Grades 4 to 6 February 2016 Picks
Grades 4 to 6 February 2016 Picks


So I think I’ve decided… next year when my son goes to preschool for half the day… instead of training for a marathon or taking Chinese lessons or volunteering to restore salmon habitats, I’m going to read. To start with, I’ll read the books on this list and then I’ll be able to continue on from there. I figure it’s for the best. :D Okay, that will never happen. Sigh.

First off, Sunny Side Up is a graphic novel (if you've never read one, graphic novels are like book-length comic strips, but oh so much more) written by Jennifer Holm and illustrated by Matthew Holm (brother and sister, not husband and wife). These two are awesome. If you’ve read the Babymouse graphic novels, you’re familiar with their work. Their books capture emotional nuances, like ennui, so clearly – it’s downright amazing. This book draws from the author and illustrator’s own life experiences with a close relative that had substance abuse issues. While the book looks candidly at difficult issues it’s not meant to be a journey into despair, but is reportedly humorous and upbeat.

The Blackthorn Key also looks phenomenal. Apothecaries? Deciphering secret codes? Secret Societies? Eeeh!! I can feel my inner nerdy pre-teen jumping up and down with glee. Really though, does that not sound awesome? It’s going to be a hit with boys and girls I’m sure.

Speaking of hits… The Last Kids on Earth, a novel/graphic novel hybrid, is only a few months old and already killing it. It got outstanding reviews from the experts and is getting super high ratings from readers. It’s supposed to appeal to Diary of a Wimpy Kid fans and garsh knows those books are crazy popular. So if your son or daughter loves Diary of a Wimpy Kid – give this one a try!

 Seeing stars?  Professional book reviewers only award a star to exceptional books.  More than one star means experts from multiple organizations felt the book was outstanding. 

Sunny Side Up Book Cover
Sunny Side Up
by Jennifer L. Holm
illustrated by Matthew Holm
published August 25, 2015
Starred Reviews:
Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Booklist Star Image Kirkus Reviews

Sunny Lewin has been packed off to Florida to live with her grandfather for the summer.  At first she thought Florida might be fun -- it is  the home of Disney World, after all.  But the place where Gramps lives is no amusement park.  It’s full of . . . old...READ MORE

Fish In A Tree Book Cover
Fish in a Tree
by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
published February 5, 2015
Starred Reviews:
Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Booklist

The author of the beloved One for the Murphys gives readers an emotionally-charged, uplifting novel that will speak to anyone who’s ever thought there was something wrong with them because they didn’t fit in.
“Everybody is smart in different ways. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb...READ MORE

The Blackthorn Key Book Cover
The Blackthorn Key
by Kevin Sands
published September 21, 2015
Starred Reviews:
Star Image School Library Journal Star ImageBooklist Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star Image Publisher's Weekly

Following a series of murders, an apothecary’s apprentice must solve puzzles and decipher codes in pursuit of a secret that could destroy the world in this suspenseful debut novel.

“Tell no one what I’ve given you.”

Until he got that cryptic warning, Christopher Rowe was happy, learning how...READ MORE

Nooks & Crannies Book Cover
Nooks & Crannies
by Jessica Lawson
published June 2, 2015
Starred Reviews:
Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Booklist Star Image Publisher's Weekly

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory meets Clue when six children navigate a mansion full of secrets—and maybe money—in this humorous mystery with heart.

Sweet, shy Tabitha Crum, the neglected only child of two parents straight out of a Roald Dahl book, doesn’t have a friend in the world—except for her pet mouse,...READ MORE

The Boy Who Fell Off the Mayflower Book Cover
The Boy Who Fell Off the Mayflower, or John Howland's Good Fortune
by P.J. Lynch
published September 22, 2015
Starred Reviews:
Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Booklist Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star Image Publisher's Weekly

In the first book he has both written and illustrated, master artist P.J. Lynch brings aMayflower voyager’s story to vivid life. 

At a young age, John Howland learned what it meant to take advantage of an opportunity. Leaving the docks of London on the Mayflower as an indentured servant to Pilgrim John...READ MORE

The War That Saved My Life Book Cover
The War that Saved My Life
by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
published January 8, 2015
Starred Reviews:
Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star Image Publisher's Weekly Star ImageHorn Book

An exceptionally moving story of triumph against all odds set during World War 2, from the acclaimed author of Jefferson’s Sons and for fans of Number the Stars.
Nine-year-old Ada has never left her one-room apartment. Her mother is too humiliated by Ada’s twisted foot to let her outside. So when her...READ MORE

Gone Crazy in Alabama Book Trailer
Gone Crazy in Alabama
by Rita Williams-Garcia
illustrated by The Envelope Please
published April 21, 2015
Starred Reviews:
Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star Image Publisher's Weekly

Newbery Honor winner and New York Times bestselling author Rita Williams-Garcia tells the story of the Gaither sisters, who are about to learn what it’s like to be fish out of water as they travel from the streets of Brooklyn to the rural South for the summer of a lifetime.

Delphine, Vonetta,...READ MORE

Friday Barnes Girl Detective Book Cover
Friday Barnes, Girl Detective
by R. A. Spratt
illustrated by Phil Gosier
published January 19, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image Booklist Star Image Publishers Weekly

Imagine if Sherlock Holmes was an eleven-year-old girl!

When Friday Barnes, girl genius, solves a bank robbery, she uses the reward money to send herself to Highcrest Academy, the most exclusive boarding school in the country―and discovers it's a hotbed of crime!

Soon she's investigating everything from disappearing homework to...READ MORE

The Last Kids on Earth Book Cover
The Last Kids on Earth
by Max Brallier
illustrated by Doug Holgate
published October 13, 2015
Starred Reviews:
Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star Image Publisher's Weekly

"Terrifyingly fun! Max Brallier's The Last Kids on Earth delivers big thrills and even bigger laughs."--Jeff Kinney, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Diary of a Wimpy Kid
 meets The Walking Dead in this very funny post-apocalyptic graphic novel for middle-grade readers. 

Ever since the monster apocalypse hit town,...READ MORE

Book Scaveger Book Cover
Book Scavenger
by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
published June 2, 2015
Starred Reviews:
Star Image Publisher's Weekly

For twelve-year-old Emily, the best thing about moving to San Francisco is that it's the home city of her literary idol: Garrison Griswold, book publisher and creator of the online sensation Book Scavenger (a game where books are hidden in cities all over the country and clues to find them...READ MORE

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Hello there!

Hi!  I'm Sarah.  I'm a former librarian and mother of two -- a teen daughter and a preschooler son.  We love to play outdoors... and read.  :)

This site is all about discovering great books to share with kids and teens. ...Read more

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