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Friday, August 29, 2014

Day 44: 45 Days of Summer

In the Bag by Kate Klise

I originally posted about this book a couple of years ago. You can read the review here.

But summer is winding down, and I haven't done enough books "for adults" so I thought I would highlight this perfect vacation read.

Travel, adventure, a little's all in the bag!

Perfect for: adults looking for the perfect "beach read." Would also make a decent mother/daughter book club read for moms with high school age daughters.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Day 43: 45 Days of Summer

Disenchantments by Nina LaCour

All summer long I've been making a list of "Road Trip" books so that I could do an entire post listing all of my favorites. 

Um, well, summer is almost over and I never really sat and wrote the post. But I have LOTS of great books for the list. Alas, I guess I will just save it for next summer? 

But I didn't want to let the entire summer go by without highlighting one or two. This is one of my favorite books from the past couple of years. And, even though the cover doesn't look like it, it is actually a great road trip story with a boy main character. (Sometimes I wonder about publishers...). So, if you're a fan of road trips, musicians, roadies, adventure, music, and maybe a little romance, this is an enjoyable book on so many levels!

Perfect for: high school and up...adults, too!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Day 42: 45 Days of Summer

Shark Life by Peter Benchley

Already missing Shark Week????

I know, it's tough to go from sharks, sharks, sharks 24-7, to...nothing.

Read this book. You'll thank me.

Perfect for: grades 5-8. But younger shark fiends and high school readers will enjoy this just as much. This is the young adult adaptation of the author's adult title: Shark Trouble.

And yes, this is the same author that wrote Jaws. But these are the true stories of his life with sharks. That actually dispel many of the myths that he created in Jaws.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Day 41: 45 Days of Summer

Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando

This is the summer that many of my friends have been sending their kids off to college. And many more, like myself, have kids about to start senior year.

This is a great book for anyone about to go to college, or wondering what having a roommate will be like. Told in alternating perspectives, Roomies tells the story of two girls who are given their college roommate contact information well in advance of arriving on campus and the friendship that does (or doesn't) develop between the girls.

Perfect for: high school...and up.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Day 40: 45 Days of Summer

Bottom of the 33rd by Dan Barry

So, I haven't actually read this book, but today is my dad's birthday and this is the book that I got for him.

I'm hoping that he reads it fast because I do want to read it. The true story about a minor league game that went 33 innings back in 1981. FYI: It looks like Wade Boggs and Cal Ripkin played in this game.

I can't wait to read it. Fingers crossed it is as good as it looks. Have you read it? What did you think?

Friday, August 22, 2014

Day 39: 45 Days of Summer

The Secrets of Tree Taylor by Dandi Daley Mackall

Tree Taylor has two goals for summer: have her first real kiss; and become a writer. 

She desperately wants to become a reporter for the high school paper in the fall even though she will only be a freshman. When a gunshot is fired across the street, Tree knows this might be her opportunity to get the scoop before anyone else and write the investigative story that will make her famous.

But when she uncovers more than she intended to, she discovers perhaps that some secrets are not her's to tell.

A great tween mystery, but also a story of friendship and family. One of those books I call a "quiet gem."

Perfect for: grades 5-8. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Day 38: 45 Days of Summer

Poem-Mobiles: Crazy Car Poems by J. Patrick Lews and Douglas Florian

Oh. My. Gosh. 

My two favorite poets for kids have teamed up on a book?!?!?!

Why, yes! I will read it. And, surprise! I do love it.

So. Much. Fun. That is all. Enjoy!

Perfect for: kindergarten-2nd grades.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Day 37: 45 Days of Summer

Blind Spot for Boys by Justina Chen

Okay, I cannot do justice to this book in a few sentences. But I will say that reading this book a few weeks ago was one of the most moving experiences I've ever had reading a book. This book completely resonated with me. I will never be the same.

I will be hosting the author on this blog in September, so I will save a lot of what I have to say for then.

Until then, READ THIS BOOK!

Perfect for: high school, and adults. Though, a sophisticated middle school reader that likes "romance" kind of stories would enjoy this also.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Day 36: 45 Days of Summer

Lulu's Mysterious Mission by Judith Viorst

First, I want to say that I love this author. LOVE. Not afraid to gush about it either. She is the popular author of the Alexander books (Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good...) and MANY others. But the Alexander books are where I first got to know her and her characters...and they saved more than one storytime for me!

