Here are some of my favorite books, some I've loved since I was a child:


My fourth-grade teacher gifted this Newbery Medal book to me when I was a child. I still have this book and have read it many times.  This is the true story of a 12-year-old American Indian girl, Karana who, in the early 1800s, was stranded alone on an island off the coast of California for 18 years. The author envisions what life must have been like for a young girl having to fend for herself on an island by herself. In addition to finding food, shelter, and some type of clothing, the emotional hardship would have been too much for most children to endure, but Karana survived until she was finally picked up by a passing ship. This is a great book especially for girls.



SCHOOL FOR S.P.I.E.S. Book 1: PLAYING WITH FIRE (A School for Spies Novel) by Bruce Hale.

I love all of Bruce Hale's books, and this one is loaded with spies, missing dad (Max may not be an orphan!), fires, tricks, intrigue and fun. Max has had a rough life as an orphan, and he's not sure how long Merry Sunshine Orphanage will be his home. The people there may be strange, but for the first time in his life, they seem to have his back. Are they what they seem or is something else going on? As always, Bruce Hale's books are full of humor, and I laughed all the way through this adventure. Books 2 and 3 are just as great.


SONS OF THE SPHINX by Cheryl Carpinello

Rosa, a spunky girl, time travels with the Egyptian God Tutankhamen back to the times when pharaohs ruled Egypt and the Nile was green and lush. She must help Tut reunite with his wife Ankhesenamun’s grave. This books is not only entertaining—traveling to different parts of Egypt and seeing the sphinx before it lost its nose—but is chock full of fascinating information about the politics pharaohs played and the schemes between the powerful people who lived and ruled in that era. This series teaches kids history without them knowing they’re being schooled.


KIRA-KIRA by Cynthia Kadohata.

This is a sad but touching Newbery Medal book about Katie and her Japanese American family. Kira-kira means glittering in Japanese, and Katie her older sister Lynn use it to describe the sky, the ocean, and even people’s eyes. Set in the 1950s, the family is very poor and moves to George for exhausting jobs in chicken-processing plants. The girls are left on their own while the parents valiantly try to earn enough money to support the family and pay the medical bills when Lynn becomes very ill. While Katie caretakes Lynn during her illness, she both loves and loathes the sister who means everything to her. There’s so much she doesn’t understand, but her tired parents have no time to explain them to her. Girls and adults alike will love this tender book.