Welcome back to another wonderful school year. It is my 19th here at CPS, and it feels just as exciting to start a new year as it did 19 years ago. Of course there are always plenty of new books to read and share, and I will highlight a few of my favorites here.
THE WATER CASTLE by Megan Fraser Blakemore
When Ephraim’s dad suffers a stroke, his family moves back to the Water Castle, their ancestral home in MAINE. There is a legend that the Fountain of Youth exists on the grounds of the castle. Follow Ephraim and his friends on their quest to find the amazing healing water. This book combines history, science, mystery, and family secrets in a very exciting way. If you are a fan of THE SECRET GARDEN, you may find some similarities in this book.
SPY CAMP by Stuart Gibbs
Hurray! A sequel to SPY SCHOOL! These are two great books about 12-year-old Ben Ripley who receives a surprise visit one night from a famous spy, informing him that because of his amazing math skills he is needed at a special school for CIA spies-in-training. The first book chronicles his first year at this school, full of dangerous and humorous situations. The second book, SPY CAMP, finds our young hero at the summer camp run by the spy school. He is the target of SPYDER, the enemy spy group, and he spends the summer trying to stay one step ahead of the bad guys, who are trying to recruit him to “the dark side”. He receives help again from Erica, the smart and pretty top student at his school.
ESCAPE FROM MR. LEMONCELLO’S LIBRARY by Chris Grabenstein
Do you like games and puzzles? Full of library humor and positive vibes about reading and games, this book is a fun twist on CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY. Kyle, an avid games, and 11 other sixth graders win the chance to spend the night at their town’s brand new futuristic library, designed by the world’s most famous game maker, Mr. Lemoncello (who bears a striking resemblance to Willy Wonka). The library, which takes up half a city block, has holographic projections, hover ladders to help you reach books that are on bookcases three stories in the air, an IMAX theatre, and an Electronic Learning Center. The night the children spend there is full of amazing fun and games. In the morning the doors remain locked, and the eccentric Mr. Lemoncello announces a twist no one was expecting: the children must all use what they find IN the library to find their way OUT of the library. They will have to use their wits to decipher clues and solve riddles leading them to an alternate exit.