Juvenile Fiction Selection: Beth's Story, 1914 by Adele Whitby

Beth's Story, 1914 is the first installment in the series Secrets of the Manor. Beth is excited for her twelfth birthday when she will receive her great-grandmother's heirloom necklace as a gift, but when the necklace goes missing Beth must learn the secrets of her manor house in order to clear the name of her maid and friend. While searching for answers Beth finds a hidden diary with clues to a much larger family mystery that dates back generations. Historical fiction and mystery collide in this fun new series. (Grades 4-7 School Library Journal)

Juvenile Fiction Selection: Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer by Kelly Jones

Sophie Brown and her family have just inherited a farm from her great-uncle Jim.  Her father has recently lost his job, her mother is a busy full-time writer, and they have all just moved from the city and have no experience with farming.  Sophie finds a funny little chicken while exploring the farm and begins correspondence with a woman named Agnes of the Redwood Farm Supply company.  Soon Sophie is learning all she can about chickens through trips to the local library and through Agnes's letters.  Something is really different about great-uncle Jim's chickens though and more keep showing up on the farm every day, as well as the mysterious Ms. Griegson who keeps trying to steal them.  It's up to Sophie to keep her new chickens safe and to convince her parents that she is up to the task of being a chicken farmer.  Written entirely in letters to her recently deceased great-uncle Jim and beloved Abuelita, as well as to Agnes of Redwood Farm Supply this is an odd and adorable story about starting over in a new place, making friends, and supernatural chickens!  To accompany this great story are adorable illustrations of all the silly chickens.  (Grades 4-6 School Library Journal)

"The Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkien

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This is the story of a reluctant adventurer who battles enormous forces. Bilbo Baggins, the protagonist, likes his creature comforts and is unsure as he sets out on an incredible journey to complete an important task. In order to succeed he needs to learn how to get along with others and stand up for what he believes in. It is an inspiring tale of adventure, fellowship, uncertainty, and strength.

I am Malala: the girl who stood up for education and was shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai with Christina Lamb

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This beautiful and absorbing book follows the life of a bravely determined young woman, Malala, living in the Swat Valley along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Malala publicly supported female education which was a strong defiant act toward the local Taliban.  With poise, strength, and courage Malala gives us a first person account of what it is like to live in current Pakistani society.  Her detailed narrative of being shot by the Taliban along with her miraculous recovery is truly moving.

Hellstrip Gardening by Evelyn Hadden

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The hellstrip—the space between a street and a public sidewalk which finally gains attention as a space to add curb appeal to your home.  This oft-ignored gardening space can be reclaimed as a small paradise with environmentally friendly plants that thrive in tough situations and with limited water needs. 

Gorgeous color photographs of hellstrip gardens offer inspiration and visual guidance to tackle this new gardening frontier.

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson

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Was the British luxury ocean liner Lusitania, sunk in British waters during World War I, an inevitable casualty of war? Was there anything that could have been done to save her or her civilian passengers, which included a record number of infants and children? Had wartime rules of engagement changed?

Erik Larson’s considerable research illuminates the remarkable series of coincidences and decisions that converged to consign the Lusitania and most of her passengers and crew to a watery grave. Larson skillfully brings individual passengers, captain, crew, and military leaders to life while detailing the behind-the-scenes machinations that played such a significant role in the Lusitania’s sinking.

Whether you enjoy historical nonfiction or have shied away from reading it because of concern about dry text or an avalanche of dates, names, and places, this riveting read is for you.

Sci-Fi Pick For Teens: Apollo's Outcasts

Jamey Barlowe has been unable to walk since childhood, the result of being born on the Moon. Jamey's father sends him, along with five other kids, back to the Moon to escape a political coup that has occurred overnight in the United States. Jamey will have to learn a whole new way to live, one that entails walking for the first time in his life. It won't be easy and it won't be safe. Jamey soon finds himself at the center of a dangerous political struggle stretching from the Earth to the Moon. 

Juvenile Fiction Selection: Masterminds by Gordon Korman

Serenity, New Mexico is an idyllic town where everyone has everything that they need, the lawns are perfectly manicured, and there is no crime.  Serenity is small and there are only thirty kids living in it, including Eli Frieden.  Eli has never left Serenity and why would he ever want to?  All the kids have pools, he has his friends, and his father is the mayor and principal of the school. This town seems perfect and Eli is perfectly happy to live there.  Everything changes the day his best friend Randy convinces him to ride their bikes to the edge of town.  Something strange happens to Eli when he hits the town limits; he gets terribly sick and has to be rescued.  The next thing he knows Randy is getting sent away to live with his grandparent's in Colorado.  Things are changing in Serenity, especially when Eli discovers a secret letter Randy has left him that leads to even more surprises.  Eli teams up with two other kids, Tori and Malik, and together they discover that Serenity is not at all what it seems, and neither are they!  (Grades 4-6 School Library Journal)


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