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F.A. Day Library: Gift for Reading 2018

Gift for Reading

Selected by the children's room staff at the Newton Free Library, here are the year's best new books for middle school readers. A print-friendly version of the list will be available soon!

Adventure and Mystery

Squirm

Snakes, grizzlies, a missing dad, a menacing drone... Carl Hiaasen delivers a wickledly funny, slightly subversive tale in his latest New York Times bestseller.  Some facts about Billy Dickens:   

  • He once saw a biker swerve across the road in order to run over a snake.
  • Later, that motorcycle somehow ended up at the bottom of a canal.
  • Billy isn't the type to let things go.

Some facts about Billy's family:

  • They've lived in six different Florida towns because Billy's mom insists on getting a house near a bald eagle nest.
  • Billy's dad left when he was four and is a total mystery.
  • Billy has just found his dad's address--in Montana.

This summer, Billy will fly across the country, hike a mountain, float a river, dodge a grizzly bear, shoot down a spy drone, save a neighbor's cat, save an endangered panther, and then try to save his own father.

The Seismic Seven

Brianna Dobson has been chosen to work with world-renowned geologist Dr. Grier in Yellowstone National Park for the summer, and she couldn't be more excited! But then Dr. Grier tells her and the other kids on the project the real reason she's invited them to Yellowstone: A massive supervolcano in the park is about to erupt--and if they can't stop it, Earth will be plunged into an endless winter, and civilization will be destroyed. Bri and her new friends are ready and willing to help stop the eruption, but unexpected dangers threaten to foil their efforts. Will the Seismic Seven be able to defy nature and save the world?

A World Below

Mr. Baker's eighth grade class thought they were in for a normal field trip to Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. But when an earthquake hits, their field trip takes a terrifying turn. The students are plunged into an underground lake...and their teacher goes missing. They have no choice but to try and make their way back above ground, even though no one can agree on the best course of action. The darkness brings out everyone's true self. Supplies dwindle and tensions mount. Pretty and popular Silvia does everything she can to hide her panic attacks, even as she tries to step up and be a leader. But the longer she's underground, the more frequent and debilitating they become. Meanwhile, Eric has always been a social no one, preferring to sit at the back of the class and spend evenings alone. Now, he finds himself separated from his class, totally by himself underground. That is, until he meets an unexpected stranger. Told from three different points of view, this fast-paced adventure novel explores how group dynamics change under dire circumstances. Do the students of Mr. Baker's class really know each other at all? Or do they just think they do? It turns out, it's hard to hide in the dark.

Gone to Drift

Lloyd comes from a long line of fishermen. Growing up in Kingston, Jamaica, Lloyd feels most at home with the sea and his grandfather, Maas Conrad, at his side. When his grandfather doesn't return from a fishing trip, Lloyd fears he has gone to drift. The sea may be in Lloyd's blood, but as he searches for his grandfather, he discovers a side of the ocean--and the people who use it--that he's never known before.

Max Tilt: Fire the Depths

When thirteen-year-old Max Tilt happens upon his great-great-great-grandfather Jules Verne's unfinished, unpublished manuscript, The Lost Treasures, he doesn't realize that he's found the answers to all his problems. And Max has a lot of problems--his mother is sick, his father is out of work, and his home is about to be foreclosed on. But when Max and his cousin Alex discover that Verne's last work reveals everything he wrote was fact, not fiction, they realize that the book holds the key to something incredibly valuable. A treasure that can save his house--and maybe his entire family. But Max and Alex aren't the only ones who know about Verne's clues. Spencer Niemend, a strange skunk-haired man who has spent his life researching Verne's works, is bent on reshaping the world with the hidden treasure. To find it first, Max and Alex must go on an adventure that'll take them from the broken remains of an underwater city to the very jaws of a giant squid to the edges of a whirlpool from which no one has ever emerged alive.

