Children's Book Previews
Whispering Alaska , by Brendan Jones
It’s been four months since their mother died. The twins and their father have moved from Pennsylvania to a small town in Alaska to be near extended family. Nicky and Josie find the wilderness mysterious and beautiful, and a much-needed refuge. The girls drifted apart somewhat during their transition, each dealing with grief in a different way. Now, as they settle into a new normal, they become involved in a community debate that threatens the very land they are growing to love.
For the local adults, livelihoods are at stake, and tensions are high. But it’s the young people who take the lead, especially newcomers Josie and Nicky, who find a way to speak up for what they believe, reconnecting with each other and with their father in the process—and, they hope, doing their mother proud. Will their heartfelt plea keep the peace and save the trees that have existed for hundreds of years?
Author Brendan Jones’s passion for Alaska shines through in this, his debut middle-grade novel. Indeed, Brendan’s day-to-day subsistence lifestyle in his own Alaskan community—a place he’s called home for decades—and his appreciation for young activists greatly inspired Whispering Alaska. The rich detail with which he describes the earth's largest intact temperate rainforest will make readers wonder whether they too can hear the trees whisper.
Out Of My Heart , by Sharon M. Draper
Melody, the huge-hearted heroine of Out of My Mind, is a year older, and a year braver. And now with her Medi-talker, she feels nothing’s out of her reach, not even summer camp. There have to be camps for differently-abled kids like her, and she’s going to sleuth one out. A place where she can trek through a forest, fly on a zip line, and even ride on a horse! A place where maybe she really can finally make a real friend, make her own decisions, and even do things on her own—the dream!
By the light of flickering campfires and the power of thunderstorms, through the terror of unexpected creatures in cabins and the first sparkle of a crush, Melody’s about to discover how brave and strong she really is.
The Smartest Kid in the Universe: Genius Camp , by Chris Grabenstein
Jake McQuade is the smartest kid in the universe—and he's back to defend his title! This time, he is heading off to a camp for geniuses sponsored by billionaire tech mogul (and brilliant inventor) Zane Zinkle.
But genius camp is not like regular camp. There are limo buses, robot polar bears, and high-tech cabins with high-tech toilets! But it isn’t all fun and brain games at camp, especially when Jake goes up against the artificially intelligent Virtuoso quantum computer—the smartest machine in the universe—which also happens to be Zinkle’s latest genius creation! It's boy versus bot in this epic showdown packed with s'mores, puzzles, action, adventure, and hilarious, jelly bean-fueled fun!