Book Review – The Changelings by Christina Soontornvat

By Awnali Mills

ChangelingsWhen Izzy’s sister, Hen, follows some eerie music into the woods, Izzy follows her.  Soon she finds herself in the land of Fairies, but Hen is nowhere around.  Continue reading

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Book Review – Miss Ellicot’s School for the Magically Minded by Sage Blackwood

Miss Ellicott's School for the Magically MindedBy Awnali Mills

This weekend I read two books, The Underneath by Kathi Appelt which was published in 2008 and won all kinds of awards, so I won’t review it here, and Miss Ellicott’s School for the Magically Minded by Sage Blackwood.  Ms. Blackwood also wrote Jinx, which I loved, so I had to read her new novel, right? Right?


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Ocean Storytime – 4-5-17

By Awnali Mills

In honor of our All Henrico Reads book, Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery (which is an excellent book), it was requested that we all do ocean themed storytimes this week.  The books I chose were I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean by Kevin Sherry, Swallow the Leader by Danna Smith, and Hooray for Fish by Lucy Cousins.

I'm the biggest thingSwallow the LeaderHooray for Fish

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Book Review – Forget Me Not by Ellie Terry

By Awnali Mills

Calliope June’s mother can’t seem to get along without a man.  Ever since Calliope’s father’s death, her mom has hopped from one relationship into another.  Which would be fine if the breakup didn’t mean that they had to move.  They always have to move when her mother breaks up.

Making new friends isn’t easy, and it’s even harder when you have Tourette ’s syndrome.  Calliope makes faces or noises sometimes that she has no control over.  This makes her a great target for bullies.  Who wants to be friends with the new weird girl?  Well, actually, Jinsong does.

Jinsong is popular, and he’s been fascinated with Calliope ever since she moved into his apartment complex.  He would like to be friends with her, but can he risk his popularity to do so?  And will Calliope be around long enough for it to matter?

Forget Me Not is told in poetry (Calliope) and prose (Jinsong).  Even better, the author, Ellie Terry, actually has Tourette’s, so she writes Calliope from the inside out.  Terry shows us how hard Tourette’s is to live with, and how secondary afflictions often go hand in hand with it, like obsessive compulsive disorder.  She also takes us inside the world of a genuinely nice person who wants to befriend the new girl, but also doesn’t want to become a target himself.  How important is popularity?  To a kid (and, let’s face it, to adults) it can be pretty darn important.  This novel can not only help children understand how hard it is to be a new kid, and how hard it is to be different, but also how to overcome the terrifying need to be one of the crowd.

Recommended for grades 4-8.

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Book Review – The Bad Guys by Aaron Blabey

The Bad GuysBy Awnali Mills

So, you say your child has run through all the Bad Kitty books and needs something else similar?  Well look no further.  Have I got a book for you!  The Bad Guys by Aaron Blabey will certainly fit the bill.

The Big Bad Wolf has decided that he’s tired of being the bad guy.  So he rounds up Shark, Snake, and Piranha, (almost) convinces them to clean up their image, and sets out to prove that they are actually good guys.  The first task, rescuing a cat from a tree, had me gasping with laughter. If you were a cat, would YOU want to descend the tree into the arms of a shark grinning toothily at you and bellowing “Here, Kitty, Kitty!”?  I think not!

The illustrations are integral to the story, and double the fun.  If you’re looking for a beginning chapter book that will tickle a child’s funny bone, start with The Bad Guys.  Recommended for grades 1-2.

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Book Review: A Boy Called Bat by Elana Arnold

Boy Called BatBy Awnali Mills

Bat is a boy with Asperger’s Syndrome, and his superpower is that he loves everything to do with animals.  It helps that his mother is a veterinarian.  When she brings home a newborn skunk that needs tending before being given to a rescue organization, Bat is determined to care for him.  But Bat has an even better plan.  He thinks that this new skunk would make an excellent pet.  He just needs to figure out how to get his mom to agree. Continue reading

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Book Review: Dark Shadows, Yes, Another Misadventure by Doreen Cronin

Dark ShadowsBy Awnali Mills

The Chicken Squad is off to the farm to meet their many, many cousins.  But when Sugar meets a strange chicken and then all the jelly beans disappear and Poppy’s shoe disappears, some serious detective work is called for.  Can they track the culprit before time runs out?

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