Bird By Angela Johnson Bird is very upset. Just when she thought her family was solid, her stepfather Cecil abandons her and her mother. Determined to get him back, the 13-year-old girl runs away. She walks away from her home in Cleveland Ohio, eventually hiding behind a farmhouse in Acorn, Alabama. Bird misses her mother, pizza, and being able to take a shower or go to the movies with her friends, but she stays anyway, watching and waiting for some clue about Cecil. Ethan, a boy who lives in the farmhouse, sees Bird in her hiding spot. He doesn’t tell his parents, though. He decides to help Bird, giving her meals, clothes and blankets. Ethan used to be sick and had to get a new heart. Little do Bird and Ethan know they have a connection waiting to be found. Soon Bird meets Jay. Jay, still numb from the death of his younger brother Derek, has been getting into trouble lately. Bird and Jay meet each other on a roadside, and their sadness instantly connects them. Told from the point of view of the three kids, this book is about connections, pain, friendship and growing up.
Something Upstairs By Avi Avi, who is the author of many books including Crispin, Poppy and the Fighting Grounds, calls this the strangest story he has ever heard. In the prologue of the book, Avi tells how, after a school assembly, a teacher asked the author if he would talk privately with a boy named Kenny. Avi agreed, and Kenny told him a true story about when he first moved to Rhode Island. Kenny’s family moved into a historic old house, and he is excited to move into the attic room. Sometimes he gets the feeling there is something weird up there, though. Late one night, he wakes up to a strange crunching sound. Eerie white arms come up through the floor in a spot that appears to be stained with blood. So begins his acquaintance with a ghost named Caleb, a slave boy who lived in the 1800s. Caleb tells Kenny that he was murdered. Caleb asks Kenny to come back in time to help him figure out who murdered him so he can stop it from happening. Will Kenny be able to help Caleb in time? If so, will he be able to return to his own time? Part ghost story, part social commentary, “Something Upstairs” is a perfect chilling summer read!
The Emerald Atlas By John Stephens It is Christmas Eve, and after a cozy evening of hot chocolate by the fire with her parents, Kate doesn’t think she will ever get to sleep. However, it seems to be the next moment when her mom is shaking her to wake her up. Her mom asks her to always take care of her younger siblings. She doesn’t have time to explain, but she promises they will someday be together as a family again. Then Kate’s parents wrap her up in a blanket and carry her, little brother Michael and baby sister Emma down to a car. There, a disheveled but kindly man is waiting to drive them into the snowy night. They are followed by sinister black figures, but just before the car goes into a river, it disappears. Ten minutes later, it is in front of a brick building and the children are taken inside. For the next ten years, they move from orphanage to orphanage. They haven’t heard from their parents at all. The dream of being together as a family seems to have died. However, they discover an ancient atlas that starts them on a dangerous journey. The atlas was believed to be lost forever in an underground city destroyed by an earthquake. But in the right hands, the atlas will send someone to any place or time. The children slowly learn their destiny and an old prophecy: they must change the course of time and save the world!