out what’s REALLY going on.
If You Like Comics:
Big Nate On a Roll by Lincoln Peirce 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.
Amelia Rules! The Meaning of Life by Jimmy Gownley Sassy Amelia is back in another book that clearly shows Mr. Gownley remembers EXACTLY what it’s like to be in Middle School and figure out that really, “fair” just doesn’t exist. Amelia’s visiting the principal a little too often again…language, tardiness, mumbling under her breath, constantly testing the boundaries, etc.
If You Like Shel!
Every Thing On It by Shel Silverstein When he died Shel left quite a few finished poems that he had not had a chance to publish in a book yet. For this book, his family selected the poems. Pretty nice to get one more gift from Uncle Shelby. You can tell by some of the poem titles they’re all his: “Burpin’ Ben,” “Nasty Nancy’s Store,” and “Transparent Tim.”
Thanks to “JingCi daughter of Hades” who shared this youtube video link on the Kid’s Blog – lots of discussion on the blog about the cover of the new Heroes of Olympus Book – The Son of Neptune, that comes out October 4th. Watch the video and join the discussion.
The Invention of Hugo Cabret was such an outstanding book. Briefly, “Set in 1930s Paris, an orphan who lives in the walls of a train station is wrapped up in a mystery involving his late father and an automaton.” The book has unbelievable drawings in it. It’s a novel, but full of pictures too. I have high hopes for the movie – it comes out November 23, 2011.
Take a look at the trailer:
This 550 page novel has a big surprise once you open it…the fact that many of the pages are pictures! It’s a bit like reading, and then turning the pages like a little movie, and then reading some more. The pictures are drawn from interesting angles and perspectives and are as much fun as the story. It is not a pictures book, but an illustrated novel, like a comic book or graphic novel.
12 year-old Hugo is an orphan living in a train station in Paris, but he doesn’t live out in the bustle of the station, he lives in the walls! Hugo is an apprentice to the clock keeper, who happens to be Hugo’s Uncle. Hugo’s Uncle has disappeared leaving Hugo to tend the clocks. Afraid of being discovered, Hugo continues to do his Uncle’s job and collecting his Uncle’s paychecks, even though he can’t cash them. Hugo scavenges for food and sometimes has to steal.
Hugo has a big job just to survive alone, but in his free time, Hugo enjoys working on a project begun by his Father. He tinkers with a mechanical man, called an automaton (a robot), trying to get it to work. The small mechanical parts of the automaton are like the parts in the clock…each piece fitting with the next piece to make the machine work correctly. Hugo’s life is like one of these mechanical pieces… he just doesn’t know where his piece fits with the next…until he meets a girl and a crotchety toy shop owner…then the pieces of his life begin to fit together. Author & Illustrator: Brian Selznick
Well, hmm, this sounds really interesting. JK dug out boxes of old notes and has compiled a lot of background information about the characters and the wizarding world. To reveal all of that as game play and in ebooks and on video – cool! You really should keep an eye on it all. Pottermore Official Website. The site Officially opens in October but you can enter your email address and find out when registration opens. Plus, it says, “Pottermore is a free website that builds an exciting online experience around the reading of the Harry Potter books. Come back on 31st July to find out how you can get the chance to enter Pottermore early.”
Two big pieces of harry potter news this week. J.K. Rowling launched a new website called Pottermore. It is still unclear what all J.K. will put on this website – but so far it looks really good. For more details read about the launch at J.K. Rowling: Pottermore Website Launch.
Also this week Warner Bros. released the final trialer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. Since this is the very last movie…this will be the very last trailer. And now, we wait for July 15th. I would keep an eye on Pottermore though, since it was launched before July 15th I think interesting things will probably appear there leading up to the movie.