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Book Review: When You Reach Me

This is one of those books that go on the “I can’t wait to read it aloud to my Little Lucy” list.  A middle grade novel that tells a tale of friendship.  The genre is hard to pin down, part science fiction and part mystery.  The setting is 1979 in the Upper West Side of New York city and a sixth grade girl, Miranda lives in a small apartment with her single mother who has just found out that she will be a contestant on the “$20,000 Pyramid” game show.  Miranda’s neighborhood is filled with interesting characters:  her best friend Sal, who lives in her building but suddenly stops talking to her after getting punched walking home from school, Jimmy, the deli shop owner that allows Miranda and her friends to work during their lunch hour and has a piggy bank full of $2.00 bills, and the crazy man on the corner who shouts out weird words and sleeps with his head under the mailbox.  Miranda is trying to piece together some odd notes that appear asking her to do things and telling her about events that haven’t happened yet.  Meanwhile she makes some new friends along the way.  This is a highly engaging novel, with the opportunity for great discussion and children will love trying to solve the puzzle and fit each piece together as they read.  It is not surprising that this book has won a Newbery Medal.

Title:  When you reach me

Author:  Rebecca Stead

Publisher:  Wendy Lamb Books

ISBN:  978-0-385-90664-7

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Book Review: Blackout

Amazing illustrations follow one family on a hot, summer night when the power goes out.  I love how this book reminds all of us to slow down and remember to find the magic in the small wonders around us all of the time.  Whether it is going outside to look at the stars, telling a story using hand shadow puppets or just sitting around the table to play a board game, family time is important.  During research for this picture book, John Rocco interviewed several New York residents about what happened during a huge blackout in 2003.  Surprisingly he found that communities came together and truly found the magic in the stillness of the night.  See the book trailer which includes excerpts from some of his interviews here.  Do you have a similar story of family fun the last time the lights went out at your house?

Title:  Blackout

Author/Illustrator:  John Rocco

Publisher:  Disney Hyperion Books

ISBN:  978-142312190-9

 
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Posted by on February 29, 2012 in Family, Picture Books

 

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