Student – Written Book Reviews

As part of her Girl Scout Silver Award project, Miranda McParlin began gathering book reviews from friends and fellow students earlier this fall. She has created a beautiful display in the Children’s Area of the library featuring the reviews. She rotates them throughout the year, and we encourage you to stop by to view her display in person! Even better, all of these books are included in the library collection and are available to checkout. We have included some of featured books below, along with the student-written reviews.

To view a book in our catalog or to place a hold, click on the book’s title.

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers

Recommended by: Delaney Newberry

Suggested age range (according to reader): 5 to 8

Why it’s recommended: The Day the Crayons Quit is a fun, enjoyable and easy read book for kids and parents to enjoy together. I personally enjoy hearing all of the crayons share their perspectives on how they feel about being used. What makes this book funny is the personalities that the characters share. Even though the characters all have totally different perspectives, and points that they are trying to get across to Duncan, they are ultimately annoyed at Duncan. The way these characters explain their experiences and the way that they express their feelings makes me laugh inside.

The Magic Tree House by Mary Pope Osborne

Recommended by: Bessie Brown

Suggested age range (according to reader): 7 to 10

Why it’s recommended: I loved this series so much when I first learned how to read. Every single book is very entertaining. There is a lot of action. There are two main characters who are kids named Jack and Annie. The pair goes on a ton of adventures together. They have a special hideout, aka their treehouse.

Quinny and Hopper by Adriana Brad Schanen and Greg Swearingen

Recommended by: Lily Haglund

Suggested age range (according to reader): 7 to 12

Why it’s recommended: I like this book because it is very interesting and adventurous. It shows how Quinny and Hopper, the main characters, become best friends. I have read this book many times and it never gets old. It is the perfect story line for kids!

The Doll People by Ann M. Martin and Laura Goodwin

Recommended by: Miranda McParlin

Suggested age range (according to reader): 8 to 11

Why it’s recommended: This mysterious and exciting tale keeps all readers on the edge of their seats. For those who are trying to find an easier but compelling read, this book is for you! The book is tailored to readers who want a surprise at every turn. A family of 100-year-old china dolls never disappoints – especially when eight-year-old Annabelle Doll is trying to figure out what happened to her aunt who disappeared long ago. The only tool she has to solve this mystery is a dusty old notebook. Annabelle must also stay completely still during certain hours of the day…but why?

Wonder by R. J. Palacio

Recommended by: Abbie Carrell

Suggested age range (according to reader): 9 to 14

Why it’s recommended: This book is about a ten-year-old boy named Auggie who is not like every other kid. He has had hundreds of surgeries and has never had the chance to live a normal life. When reading this book, you get to see how Auggie navigates friendships and life even through all of the hardships he has had to overcome.

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

Recommended by: Hannah Birdwell

Suggested age range (according to reader): 9 and up

Why it’s recommended: Number the Stars is an amazing first step to reading historical fiction books. It is a wonderful choice for kids who have an interest in history and how people in WWII were forced to go about their everyday lives. Number the Stars is beautifully written and to this day remains one of my favorite books, and has a lasting impact on how I see that historical time period.

How They Croaked by Georgia Bragg and Kevin O’ Malley

Recommended by: Margaret Taylor

Suggested age range (according to reader): 11 to 14

Why it’s recommended: For those who are into history, this book is for you. It gives an in-depth treatise into the lives of dozens of famous people-and their interesting deaths. The book embraces its gory theme by incorporating images of death, like skulls, throughout the book. However, the book is also very informative as to the lives of who it investigates, not just their deaths. I like the dramatic way it tells the stories of the people, from beginning to end.

The Fire Within by Chris D’ Lacey

Recommended by: Margaret Taylor

Suggested age range (according to reader): 11 to 15

Why it’s recommended: I would recommend this book because of its sense of wonder. This book is mainly about dragons living in the modern world. It has relatable characters and a hint of mystery as well. It has lifelike descriptions that you can see in your mind’s eye as if you are there with the characters. It is a book full of emotion.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Recommended by: Caroline Blankenship

Suggested age range (according to reader): 11 and up

Why it’s recommended: This book is about a society divided into 12  districts where each year two teenagers are chosen to fight to their death. This book is a thriller and leaves you on the edge of your seat. You get the opportunity to really connect with the characters, which helps to enrich the story. Each chapter is a cliffhanger and makes you want to keep reading.

