The Moon: Earths Nearest Neighbor (Kid Genius Book 3)

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Levy finds the stories—the quirkier the better—and weaves them into a memorable collection of weird but true facts that kids will remember long after they've forgotten why they had to memorize the name Crispus Attucks and the date It doesn't seem like a sexy book, but utilitarianism is much more important to boys than sexy. This training manual serves every level of outdoosperson with step-by-step instructions and pictures.

In fact, there are going to be many readers who have little intention to sleep outdoors at all who will nonetheless enjoy the knowledge they will get to "be prepared" for any situation. One version comes with a leather cover, and don't underestimate the "sexy" value of that.

In an age where those words are often considered an immediate turnoff, Anderson keeps writing books that get people to fall in love with reading, and thinking. Music, which is being cut from so many educational programs around the country, is essential to our human existence, and this book is one of those that confirms that fact. In , the Germans began a campaign to lay absolute waste to the Russian city of Leningrad.

A million deaths and almost three years later, the city was overwhelmed with more corpses than people to bury them. Food was nonexistent and people turned to anything—anything! What could a composer—Dmitri Shostakovich— do in the face of such absolute misery? If I told you the answer was write a symphony, you might argue that that was at best a foolhardy act, at worst a waste of time.

Dare I say, this is a page-turner? Go ahead, look through all my reviews, I rarely use the phrase. It's best saved for books like Anderson's. Anyone who loves a true story, a layered mystery, a wartime thriller, an underdog victory, or believes in the power of an individual to change the world will love the effort of diving into this Pulitzer Prize-worthy account. Man, can M. Anderson write! John Adams a Boy Book of the Month award-winner. That couldn't be further than the truth. What McCullough does best in general, and especially here, is tell stories.

In the process, historical myths fall by the wayside as his readers grow to become a part of the era. No biographer understands the importance of stories in bringing a person or era to life like McCullough does. He's a storyteller first and foremost, and those with an interest in any of his many nonfiction topics should seek his tales out before reading any others.

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Also as a result, young Americans probably know his name and a factoid or two. But the complete story probably continues to elude most, except those who trekked through Ron Chernow's comprehensive biography. From the outset, Brockenbrough proceeds from the belief that her characters do not hold intrinsic interest and instead need to come to life first. So, she introduces a young Hamilton from the outset who is imminently interesting and likable.

From here, however, Brockenbrough rarely takes her foot off the interest pedal, never forgetting that story is the root of history. We are just getting to an era where we are learning that the lessons of history must be contained in their stories and not merely extracted from them into mile-wide, inch-deep texts. This is also, by the way, a text intelligent enough for most adults who have been daunted by Chernow's, to tackle and enjoy. To that end, it has inaugurated its series with exquisite and insightful texts focused on the most iconic photographs in history.

It is a mistake to think young boys of any age do not care about history. It's simply a matter of making history interesting, pertinent and less long-winded than school curricula often make it. These brief texts, each at 64 pages, will only ignite interest in younger readers and make them hungry to learn more about the world around them. One Sunday morning before church, when Welles Crowther was a young boy, his father gave him a red handkerchief for his back pocket. He cherished the necessity and the camaraderie. In the days that followed, they came to accept that he would never come home.

After leading them down, the young man turned around. With sympathy and tenderness, Rinaldi's sensitive interviews reveal the life of a man whose actions we hold up as ideals for everyman and everywoman. It is an inspiring and fair tribute. There are two versions of this book, by the way: the original, written for a general audience, and one revised for middle-schoolers.

Buy both. Great American Warriors. By Sal Tomasi. Ghost Soldiers. By Hampton Sides. The story of an heroic World War II rescue mission. By Jon Krakauer. True story of the Mount Everest climbing expedition that ended in disaster. Eleven expedition members began the hike, but only six came back alive. Krakauer was one of them, and he relates the harrowing experiences both of heroism and cowardice, selfishness and selflessness he endured.

Band of Brothers. By Steven Ambrose.

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Direct commentary by the men who survived makes this saga even more meaningful. By Alfred Lansing. Another superb survival story. In , Ernest Shackleton commanded an expedition of 27 men to cross the South Pole. Starvation, battles with sea monsters and bouts with gangrene follow.

Disturbing moments such as eating their sled dogs and amputation are necessary parts of this intense nonfiction story. Then the German army invaded. Pederson and his friends knew better. Their King Christian X, acquiesced, allowing the Germans free access to their country. Denmark would spend the next several years occupied by the Germans. But Pederson and his friends did not approve. Inspired by the resistance of their Norwegian cousins, and by British bravery, Knud and a collection of friends created the RAF Club, and, when his family moved to Aalborg, the Churchill Club. Their mission: to perform acts of sabotage against their occupiers.

This is a compelling, important story that illustrates just how much a dozen or so determined boys with bicycles can accomplish. Ship Breaker a Boy Book of the Month award-winner.


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The crew here isn't generally a fan of futuristic dystopias, but with that genre being so popular these days, it's hard to ignore them. And a few are really quite good. Bacigalupi's writing is hard-hitting and dispassionate, as he traces the miserable lives of waif-like kids as they scavenge the beached iron ships of Gulf Coast America for meager pay. This is a post-global-warming world, where city-killer storms regularly ravage an American coastline now buried under the continually encroaching seas.

Young teen Nailer has a life-changing experience early on that pits the concept of loyalty against that of "every one for himself," and when he finds a beached yacht with a rich teenage girl aboard, he must decide whether to scavenge the ship and become rich, or follow his newly reborn instinct for compassion.

A tough book to put down.

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By Suzanne Collins. I'm honestly not sure this is a book for boys. They're going to have to get past the first pages of explication, history and "girl-narrative. An absolutely haunting book, exceedingly well written. This is one that will make most readers uncomfortable, and keep them thinking about the book throughout the day.

What if one of your peripheral friends, a girl you went out with once, committed suicide? What if she left a series of tapes behind to explain who was partly responsible, and why?

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What if you were one of the people to receive those partially secret tapes, shared only with those she chose because of their role in her life, and death? The story of a tragedy is told in poignant style by Asher, who also reveals how important the simplest acts of meanness and kindness can affect a life. By Susan Vaught. A challenging YA book for certain. Del is a seventeen-year-old who was convicted of something really, really bad. Something so awful that it has branded him for life, made him ineligible to attend college, have friends or date.

Or at least that's what the law says, and the district attorney who made an example out of him for the rest of the world to see. But what did Del really do that was so awful? Vaught handles the always-difficult subject matter sex with a deft hand, revealing a human touch that is often forgotten when the subjects of teens and sex mix.

She knows what it feels like to have a first crush, to feel attracted to someone for the first time, to fall in love with music for the first time, and to fall in love the first time. Del is eye-openingly real, and though boys don't often reveal themselves as eloquently as Del does, they would if they had someone like Vaught to translate their conflicting thoughts. An alternatingly wonderful and disturbing book, often both at the same time.


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  • Susan Vaught repeatedly creates realistic worlds and spot-on characterization of kids few writers would be able to portray with such insight and compassion. She has tackled boys who have attempted suicide, been convicted of sex crimes, and now, her most difficult task of all, three absolutely compelling characters who will quickly become your favorite people in the world. First there's Jason, a. Freak, whose voice the novel is filtered through. Or I should say, voices, because Jason is a schizophrenic who, despite his medication, still hears many of them quite well.

    When Sunshine disappears after school one Monday, the mystery begins, and Jason can't even be sure he's not responsible, because his voices insist he is. You won't believe you can identify with these characters at the outset, but before long, due to Vaught's deft writing, you understand them intimately.