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December 21, 2008 Edition

When Heaven Fell, by Carolyn Marsden

Binhís aunt was sent to live in America when she was just 5 years old. Now Di Thao is coming to Vietnam to see her family again, and 9 year old Binh is afire with curiosity: what kind of presents will she bring? Will she take Binh back to America with her? But Di Thao is something of a disappointment: she doesnít dress like a movie star at all, speaks childish Vietnamese, and hasnít brought any American presents, but Binh is enchanted nonetheless. As the two get to know each other, Binh realizes that she isnít the only one with unfulfilled hopes for the visit. (elementary and middle school readers who are curious about people)

Diary of a Would-Be Princess, by Jessica Green

Jillian is having a tough year in fifth grade Ė thanks to a mishap making friendship pins, she loses her chance to be a Princess and earns diaper duty with her baby brother for the rest of her life. Nerdy Nigel, stupid Sam, and scary Raymond are the only people who want to be her friends. And sheís definitely not a team player, which is causing trouble in class. But she is a kind person at heart, and a witty writer: this chapter book in journal form is laugh-out-loud in places. Itís an Australian import with some unfamiliar words in it, but thereís a glossary in the back for readers who get stuck. (older elementary and middle school readers who like to laugh)

All the Lovely Bad Ones, by Mary Downing Hahn

When Corey and her brother Travis arrive at their grandmotherís too-quiet inn to spend the summer, they discover that it has a history of ghost sightings. Disappointed that no ghosts have been seen in decades, the kids decide to fake some and drum up some business for their grandmother while they are at it. But their game takes on a life of its own, as first the innís guests spread the word, and then the real ghosts wake up to have some fun of their own. Itís up to Corey and Travis to put things back to rights, but before they can do that, they have to learn the innís terrible history. (middle school readers who like being scared!)

Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet, by Sherri L. Smith

Ana Shenís mom is African American, and her dad is Chinese American, which means the only three family dinners with all her grandparents have been disasters. But now, to celebrate her 8th grade graduation, all four grandparents are pitching in to cook together for Ana and her friends. Will this fourth dinner prove once and for all that Anaís family is destined to eat out? With only four hours to cook before the guests arrive, Ana wonders if sheíll even survive the culture clash brewing in her momís kitchen. (middle school readers who love their families)

Go Big or Go Home, by Will Hobbs

While Brady is on his roof watching the Perseid meteor shower, one of the meteors crashes into his bedroom and lands on his bed. Although it looks kind of like a baked potato, it impresses his cousin Quinn when he comes to stay for a week. Quinnís there for their annual week of off-road biking, basketball, and adventure, and usually he beats Brady at everything, but this year, Bradyís on top of it. Could the meteorite be giving Brady superpowers? (middle school readers who like sports and science fiction)

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