Archive for Contemporary


Written by Penelope Arlon and Tory Gordon-Harris

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This is the kind of non-fiction book that boys (and girls) love. Lots of pictures, lots of facts in small bites, and all about a kid’s favorite subject: dinosaurs. Incorporating the latest scientific discoveries, this book attempts to organize the hundreds of known dinosaurs and what scientists have concluded about them. There is attention paid to recreating the time period in which the different species lived. Not only are there illustrations showing the plants and animals from the same time period, there are some prey/predator scenarios presented as well. » Read more

Miss Sally Anne and the Panther

Written by Bobbie Miller
Illustrated by Megan Lloyd

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Miss Sally Ann can rope a hurricane and tie it to her spinning wheel. She can knit in one hand and bake buttermilk bread with the other. But her biggest challenge is to face Fireeyes, a huge panther determined to have Miss Sally Ann’s bear skin coat for his aching shoulders. While she gathers onions for her stew, he comes eye to eye with her. » Read more

I am Albert Einstein

Written by Grace Norwich

Illustrated by Ute Simon

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Books serve many purposes. They encapsulate the learning of many generations. They carry forth the history and culture of a people. Big, heavy tomes can even act as door stops! Books entertain and educate.

Scholastic has brought out a new series that falls squarely in the ‘books that educate’ category. The series, entitled “I Am…”, presents the biographies of famous men and women in an easily comprehensible fashion.

Young Albert Einstein, who grew up to solve many a mystery of the universe, was an mystery to his parents. He did not go through the babbling, simple-word-speaking stage. At two years of age he barely spoke. When his sister was to be brought home from the hospital his parents told him that they were bringing home a “new toy”.  Albert took one look at the newborn and, finally,  spoke, “Where are the wheels?” » Read more

Escape From Mercy Hall

Written by Garth Edwards
Illustrated by Max Stasyuk

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The world behind the hedge is a strange one and three friends must adapt quickly to save themselves from kidnapping or worse. When Milly decides to run away from Mercy Hall, an abusive orphanage, George and Sam know they must help her. As they meet next to the hedge, it opens and three figures in hooded, orange robes grab her and drag her through the opening. George and Sam surprise the kidnappers and fight them off. Before they can go back, the hedge closes. » Read more

Bruno Mars

Written by Amie Jane Leavitt

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Songwriters often stay in the background, but Bruno Mars is becoming a celebrity on the strength of his performances, as well as his songwriting. His style is a blend of 50s and 60s ballad-storytelling with an up-to-date sound. Many artists love his songs and perform them. More and more, however, Bruno and his band record and premiere his songs, especially now that he has won numerous awards including a Grammy and a People’s Choice award. This biography shows that his rise to fame hasn’t been easy. » Read more

A Picture Book of Harry Houdini

Written by David A. Adler and Michael S. Adler

Illustrated by Matt Collins

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Harry Houdini is a subject sure to enthrall young readers. The book opens to a dramatic moment. Houdini is lowered into a tank of water. “If I fail to appear my assistants will do everything possible to save my life.” The opening captures the essence of his career: he was the most celebrated escape artist of his time. » Read more


Written by Penelope Arlon and Tory Gordon-Harris

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Vivid and detailed close ups of bugs are part of the fascination for this creative look at the life of bugs. This is a great way to observe without having to gather the actual bugs and a good way to desensitize the squeamish. Many of the photos are at least one hundred times as large as the real creature, so the reader comes face to face – literally – with bug after bug. Several collections of many, many bugs within a group highlight the contrasts within the group. The authors first explore classification of invertebrates, the relative populations of those classifications, and the physical attributes of invertebrates. » Read more

Addie Slaughter: The Girl Who Met Geronimo

Written by Susan L. Krueger

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If you’ve ever wanted to know what it was really like to live in the Old West, read this book about Addie Slaughter. She was born in the early 1880’s in Texas and lived in many places in the western part of the country before settling around Tombstone, Arizona. The family moved from Texas to Arizona to Oregon and back to Arizona. Written in first person, the text uses a lot of sensory detail to convey the story. For example, Addie describes the cold and wet snow while riding in a wagon. She talks about the smell of the buffalo robe they used to keep out that cold. She also describes the rubble created by the adobe bricks in an earthquake. » Read more

Animal Helpers: Wildlife Rehabilitators

By Jennifer Keats Curtis

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The animal pictures in this book will win hearts, but the message is the important thing here. Most people try to help animals when they are hurt, but many cause more harm than good. If you find yourself in the company of an animal in need, call in the experts. Wildlife rehabilitators know how to best help hurt or abandoned animals and they can teach others the right way to do it, too. This photo-essay shows animal rehabilitators doing a variety of jobs: feeding orphan babies, helping animals that are trapped or tangled, even performing surgery. They train others to have the skills and knowledge to do the right things to help animals in need. The emphasis is on returning animals to the wild whenever possible, but animals living in zoos or education centers are mentioned. » Read more

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