Friendship

All's Faire in Middle School

Reviewed by Kim B., Librarian

Imogene has always felt sure of herself and happy with her life as the daughter of Renaissance Faire workers. But when it’s time for her to stop homeschooling and attend middle school with other kids Imogene is suddenly not so sure. To Imogene, fitting in in a world of dragons, sword fighting, Queens and knights seemed like a piece of cake, but fitting in in middle school? It seemed impossible. All’s Faire in Middle School is a unique coming-of-age story filled with great lessons about being yourself, finding your true friends, and realizing that fitting in is just a matter of being confident in who you are. This book would be well fit with anyone starting middle school, starting school after homeschooling, or anyone looking for how they can fit in. Appropriate for ages 9+

 

Staff Picks: The First Rule of Punk

When 12 year old Malú’s moves to Chicago with her mother, she’s worried she won’t find her place. But in exploring her Mexican heritage, embracing her love of all things punk, and connecting with new friends, she learns how important the first rule of punk actually is. Malú’s zines (self published magazines) are printed throughout the novel, offering another glimpse inside her mind and a great introduction to the art of zine making. Recommended for readers aged 9-12.

Staff Picks: The Imaginary by A.F. Harrold

Reviewed by Ginny H. 

A.F. Harrold's novel follows Rudger, an imaginary friend. Amanda, Rudger's real person friend, helps him run away from an evil man who hunts "imaginaries".

But when Amanda is injured, Rudger is left all alone, which is bad news.The longer that Rudger has no one to believe in him, the more he fades. Can Rudger evade the evil hunter and find Amanda before he fades completely?

The Imaginary is a great book for kids interested in whimsical, imaginative fantasy stories

Reading with Patrick

Everyone has heard about the talented, super-smart teachers who work for the Teach for America program. But why do many of these new teachers only stay for a year or two and then move on?

In Reading with Patrick, compelling and emotionally resonant memoir, Michelle Kuo, a Harvard-educated Asian American, relates her two years teaching in poverty-torn Helena, Arkansas, a delta town close to the Mississippi state line that has lost nearly all of its industry. Kuo also describes her parents’ great expectations for her career, and their deep disappointment when she takes a low-paying position in education.

A Gentleman in Moscow

During the first half of the twentieth century, thousands of Russians suffered fates much worse than life-long imprisonment. Joseph Stalin sent many artists, writers, and politicos to the Gulag—or killed them outright.

This is the fictional story of Count Rostov, an educated aristocrat devoted to the literary arts, who found after the first Russian Revolution that being a count was not only illegal, but dangerous. The Count traveled to Paris, and unlike many of his contemporaries visiting abroad, decided to return home. But in the 1920s, under Stalin's Article 58 banning counterrevolution, Rostov stood before a tribunal, and was sentenced to permanent imprisonment at the luxury Metropol Hotel—for writing a poem that he never wrote.

Kubo and the Two Strings

Kubo and the Two Strings is a stunningly beautiful film that tells a deeply moving story of family, belonging, and adventure through the clever stop-motion. This Oscar-nominated film takes place in a medieval, mythologized Japan where our hero, Kubo, is forced to go on a quest to recover magical armor and weapons to stop the Moon King’s sinister plans. Kubo is a very talented musician and uses a magical shamisen, a lute-like instrument, to control pieces of his environment and aid him is his quest in breathtakingly beautiful ways that are worth watching over and over.

On his journey, he is joined by a talking macaque, Monkey, and a samurai who was cursed to live as a giant beetle, Beetle, and their interactions provide a great deal of humor. Together they battle monsters, try to untangle the mystery of Kubo’s family, become a team, and discover who they truly are.

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