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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. 7-10' Category

Fri, August 8th, 2014
Leaving China by James McMullan
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Lynn:  We reviewers are supposed to be analytical about our reading and writing, assessing the elements of what we read and conveying those to you making decisions about what to read and purchase.  I try, really I do.  But sometimes a book comes along that I just love.  Period.  Leaving China:  An Artist Paints His […]


Wed, July 23rd, 2014
Skink–No Surrender by Carl Hiaasen
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Cindy: ‘”Hold my eye,” (Skink) said, and plucked the left one out of his face.’ By page 8 reluctant readers are going to be hooked by Hiassen’s latest mystery, Skink–No Surrender (Knopf 2014). Skink won’t be new to Hiaasen’s adult fans who may have encountered the hermit Vietnam vet, ex-governor of Florida in a half […]


Thu, July 10th, 2014
Try This! by Karen Romano Young
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Lynn:  We’ve been having a beautiful summer here in Michigan but even the best summer vacations include some rainy days.  Occupying active kids cooped up inside can be a challenge but here at Bookends, we have the answer.  Put kids’ minds and hands to work and play with science experiments!  The focus group loves science […]


Fri, May 30th, 2014
Grandmaster by David Klass
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Lynn:  I’m not sure why but I love books with chess as an element of the story.  Maybe it’s the rich history of the game or the idea of sharp intellects engaged in intense mental combat or maybe it’s just that I am a lousy chess player and admire those who play well.  Whatever it […]


Mon, May 26th, 2014
Pure Grit by Mary Cronk Farrell
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Lynn:  I’m a nonfiction fan as readers of Booklist probably remember and already this year the numbers of interesting nonfiction is keeping me busy and happy.  One of the early arrivals is Pure Grit:  How American World War II Nurses Survived Battle and Prison Camp in the Pacific (Abrams 2014).  There are many accounts of […]


Fri, May 16th, 2014
Middle Grade Steampunk
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Cindy: When I share book talks for science fiction units with my middle school students I am still surprised by how few of them have heard of the term “steampunk.” I like this strange description from the Urban Dictionary entry for “steampunk”: “What the past would look like if the future had happened sooner.” We’ve […]


Wed, April 23rd, 2014
Tin Star by Cecil Castellucci
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Lynn:  As a life-long science fiction reader I’m always begging for science fiction that is accessible, inviting, thrilling, something other than dystopia and shorter than door-stop length.  Cecil Castellucci has galloped to the rescue.  Tin Star (Roaring Brook 2014) is exactly what I have been looking for!  Strap on your phase gun and step aboard […]


Fri, March 14th, 2014
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Cindy: Those of you who have been following Bookends for a few years know that Big Ten basketball season brings a review or two for basketball books from Lynn (Boilermaker) Rutan and Cindy (Hoosier) Dobrez and this year is no different. Yesterday our two teams played their way out of the Big 10 tournament and […]


Wed, March 12th, 2014
Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Cindy:  I was cheering loudly when Navigating Early (Delacorte 2013) won a Printz Honor this year. It’s always fun to be in the audience at the announcement of the awards, and it’s even more fun when favorite books are honored. If you haven’t read Navigating Early, you are in for a treat. Thom Barthelmess provides […]


Sun, January 19th, 2014
45 Pounds (more or less) by K. A. Barson
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Cindy: Raise your hand if you are dieting, have been on a diet, have fallen off a diet, or know an adult who struggles with weight issues? Yeah, I thought so. If we, with the wisdom of our years of experience, struggle with weight loss, weight gain, and body issues, imagine how tough it is […]





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