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Recommended by: Blaire Taylor

Suggested age range (according to reader): 12 to 15

Why it’s recommended: This is a great book because it correctly uses Greek mythology and seams it perfectly into the story. The characters are great because Percy is funny but Annabeth balances him out with a serious but caring demeanor. Grover just makes it work. He also has a great way of working the whole story into places that actually exist. For example, in the story, Mount Olympus is at the top of the Empire State Building and “Zeus likes that sushi place on 3rd street”. There are many exciting plot twists but no spoilers. This is all waiting for you in this great book. You should check it out, settle into a comfy place, and read it right now.

The Silver Award is the highest award a Girl Scout Cadette can earn. To learn more about the Silver Award, visit Girl Scout Silver Award (gscb.org).

Children’s ebooks Featuring Characters with Learning Differences

World Autism Month kicks off each year with World Autism Awareness Day on April 2. Below, we have compiled a list of children’s books from our ebook collection that feature main characters with learning differences.

Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt (Ages 10 and up)

A finalist for the National Book Award, this book follows 14-year-old Doug as he moves to a new school and navigates tough family dynamics. Doug, who struggles with reading and has grown up in poverty, finds an unlikely friend in the local librarian and discovers his artistic talent through the bird paintings of John James Audubon. It’s a story of loss and recovery with lovable characters and some American history thrown in.

Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson (Ages 8 to 12)

Harbor Me was on last year’s Bluebonnet list and touches on many important issues including learning differences, bullying, and race. When six kids with learning differences get together each Friday afternoon for “special-kids only time”, they share their stories and come to understand each other on a deeper level. This book beautifully displays what it means to care for someone else and listen without judgment, and is a great family conversation starter on friendship and forgiveness.

The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor (Ages 8 to 12)

Mason Buttle has a lot to battle: learning differences, bullies, and grief over his best friend’s death fifteenth months ago. The police don’t believe Mason when he says he had nothing to do with it, and when his new best friend goes missing, Mason is in trouble once again. Can Mason figure out what happened to both of this friends, and will anyone believe the truth when he does?

Hank Zipzer: The World’s Greatest Underachiever series by Henry Winkler (Ages 8 to 12)

Based on Henry ‘the Fonz’ Winkler’s own life and experiences growing up with dyslexia, Hank Zipzer is a funny, relatable 12-year-old boy who finds himself in hilarious everyday situations thanks to his creative mind. After kids read the books, they can also watch the TV show based on the series.

Rules by Cynthia Lord (Ages 9-12)

Catherine’s brother has autism, and her family’s life completely revolves around it. As hard as she tries to teach her brother not to embarrass her in public, it never seems to work. When Catherine meets Jason, a friend she wasn’t expecting, and Kristi, her new neighborhood best friend, she is forced to face her own shocking behavior. Will these experiences change her view of what it means to be ‘normal’?

Roll with It by Jamie Sumner (Ages 10 and up)

Ellie has cerebral palsy and a no-nonsense approach to life. She has a wheelchair but she also has big dreams for her future, including being a professional baker. When she moves to a new town with her mom, she has to deal with not only being the girl in the wheelchair but also the one who lives in a trailer park on the bad side of town. The future is looking gloomy for Ellie until she makes her first-ever friends. Can she convince her mom that this move might be the best thing that has ever happened to them? Fans of Wonder and Out of My Mind will love this book, which is another story of resilience told from a first-person perspective.

Counting by 7s (Ages 10 and up)

Willow Chance loves nature, researching medical conditions, and counting things by 7s. Extremely smart but considered an outcast, she struggles to connect with anyone besides her adoptive parents. Despite all of that, she manages to live a happy life until her adoptive parents are tragically killed in a car accident. Suddenly completely alone in the world, Willow learns to deal with her grief and finds a new surrogate family who loves and accepts her, quirks and all. Willow is very endearing, and readers will find it impossible not to root for her all the way to the end!

The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl (Ages 8 to 12)

Another Bluebonnet selection from last year, this book follows Lucy Callahan, who was struck by lightning several years ago. Although she doesn’t remember the incident, it made her a genius at math and she has been homeschooled ever since. At just 12 years old, she is ready to go to college, but her grandmother insists that she attend one year of middle school first…and make a friend, participate in an activity and read a book that’s not a textbook. Lucy’s OCD doesn’t make any of those things easy, but meeting new friends helps her get outside of her comfort zone and embrace those things that make her unique.

Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick (Ages 10 and up)

Oversized, troubled Max teams up with his new neighbor, the tiny, brilliant boy with Morquio Syndrome named Freak. Together they aim to defend the weak and right wrongs in their town under the name “Freak the Mighty”. This story touches on many difficult themes including bullying and shows that courage isn’t about being big and strong.