Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Titles I didn't have the wherewithal to review properly.

Various situations are making it hard for me to focus (including my observation this morning!), so I'm giving myself permission to clean out my TBR without always writing reviews. I'm hoping to recalibrate over winter break and do a better job in 2020!

Titles that don't work in my library might be exactly what you need in yours! Take a look!

Denson, Bryan. Catching a Russian Spy: Agent Les Wiser Jr. and the Case of Aldrich Ames
January 21st 2020 by Roaring Brook Press
E ARC Provided by Edelweiss Plus

DEFINITELY BUYING! Just couldn't remember all of the intricate details to write a full review. My students LOVE Agent Kathy Puckett and the Case of the Unabomber, and I'm looking forward to this whole series.

"Aldrich H. "Rick" Ames was a 31-year veteran of the CIA. He was also a Russian spy. By the time Ames was arrested in 1994, he had betrayed the identities of dozens and caused the deaths of ten agents. The notorious KGB (and later the Russian intelligence service, SVR) paid him millions of dollars.

Agent Leslie G. “Les” Wiser, Jr. ran the FBI's Nightmover investigation tasked with uncovering a mole in the CIA. The team worked night and day to collect evidence—sneaking into Ames' home, hiding a homing beacon in his Jaguar, and installing a video camera above his desk. But the spy kept one step ahead, even after agents followed him to Bogota, Colombia. In a crazy twist, the FBI would score its biggest clue from inside Ames' garbage can.

At the time of his arrest on February 21, 1994, he had compromised more highly-classified CIA assets than any other agent in history.

First in the FBI Files, a true-crime series for middle grade readers that follows FBI agents behind the scenes as they work to keep Americans safe."

Swore, Wendy S. The Wish and the Peacock

February 4th 2020 by Shadow Mountain
E ARC Provided by Edelweiss Plus

I enjoyed this book a lot. I loved the details of Paige's family life on the farm, but I have a lot of books where families are losing their farms and don't really need another one, even though this is certainly a painful reality. The cover is also not my favorite. If Swore writes a book about a farm family that is having success, I would definitely purchase it.

"Paige’s favorite family tradition on the farm is the annual bonfire where everyone tosses in a stone and makes a wish. This time, Paige’s specific wish is one she’s not sure can come true: Don’t let Mom and Grandpa sell the farm.

When Paige’s younger brother finds a wounded peacock in the barn, Paige is sure it’s a sign that if she can keep the bird safe, she’ll keep the farm safe too. Peacocks, after all, are known to be fierce protectors of territory and family.

With determination and hard work, Paige tries to prove she can save the farm on her own, but when a real estate agent stakes a “For Sale” sign at the end of the driveway and threatens everything Paige loves, she calls on her younger brother and her best friends, Mateo and Kimana, to help battle this new menace. They may not have street smarts, but they have plenty of farm smarts, and some city lady who’s scared of spiders should be easy enough to drive away.

But even as the peacock gets healthier, the strain of holding all the pieces of Paige’s world together gets harder. Faced with a choice between home and family, she risks everything to make her wish come true, including the one thing that scares her the most: letting the farm go."
 Callender, Kacen. King and the Dragonflies
February 4th 2020 by Scholastic Press
E ARC Provided by Edelweiss Plus

This covers lots of topics: grief over the death of a brother, racism in Louisiana, issues of friendship, and a struggling LGBTQIA+ character. It was a lot to process, and the book was understandably slow and sad. The main character also thinks that his deceased brother has turned into a dragonfly, hence the title.

Just not what I need right now, although I have a lot of students ask for LGBTQIA+ titles. I just wish they were happier choices, like Pancholy's The Best At It.

Cala, Caroline. Miss Impossible (Best Bad Babysitters #3)
February 4th 2020 by HMH Books for Young Readers
E ARC provided by Edelweiss.

Yes, students still babysit, and this series is so much fun. (Bad Babysitters really made my day!) Loved this, but Goodreads has a better synopsis at this point!
"Malia, Dot, and Bree are psyched to land their highest paying job yet—until they get to the house and realize they’re babysitting Zelda Hooper, Bree and Malia’s archnemesis since preschool. Babysitting: not just for babies, apparently. And it’s too much money to walk away from . . . so at least there are no diapers?

But all of the babysitting in the world couldn’t prepare the girls for their unusual new charge, and even though Zelda should be the one who’s embarrassed that three girls her age are getting paid to babysit her, she relishes the chance to tease them on her home turf. Is she really evil or just misunderstood? "
Hopkinson, Deborah. We Had to Be Brave: Escaping the Nazis on the Kindertransport.
February 4th 2020 by Scholastic Focus

E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

The Holocaust Unit our 8th grade does requires a LOT of fiction titles, and I do have students who want to read nonfiction on the topic. This is certainly a fantastic book (everything Hopkinson does is great), but it's on the long side and I may not purchase. It would not see a lot of circulation, so I'll recommend students who need it request it from the public library.

50 Trailblazers of the 50 States: Celebrate the lives of inspiring people who paved the way from every state in America! 
Howard Megdal (Author), Abbey Lossing (Illustrator)
Published November 5th 2019 by Wide Eyed Editions
E ARC Provided by Edelweiss Plus

This was fascinating! You need to buy two copies-- one to put on the shelves, and one to take apart for a bulletin board with a US map. Lots of good information. I may pass, though, because my students always seem to want photographs (when available) of people, and I usually agree.

Ms. Yingling

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