Monday, June 29, 2015

Danger in the Darkest Hour

Danger in the Darkest Hour by Mary Pope Osborn

The tree house is back and Jack and Annie are ready for a new adventure.  But, when they start their newest adventure they didn’t realize how much danger their lives would be in.  They land in England on June 5, 1944 and they are asked to enter France at night by an illegal parachute drop.  It’s World War II and Teddie has asked them to find and rescue Cathleen from inside Nazi occupied France.  This is an extremely dangerous job, probably their most dangerous job ever, and if they fail Cathleen could die. To find more Magic Tree House adventures, visit

Shared by Mrs. Manore from Orenda

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Gingerbread for Liberty: How a German Baker Helped Win the American Revolution

Gingerbread for Liberty: How a German Baker Helped Win the American Revolution by Mara Rockliff and illustrated by Vincent X. Kirsch

When the American colonists decided to rebel against British rule in the hopes of becoming an independent country, many men left their homes to join General Washington and the Continental Army.  Most of these volunteers were young men and older boys.  There was one important exception to this unwritten rule and his name was Christopher Ludwick.  He was born in Germany, learned to be a baker, spent time in the Austrian and Prussian armies, and eventually settled in Philadelphia and married.  In Philadelphia he became a successful and generous baker.  When the American Revolution began he wanted to help defend the new country he loved.  Some people thought he was too old to help the Continental Army, but George Washington had a special job that only Christopher could do.  Not only would Christopher become one of the main bakers for the entire Continental Army, but Christopher could speak in German to the soldiers who were hired by the British king to fight the colonists.  As a result, many of these Hessian soldiers decided to change sides and join the Continental Army.  Christopher Ludwick is a little known American hero who more people should learn about.  To learn more about Christopher Ludwick visit

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan

Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan.

The website defines music as an art of sound in time that expresses ideas and emotions in significant forms through the elements of rhythm, melody, harmony, and color.  This is the perfect description of the book Echo.  This story is about seven children who live in different parts of the world during different time periods.  The bulk of the story revolves around the lives of Friedrich, Mike, and Ivy.  Each of the children has a special musical gift, but each has a crises within their families that risks these gifts.  The one thing they have in common is a harmonica that may or may not be magical.  To learn more about harmonicas visit or  To learn more about Pam Munoz Ryan and her books visit

Shared by Mrs. Manore at Orenda

Thursday, May 21, 2015

enormous SMALLNESS: A Story of E. E. Cummings

enormous SMALLNESS: A Story of E. E. Cummings by Matthew Burgess and illustrated by Kris DiGiacomo

In October of 1894 a baby was born to a family in Massachusetts.  He was named Edward Cummings after his father, but his family called him Estlin.  It was the dawn of a new century and there was new art and technology all around the world to fascinate a young boy. But, with everything around him, he was still interested in simpler things like birds and nature. Even at a young age he would describe what he saw and how he felt in such a beautiful way that his mother started writing his thoughts on paper when he was only three.  He graduated from college with a degree in literature, but before he could really concentrate on his future career he joined the military where he was sent to France as an ambulance driver during World War I.  After the war he remained in France for a few years, but when he was done experiencing Europe he moved back home.  He settled in New York City where he began writing.  He experimented with different forms of poetry.  Some people didn't know what to make of his style, but many people loved his new style of expression.  As time went on he went from being known as Estlin Cummings to e. e. cummings, one of the most famous and influential poets in 20th Century America.  If you are interested in learning more about e. e. cummings then visit or  

Shared by Mrs. Manore at Orenda

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Schools of Hope

Schools of Hope: How Julius Rosenwald Helped Change African American Education by Norman H. Finkelstein

In the early 1900s it was very difficult for an African American child to receive a good education in the southern United States.  Actually, it was difficult for African American children to receive any type of education. Booker T. Washington saw the lack of education as a huge problem since the lack of education meant a lack of opportunities.  Mr. Washington worked with older students in advance studies, but there was nothing in place for the youngest of children.  He tried to get people with money, power, and influence to help with this problem without much luck.  But his luck changed when he met Julius Rosenwald.  Julius Rosenwald was a very unlikely friend to the cause of educating African American children in the South.  Julius Rosenwald was a rich Jewish man from Chicago who happened to be the CEO of the Sears Roebuck Company. He was EXTREMELY wealthy, and he believed in the philosophy of "live to give".  He wanted to use his money to help as many people as possible. But he had one important requirement if you wanted his money and help; the person or group requesting help needed to help, too.  If a community wanted a new school, then the community had to help raise money and help build the school.  This became a huge opportunity for poor African American families giving their children the education that they never had.  These schools were built over decades. By the time the last school was built, over 5,000 schools had been built where there were once no opportunities, and ALL of Julius Rosenwald's money was gone.  And that's just what Mr. Rosenwald wanted to happen.  To learn more about Julius Rosenwald and his schools visit,,, or
Shared by Mrs. Manore at Orenda

