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.
Christina lives in a stone mansion in a forest surrounded by a 20 foot barbed wire fence. The fence is electric and has signs that say “Trespassers will be boiled.” The only other buildings inside the fence are Loompski Laboratories, where her father works (and where her mother died in a lab explosion) and an orphanage full of kids Christina is not allowed to meet. With binoculars Christina can watch the kids at Dorf Elementary school play at recess, but she’s never been to school herself.
While playing in her yard one day Christina is surprised to meet an orphan boy named Taft who is collecting trash on the other side of the fence. He urgently whispers, “have you found the tunnel yet?” Now here’s something worth investigating. Could the rumor of the tunnel in the stone mansion actually be true? It can!…and it leads straight to the orphanage where Christina rescues her orphan friend and finds out more than she ever wanted to know about Loompski Laboratories and what the orphans are used for.
Christina and Taft discover hidden inventions built and abandoned by the missing founder of Loompski Laboratories (a kid-sized, kid-powered two seater airplane for one!) and use them to bring down the current owner of the lab, expose his sinster plan and free the orphans. A great adventure story fueled by friendship and the pursuit of happiness and justice! Author Lynne Jonell
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
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.
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
Look insideMagickeepers: The Eternal Hourglass Book One