Winter Break Reads for Fun!

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Want a book suggestion to read over break? Check out one of these books that were booktalked last night by all those who came to our Ugly Sweater and Booktalk party!

Thank you to everyone who attended and for sharing some books that you are currently reading or just love reading over and over again. These are summaries of booktalks by everyone last night with some extra information from summaries online to fill some gaps.



Booktalked by Katie:

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place – a series by Maryrose Wood

This witty series starts off when Mr. Ashton was out on a hunting expedition and finds 3 children who seemed to have been raised by wolves. Fifteen-year old Ms. Lumply was put in change of these children and must try to explain to the children why it’s important to learn how to read, write, and be civilized. As you read about their shenanigans, you are also constantly intrigued about where these children came from. They are troublemakers but what child isn’t? This book has some hilarious sounds like “Loomawhoo” for their howling. Great for read-alouds and in audiobook form. If you are a lover of A Series of Unfortunate Events, you won’t want to miss this.


Booktalked by Katie:

Everyday by Daid Levithan

David Levithan often writes with other people (like John Green). This book is about a person who inhabits different bodies but always stays 16. Each day is a different body in a different place; different gender, ethnicity, or personality types. While you are reading it, you don’t think of the character as a different boy or girl. You go through thinking of it as Spirit A. A is usually very careful about altering anything while A is in a different body. Until A falls in love with Rhiannon. A starts messing up lives of all these people in hopes of seeing her again. They try to find a way to make their love work. This story is thought-provoking and moving. Perfect for one of those days you just want to be someone else.



Booktalked by Janey: Janey stumbled upon this book at the ALISS booksale and loved it.

OCD, the Dude, and Me by Lauren Roedy Vaughn

Danelle Levine is adopted with wealthy parents, lives in LA and attends high school for differently-abled teens. She’s an outcast with OCD. She has difficulties navigating her life and dealing with normal teenage problems. That all changes when she gets super into the movie “The Big Lebowski” and internalizes the movie as a mantra. It’s really insightful on how to deal with OCD as a teen. It’s difficult writing themes like this with teenage vocabulary but this does an extremely good job.


Booktalked by Melody

Alive by Scott Sigler

This book is fast-paced and suspenseful. You have no idea what is going on until the very end. It starts off with a girl who wakes up thinking it’s her twelfth birthday with a sting in her neck. She realizes she is in a box of some sort, a coffin. She breaks out and sees rows of coffins around her in a bleak colored room. She hurriedly opens one next to her and finds another girl, but older. She doesn’t remember anything, not even her own name. They call each other the letters on their coffins. She’s M. Not all of the coffins had the living in them, some were full of corpses of young children. They finally find a total of 6 living people in the coffins and realize they each have a certain power, except for M. Will they find a way out or meet their end with the creatures that lurch around the dark corners? With a bit of Sci-Fi and a bit of a dystopian feeling of impending doom, this book is intense and filled with questions.



Booktalked by Melody

The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton

This little fighting princess really wants a large, powerful horse for her birthday. But her parents get her a small fat pony instead. Worse of all, he farts a lot. She dreamed of going to a fighting exhibition full of other vikings. Even though she didn’t get the horse she wanted to bring to it, she brings the little pony anyway. Will her new pony be able to protect her? The comic drawings in this picture book will make both you and the little kids in your life laugh out loud.




Booktalked by Sarah (our booktalk extraordinaire):

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

Min li lives in a valley of the fruitless mountains. She lives a poor meager existence but she is always sustained by her fathers stories. A particular one is a story about a Old Man of the Moon. She wants to ask the Old Man of the Moon how her family can become wealthy. So she goes off on her own like Alice in Wonderland. On her journey, she meets a dragon. He wants to accompany her and ask the Old Man of the Moon how to become a flying dragon. But when they get there, the old man will only answer one question. The fable nature of this book is different than all the rest. Sarah couldn’t put this down.


Booktalked by Sarah:

My Name is Sally Little Song by Brenda Woods

The year is 1802 and eleven-year old Sally and her family are slaves on a plantation in Georgia. She and her brother were going to be sold so her parents have them all run a way to Florida where a Native American Community takes them in. They became part of the Seminole tribe. Because little Sally loves to sing, she was named Sally Little Song. This book is fast paced and a fast read. It doesn’t gloss over about slavery and is great for opening a serious discussion with young grade-school children.



Booktalked by Heidi:

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

A boy named Leo is in high school going through high school life; the popularity, the struggles, the ups and downs. All of a sudden, an eccentric girl comes in calling herself Stargirl. Unexpected things happen to her that only a story about high school firstlove can reveal. It is a good read for girls who want to read about girls that are a little different.



Booktalked by Heidi:

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Ella Enchanted is a retelling of Cinderella, but not in a mimicking way. It makes slight references to the fairy tale but stays its own story. It is a story about a girl names Ella who is gets cast a spell by a fairy godmother. It makes her obedient all the time.  A lot of stuff happens to her along the way but can the curse be reversed?



Booktalked by Mia:

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

This is an adult book for young adults set in a dystopian future with a global government. They are unable to solve the energy crisis and run out of fossil fuels. People live in stacks, trailer home on top of trailer home in slumps. They work in a virtual reality called the Oasis. The central character is a young man. The creator of Oasis decides to conduct a game. Whoever solves the creator’s puzzle can get shares to change Oasis for the better or for the worse. This young man goes through the trials and spends so much time in a virtual reality and doesn’t have friends outside of it. The book as a whole reflects on a surreal self.



Booktalked by Emily

Sneaky Sheep by Chris Monroe

Blossom and Ricky are two sheep who are troublesome and sneaky; but not necessarily bright. They learn a lesson on why they shouldn’t be sneaky anymore. Drawn in an adorable style with facial expressions that appeal to young children but also funny to adults.


Booktalked by Emiy:

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

A new book series by the creator of Percy Jackson! Instead of Greek mythology it is centered around Norse mythology. It follows the main character, Magnus chase, whos 14 and live in Boston. He is homeless and his mother died 2 yeas ago in a mysterious and random apartment fire. At least he has homeless buddies and an uncle. One day, he went to his uncles house, which is a giant mansion. His uncle tells him stories about Norse mythology stuff but he didn’t care at first. Then after his birthday, strange stuff happens. His homeless friends were more than they seemed. Ones a dwarf and one can do magic. They tell him nothing and he runs into a monster but dies and goes to Valhalla (norse heaven). There he finds out he’s a demi-god and learns how his mother dies. He also meets Thor. This book is great because we learn about Greek mythology in school but not Norse mythology. You get a lot of background and it’s like sneaky learning for kids. You will fly through it but then realize, “I just learned so much”. In addition, it is full of ridiculous puns and bad jokes. Slightly aged up from Percy Jackson (11 years vs 14 years).

There you have it! I know what I’m reading this Winter Break. Do you have some more suggestions to share? I’ll add them to our list!


This blog post was written by Melody Leung. She is a 1st year residential student interested in youth services. She loves public libraries and performing storytimes for children every chance she can get. Her studies include multicultural resources, entrepreneurial support, and outreach. On her spare time, she enjoys doing wushu (Chinese martial art), watching sit coms, and cooking.



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