New Books & Reviews

The Top-Secret Diary of Celie ValentineThe Top-Secret Diary of Celie Valentine by Julie Sternberg
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the first book in a new series by Julie Sternberg. In FRIENDSHIP OVER, 10 year-old Celie tells about the troubles she is having with her best friend, Lula, who all of a sudden stops talking to Celie. In diary format, which includes drawings, Celie works through her problems, not only with Lula, but also with Jo, her 6th grader older sister. Add to this Celie's granny's dementia, and there is a lot to read in Celie's diary! Having taught fourth grade for many years, I really enjoyed the authentic voice in this book and can't wait to share it with readers this fall! It is sure to be a favorite!

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Soccer Star by Mina Javaherbin
Soccer StarMy rating: 5 of 5 stars

Having enjoyed GOAL by Mina Javaherbin, a Texas Bluebonnet nominee a couple of years ago, I was excited to receive an advance copy of SOCCER STAR. SOCCER STAR is set in Brazil, which is where this year's World Cup will take place. Readers are introduced to Paulo Marcelo Felciano and his goal to become a soccer star so that his mom won't have to work so much. As Paulo goes about his day, taking care of his sister Maria, and fishing to help his family, the reader meets his teammates, who are also working odd jobs to help their families. Along with this look into the poverty in this area, you also see how Paulo and Maria help each other. Maria teaches her brother things she learns in school, and Paulo helps her with soccer. Maria asks often to play on Paulo's soccer team, but some of the boys are determined to keep their team a "boys only" team, and so even though Maria is a very good soccer player, she is told no. When a player gets hurt, the team must decide whether to bring in Maria to help win the big game.

This book provides many opportunities for discussions about overcoming poverty, working hard to achieve goals, and taking care of your family. Just as with GOAL, readers learn about a culture different from their own, which opens up their world just a bit.

The vibrant illustrations by Renato Alarcao bring to life SOCCER STAR with beautiful colors and a sharpness on each page.

I read this book to several different grade levels, including 6th grade, and all groups enjoyed the story as well as the illustrations! Score!

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On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert EinsteinOn a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A biography that is just perfect for young readers. With whimsical illustrations and just enough text, this book tells readers about young Albert and takes them along the journey of his life, showing how he wondered and questioned all along the way.

View all my reviews Tea Party RulesTea Party Rules by Ame Dyckman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When Cub is wandering in the woods and comes upon a little bear at a tea party, with COOKIES, he can't resist. He uses his best manners and ask the little bear if he could have a cookie. He soon realizes the teddy bear is not real, and promises to eat a cookie just for him. Before he even takes a bite, the tea party hostess returns and finds Cub. She notices what a mess Cub is and tells him that he must be clean for the tea party, Tea Party Rules! Many rules follow before Cub is allowed to attend the tea party. The illustrations are perfect! I love the facial expressions of both Cub & the girl! A fun story and great illustrations make this a book not to be missed.

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The Day the Crayons Quit
The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Duncan just wants to color a picture in class one day, but instead of crayons in his box he finds a stack of letters explaining why each of the crayons has quit. The only crayon left is Peach crayon, who has lost his wrapper and is too embarrassed to leave the crayon box. The crayons share their reasons for unhappiness, from being tired of over-use to not enough use. This is a clever book that is sure to be a Back to School favorite!

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Some of the books bought with ATPE Grant!

February '12 New Books

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