Graphic Novels

Short and Skinny

As a middle schooler, Mark finds himself on the smaller side of the physical spectrum--being short AND skinny has really wreaked havoc on his confidence. So to end his bullying woes and get the girl--or at least the confidence to talk to the girl--he starts to explore bulking up by way of the miracle cures in the backs of his comics. But his obsession with beefing up is soon derailed by a new obsession: Star Wars, the hottest thing to hit the summer of 1977. As he explores his creative outlets as well as his cures to body image woes, Mark sets out to make his own stamp on the film that he loves.

Illegal

A powerfully moving graphic novel by New York Timesbestselling author Eoin Colfer and the team behind the Artemis Fowl graphic novels that explores the current plight of undocumented immigrants. Ebo is alone.His brother, Kwame, has disappeared, and Ebo knows it can only be to attempt the hazardous journey to Europe, and a better life--the same journey their sister set out on months ago. But Ebo refuses to be left behind in Ghana. He sets out after Kwame and joins him on the quest to reach Europe. Ebo's epic journey takes him across the Sahara Desert to the dangerous streets of Tripoli, and finally out to the merciless sea. But with every step he holds on to his hope for a new life, and a reunion with his family.

Animus

The residents of a quiet Japanese neighborhood have slowly come to realize that inauspicious, paranormal forces are at play in the most unlikely of places: the local playground. Two friends, a young boy and girl, resolve to exorcise the evil that inhabit it, including a snaggle-toothed monster.

In Animus, a beautiful but spooky young adult graphic novel of everyday hauntings, Antoine Revoy delivers an eerie tale inspired by the Japanese and French comics of his childhood.

As the Crow Flies

Charlie Lamonte is thirteen years old, queer, black, and questioning what was once a firm belief in God. So naturally, she's spending a week of her summer vacation stuck at an all-white Christian youth backpacking camp. As the journey wears on and the rhetoric wears thin, she can't help but poke holes in the pious obliviousness of this storied sanctuary with little regard for people like herself . . . or her fellow camper, Sydney.

Estranged

Edmund and the Childe were swapped at birth. Now Edmund lives in secret as a changeling in the World Above, his fae powers hidden from his unsuspecting parents and his older sister, Alexis. The Childe lives among the fae in the World Below, where being a human makes him a curiosity at the royal palace. But when the cruel sorceress Hawthorne seizes the throne, the Childe and Edmund must unite on a dangerous quest to save both worlds--even if they're not sure which world they belong to.

The Prince and the Dressmaker

Paris, at the dawn of the modern age: Prince Sebastian is looking for a bride--or rather, his parents are looking for one for him. Sebastian is too busy hiding his secret life from everyone. At night he puts on daring dresses and takes Paris by storm as the fabulous Lady Crystallia--the hottest fashion icon in the world capital of fashion! Sebastian's secret weapon (and best friend) is the brilliant dressmaker Frances--one of only two people who know the truth: sometimes this boy wears dresses. But Frances dreams of greatness, and being someone's secret weapon means being a secret. Forever. How long can Frances defer her dreams to protect a friend?

Horror and Supernatural

The Agony House

Denise Farber has just moved back to New Orleans with her mom and step-dad. They left in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and have finally returned, wagering the last of their family's money on fixing up an old, rundown house and converting it to a bed and breakfast. Nothing seems to work around the place, which doesn't seem too weird to Denise. The unexplained noises are a little more out of the ordinary, but again, nothing too unusual. But when floors collapse, deadly objects rain down, and she hears creepy voices, it's clear to Denise that something more sinister lurks hidden here.

Answers may lie in an old comic book Denise finds concealed in the attic: the lost, final project of a famous artist who disappeared in the 1950s. Denise isn't budging from her new home, so she must unravel the mystery-on the pages and off-if she and her family are to survive...

