Contact PMSDirections to PMSSite Map

pmslibrary@piedmont.k12.ca.us Subscribe to my updates

Archive for September, 2019

CYRM NOMINEES 2019-20

Tuesday, September 24th, 2019

Here are our California Young Reader Medal Nominees for 23019-20!

You have until the end of March to read all three in each category. Then you can vote to select the winners!!

 

 

 

 

No Fixed Address

Monday, September 9th, 2019

by Susin Nielsen, 280 pages, Grades 6-8.

Felix has had a lot of different homes, he has gone to a lot of different schools, his mom has had a lot of different jobs and a lot of different partners. You could say Felix is kind of an expert when it comes to change and instability, but this time, this living situation might be too much even for a veteran of change such as Felix. His mom, currently out of work, and out of a living situation “borrows” her x-boyfriend’s van which, she explains, will be a fun way to live for a little while. The view out the window can be different and new every day. Of course, she is not talking about the down sides to living in a van, like not having a kitchen for making food – “We’ll get take-out,” not having a shower – “We’ll join a gym,” and not having a bathroom! Felix believes his mom wants the best for him, but the question is, does she really know what that is? And, if so, can she really provide it?

If you enjoy books about kids in difficult living situations, you might also enjoy: Guitar Boy, by M.J. Auch, or Waiting for Normal by Leslie Connor, or Hold Fast, by Blue Balliet.

Copper Sun

Monday, September 9th, 2019

by Sharon Draper, 302 pages, Grades 8 and up

Amari lived a happy life in a beautiful African village. The biggest thing on her mind was her betrothal to Besa who she thought was very handsome; that was until the day the strangers with pink skin and strange weapons arrived. Of course, her village elders made arrangements to welcome these strangers as was the custom, but the white men took advantage of this hospitality and Amari’s village was suddenly under attack. Beaten and chained the survivors were marched to a slave castle to await their terrible fate; Amari and Besa were among them. Survival usually thought of as a good thing, but the trials Amari faces are so devastating it is not surprising that she wonders why she still lives, and struggles with how she will go on.

Stories about American slavery are always sad, but somehow Sharon Draper weaves hope into this book as well. If you enjoy this author, you might also like some of her contemporary novels: Blended, and Out of My Mind, or if you like historical fiction with African American protagonists you might also like Chains, by Laurie Halse Anderson, or Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers

Nowhere Boy

Wednesday, September 4th, 2019

by Katherine Marsh, 362 pages, Grades 6-8.

Max has just moved from the U.S. to Belgium with his family. The family is renting a home in Brussels and Max will be attending the local middle school where the language is FRENCH! He doesn’t yet speak French which seems like a big problem to Max – it’s hard enough to understand a school’s culture and make friends in a new school when you DO speak the language, but Max’s parents are unsympathetic. 

Ahmed has just arrived in Brussels as well, but he is a refugee from Syria. He would give anything to attend school, even if it was in another language, but the more urgent problems for him are finding a place to sleep and food to eat. It is especially tough for anyone who looks Muslim in Brussels because of the recent terror attack, so Ahmed thinks it is best to hide out an lay low for a while. The safe place he finds to hide is a basement room full of boxes… boxes being stored because the home is being rented out to a family from the U.S.

If you are interested in reading more stories about refugees and immigrants you might also enjoy: Refugee, by Alan Gratz, Salt to the Sea, Ruta Sepetys, or In The Sea There Are Crocodiles, by Fabio Geda.

Nick and June

Wednesday, September 4th, 2019

by Shalanda Stanley,  298 pages, Grades 7 and up.

The love between Nick and June is not the problem in this story. They love each other, they are a perfect match, they only want the best for each other, and their friends support them too, but their lives are very complicated and are unraveling in ways they may never be able to weave back together. Nick has no family to speak of, he works for a car repair place that makes most of its money dismantling stolen cars and selling their parts which means that Nick has had some trouble with law enforcement. June started hearing voices and, for a while, she was able to cope by tuning them out and keeping busy, but they have become more and more insistent and it is clear she cannot go this alone; she needs professional help. Can their love story survive? Or will the faith in their love be their personal undoing?

If you enjoy love stories you might also like: The Truth About Forever, by Sarah Dessen, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, by Jenny Han, or Geography of You and Me, by Jennifer Smith.

Here to Stay

Wednesday, September 4th, 2019

by Sara Farizan, 265 pages, Grades 8 and up.

