Twelve Kinds of Ice, by Ellen Bryan Obed

ImageSummary:  With the first ice’s skim on a sheep pail so thin it breaks when touched, one family’s winter begins in earnest. Next comes ice like panes of glass. And eventually, skating ice! Take a literary skate over field ice and streambed, through sleeping orchards and beyond. The first ice, the second ice, the third ice . . . perfect ice . . . the last ice .

HoughtonMifflin

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True Colors, by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock

True colorsSummary:  On a cold, wintry day in December of 1941, she was found wrapped in a quilt, stuffed in a kettle near the home of Hannah Spooner, an older townswoman known for her generosity and caring.  But Blue finds it hard not to daydream about her mother, and over the course of one summer, she resolves to finally find out who she is.  Her search leads her down a road of self-discovery that will change her life forever.

Alfred A. Knopf

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The Wicked and the Just, by J. Anderson Coats

Summary:  Cecily longs to return to her beloved Edgeley Hall, where her father was lord of the manor. But now he has completely ruined her life. He is moving them to Caernarvon, in occupied Wales, where he can get a place for almost nothing, since the king needs good strong Englishmen to keep down the vicious Welshmen. At least Cecily will get to be the lady of the house at last-if all goes well. Gwenhwyfar knows all about that house. Once she dreamed of being the lady there herself, until the English came and destroyed the lives of everyone she knows. Now Gwenhwyfar must wait hand and foot on this bratty English girl who has taken what should have been hers. While Cecily struggles to find her place amongst the snobby English landowners, Gwenhwyfar struggles just to survive. And meanwhile the Welsh are not as conquered as they seem. Outside the city walls of Caernarvon, tensions are rising ever higher-until finally they must reach the breaking point.

Harcourt

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Zora!: the life of Zora Neal Hurston, By Dennis Brindell Fradin

Summary:  Zora Neale Hurston was confident, charismatic, and determined to be extraordinary. As a young woman, Hurston lived and wrote alongside such prominent authors as Langston Hughes and Alain Locke during the Harlem Renaissance. But unfortunately, despite writing the luminary work Their Eyes Were Watching God, she was always short of money. Though she took odd jobs as a housemaid and as the personal assistant to an actress, Zora often found herself in abject poverty. Through it all, Zora kept writing. And though none of her books sold more than a thousand copies while she was alive, she was rediscovered a decade later by a new generation of readers, who knew they had found an important voice of American Literature.

Clarion

Goblin Secrets, by William Alexander

Summary:  In the town of Zombay, there is a witch named Graba who has clockwork chicken legs and moves her house around–much like the fairy tale figure of Baba Yaga. Graba takes in stray children, and Rownie is the youngest boy in her household. Rownie’s only real relative is his older brother Rowan, who is an actor. But acting is outlawed in Zombay, and Rowan has disappeared. Desperate to find him, Rownie joins up with a troupe of goblins who skirt the law to put on plays. But their plays are not only for entertainment, and the masks they use are for more than make-believe. The goblins also want to find Rowan–because Rowan might be the only person who can save the town from being flooded by a mighty river.

Margaret K. McElderry Books

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Abraham Lincoln & Frederick Douglass: the story behind an American friendship, by Russell Freedman

Summary:  Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass were both self-taught, both great readers and believers in the importance of literacy, both men born poor who by their own efforts reached positions of power and prominence–Lincoln as president of the United States and Douglass as the most famous and influential African American of his time. Though their meetings were few and brief, their exchange of ideas helped to end the Civil War, reunite the nation, and abolish slavery.

Clarion

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After Eli, by Rebecca Rupp

Summary:  After Daniel’s brother Eli is killed at war, Daniel considers the history of unusual fatalities to determine what makes a death–or life–matter.

Candlewick

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Try this!

Friday’s meeting was challenging, but amazing.  In preparation for further nominations NEXT meeting, we were challenged to talk about our books WITHOUT referring to plot.  That’s right.  And these kids did an incredible job – writing style, characters, setting, organization of information – and only referred to the plot a few times when these things were necessarily influenced by the plot.  Not the other way around.  Great job, kids!