This is the third book starring Lulu. I cannot get enough of them...or Lulu. In this book, Lulu's parents take a much needed vacation and bring in a mysterious babysitter to take charge. Lulu is DETERMINED to get rid of the babysitter, until she discovers that Ms. Sonia is a spy in disguise.

Go back and read all these books and enjoy Lulu's adventures.

Perfect for: students reading early chapter books; grades 1st-4th. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Day 35: 45 Days of Summer

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

It's not too late to read this book before the movie hits theaters this weekend!!!

And don't forget...there's a companion novel (Where She Went) that you can read after you finish/after you see the movie.

I truly love these books, and was moved to tears while reading If I Stay. I hope, hope, hope, the movie lives up to my expectations.

Have you read these books? Are you going to see the movie? Let me know what you think!

Perfect for: grades 7-12...and adults!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Day 34: 45 Days of Summer

Devoted by Dick Hoyt

Another of my favorite triathlete stories. You can read my original review here.

I know that you've probably heard of this amazing father/son duo, seen them on ESPN, and/or watched interviews with them at various stages of their athletic career.

No other words for this family and all that they have accomplished but AMAZING!

As I get ready for my own competition this weekend, which seems so minor by comparison, I definitely want to recommend this to anyone and everyone in 8th grade through adult.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Day 33: 45 Days of Summer

Iron Heart by Brian Boyle

I discovered this book about 4 years ago. It has been one of my "go to" titles to recommend widely for a variety of readers ever since then. You can see my original post about the book here.

This is an incredible survival story about a young man who went from "should have been dead" to Iron Man competitor.

I have great admiration for anyone that has trained/competed/completed an Iron Man. Several of my friends are these people. I cannot imagine even wanting to compete at this level, but I always watch the Iron Man Hawaii coverage on television each year. And I track my friends online when they are competing at various Iron Man events around the country.

Well, this coming weekend, I will be competing in Iron Girl (a sprint triathlon event) here in Seattle. I know that I will be writing about the experience on my cancer blog afterwards ( but this is an event that means a lot to me right now as it was a goal of mine to be able to cross the finish line after my cancer treatments were done. 

So, in honor of what I'll be doing this weekend, I thought I'd recommend some of my favorite triathlon stories and this is definitely one of them!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Day 32: 45 Days of Summer

Whatever After #5: Bad Hair Day by Sarah Mlynowski

This is such a great series! There are many fractured fairy tale stories out there these days, but this is definitely at the top of the list of books you should read if you're a fan of that genre.

This is the latest, so if you haven't heard of these books before, you will have to start with book #1. But you won't be disappointed!

This is one series that my tween daughter counts down the days until the next book comes out. We definitely love them all in this household.

Perfect for: grades 3-7.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Day 31: 45 Days of Summer

The Tree House that Jack Built by Bonnie Verburg & Mark Teague

I love all things Mark Teague. 

From his "How Do Dinosaurs..." preschool storytime standards that got me through many a storytime in my public library days, to "Pigsty," to my absolute favorites "Dear Mrs. LaRue..." And "How I Spent my Summer Vacation" is a HOOT for back-to-school.

I was so happy to see his illustrations for this new twist on a classic tale.

What a great book for summer! Who hasn't wanted to have the perfect tree house in the back yard? And to hang out there throughout the lazy days of summer?

This book is perfect for kids in Kindergarten - 2nd grades.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Day 30: 45 Days of Summer

The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith

I love everything written by Jennifer E. Smith. EVERYTHING!

This is her latest, and fans of light-hearted romance will be excited to have the perfect book to read at the beach this summer.

If you've ever heard the phrase "meet-cute" you will know that this book defines the term in the best way when the two main characters get stuck in an elevator together during their first meeting.

And things only heat up from there. Sort of.

Can you ever get back the spark you felt the first time you met someone special? Can you make romance work long distance? What if you never see each other again? 

Following the journey of Owen and Lucy will have you rooting for love to conquer all.

Perfect for: 7th grade and up...adults too!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Day 29: 45 Days of Summer

The Chicken Squad by Doreen Cronin

They're baaaaaack.

Those cute chicks from the author's JJ Tully Mystery series.

And now they're solving their own crimes.

Dirt, Sugar, Poppy, and Sweetie try to help a frightened squirrel in their first "solo" adventure. Which just might get a little off-track.

