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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. 5-8' Category

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 […]


Mon, February 24th, 2014
Babe Conquers the World by Rich and Sandra Neil Wallace
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Lynn:  Babe was one of the greatest athletes this world has ever seen.  If you automatically think I mean Babe Ruth, you wouldn’t be alone but I mean another Babe – Babe Didrikson Zaharias.  Sadly many people know very little about this truly astonishing athlete.  I hope that this new book, Babe Conquers the World:  […]


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 […]


Mon, February 3rd, 2014
Barbed Wire Baseball by Marissa Moss
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Cindy: Determination is up at bat in Barbed Wire Baseball (Abrams 2013)  an inspiring nonfiction picture book that could be used in many units and at any grade level. Kenichi Zenimura, “Zeni,” is credited as being the father of Japanese American baseball and this book mostly focuses on his years at the Gila River War […]


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, January 3rd, 2014
Constable & Toop by Gareth P. Jones
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Lynn:  I’ve a weakness for Victorian ghost stories and the 2013 publishing year offered up some super ones.  Constable & Toop (Abrams/Amulet 2013) joins my list of spooky favorites. The ghosts of London’s haunted houses are mysteriously disappearing.  Worse, once the ghosts disappear the “Black Rot,” a phantasmagorical wasting disease,” creeps in.  Investigators, both human […]


Wed, December 18th, 2013
Heaven Is Paved with Oreos by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Cindy: My 7th and 8th grade girls love Murdock’s novel Dairy Queen that features D.J. Schwenk and her football-crazy dairy-farming Wisconsin family, so I was delighted to see this new companion novel that I can offer my 6th graders. Heaven Is Paved with Oreos (Houghton Mifflin 2013) introduces Sarah Zorn, best friends with D.J.’s younger […]


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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