Summary: The power of the Creator God is dead. His pendant lies dormant, forgotten inside the altar of a hearthen temple dedicated to worshiping statues and demons. Ayla, a human child raised by dwarfs, must solve the mystery of the pendant before a spoiled prince and devious priestess crush a kindom’s hopes forever. 244 p., Comfort Publishing.
Summary: In 1850s Pittsburgh, thirteen-year-old Owen leaves his younger brother and sneaks aboard a circus housed in a riverboat, where he befriends a freed slave, learns to work with elephants, and finally comes to terms with the choices he has made in his difficult life. 198 p., Bloomsbury Children’s Books.
Summary: Twelve-year-old Samantha struggles with how to best help her artistic older brother and parents who will not have him tested for a learning disability. 245 p., Holiday House.
We discussed Snow Falling in Spring by Moying Li with Xiaoke Chen (pink polo shirt), a staff member at Eva Perry Library, at our last meeting. Xiaoke grew up in Bejing during the same period as Moying Li. It was interesting to hear about the Cultural Revolution first hand and ask questions about that time period. Everyone in our club is encouraged to read this book! It was on our first short list.
Summary: Lucy, a milkmaid, and her best friend Wynston, a reluctant prince, go in search of information about Lucy’s missing mother–even though Wynston is supposed to be searching for a proper princess to marry. 208 p., Random House.
We made our first short list of the year at our last meeting! Each of the books on the list is the current favorite of at least one of our club members. Now everyone in the club will try to read these books so we can decide whether they will stay or go when we make our next short list in a few months. Some of these titles might even be part of our final five in January!
P.S. At our next meeting, we added a few others, thanks to those kids who couldn’t make our first Lock-In.
- The 13th Reality: The Journal of Curious Letters by James Dashner
- The Dead & The Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer
- Diamond Willow by Helen Frost
- Fearless by Elvira Woodruff
- Gollywhopper Games by Jody Feldmen
- Jessie’s Mountain by Kerry Madden
- Outside Beauty by Cynthia Kadohata
- Peeled by Joan Bauer
- Puddlejumpers by Mark Jean
- Savvy by Ingrid Law
- Shooting the Moon by Frances O’Roark Dowell
- The Sky Village by Monk Ashland and Nigel Ashland
- Smiles to Go by Jerry Spinelli
- Snow Falling in Spring by Moying Li-Marcus
- The Surrender Tree by Margarita Engle
- Tennyson by Lesley M. M. Blume
- Trouble by Gary Schmidt
- The Truth About Truman School by Dori Hillestad Butler
- The Underneath by Kathi Appelt
- Waiting for Normal by Leslie Connor
- Where the Steps Were by Andrea Cheng
Summary: In spite of a busy life on the family pumpkin and watermelon farm in Jubilee, Georgia, twelve-year-old March Anne Tanner feels that something is missing, and when Grenna, the grandmother who has helped raise her since her mother died when she was three, also passes on, March Anne finds that she must act on her feelings of loss. 243 p., Farrar, Straus, & Giroux.
Summary: Earl Grubb’s Pool Supplies plays Northeast Gas & Electric in the Little League championship game, while Sam, who has cancer and is in a wheelchair, has to call the play-by-play instead of participating in the game. 147 p., Feiwel and Friends.
Summary: The Christmas after her parents’ death, Emily wants no gift but to see the wonderful doll of her grandmother’s employer, Mrs. Bigley, but the old woman, who has also experienced a terrible loss, will not allow a child near her treasured heirloom. 129 p., Holiday House.
Summary: When her grandmother takes fourteen-year-old Agnes, her younger brother, and best friend Honey and escapes Mount Blessing, a Connecticut religious commune, Agnes clings to the faith she loves while Honey looks toward a future free of control, cruelty, and preferential treatment. 292 p., Bloomsbury.
Summary: When Kate breaks her arm, she learns all about bones, from how x-rays work to how bones heal, and by the time she gets her cast removed at the end of the summer, she is an expert. Includes related activities and glossary. 80 p., Henry Holt.
Summary: In late seventeenth-century England, eleven-year-old Digory, forced to leave his hometown after his father is lost at sea, becomes an apprentice to the architect Henry Winstanley, who built a lighthouse on the treacherous Eddystone Reef — the very rocks that sank Digory’s grandfather’s ship years before. 224 p., Scholastic Press.
Summary: Deep within High Manners Manor, Billy and his skeleton parents live in the Secrets Closet, where they’re in charge of filing all the secrets and lies of the unscrupulous Biglum family. Then Billy meets Millicent, Sir Biglum’s niece who has been recently orphaned. Together, Billy and Millicent encounter ghosts and other uncanny creatures as they explore each other’s worlds and uncover the biggest secret of all: Billy was once a Biglum. 304 p., Little, Brown.
Summary: In 1943, eleven-year-old Ellie is her brother Jimmy’s “best girl,” and when he leaves Pittsburgh just before Thanksgiving to fight in World War II, he promises he will return, asks her to leave the Christmas tree up until he does, and reminds her to “let the joy out.” 272 p., Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.