Four Great Books to Welcome the New Year

Happy New Year!  It’s always exciting to begin a new year and new chapter in our lives. I enjoy the chance to try new things and start with a clean slate.  When the thrill of the holidays begin to fade, and the kids are turning restless from being stuck indoors this winter, take them to the library and try some of the great recently released books.  Here are three MIDDLE GRADE and one CHAPTER BOOK that I’ve recently read that fit the bill:

1. THE TIME OF THE FIREFLIES by Kimberly Griffiths Little, is an engaging tale of suspense, adventure and mystery.  Larissa Renaud begins receiving phone calls on a disconnected antique phone in her family’s shop. The phone calls lead her to a series of clues and trips to the muddy river banks where fireflies gather at twilight.  These mysterious insects take Larissa back in time, where she learns the tragic secrets about her family’s past.  This is a perfect combination of ghost story and time-travel adventure that will appeal to all children looking for a well told story.

2. JUST A DROP OF WATER by Kerry O’Malley Cerra is a heart breaking and riveting story of a Florida town struggling to pick up the pieces after the events of September 11, 2001.  This realistic, well-told tale asks important questions all of us struggled with  during this time.  Is it right to judge all people because of the actions of a few?  Should we believe what we see?  Who can you trust in a world full of suspicion, dishonor and fear?  Will Sam and Jake’s friendship survive?  This book should be on every middle grade students reading list.

3. TWELVE MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT by Christopher Edge: I loved this story full of mystery, suspense and terror.  Here’s a description from the book jacket: “Each night at twelve minutes to midnight, inmates of the Bedlam Madhouse begin feverishly writing in a mysterious trance.  Their nonsense scribblings lead 13 year old Penelope Tredwell – the real author of the popular Penny Dreadful Chilling Tales Magazine – on a quest to find out what’s behind these crazed messages.  Her curiosity leads her to a mystery more terrifying than even she imagined.” For anyone who loves a scary read, this book is for you!

4. MRS. NOODLEKUGEL by Daniel Pinkwater:  This chapter book is a delightful romp where cats play piano and bake, mice dance, and everyone comes to tea.  The whimsical illustrations and larger print make this a perfect book for beginning readers.

Reading is the gift that keeps on giving.   Why not start the new year off with books?

Happy Reading!