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Zebrafish

Zebrafish

Zebrafish

Vita buys a used guitar, thinks up a great band name – The Vita-mins – and then puts up flyers at school to hold auditions to find some bandmates. Some kids show up but none of them play an instrument. They meet again anyway and a plan starts to come together. Plinko and Jay have video skills, Tanya writes songs, Walt’s an artist and Vita can sing. It’s not a band, but it IS something special.

Zebrafish is a graphic novel with great pictures and a great story. The kids are real – not comic book superheroes. If you like lots of illustrations and stories that show true-to life kids dealing with real life problems, try these:
The Lasts Invisible Boy Smile Amelia Rules The Strange Case of Origami Yoda
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Fablehaven: Keys to the Demon Prison

Fablehaven: Keys to the Demon Prison

Fablehaven Keys to the Demon Prison

  • This is book 5 and the last in the Fablehaven series. The battle between the Knights of the Dawn (Kendra and Seth, their Grandparents & other Knights) and The Society of the Evening Star (The Sphinx, demons & other bad guys) continues. The Sphinx  has taken control of The Society and threatens to open the legendary demon prison ZZyxx by collecting its five keys.  If The Sphinx manages to do this it isn’t just the magical creatures whose lives are at stake, it’s everyone.

Kendra is still emotional and methodical and makes her decisions based on what she knows and senses about the characters of the people she encounters. Kendra likes to think things through, a luxury she doesn’t have when faced with an epic demon battle.

Seth is still impulsive and impatient and prone to jump in before he thinks. He makes questionable alliances and finds himself trapped by his own scheming. He is a boy of quick action though and his decisive nature saves the day on more than one occasion.

They are just like the rest of us, figuring out their own strengths & weaknesses and figuring out who their real friends are…it’s just that they’re in the middle of a demon battle and their decisions make the difference between life and death. Author: Brandon Mull

Brandon Mull NEWS: “After meeting with Simon & Schuster, it looks like my first Beyonders book, A World Without Heroes, will release near the end of March 2011.”

Read them all:

#1: Fablehaven
#2: Rise of the Evening Star
#3: Grip of the Shadow Plague
#4: Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary
#5: Keys to the Demon Prison

If you like Fablehaven and stories about epic battles involving fairies and other magical creatures try one of these:
Silksinger Clemency Pogue Fairy Killer Artemis Fowl The Field Guide
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The Case of the Gypsy Good-bye

The Case of the Gypsy Good-bye

The Case of the Gypsy Good-bye

Fourteen year-old Enola is still living in disguise, staying one step ahead of her older brothers Mycroft and Sherlock. Enola has been on her own for almost a year trying desperately to find her missing mother as well as stay away from her two brothers who think the best place for her is a girl’s boarding school.

When a mysterious package arrives at Ferndall Hall – the estate where the Holmes children grew up – Sherlock is called home to investigate.  The art on the intricately decorated package is clearly the work of Lady Eudoria Holmes, Enola’s missing mother. The package is addressed to Enola.

A mysterious package addressed TO a missing person FROM a missing person. Now that’s a mystery for the master – Sherlock Holmes. Of course he might need a little help from his sister Enola, because she isn’t going to be found, unless she WANTS to be found. A terrific end to a great mystery series.  Author: Nancy Springer

Other Enola Holmes Mysteries:

#1: The Case of the Missing Marquess on CDeBook
#2: The Case of the Left Handed Lady
#3: The Case of the Bizarre Bouquests on CD
#4: The Case of the Peculiar Pink Fan on CD
#5: The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline on CDeBook
#6: The Case of the Gypsy Goodbye on eBook

If you like reading about Enola try Death in the Air or Vanishing Girl. These two are about Sherlock Holmes as a boy solving mysteries – they reveal how and why Sherlock became a detective in the first place. If you like the time period in Enola and you like the idea of kids solving mysteries on their own in a dark, gothic setting, try The Eyeball Collector or The Story of Cirrus Flux.
Death in the Air The Vanishing Girl The Eyeball Collector The Story of Cirrus Flux
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Crunch

Crunch

Crunch

Dewey is in charge of Marriss’s Bike Barn while his parents are out of town. Dewey doesn’t really mind. He likes working on bikes. His little brother Vince helps out too. Vince is actually the one with mad mechanic skills but he’s kind of shy, so he relies on Dewey to handle the customers. Between the two of them, the cheat sheets their Dad left and their list of 8 Rules for Bicycle Repair, they’ve got the shop covered and their big sister Lil can take care of everything else, including the twins.

