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The Girl Who Threw Butterflies

The Girl Who Threw Butterflies

The Girl Who Threw Butterflies

Molly’s a pitcher. Her eighth grade year she does something a little different. She tries out for the boys baseball team instead of the girl’s softball team. When she shows up for try-outs, Molly brings her secret weapon, a weapon that comes as a suprise to the other boys trying out as well as her coaches. Molly can throw a floating knuckleball (a butterfly).  And she can throw it hard.

But this story is about much more than a girl trying out for a usually all-boys team. Boys’ baseball isn’t the only thing different about Molly’s eighth grade year. This year, she has to learn how to do everything, including baseball, without her Dad, who died in a car accident before the school year began. Molly’s Mom is barely holding it together herself, which is hard, because now it’s like Molly’s lost both parents.

Molly is pretty honest about how she feels about her Mom. At one point Molly imagines telling her, “I love you and all that, but right now everything about you bothers me.” And it isn’t that Molly doesn’t love her Mom, it’s that her Mom isn’t her Dad, and the Mom she once knew is now different. The best part about this book is how intensely honest Molly is. She also has a best friend, Celia, who is the same way and is the only person Molly knows who still treats her like Molly, not like “Miss Difficulty Overcome.” It’s Celia that keeps Molly talking about her feelings so that she can deal with them. It’s Celia that nudges Molly and her Mom toward each other again.

To make the story even better, the baseball part is realistic – the boys are competitive and the games are intense. Some of the boys are not happy at all about Molly making the team. When Lonnie steps forward to give Molly  someone to pitch to, he turns out to be a really good friend too. Author: Mick Cochrane

If you like Molly’s story, here are some more about kids coming to terms with changes, sometimes using sports to help them cope and sometimes just leaning on a good friend:
My Thirteenth Season Confetti Girl Umbrella Summer Top of the Order

 

 

Celia and Lonnie

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Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute

Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute

Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute

Hector, Terrence and Dee find out their lunch lady can sling more than mystery meat. When their favorite teacher mysteriously stops showing up for class the kids take a look at their new substitute and decide there’s something just not quite right about him. When that same substitute refuses to eat the Lunch Lady’s famous French toast sticks, she decides there’s something not quite right too.

The kids follow the substitue after school. The Lunch Lady follows the substitue after school. Where does he go? Straight to a secret warehouse to meet his evil genius boss. Will his evil plan work?

Not if it’s up to this Lunch Lady who’s  got exploding chicken nuggets and fish stick nunchucks hidden in her apron pockets. With her gadget making sidekick Betty, she keeps order in her cafeteria…and in the world.

#1 Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute
#2 Lunch Lady and the League of Librarians
#3 Lunch Lady and the Author Visit Vendetta

Is the Lunch Lady ready for more? “You bet your ketchup!” And if you like these common folk superheroes here are three more to make you cheer for more:
Lunch Lady and the League of Librarians The Adventures of Captain Underpants Amelia Superheroes Horace Sprattley the Cupcaked Crusader
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The Magickeepers: the Eternal Hourglass

The Magickeepers: the Eternal Hourglass

The Magickeepers: the Eternal Hourglass

Nick Rostov lives in Las Vegas. His Dad is a magician and performs his show of mediocre tricks all over town. Nick’s actually a little embarrassed by it. But on his 13th birthday, Nick learns that he isn’t just the son of a marginally talented trickster…he’s actually descended from a long line of Russian magicians on his mother’s side of the family – the real kind. No illusions here just powerful, real magic.  Nick’s relatives “blend in” by doing a show in Las Vegas. The audience dcesn’t know it, but their show is the real deal.

Nick is invited to join his newfound family to learn about his talents and practice them in their Vegas show. He also begins to learn about his Russian heritage and try more new things than just magic, like beet soup and cavier (that’s fish eggs!).  During has magic lessons Nick finds out this his family members are known as “Magickeeprs.” Their job is to keep ancient magical objects safe from the evil “Shadowkeepers.”

It isn’t too long before the “Shadowkeepers” arrive and will stop at nothing to get an ancient hourglass that has the power to  stop time. Author: Erica Kirov

Book 2 in the Magickeepers is The Pyramid of Souls and Book 3 is The Chalice of Immortality. If you’re a mere mortal like the rest of us, try learning some magic skills of your own.
The Pyramid of Souls Chalice of Immortality Amazing Magic Tricks Apprentice Level Simple Sleight of Hand
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Spirits in the Park

Spirits in the Park

In Book 1: Gods of Manhattan, we found out that 13 year-old Rory can see impossible things…a cockroach riding a rat like a horse, American Indians, and lots of people who have been dead for two hundred years! Rory is a “Light,” one of the few mortals who can see the spirit world, the Gods of Manhattan, who live in his city. Rory can see and talk to the spirits of Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, Walt Whitman and many more people from New York history.  He can also see the Munsee Indians whose spirits are trapped inside Central Park. To understand how Rory came to know he is a “Light” and understand how our world and the spirit world co-exist, I think it would be good if you started with book 1. There are a lot of characters to meet who all play important roles as the story moves along – a lot like all the characters in the Percy Jackson stories.

In Book 2:  Spirits in the Park, Rory, his little sister Bridget (aka “Malibu Death Barbie”), his dog, some teenage Spirit friends and a couple cockroach warriors take on some of the most powerful and sinister figures in New York history.  The kids and their cockroach warriors want to free the Munsee Indian spirits trapped in Central Park . When they find out that freeing the Indians could start a war between the Indians and the Gods of Manhattan, the kids need to get to the bottom of who trapped the Indians in the first place, and why. The answers are not at all what they expect. Can they free the Indians and prevent an all-out war at the same time? Author: Scott Mebus; Series: Gods of Manhattan

Series: The Gods of Manhattan
#1: The Gods of Manhattan
#2: Spirits in the Park
#3: The Sorcerer’s Secret

Like I said, you probably want to start with Book 1: Gods of Manhattan. Then, read the book Duel! It tells the story of the longstanding feud between Alexander Hamilton and Aarron Burr. Really, this is historically real…and the two guys appear in Spirits in the Park still hating each other. Knowing their real story will help you understand the conflict in Spirits in the Park. Plus, Duel! is a great book itself. Then, if you like the idea of a spirit world co-existing with ours, try The Night Tourist and of course, the all-time favorite, The Lightning Thief.
God's of Manhattan Duel The Night Tourist The Lightning Thief
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The Tomorrow Code

The Tomorrow Code

The Tomorrow Code

Start this book when you have a nice block of time because you won’t want to put it down. The action starts very close to the beginning and is non-stop to the very end. This is an action movie blockbuster on paper.

Tane and Rebecca receive a mysterious coded message. What first appear to be random numbers turn out to be the winning numbers in the lottery! Who sent them the prize-winning numbers? Why didn’t the person just play the numbers themselves?

More messages come. Tane and Rebecca realize that the message are coming from themselves…from the future! The lotto numbers are one thing, but when one of the messages includes an SOS the kids realize that the future of the world just might lay in their own hands. Can they decipher the messages and save the world, and themselves, before it is too late?

Computers, high speed chases, science gone wrong, night vision goggles, scuba gear, a submarine, biohazard suits, a super virus, military special forces…it’s all in here. I’m usually not a big fan of time travel stories, but I liked this one a lot. It it a wild ride and it has several “makes the hair on your arms stand up” moments too. Author: Brian Falkner

If you liked The Tomorrow Code try these time-bending adventures:
When You Reach Me Found Sent
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