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Scholastic Book Fair: March 2013

When I became a parent, one of the greatest moments of my life was realizing that they still had Scholastic book fairs in the schools.  I have a 10 and a 4 year old and several times a year they bring home those glorious little sheets and we pour over them, marking our selections.  The Mr. groans because he knows that we are going to spend more money and have to find more space for books.  But we love it.  So I am starting a new regular feature here, my online Scholastic Book Fair where I highlight five titles coming out this month from Scholastic for Tweens and Teens that you’ll want to know about.

March 2013

Hide and Seek by Kate Messner
If you have not read it yet, I recommend that you read Capture the Flag, the first mystery in this series by Kate Messner (reviewed earlier).  Messner presents a diverse cast of tweens whose family members are part of a secret treasure protecting organization, think a little bit Indiana Jones and a little bit National Treasure.  These are fun, action packed mysteries that highlight friendship, problem solving and doing what is right.  The tween and I have read them both aloud as bedtime reads and they are a good time. 3.5 out of 5 stars, recommended. (Ages 10 and up)

Rotten by Michael Northrop
Northrop is the author of Trapped, which I also recommend.  Everyone loves a good dog story, and this one has a little bit to it – literally.  When Jimmer “JD” Dobbs returns from “upstate”, he finds there is a new resident in his home – a rescued Rottweiler.  The two become fast friends, but that friendship is threatened when Johnny Rotten – why yes, he did name the dog after the lead singer of the Sex Pistols – stands up for his friend.  One snap of the jaws can change everything.  3.5 out of 5 stars, a good read about troubled teens and the power of friendship, all kinds. (Ages 12 and up)

When the Butterflies Came by Kimberley Griffiths Little
On the outside, it seems like Tara’s life is perfect.  But her beloved grandmother has just died, her mother is so depressed she can barely get out of bed and her and her sister can’t seem to get a long.  When the butterflies come at her grandmother’s funeral, Tara knows there is one final mystery she must solve.  When the Butterflies Came is an amazing mystery, full of clues and cyphers and a building sense of danger.  But it is also a touching tale of family and self discovery.  4 out of 5 stars, highly recommended. (Ages 10 and up)

The Look by Sophia Bennett
Ted doesn’t have what it takes to be a supermodel, but her sister Ava does.  Ava also is incredibly sick, so Ted tries her hand at modeling while the family tries to hold it together.  The cover would make you think that this is a superficial look at the life of a model, but it is not.  At its heart, it is the tale of sisters and a family trying to make it through difficult times: “Oh, right. I can find out if I’m a supermodel yet, and Ava can find out if she’s still alive. Brilliant.”  This is an interesting read with some thoughtful discussions. 3.5 out of 5 stars. (Ages 12 and up)

Prisoner B-3087 by Alan Gratz
With the recent discovery that the Holocaust was more horrific than historians thought, this is a good time to remind young readers about this terrible time in our world’s history.

Survive. At any cost.

10 concentration camps.

10 different places where you are starved, tortured, and worked mercilessly.

It’s something no one could imagine surviving.

But it is what Yanek Gruener has to face.

As a Jewish boy in 1930s Poland, Yanek is at the mercy of the Nazis who have taken over. Everything he has, and everyone he loves, have been snatched brutally from him. And then Yanek himself is taken prisoner — his arm tattooed with the words PRISONER B-3087.

He is forced from one nightmarish concentration camp to another, as World War II rages all around him. He encounters evil he could have never imagined, but also sees surprising glimpses of hope amid the horror. He just barely escapes death, only to confront it again seconds later.

Can Yanek make it through the terror without losing his hope, his will — and, most of all, his sense of who he really is inside?

Based on an astonishing true story. (from goodreads.com)

Gut wrenching, real and relevant.  Highly recommended. 4.5 out of 5 stars. (Ages 10-14)