This category contains 37 posts

FRAMED! by James Ponti…2020 LOVELACE nominee Division I & II

Framed! is a really fun read.  Our main character is 12-year-old Florian Bates.  On the first page he introduces himself to the reader and lets us know that he’s an average 7th grader, aside from the fact that–despite his age–he works with the FBI. By page 4 he has been kidnapped and by page 12 … Continue reading

THE SECRET OF DREADWILLOW CARSE by Brian Farrey….A 2020 LOVELACE Nominee Division I

The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse is a perfect example of why I adore the Maud Hart Lovelace awards.  I always try to read all of the nominees before the school year starts so I can speak intelligently about them when students or parents ask me.  I have discovered more than one gem among the nominees … Continue reading

THE STRANGERS (Greystone Secrets #1) by Margaret Peterson Haddix

The Strangers is the first in a new series, Greystone Secrets, by Margaret Peterson Haddix. The Greystones live in Ohio with their mother, Kate. (Their father died eight years before we meet them.) The story begins with the three Greystone children–Chess (6th grade), Emma (4th Grade) and Finn (2nd Grade)–racing each other home from school … Continue reading

WILD RIVER by P.J. Lodehouse…2016-17 LOVELACE nominee Division I

Wild River tells the story of Ryan’s and his older brother, Tanner’s, kayaking trip.  The author does a nice job of creating a believable voice for Ryan–a middle school boy who prefers video games to outdoor activities.  The fact that Ryan’s expertise with outdoor adventures is much less than Tanner’s is essential to the story.  … Continue reading

AN ARMY OF FROGS by Trevor Pryce…2016-17 LOVELACE nominee Division I

I had seen An Army of Frogs at the library.  I had checked it out twice.  It looked interesting.  It looked fun.  But I couldn’t get into it.  I groaned when I saw it come up on the Lovelace nominee list for 2016-17.  I was not looking forward to forcing myself to read it all … Continue reading

CAPTURE THE FLAG by Kate Messner…2016-17 LOVELACE nominee Division I

The flag which Francis Scott Key used as inspiration to compose The Star Spangled Banner is stolen from the Smithsonian after a gala event.  That evening four children with different ties to the museum and, consequently, the flag, meet by chance in the airport, waiting to board their flights home.  A massive snowstorm shuts down … Continue reading


The Case of the Stolen Sixpence is the first in the Maisie Hitchins mysteries series by Holly Webb.  Maisie is 12 years old and lives with her grandmother in the boarding house she owns and operates.  Maisie desperately wants to be a detective like the famous Gilbert Carrington.  When George, the butcher’s delivery boy, is … Continue reading

CHOMP by Carl Hiaasen…LOVELACE nominee Division II 2014-15

Wahoo (yes, that’s his given name–read the book to find out why) is left at home with his father while his mother travels to China to teach Mandarin to American businessmen overseas.  Wahoo’s father, Mickey, is an animal wrangler.  Unfortunately, Mickey is not able to work due to a freak accident wherein a frozen iguana … Continue reading


I liked a lot of moments in The Actual & Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher.  The author’s decision to portray Becky Thatcher (the classic character from Mark Twain’s Adventures of Tom Sawyer) as a bold and daring spitfire of a young girl in 19th Century America is perfect.  Becky’s character is well-defined and three-dimensional in thought and … Continue reading


The Forbidden Library is a must-read especially for fans of Harry Potter, Inkheart by Cornelia Funke and Chris Colfer’s newer The Land of Stories series. Alice’s perceptions of reality are turned upside-down when she stumbles upon a fairy (not a nice one) in heated conversation with her father.  When her father disappears four days later … Continue reading