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Summer Reading Roundup For Kids and Teens 

click to enlarge The picture book Trainstop was written by local author Barbara Lehman.
  • The picture book Trainstop was written by local author Barbara Lehman.

PICTURE BOOKS:
Because You Are My Baby
Sherry North, illustrated by Marcellus Hall
Abrams Books for Young readers, 2008, $16.95
What would you do for your child? Would you write a hit song, throw a winning touchdown, make a “Pisa pizza” 12 feet high? Engagingly illustrated bedtime comfort food captures the to-the-ends-of-the-Earth bond between parent and baby. The artwork by Chronogram frequent flyer Marcellus Hall plays nicely with North’s text.

Ladybug Girl
David Soman & Jacky Davis
Dial Books for Young Readers, 2008, $16.99
To her lofty brother, Lulu’s just a pesky little sister, but send her outdoors and she’s Ladybug Girl, able to rescue endangered ants, walk a fallen tree trunk without slipping, and leap shark-infested puddles in a single bound! Created by a local husband-and-wife team, this affirmative big girl adventure recently hit the New York Times children’s bestseller list.

Trainstop
Barbara Lehman
Houghton Mifflin, 2008, $16
A little girl and her parents take their usual subway ride, but when all the grown-ups fall asleep, the train makes a stop that’s definitely off the beaten track. An enchanting adventure ensues, and when the train moves on, the grown-ups awaken, none the wiser. Real, or just a dream? The conductor seems to know. An imaginative wordless tale from Caldecott honoree Lehman.

The Wolves Are Back
Jean Craighead George, illustrated by Wendell Minor
Dutton Children’s Books, 2008, $16.99
When Yellowstone’s wolves were exterminated, no one realized that its badgers would disappear too, as would Vesper sparrows, bears, and wildflowers. This compelling pairing of an acclaimed illustrator and legendary children’s author (My Side of the Mountain) depicts nature’s chain of coexistence, and what happens when mankind breaks and then restores it.

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod
Eugene W. Field, illustrated by Giselle Potter
Schwartz & Wade Books, 2008, $16.99
“Wynken, Blynken, and Nod one night sailed off in a wooden shoe ...” And then what? The trio’s adventures are stranger than you may remember: seems the fellas are fishing for stars. Kingston resident Giselle Potter’s gorgeously illustrated re-visioning of this poem brings out the nocturnal magic and charm of a timeless classic.

MIDDLE GRADE:
Lights, Camera, Amalee
Dar Williams
Scholastic, 2008, $7.99
Between Bearsville Theater gigs, songwriter Williams penned two delightful books about a wise tween named Amalee. In Lights, Camera, Amalee, she inherits a magnum champagne bottle full of money for “something important.” Inspired by a teacher’s documentary film, Amalee sets out to make her own, learning a lot about endangered species and her unconventional family.

Love Me Tender
Audrey Couloumbis
Random House, 2008, $16.99
Elvira’s having a lousy summer. Her pregnant mother’s acting wacky, her Elvis impersonator-father has left in a huff, and her estranged grandmother is near death. There’s a whole lotta shaking going on, but what follows is a spicy-sweet story of family conflict, comedy, and resolution. South Fallsburg resident Couloumbis is a Newbery Honor winner.

See How They Run: Campaign Dreams, Election Schemes, and the Race to the White House
Susan E. Goodman, illustrated by Elwood H. Smith
Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 2008, $9.95
Did you know that it took the founding fathers four months to write the Constitution? That in 1938, a mule was elected mayor of Milton, Washington? Or that after the 2000 presidential election, the name Chad fell to 338th on the popularity chart? A lighthearted but very thorough look at the US government and electoral process, peppered with Rhinebeck illustrator Smith’s instantly recognizable drawings.

Spin the Bottle
Elizabeth Cody Kimmel
Dial Books for Young Readers, 2008, $16.99
New middle-schoolers Phoebe and Harper sign up for a Drama Club production of Guys & Dolls and stumble into a hilarious tangle of humiliations and an opening night ritual involving the dreaded kissing game. Fans of Kimmel’s popular Lily B. series will enjoy Phoebe’s effervescent narration, out-of-the-box creative drive, and resilient spirit.

TEEN:
Alive and Well in Prague, New York
Daphne Grab
Laura Geringer Books, 2008, $16.99
Matisse’s father has Parkinson’s disease, and her family’s relocated from her beloved Manhattan to an upstate backwater where high school means equal parts perky pep rallies and poisonous rumors, and no one appreciates your cool shoes. Grab’s empathetic and heartfelt first novel explores problems that can’t be solved by attitude or denial, but just might be eased by accepting a little help from your friends.

Map of Ireland

Stephanie Grant
Scribner, 2008, $22
It’s 1974, South Boston is a racial minefield, and Ann Ahern’s crush on her Senegalese French teacher, Mademoiselle Eugenie, is inflammatory in more ways than one. Grant’s perfect-pitch evocation of a working-class Irish teenager’s diction, hair-trigger mood swings, and passionate longings makes this an indelible read for older teens and adults.

What They Always Tell Us
Martin Wilson
Delacorte Press, 2008, $15.99
An evocative, sensitively told tale of two brothers from Alabama. James is an inwardly restless golden-boy senior, fixated on college and freedom. When Alex, already an outcast after an impulsive suicide gesture, starts secretly dating a boy on his track team, the brothers’ uneasy relationship deepens in moving and unpredictable ways. Hudson Valley Southerner Wilson’s debut is a winner.

UPCOMING RELEASES BY HUDSON VALLEY AUTHORS:

Forbidden Tales: Sword, by Da Chen (Laura Geringer Books, 8/08)
Humpty Dumpty Climbs Again, by Dave Horowitz (Putnam Juvenile, 10/08)
Mother Teresa: a Pictorial Biography, by Maya Gold (Dorling Kindersley, 8/08)
The New York State Reader, by Ann Burg (Sleeping Bear Press, 9/08)
T is for Terrible, by Peter McCarty (Square Fish, 9/08)
Token, by Alisa Kwitney & Joelle Jones (Minx, 10/08)
The Yggyssey, by Daniel Manus Pinkwater (Houghton Mifflin, 9/08)

FOR YOUNG WRITERS:
“Hunting the Wild Word,” summer writing workshop for 9-to-15 year-olds with Jo Treggiari (The Curious Misadventures of Feltus Ovalton), Wednesdays, July 9,16, and 23 from 1:00 through 2:30 pm at the Woodstock Children’s Library. Limited space. (845) 679-2213.

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