2020 Reader's Rally Book List

  • Arlo Finch in the Valley of fire

    by John August Year Published: 2019

    Arlo Finch is a newcomer to Pine Mountain, Colorado, a tiny town of mystery and magic, but he's already attracted the attention of dark and ancient forces. At first he thinks these increasingly strange and frightening occurrences are just part of being in Rangers, the mountain scouting troop where he learns how to harness the wild magic seeping in from the mysterious Long Woods.

    But soon Arlo finds himself at the center of a dangerous adventure, where he faces obstacles that test the foundations of the Ranger's Vow: Loyalty, Bravery, Kindness, and Truth.

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  • Blended

    by Sharon Draper Year Published: 2018

    Eleven-year-old Isabella’s parents are divorced, so she has to switch lives every week: One week she’s Isabella with her dad, his girlfriend Anastasia, and her son Darren living in a fancy house where they are one of the only black families in the neighborhood. The next week she’s Izzy with her mom and her boyfriend John-Mark in a small, not-so-fancy house that she loves.

    Because of this, Isabella has always felt pulled between two worlds. And now that her parents are divorced, it seems their fights are even worse, and they’re always about HER. Isabella feels completely stuck in the middle, split and divided between them more than ever. And she is beginning to realize that being split between Mom and Dad involves more than switching houses, switching nicknames, switching backpacks: it’s also about switching identities. Her dad is black, her mom is white, and strangers are always commenting: “You’re so exotic!” “You look so unusual.” “But what are you really?” She knows what they’re really saying: “You don’t look like your parents.” “You’re different.” “What race are you really?” And when her parents, who both get engaged at the same time, get in their biggest fight ever, Isabella doesn’t just feel divided, she feels ripped in two. What does it mean to be half white or half black? To belong to half mom and half dad? And if you’re only seen as half of this and half of that, how can you ever feel whole?

    It seems like nothing can bring Isabella’s family together again—until the worst thing happens. Isabella and Darren are stopped by the police. A cell phone is mistaken for a gun. And shots are fired.

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  • Calico Girl

    by Jerdine Nolan Year Published: 2018

    Twelve-year-old Callie Wilcomb and her family are slaves, and the Civil War gives them hope that freedom may be on the horizon. On May 23, 1861, the State of Virginia ratified their vote to secede from the Union. In Virginia, a window was opened where the laws of the land no longer applied. Because of the Contraband Law, slaves no longer had to be returned to their owners, granting them a measure of protection and safety. With the possibility of Callie and her family escaping their bonds forever, Callie is eager to learn and become educated and hopes to teach others one day. Through hardship and loss—with love and strong family ties—Callie proves that freedom is in her stars.

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  • The Elephant Thief

    by Jane Kerr Year Published: 2018

    When young pickpocket Danny accidentally buys an elephant at an auction, he finds himself swept up on an unforgettable adventure. Offered a job by a zookeeper, all he has to do is ride Maharajah from Edinburgh to Manchester in one week.

    Everyone in the country is watching, even the Queen, but the journey soon proves to be filled with drama and danger. A rival zookeeper will stop at nothing to make sure they fail, and soon Danny's shady connections from his past threaten to overturn the mission...

    Can Danny win the trust and friendship of the elephant and guide him home? Can the two of them stick together through the odds and win the day?

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  • Fuzzy

    by Tom Angleberger & Paul Dellinger Year Published: 2016

    When Max—Maxine Zelaster—befriends her new robot classmate Fuzzy, part of Vanguard One Middle School’s new Robot Integration Program, she helps him learn everything he needs to know about surviving middle school—the good, the bad, and the really, really, ugly. Little do they know that surviving seventh grade is going to become a true matter of life and death, because Vanguard has an evil presence at its heart: a digital student evaluation system named BARBARA that might be taking its mission to shape the perfect student to extremes!

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  • Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus

    by Dusti Bowling Year Published: 2016

    Aven Green loves to tell people that she lost her arms in an alligator wrestling match, or a wildfire in Tanzania, but the truth is she was born without them. And when her parents take a job running Stagecoach Pass, a rundown western theme park in Arizona, Aven moves with them across the country knowing that she’ll have to answer the question over and over again.
     
