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In the stacks: new chapter books

Posted: May 24, 2012 - 12:03am

You’ll find these new chapter books, as well as new titles from Adam Rex, Polly Horvath, Wendelin Van Draanen, Michael D. Beil, and Julia Alvarez, on the New Juvenile Book Shelves at each public library.

“The Mighty Miss Malone,” by Christopher Curtis.

During the Great Depression, there’s no money for any frivolities like clothes and dentists. And there aren’t any jobs left for Negroes in Gary, Indiana. Deza Malone has got a mouth full of rotten teeth, but one of the best brains in her school. She’s got a brother who can sing like an angel, but spends his time dreaming up ways to rub out his enemies, a dad with a gift for word play, and a mother determined to make the most of everything they’ve got. But everyone is just scraping by in town and finally, Mr. Malone leaves in search of work. Pretty soon, Deza, Jimmie, and their mother try to follow him, hoping to build a new life together. Far from being the dismal, depressing story I’ve made it sound, this is an ode to families who know how to work together, love and support each other, and stay playful and curious about life and what it brings. (fourth graders and older)

“Bigger Than a Breadbox,” by Laurel Snyder.

If you could have anything you wanted (as long as it would fit in a breadbox), what would you wish for? What Rebecca wants will never fit, and it’s not a real thing, anyway: she wants her parents to get back together. So instead, she wishes for a magic wand — and she gets one. And then twenty bucks. Then a thousand. And the old breadbox she found in her grandmother’s attic gives them to her. Pretty soon, Rebecca is everyone’s friend at her new school — she always has an extra pen, a fancy hair tie, a pack of gum. Soon she’s in over her head with stuff and feeling worse than ever. (fourth graders and older)

“Always Neverland,” by Zoe Barton.

When Ashley wakes up to find someone standing at the foot of her bed, she neatly severs his shadow entirely off with an accurately-thrown library book (we here at the library hope you don’t try this!) before recognizing him: it’s Peter Pan. He’s come, as he has for generations, looking for a new Wendy – and this year, Ashley’s it. But Ashley’s just not that kind of girl — she’d rather taunt the pirates than spring-clean the Lost Boys’ tree houses. And when Peter says she can’t make friends with a mermaid — well, there’s nothing more she wants to do. For all those who were disappointed by Hook, here’s a do-over, full of adventure and tidily woven into the existing fabric of the Peter Pan story. (third grader readers and older)

“The Aviary,” by Kathleen O’Dell.

Decades ago, the Glendoveer mansion had children running around in it — six of them, the children of a famous magician and his wife. But they were kidnapped and accidentally drowned, and their now-elderly mother is the only one left in the house, other than her cook, the housekeeper, and Clara, the housekeeper’s daughter. Clara loves the house and loves Mrs. Glendoveer, but is deeply afraid of the birds that live in Mrs. Glendoveer’s aviary. And one day, they start saying words to her. First it’s just “Elliot,” then it’s “hurry!” Who’s Elliot? And what’s the hurry? As Clara investigates the birds’ strange behavior, she finds clues to her own sheltered and fatherless life. (fourth grader readers and older)

“The New Kid,” by Mavis Jukes.

Carson, his dad, and their dog Genevieve are moving. Carson’s going to be the New Kid at school for the first time in his life! He’s going to have his 9th birthday in a school where no one knows his favorite foods (lasagna and garlic bread), or wears t-shirts and jeans (Valley Oak Elementary students wear white shirts and khaki pants), or has any rules (but there are plenty of “guidelines”!). It turns out that Valley Oak Elementary isn’t so bad: there’s Mr. Lipman, Carson’s teacher, who likes to wear a detective hat while giving quizzes, and Mr. Nibblenose, the classroom’s pet rat, and some nice kids who might turn into friends. And there’s also Weston, who tells whoppers and never seems to be able to sit still, but shares his lunch. This move might not be too bad! (second grade readers and older)

•••

Join library staff at the Downtown Library on Wednesday, May 30 at 6 p.m. for a videoconference on satellites with the Space Center Houston Distance Learning team using the new videoconferencing equipment provided by the Alaska OWL Project.

For information about upcoming programs, or to place a hold, visit www.juneau.org/library or call 586-5249.

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