Hilarity ensues, and JJ Tully comes out of retirement to help save the day.

This is the perfect beginning chapter book for young readers. Perfect for grades 1st-3rd.

I can't wait for the next book!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Day 28: 45 Days of Summer

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Well, I'm not going to say too much about this book, other than you must read it!

And if you've already read it, then you should read the companion novels and the "sequel" (Son) immediately.

All of these books are incredible, and I've been lobbying for The Giver to become an all-grade read for my 6th graders.

It's a "classic" (I actually hate that word to describe books), that everyone should read at some point in their life. And now you really need to read it because the movie will be coming out next week.

I will be honest that I don't know how I feel about the movie because the trailers I've seen don't seem to be in line with how I remember the tone of the book. 

If you've read the book and you see the movie, let me know what you think!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Day 27: 45 Days of Summer

The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel

I booktalked this one like crazy in June to my 6th grade students for summer reading.

I am a huge fan of Kenneth Oppel...Huge. Fan.

This book will literally take you on the adventure of a lifetime with Will, as he gets caught up in intrigue, mystery, and a train robbery aboard the Boundless, a larger than life train on an epic journey across country.

I hope that after reading this book, you will want to discover all of the author's other books, especially the Silverwing series (AMAZING! For upper elementary & middle school students), and his novels about teenage Victor Frankenstein (8th grade and up).

Heart-stopping, edge-of-your-seat action!

Perfect for: grades 4-7.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Day 26: 45 Days of Summer

The Cat with Seven Names by Tony Johnston, Illustrated by Christine Davenier.

Animal lovers of all ages, have I got a book for you.

A quiet gem about belonging, this is the story of one cat who is different things to different people. And how that cat brings a community together.

The cat's adventures are fun to follow throughout, and the illustrations add so much to the story elements.

While this is perfect for Kindergarten-3rd grades, this would be great for families of all ages to share together. I dare you not to get a little teary-eyed at the end.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Day 25: 45 Days of Summer

Breathe, Annie Breathe by Miranda Kenneally

Okay, I do gush over a lot of books. But I am not lying when I say that this is one of the most beautiful books I've read this year.  I've been waiting for it to finally be published so I could recommend it!

Grief and hope, love and healing. How do you honor the memory of someone you loved?

I can think of so many high school (and adult) readers who will devour this!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Day 24: 45 Days of Summer

Under the Egg by Laura Marx Fitzgerald

Okay, I had this book checked out from the public library forever and had to return it. I admit, I almost returned it without reading it. But then I decided to crack it open (ha, ha).

I am SO glad that I took the time to read it (and incur the late charge).

I can only describe this book by using the publisher's words: This is From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankwiler meets Chasing Vermeer.

And to that I would add "meets Monuments Men."

4th grade me would have ADORED this book. And grown-up me is kind of in love with it too.

Best for: grades 4-7.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Day 23: 45 Days of Summer

My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluger

For Throwback Thursday, I discovered this GEM only a few weeks ago (even though it was published in 2003?)

I am completely in love with everything about this book. Seriously. In. Love. 

The story of three teens and the year they learn about friendship, love, family...and Mary Poppins...and the Red Sox. 

Honest, it'll all make sense! 

Best for: This book is perfect for so many readers looking for "NOT dystopian," grades 7+, girls or guys. Or adults. Even a mother-daughter book club read.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Day 22: 45 Days of Summer

Noisy Paint Box by Barb Rosenstock and illustrated by Mary Grandpre

Author and illlustrator (of Harry Potter fame) join forces for one of my favorite books of the summer! 

An amazing picture book biography of Kandinsky. 

A must read for art lovers of all ages, especially K-3rd grades. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Day 21: 45 Days of Summer

Wish by Joseph Monniger

 Last week when I went to a Seattle Sounders game, Make A Wish and the Sounders played a role. And I'm not gonna lie...I cried. 

And I was reminded of this quiet gem, which I have liked for a long time. And I'm so glad when it finds just the right reader. 

You will cheer for Bee and her brother Tommy, and be so glad they have each other. Beautifully written! 

(And when you finish this one, you MUST read "Finding Somewhere" by the same author, which I absolutely ADORE).

Best for: grades 7-11.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Day 20: 45 Days of Summer

Copernicus Legacy #1: The Forbidden Stone by Tony Abbott

Finished the 39 Clues and/or all of the Percy Jackson books? 