Where the Woods End

Kestrel, a young huntress, lives in a seemingly endless forest crawling with dangerous beasts. But the most dangerous beasts of all are the Grabbers-beings that are born when you are and stalk you throughout your life, waiting for the perfect moment to snatch and eat you. No one has ever defeated their Grabber once attacked, and those that die from accidents or other creatures are considered 'lucky.' Kestrel has been tasked by her mother, a powerful and controlling spell-caster, to hunt down the Grabbers in an effort to protect their village in the forest. Accompanied by Pippit, a hilariously bloodthirsty weasel, she hones her skills as she searches for a way out of the forest-and away from the judgmental villagers who despise her. But her own Grabber is creeping ever closer, and nothing in this forest is what it seems . . . including her mother's true motivations.

The House in Poplar Wood

For as long as the Vickery twins can remember, Lee and his mother have served Memory, while Felix and his father assist Death. This is the Agreement. But one Halloween, Gretchen Whipple smashes her way into their lives. Her bargain is simple: If the twins help her solve the murder of local girl Essie Hasting, she'll help them break the Agreement. The more the three investigate, however, the more they realize that something's gone terribly wrong in their town. Death is on the loose, and if history repeats itself, Essie's might not be the last murder in Poplar Wood.

The Darkdeep

Everyone in Timbers knows Still Cove is off-limits, with its creepy Beast sightings and equally terrifying legends. But when a bullying incident sends twelve-year-old Nico Holland over a cliff and into Still Cove's icy waters, friends Tyler and Emma--and even Opal Walsh, who usually runs with the popular kids--rush to his rescue . . . and discover a mysterious island hiding in the murky, swirling mists below. Though the island appears uninhabited, the kids can't shake a feeling that something about it is definitely not right. Their suspicions grow when they stumble upon an abandoned houseboat filled with all sorts of curiosities: odd-looking weapons, unnerving portraits, maps to unknown places, and a glass jar containing something completely unidentifiable. And in its lowest depths churns a dark, deep secret. As the group delves deeper into this mysterious new clubhouse, their lives begin to intertwine in weird and dangerous ways. For something ancient has awakened . . . and it can detect not only their wishes and dreams, but also their darkest, most terrible imaginings. Do they have what it takes to face the shadowy secrets lurking within their own hearts?

The Inn Between

Eleven-year-old Quinn has had some bad experiences lately. She was caught cheating in school, and then one day, her little sister Emma disappeared while walking home from school. She never returned. When Quinn's best friend Kara has to move away, she goes on one last trip with Kara and her family. They stop over at the first hotel they see, a Victorian inn that instantly gives Quinn the creeps, and she begins to notice strange things happening around them. When Kara's parents and then brother disappear without a trace, the girls are stranded in a hotel full of strange guests, hallways that twist back in on themselves, and a particularly nasty surprise lurking beneath the floorboards. Will the girls be able to solve the mystery of what happened to Kara's family before it's too late?

Biographies and Non-Fiction

Spooked!

On the night of October 30, 1938, thousands of Americans panicked when they believed that Martians had invaded Earth. What appeared to be breaking news about an alien invasion was in fact a radio drama based on H. G. Wells's War of the Worlds, performed by Orson Welles and his Mercury Theatre players. Some listeners became angry once they realized they had been tricked, and the reaction to the broadcast sparked a national discussion about fake news, propaganda, and the role of radio.

The Wondrous Workings of Planet Earth

Beautifully combining art and science, The Wondrous Workings of Planet Earthis an illustrated tour of the planet that reveals ecosystems large and small, from reefs, deserts, and rainforests to ponds, backyard gardens, and even a drop of water. Through exquisite drawings, maps, and infographics, New York Timesbest-selling author Rachel Ignotofsky makes earth science accessible and entertaining, explaining how our planet works, from its diverse ecosystems and their inhabitants, to the levels of ecology, the importance of biodiversity, the carbon cycle, weather cycles, and more.

