In this post I will give my brief thoughts on 5 more of the books from the 2013-14 list.
by Candace Fleming
The phenomenally versatile, award-winning author, Candace Fleming, gives teen and older tween readers ten ghost stories sure to send chills up their spines. Set in White Cemetery, an actual graveyard outside Chicago, each story takes place during a different time period from the 1860's to the present, and ends with the narrator's death. Some teens die heroically, others ironically, but all due to supernatural causes. Readers will meet walking corpses and witness demonic possession, all against the backdrop of Chicago's rich history—the Great Depression, the World's Fair, Al Capone and his fellow gangsters.
I listened to the audio version of this book. With a good amount of creepiness and detail about the characters' deaths, I think it will be interesting for the middle school sect.
by Michael Hearst
Illustrated by Jelmer Noordeman
With humor and flair, Michael Hearst introduces the reader to a wealth of extraordinary life-forms. Which animal can be found at the top of Mount Everest, 10,000 feet under the sea, and in your backyard? Which animal poops cubes? Which animal can disguise itself as a giant crab? These fascinating facts and hundreds more await curious minds, amateur zoologists, and anyone who has ever laughed at a funny-looking animal.
There are some seriously weird animals in this book. I love the format which include many illustrations and graphics to accompany the text. I would recommend this to the nonfiction buffs in grades 4-8.
by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Twelve-year-old Carley Connors can take a lot. Growing up in Las Vegas with her fun-loving mother, she's learned to be tough. But she never expected a betrayal that would land her in a foster care. When she's placed with the Murphys, a lively family with three boys, she's blindsided. Do happy families really exist? Carley knows she could never belong in their world, so she keeps her distance.
It's easy to stay suspicious of Daniel, the brother who is almost her age and is resentful she's there. But Mrs. Murphy makes her feel heard and seen for the first time, and the two younger boys seem determinded to work their way into her heart. Before she knows it, Carley protected the boys from a neighborhood bully and even teaching Daniel how to play basketball. Then just when she's feeling like she could truly be one of the Murphys, news from her mother shakes her world.
I have sung my praises of this book since I read it earlier this year. I LOVE this book. I will give a link here if you'd like to view a student review. Although I love it, this book is not for every child. While some 4th graders may be able to handle the sensitive and emotional material, I would recommend it more for grades 5-8.
by Gordon Korman
The word gifted has never been applied to a kid like Donovan Curtis. It's usually more like Don't try this at home. So when the troublemaker pulls a major prank at his middle school, he thinks he's finally gone too far. But thanks to a mix-up by one of the administrators, instead of getting in trouble, Donovan is sent to the Academy of Scholastic Distinction (ASD), a special program for gifted and talented students.
It wasn't exactly what Donovan had intended, but there couldn't be a more perfect hideout for someone like him. That is, if he can manage to fool people whose IQs are above genius level. And that becomes harder and harder as the students and teachers of ASD grow to realize that Donovan may not be good at math or science (or just about anything). But after an ongoing experiment with a live human (sister), an unforgettably dramatic middle-school dance, and the most astonishing come-from-behind robot victory ever, Donovan shows that his gifts might be exactly what the ASD students never knew they needed.
I really liked this book. Although the main character is a middle schooler, I found it to be appropriate for 4th graders. There are some very mild "romantic" parts. Great lessons here on preconceptions and reputations.
by Jeramey Kraatz
Partial Goodreads Summary
The first in a thrilling, action-packed middle grade trilogy, which School Library Journal declared "will likely find the same wide appeal as Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson books."
The Cloak Society: An elite organization of supervillains graced with extraordinary powers. Ten years ago the Cloak Society was defeated by Sterling City's superheroes, the Rangers of Justice, and vanished without a trace. But the villains have been waiting for the perfect moment to resurface. . . .
Twelve-year-old Alex Knight is a dedicated junior member of Cloak who has spent years mastering his telekinetic superpowers and preparing for the day when Cloak will rise to power again. Cloak is everything he believes in...
This book had me from the very beginning. Kids who like Harry Potter and Percy Jackson will love it! Good for grades 4-8. Be prepared to get the second in the trilogy.