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"eleven" by Patricia Reilly Giff, Wendy Lamb Books, 165 pages
Read aloud: age 8 and older
Read yourself: age 9 and older
On the eve of his 11th birthday, Sam McKenzie scours the house in search of gifts. When his search leads him to the attic, what he finds shocks him. A locked box with a newspaper hanging halfway out of the lid reveals a picture of Sam as a little boy. Sam wants to know what the article says, but Sam can't read. The only words he can make out are "missing" and his first name, Sam, but a different last name - Bell.
Sam needs the help of someone he can trust to read the article to him. Caroline, the new girl at school, agrees to help Sam unravel his past, and as they work together they forge a friendship that neither one had ever had before nor believed could happen.
Library: Groton Public Library, 52 Newtown Rd., Groton
Library Director: Betty Anne Reiter
Children's Librarian: Kim Balentine
Choices this week: "Each Little Bird That Sings" by Debbie Wiles; "Bubba and Beau: Best Friends" by Kathi Appelt; "True Gift: A Christmas Story" by Patricia MacLachlan
"A Thunderous Whisper" by Christina Diaz Gonzalez, Alfred A. Knopf, 2012, 309 pages, $16.99 hardcover
Read aloud: age 10 and older
Read yourself: age 11, 12 and older
Ani is called "Sardine Girl," she's friendless, and is, in her words, "Invisible. Irrelevant. Just an insignificant 12-year-old living in a war-torn country. At least that's what I'd been told."
And who would tell Ani such things? Her own mother. Ani's loving father has gone off to fight in Spain's Civil War, and Ani remains with her mother in quiet Guernica, going to school and helping her mother sell sardines. When Ani meets Mathias, she not only finds a true friend but she and Mathias become part of a spy network to help the underground resistance. For the first time Ani feels that her life has a purpose.
"Bad Apple: A Tale of Friendship" by Edward Hemingway, Putnam, 2012, 32 pages, $16.99 hardcover
Read aloud: age 3 and older
Read yourself: age 7
Mac is an apple, and a good apple at that; he has many friends. But one day, after falling asleep in the rain, Mac awakes and finds a worm named Will in his head!
The two become immediate friends and have a wonderful time together. But when Mac and Will get together with Mac's friends and they see Will sticking out of his head, they laugh at him and say, "He's got worms!..Mac's a rotten apple!" and won't be friends with Mac anymore. After some trials and tribulations and encouragement from Will, Mac realizes who his true friend really is-Will-and "he'd rather be a Bad Apple with Will than a sad apple without him."