Proud (Young Readers Edition)

At the 2016 Rio Olympics, Ibtihaj Muhammad smashed barriers as the first American to compete wearing hijab, and made history as the first Muslim-American woman to medal. But it wasn't an easy road--in a sport most popular among wealthy white people, Ibtihaj often felt out of place. Ibtihaj was fast, hardworking, and devoted to her faith, but rivals and teammates (as well as coaches and officials) pointed out her differences, insisting she would never succeed. Yet Ibtihaj powered on. Her inspiring journey from a young outsider to an Olympic hero is a relatable, memorable, and uniquely American tale of hard work, determination, and self-reliance.

The Beloved World of Sonia Sotomayor

Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic and third woman appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States, was a young girl when she dared to dream big. Her dream? To become a lawyer and a judge.

Sonia did not let the hardships of her background--which included growing up in the rough housing projects of New York City's South Bronx, dealing with juvenile diabetes, coping with parents who argued and fought personal demons, and worrying about money--stand in her way. Always, she believed in herself. Her determination, along with guidance from generous mentors and the unwavering love of her extended Puerto Rican family, propelled her ever forward.

Fly with Me

Enchanting stories, lyrical poems, stunning photography, and real-life science fill the pages of this treasury celebrating the amazing world of birds. This thoughtful and beautifully curated collection of our flying, feathery friends highlights the role birds play in human life from centuries ago to present day. And while it's beautiful, it's also full of valuable real science about these wondrous creatues. From history and behavior to photographing and spotting, there's sure to be something for every bird fan in your flock. Young birders will learn all about migration and the importance of habitat conservation. They'll find stories about bird rescues and fun facts about the fastest, strongest, and tiniest fliers. They'll also discover the best bird nests, sweet songs to sing, ways to listen for and identify the birds around them, and more. Paired with stunning art and photography and beautiful design, this treasury is sure to become a classic for bird enthusiasts of all ages.

Something Rotten

When Heather L. Montgomery sees a rattlesnake flattened on the side of the road, her first instinct is to pick it up and dissect it--she's always wanted to see how a snake's fangs retract when they close their mouths, and it's not exactly safe to poke around in a live reptile's mouth. A wildlife researcher with a special penchant for the animals that litter the roadways, Heather isn't satisfied with dissecting just one snake. Her fascination with roadkill sets her off on a journey from her own backyard and the roadways of the American South to scientists and kids in labs and homes across the globe. From biologists who use the corpses of Tasmanian devils to investigate cures for a contagious cancer, to a scientist who discovered a whole new species of bird from a single wing left behind, to a boy rebuilding animal bodies from the bones up, to a restaurant that serves up animal remnants, Heather discovers that death is just the beginning for these creatures.

Realistic and Historical Fiction

Amal Unbound

Life is quiet and ordinary in Amal's Pakistani village, but she had no complaints, and besides, she's busy pursuing her dream of becoming a teacher one day. Her dreams are temporarily dashed when--as the eldest daughter--she must stay home from school to take care of her siblings. Amal is upset, but she doesn't lose hope and finds ways to continue learning. Then the unimaginable happens--after an accidental run-in with the son of her village's corrupt landlord, Amal must work as his family's servant to pay off her own family's debt. Life at the opulent Khan estate is full of heartbreak and struggle for Amal--especially when she inadvertently makes an enemy of a girl named Nabila. Most troubling, though, is Amal's growing awareness of the Khans' nefarious dealings. When it becomes clear just how far they will go to protect their interests, Amal realizes she will have to find a way to work with others if they are ever to exact change in a cruel status quo, and if Amal is ever to achieve her dreams.

Lights, Camera, Disaster

Hester Greene loves making movies. With her camera in hand, she can focus, make decisions, and have the control she lacks in life, where her executive function disorder (think extreme ADHD plus anxiety) sabotages her every move. But middle school is not a movie, and if her last-ditch attempt to save her language-arts grade--and her chance to pass eighth grade, period--doesn't work, Hess could lose her friends, her year, even her camera. It will take more than a cool training montage to get her life together, but by thinking outside the frame, she just might craft a whole new ending.

