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Dear Friends,
By some strange coincidence, all the books this month are by familiar, well-loved male authors (Paulsen, Clements, and Spinelli), and feature young boys as the main character, though they are suited for everyone. It's nice to have the boys be in the  spotlight, especially when it comes to books, and this is well-illustrated in the Loser's Club, a superb look at how a young boy who loves reading finds a way to fit in at school, and grows in the process. Good for fifth grade and up. Brian's Return also deals with a boy who marches to his own drummer, which in this case is the love of the wilderness. A sequel to Hatchet, it's perfect for 9 to 12-year-olds. 

For the 8-10 year olds, again especially but not exclusively for boys, we have two books with a nice dose of humor. Mudshark has a ridiculous plot about a bird who can solve mysteries, and the young boy who knows what's really going on. Third Grade Angels takes on the issue of the misguided need to be perfect and special, and how a young boy overcomes it, again with a lot of humor.

Enjoy the books with your children. Read together!

Laura Duggan


Losers Club

Published: 2017
Theme: Being Oneself
Best for: 5th grade, especially Boys

“Some people had comfort food, but Alec has comfort books–stories so familiar that they made reading feel like coasting downhill on a bike, or water-skiing on a smooth lake…”

his is a fabulous children’s book about fitting in, without losing ones own sense of self, and a little bit about coming of age… 
Read more

Brian's Return

Published: 1999
Theme: Finding Oneself
Best for: 11 and up, especially boys

“It was so beautiful it took his breath and he stood, his arms full of wood, staring at the sky until the sun, the star, and the light were gone, wanting it all to mean more.”

A worthy sequel to the best-seller Hatchet, we find out how challenging it is to adapt to civilization that has lost its soul. Read more ›


Published: 2009
Theme: Humor
Best for: 8 to 10

“I think,” Clyde said to his friends, “that bird is special. He has powers. Maybe…he’s psychic.” By the end of the day the word was all over school.

Need some humor to lighten the day? Here’s a quick and lighthearted read…
  Read More

Third Grade Angels

Published: 2012
Theme: Genuine Kindness
Best for: Third Grade (8-10)

“I couldn’t believe myself. All of a sudden it was like there was no door between my brain and my mouth. As for Gerald Willis, he was a fifth-grader, a troublemaker, and a bully.”

In this well-written children’s book, we find out that being kind is a 24/7 occupation, not reserved for winning points.  
Read More
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