Now I challenge YOU – which books actually stand out before considering plot??

Will Sparrow’s Road, by Karen Cushman

Summary:  Twelve-year-old Will Sparrow, a liar, thief, and rogue, decides to leave his hard life behind and make his own way in Elizabethan England. On the road, he encounters a string of con artists even more talented than he is. Will gets a bigger dose of his own medicine when he joins a troupe of  oddities,  including a dwarf and a cat-faced girl.

Clarion

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Summer of the Mariposas, by Guadalupe Garcia McCall

Summary:  When Odilia and her four sisters find a dead body in the swimming hole, they embark on a hero’s journey to return the dead man to his family in Mexico. With the supernatural aid of ghostly La Llorona via a magical earring, Odilia and her little sisters travel a road of tribulation to their long-lost grandmother’s house.  Can these fantastic trials prepare Odilia and her sisters for what happens when they face their final test, returning home to the real world, where goddesses and ghosts can no longer help them? Summer of the Mariposas is not just a magical Mexican American retelling of The Odyssey , it is a celebration of sisterhood and maternal love.

Tu Books

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Return to the Willows, by Jacqueline Kelly

Summary:  Mole, Ratty, Toad, and Badger are back for more rollicking adventures in this sequel to The Wind in the Willows . With lavish illustrations by Clint Young, Jacqueline Kelly masterfully evokes the magic of Kenneth Grahame’s beloved children’s classic and brings it to life for a whole new generation.

Henry Holt

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The Vengekeep Prophecies, by Brian Farrey

Summary:  Jaxter Grimjinx is a born thief. At least, he’s supposed to be. For generations, the Grimjinx clan has produced the swiftest, cleverest thieves in Vengekeep. The problem is, Jaxter is clumsy. So clumsy that in his first solo heist, he sets the Castellan’s house on fire and lands his family in the gaol. Even Jaxter’s skill for breaking magical locks can’t get them out of this bind. Then a suspiciously convenient prophecy emerges naming the Grimjinx clan as the soon-to-be heroes of Vengekeep.  Now-like it or not-Jaxter Grimjinx will have to become the hero he was truly born to be.

Harper

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Summer and Bird, by Katherine Catmull

Summary:  When their parents disappear in the middle of the night, young sisters Summer and Bird set off on a quest to find them. A cryptic picture message from their mother leads them to a familiar gate in the woods, but comfortable sights quickly give way to a new world entirely-Down-one inhabited by talking birds and the evil Puppeteer queen. Summer and Bird are quickly separated, and their divided hearts lead them each in a very different direction in the quest to find their parents, vanquish the Puppeteer, lead the birds back to their Green Home, and discover the identity of the true bird queen.

Dutton

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Quilt Walk, by Sandra Dallas

Summary:  It’s 1863 and 10-year-old Emmy has been told by her father that, come spring, their family will leave their farm, family, and friends in Illinois and travel the Overland Trail to a new home in Golden, Colorado. Emmy has mixed feelings about going. It’s difficult leaving family and friends behind. They might not see one another ever again. When her grandmother comes to say goodbye, she gives Emmy a special gift, something to keep her occupied on the trip. The journey by wagon train is long and full of hardships. But the family perseveres and reaches their destination in Colorado, ready to start their new life.

Sleeping Bear Press

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Cloak Society, by Jeramey Kraatz

Summary:  The Cloak Society: An elite organization of supervillains graced with extraordinary powers. Ten years ago they were defeated by the Rangers of Justice and vanished without a trace. But the villains of Cloak have been biding their time, waiting for the perfect moment to resurface. And twelve-year-old Alex Knight wants to be one of them. But on the day of his debut mission, Alex does the unthinkable: he saves the life of a young Ranger named Kirbie. Even worse . . . she becomes his friend. And the more time he spends with her, the more Alex wonders about the world outside of Cloak-and what, exactly, he’s been fighting for.

Harper

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