Everything is under control until a fuel shortage strands their parents away from home and makes everyone in their town suddenly need their bike repaired. The boys wake up to people lined up outside The Bike Barn before they’ve even had breakfast. It gets so bad and Dewey gets so tired that he stumbles outside one morning…without his pants! That’s sleep depravation for you!

The longer the fuel shortage lasts the testier people get. It is so bad that there are no longer cars driving on the highway that passes their house. The highway is full of peole riding bicycles. It’s weird…and quiet.  It sure is good for business until the boys start to run out of parts and tempers start to flare. Meanwhile, back at the house, the kids are beginning to run out of food and the twins ask every 5 minutes, “when is Mommy coming home.”

With bicycles piling up and not enough hands to fix them Dewey hatches a plan that is just like a Marriss – sometimes you’ve got to help people help themselves. I loved watching Dewey and his brothers and sisters get through this crisis together. Each one brings something to the team that helps them cope with each situation that comes up. And don’t even think about messing with a Marriss because you’ll then be dealing with the other four.  Lil, Dewey, Vince, Angus & Ava, I’d want them on my team any day! Author: Leslie Connor

Try Waiting for Normal, also by Leslie Connor,or, if you want to read about other kids who have to step up and take care of business try these:
Waiting Normal My Life in Pink and Green The Last Newspaper Boy in America The Cupcake Queen
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The Strange Case of Origami Yoda

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda

Tommy has a question that every kid asks himself eventually. Does that cute girl like me, or not? Should I ask her to the dance? Tommy is looking for answers and he thinks he may have found a way to avoid total humiliation by asking Origami Yoda what to do. What is Origami Yoda? He’s Yoda. Made out of paper. A puppet.

Is he REAL? Does he really know things? Can he see the future? Does he use the Force? Or is he just a hoax that fooled a whole bunch of us at Mcquarrie Middle School? (page 1)

To find out of Origami Yoda is the real deal Tommy has compiled a case file that is this book. He interviews each kid in his class who received advice from Origami Yoda and then he comments on each case trying to decide if the advice was good, proving that Origami Yoda is real. His friend Harvey comments too. Harvey definitely doesn’t believe in Origami Yoda. He thinks Origami Yoda is just a green paperwad. He likes to point out that even the “real” Yoda was just a puppet.

How does Origami Yoda speak you ask? Well, the kid who folded him does the talking. Dwight is the kid who walks around school with Origami Yoda stuck on the end of his finger.

The strangest thing about Origami Yoda is that he is so wise even though Dwight is a total loser. (page 4)

You want to know what Dwight is like? His kindred spirit would be Greg Heffley’s friend Rawley (from Diary of a Wimpy Kid). He barfs in class. He picks his nose. He wears knee socks with shorts. And then he goes around school asking people to talk to his finger puppet. When Origami Yoda saves one of the boys from making a total fool of himself in front of a girl he likes, it makes Tommy think. The advice COULDN’T have come from Dwight. He’s a total loser. It HAD to come from Yoda. And this begins Tommy’s collection of evidence about Origami Yoda’s advice. Because he really, really needs to know, does Sara like him. Or not? I laughed all the way through this one! Author: Tom Angleberger

This book has an interesting pre-publication story. The author, Tom Angleberger, had to get permission to use Yoda in his story. Yoda is owned by Lucasfilms and George Lucas. Ater Tom wrote the story he had to ask Lucasfilms for permission to publish a book that has Yoda in it. As Tom shares in this interview, he heard that the person in charge of approving books at Lucasfilms took the book home and had her son read it. The son liked and said, “Let them do it.” Sometimes, kids DO get to make big time decisions! Read the Full Interview.

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda Web Comic Used With Permission:

yoda-web-comic

If you like Tommy and his friends try some of these:
Dog Days Bobby vs. the Girls Big Nate Zoobreak
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