Monday, July 22, 2013

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Applegate, Katherine. 2012. The One and Only Ivan. Harper: New York, NY. ISBN: 978‐0‐06‐1992261.

The One and Only Ivan takes place in a Mall off the highway, where a small makeshift circus calls home. Ivan is a silverback gorilla who lives in this circus and has been the center attraction of the mall for quite some time. During his stay at the circus, he has made friends with Stella the older elephant and Bob the stray dog who visits at night. Ivan is a curious gorilla who is a "famed" artist and loves to create artwork for the night custodian's daughter Julie. The circus owner "Mack" has been struggling with the steady decline of mall visitors and is not able to properly take care of the animals because of the decline. In efforts to improve the mall circus, he decides to buy a baby elephant named Ruby. Stella immediately takes in the frightened elephant and treats her as if she was her own. As time goes on Stella becomes very ill from a foot wound and ends up passing away. Before dying, she asks Ivan to help free Ruby by finding a way to get her out of the circus. Through Ivan's multiple attempts and getting Julie's help, he is successful in completing this task. Ruby and other animals make it to the zoo and eventually Ivan is able to move there as well. This story is about friendship and struggle. It also shows you that if there is a will then there is a way. By the end of the book everyone will fall in love with Ivan and cheer him on as he goes through his efforts to rescue Ruby. 

I would highly recommend this book to students ages 8 and up. Any animal lover is sure to love this book and would be excited to know that this was based on a true story. Students will be encouraged to go and even visit the real Ivan at the Atlanta zoo and see how he is doing. This story provides a realistic example for students to see where story ideas can come from, and they can even work on comparing the fictional story to the real life version. The One and Only Ivan is a must read for all!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Wonder is an 2013-2014 Texas Bluebonnet Award nominee. This realistic fiction chapter book follows the life of a child named August Pullman, who suffers from a facial deformity. Because of his deformity, August has struggled with making friends and fitting in. August has been home schooled his entire life and at the start of middle school, his parents decide to send him to school for his 5th grade year. The story tells about his challenges with bullying, making friends and trying to fit in despite his abnormal looking face.  This novel also tells of his victories and how staying positive can take you places. Wonder is mostly told from August's point of view, but it also has several other narrators such as his sister and his school peers. It was interesting to hear the other narrators sides of the story and this really added more depth to the book, which aides the readers understanding of the characters actions and feelings. 

 Wonder is a great book for students in 4th through 6th grade. Many of the situations that he faces such as bullying and friendship problems, easily relate to the older elementary level and the problems that they face daily. Wonder is truly a wonderful book and I highly recommend everyone to check it out!

Palacio, R.J. (2012). Wonder. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knoph. ISBN: 978037596902

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Bluebonnet Book: Walls Within Walls

Author Maureen Sherry created a dynamic story involving Mystery, Adventure, and Suspense making Walls Within Walls is a definite page turner.

The Smithfork children find themselves in the middle of an adventure and some danger when they discover that their new posh apartment has a secret- lots of them. Mr. Post, the original owner, was a lover of  puzzles. He created a puzzle within the walls of the apartment to hide is fortune from everyone except his children; his children Eloise and Julian never found the codes nor the fortune.
It is when the Smithfork children play football in the apartment that the secret codes are discovered and sends them on the adventure of their lives.

Visit for fun activities with this title

Lesley Roane, MIS
Librarian, Mooneyham Elementary

Monday, June 24, 2013


Freaky Fast Frankie Joe

by Lutricia Clifton

Eleven-year-old Frankie Joe Huckaby, forced to live with the father he never knew, a stepmother, and four stepbrothers in Illinois, starts a delivery service to finance his escape back to his mother in Texas, not realizing he is making a better life for himself than he ever had with her.

from Good Reads

Monday, June 17, 2013


Beauty  by Bill Wallace is an older book, but it is still one of my all time favorite books! This book will tug at your heart! You will laugh and you may cry. Although this book is fiction, it was inspired by real life events of Bill Wallace. At eleven years old, his grandmother took him to buy a horse he named, Beauty.

Read below for more information from Titlewave.

ISBN-13: 978-1-41694-942-8
ISBN-10: 1-41694-942-9
Dewey: -Fic-
Classifications: Fiction
Interest Level: 3-6 Reading Level: 4.0
Notes: Unhappy about his parents splitting up and moving with his mother to Grandpa's farm, eleven-year-old Luke finds comfort in riding and caring for a horse named Beauty.
From the Publisher: A Horse Named Beauty She was an old horse, but she still had a lot of life in her. And she was the best friend Luke needed after the pain of his parents' divorce and the move to Oklahoma to live with his difficult grandfather. Luke could have had a younger horse, one better able to keep up with a boy's adventures. But it was Beauty that Luke loved. He found himself sharing his hopes, dreams, and fears with the old horse. With Beauty, Luke was finally able to enjoy life again.
Until one night, in a wild storm, Beauty escapes from the corral into a terrible trap, and Luke is faced with the most difficult decision he's ever had to make.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Award Winner Wednesday: Glory Be

One of the books up for the 2013-2014 Bluebonnet Award is Glory Be by Augusta Scattergood.

With the the Fourth of July AND Gloriana June Hemphill's 12th birthday coming, the community pool CANNOT be closing!!  It just can't - especially since Glory has celebrated all of her birthdays there.  And there is just no way that Glory's best friend Frankie is mad at her JUST for talking to the new Yankee girl in town - even if her mama is rumored to be with those "Freedom People." And why is her sister acting so strange?  Does it have to do with the the new boy Robbie?

Big changes are coming to Hanging Moss, Mississippi in the summer of 1964... And Glory finds herself right in the middle!!!


Monday, June 10, 2013

Genre Spotlight: Historical Fiction

Are you a history buff?
Do you like to read about things that could have really happened?
Do you like learning about important historical events?

If this describes you, you should try...


One of the best known and most popular historical fiction series is Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie series.
This series chronicles a family's move from the Wisconsin to the prairie as they navigate the American frontier.

Another great historical fiction option is the I Survived series by Lauren Tarshis. Follow along as the main characters in these books fight for their lives in such occurrences as the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 and the shark attacks of 1916!!

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly takes place in Texas in 1899.  Eleven year old Calpurnia longs to study the natural world with her grandfather whom she's just getting to know.  Is she destined to a life of "housewifery" or will she be afforded the same opportunities as her six brothers?

After surviving polio, 12 year old Nick struggles with wearing a leg brace and no longer being the best pitcher in town.  However, when the owner of his dad's team signs the great Satchel Paige, Nick begins to find purpose and inspiration.

Have you read these already?  Here's a list of other favorites:

Crispin - 14th century England
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas - World War II
Al Capone Does My Shirts - Alcatraz Island
Out of the Dust - Oklahoma Dust Bowl
Countdown - Cuban Missile Crisis
The Earth Dragon Awakes: The San Francisco Earthquake of 1906