A witty and suspenseful tale of a brutal governess and the three brave young souls under her care–Bonnie, Sylvia, and Simon–who together must save the Willoughby estate from the destructive effects of her terrible reign.
When I picked up The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, I knew it had been around a long time, but I thought I would give an “oldie” a chance . . . 12 books later, I’m ready to recommend these titles by Joan Aiken to anyone who loves wicked mean bad guys, occasional witches, (both good and bad) solid and true underdogs, and tales of adventure with suspense and . . . well, yes, occasionally there are gruesome parts when the bad guys seem to be getting ahead.
Set in London in a period in the early 19th Century during the fictional reign of King James III before cars and airplanes, the characters travel by carriage, ship, and on foot to realistically imagined locations speaking in dialects that reflect social classes in England and surrounding countries. Dido, Simon, and the other characters in this series are often witty in the gritty and absurd situations that occur in their lives. Like The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, or Peter and the Starcatchers, these books will grab you and keep you up reading at night long after your bed time.
IndyPL has these titles in audio CD, eAudio, eBook, paper and hardcover book formats. On a side note, The Whispering Mountain is considered #0 in the series.
Recommended by: Raylene Jordan – The Learning Curve @Central Library
The Miami, Potawatomi, Kickapoo, Mascoutens, Delaware (Lenape), Shawnee were some of the Native Americans that lived in Indiana before settlers came here. One of the most well-known Native Americans from Indiana is the Miami Chief, Little Turtle. The websites and books below will help you learn more about Native Americans all over country, especially those who lived in Indiana.
Just in time for Halloween (and the holidays) comes Jamie Harrington’s The Unofficial Guide to Crafting the World of Harry Potter. Do you have a Harry Potter fan in your life? Need something to add to your costume? Want a fun craft project for over holiday break? Need a little add-to gift? This book is for you.
Many craft books for kids sound great in theory, but aren’t very accessible for children. This one is different. Most of the crafts deal with either heat (hot glue guns/ microwave) or paint, but even young children could make these with adult supervision. The crafts will appeal to a huge range of ages and skill levels. Adults will find some of the crafts appealing, as well–I am definitely making a wand pencil and spellbook! The crafts are useful, too–not the throw-away busywork crafts that are sometimes aimed at children. Along with the instructions for the projects (which include plenty of pictures), Harrington includes tips and ideas for making the project original or adapting the basic idea for a different project.
Another thing that stands out to me is how beautifully photographed and designed this book is. While it is unauthorized, the feel of the book is very official. The pages look like worn papyrus and the graphics are believably Potter-esque. Some crafts included: dementor melt and pour soap, marauder’s map mug, house color tye-die shirts, snitch necklace, and a Monster Book of Monsters tablet cover.
Recommended by: Jennifer Newswanger-Smith – East Washington Library
If you were asked to name an intelligent animal, what would you say? A gorilla? The chimpanzees studied by Jane Goodall? A dolphin maybe? When I think of an intelligent animal I usually think of Koko first, the gorilla Mr. Rogers visited who knew American Sign Language. I doubt if I would name a bird, any type of bird, let alone a common one like a crow.
In Crow Smarts, I learned that birds are actually really smart. I learned to think about human brains and animal brains differently. As the book says, “…there is more than one way to build a brain.” (page 27) Birds CAN problem solve and use tools, their brains are not exactly like ours, but they can still do similar things.
It was also really interesting to meet Gavin and Guido – two scientists who study crows. Really great photographs show what it is really like to be a scientist studying animals out in the wild. I liked getting to know them. What a great job they have!
Believe it or not, there is a movement going on in schools around the country involving KINDNESS. Students are being taught the importance of kindness towards others, then asked to perform random acts of kindness themselves. Kids can change the world by acting with kindness!
Be Cool. Get in on the KINDNESS craze by reading one of these books!
The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes – Wanda Petronski is different from all the other girls in Room 13. Every day she wears the same faded blue dress to school, and every day she tells about her hundred dresses at home. Her classmates joke about her imaginary clothes – until they learn the wonderful secret of the dresses. Newbery Honor Book, 1945 Print, eBook, eAudiobook
Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson – Chloe realizes that she and her friends have been wrong in making fun of new student Maya’s shabby clothes and refusing to play with her. Print, eAudiobook
Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo – Ten-year-old India Opal Buloni describes her first summer in the town of Naomi, Florida, and all the good things that happen to her because of her big ugly dog Winn-Dixie. Newbery Honor Book, 2001. Print, CD, Spanish, eBook, eAudiobook
The BFG by Roald Dahl – The Big Friendly Giant is no ordinary bone-crunching giant. He is far too nice and it’s lucky for Sophie that he is. If she had been carried off by any of the other giants she would have been breakfast. When Sophie hears that the giants are headed to England to steal some little children, she and the BFG decide they must stop them once and for all. Print, Spanish, CD, eBook, eAudiobook
Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco – At first, Trisha loves school, but her difficulty learning to read makes her feel dumb, until, in the fifth grade, a new teacher helps her understand and overcome her problem. Print, Spanish, eAudiobook
Great Joy by Kate DiCamillo – Just before Christmas, when Frances sees a sad-eyed organ grinder and his monkey performing near her apartment, she cannot stop thinking about them, wondering where they go at night, and wishing she could do something to help. Print, Spanish
El Deafo by Kate DiCamillo – Going to school and making new friends can be tough. But going to school and making new friends while wearing a bulky hearing aid strapped to your chest? That requires superpowers! In this funny, poignant graphic novel memoir, author/illustrator Cece Bell chronicles her hearing loss at a young age and her subsequent experiences with the Phonic Ear, a very powerful–and very awkward–hearing aid. The Phonic Ear gives Cece the ability to hear–sometimes things she shouldn’t–but also isolates her from her classmates. She really just wants to fit in and find a true friend, someone who appreciates her as she is. After some trouble, she is finally able to harness the power of the Phonic Ear and become “El Deafo, Listener for All.” And more importantly, declare a place for herself in the world and find the friend she’s longed for. Young Hoosier Book Award, 2016-2017, 4-6 Nominee. Print, eBook
Wonder R.J. Palacio – Ten-year-old Auggie Pullman, who was born with extreme facial abnormalities and was not expected to survive, goes from being home-schooled to entering fifth grade at a private middle school in Manhattan, which entails enduring the taunting and fear of his classmates as he struggles to be seen as just another student. Young Hoosier Book Award, 2014-2015, 4-6 Nominee. Print, CD, Large Print, Spanish, eBook
Tua and the Elephant by R.P. Harris – In Chiang Mai, Thailand, nine-year-old Tua releases an abused elephant from its chains–can she complete the rescue by getting it to an elephant refuge without being caught herself? Print, eBook
Boxes for Katje by Candace Fleming – After a young Dutch girl writes to her new American friend in thanks for the care package sent after World War II, she begins to receive increasingly larger boxes. Young Hoosier Book Award, 2006-2007, K-3 Nominee. Print
Counting by 7’s by Holly Goldberg Sloan – Twelve-year-old genius and outsider Willow Chance must figure out how to connect with other people and find a surrogate family for herself after her parents are killed in a car accident. Print, CD, eBook, eAudiobook
Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli – An anonymous valentine changes the life of the unsociable Mr. Hatch, turning him into a laughing friend who helps and appreciates all his neighbors. Print
Books recommended by: Kristen Williams, guest blogger and former Indianapolis school teacher