Twelve year-old Ryan isn’t really into the great outdoors. He’d rather play video games. Ryan’s older brother Tanner would love to change that. Tanner convinces Ryan to go on a river trip to camp, fish and kayak, just the two of them. What could go wrong?
When their inflatable kayak hits a log in a rapid chute of the river, both boys are pitched into the frigid river. It is Tanner, the experienced one, the one who actually knows how to survive in the woods, who hits his head and is knocked unconscious.
Ryan manages to drag Tanner to shore but this accomplishment is only the beginning. With no cell phone service, little food and plunging temperatures Ryan knows that he is in a do or die situation – for himself, but especially for his brother.
This is a really tense, nail-biting adventure. Ryan has to break down his situation into a series of smaller problems so that he can solve them each one at time. Otherwise he would be totally overwhelmed. He tries things that don’t work. He gets discouraged, even panics…but then manages to calm himself down again and think. Reading Ryan’s thoughts as he puzzles out each step he has to take to rescue himself and his brother makes this a gripping, realistic story. Author: P.J. Petersen
Bran Hambric doesn’t know a thing about himself. He was found at age 6 locked in a bank vault in the town of Dunce. He has no memory of anything before being discovered in the vault. He’s being raised by the Wilomas family, only because Mr. Wilomas worked at the bank and is forced to obey the “Finders Keepers Law.” If you find it, you have to keep it, even if “it” is a kid.
In Dunce, magic is outlawed. When Bran is confronted by a gangly creature that actually knows his name, he knows something is up – something about his past. Something that has to do with magic. Clues lead Bran to a magical library, a mysterious girl, a bank employee that is much more than she seems and a gnome. Yeah, a gnome: short guy, long beard, tall red hat shaped like a cone. Together the new friends set out to uncover Bran’s past and confront the Farfield curse.
An orphan kid living in a house where the family treats him badly. The kid finds out he’s magic. A bad guy wants the kid dead. Oh, and there’s a curse involving the kid. Sound familiar? I know it does. There are an awful lot of Harry Potter similarities…but even so, Bran Hambric is a fun story anyway. I would call it fan fiction. Fan fiction is fiction created by the admirer of a certain story or that story’s characters. Kaleb didn’t plagiarize, he just took some ideas and built his own story around them. There are enough original ideas to keep the story interesting. AND, he’s a teenage author – not too shabby. He says that there are more Bran Hambric stories coming. It will be fun to see where he goes with Bran’s story and how his writing matures. Author: Kaleb Nation
Kari and Lucas from The Mystery of the Third Lucretia are back for another international mystery. This time they are in Scotland where Kari’s Mom has an assignment interviewing a teen prodigy – a touring pianist all of 15 years old.
Kari and Lucas are excited to meet the famous Seneca Crane. Yes, she’s beautiful. Yes, she’s talented. Yes, she’s traveled all over the world…but Seneca turns out to be just a normal kid who happens to have mad piano skills.
Seneca reveals the disciplined life she leads and how difficult it is to trade a normal kid life for life touring the world playing music with and for grown-ups. Seneca is frustrated with her overprotective Mom, her strict tutor and her new Stepfather. The three of them barely let Seneca out of their sight. Kari and Lucas make it their job to show Seneca what regular teens do and convince Seneca’s Mom to let them take Seneca sightseeing around Edinburgh. The three friends have a great time together and look forward to more Scottish adventures after Seneca’s concert performance.
After the concert, everyone waits outside Seneca’s dressing room but she doesn’t appear. A search of the room reveals a ransom note – Seneca doesn’t need rescued anymore from her overprotective Mother…she needs rescued from kidnappers!
Kari and Lucas are on the case in their signature clue-busting style. They are resourceful, gutsy and determined. They rely on their sharp memories and their keen powers of deduction to sort out the clues and get on the trail of the kidnappers. I can’t wait for Book #3 Adventure at Simba Hill which will come out next. Simba Hill takes place in Africa. Author: Susan Runholt
There is a lot of talk lately in the newspaper and on TV – and maybe even at your school – about the H1N1 (Swine) flu virus. Here is a movie to watch that will help clear up questions you might have about the virus. Questions like: Swine Flu, H1N1, what’s the difference? How do people get it? Will I get it? How sick do people get? Is there a vaccine? Can I get a vaccine? Watch the movie, show it to your teacher or your parents, and talk to them about questions you might have.
If hearing about H1N1 make you worry, ask questions. Knowing the answers to your questions will help you worry less about it. One thing that helps is knowing what you can do to help take care of yourself.
What you CAN do:
Wash your hands! A lot! Wash them before you eat – even before a snack. Wash them after you cough, sneeze or blow your nose. Wash them after you go to the bathroom. And washing your hands doesn’t mean just running water over them – USE SOAP!
If you cough or sneeze, do that into a tissue or into your elbow. That way, you keep germs off your hands. You touch a lot of things with your hands and that is how germs are quickly spread from one person to another.
Keep your hands and fingers out of your eyes, mouth, and nose. This means more than just “don’t pick your nose.” Everybody knows that. This means don’t pick food out of your braces, don’t lick your fingers, don’t rub your eyes, don’t put your fingers in your mouth to whistle, don’t put your fingers in your mouth to make a funny face…all those things that are normally OK – don’t do those.
If you don’t feel good – STAY HOME.
Here are some more links to help you learn about the flu:
Sandy and Jack are scared of their Dad. He knocked their little brother down the stairs one day and then their brother never woke up again.
One day, their Dad shows up at school to take them home, but he doesn’t go home…he gets on the interstate and drives hours and hours and hours from Pennsylvania to the Florida Keys. He won’t answer their questions about where their Mom is either.
Convinced that their Dad is dangerous and has hurt their Mom, the boys wait for him to fall asleep, steal his money, “borrow” a boat and flee into an area of the Florida Keys known as “Crocodile Swamp.” Surely no one will follow them into a crocodile infested swamp.
Armed with some basic survival skills and knowledge about the habits of the critters sharing the swamp including crocodiles, sharks and poisonous snakes, the boys set up camp.
With the help of an old fisherman and a young girl they meet making supply runs, the boys manage to evade their Dad..for awhile. During their life in hiding, the boys come to understand that people survival skills are just as important as wild surival skills and that figuring out who your allies are is very important indeed.
This story has some tough family problems in it but the resourcefulness of the boys, their desire to stay together and the friends who step up to help them find their way out of a scary situation make it a good true-to-life adventure. Author: Jim Arnosky
The author of The Pirates of Crocodile Swamp is also a nature writer. Here are a couple of his books about the swamp, wild places and wild things. The action in Crocodile Swamp is very realistic because Mr. Arnosky knows so much about the Florida Keys. If you liked this wilderness survival story, try Alabama Moon or The Night of the Howling Dogs. In these, kids use their knowledge to survive in the wild also.