Grenade

It's 1944 and the world is at war. Hideki lives peacefully with his family on the island of Okinawa, near Japan. Until the day WWII reaches their door. Hideki is drafted into the "Blood and Iron Imperial Corps" to fight for the Japanese army. He is handed two grenades and a set of instructions: go off into the jungle, and don't come back until you've killed an American soldier. Meanwhile, young American soldier Ray Majors has just landed on the beach in Okinawa. He doesn't know what to expect, or if he'll make it out alive, but he knows he must keep moving forward. From opposite sides of the war, Hideki and Ray each fight their way through horrors and dangers. But when the two of them encounter each other in the middle of the battle, the choices they make in that single moment will change everything.

The Stars Beneath Our Feet

It's Christmas Eve in Harlem, but twelve-year-old Lolly Rachpaul and his mom aren't celebrating. They're still reeling from his older brother's death in a gang-related shooting just a few months earlier. Then Lolly's mother's girlfriend brings him a gift that will change everything- two enormous bags filled with Legos. Lolly's always loved Legos, and he prides himself on following the kit instructions exactly. Now, faced with a pile of building blocks and no instructions, Lolly must find his own way forward. His path isn't clear-and the pressure to join a "crew," as his brother did, is always there. When Lolly and his friend are beaten up and robbed, joining a crew almost seems like the safe choice. But building a fantastical Lego city at the community center provides Lolly with an escape-and an unexpected bridge back to the world.

My Brigadista Year

When thirteen-year-old Lora tells her parents that she wants to join Premier Castro's army of young literacy teachers, her mother screeches to high heaven, and her father roars like a lion. Nora has barely been outside of Havana -- why would she throw away her life in a remote shack with no electricity, sleeping on a hammock in somebody's kitchen? But Nora is stubborn: didn't her parents teach her to share what she has with someone in need? Surprisingly, Nora's abuela takes her side, even as she makes Nora promise to come home if things get too hard. But how will Nora know for sure when that time has come?

Ghost Boys

Only the living can make the world better. Live and make it better. Twelve-year-old Jerome is shot by a police officer who mistakes his toy gun for a real threat. As a ghost, he observes the devastation that's been unleashed on his family and community in the wake of what they see as an unjust and brutal killing. Soon Jerome meets another ghost: Emmett Till, a boy from a very different time but similar circumstances. Emmett helps Jerome process what has happened, on a journey towards recognizing how historical racism may have led to the events that ended his life. Jerome also meets Sarah, the daughter of the police officer, who grapples with her father's actions. Once again Jewell Parker Rhodes deftly weaves historical and socio-political layers into a gripping and poignant story about how children and families face the complexities of today's world, and how one boy grows to understand American blackness in the aftermath of his own death.

Fantasy

The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge

Uptight elfin historian Brangwain Spurge is on a mission: survive being catapulted across the mountains into goblin territory, deliver a priceless peace offering to their mysterious dark lord, and spy on the goblin kingdom -- from which no elf has returned alive in more than a hundred years. Brangwain's host, the goblin archivist Werfel, is delighted to show Brangwain around. They should be the best of friends, but a series of extraordinary double crosses, blunders, and cultural misunderstandings throws these two bumbling scholars into the middle of an international crisis that may spell death for them -- and war for their nations.

The Traitor's Game

Nothing is as it seems in the kingdom of Antora. Kestra Dallisor has spent three years in exile in the Lava Fields, but that won't stop her from being drawn back into her father's palace politics. He's the right hand man of the cruel king, Lord Endrick, which makes Kestra a valuable bargaining chip. A group of rebels knows this all too well -- and they snatch Kestra from her carriage as she reluctantly travels home. The kidnappers want her to retrieve the lost Olden Blade, the only object that can destroy the immortal king, but Kestra is not the obedient captive they expected. Simon, one of her kidnappers, will have his hands full as Kestra tries to foil their plot, by force, cunning, or any means necessary. As motives shift and secrets emerge, both will have to decide what -- and who -- it is they're fighting for.

