• Books

    *Just Like That by Gary D. Schmidt

    Just Like That, Gary Schmidt’s latest book for teens, humorously and poignantly explores love and loss. Just Like That by Gary D. Schmidt. Clarion, 2021. 400 pages. Reading Level: Young Adult, ages 12 and up Recommended For: Young Adult, ages 12 and up In September, Meryl Lee Kowalski arrives at St. Elene’s Preparatory Academy for Girls (in Harpswell, Maine), suitcases packed with regulation school uniforms. She would have a new start, her parents said. A whole new routine, her parents said. She would meet so many new friends. She would become so Accomplished. That’s what the headmistress had promised. ~p. 4 By Christmas, Meryl Lee still wasn’t sure what she…

  • Books

    The Geisels: A Beginning-Reader Roundup

    This year’s Theodor S. Geisel Honor Books: The Bear in My Family, Ty’s Travels, What about Worms!?, and Where’s Baby? The Theodor Seuss Geisel Award (named for guess who?) is given by the ALA for “the most distinguished beginning reader book. Easy readers have come a long way from “See Spot run.” Today’s books feature outstanding art, less-than-strict adherence to leveled word lists, and lots of fun. Megan reported on the winner, See the Cat, on Thursday. Today we’re Johnny-on-the-spot with all four honor books (bless my local library for having all of them)! The Bear in My Family by Maya Tatsukawa. Dial, 2020, 32 pages. “I live with a…

  • Books

    Friday Introductions: Hayley

    Team Spotlight Hayley: Staff Writer, Admin Assistant, Newsletter Mastermind & Parrot Owner What does it look like behind the scenes at Redeemed Reader? We’re taking some time on Fridays to give you a glimpse behind the curtains. What happens when a bookworm grows up? In my case, I joined the Redeemed Reader team. I’m Hayley, staff writer and the face behind the newsletters as well as the mastermind of our newsletter’s weekly book trivia. I have a mascot (also known as a Goffin cockatoo) named Simon, and some of my favorite things include P. G. Wodehouse, coffee, Shirley Hughes, continual cups of tea, and pilot G-2 gel pens. I’m reading…

  • Books

    *See the Cat: Three stories about a dog

    A dog on a rug is quite understandably aggravated by the narrative narrator through three very short stories for beginning readers. Brilliant, clever, and hilarious. See the Cat: Three stories about a dog by David LaRochelle, illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka. Candlewick, 64 pages. Reading Level: Easy readers, ages 4-8 Recommended For: Ages 4-8 Last August, I invested in a good phonics-based reading curriculum to help my six-year-old son learn to read. His three older brothers had developed their skills naturally, but my fourth son needed a bit more help and encouragement. So we used tiles, cards, worksheets, and M&Ms for incentives, but the joy wasn’t there. His 4yo brother was…

  • Books

    *Catherine’s War by Julia Billet

    An excellent new graphic novel translated into English, Catherine’s War tells the story of one Jewish girl’s life in occupied France, often through the lens of her rolodex. *Catherine’s War by Julia Billet. HarperAlley, 2020. 176 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, 8-12 Recommended For: Ages 8 – 15 Sophie Cohen loves life at her new school —it’s a modern one, finding and encouraging the students’ interests.  Sophie has discovered photography and loves taking pictures and teaching the other students. But nothing is certain in France in 1942.  Soon Sophie and the other Jewish students are sent away and so begins Sophie’s journey through France, with a new name and identity.  The…

  • Books

    Into the Clouds by Tod Olson

    Into the Clouds is the grueling saga of three expeditions that failed to summit the second-highest–but most dangerous–mountain in the world. Into the Clouds: The Race to Climb the World’s Most Dangerous Mountain by Tod Olson. Scholastic Focus, 2020, 227 pages plus bibliography, notes, etc. Reading Level: Teen, ages 12-15 Recommended for: ages 12-up “The world’s most dangerous mountain” is the second highest mountain in the Himalayan chain. It has indigenous names, but is more conveniently called K-2. Though not higher than Everest, K-2 is more dangerous because it’s remote, subject to the elements, and strewn with sharp black boulders: “All rock and ice and storm and abyss.” As the…

  • Books

    The Finest Hours by MichaelTougias

    The 1952 rescue of over twenty stranded seamen on a halved oil tanker ranks as one of the Coast Guard’s’ “finest hours.” The Finest Hours: The True Story of a Heroic Sea Rescue by Michael J. Tougias and Casey Sherman. Henry Holt, 2014, 153 pages plus appendix. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: ages 12-up Every New England sailor and fisherman knows what a nor-easter is—a fearsome winter storm that rakes the coast and roils the sea. February 18, 1952 saw one of the worst nor-easters in history, with blinding icy winds and 60-foot waves. On that night, not one but two oil tankers, the Pendleton and the…

  • Books

    *Creative God Colorful Us by Trillia Newbell

    Creative God Colorful Us invites students to enjoy God’s diverse family by loving God and their neighbor and celebrating God’s human creation. *Creative God Colorful Us by Trillia Newbell. Moody, 2021. 128 pages. Reading Level: Middle grades, ages 8-12 Recommended For: Middle grades, ages 8-12, especially in groups (families, Sunday school classes, school groups, etc.) Every person is made by God and in the image of God and therefore is equal in value and worth. Writing directly to young readers, Newbell opens with a letter that immediately invites connection with her readers. She then dives into the beautiful story of the Bible: God’s magnificent creation, the fall, our rescue, and…

  • Books

    The Clockwork Crow by Catherine Fisher

    Fans of Victorian fantasy will enjoy The Clockwork Crow, a series opener with fairies, automatons, and mystery. The Clockwork Crow by Catherine Fisher. Walker Books, 2020, 208 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: ages 10-14 Seren Rys was born in India but orphaned at an early age. For most of her life she’s lived at St. Mary’s Home in England. But when she turns 12, fairy-tale news comes from Wales: godparents she’s never known are inviting her to live with them at an estate called Plas-y-Fran. Even better, they have a young son close to her own age. Dreams of this ready-made family receive a jolt at…

  • Books

    What to Read After Mulan

    Perhaps you have watched the stunning new Mulan movie (available for free streaming now on Disney+). The gorgeous cinematography would have been lovely on the big screen. My teens loved the animated film and were eager to see the update. My husband and I enjoy movies like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, so we were also eager to see it. Mulan did not disappoint. Hayley also saw it, and we discussed the movie over Christmas break. In a sea of feminist plots and pro-woman narratives, we felt that Mulan handled itself well. Chinese actresses played key roles (as opposed to white American actresses), the film mirrored other Chinese films stylistically (such…