Bijan loves playing basketball; mostly he just wants to have a normal high school experience. He is an amazing basketball player and all was going well until someone photoshopped his face into a photo of someone else to make him look like a terrorist and shared it with the whole school! Bijan just wants to forget it and hope everyone else will ignore it. It’s not that he is ashamed of his middle eastern heritage, he just doesn’t want to be the token Muslim American; he doesn’t want to stand out for any reason, especially his race. Unfortunately he can’t control everyone around him and it does become a big deal for his friends, family, the school administration, and there are also people at school and in the community who are now voicing their predjudice. What can Bijan do to get back to normal, and who can he trust to help him?

If you like books with sports that are really about more that the sport itself, you might also enjoy: 

Under the Blood Red Sun, by Graham Sallisbury, Heat, by Mike Lupica, or The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie.

Untwine

Wednesday, September 4th, 2019

by Edwidge Danticat, 303 pages, Grades 7 and up.

Giselle and Isabelle are very close friends AND identical twins. In fact, they’re so close that when the family gets in a car accident the living twin can’t quite understand which one she is. She is severely injured and barely conscience; nurses and doctors come and go taking care of her as she watches from somewhere seemingly far away. Her parents have also been injured in the accident, will they know which twin sits before them? And, in the end of the day, can one twin survive without the other? 

If you like stories about interesting family circumstances you might also enjoy: Waiting for Normal, by Leslie Connor, or Guitar Boy, by M.J. Auch. Or, if you enjoy sad stories you might also like reading: Boy in the Black Coat, by Jason Reynolds, or My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece, by Annabel Pitcher.

 

The Parker Inheritance

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019

by Varian Johnson, 331 pages, Grades 6 and up

Candice is pretty unhappy to be in South Carolina with her mom instead of back in Washington D.C. with both of her parents. Her parents are  trying to unstitch their marriage and her mother wanted some space in her hometown while they work it out. It is hard struggling with the loss of her family and trying to be comfortable in a new place, but she when she finds a letter written by her great-grandmother containing a mystery and then meets Brandon, the perfect mystery-solving companion, things start to get interesting. Brandon and Candice believe they are searching for a long lost treasure as they read and do research about the people mentioned in her great grandma’s letter. The whole history of the town and the mystery specifically is steeped in racial tension both historical and contemporary. Something happened when a tennis match was played between Wallace School (white) and Perkins School (African American) in the 1950s. What did her great grandmother have to do with it? And, who are Siobhan, Enoch and Leanne and how do they fit in? Brandon and Candice follow twists and turns in their search for answers. Racism, colorism (prejudice and privilege based on the shade of your skin even within the Black community) and the concept of passing for white all play a role in this complex historical mystery.

If you enjoy a good mystery, you might also like Hold Fast, by Blue Balliett, or if you are more into historical adventure you might like Elijah of Buxton, by Christopher Paul Curtis. If you enjoy books about family with a little mystery too, you might like As Brave As You, by Jason Reynolds.

Girl in the Blue Coat

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019

by Monica Hesse, 301 pages, Grades 8 and up

Hanneke is growing up in Holland during World War II; she is trying to help her family make ends meet by working in a funeral home. Even that is not enough, so when her boss suggests she would be good at working in the Black Market, she decides to do this job as well. The Black Market, illegal secret trade,  arose when many goods that people were accustomed to having access to suddenly became scarce because the Nazis were taking them all for themselves. Some things could be found and secretly traded if you had money. Hanneke looks German enough to have more freedom than many living under the German occupation; she is also clever and has figured out how to weasel out of sticky situations cooly. Hanneke’s boss and Hanneke find things people request, people of Amsterdam pay dearly, and Hanneke makes deliveries. She feels like she is doing her best to survive a terrible wartime situation, but one day someone asks for someONE instead of someTHING and she suddenly feels the true weight and cost of this terrible war. 

If you like books about World War 2, we have a lot of different stories from that period. Under The Blood Red Sun, by Graham Salisbury takes place in Hawaii after Pearl Harbor is bombed, Salt to the Sea, by Ruta Sepetys is about refugees at the end of the war trying to escape via the ship called Wilhelm Gustloff, Invasion, by Walter Dean Myers is about D-day, and All The Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr, a book written with an adult audience in mind, but with young characters is about the occupation of France by Nazis. 