    Her new life takes an unexpected turn when she bonds with Connor, a classmate who also feels isolated because of his own disability, and they discover a room at Stagecoach Pass that holds bigger secrets than Aven ever could have imagined. It’s hard to solve a mystery, help a friend, and face your worst fears. But Aven’s about to discover she can do it all . . . even without arms.

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  • Lifeboat 12

    by Susan Hood Year Published: 2018

    With Nazis bombing London every night, it’s time for thirteen-year-old Ken to escape. He suspects his stepmother is glad to see him go, but his dad says he’s one of the lucky ones—one of ninety boys and girls to ship out aboard the SS City of Benares to safety in Canada.

    Life aboard the luxury ship is grand—nine-course meals, new friends, and a life far from the bombs, rations, and his stepmum’s glare. And after five days at sea, the ship’s officers announce that they’re out of danger.  They’re wrong.

    Late that night, an explosion hurls Ken from his bunk. They’ve been hit. Torpedoed! The Benares is sinking fast. Terrified, Ken scrambles aboard Lifeboat 12 with five other boys. Will they get away? Will they survive?

    Award-winning author Susan Hood brings this little-known World War II story to life in a riveting novel of courage, hope, and compassion. Based on true events and real people, Lifeboat 12 is about believing in one another, knowing that only by banding together will we have any chance to survive.

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  • Me, Frida, and the Secret of the Peacock Ring

    by Angela Cervantes Year Published: 2019

    A room locked for 50 years.

    A valuable peacock ring.

    A mysterious brother-sister duo.

    Paloma Marquez is traveling to Mexico City, birthplace of her deceased father, for the very first time. She's hoping that spending time in Mexico will help her unlock memories of the too-brief time they spent together.

    While in Mexico, Paloma meets Lizzie and Gael, who present her with an irresistible challenge: The siblings want her to help them find a valuable ring that once belonged to beloved Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. Finding the ring means a big reward -- and the thanks of all Mexico. What better way to honor her father than returning a priceless piece of jewelry that once belonged to his favorite artist!

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  • Restart

    by Gordon Korman Year Published: 2018

    Chase's memory just went out the window.

    Chase doesn't remember falling off the roof. He doesn't remember hitting his head. He doesn't, in fact, remember anything. He wakes up in a hospital room and suddenly has to learn his whole life all over again . . . starting with his own name.

    He knows he's Chase. But who is Chase? When he gets back to school, he sees that different kids have very different reactions to his return.

    Some kids treat him like a hero. Some kids are clearly afraid of him.

    One girl in particular is so angry with him that she pours her frozen yogurt on his head the first chance she gets.

    Pretty soon, it's not only a question of who Chase is--it's a question of who he was . . . and who he's going to be.

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  • Saving Fiona: The Story of the World’s Most Famous Baby Hippo

    by Thane Maynard Year Published: 2018

    On a cold January day in 2017, nearly two months before due date, Nile hippopotamus Bibi gave her keepers at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden a big (little) surprise—a tiny newborn hippo, no bigger than a football.  The first premature hippo born and raised in captivity, baby Fiona was an underdog from the start:  she couldn't nurse, she couldn't stay hydrated, and she wasn't thriving. But the staff at the zoo knew they could save her.  It would take creative thinking and teamwork. They would have to study the makeup of hippo milk for the first time ever and reach out to medical colleagues, including a team at the local Children's Hospital with superior vein-finding skills,  to ensure that Fiona would begin to gain weight and become healthy. When Fiona began to thrive, her star began to rise, and soon she became an internet sensation, her picture and videos garnering thousands and thousands of likes and fans on Instagram and Facebook.  Now a Fiona appearance at the Zoo mimics a Beatles concert.  What made this little, now big, hippo such a big hit with people all over the world?  And what's in store for her and her family in the future?

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  • Sergeant Reckless: The True Story of the Little Horse Who Became a Hero

    by Patricia McCormick Year Published: 2017

    When a group of US Marines fighting in the Korean War found a bedraggled mare, they wondered if she could be trained to as a packhorse. They had no idea that the skinny, underfed horse had one of the biggest and bravest hearts they’d ever known. And one of the biggest appetites!

