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Youth Fiction Review: All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook by Leslie Connor

Perry T. Cook is pretty average, as far as 11-year-olds go. He looks forward to favorite meals (especially toasted egg and cheese sandwiches), shares jokes with his mom, and worries about whether or not he'll be able to best the school bully in the mile run for the second year in a row. But unlike...

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Picture Book Review: The House That Zack Built by Alison Murray

A classic rhyme gets a fresh twist in The House That Zack Built, a cumulative tale that uses bouncing verse and bright illustrations to unfold delightful mayhem on a farm. Fans of the author's previous book (Hickory Dickory Dog) may recognize Zack and his canine sidekick, Rufus, but The House That...

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Picture Book Review: When Spring Comes by Kevin Henkes

Goodbye, snow; hello, sunshine! Using simple text and thick-lined, brightly colored acrylic illustrations, When Spring Comes describes the subtle changes that herald springtime. This sweet story perfectly captures the magic of shifting seasons, describing sights, sounds, scents, and sensory...

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Youth Fiction Review: Pax by Sara Pennypacker

Pax is a moving middle-grade novel, told from alternate perspectives and set in an unspecified time and place. War is coming, and 12-year-old Peter's whole world is braced for change. When his father leaves for the frontlines, Peter moves in with his grandfather but must leave Pax--Peter's beloved...

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Youth Fiction Review: Soar by Joan Bauer

Soar, the latest novel by the Newbery Honor-winning Joan Bauer, is a smartly narrated feel-good sports story about the power of perseverance and optimism. 12-year-old Jeremiah hasn't had it easy, but he's learned to turn adversity into opportunity. His mother abandoned him when he was just 9 months...

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Youth Fiction Review: A Blind Guide to Stinkville by Beth Vrabel

12-year-old Alice isn't thrilled about moving from Seattle, Washington to Sinkville, South Carolina. In Seattle, Alice never thought twice about the fact that she was born with albinism and severely impaired vision. Everyone--childhood playmates, kids at school, neighbors--already knew about her...

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Picture Book Review: The Wheels on the Tuk Tuk by Kabir Sehgal & Surishtha Sehgal

The classic song "The Wheels on the Bus" is refreshingly reworked in this cheerful adaptation. Tuk tuks (pronounced "took tooks") are a common mode of public transportation in India. The Wheels on the Tuk Tuk allows young readers to explore Indian culture with a journey through a bustling, friendly...

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Youth Nonfiction Review: Breakthrough!: How 3 People Saved 'Blue Babies' and Changed Medicine Forever by Jim Murphy

In 1944, Dr. Alfred Blalock, Dr. Helen Taussig, and research assistant Vivien Thomas boldly developed a successful surgery to treat a life-threatening congenital heart defect (Tetralogy of Fallot).  Author Jim Murphy, a celebrated and masterful veteran of narrative nonfiction, digs beneath the...

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Youth Fiction Review: Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead

As Bridget and her two best friends (Tab and Emily) learn, 7th grade is a whole different world. Bridge, Tab, and Em have been friends forever, and protect their friendship fiercely with a strict "no fighting" rule. But junior high is a time of discovery and change. Em finds a place amid the...

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Picture Book Review: Zen Socks by Jon Muth

Stillwater, the giant panda, returns for another heartwarming adventure with pals Leo and Molly. While the trio dreams and plays together, Stillwater gently imparts lessons about perseverance, patience, kindness, and sharing that are folded into intriguing tales from the Zen tradition. At turns...

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