 

Return to Sender

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019

by Julia Alvarez, 325 pages, Grades 6-8

Tyler’s family was worried about making ends meet after his dad gets hurt in a tractor accident. Luckily they found a couple of workers to hire so they can keep the farm running without Tyler’s dad. The two men are brothers and they move in to the workers cabin with one brother’s family – three daughters. 

Mari is the eldest of three daughters, but their age is not the biggest difference. Her sisters were born in the U.S. so they are really American; Mari and her parents came from Mexico when she was tiny. They are undocumented and are always in fear of being deported, but that is not all Mari is worried about. Her mom went home to Mexico to help her grandma and they have not heard from her since she started her journey back to the U.S. Did she get stopped by immigration? How will she find them now that they are in a new home helping out on Tyler’s farm? 

If you enjoy books about refugees and people seeking better places to live, you might also enjoy: Refugee, by Alan Gratz, Nowhere Boy, by Katherine Marsh, In the Sea There are Crocodiles, by Fabio Geda.

Congtagion

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019

by Erin Bowman, 423 pages, Grades 7 and up

The Odyssey crew receives a distress from a nearby planet. The cold, dark planet is inhabited by the mining industry, so the Odyssey expects to find a busy industrial complex when they land at the station. Instead the whole station seems quiet, and then they find bodies. So many bodies, some strewn throughout the station, throats cut, bleeding from the eyes, some piled in a mass grave in the mine shaft frozen and unmoving. Instead of running back to the ship the team decides to investigate; they will collect a body to autopsy in the lab so they can understand the disease that overcame an entire mining company, but when they try to collect a corpse, the bodies reanimate and begin to attack! Luckily they all are wearing impenetrable space suits that should keep them safe, but how can they be sure no one is infected when they don’t even understand the contagion?

If you enjoy science fiction books full of suspense and adventure, you might also enjoy: Killer of Enemies, by Joseph Bruchac, Illuminae, by Amie Kaufman, or Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card.

Bamboo People

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019

by Mitali Perkins, 272 pages, Grades 7 and up

Chiko joins the Burmese army because he is out of choices. His family is struggling to find enough food to eat since his father was imprisoned by the government and it seems like his only choice to keep everyone alive.

Tu Reh is Karenni, an ethnic minority in Burma. The Burmese burned his family home and village to the ground, so he decided to join the resistance. 

Their two parallel stories are full of the heartache and violence of war, but deep down they are each young men trying to do what is right to protect their family.

What would happen if these two meet? Will they see beyond the side they have taken and into each other’s hearts or will the pressures of winning the war be too much to allow them to see the humanity beneath the soldier?

If you enjoy historical fiction about wartime you might also like Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers, Private Peaceful, by Michael Morpurgo, or Refugee, by Alan Gratz about those who try to escape war-torn countries.

Warcross

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019

by Marie Lu, 353 pages, Grades 8 and up.

Despite Emily’s amazing hacking skills she just can’t seem to make ends meet. She is literally about to be evicted from her apartment when she decides to take the risk of hacking into the nationally broadcast VR game to steal an item that could fix her financial troubles. Somehow her hack goes terribly wrong; somehow she materializes into the game and the whole world sees her where she doesn’t belong. She figures this is the end, but it is only the beginning because she has impressed the people at the top with this stunt and is recruited to find and take out an incognito player called Zero who is causing trouble in the VR game world; he has, so far, evaded capture by those with power. Can a hacker hack another hacker and save the gaming world for everyone?

If you enjoy sci-fi, VR stories you might also like: Bubble World, by Carol Snow, or  The Six, by Mark Alpert. You might also want to try Ready Player One, written by Ernest Cline with an adult audience in mind- a movie was recently made from this book as well.

Just Mercy: adapted for young audience

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019

NONFICTION by Bryan Stevenson, 277 pages, Grades 7 and up

Bryan Stevenson is an attorney, a social justice activist and the Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative. His mission is to bring more justice to the criminal justice system. He shares stories of varied individuals and their experiences with the criminal justice system illustrating its unfairness, its racial inequities, its harsh realities and challenges, and how it can sometimes work for good. Stevenson reminds readers that, “Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done,” and helps readers to feel compassion for the humanity we continue to incarcerate often unfairly and inhumanely. 

If you enjoy reading nonfiction, you might also like: The Other Wes Moore, an autobiography by Wes Moore, Zeitoun, a biography by Dave Eggers, or Superman vs. the KKK, by Rick Bowers.