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Fiction

Rebel McKenzie

Rebel McKenzie
Disney-Hyperion Books
Ages 9 to 13
978-1423145394

Twelve-year-old Rebel McKenzie wants to spend her summer at the Ice Age Kids’ Dig and Safari where kids discover prehistoric bones, right alongside real paleontologists.  But digs cost money and Rebel is broker than four o’clock. Instead she must spend her summer watching her 7-year-old nephew, Rudy, who picks out clothes for people’s funerals before they are dead and has lunch with God. Rebel decides to win the Frog Level Volunteer Fire Department beauty pageant to earn money to go to the dig. But things keep getting in the way, like a 22-pound Siamese cat named Doublewide, a bullying neighbor who is all bluff, and Bambi, the reigning queen of Grandview Estates, the mobile home community. Still, Rebel learns that friends are more important than winning and that the best discoveries are found in one’s own back yard.

“Spunky and sassy, Rebel redefines beauty pageants in this rollicking tale.”  Kirkus

“Surprises in both plot and character development create a quick pace; extra material like Rudy’s cartoons and pages from Rebel’s “field notebook” provide welcome and often amusing insight.”  Publisher’s Weekly

“Everyone is worth knowing in this rich and funny book.  While Rebel learns a thing or two about loyalty, family, and empathy, her sharp-as-a-tack wit and boatload of sass guarantees that no lesson is delivered with a heavy hand.”   Booklist, starred review
 

Iva Honeysuckle Meets her Match

Iva Honeysuckle Meets her Match
Illustrated by Heather Ross
Disney-Hyperion Books
Ages 7 to 10
978-1423135142

The town of Uncertain, Virginia, is no place for an explorer like Iva Honeysuckle to spend the summer.  When Iva finds out her family is going on vacation, she’s thrilled.  She knows she will make her next great discovery at Stingray Point.  The very name promises adventure and danger.

Iva soon realizes that Stingray Point isn’t the exciting place she thought it was.  But then Iva hears about the Legend of Chessie, the town’s very own sea monster.  Spotting Chessie would blow all other discoveries out of the water.

Stalking a sea monster isn’t as easy as it looks.  Iva needs a partner—all the best discoverers have them.  Iva may have the brains and determination to find Chessie, but she needs someone with a healthy dose of luck.  When Iva realizes just who happens to be her perfect match, it will be her greatest discovery of all.

 

Iva Honeysuckle Discovers the World

Iva Honeysuckle Discovers the World
Illustrated by Heather Ross
Disney-Hyperion Books
Ages 7 to 10
978-1423131731

Eight-year-old Iva Honeycutt is certain she’s destined for greatness.  Iva has plans to find General Braddock’s treasure, which was buried somewhere in her small town of Uncertain, Virginia.  To make sure she’s up for the task, she invents a new name for her discoverer self, Iva Honeysuckle.  Still, even a great discoverer can hit a few bumps in the road, like her tattling, bossy double-first cousin, Heaven.  And her great-great-grandfather Ludwell’s treasure map not exactly being crystal clear.  And her supposedly trusty dog, Sweetlips, always falling asleep on the job.  Through it all, Iva remains her irrepressible self!

“I love this charming little book, sprinkled with Southern flair and a quirky cast of small-town characters.”  Indie Next

“The real treasure here is the fresh, quirky characterization of Iva and the comical reflection of a Southern family . . . Heather Ross’ expressive cartoonish black-and-white sketches are just goofy enough to fit the story’s exuberance.”  Kirkus
Danger at Sand Cave

The Rescue Adventure of Stenny Green, Hindenburg Crash Eyewitness
Illustrated by Ted Hammond, Richard Pimentel Carbajal
Graphic Universe, 2011
Ages 8 to 12
978-0761361787

Stenny Green loves to build model airships and is excited to learn the Hindenburg will land in Lakehurst, New Jersey.  He sneaks off to the airfield to watch, but witnesses tragedy when the airship explodes in the sky.  Can shy Stenny help the wreck’s survivors?

 

The Lifesaving Adventure of Sam Deal, Shipwreck Rescuer

The Lifesaving Adventure of Sam Deal, Shipwreck Rescuer
Illus. by Zachary Trover
adapted by Amanda Doering Tourville
Graphic Universe, 2010
Ages 8 to 12
ISBN 978-0761361961

In the graphic novel version of Rescue on the Outer Banks, older readers can enjoy the drama of Sam Deal’s rescue of shipwrecked passengers.  Based on a true story.

Danger at Sand Cave

Danger at Sand Cave
Illustrated by Den Schofield
Carolrhoda Books, 2000
Ages 6 to 9
ISBN 978-1575053790

Lloyd Collins received more publicity in the final week before his death in February 1925 than all his 37 years in Kentucky as a caver. He had crawled into a narrow cavern when the cave collapsed on his legs. Ten-year-old Arly Dunbar assists in the rescue mission and is among those stunned to learn they reached Floyd Collins too late.

