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One-Handed Catch

MJ Auch (2006), 256 pages
Audience: 5th Grade - 8th Grade
Category: Especially for Boys, Realistic Fiction, Sports
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After World II, sixth-grader Norm loved to play baseball and to look at the new cars that were being produced in 1946. His parents owned a small store with a fresh meat department. Norm's father was the butcher. Sometimes Norm needed to help out in the store which leads to the plot of the story because he had an accident in the meat department. Norm has a best friend, Leon, who is opposite in character to Norm. Their friendship is an important part of the story and how Leon helps Norm overcome the effects of the accident. Ellie surprises Norm by being more than a pesky little sister. Norm gains new appreciation for his mother's strength and his father's feelings.
Awards nominated: Rebecca Caudill Award Nominee 2012
Reviewed by: cjones
Date read: 5/9/2011
ISBN-10: 0805079009
ISBN-13: 9780805079005
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Open Court

Carol Clippinger (2007), 262 pages
Audience: 7th Grade - 8th Grade
Category: Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Sports
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Hall Braxton lives and breathes tennis, and she's a top-ranked player. At thirteen, it's not too early to be serious about training for a professional career. Ever since her doubles partner, trained by her coach, had a breakdown during a match and had to be taken to a mental health facility, Hall has been doubting her own dedication to the sport. Does she have what it takes to be a winner? Could the pressure take her out of the game? With her parents scoping out tennis academies, elite training schools for young tennis players, Hall needs to figure out what she wants before tennis takes over her entire future.
Reviewed by: emc
Date read: 12/3/2009
ISBN-10: 0375840494
ISBN-13: 9780375840494
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Other Half of My Heart

Sundee T. Frazier (2010), 304 pages
Audience: 5th Grade - 8th Grade
Category: Especially for Girls, Fiction, Multicultural, Realistic Fiction
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Minni has always identified strongly with her African-American heritage. While she looks like her Irish-American dad, her family's history on her mother's side, and her African American roots, are an important part of who she is. Minni has always been jealous of the way that her twin sister, Keira, resembles their mother, with dark skin and curly, dark hair. Plus, Minni hates that when people see her with her sister, they assume that because Minni looks white and Keira doesn't, they are friends rather than sisters. She's always been told her color isn't important, but she wonders if that's really true, especially when she starts to notice some subtle and not-so-subtle ways her sister is treated differently. When their grandmother insists the two girls enter into a pageant for African-American girls, the Miss Black Pearl Preteen Pageant, Minni and Keira travel to North Carolina to compete. Minni's right to compete in the pageant is questioned, and her sister, who has always been her best friend, becomes distant. Minni is terrified to compete in the pageant and uncertain of her right to be there. Do Minni's looks matter more than who she is? Can she and her sister remain close when it seems like their skin color will always pull them apart in society's eyes? This moving, funny sister story is a satisfying read about family, defining who you are, and overcoming fears to stand up for what you believe.
Reviewed by: emc
Date read: 1/24/2013
ISBN-10: 0385734409
ISBN-13: 9780385734400
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Other Side

Jacqueline Woodson (2001), 32 pages
Illustrated by E. B. Lewis
Audience: Preschool - 3rd Grade
Category: Especially for Girls, Fiction, Historical, Picture Books, Realistic Fiction
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A simple fence that cut through the middle of Clover's town was meant to separate the white side of town from the black side of town. This fence, for Clover, stood for a whole lot more. It kept people from playing, talking, and being friends. Until one day Annie and Clover, girls from opposite sides of the fence, decided to overlook what the fence was meant to represent and sat together,'on top of the fence'. In 'The Other Side' by Jacqueline Woodson, Clover simply, yet eloquantly, tells her story as she reaches beyond her side of the fence to find a friend. 'Someday, somebody's going to come along and knock this old fence down,' is Annie's and Clover's fervent wish and hope for the future.
Similar authors: Gwendolyn Battle-Lavert; Pat McKissack; Deborah Wiles
Similar books: Freedom Summer by Deborah Wiles; Goin' Someplace Special by Pat Kissack; Rosa's Bus by Jo S. Kittinger; Coming on Home Soon by Jacqueline Woodson; Back of the Bus by Aaron Reynolds; Papa's Mark by Gwendolyn Battle-Lavert
Reviewed by: mb
Date read: 7/27/2011
ISBN-10: 0399231161
ISBN-13: 9780399231162
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Out of My Mind

Sharon M. Draper (2010), 295 pages
Audience: 5th Grade - 8th Grade
Category: Fiction, Realistic Fiction
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Eleven-year old Melody has a photographic memory. Maybe you wish you had that kind of memory but everything that Melody knows and feels is stuck inside her head until she gets a computerized communication board. Then, Melody becomes a member of her school's academic bowl team and the team makes it all the way to the finals in Washington,D.C. Then, the team leaves Melody behind at the airport. How will Melody's team fare without her? If you liked Cynthia Lord's Rules you will enjoy this book.
Similar books: Rules by Cynthia Lord; Stuck in Neutral by Terry Trueman
Awards nominated: 2013 Rebecca Caudill Nominee
Awards won: 2013 Bluestem Award
Reviewed by: jb
Date read: 4/27/2010
ISBN-10: 141697170X
ISBN-13: 9781416971702
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Reader Comments
5 out of 5 books5 out of 5 books5 out of 5 books5 out of 5 books5 out of 5 booksFifth Grader's Attitude Makes the Difference
Commenter: Valerie, grade 53
You would think that reading a book about a girl 'stuck' in her mind due to Cerebral Palsy would be a sad experience. Melody's attitude makes it more optimistic. The audiobook reader captures Melody's spirit, making listening an uplifting experience.
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