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Middle-school librarians Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan prove that two heads are better than one when it comes to discussing YA and children's books

Archive for the 'Gr. 4-7' Category

Wed, March 26th, 2014
Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Lynn:  “Ophelia did not consider herself brave but she was very curious.”  So Karen Foxlee introduces the heroine of Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy (Random/Knopf 2014), eleven-year-old Ophelia Jane Worthington-Whittard.  Ophelia and her older sister Alice have accompanied their father to his new job as curator on an important upcoming museum exhibit in a strange […]


Mon, March 17th, 2014
Josephine by Patricia Hruby Powell
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Cindy: Picture book biographies are all the rage in the publishing world and Josephine (Chronicle 2014) is one that our middle school book club members are passing around with enthusiasm. They have no idea who Josephine Baker was but after they read this we’ve dug out some longer biographies and they’ve enjoyed seeing photographs of […]


Thu, February 27th, 2014
Lego Mania
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Lynn:  Legos have been a feature at my house for thirty years or more.  My sons, now in their thirties, played with them nonstop and that building gene passed straight through the genetic tree to my grandsons.  Since I provide care for my local grandsons, I still have Legos dominating my house:  completed projects sit […]


Sun, February 16th, 2014
George Washington’s Rules to Live By by K.M. Kostyal
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Lynn:  I hate how this makes me sound like some cranky curmudgeon but I have found myself watching and listening to people lately and wondering what has happened to manners and consideration!  What makes anyone think I want to listen to their private and embarrassing phone conversations as we wait to board an airplane or […]


Mon, February 10th, 2014
The Animal Book by Steve Jenkins
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Lynn:  It isn’t unusual to have a new book from Steve Jenkins to rave about.  His list of award winning kid-pleasing books is impressively long.  They’ve always been favorites with the older members of the focus group and with me too.  I believe that he outdid himself last year however with The Animal Book: A […]


Fri, January 10th, 2014
Monster on the Hill by Rob Harrell
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Lynn:  OK – let me just get this out of the way.  Monster on the Hill (Top Shelf 2013) is MONSTROUSLY fun reading.  Harrell’s England of 1867 features towns that each have their own monsters.  The monsters are a source of town pride and townspeople visit other towns, comparing monsters.  Unfortunately the residents of Stoker-On-Avon […]


Fri, December 13th, 2013
P. S. Be Eleven by Rita Williams-Garcia
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Cindy: The Gaither sisters won our hearts in the Newbery Honor Book One Crazy Summer and now they are back in a sequel, P.S. Be Eleven (Amistad 2013). The year ahead for Delphine and her sisters looks to be just as crazy as they reenter their Bedford-Stuyvesant Brooklyn neighborhood fresh off an eye-opening summer in […]


Mon, December 9th, 2013
Ultimate Bug-Opedia by Murawski & Honovich
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Lynn:  Long-time readers of this blog will NOT surprised when I start out by saying that Ultimate Bug-Opedia:  the Most Complete Bug Reference Ever (National Geographic 2013) was an enormous hit with the older members of our focus group.  They have always been completely bug-obsessed and, at 10, the reading level and subject matter are […]


Wed, November 27th, 2013
Thank You with a Cherry on Top!
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Cindy: I know that I am supposed to be focusing on what I am thankful for this week, but a new book delivery has diverted my attention. A package on my porch revealed an interior gift box with a paper bow. I’m used to special packaging for books that publishers are excited to promote, but […]


Mon, November 25th, 2013
Give Me a 001
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Lynn and Cindy:  Readers – between us, we have a lot of years in middle school libraries!  And that means that we have had to pay attention to that crazy Dewey category 001!  Middle schoolers LOVE books about yetis and the Bermudua Triangle and UFO’s.  It just goes with the territory.  That section of the […]





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