The Invention of Hugo Cabret

From Leslie Rode
Title:  The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Author:  Brian Selznick
Great fantasy/mystery book to read….even aloud to your older children.  Great story about a 12 year old poor orphaned boy living in Paris who basically goes on a journey that invites him into the lives of interesting people, which changes his own life forever.  There are many beautiful, intricate pencil drawings that are essential to the story.  A real picture book for adults that can be shared with children 🙂

Nicholas Dane

From Divya Teen Book Reviewer 
Author:   Melvin  Burgess
Nicholas Dane 
 Nicholas Dane by Melvin Burgess is a book about fourteen-year-old Nicholas Dane, who seems like your typical popular boy (good looks, leader,etc.), getting everything whisked away from him when his mother dies after a heroin overdose. Nicholas goes to live with Jenny, his mother’s best friend but he is eventually relocated to Meadow Hill Assessment Center after he gets into a fight at school. This isn’t just any boarding school, it’s one for boys with violence issues and he soon realizes that after a couple of fights. There he befriends a boy named Oliver and both of them have to face the inhumane wrath of the home’s deputy head, Tony Creal. Read this book to find out if the boys get out alive and sane! I would give this book eight out of ten stars (ten being the highest) because it is very interesting and keeps you on the edge of your seat. However, this story takes place in Britain, so there are many English terms that you may not be familiar with!

Spring Pearl : the last flower

From Donna Barnes
author: Yep, Laurence
Spring Pearl : the last flower 
Looking for a book with an adventurous heroine? Spring Pearl by Laurence Yep is a book from the Girls of Many Land series that offers readers a suspenseful and eye opening adventure to the world of Canton, China during the 1857 Opium War. 

Spring Pearl is 12 years old when her parents die, leaving her in the care of a wealthy family.  Because of her independent nature and her intelligence, Spring Pearl initially intimidates her host family.  However, it is her intelligence and quick wit that saves her host family when the Opium War erupts.  Because Spring Pearl grew up in the Rats’ Nest-a very poor section of Canton- she is able to navigate between both the poor and the wealthy sections of Canton with ease. The book delivers a taste of what life was like for young girls growing up in China in the 19th century.  The author provides historical notes and many photos, as well as a “Then and Now” afterword that draws on Yep’s story to contrast conditions facing girls in 19th century China with those today.

The Capture (Guardians of Ga’Hoole: Book 1)

From Donna Barnes
author: Lasky, Kathryn
 The Capture (Guardians of Ga’Hoole: Book 1)
With the upcoming movie release of The Guardians of Ga’Hoole, based on the book with the same name by Kathryn Lasky, I read the book and was pleasantly surprised at all of the wonderful messages of friendship, leadership and believing in yourself that this book contains.

Owl chicks and eggs are taken away from their parents and put through mind erasing exercises.  Two owl chicks ( Soren and Gylfie ) talk at length about how losing their parents has affected them.  During each mind erasing exercise forced upon these baby owls, Soren and Gylfie tell each other the legends of the hero owls of Ga’Hoole to keep them sane.  All the while, they are hatching (no pun intended) a plan to learn how to fly and escape  to save themselves.  The story of their escape is as exciting as their friendship is touching.

Great messages, heroic characters, plenty of information on owls and their attributes.