My Latest Scholastic Favorites

Friday February 11, 2011

As a librarian I LOVE Scholastic....I love Scholastic Publishing, I love Scholastic Book Fairs, I love the Scholastic for teachers website where I can find a ton of great lesson plans and other resources. It's like Christmas and my birthday combined when I receive my Scholastic box of review books because pretty much every book they send me is AWESOME. 

Here are some of my favorites in the last few months that I haven't had a chance to blog about yet!

Where The Streets Had a Name
by Randa Abdel-Fattah
Goodreads summary: Thirteen year old Hayaat is on a mission. She believes a handful of soil from her grandmother's ancestral home in Jerusalem will save her beloved Sitti Zeynab's life. The only problem is that Hayaat and her family live behind the impenetrable wall that divides the West Bank, and they're on the wrong side of check points, curfews, and the travel permit system. Plus, Hayaat's best friend Samy always manages to attract trouble. But luck is on the pair's side as they undertake the journey to Jerusalem from the Palestinian Territories when Hayaat and Samy have a curfew-free day to travel. But while their journey may only be a few kilometers long, it could take a lifetime to complete. . . .

Humorous and heartfelt, WHERE THE STREETS HAD A NAME deals with the Israel-Palestinian conflict with sensitivity and grace and will open a window on this timely subject. 

I really enjoyed reading this story. Despite the somewhat heavy topic there is humor, friendship and genuine heartfelt moments. An excellent read that brings insight and realism to things we usually just see on the news.  

Words in the Dust
by Trent Reedy
Goodreads summary: In the tradition of SHABANU, DAUGHTER OF THE WIND and THE BREADWINNER, a beautiful debut about a daughter of Afghanistan discovering new friends and opportunities after the defeat of the Taliban. Zulaikha hopes. She hopes for peace, now that the Taliban have been driven from Afghanistan; a good relationship with her hard stepmother; and one day even to go to school, or to have her cleft palate fixed. Zulaikha knows all will be provided for her--"Inshallah," God willing. 

Then she meets Meena, who offers to teach her the Afghan poetry she taught her late mother. And the Americans come to the village, promising not just new opportunities and dangers, but surgery to fix her face. These changes could mean a whole new life for Zulaikha--but can she dare to hope they'll come true?

Saving Zasha
by Randi Barrow
Goodreads summary: In post WWII Russia, one boy dares to save an entire race of outlawed dogs -- the German shepherd! World War II has just ended when thirteen-year-old Mikhail finds a dying man and his German shepherd, Zasha, in the woods. It's dangerous -- some say traitorous -- to own a German dog after Germany attacked Russia, so Mikhail must keep Zasha a secret to keep her alive. 

But Mikhail's rival, Katia, is determined to find the dog she is sure he's hiding. At the same time, a soldier named Dimitri is breeding a new Russian dog at a nearby farm. So many dogs were lost in combat, to starvation, and in the slaughter of German dogs that the country is in dire need of every kind of dog.

Dimitri, too, has suspicions of Zasha's existance, and would like nothing more than to add her to his breeding program. He'll have to compete with the armed dog thieves who are also on her trail.
Mikhail's inspiring journey to save his best friend, the last German shepherd in Russia, forces him to face some of life's hardest lessons about war, hate, forgiveness, hope, love, and man's best friend.

Season of Secrets
by Sally Nicholls
Goodreads summary: The next novel from Sally Nicholls, author of the critically acclaimed WAYS TO LIVE FOREVER. Molly and Hannah have just lost their mother, and while Dad "figures things out", they're sent to stay with their grandparents in a quiet country town. Everything is different: there are only ten kids in their entire school; they have to walk home by themselves every day; and a phone call from Dad just isn't the same as a hug. In fact, they're not even sure when, or if, their dad will be back for them. 

One night Hannah decides to run away, and Molly follows her out into the storm. Suddenly, Molly is surrounded by dogs and strange men on horseback, and they're all chasing a man in the road. Molly rushes to find someone to help him, but when she returns, he's nowhere to be seen. She finds him again the next day, and he's badly injured. As he heals, Molly befriends him and realizes that there's something magical about him. He can make a flower blossom in the palm of his hand; he can make a sapling grow in the dead of winter. Molly wants desperately to figure out who he is and just how much power he has. If he can make the trees come to life again, is there still hope for Molly's mother?