  The Day of the Black Blizzard

The Day of the Black Blizzard
Illustrated by Laurie Harden
Millbrook Press, 2009
Ages 6 to 9
ISBN 978-0822578956

Ten-year-old Orry Jenkins is sick and tired of the dust. The year is 1935 and Kansas hasn’t gotten enough rain in years.  Instead of rainstorms, they get dust storms. One day Orry and his little stepsister go outside to play. They’re far from home when a huge dust storm comes up. Stranded along on the plains, the children must find a way to survive the terrible black blizzard.

Liberty Street

Finding Day’s Bottom
Carolrhoda Books, 2006
Ages 9 to 14
ISBN 978-1575059334

Jane-Ery’s heart is torn in two when her daddy dies in a sawmill accident. Now Grandpap’s come down from Salter’s Mountain to help.  Jane-Ery’s not much interested. But when he tells her about Day’s Bottom, “a place of light and wonderment,” she can’t help but listen. In Day’s Bottom, Grandpap says, a girl can find anything she wants . . .

“In warm, lyrical prose, award-winning author Candice Ransom spins an enchanting tale of loss and healing.”

“ . . . an authentically drawn backdrop that embodies stillness and reflection . . . a novel full of insight and truth.” School Library Journal

“Ransom weaves tales unique to the Virginia/Carolina region into the intriguing plot . . . she creates vivid images, earnest characters, and memorable situations that will melt the hearts of readers.” Children’s Literature

“Wonderful description, hill-country language, appropriate grief and honesty combine to offer a new take on an old story.” Kirkus

Fire in the SkyFire in the Sky
Illustrated by Shelly O. Haas
Carolrhoda Books, 1997
Ages 7 to 10
ISBN 978-0876148679

Nine-year-old Stenny can think of nothing but the expected arrival of the Hindenberg at the naval air station near his New Jersey home. When he sneaks away to watch the landing, he witnesses the disaster and finds himself drawn into the rescue effort. Though a loser at marbles and a liar, Stenny finds his world turns around when he discovers he’s no coward.

  The Night of the Hurricane’s Fury

The Night of the Hurricane's Fury
Illustrated by Paul Tong
Millbrook Press, 2009
Ages 6 to 9
ISBN 978-0822578932

It’s the summer of 1900, and ten-year-old Robert Pettibone is bored.  His parents have sent him to stay with his Aunt Maudie in Galveston, Texas.  She doesn’t let him do anything by himself.  When a storm comes up, he rushes to the beach to take a closer look.  But this is no ordinary storm—it’s an enormous hurricane headed straight for Galveston.  Raging winds and rising flood waters threaten to destroy the entire town.  Can Robert survive the worst natural disaster in U.S. history?

Tractor Day

Rescue on the Outer Banks
Illustrated by Karen Ritz
Carolrhoda Books, 2002
Ages 6 to 9
ISBN 978-0876144601

It’s October, 1896, on North Carolina’s Outer Banks.  Through the howling wind and lashing rain of a hurricane, ten-year-old Sam Deal and his horse, Ginger, watch as the brave surfmen of Pea Island struggle to save the lives of nine people stranded in a shipwreck.  Sam has dreamed of becoming a surfman just like Keeper Richard Etheridge and the rest of the all African-American life-saving crew.  Risking his own life, Sam learns the meaning of courage.

  Sam Collier and the Founding of Jamestown

Sam Collier and the Founding of Jamestown
Illustrated by Matthew Archambault
Millbrook Press, 2006
Ages 6 to 9
ISBN 978-0822564515

Twelve-year-old Sam Collier was eager for adventure.  He came from England to be a settler in the new land of Virginia.  But his life in the New World proved to be a harsh test.  The settlers face sickness, starvation, and sudden attack.  Could Sam and his fellow settlers trust the native people of Virginia to help them?  Could he survive in this strange new land?

Seeing Sky-Blue Pink

Seeing Sky-Blue Pink
Carolrhoda Books, 2007
Ages 8 to 11
ISBN 978-0822571421

Maddie and her mother used to have Perfect Days in town.  Now Maddie has a new stepfather and a house in the country.  It’s a lot of change for a shy eight-year-old.  Her stepfather Sam has a cat that can predict the weather.  Sam can build tree houses and even believes in a color called sky-blue pink.  Will Maddie ever have a Perfect Day again? 

“This isn’t an action-packed book.  There’s nothing nerve-wracking or edgy about it.  But it’s a book that I would have read and loved with a passion when I was eight years old. I would have kept it on a special place on my shelf . . .”  Kate Messner, Amazon
  Willie McLean and the Civil War Surrender

Willie McLean and the Civil War Surrender
Illustrated by Jeni Reeves
Carolrhoda Books, 2004
Ages 6 to 9
ISBN 978-1575055886

When Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrenders his Army of Northern Virginia to Union General Ulysses Grant, no one notices an eleven-year-old boy witnessing the historic event that took place in his own house in Appomattox, Virginia.  A Union soldier named Robert Lincoln (President Lincoln’s son) is also present.  And so is a rag doll that disappears.

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