Tag Archives: Kid Life

Staff Pick: The SOS File

Staff Pick: The SOS File

The SOS File

The students in Mr. Magro’s class submit stories for the SOS file about their biggest emergencies, and then they read them aloud for extra credit. Young Hoosier Book Award, 2008-2009, 4-6 Nominee

Children looking for humors short stories to take a break from rigorous homework will find The SOS File by Betsy Byars, Betsy Duffey and Laurie Myers the answer. Throughout the school year teacher, Mr. Margo asked his students to write a short story about an emergency to receive extra credit in the class. Twelve students take him up on his offer and all but one receives extra credit.

Children will love the twelve wonderfully written funny stories. My favorite is the ¬Chocolate SOS were the writer must sale candy bars for his baseball team only to have to borrow forty dollars from his mother because he eat the candy bars. Find out if his mother loans him the money and read the one story that the student did not receive extra credit for writing. Sit back and enjoy these humors stories, you will sure have a belly ache from laughing so hard.

Recommended by: Denyce Malone, Flanner House Branch

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Staff Pick: I Am a Taxi

Staff Pick: I Am a Taxi

I Am a Taxi

Living with his family in a prison in Bolivia due to his parents’ convictions for drug trafficking, twelve-year-old Diego does his best to live a normal life, but when his mother receives additional fines, Diego risks everything to earn quick money.

I read this novel because of the odd title. Diego, age 12, lives in a prison in Cochabamba, Bolivia. His parents, falsely accused of smuggling drugs, must serve out a 16 year sentence. Diego, however, can come and go; he attends school and earns money as a “taxi,” running errands for other inmates. After a stroke of bad luck, Diego is forced to look for additional ways to make money. His friend, Mando, convinces him “big money” will come from working for foreign men deep in the jungle. The men turn out to be cocaine smugglers and the boys become slaves in the coca pits, stomping coca leaves into a paste that will become cocaine. Attempting escape, Mando dies and Diego barely escapes with his life. The ending of the book is as odd as the title, but the fast pace will keep readers glued to the text, eager to find out if Diego ever sees his family again. I learned a great deal about prison life, “taxi” work and the production of cocaine and plan to read the sequel, Sacred Leaf, very soon.

Recommended by: Nancy Poppleton, Glendale Branch

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Staff Pick: Allie Finkle’s Rules for Girls: Moving Day

Staff Pick: Allie Finkle’s Rules for Girls: Moving Day

Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls: Moving Day

Nine-year-old Allie Finkle has rules for everything and is even writing her own rule book, but her world is turned upside-down when she learns that her family is moving across town, which will mean a new house, school, best friend, and plenty of new rules.

Allie Finkle appreciates rules. There are lots of rules for math and science. But, there aren’t many rules for friendship, and this makes Allie’s life a little complicated. There are also not many rules about what to do when your parents decide to move across town, which means that you have to go to a new school. And get rid of most of your awesome geode collection. And leave behind your best friend (who can be a little bit of a crybaby, so maybe that’s not too bad). Allie’s homemade notebook of rules may be her only option for survival.

Recommended by: Hannah Wheeler – Lawrence Branch Library

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Staff Pick: Doll Bones

Staff Pick: Doll Bones

Doll Bones

Zach, Alice, and Poppy, friends from a Pennsylvania middle school who have long enjoyed acting out imaginary adventures with dolls and action figures, embark on a real-life quest to Ohio to bury a doll made from the ashes of a dead girl.

“A simple coin stamped with the image of an angel doesn’t really have super powers but somehow this little talisman brings together four students from a performing arts magnet middle school in a magical way. The Broadway musical, “The Big River,” an adaptation of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, is the backdrop for this delightful novel. Bette is grieving over the death of her mother, her sister has gone away to college and her father is so involved in his new nightclub he’s never home. Joe is a bully; angry at his absent father, trying to be a loving and supportive son to his divorced mother, while preying on weaker kids at school. Andy is small for his age, plays the violin and is the victim of Joe’s abuse. Viv is Andy’s twin sister, an accomplished pianist, trying to grow up with severe asthma and transitioning from being home-schooled back to a regular classroom. Ilene Cooper takes these diverse personalities and weaves their stories into an engrossing story about finding friendship in unexpected places.”

Recommended by: Emilie Lynn, East 38th Street Branch Library

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Sidekicked

Sidekicked

Sidekicked

Thirteen-year-old Andrew Bean goes to school, attends after school meetings, does his homework and appears at the dinner table on time. He’s probably a lot like you and a lot like the kid sitting next to you in Math and the girl a couple rows over in English. Drew’s not super smart  - no ribbons for knowing the most answers. He’s not super athletic – no trophies for being fast or strong.

What Drew is…is sensitive. In fact, you might say he is super sensitive. He feels and sees and hears things other people don’t. He also smells things other people don’t…from like, a couple miles away. Because Drew is not ordinary. Drew is extraordinary. He  is not just super sensitive. He is SUPER sensitive…Drew is “The Sensationalist”…Sidekick to the Superhero “The Titan” and owner of the most acute set of five senses on the planet.

The club Drew goes to after school is the Highview Environmental Revitalization Organization (H.E.R.O.), which is top secret and no ordinary club. Drew and the other five members are all Sidekicks, each one matched with a Superhero mentor. Drew’s friends all have super powers too and can do something to help their Super save the day when trouble comes calling. What can Drew do? He can SENSE trouble coming. Which is cool. But not quite as cool as taking care of business once trouble arrives! It’s hard to take on an arch nemesis with super powered tastebuds.

If you could have a super power what would you pick? Great eyesight? Bionic hearing? A super sense of smell? Huh. No. Those are supposed to be EXTRAS to go along with super strength or invisibility or flying! But Drew does his best with what he’s got. He’s got a pretty good utility belt that comes in handy when he doesn’t forget it in his locker. He also has his Super, of course, which is cool…well, it WOULD be cool having a Super except “The Titan” never shows up. Ever. If your Super never shows up…do you really have one?

When a long thought dead super villain returns and Supers begin disappearing, Drew has to pull his middle school self together and figure out what to do. “The Code” says he is a Sidekick with clearly defined rules about how to be hero support for his Super. But his Super has decided to do nothing. If the people who are SUPPOSED to step up when things go wrong…people like “The Titan,”…what if those people can’t or won’t do the work? What should a kid do? Stand around and wait for someone else to show up and save the day?

No. What you can do is try to figure out what the villain is up to as well as what a hero is supposed to do about it. Sound easy? It isn’t. Even if you are a Super. You can’t make somebody else a hero, but you can choose to be one.

If you liked how Drew has to figure out how to step up when it seems like the people in charge are letting him down, try one of these books about other kids in the same situation. They might not have super powers but they know how step up and take care of business.

Waiting for Normal Also Known as Harper Adam Canfield of the Slash

If you like books about superhero – try one of these, or try to draw a hero. Make up your own. What kind of powers would your superhero have?

Extraordinary Adventures of Ordinary Boy The Hero Revealed Sidekicks NERDS HIVE
Sky High Heroes Draw Your Own Superheroes How to Draw Justice League How to Draw Comic Book Heroes
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