My first day back at work, two weeks before students arrive, so I've spent the last week madly reading the last Bluebonnet nominee books on my list! I am on the last one, so I have already beaten my record of 16 Bluebonnets read last summer.
The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy was a fun romp with all the Prince Charmings--the ones associated with Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, and Rapunzel. They do have names, you know (according to Healy)--Liam, Frederic, Duncan, and Gustav--and they may not be as suave and sophisticated as the previous movie-animation versions portrayed. It was a long book (over 400 pages), but worth the read for middle grade students who think they've outgrown those princess fairy tales. Lots of adventure to be had with the Prince Charmings!
I jumped from fantasy to sci-fi with The Lost Planet by Rachel Searles. The story opens with a mystery--a boy wakes up on a lawn of a house on a planet with a yellow sky. His head hurts, and he doesn't know who or where he is. Rescued by Parker, the house's lone living inhabitant, we soon discover that the boy's name is Chase. Parker has a mischievous streak born of boredom, and the two boys find themselves in increasingly more complicated and dangerous situations, caught in the turmoil of political unrest and deceit. Searching for details about his past leads Chase to discover just how special he really is. Sci-fi readers will make connections with Star Wars and Star Trek in this fast-paced story.
Book nineteen for me was Zane and the Hurricane: A Story of Katrina by Rodman Philbrick. Zane Dupree travels from New Hampshire to Louisiana to meet his great-grandmother, the woman who raised the father he never got to know. Unfortunately, the visit happens right as Hurricane Katrina is about to hit the coast. Philbrick pulls no punches with his historical fiction depiction of the aftermath of the storm in New Orleans, and includes information in the afterword about actual events that lent him the factual details. Living in Texas at that time, I was very aware of the devastation as the refugees came to our state and city, but I don't recall hearing about the violence perpetrated on some of those trying to escape the floodwaters. Philbrick shows us how extreme situations can bring out the best and worst in people. This wasn't an easy read for me, but it made me eager to get to the end to find out how Zane and his rescuers fared.
Saving Lucas Biggs by Marisa de los Santos and David Teague
Are You Fully Charged? The 3 Keys to Energizing Your Work and Life by Tom Rath