    Soon Reckless showed herself more than willing to carry ammunition too heavy for the soldiers to haul. As cannons thundered and shells flew through the air, she marched into battle—again and again—becoming the only animal ever to officially hold military rank—becoming Sgt. Reckless—and receive two Purple Hearts.

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  • Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster

    by Jonathan Auxier Year Published: 2020

    It's been five years since the Sweep disappeared. Orphaned and alone, Nan Sparrow had no other choice but to work for a ruthless chimney sweep named Wilkie Crudd. She spends her days sweeping out chimneys. The job is dangerous and thankless, but with her wits and will, Nan has managed to beat the deadly odds time and time again.
     
    When Nan gets stuck in a chimney fire, she fears the end has come. Instead, she wakes to find herself unharmed in an abandoned attic. And she is not alone. Huddled in the corner is a mysterious creature—a golem—made from soot and ash.
     
    Sweep is the story of a girl and her monster. Together, these two outcasts carve out a new life—saving each other in the process. Lyrically told by one of today's most powerful storytellers, Sweep is a heartrending adventure about the everlasting gifts of friendship and wonder.

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  • Tiny Stitches: The Life of Medical Pioneer Vivien Thomas

    by Gwendolyn Hooks Year Published: 2016

    Vivien Thomas's greatest dream was to attend college to study medicine. But after the stock market crashed in 1929, Vivien lost all his savings. Then he heard about a job opening at the Vanderbilt University medical school under the supervision of Dr. Alfred Blalock. Vivien knew that the all-white school would never admit him as a student, but he hoped working there meant he was getting closer to his dream.

    As Dr. Blalock s research assistant, Vivien learned surgical techniques. In 1943, Vivien was asked to help Dr. Helen Taussig find a cure for children with a specific heart defect. After months of experimenting, Vivien developed a procedure that was used for the first successful open-heart surgery on a child. Afterward, Dr. Blalock and Dr. Taussig announced their innovative new surgical technique, the Blalock-Taussig shunt. Vivien s name did not appear in the report.

    Overcoming racism and resistance from his colleagues, Vivien ushered in a new era of medicine children s heart surgery. Tiny Stitches is the compelling story of this incredible pioneer in medicine.

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  • Watch Hollow

    by Gregory Funaro Year Published: 2020

    Deep within the enchanted woods in the town of Watch Hollow stands the once-grand Blackford House, whose halls hold a magical secret: a giant cuckoo clock that does much more than tell time. But when the clock’s gears cease to turn, an evil presence lurking among the trees begins to come out of the shadows.

    When Lucy and Oliver Tinker arrive in Watch Hollow, they have no idea that anything is wrong. A mysterious stranger has made their father an offer that’s too good for him to refuse. All Mr. Tinker needs to do is fix the clock at Blackford House and fistfuls of gold coins are his to keep.

    It doesn’t take long, however, for the children to realize that there is more to Blackford House than meets the eye. And before they can entirely understand the strange world they’ve stumbled into, Lucy and Oliver must join forces with a host of magical clock animals to defeat the Garr—a vicious monster that not only wants Blackford House for itself, but also seeks to destroy everything the Tinkers hold dear.

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  • Watchdog

    by Will McIntosh Year Published: 2017

    Thirteen-year-old twins Vick and Tara have built an incredible machine—a loyal robotic watchdog named Daisy. But, when local crime boss Ms. Alba schemes to add Daisy to her robot army, Vick and Tara must go to great lengths to protect their prized pet. Because Daisy is more than just any robot—she’s their constant protector, and together the three make a great team.

    Vick and Tara are determined to stop the mob from tearing their little family apart. And they might just succeed! Sure, the evil Ms. Alba has more robot watchdogs, but none are as smart—or as faithful—as their Daisy. Plus, if things get too dangerous, Tara could always upgrade their pet. With her mechanical skills, she could make Daisy bigger, stronger, and a lot more intimidating!

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