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Youth Yak

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Norman Didn’t Do It!
Ryan T. Higgins

Norman the porcupine and Mildred the Tree are best friends. They have so much fun together!
Life is good until one day up pops a little tree, right next to Mildred. Norman is worried. What if the two trees become best friends and Mildred doesn’t need him anymore? Norman makes a plan. He digs up that little tree and moves it far away, but he has regrets.

What was the right thing to do? Ultimately, Norman learns that joy can be found in being inclusive and welcoming newcomers into your circle of friends. Young readers will enjoy this cute and funny book while learning an important lesson about friendship.



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Jennifer A. Nielsen

I really enjoyed this book because of the way the author brings the reader into the story. Young Meg is trying to collect information for the resistance movement working against the Nazi occupation in France. She finds herself given a secret mission that will hopefully help free her father. Along the way, she gets a secret message from him and has to decipher the many messages within it. I learned about the French Resistance and the many kinds of codes that were used during the Second World War.


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The Secret of Robber’s Cave
Kristiana Gregory

Three cousins set out to explore the island across the lake and discover a human foot. Last Island had been off limits to the cousins until this year. Local legend says there is buried treasure on the island. Gregory depicts the cousins as resourceful, respectful, and responsible, which I loved. I used this book with fourth and fifth graders this summer and their excitement throughout it was a delight. I enjoyed the numerous moans and groans when we reached the end of each day’s reading. This book was a great find, and was loved especially by the boys.




Sally Sally



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The Beatryce Prophecy

Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Sophie Blackall

When I was in high school, my friend Cathryn and I liked to take her younger sister and my younger brother to productions at The Children’s Theater at the Minneapolis Art Institute. I don’t know if our siblings liked going, because we never asked them. WE wanted to go, and we thought we needed to have bona fide children with us. Fortunately, I’ve outgrown that kind of thinking, and have come to appreciate that there are stories for children of all ages. One of these is The Beatryce Prophecy, the latest book by Kate DiCamillo. It has all the elements of a classic fairy tale: a young heroine whose destiny threatens the established order, a young orphan boy living by his wits, a former king who has given up his throne, a monk who overcomes his insecurities to protect the girl, a wicked villain, and a spirit animal. The latter is a goat named Answelica, who is considered by those whom she terrorizes to be a demon. The story DiCamillo spins around these characters is magical. This is a book to share with the children in your life (and if you choose to re-read it on your own, we’ll never tell.)

I listened to the book on and the reader was wonderful, but I also enjoyed looking at the illustrations in the book.

The copies we have in the store have been signed by both the author and illustrator.

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