Tag Archives: Friendship

POSTED: “Sticky notes were the weapons and words were the ammunition.”

by David Anderson, author of Ms. Bixby’s Last Day

Lexile 750L; recommended for ages 8 to 12

Summer 2017 Kids’ Indies Next List, Top 10

This will resonate..

Cell phones are banned at Branton Middle School.  One could say that things had gotten out of hand.

Inexcusable“, the teacher had said regarding a certain post.

The students,  masterful at getting around things, devise a  plan to connect and paper “text”, which you’ve already guessed by the state of the locker above.  In all fairness, the idea was started by Frost and his friends, Deedee, Wolf, and Bench. The posts get personal, mean and vicious, and matters intensify all round.

The novel covers a lot of what goes on in a Middle School, about the hard stuff at home and on school turf.  It’s about finding “your people” and then trying to keep it all together.  It’s about a newcomer, Rose,  who threatens to derail  life itself, and it’s about words going viral.  Events escalate and the pressure mounts on every front.

This is a great read and like all great reads, teaches something important.





The Icarus Show: Do you believe a boy can fly?

The Icarus Show 

By Sally Christie

Recommended for Upper Elementary through Middle School

 217 pgs. I

“Alex has worked out a foolproof plan to avoid being picked on. Don’t react. It’s so simple, it just might work.”  

David Marsh, on the other hand, has chosen his own relentless path, and will suffer for it.  Alex who can be such a wuss agonizing over some bully creeps is nonetheless intrigued by David and finds himself drawn into his company.  Alex lands up helping David build his project.  The plot unfolds towards a dark revelation when Alex comes to understand something about David’s motives. This read gets tense. I think you will enjoy it!

The myth of Icarus: “Icarus and his father attempt to escape from Crete by means of wings that his father constructed from feathers and wax. Icarus’ father warns him first of complacency and then of hubris, asking that he fly neither too low nor too high, so the sea’s dampness would not clog his wings or the sun’s heat melt them. Icarus ignored his father’s instructions not to fly too close to the sun; when the wax in his wings melted he tumbled out of the sky and fell into the sea where he drowned.”  Wikipedia





Tell someone, and don’t wait!

The Summer of Owen Todd by Tony Abbott

What do you do when the only way to help a friend may also hurt him?

“Children should always speak up, no matter how it might hurt to do so… Better to lose a friend than lose a life.” Abbott

  217 pages

I read this in one shot, and it was both gut-wrenching and heart-breaking. That is the author’s intent. I can’t get my head around recommending this to its stated audience, namely eight year old kids and up,  but the truth is that child abuse is an appalling reality for some very young people.  Abbott directs his strong message to those who know something bad is happening to a friend. The message is to speak up and tell a trusted adult.  Secrets, he shows, are often destructive, because the perpetrators threaten and menace the victim, and threats add layers of terror and guilt to the act of child-abuse itself.

The message unfolds in a strong story with believable characters and, ironically,  a lot of normal life going on around.  One doesn’t let up and relax to enjoy.  The menace is prevalent throughout. This book will make you sad and angry, but it is a necessary message for all.

Tony Abbott is a skillful and prolific writer of fantasy, adventure and other genres, and you’ll do yourself a favor by visiting his website to see what else he writes.  http://www.tonyabbottbooks.com/books/

Scar Island

“Scar Island” by Dan Gemeinhart

published by Scholastic, 2017, 249 pages

Appeals to 5th to 7th graders


“The jerks are gone,” he said. “We can do. Whatever. We. Want.”

This fast paced thriller will keep you reading until the last page.  The story is set in a Dickensian prison reformatory on an island. The men who oversee the boys, “scabs”, are scheming and sadistic.  One of the unfortunate boys, Jonathan, is convicted of arson. Jonathan has his own guilt to come to terms with and consequently feels he needs to be punished. He arrives by boat to sit out his sentence in this foul place that, contrary to public perception, is dangerous with labyrinthine corridors, large rats and storms at sea. Fear, however, is the unexpected human element. When you come to the end of the book, another twist awaits you – a good one.

The story takes several unexpected turns which make it hugely entertaining. Parallels to Lord of the Flies by William Golding and other literature will make this a savvy read for anyone in Upper Elementary and Middle School.

Visit Dan Gemeinhart at his website and find out about his two other novels: Some Kind of Courage and The Honest Truth.