Well, here’s a new series for you. Readers will want to get their hands on this first book in the new Copernicus Legacy series: Forbidden Stone. 

Treasure hunting? Puzzles? Action and intrigue? 

This one has it ALL!

Best for: 4th-7th grades.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Day 19: 45 Days of Summer

One Summer: America, 1927 by Bill Bryson

Summer reading isn’t just for kids. 

What better way to model that reading is important for everyone than to pick up a book yourself? 

One Summer: America 1927 is a must-read, epic non-fiction tale of the summer of 1927 and all that it meant to America. 

Lindberg, Babe Ruth, Sacco and Vanzetti, the first talking movie, and more are covered in this thoroughly researched title. 

Best for: Adult, High School history buffs/AP history students as well. 

And the audio is terrific!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Day 18: 45 Days of Summer

The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy by Kate Hattemer

Who hasn’t wanted to participate in a reality TV show? 

What if one was filmed at your high school? 

That’s exactly what happens in The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy. 

When Ethan and his crew figure out that “reality” doesn’t necessarily mean “real,” they set out to bring down the TV show…and the villainous school principal.

Best for: 8th-12 grades.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Day 17: 45 Days of Summer

Eye to Eye by Steve Jenkins

Budding scientists, animal enthusiasts, and nature detectives will love spending the summer learning all about animal eyeballs in Eye to Eye. 

And then check out the author’s other books all summer long.

Best for: 2nd - 4th grades.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Day 16: 45 Days of Summer

Half a Chance by Cynthia Lord

From an award-winning author comes yet another must-read!

Readers will appreciate this quiet story of summer, taking pictures, and making friends. 

And they will become friends with Lucy along the way.

Best for: 4th - 6th grades.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Day 15: 45 Days of Summer

Crossover by Kwame Alexander

Missing basketball season already? 

Crossover is a must-read for you. 

The story of two brothers and their quest for a high school basketball championship. 

Alexander combines hip hop, concrete poetry, and incredible basketball play-by-play to draw readers in and keep them in. 

Would make a terrific read-aloud too.

Best for: 8th - 12th grades.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Day 14: 45 Days of Summer

 Courage Has No Color by Tanya Lee Stone & Jump Into the Sky by Shelley Pearsall

Today's summer reading suggestion is a Non-Fiction/Fiction pairing about the 555th paratrooper division, the Triple Nickles.

Best for: Middle school readers.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Day 13: 45 Days of Summer

Road Trip by Gary Paulsen & Jim Paulsen

Summer is the time for family road trips, and what better reason for a father/son trip than to rescue a dog from an animal shelter. 

A quick read that packs a humorous punch, Road Trip will appeal to all ages and readers.

Best for: 4th - 8th grades.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Day 12: 45 Days of Summer

How the Beatles Changed the World by Martin W. Sandler

A MUST READ for Beatles fans!


Best for: middle school, high school, & adult

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Day 11: 45 Days of Summer

The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires

Haven’t you ever wanted to build the Most Magnificent Thing? 

With the help of your trusty four-legged assistant? 

It’s hard when you have a great idea but can’t quite get it to work out. But maybe you just need to look at it in a different way. 

In Most Magnificent Thing young readers will find a friend , and also realize that you just can’t give up. 

Best for: Kindergarten - 2nd grades.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Day 10: 45 Days of Summer

Sticky Fingers: DIY Duct Tape Projects by Sophie Maletsky

I discovered this book (and the publisher) at a recent Library convention. YAY for providing hours and days of fun and crafting for the tween daughter! 

Have a crafty teen/tween in your house? 
Too hot to go outside? 
Too rainy to go outside? 

GET THIS BOOK! And a gift card to your local #craft store. 

Best for: middle school and high school (and adult!)

Friday, July 11, 2014

Day 9: 45 Days of Summer

Loot by Jude Watson

Fast-paced action, witty quips, jewel heists, and a prophesied curse…

Loot has it all. 

Fans of mystery, action, crime drama and more will find a LOT to like in this book that reads like a movie.

Best for: 5th - 8th grades.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Day 8: 45 Days of Summer

 Where Men Win Glory by Jon Krakauer & Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

I decided today was American Hero day. 

The recent passing of Louis Zamperini is a great loss. Read his incredible story in Unbroken. 

