Title: Water For Elephants
Author: Sara Gruen
Summary: As a young man, Jacob Jankowski was tossed by fate onto a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. It was the early part of the Great Depression, and for Jacob, now ninety, the circus world he remembers was both his salvation and a living hell. A veterinary student just shy of a degree, he was put in charge of caring for the circus menagerie. It was there that he met Marlena, the beautiful equestrian star married to August, the charismatic but twisted animal trainer. And he met Rosie, an untrainable elephant who was the great gray hope for this third-rate traveling show. The bond that grew among this unlikely trio was one of love and trust, and, ultimately, it was their only hope for survival.
Why I liked it: I enjoyed reading about the lives of circus people and found the behind the scenes happenings so interesting. Reading this book was like sitting with Jacob and listening to him tell his life story. I am also a collector of elephants and loved reading about the elephant, Rosie. This is a great book for Upper Classmen!
Title: The Boxcar Children
Author: Gertrude Chandler Warner
Summary: Henry, Jessie, Violet and Benny, four orphaned brothers and sisters, suddenly appear in a small town. No one knows who these young wanderers are or where they have come from. Frightened to live with a grandfather they have never met, the children make a home for themselves in an abandoned red boxcar.
Why I liked it: I have probably read this book twenty or more times in my life. I can remember reading it for the first time with my grandmother when I was in second or third grade and I have loved it ever since. Although you know the story could not be true, the children are so happy and such good examples of how families should be-they work together, play together and love each other. The Boxcar Children is a feel-good book!
Title: Kaiulani: The People’s Princess
Author: Ellen Emmerson White
Summary: Follows the life of Victoria Kaiulani Cleghorn from 1889 to 1893 as she studies to be a better princess. During this time Hawaii's monarchy is being undermined by American businessmen.
Why I liked it: I grew up in Hawaii and love to read about anything that has to do with Hawaii. The vocabulary and settings took me back to my childhood in Hawaii. It was a wonderful way to warm up on a cold winter day. This biography is written on a 6.4 grade level but all readers would enjoy it.
Title: Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Author: Jeff Kinney
Summary: Greg records his sixth grade experiences in a middle school where he and his best friend, Rowley, undersized weaklings amid boys who need to shave twice daily, hope just to survive, but when Rowley grows more popular, Greg must take drastic measures to save their friendship.
Why I liked it: Very simply put, this book is hilarious!!!!! Readers of all ages will enjoy this only if they like to laugh!