Juliet and Lowell are best friends. Well, until this year, when Lowell started hanging out with Mike, Tommy & Bruce doing things they are sure a girly girl won’t like. Juliet is so mad at Lowell - her FORMER best friend. She finds some kindred spirits in Patsy, Annette, & Linda. The other girls are none too happy about being labelled scaredy-cat sissies either who only have tea parties and won’t get dirty.
The kids get in a verbal war over just what “girl stuff” and “boy stuff” is. The boys are sure that “girl stuff” means painting fingernails, NOT go-carts. The girls think they can paint anything, including go-carts.
Juliet: “We ride bikes and we play baseball and we run just as fast as boys do.”
Patsy: “You don’t know what you’re talking about! Girls can do anything boys can do! At least I can!” (page 59)
The kids agree on a nine day contest, boys versus girls. Each day is a different challenge and whichever side wins the most challenges wins the contest. As the days go by the challenges get harder and harder; the kids daring each other to push themselves to the edge of their abilities…and their courage. Author: Ellen Wittlinger
Here are some more books about battles between boys and girls. This Means War takes place in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis…a time when two countries, the U.S. and Russia, were locked in a similar battle of wills. Countdown is about kids during this time too – also a very good story.
It’s just a normal day for Zita and Joseph, until they come upon a crashed meteor. Zita decides to investigate, discovering a strange button. She presses it, and Joseph is pulled through a portal. At first frightened, Zita becomes determined to save her friend. She presses the button again, finding herself pulled onto an amazing planet, full of alien creatures and alien ways. In her quest, she meets many interesting new friends. This is a wonderful story about friendship. Beautifully drawn, this is hopefully the first of many adventures for the feisty, smart, and resourceful Zita the Spacegirl.
If you like Zita here are some more space adventures full of action and friendship. Missile Mouse is impulsive and takes action, just like Zita. Wondla has a lot of space action too but will make you laugh and cry both. If you like Zita’s robots try Amulet: The Stonekeepr, very cool tranformer-like robots. Smekday is especially funny with a sassy main character who takes on the aliens without flinching a bit.
Eva Nine has lived inside an underground bunker her entire life with only her Muthr (Multi-Utility Task Help Robot zero-six) for company. Muthr has been programmed to take care of Eva Nine. If you have a lot of brothers and sisters at home maybe this sounds pretty good – a robot to see to your every need and provide constant entertainment. But Eva Nine is lonely. And bored. And she wants to go OUTSIDE. She wants to know most of all, “is there anybody out there somewhere, like me?”
When the bunker is attacked by an alien Eva Nine gets exactly what she wants. She’s outside and she’s not at all alone, although now she kind of wants to be! Outside the bunker live fantastic over-sized creatures - some want to be her friend, but some want to eat her. Eva Nine does the only thing she can think of, she sets out toward the only other place she has ever heard about that might have humans in it. A Star Wars – like adventure with a likable hero who has funny, loyal robots and aliens for friends. Author: Tony DiTerlizzi Tony co-wrote The Spiderwick Chronicles with Holly Black. Wondla is full of his great illustrations and if you have a webcam…the book includes directions for using it to enhance those illustrations. (See second video below.)
Ledger Kale is a young cousin of Mibs Beaumont from the book Savvy. If you’ve read Mibs’ story, you understand that their family is pretty special. In Mib and Ledger’s family, turning 13 is more than just growing into your natural talents, like playing the violin or scoring soccer goals or being good at listening to other people’s troubles.
In their family turning thirteen means growing into your savvy. A savvy is a kind of magical power: one of their aunts can step back in time, a cousin can melt ice with a single red-hot stare and another can levitate things. Ledger’s mom, when she tells you something you have to obey, whether you want to or not!
Getting a savvy is kind of exciting, but kind of scary too because these talents, however magical, are also dangerous. Ledger’s savvy comes and he is a one man wrecking ball. Light switches, toasters, televisions, & motorcycles explode in his presence. This power isn’t exactly what Ledger had in mind! Ledger takes refuge on the family farm to give himself time to adjust to his newfound savvy, he needs to learn to scumble, or control it, to keep the rest of the world safe from his unintentional demolitions.
When a local cub reporter, Sarah Jane Cabot, finds out about Ledger’s secret talent he is sure his destructive powers will destroy his family too. Sarah Jane can’t be allowed to make his savvy a newspaper headline! What’s the best thing you can do when a person has found out a secret about you? Well, find out a secret about THEM, of course. Author: Ingrid Law
If you like reading about Mibs and Ledger and their over-the-top talents, try the adventures of Rapunzel, Calamity Jack or some of the other tall tale inspired characters in Lies and Other Tall Tales. They give “Go big or Go Home” a whole new meaning!
Turned out by her mother and sent to live with her father, Meggy shows up in London and her dad wastes no time showing his disappointment. “What use is a daughter to me?” (page #8) He was expecting a boy. I guess he didn’t pay too much attention when Meggy was born.
So Meggy’s stuck in London at her father’s house where it is dark and cold and quiet. Meggy has no food. Her dad seems to have let her in the door and then promptly forgotten she exists. He’s closed up in his shop studying alchemy, searching for the elixir of life…while Meggy sits cold and alone, starving.
Enter Roger, her dad’s errand boy. Roger knows his way around London. Roger knows how to get food. Roger knows how to survive. Roger also knows how to smile, have fun…and be a friend, something Meggy has never had before. Author: Karen Cushman
If you like stories like Meggy’s set in the Middle Ages try some of these. They also feature tough kids, some orphaned like Meggy, living in a time period that was rough even for people in a family. These kids are survivors in the worst of circumstances. They are feisty and strong and often funny too, like Roger. Some of them are girls trying to be feisty and strong at a time when girls were really not supposed to act that way.