Sixth grader Addison had a taste of “normal” while her mother and step-father Dwight were married. She even had two younger half sisters to share her life with. But after the divorce, Dwight got custody of her two half sisters and Addie began a new and different life with “Mommers”.
Addie’s mom sleeps most of the day and then leaves Addie alone at night to “go out” or follow her “business interests” with a new boyfriend. It isn’t that Mommers doesn’t love Addie, it’s that she doesn’t take care of her. Mommers is irresponsible, doesn’t tell the truth and often leaves Addie alone for days with very little food. Mommers shows up with food and promises for the future just enough times to keep Addie believing that things will get better…get more normal…but things don’t get better.
Addie works hard in school, practices her flute and tries really hard to make it appear that her life is normal to her Grandpa, to Dwight, to her neighbors and to her teacher. More than anything, Addie doesn’t want to get Mommers in trouble. Addie loves Mommers, but deep down longs for the life her half sisters have with Dwight and his new wife. A near tragedy when Addie is left alone brings out the truth. It’s time for Mommers to make a choice. Author: Leslie Connor
Molly Moon is just plain miserable. She lives in a dirty orphanage with a mean matron and kids that bully her. She feels ugly and unloved and not in any way special. That all changes the day she visits the library (great things always happen there!) and discovers a mysterious book about hypnotism. After reading the book, Molly discovers that with a flash of her dazzling eyes, she can make people do anything she wants. Molly’s life is about to get much, much better! “So far in life, Molly had drawn a short straw. Now she was going to get what was due to her … She felt sure that with hypnotism under her belt, she’d never be short of money again. And as for people, Molly decided there and then that from now on, no one would push her or pinch her or boss her or bully her or ignore her. She was going to be somebody now and the world better watch out, because a new, shiny Molly Moon was about to burst through the ether and dazzle it.” Watch out world, here comes the new and improved Molly Moon! Author: Georgia Byng
Gil Goodson has been studying for months, cramming information and trivia about the Golly Toy & Game Company. If he’s lucky, he’ll be a contestant at The Gollywhopper Games, a trivia, puzzle and stunt contest sponsored by his town’s candy factory. If you like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, go on this competitive challenge with Gil. Solving riddles and puzzles is only part of the fun. Gil has to sniff out the cheaters before they sabotage his chances and figure out which competitors are friends. Gil wants to win, and he wants to win bad…and it isn’t just the prize money…he’s got something to prove to Mr. Golliwop, his Dad’s former boss, and if winning the Games is his only chance to get Mr. Golliwop’s attention, Gil is definately up for the challenge. Author: Jody Feldman
This 550 page novel has a big surprise once you open it…the fact that many of the pages are pictures! It’s a little bit like reading, and then turning the pages like a little movie, and then reading some more. The pictures are drawn from interesting angles and perspectives and are as much fun as the story. It is not a pictures book, but an illustrated novel, like a comic book or graphic novel.
12 year-old Hugo is an orphan living in a train station in Paris, but he doesn’t live out in the bustle of the station, he lives in the walls! Hugo is an appretice to the clock keeper, who happens to be Hugo’s uncle, but the uncle has disappeared leaving Hugo to tend the clocks. Afraid of being discovered, Hugo continues to do his uncle’s job collecting his uncle’s paychecks, even though he can’t cash them. Hugo scavenges for food and sometimes has to steal. Hugo has a big job just to survive alone, but in his free time, Hugo enjoys working on a project begun by his father. He tinkers with a mechanical man, called an automaton (a robot), trying to get it to work. The small mechanical parts of the automaton are like the parts in the clock…each piece fitting with the next piece to make the machine work correctly. Hugo’s life is like one of these mechanical pieces… he just doesn’t know where his piece fits with the next…until he meets a girl and a crotchety toy shop owner…then the pieces of his life begin to fit together. Author & Illustrator: Brian Selznick
Eleven year-old Elijah lives in Buxton, Canada in the 1850s. Buxton is a town made up entirely of runaway slaves that have escaped from America on the Underground Railroad. Elijah’s parents are former slaves, but Elijah himself was born free in Buxton. He leads a school boy’s life keeping up with his lessons and doing chores alongside Mr. Leroy, a community handy man who is working hard to save up enough money to buy his family’s freedom. Elijah is well known in his town for being sensitive, quiet and easily moved to tears.
A devastating turn of events brings Elijah face to face with the fear and horror experienced by his parents and the former slaves in his town. A sneaky preacher steals Mr. Leroy’s money, and his dream of being reunited with his family. Elijah sets off after the thief in a desperate attempt to recover the money. The chase brings Elijah to America and the constant threat of being captured by slave bounty hunters. In one memorable scene Elijah stumbles across a group of slaves who have been re-captured. Shackled together in a barn the group is starving and thirsty. One of the slaves holds a baby out to him. Should he take the baby and run, or try to rescue the group? It is one of many heart wrenching scenes that shows the horrors of slavery. Elijah proves that being brave doesn’t mean not being scared, being brave means that even when you are scared out of your mind, you do what needs done anyway. Author: Christopher Paul Curtis