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Tuesday Tucks Me In: The Loyal Bond Between a Soldier and His Service Dog

Tuesday Tucks Me In: The Loyal Bond Between a Soldier and His Service Dog by Former Captain Luis Carlos Montalvan with Bret Witter and photographs by Dan

Everyday dogs help people with their lives.  Some dogs help the blind, some dogs help people in wheelchairs, some dogs work with the police, and some dogs help soldiers who have come home from wars with injuries.  Tuesday is one of these dogs.  Every day he helps Luis complete everyday tasks.  These tasks are what some people would consider easy; tasks like getting out of bed, traveling to and from work, and talking to others.  This may sound easy, but without Tuesday Luis would have a very hard time.  Tuesday makes life easier.  To learn more about Tuesday visit,

Shared by Mrs. Manore from Orenda

Thursday, July 31, 2014


Ball by Mary Sullivan

Balls are great fun, especially if you are a dog that has a special girl to play with every day.  But, what happens when the little girl is no longer available?  Who will play ball with the dog?  Will it be the mother, the baby, the cat, or worse yet...will he be forced to play by himself?  Oh no, what will the dog do?  IT'S THE END OF THE WORLD!!!  To learn more about Mary Sullivan visit,

Shared by Mrs. Manore from Orenda

Queen Victoria's Bathing Machine

Queen Victoria's Bathing Machine by Gloria Whelan and illustrated by Nancy Carpenter

What would you do if you loved to swim, but no one was supposed to see you in a bathing suit?  Well, this was the problem for Queen Victoria.  During the 1800s women, especially the Queen of England, were expected to be very proper in their looks and their behaviors.  It would have been very inappropriate for any woman to be seen wearing a bathing suit.  But, Queen Victoria loved to swim.  Luckily for her she had her own knight (err, prince) in shining armor to help with this problem.  To learn more about Queen Victoria's bathing machine visit,

Shared by Mrs. Manore from Orenda

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Lily Renee, Escape Artist: From Holocaust Survivor to Comic Book Pioneer

Lily Renee, Escape Artist: From Holocaust Survivor to Comic Book Pioneer by Trina Robbins and illustrated by Anne Timmons and Mo Oh

During the 1930s life in Vienna, Austria was wonderful for Lily Renee.  Days filled with family, friends, school, museums, the theater…a typical life for a girl from a wealthy family.  But in 1939, everything changed when Austria joined Germany under the leadership of the Nazi Party.  After that, Lily’s life was in danger.  She was in danger because she was Jewish and the Nazi Party did NOT like people of Jewish descent.  The only way for Lily to be safe was to leave Austria, but she would have to leave without her parents.  Would Lily be brave enough to save her life without her parents with her, would the Nazi Party let Lily and hundreds of other Jewish children leave Austria, and would her love be enough to save her own parents if she left Austria?  Only time would tell.  To learn more about Lily Renee visit,
Shared by Mrs. Manore from Orenda


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy's Parade

Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade by Melissa Sweet

Have you ever watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade?  Did you like the music, the floats, the balloons?  Did you ever wonder why this parade (and very few others) uses balloons?  Who came up with the idea of using balloons?  That person was Tony Sarg, a well know puppeteer from Europe who was encouraged by R. H. Macy.  Tony Sarg helped with the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in 1924.  But, there weren’t any giant balloons in this first parade.  Instead, there were real animals from the Central Park Zoo.  Soon after, Mr. Macy gave Tony Sarg a new challenge for the parade.  Replace the live animals!  We know that today’s parade has huge balloons, but how did a puppeteer go from marionettes hanging below strings to balloons floating above strings?  To learn more about Tony Sarg visit,   Or, to find more interesting books by Melissa Sweet visit,

Shared by Mrs. Manore from Orenda

The Princess in Black

The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale & Dean Hale and illustrated by LeUyen Pham

Somewhere in a land far away from here there lives a girl named Princess Magnolia.  Like all princesses, Princess Magnolia wears nothing but pink, knows how to make hot chocolate and sweet scones, and of course, she own a lovely unicorn.  But, Princess Magnolia has a secret.  She is really The Princess in Black and when no one is looking she defends her kingdom from danger, especially big blue monsters that like to eat goats.  Unfortunately, Duchess Wigtower is determined to discover ALL of Princess Magnolia’s secrets.  So, will Duchess Wigtower discover the secret, will the blue monster eat all the goats, will the goat boy trust his instincts about the Princess in Black, will Princess Magnolia be able to hide her black socks?  This is the first book in a new series by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale of Rapunzel’s Revenge fame.  To learn more about The Princess in Black visit,

