New chapter books for kids include 'When Heaven Fell'

Posted: Sunday, December 21, 2008

New chapter books for kids who like school stories, scary stories, family stories, sports stories, and much more are on the shelves at the Juneau Public Libraries.

"When Heaven Fell," by Carolyn Marsden. Binh's aunt was sent to live in America when she was just 5 years old. Now Di Thao is coming to Vietnam to see her family again, and 9-year-old Binh is afire with curiosity: what kind of presents will she bring? Will she take Binh back to America with her? But Di Thao is something of a disappointment: she doesn't dress like a movie star at all, speaks childish Vietnamese, and hasn't brought any American presents, but Binh is enchanted nonetheless. As the two get to know each other, Binh realizes that she isn't the only one with unfulfilled hopes for the visit. (For elementary and middle school readers who are curious about people.)

"Diary of a Would-Be Princess," by Jessica Green. Jillian is having a tough year in fifth grade - thanks to a mishap making friendship pins, she loses her chance to be a Princess and earns diaper duty with her baby brother for the rest of her life. Nerdy Nigel, stupid Sam, and scary Raymond are the only people who want to be her friends. And she's definitely not a team player, which is causing trouble in class. But she is a kind person at heart, and a witty writer: this chapter book in journal form is laugh-out-loud in places. It's an Australian import with some unfamiliar words in it, but there's a glossary in the back for readers who get stuck. (older elementary and middle school readers who like to laugh)

"All the Lovely Bad Ones," by Mary Downing Hahn. When Corey and her brother, Travis, arrive at their grandmother's too-quiet inn to spend the summer, they discover that it has a history of ghost sightings. Disappointed that no ghosts have been seen in decades, the kids decide to fake some and drum up some business for their grandmother while they are at it. But their game takes on a life of its own, as first the inn's guests spread the word, and then the real ghosts wake up to have some fun of their own. It's up to Corey and Travis to put things back to rights, but before they can do that, they have to learn the inn's terrible history. (For middle-school readers who like being scared!)

"Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet," by Sherri L. Smith. Ana Shen's mom is African American, and her dad is Chinese American, which means the only three family dinners with all her grandparents have been disasters. But now, to celebrate her eighth-grade graduation, all four grandparents are pitching in to cook together for Ana and her friends. Will this fourth dinner prove once and for all that Ana's family is destined to eat out? With only four hours to cook before the guests arrive, Ana wonders if she'll even survive the culture clash brewing in her mom's kitchen. (For middle school readers who love their families.)

"Go Big or Go Home," by Will Hobbs. While Brady is on his roof watching the Perseid meteor shower, one of the meteors crashes into his bedroom and lands on his bed. Although it looks kind of like a baked potato, it impresses his cousin Quinn when he comes to stay for a week. Quinn's there for their annual week of off-road biking, basketball and adventure, and usually he beats Brady at everything, but this year, Brady's on top of it. Could the meteorite be giving Brady superpowers? (For middle school readers who like sports and science fiction).


The Juneau Public Libraries subscribe to a number of online databases that you can access from the library or from home with your library card. Columbia Granger's World of Poetry is both fun to dip into and useful for research, with over 50,000 full-text poems available and another 350,000 indexed. You can search by author, title, first line, or even keyword, which means that even if all you remember is a fragment of a line, there's a chance you'll be able to find it again. In addition to offering poems, there are biographies, commentaries and a poetic terms glossary. Access it through our home page and look for "e-research."

For information about the Juneau Public Libraries' upcoming programs or to place a hold on any material, visit or call 586-5249.

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