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. The kids put together a show – see for yourself at http://www.zebrafish.com/. You can even download Vita’s song that Tanya wrote.
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:
Nate is sure he is destined for greatness. He’s either going to be great playing soccer, playing in his band, playing table football or cartooning. He is NOT going to be great in opera, synchronized swimming, or cat grooming. Nate thinks his greatness will evolve as long as the grown-ups and mind-numbing school don’t wreck his carefully laid plans.
When a fortune cookie predicts “Today, you will surpass all others,” Nate is sure his time has come. Even after Mrs. Godfrey, his teacher, finds his checklist of nicknames he has for her (Godzilla, She Who Must Not Be Named, Queen Kong, Dullapalooza), that one little detention slip doesn’t trample Nate’s belief that his day will have greatness in it. He keeps his chin up even after the next detention slip, and the next…
If you like Greg Heffley from Diary of a Wimpy Kid, I think you’ll like Nate too. Flip through a few pages by clicking on the “Browse Inside” Icon. You’ll see what I mean. LOL. Author: Lincoln Peirce
Missile Mouse is one tough mouse. He’s quick thinking, he’s smart, he takes some risks and lives to tell about it. Sometimes he chooses not to follow the rules and sometimes this gets him into trouble. He saves the day, for sure, but he can’t seem to do it without blowing stuff up.
When his last mission is described as “ill conceived, poorly executed, and by all accounts a failure” his boss makes him take on a partner. Missile Mouse is not happy. Like Mr. Incredible, he works alone.
Perfect. Now you have me babysitting.
Actually, I need him to keep on eye on you. I can’t have you making any more bonehead mistakes.
Missile Mouse and his new partner are given a mission that is more important than ever. In fact, there is no room for bonehead mistakes or the entire universe is in peril. They cannot let the Star Crusher be built. Good guys, bad guys, betrayals, aliens, spaceships, explosions…it’s all in here. Author: Jake Parker
Yes, this one is just as funny as the other ones! This time Greg is happily looking forward to summer vacation.
“The way I like to spend my summer vacation is in front of the TV, playing video games with the curtains closed and the lights turned off.”
You know Greg’s Mom, she isn’t going to go for that plan. In fact, she has all kind of things lined up to keep Greg busy and none of her choices include staying inside playing video games. He tries to reason with her:
“I tell her that I’m just trying to protect my skin so I don’t look all wrinkly when I’m old like her…”
Huh. Of course, that argument doesn’t go very far with Greg’s Mom! He doesn’t get to laze in front of the TV all summer playing video games, he is forced outdoors and as usual, he finds a heap of trouble.
Genius Julian is psyched to start a new school. He has a plan called “Operation Act Odinary” to finally be someone other than the smart nerd. On the first day of school he resists raising his hand and exclaims, “Only geeks like chess. I hate chess!” On the second day he can hardly stand it and eventually blurts out a complicated physics answer and immediately earns the nicknames “Einstein” and “Brainiac.” He’s the smart kid again and he’s really bummed!
What Julian doesn’t know is that there are kindred spirits in his school…and they’ve been watching him. Watching and waiting. And then they make contact by encoded message, a message only a fellow genius would figure out. Classmates Ben and Greta show up at the rendevous and induct Julian into their covert club, The Secret Science Alliance. They even have a top secret hideout full of high tech toys and gadgets and all kind of parts to invent things with. Look inside their hideout – a smart kid dream come true!
The kids start to meet up everyday after school and on weekends to work on their projects: the stink-o-meter, nightsneak goggles and a hovercraft, just to name a few. When a rival scientist steals their book of ideas and is sure to use it for his evil plans, it takes all of their genius and gadgets to bring him to justice. Author: Eleanor Davis Award: Booklist Top 10 Graphic Novels for Youth 2010.
This book is full of colorful, busy, interesting illustrations – it’s a graphic novel so every page is illustrated. There are diagrams of inventions and cutaways so you can see inside things. Make sure you look at some preview pages.
A lot of the pictures look like Rube Goldberg machines. Rube Goldberg was a cartoonist famous for drawing funny, complicated machines that do very simple things…like sharpen a pencil or put toothpaste on a toothbrush. At Rube’s Official Website you can look at a gallery of his drawings. These drawings were inspirations for some of what you see in The Secret Science Alliance. There are lots and lots of details in each picture and the diagrams contain many steps and lots of labels. Purdue has a famous contest each year named after Rube Goldberg. During the contest, students try to build the most complicated machine to perform a simple task. The task for the 2010 contest is…dispensing hand sanitizeer…or course!