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What I Read on My Summer Vacation (Andrew Larsen).
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What I Read on My Summer Vacation (Andrew Larsen).

By 49thShelf
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**Updated with Andrew's two latest titles! "As a stay at home dad, it’s never easy to carve out time to write. Summer presents a whole new set of challenges. This past summer I was able to do some writing in the very early morning, before the rest of the house was awake. On the whole, however, my kids’ summer vacation meant that I had to take a vacation from writing. So, instead, I read. What a treat! I so seldom get a chance to read. And with the beginning of the new school year I resolve to read even more. Meanwhile, here are some of my recently read favourites." **Andrew Larsen is the author of The Imaginary Garden. His latest offering is his first chapter book, The Luck of Jude. Andrew is a stay at home dad who works when his kids are at school. He is thrilled to be back at work, writing a story about a summer vacation.**
Banjo of Destiny
Why it's on the list ...
Quirky and delightful, Cary Fagan’s Banjo of Destiny tells the story Jeremiah Birnbaum. Jeremiah is the unconventional child of wealthy parents who appears to have it all. In fact, it all counts for nothing. The greatest thing he has is his passion to learn to play the banjo. Overcoming numerous hurdles, to say nothing of his foolish parents, Jeremiah follows his heart and discovers that he is capable of creating much more than just good music.
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The Glory Wind
Why it's on the list ...
The Glory Wind is as gentle as a breeze and as powerful as a tornado. It’s evocative of another time and full of timeless, enduring sentiments. Valerie Sherrard’s singular work touches upon so many themes: friendship, love, loss and chance. I couldn’t put this book down. It reminds me of how extraordinary writing can be. The narrative voice of young Luke convincingly conveys the turmoil of a boy coming to terms with the ways of the world.
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Home Free
Why it's on the list ...
Thanks to Sharon Jennings I now know that Home Free can refer to many things. It can be a sanctuary. It can be a state of being. It is also the title of her wonderfully crafted tale of a young girl who dreams of being a writer. Lee Mets is eleven. Her brief but intense friendship with an enigmatic newcomer forms the basis of this compelling book. Lee’s narrative voice is honest and perceptive. She describes a world both painfully sad and wonderfully inspiring.
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Walking Backward

Walking Backward

edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
tagged : death & dying
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Excerpt

Dr. Tierney sent a scribbled note with the journal. It's very important to write every time you have a strong feeling, Josh, and review the journal each week. So when someone makes me laugh or cry, I'm supposed to say, "Hey, man, I've got a strong feeling coming on," and rush off to write it down. It's supposed to be private, but Dad will probably sneak into my room to read it. Then he'll think I'm sad all the time, and that will turn him into a sad person too. Seriously, this thing is dangerous.

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Why it's on the list ...
I absolutely loved this book. It’s a story of profound and inexplicable loss, perfectly written by Catherine Austen. The story is told through the journal entries of twelve-year-old Josh. The sudden death of his mother means that Josh, his little brother and their father must learn to move through their grief and continue with life. Walking Backward is, at once, genuine, perceptive, heartbreaking and hilarious.
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Odds Get Even

Odds Get Even

edition:Paperback
also available: eBook Paperback
tagged :
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Why it's on the list ...
Brainy, zany and cool. These are just three of the words that come to mind when thinking about The Odds Get Even, Natale Ghent’s endlessly entertaining novel. Itchy, Squeak and Boney are the three main characters. Their geekiness speaks to the nerd within us all. They inhabit a world that speaks to a time gone by; a time before digital technology consumed the curiosity of young boys. It is a world of Elvis impersonators, tinned soup, sadistic teachers and bullies. It is a world in which revenge comes to those who really deserve it. It’s a world well written.
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Houndsley and Catina and the Quiet Time
Why it's on the list ...
The Houndsley and Catina stories are Zen-like in their simplicity. They remind me of Cynthia Rylant’s Poppleton stories. They are quietly profound. The friendship between Houndsley and Catina is rich and Marie-Louise Gay’s illustrations brings to life the world they inhabit. Read just before sleep, these tales still the room and quiet the soul. They are stuff that dreams are made of….
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I Know Here
Why it's on the list ...
Moving from one home to another can be a profound and unsettling experience. It’s a topic touched upon in many books, my own included. As the narrator in I Know Here thinks of all the things she knows she shall be leaving behind when she moves, we sense the richness of her world. When her teacher suggests that she draws the things she wants to remember, we glimpse the first stirring of the impulse towards art. We depend on the power of memory to preserve the things we love. This book lovingly preserves a moment from a childhood in transition. It’s a real work of art.
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The Man Who Loved Libraries

The Man Who Loved Libraries

The Story of Andrew Carnegie
by Andrew Larsen
illustrated by Katty Maurey
edition:Hardcover

When he was a child in the 1840s, Andrew Carnegie and his family immigrated to America in search of a new beginning. His working-class Scottish family arrived at the height of the Industrial Revolution. Carnegie worked hard, in factories and telegraphy. He invested in railroads, eventually becoming the richest man in the world during his time.

Carnegie believed strongly in sharing his wealth, and one of the ways he did this was by funding the construction of over 2,500 public libraries arou …

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