Magic, Madness, and Mischief

Kalvan Monroe is worried. Either he's going mad or he really did wake up with uncontrollable fire magic and accidentally summon a snarky talking fire hare. (Yes, that's right, a hare. Made of fire. That talks.) He's got to be going crazy, right? But if he's not, then magic actually is real, and he's got even more problems to worry about. Because Kalvan isn't the only one with powers. The same fire magic that allows him to talk his way into and out of trouble burned too brightly in his mother, damaging her mind and leaving her vulnerable to the cold, manipulative spells of the Winter King. Can Kalvan gain control of his power in time to save his mother, or will their fires be snuffed out forever?

A Skinful of Shadows

Makepeace is an illegitimate daughter of the aristocratic Fellmotte family, and as such, she shares their unique hereditary gift: the capacity to be possessed by ghosts. Reluctant to accept her appointed destiny as vessel for a coterie of her ancestors, she escapes. As she flees the pursuing Fellmottes across war-torn England, she accumulates a motley crew of her own allies, including outcasts, misfits, criminals, and one extremely angry dead bear.

Sea Witch

Ever since her best friend Anna died, Evie has been an outcast in her small fishing town. Hiding her talents, mourning her loss, drowning in her guilt. Then a girl with an uncanny resemblance to Anna appears on the shore, and the two girls catch the eyes of two charming princes. Suddenly Evie feels like she might finally have a chance at her own happily ever after. But magic isn't kind, and her new friend harbors secrets of her own. She can't stay in Havnestad--or on two legs--without Evie's help. And when Evie reaches deep into the power of her magic to save her friend's humanity--and her prince's heart--she discovers, too late, what she's bargained away.

Charlie Hernández and the League of Shadows

Charlie Hernández has always been proud of his Latin American heritage. He loves the culture, the art, and especially the myths. And even though his grandmother sometimes hinted that the tales might be more than mere myth, Charlie's always been a pragmatist. Even barely out of diapers, he knew the stories were just make-believe--nothing more than intricately woven fables meant to keep little kids from misbehaving. But when Charlie begins to experience freaky bodily manifestations--ones all too similar to those described by his grandma in his favorite legend--he is suddenly swept up in a world where the mythical beings he's spent his entire life hearing about seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Hispanic folklore and into his life. And even stranger, they seem to know more about him than he knows about himself. Soon, Charlie finds himself in the middle of an ancient battle between La Liga, a secret society of legendary mythological beings sworn to protect the Land of the Living, and La Mano Negra (a.k.a. the Black Hand), a cabal of evil spirits determined to rule mankind. With only the help of his lifelong crush, Violet Rey, and his grandmother's stories to guide him, Charlie must navigate a world where monsters and brujas rule and things he couldn't possibly imagine go bump in the night. That is, if he has any hope of discovering what's happening to him and saving his missing parents (oh, and maybe even the world). No pressure, muchacho.

Science Fiction

Mars Evacuees

When Earth comes under attack by aliens, hilarious heroine Alice Dare and a select group of kids are sent to Mars. But things get very strange when the adults disappear into thin air, the kids face down an alien named Thsaaa, and Alice and her friends must save the galaxy! For when plucky twelve-year-old Alice Dare learns she's being taken out of the Muckling Abbott School for Girls and sent to another planet, no one knows what to expect.

Monstrous Devices

On a winter's day in a British town, twelve-year old Alex receives a package in the mail: an old tin robot from his grandfather. "This one is special," says the enclosed note, and when strange events start occurring around him, Alex suspects this small toy is more than special; it might be deadly.   Right as things get out of hand, Alex's grandfather arrives, pulling him away from an attack--and his otherwise humdrum world of friends, bullies, and homework--and into the macabre magic of an ancient family feud. Together, the duo flees across snowy Europe, unraveling the riddle of the little robot while trying to outwit relentless assassins of the human and mechanical kind.

