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
This book is not for the faint of heart. It is a revealing look at the Civil War from the perspective of a feisty young Southern girl. The author says that she was interested in writing about the Civil War and not “prettifying” it. There isn’t a single pretty thing about the war in this book, but at the same time, it is filled with people to care about who are caught up in one of the most defining moments in our country’s history.
When the Civil War begins India Moody’s school closes and she is sent to a neighbor for tutoring. A natural scientist, India studies biology and chemistry rather than the Bible and handwriting like other young girls of her time, despite the fact that her book learning might make her “a spinster fit for no man.” There is a college in Ohio that accepts women and India is determined to go there, an impossible dream for a girl in the 1860s, even without a war.
While her father is off fighting, India and her mother are forced out of their home as the Union Army approaches. India’s studies come to an end as she takes on the work of women in wartime; helping to nurse the wounded, comforting the grieving, and always, always, looking for food. While helping tend the wounded, India’s dedication to the confederate cause and to science are put to the test. She has a front row seat for truly horrifying medical procedures without anesthesia or antiseptics on boys, both Union and Confederate, that bleed the same kind of blood and carry pictures of loved ones in their pockets.
As India makes her way to an uncertain future with her characteristic determination, she finds that her world is not as black and white as she once thought, and that her dreams, even for a girl, just might be possible. Author: Rosemary Wells
Adam Canfield has his hands full. He describes himself as “the most overprogrammed middle school student in American.” Despite being flooded with homework, band, the quiz team and more, Adam joins his friend Jennifer as co-editor of the school newspaper The Slash. Adam and Jennifer take their job as journalists seriously…and uncover some seriously shady deals at school, and in their town. When they discover that one of those shady deals involves their own principal – what are these upcoming star reporters to do? Get the scoop of course. Gather the facts (and get them right), write the story and let justice prevail. Author: Michael Winerip
One of the most beloved journalists of the 20th Century was Indiana’s own Ernie Pyle. Ernie reported from the front lines during World War II and told the world the story of the war from the perspective of the enlisted soldiers rather than the Officers.
Camp Out! really is the ultimate kids’ guide to camping. It includes all the information you would expect, like what to pack and how to make a s’more…plus many unique ideas. Who knew you could make a solar oven out of a pizza box or tell the temperature by counting cricket chirps? Do you know the best time to spot shooting stars? - mid-August. (Mark your calendar!) There is a whole chapter devoted to shelter; how to pick a campsite, the labelled parts of a tent, how to make a tent between two trees, how to make a tent if there is only one tree…even how to make your own tepee. Clear drawings for fire building, knot-tying, identifying animal tracks & the telltale signs in the sky for bad weather are also great. I especially liked the section on freshwater creatures & what you find in a rotten log – these are the things you would actually see camping out in Indiana. The book includes camp cooking ideas, games & crafts that are explained well, doable & unique. As my mom used to say, “Go Outside!” Author: Lynn Brunelle Illustrator: Brian Biggs