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February 23, 2006 Edition

Smilerís Bones, by Peter Lerangis


When Minik was eight, he, his father, and four other Greenland Eskimos accompanied Robert Pearyís expedition home to New York City, where they were presented to the American Museum of Natural History as a living exhibit: only one of them ever returned. Minikís nineteen year-old voice alternates with those of his younger selves in this riveting historically-based story of how he became the only Polar Eskimo in New York after the deaths of his father and three others, and the return of the other survivor to Greenland. (middle school readers and older)

Dragon Keeper, by Carole Wilkinson


When the next-to-last Imperial Dragon dies, the dragon-hating Emperor sells the remaining dragon, Danzi, to be butchered for its magical parts. Horrified, the little slave girl Ping helps him escape and together with Hua, Pingís pet rat, the three journey towards the sea, where Danzi is determined to take his precious purple stone. (fourth grade readers and older)

The Magic Nation Thing, by Zilpha Keatley Snyder


All her life, Abbyís been able to know what people are thinking, find missing objects without even trying, and make guesses that are always right, which spooks people. Hoping to fit in, she squashes her psychic abilities as best she can until everyone is convinced that theyíve gone away Ė but when her best friendís little brother disappears, it seems like her Magic Nation powers really are gone for good. (fourth grade readers and older)

The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan


The Greek gods and goddesses come alive in this story of a boy who discovers that his mom is mortal and his deadbeat dad is Ė Poseidon. That makes 12-year-old, dyslexic, ADHD Percy a demigod. Bad timing, really, since his dadís been accused of stealing Zeusís lightning bolt and some gods think Poseidon passed it to Percy. Now, itís up to Percy to find it before the gods declare war on the mortals. (middle school readers and older)

On Etruscan Time, by Tracy Barrett


Instead of spending his summer playing with his friends at home in Tennessee, eleven-year-old Hector finds himself dragged to Italy with his mother whoís working on an archaeological dig. Bored at first, he starts enjoying himself once heís allowed to help as an apprentice digger. At least, until he unearths the stone with the eye carved in it, which glows at night and sends Hector back to a time when the city was young and its rulers practiced human sacrifice. (elementary school readers and older)

Queen Sophie Hartley, by Stephanie Greene


Fans of Owen Foote will be delighted by Sophie Hartley, a funny and thoughtful eight year-old who already knows what sheís not good at (ballet, violin, and horseback riding) and wants to find out what she is good at (besides crying and stopping crying). When her mother reminds her that sheís also good at being kind, Sophie decides to develop that skill and nearly finds herself friendless before she figures out that being kind doesnít mean she has to let people manipulate her. (second grade readers and up)

Heck Superhero, by Martine Leavitt


Thirteen year-old Heckís been skipping school because he canít show up without his books, and he canít get to them because he and his mom have been evicted from their apartment. Enmeshed in his self-drawn world of superheroes and evil forces, Heck canít even bring himself to talk to his best friend about his momís disappearance into the place he calls hyperspace. Heck is in big trouble and his only hope is to find a Good Deed big enough to help him find his mom before social services finds him. (middle school readers and older)

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