Shared by Mrs. Manore from Orenda

The Tree Lady: The True Story of How One Tree-Loving Woman Changed a City Forever

The Tree Lady: The True Story of How One Tree-Loving Woman Changed a City Forever by H. Joseph Hopkins and illustrated by Jill Elmurry

Once, a long time ago there lived a little girl named Katherine Olivia Sessions.  Katherine lived at a time when little girls were supposed to behave, stay quiet, not play in the woods, and just be PROPER.  But, even though it was the 1860s, Katherine was allowed to ask questions, play in the woods, and eventually even attend college.  Katherine loved nature and especially plants.  In 1881 she became the first woman to graduate from the University of California with a degree in science.  Her first job was in San Diego, a desert town.  What would she do?  To learn more about Katherine Olivia Sessions and what she did for San Diego visit, or

Shared by Mrs. Manore from Orenda

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Because of Mr. Terupt, by Rob Buyea

Seven fifth graders find themselves in a classroom with a first year rookie teacher named Mr. Terupt. Jessica is having a hard time fitting in, Alexia is a bully, Peter is a class prankster, and Jeffrey hates school. Luke is a brain, and Danielle just cannot stand up for herself, and Anna has a troubling home situation. They all have trouble getting along with each other, and Mr. Terupt has his hands full trying to deal with it all. Each of the seven students narrate a part of the book, and give the reader their own unique perspective on their new teacher, who slowly but surely begins to make progress getting them to work as a team. Just as things begin to get more cohesive in the classroom, an event occurs that will change everything...for each student, but especially for Mr. Terupt. This book, by first time novelist Rob Buyea, is being made into a movie! Reviewed by Mrs. Bailey at Okte

Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio, by Peg Kehret

When children's author Peg Kehret was 12 years old, she was stricken with an illness called polio that left her temporarily paralyzed. Polio is a highly contagious disease that most people are now vaccinated against. But in 1949, young Peg was one of the 42,000 cases reported in the United States. One morning when she woke up, Peg had trouble moving her legs, and her back hurt. Before she knew it, she was unable to speak and even breathe. She was put in a special hospital with other children who had polio, and her long fight for life and health began. Read about Peg's journey and even what she deals with today with post-polio syndrome. The painful process of healing during her teen years left lasting impressions on this writer that are shared in a very readable way. One of our fifth grade teachers read this book out loud to her class, and they all thought it was a fabulous story and a great way to read about a part of our history that affected many children and adults. Peg Kehret is the author of many exciting books for older readers. Reviewed by Mrs. Bailey from Okte

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Real Boy

The Real Boy by Anne Ursu, follows story of a young boy, Oscar, whose world is filled with magic. Once an orphan, he now has the job of being a magicsmith's hand in the land of Altheria. Being a magician's hand, while it requires often grueling work collecting flowers and herbs for his master's tinctures and healing potions, is something that Oscar much prefers to the more difficult job of working with customers and selling items in his master's upstairs shop. That job, belongs to the master himself and his apprentice. As a hand Oscar can hide, most of the time, his awkwardness and inability to interpret social queues. But when his master must leave their sacred land, the people come to him searching for answers to mysterious illnesses. Oscars only friend, Callie, a young apprentice for another magicsmith, believes Oscar is capable of more than just collecting and grinding herbs. But can Oscar find it in himself to help the sick and needy people while his master is away? And what will he learn about himself in the process?


What if muffins could be magical and eclairs could be enchanted? Rosemary Bliss' parents own a magical bakery in a small town. But for Rosemary, life is not always full of bliss. Her popular older brother Ty (short for Thyme), gets compliments from everyone in town and never has to lift a finger! Instead it's Rose who spends most of her days helping her parents watch over her little brother Sage and sister Leigh (short for Parsley) and they never let her bake, even though she has the most talent among her siblings. Her life seems boring, dry and mundane, until one day when her parents have to leave home to save a nearby town with their magical recipes. Out of nowhere the mysterious Aunt Lily shows up, uninvited. Lily seems nice, but Rose is suspicious of her. Why has she never heard of this Aunt Lily? Can Rose trust her? Should she open her parent's magical cookery book to save the town, even though her parents forbade her? Read Kathryn Littlewood's book Bliss.