And on vacation last week, I drove over the Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge. You can read his story in Where Men Win Glory. 

Best for: Both books are great for adults, high school, and even middle school readers.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Day 7: 45 Days of Summer

Battle Bunny by Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett. Illustrated by Matthew Myers

For every kid who’s ever wanted to write their own book. 

Or felt that a book needed more action and battle scenes. 

Not that I’m recommending you draw all over library books, but Battle Bunny is a terrific adventure. 

And a fun idea for all those books headed for the garage sale bin. 

Go Agent Alex!

Best for: Kindergarten - 2nd grades

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Day 6: 45 Days of Summer

Body in the Woods by April Henry

Author April Henry is back with another high-interest mystery (all set in the Pacific NW). 

The Body in the Woods will keep readers on the edge of their seats from start to finish. 

But you might not want to read it on a camping trip…

Best for: 8th-12th grades.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Day 5: 45 Days of Summer

Invasion by Walter Dean Myers

My heart is sad with news of the passing of this great man and author. 

If you have never read a book by Walter Dean Myers, please do so this summer!

Invasion is his latest book and is the "prequel" to Fallen Angels and Sunrise Over Fallujah. Takes place during WWII at the Invasion of Normandy.

Best For: 7th-12th grades.

RIP Mr. Myers, and prayers to your family.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Day 4: 45 Days of Summer

To Dare Mighty Things by Doreen Rappaport

In honor of the holiday, here's a biography of an incredible man. 

To Dare Mighty Things introduces readers to Theodore Roosevelt…and all of his adventures.  

Terrific illustrations and well-written, concise text make this a good choice for many readers, even those who might be reluctant.

Best for: 3rd - 6th grades

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Day 3: 45 Days of Summer

The Griffin and the Dinosaur by Marc Aronson, Adrienne Mayor, & Chris Muller

Could Griffins have been real? 

What about other creatures from Greek and Roman mythology?

National Geographic’s newest book, The Griffin and the Dinosaur sets out to answer that question. 

Can’t get enough about dinosaurs in your house? Or maybe Greek myths dominate the dinner conversation? This is the book for your family to explore this summer!

Best for: Grades 5th - 8th grades.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Day 2: 45 Days of Summer

 Going Places by Peter and Paul Reynolds

It’s summer! And while you definitely should be reading, it’s also fun to get outside and DO something. 

Make friends…build things…use your imagination. 

Going Places will give young readers just the inspiration they need to be creative and take their own imaginary journey this summer.

Best for: Kindergarten - 2nd grades

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Day 1: 45 Days of Summer

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

One of the best books I’ve read in a long time, We Were Liars will stay with you long after you finish it. 

Without giving too much away, this is about money, power, summers on Cape Cod, and scary family secrets.

Best for: High school and adult readers.

Seriously, you MUST READ THIS BOOK!

45 Days of Summer...Reading

This summer, my goal is to provide you with a book recommendation every (weekday) of the summer. 

Recommendations will range in ages from Kindergarten through Adult, and I'll try and mix them up throughout the week. 

Library peeps and/or book geeks like me: your reading challenge is to read them all!

Or: I challenge everyone (kids, teens, adults, teachers, librarians...) to find at least ONE favorite book this summer. That you'll still be talking about in the fall, and will want to recommend to your friends/family.

I won't be doing my typical review of these books. Just a brief "blurb" to get you excited to read it. And stay tuned later this summer as I'm going to be starting a new "project" to recommend books to you...

Also, I'll be posting my complete lists for K-1, 2-3, 4-5, 6-8, High School, and Adults later in the summer.

And you can also follow me on Instagram and/or Twitter (@MrsYuskoLibrary on both social media sites) or like "Mrs. Yusko's Library" on Facebook to get the daily recommendation!

Happy Reading!

Saturday, June 7, 2014


Yesterday, I went to see The Fault in our Stars (TFIOS) movie with a friend. The date had been circled on my calendar ever since the movie release date was announced. I am a HUGE fan of John Green (the author of the book which the movie is based on) HUUUUUUGE! As in, I actually have a crush on John Green. That my husband knows about. And it's okay. I love all his books and read TFIOS long before I was diagnosed with cancer. 

But after my diagnosis, I realized that TFIOS really resonated with me as being honest and real. And so, I forced everyone I knew to read it also. Not because it's a "cancer book" but because it's a story that you can get wrapped up in and relate to, that happens to portray being sick in a pretty accurate light.

