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I bet there's at least one short story in this collection you still remember from a school anthology—Bradbury's deceptively simple stories tend to pack an emotional wallop. Amazon says, "Ray Bradbury's stories of the colonization of Mars form an eerie mesh of past and future. Written in the 1940s, the chronicles drip with nostalgic atmosphere--shady porches with tinkling pitchers of lemonade, grandfather clocks, chintz-covered sofas. But longing for this comfortable past proves dangerous in every way to Bradbury's characters--the golden-eyed Martians as well as the humans."
The subtitle sums this up well: "Cooking and Gardening with Twelve Families from the Edible Plant Kingdom, with over 300 Deliciously Simple Recipes." Inspire your garden, your kitchen, and your farmers market runs with this gorgeous, informative book about cooking and growing all kinds of vegetables. I love physical copies of cookbooks, but this is such a steal that it's worth picking up a copy if you don't have one yet.
A sophisticated, surprising fantasy that's feminist and inclusive in really interesting ways. From our review (in the spring 2016 issue): "Spectacular world-building lights up this fantasy about a world where humans and intelligent dragons live in an uneasy truce."
I read this book with my AP English students this year, and I was struck by 1. how gorgeous the language is (which shouldn't have surprised me, I guess, since Robert Penn Warren is a poet) and 2. how shockingly, immediately relevant it felt in today's political world. This is a great one for your high school reading list.
When Thomas wakes up in the Glade, he has no memories of his previous life and no idea how to solve the life-size maze he and his fellow Gladers must exit to escape. We recommended this for fans of The Hunger Games and Percy Jackson.
Suzanne is always trying to get people to read this pre-apocalyptic mystery—she even assigns it in her Apocalyptic Lit class. From her column: “There’s a meteor heading for Earth that will create an extinction-level event in a matter of months, and Hank Palace, recently promoted to detective, is put in charge of a suicide investigation only to become convinced that he’s actually dealing with murder. But the response that he gets from colleagues and witnesses is “so what?” When civilization is in crisis and all around people are walking off the job and (occasionally) in front of buses, the question becomes what do we owe ourselves and each other when we’re facing the end of the world? How do we live our lives when the end is in sight? We are defined by the choices we make, and nowhere is that more clear than in Det. Palace’s world, when there’s nothing left but the final countdown.”
The original computers weren't machines, they were people—specifically women who, armed with slide rules and sharpened pencils, performed the complex calculations needed to get the space program (literally) off the ground. This book shines a long overdue spotlight on the women scientists and mathematicians who contributed to the early work of the space program, and it's a great read on its own or as part of a larger study with The Glass Universe and Hidden Figures.
Cimorene, who would rather run off with dragons than marry a nice sixth grade Academic prince, is the kind of heroine you want to high-five. A terrific inversion of the classic princess story — with bonus dragons.
I chose this for my spring book club pick for our hybrid high school because I think it's such a great example of plotting and creating atmosphere. Ten strangers are invited to a mysterious island, where they discover they have a deadly secret in common.
Suzanne says: "I love the beginning: there’s a modern-day town on the edge of a forest and everything is perfectly normal, except for the unbreakable glass casket in the forest where a horned prince has slept for decades. And a changeling attends high school with our protagonists and every year a couple of tourists get eaten, but yeah, other than that everything’s perfectly normal."
From Booklist: "Tommy and his friends think that Dwight is a weirdo who’s “always talking about robots or spiders or something.” In true Dwight fashion, he shows up at school one day brandishing a little origami Yoda finger puppet. The really weird thing is that it doles out very un-Dwight-like bits of wisdom, and the mystery is whether the Yoda is just Dwight talking in a funny voice or if it actually has mystical powers." Hand this to your 4th to 6th grader who loves the Wimpy Kid series.
A great readaloud for U.S. pioneer history, this book touches on the other-ness of the prairie landscape, the loneliness of homesteading, and the importance of family in building the West. When a Maine woman answers an ad to be a second wife and stepmother to a family in the West, everyone involved finds unexpected happiness.
From our review: "Charmed Life is the first book in Diana Wynne Jones’ Chrestomanci series, and it’s a delightful introduction to the world of the Chrestomanci, where magic is so ubiquitous that it needs a sort of President-of-All-Things-Magical to keep it all in check... You don’t have to go out and buy every single book Diana Wynne Jones has ever written after reading this, but I bet you’ll want to.
From our essential graphic novels for middle grades reading list (summer 2017): "Siblings Emily and Navin must rescue their mother from a strange alternate world in this first book in the Amulet series."