Island of the Blue Dolphins

Island of the Blue Dolphins. Scott O’Dell. 1960. 194 pages. Houghton Mifflin. [Source: personal copy.] Admittedly, this is a book I should have read years ago. Like, over 20 years ago when my grandmother gave me a copy. But a good book is both timeless and ageless, so when my little one had to read it for class, I decided it was past time for me to read it as well.  I’m upset that I didn’t read this sooner; 10-year-old me would have loved it; adult me, however, had better context for the book and appreciated it more than I could have at that age. Island of the Blue Dolphins centers on Karana, a 12-year-old girl whose family lives on the remote island of San Nicolas. It recounts the coming of Aleuts, who exploit the island’s resources, hunting and failing to pay what they agreed to the island’s inhabitants.  The result is a decimated population, with many of the men gone, and the women and children left to figure out how to survive.  One day, another ship comes, bearing people who will take the inhabitants to a new home.  Everything is fine until Karana’s brother is left behind and she jumps ship to stay with…

The Loud House #1: There Will Be Chaos

The Loud House # 1: There Will Be Chaos. Chris Savino. 2017. 64 pages. Papercutz Books. [Source: ARC provided courtesy of NetGalley.] The Loud House is no stranger to my household, so it was a must that we check out its first graphic novel. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this graphic novel is more like an anthology, with the stories focusing on a different child of the Loud household. Admittedly, the idea of a house filled with 11 kids is overwhelming to me, the show is entertaining and carries that same humor to the book. For those unfamiliar with the Loud House television show, this book gives a short and sweet intro to the Loud family in the beginning. There is a brief bio about each of the 11 Loud children that provides some context for their personality type in addition to their ages. At the end of the book, the reader is introduced to the creator, Chris Savino, whose own childhood many of the stories are based upon. The book also took a creative approach to the contents of the book, with a fridge serving as the hub of information. The table of contents is actually presented…

The STEM Club Goes Exploring

The STEM Club Goes Exploring. Lois Melbourne. 2016. 48 pages. Greenleaf Books. [Source: ARC provided courtesy of NetGalley.] I’m in love with this book! It is a phenomenal exploration of STEM careers, education, and how they make society run smoothly. It’s a great introduction to the different ways people contribute to society, and does so in a fun and engaging way. First, the characters are a diverse group of students, representing a range of cultural and gender identities. This will really help students relate to the people who guide them through the story. Additionally, the writing is easy to understand, and explains the careers in age-appropriate tone and language.


Numbed! David Lubar. 2013. 148 pages. Lerner Publishing Group. [ARC provided courtesy of NetGalley.] A field trip to a math museum can’t possibly be exciting. It certainly won’t be life-changing, right? Numbed proves you absolutely wrong! When Logan and Benedict sneak away from their group in the Mobius Mathematics Museum, they get zapped by a robot and *poof*! All their math skills are gone.

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy
Advance Reader Copy , Fantasy , Middle Grade / February 25, 2014

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy. Karen Foxlee. 2014. Knopf Books [Source: ARC provide courtesy of NetGalley] Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy came my way as a pre-approved book on NetGalley. I’d never heard of it and I wasn’t sure what to make of it, but I absolutely loved reading this. It’s a substantial read and its plot and style are engaging throughout. While I found the plot enjoyable, the themes in the book were mature enough that I could appreciate them as an adult. The story follows Ophelia and her older sister Alice while they accompany their father Malcolm as he facilitates the opening of an expansive sword exhibit at a museum. All are still coping with the death of the girls’ mother, Susan, three months prior. Ophelia is a timid girl who views everything through a scientific lens, which makes it so difficult for her to process the experience she has in the museum after she finds the Marvelous Boy in a locked closet.