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Confetti Girl

Confetti Girl

Confetti Girl

Lina is having a really tough year since her Mom died. Lina’s best friend is having a tough year too since her Dad up and left. The girls cope by keeping busy playing volleyball, doing homework and talking about cute boys. Plus, they have each other. It always helps to have a friend that understands.

Lina’s Dad and Vanessa’s Mom aren’t doing so good. Lina’s Dad is an English Professor and spends his time with his nose buried in a book – so much time that he forgets about Lina sometimes. Vanessa’s mom spends her time obsessively making Cascarones – hollow eggs filled with confetti. She makes so many that the eggs are piling up all over Vanessa’s house. The irony is Cascarones are “good luck eggs.” You crack one over somebody’s head to give them good luck.  Eggs need cracked over everyone in these two families.

The best part about this book is the adults. Lina’s Dad and Vanessa’s mom are very real characters. They aren’t stereotype parents. You can feel their pain and you can understand the reasons they are acting so strangely. I liked watching these two families work through tough times. The characters in Confetti Girl show you how important family and friends are during hard times and how important it is to lean on them instead of pushing them away. Sometimes, it’s important to let people help you.

Two more really good stories about kids coping with grief within their families. They each find some good people to help them find their smiles again:
Umbrella Summer The Girl Who Threw Butterflies Belle Prater's Boy
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Fortune’s Magic Farm

Fortune’s Magic Farm

Fortune's Magic Farm

Isabelle is an orphan. She works in a factory to pay the rent and buy food for herself and the ailing elderly lady who adopted her. Her job? Sticking address labels on umbrella boxes…all…day…long. And she’s only ten! It rains all the time in her town. She doesn’t even know what sunshine feels like.

Even though this life sounds miserable, Isabelle is sure that one day, something special will happen to her and one day, something special does! Isabelle unexpectedly receives a perfect red apple from a very unusual source. This gift begins Isabelle’s journey to her home, not her room in the attic of the decrepit boardinghouse, but her real home – Fortune’s Magic Farm. The Farm is Isabelle’s real home, it’s the place where the ingredients for magic potions are grown. At the Farm, Isabelle meets some people like herself – special people who have an important job to do saving the world from misery and unhappiness. Author: Suzanne Selfors

Isabelle reminds me a lot of Charlie Bucket in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. Charlie is also down on his luck when he finds the golden ticket – his ticket to a magical place that is actually meant for him, like he was destined to go there. Isabelle is destined to go to Fortune’s Magic Farm too. 

I loved the characters in this book. In Isabelle’s crummy town, Runny Cove, there are some real meanies. On Fortune’s Magic Farm there are some really fun, crazy characters – crazy in a good way – like Willy Wonka.

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Skill Test: The Math Maven Mysteries

Skill Test: The Math Maven Mysteries

cafeteriacaper_regIn The Math Maven Mysteries, each mystery will require you to read (or listen if you want to – click the “audio” button) and think about how you would solve the mystery. You need sharp math skills to solve each case Start with:

Then, when you think you’ve really got your skills warmed up try these:

Talk the Talk Word of the Day: Stakeout – To keep watch secretly.

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Found

Found

Found A plane makes an unscheduled landing at an airport. There is no record of it landing, not even radar images. No airport personnel seem to know where the plane came from or who could be on it. The cockpit windows are dark. The plane just sits on the runway with no passengers getting off. Finally, an airline employee looks in the plane and discovers that each seat is occupied…by a baby…and there are no adults on board…not even a pilot!

Fast forward 13 years to friends Jonah and Chip who begin receiving mysterious warnings in the mail that say “You are one of the missing” and “Beware! They’re coming back to get you.” What do the letters mean? With the help of Jonah’s sister, the boys set out to find the story of their past. Using computers and cell phones the kids follow clues and learn that their adoptions are somehow tied to the FBI. The warning letters keep coming. People the kids talk to about their situation seem to appear and disappear out of nowhere.

This is a really exciting, original adventure/mystery. Don’t think you’ll get all the answers at the end either – Found is just the beginning. Book #2 called Sent will come out August 25, 2009. There will be seven books in all. Author: Margaret Haddix Series: The Missing

If you like Margaret Haddix, try her series The Shadow Children. If you are reading The 39 Clues – Margaret Haddix will be the author writing the last book, #10, that will come out in 2010. If you haven’t tried the 39 Clues yet, start with book #1 The Maze of Bones.

Find out more about Chip and Jonah in book #2 Sent and book #3 Sabotaged or try one of these other time-bending adventures:
Sent Sabotaged The Tomorrow Code When You Reach Me
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Skill Test: FFFBI Missions

Skill Test: FFFBI Missions

rainforestundercoverThe Cyber-Tooth Tigers are plotting to disrupt the World Wide Web. Help Agents Glitch and Suge pull the plug on their preposterous plans! Then try out some more missions. You are quite the detective now after a summer of sleuth lessons. Go for it.

Talk the Talk Word of the Day: Snoop – To look around for information in a sneaky way.

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