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Capture the Flag
Kate Messner


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Maps PDF Print E-mail
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Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinski

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What You Need to Know:
Maps is an exquisite, non-traditional atlas.
Maps would make a wonderful gift. You could even put it on your coffee table (it's that beautiful!).
• This book has a wide age-range: toddlers to adults will marvel at this book.
Sweet Book Summary:
Maps is not your traditional atlas. It is a stunning collection of paintings that depict our world - and that is not an exaggeration. It also doesn't provide the traditional information an atlas provides. Instead, this book focuses on the history, culture and natural resources of each country. There is so much to see on every page/map. It is reminiscent of a Richard Scary book, albeit a more artistic, sophisticated Richard Scary. The similarities to the beloved Scary books lie in the fact that you can pour over one spread for hours and find something new to look at. This book will introduce you and your little one to far-flung places, without every leaving the comfort of your home.
Author: Aleksandra Mizielinska & Daniel Mizielinski Illustrator: Aleksandra Mizielinska & Daniel Mizielinski Published: 2014, 40 pages
Themes: Geography, Reference, Exquisite Illustrations
Sweet Discussion Questions:
• After reading this book, what countries would you like to visit? Why??
• Which country most intrigues you?
• What did you learn about that country that you never knew?
• Pick a country the authors didn't provide a detailed map of and make your own.
If You Liked This Book, Try:
Life-Size Aquarium, Teruyuki Komiya
How the World Works, Christian Dorion
This recommendation was written by: Melissa Y.
A Crooked Kind of Perfect PDF Print E-mail
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A Crooked Kind of Perfect
Linda Urban

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What You Need to Know:
• Zoe wants nothing more than to play the piano, but in her family, that just may be impossible.
• Zoe's dad has anxieties associated with driving, crowds and leaving the house.
• The story is told from Zoe's perspective, so readers really get to hear what she's thinking and feeling.
• Other than cell phones, there is limited mention of modern technology, giving the story a timeless sense.
• Linda Urban is also the author of the middle grade novel, The Center of Everything.
• Did you know that Linda Urban used to work in an independent bookstore?
Sweet Book Summary:
What a perfect middle grade book! The voice of the main character comes alive off the pages, and the imagery really draws the reader into the story. It's not overly descriptive though - it's straightforward and it moves quickly. In fact, A Crooked Kind of Perfect reminds me a little of a Judy Blume book. The main character, Zoe, is easy to relate to and she just feels so real. At ten years old, she's funny, clever, determined and thoughtful. You can't help but root for her!

Zoe's dream is to play the piano, but with her dad's anxieties and her mom's work schedule, she somehow finds herself learning to play the Perfectone D-60, a lowly organ. On top of that, she's dealing with changing friendships and first crushes. Zoe doesn't wallow in her misfortune, though. Despite setbacks and mistakes, she stays focused and true to herself. She may not have the comfort of her ex-best friend, Emma, but she finds support in some surprising places. Mabelline Person, her quirky organ instructor and Wheeler, the 5th grade "bad boy" both help her in very unexpected ways.

Although A Crooked Kind of Perfect includes some serious subjects - identity, friendship, family, fears, financial instability - it touches on them in a delicate way and then brings the reader back to a safe place. The characters are charming and unpredictable, and they leave the reader wanting to hear more from them, even after the story ends. You just can't go wrong with this one!
Author: Linda Urban Illustrator: n/a Published: 2009, 224 pages
Themes: Determination, Family Life, Friendship, Good Book Club Selection, Music, Self-Awareness/Discovery
Sweet Discussion Questions:
• What would you like to learn to do as much as Zoe wants to learn how to play the piano?
• Why does Wheeler like to hang out at Zoe's house?
• In what ways are their families different? In what ways are they the same?
• What makes Wheeler a good friend?
• Why does Zoe's dad spend so much time at home?
• Is Emma a good friend? How does Emma and Zoe's friendship change?
• How would you describe Zoe's relationship with her mom?
• What is your prediction for Zoe once the book ends?
• How does the story affect how you feel about making mistakes?
If You Liked This Book, Try:
Pie, Sarah Weeks
The Upside of Ordinary, Susan Lubner
The Dirt Diary, Anna Staniszewski
This recommendation was written by: Melissa G.