Forgotten City

Thirteen years ago, the world ended. A deadly chemical called Waste began to spread across the globe, leaving devastation in its wake. Millions died. Cities fell into chaos. Anything the Waste didn't kill, it mutated into threatening new forms. Kobi has always believed he and his dad were the only survivors. But when his dad goes missing, Kobi follows his trail--and discovers a conspiracy even deadlier than the Waste itself.

Under Their Skin

Nick and Eryn's mom is getting remarried, and the twelve-year-old twins are skeptical when she tells them their lives won't change much. Well, yes, they will have to move. And they will have a new stepfather, stepbrother, and stepsister. But Mom tells them not to worry. They won't ever have to meet their stepsiblings. This news puzzles Nick and Eryn, so the twins set out on a mission to find out who these kids are--and why they're being kept hidden.

A Problematic Paradox

Nikola Kross has given up on living in harmony with classmates and exasperated teachers- she prefers dabbling in experimental chemistry to fitting in. But when her life is axially inverted by a gang of extraterrestrials who kidnap her dad and attempt to recruit her into their service, she discovers he's been keeping a world of secrets from her--including the school for geniuses where she's sent for refuge, a place where classes like Practical Quantum Mechanics are the norm and where students use wormholes to commute to class. For Nikola, the hard part isn't school, it's making friends, especially when the student body isn't (entirely) human. But the most puzzling paradox of all is Nikola herself, who has certain abilities that no one understands-abilities that put her whole school in greater danger than she could have imagined.

Poetry

Siege: How General Washington Kicked the British Out of Boston and Launched a Revolution

It is the summer of 1775. The British occupy Boston and its busy harbor, holding residents captive and keeping a strong military foothold. The threat of smallpox looms, and the town is cut off, even from food supplies. Following the battles of Lexington and Concord, Congress unanimously elects George Washington commander in chief of the American armed forces, and he is sent to Cambridge, Massachusetts, to transform the ragtag collection of volunteer militiamen into America's first army. So far the war is nothing more than a series of intermittent skirmishes, but Washington is in constant fear of attack -- until he takes the offensive with results that surprise everyone, the British most of all.

The Colors of the Rain

Ten-year-old Paulie Sanders hates his name because it also belonged to his daddy-his daddy who killed a fellow white man and then crashed his car. With his mama unable to cope, Paulie and his sister, Charlie, move in with their Aunt Bee and attend a new elementary school. But it's 1972, and this new school puts them right in the middle of the Houston School District's war on desegregation. Paulie soon begins to question everything. He hears his daddy's crime was a race-related one; he killed a white man defending a black man, and when Paulie starts picking fights with a black boy at school, he must face his reasons for doing so. When dark family secrets are revealed, the way forward for everyone will change the way Paulie thinks about family forever.

Lifeboat 12

With Nazis bombing London every night, it's time for thirteen-year-old Ken to escape. He suspects his stepmother is glad to see him go, but his dad says he's one of the lucky ones--one of ninety boys and girls to ship out aboard the SS City of Benares to safety in Canada. Life aboard the luxury ship is grand--nine-course meals, new friends, and a life far from the bombs, rations, and his stepmum's glare. And after five days at sea, the ship's officers announce that they're out of danger. They're wrong. Late that night, an explosion hurls Ken from his bunk. They've been hit. Torpedoed! The Benares is sinking fast. Terrified, Ken scrambles aboard Lifeboat 12 with five other boys. Will they get away? Will they survive?

Ski Soldier

Ever since he first strapped on his mother's wooden skis when he was seven, Pete Seibert always loved to ski. At 18, Pete enlisted in the U.S. Army and joined the 10th Mountain Division, soldiers who fought on skis in World War II. In the mountains of Italy, Pete encountered the mental and physical horrors of war. When he was severely wounded and sent home to recover, Pete worried that he might never ski again. But with perseverance and the help of other 10th Mountain ski soldiers, he took to the slopes again and fulfilled his boyhood dream--founding the famous ski resort in Vail, Colorado.

F.A. Day Middle School Library
21 Minot Pl., Newton, MA 02460 / 617-559-9139