Reviewed by Mrs. Chakmakas at Shatekon

Daisy and Josephine

Melissa Gilbert's picture book, Daisy and Josephine, is a story of a young girl and her peculiar puppy. When Daisy's father sees that his daughter is lonely traveling around the world with him for his singing career, he decides to get her Josephine, a funny french bulldog who would rather play dress up than catch a ball. A sweet story for dog lovers, read Melissa Gilbert's Daisy and Josephine inspired by her own little dog, also named Josephine!


Larf is a Sasquatch. His life is filled with everyday situations, eating breakfast, taking his bunny Eric for walks, and cleaning his house. But being a Sasquatch - the only Sasquatch- is a lonely life. When Larf sees a television ad for a circus exhibit featuring the one and only Sasquatch, he knows he must go. He decides to set out for a trip with Eric in his backpack in hopes of never feeling alone again. Ashley Spires' picture book, Larf, is a wonderful story about what it means to feel like the only one of your kind in the great big world. Beautifully illustrated and little quirky this is a great book for a summer time read. 

Friday, June 27, 2014


We all want to be unique and known for something that is different about us.  Cupcake thinks he is special until he realizes that he does not stand out in his cupcake family, especially next to his cupcake brothers and sisters like Chocolaty Chocolate Cupcake, Happy-Face Cupcake, and Fancy Flower- Top cupcake.  Things start to change for Cupcake when he meets a new friend, Candle, who also feels inferior to his candle family. Together they brainstorm and try different creative ways to make them stand out.  You might be surprised in how they end up finding their own place in their ‘Journey to Special!’

Reviewed by Mrs. Ziter at Karigon

Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer

Theodore Boone thinks he has life figured all out, because for Theo life is good.  He may only be 13, but he is popular and respected in school by his peers and teachers, and has already established a name for himself in the legal world.  The son of two well-known lawyers, Theo has friends in many places and has big plans for his own future.   But when Theo becomes involved in the biggest murder trial in his town of Strattenburg, things start to change for him and he realized that his bright future may even be in jeopardy.  Will Theo help to solve the case before the case destroys his life?  Read the first book in the Theodore Boone Trilogy by John Grisham to find out. 

Reviewed by Mrs. Ziter at Karigon

Bedtime Is Canceled

The note read ‘Bedtime is canceled.’  Maggie thought of it.  Her brother wrote it, but they never thought anyone would actually BELIEVE it.  When word spread that bedtime was in fact cancelled, everyone celebrated and enjoyed their free night, not realizing the consequences that could happen from a night without sleep.  See what happens when moms, dads, and teachers miss a night a sleep in this fun and clever book Bedtime is Canceled by CeCe Meng!

Reviewed by Mrs. Ziter at Karigon

The Day the Crayons Quit

Crayons have feelings too!  Duncan learned this the hard way one day when his crayons went on strike.  Duncan reached into his desk to use his crayons, and found a stack of letters from each one of them instead.  The crayons just wanted to be heard.  Like purple who likes to be neat and just wants Duncan to stay inside the lines, and gray who is fed up with coloring LARGE animals all by himself.  And of course there is the heated debate between yellow and orange over who is the one true color of the sun.  What will Duncan do to make the crayons happy and get them to go back happily back to their work ?  Read The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt to find out!

Reviewed by Mrs. Ziter at Karigon

Monday, June 9, 2014

Mystery on Pine Lake by Tamra Wight

Cooper has plenty of chores to do at his parents’ new lakeside campground, and that means there’s less time for what he really wants to do: check on the loons, while kayaking with his friend Packrat. But someone put an extra board in the top of the lake’s dam, stopping the flow of water into a smaller stream and now the loons’ nest is flooded.  Somberly, Cooper and Packrat listen to the sound of the loons crying mournfully. Now the boys have to race to build a raft to replace the lost nest and hope the loons will stay and lay eggs again. Campers come to hear the loons call, and without the loons, the campground will lose business. Who would try to drive loons away?

Reviewed by Mrs. Benson from Chango

Monday, August 19, 2013

Those Rebels, John and Tom by Barbara Kerley

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were the best of friends but they had different personalities that made them unique and strengthened their comradeship.  One thing united them both; their belief in creating a new government and nation and breaking away from British rule.  Join these two patriots and friends on their journey toward forming the United States of America.  

Reviewed by Mrs. Bruno from Arongen

Prisoners for Liberty by Marty Rhodes Figley

James Forten was a free African American who worked as a sail-maker during the American Revolution in Philadelphia.  He joined in the fighting for liberty aboard the Royal Louis ship on the American side.  The ship was conquered by the British and James was taken aboard their ship as a prisoner of war.  Would he be sold into slavery?  Would he ever see his home again?  Read this true story to find out...

Reviewed by Mrs. Bruno from Arongen