I could talk ad nauseum about the book, but I wanted to share my thoughts on the movie watching experience. EVERYONE that went to see it was posting on Facebook about how they CRIED AND CRIED and how sad it was and to bring your Kleenex. And because I am an emotional disaster anyway, I was prepared for a variety of reactions.

But here's the thing that's interesting to me. I didn't cry. I'm not even sure that I teared up. 

Now, don't get me wrong, when I first read the book years ago, I bawled. Because there's just so much to be happy and sad about in that book and when you reach the end, you've become so invested emotionally that there really is no other option.

But I didn't cry during the movie. And while that seems weird to me, it also kinda makes sense. Because I've lived that story now. And I've cried so many tears for myself during the two years I've been fighting and all the treatments that I went through, I guess there's just not a whole lot left.

And while I was scared that I might have a PTSD panic attack seeing the movie visualized, it didn't happen. I was just glad to BE THERE! And watch one of my all-time favorite books become immortalized on film in an incredible way.

Did I mention I love John Green?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Trailer Tuesday

The Maze Runner books have been wildly popular at my school since the first one was published. We are all very excited for the Maze Runner movie to hit theaters in September, 2014.

If you are on any sort of social media, you can find/follow the author, James Dashner, the series, and/or the movie to keep updated. There is also a website for the here.

Here's the first of the movie's trailers. I'm sure there will be more all summer long.

Monday, May 19, 2014

We Remember

In honor of the upcoming Memorial Day Holiday, I was given the idea to make a list of my favorite "Fallen Heroes" titles. While compiling the list, I realized that I have many favorite "Soldier Stories" for teens (& tweens).

In fact, I have written on the topic a few times on this blog, including this Favorite 15 post from a few years ago.

But my "favorite" titles are ever-changing as new books are constantly crossing my desk. And I have many favorite soldier/war stories but thought that I would narrow it down to American War Heroes this time.

So, in no particular order, here are some of my favorite American Soldier/War Hero books for teens & tweens:


1) Where Men Win Glory by Jon Krakauer. This year marked the 10th anniversary of the death of NFL star turned Army Ranger hero Pat Tillman. This book will always be included on my list of favorite books, regardless of the topic.

2) Flags of our Fathers by John Bradley. There is an adapted version for younger teens/tweens if you need something slightly shorter, but either version is a look at the men who raised the flag on Iwo Jima and became a part of the iconic photograph.

3) Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. The WWII survival story of Louis Zamperini. The audiobook is phenomenal and would make a perfect listen for summer family road trips! Also, coming to a theater near you in December, 2014.  

4) Courage Has No Color by Tanya Lee Stone. A look at the men who made up the Triple Nickles...the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion.

5) Navajo Code Talkers by Nathan Aaseng. There are many books (and movies) about these brave men, but this is the standard that I always come back to. (If you're looking for a fiction story to pair with this, Code Talkers by Joseph Bruchac is perfect).

6) Pure Grit by Mary Cronk Farrell. I reviewed this book recently on the blog here.


7) Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith. I am a fan of this author and this is an important story about a little recognized group of women who were part of the WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots).

8) Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein. Yeah, this book had an American main character so it qualifies for the list! This title (and the author's Code Name Verity) are two books that I require all my friends to read. Amazing books: writing, characters, stories that drawn you in and don't let go. This book is about an American pilot captured and sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp.

9) Things a Brother Knows by Dana Reinhardt. Always I come back to this book. And recommend it widely to teens and adults alike. I just love this story of two brothers, one a returning soldier, and how they are trying to heal.

10) Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson. A new title this year. Nothing less than remarkable.

11) Personal Effects by E.M. Kokie. Another powerful brother story. And one that I never discovered until it made several "best" lists last year. Not sure how it slipped by my radar, but I am glad that I found it.

12 & 13) If you are looking for "series" titles, I have two great recommendations.

Walter Dean Myers writes several companion titles: Fallen Angels (Vietnam); Sunrise over Fallujah (Iraq/Afghanistan); Invasion (WWII).

Chris Lynch has a Vietnam series of four titles, each following one of a group of friends as they enter one branch of the military. You can read them in any order. He just started a WWII series (two titles so far) along the same lines.

Happy Reading!

And when you are celebrating having the day off work or school on Monday, don't forget to thank a soldier!


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