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Paging All Readers by Alexandra Brown

07/06/2016 12:27PM ● Published by Nancy Babin

Lately time seems to be flying by and every day feels like I am running on a treadmill that has been set way too fast.  No matter how crazy it gets, I find that I am always able to find solace and quiet in a good book.  I hope that same ability to find solace in reading is a gift that I can pass on to my kids and I wish the same for you and your children.   This month there are several great books I am including in this article and I hope maybe one of them will appeal to you and give you and your kids some much needed peace and quiet! 


 First is “The Search for the Homestead Treasure: A Mystery” by Ann Treacy.  Part mystery, part family saga, this book is set in the early 1900s on a piece of homestead property that has been the setting for decades of misfortune for the Gunnarsson family.  The story opens with 14 year old Martin who it trying desperately to keep his family together on the property.  It seems all may be lost until Martin finds a clue in an ancestor’s diary that hints of a hidden treasure on the property which might save the family from foreclosure.   The hunt ensues and the result is a story your kids will love.  I recommend this one for anyone ages 10 and up.

 Next is a sequel to a book that I included in the article last year.  “Serafina and the Black Cloak” by Robert Beatty was a hit with both readers of this article and  kids all over.  Its popularity has led to a sequel that is getting even better reviews than the first one.  “Serafina and the Twisted Staff” opens with Serafina now openly living on the Biltmore Estate after she was brought out of hiding.  However, it doesn’t take long before something strange starts happening with the animals in the woods of the Blue Ridge Mountains around the estate.  Serafina gets caught up once again in an action packed mystery that your kids will not want to miss!  I highly recommend this one for all kids (and adult kids too) ages 9 and up.

 Another book I found for this month is also from an author that I have included in the article before – Thanhha Lai is an award winning author and does a beautiful job of teaching her readers about her native culture through engaging stories.  Her book “Inside Out and Back Again” which I included in the article a few years ago won the prestigious National Book Award and was a Newbery Honor Book.  It was wonderful, so if you missed it pick it up.  Her newest book is “Listen, Slowly” and in this story we read about “Mai” an American girl of Vietnamese descent.  Mai is looking forward to spending her summer on the beach and hanging out with her friends, but her parents make her escort her grandmother to Vietnam.  New information has come to light about her grandfather who disappeared 40 years ago in the war and Mai must help her grand mother investigate it.  Mai doesn’t want to go, but slowly she comes to understand and appreciate the small village in Vietnam that is the place of her family roots.  The reader will love learning about life in Vietnam and the importance of being close to your family.  I recommend this highly for anyone age 11 and up.

 Finally, for the teen set out there I recommend “The Fifty-Seven Lives of Alex Wayfare” and its recently released sequel, “The Untimely Deaths of Alex Wayfare” by M.G. Buehrlen.  Unlike most teen / young adult books out there, the main character, Alex Wayfare, has a very normal family and the world isn’t ending, or about to.  However, there is nothing normal about Alex.  She can travel through time and we see her at very different time periods and in different places.  Sometimes the story line can be a bit confusing because Alex switches back and forth between time and places pretty quickly, but it is a great read and I enjoyed it.  

I hope that you enjoy one of these books.  Many months I struggle to find quality books to include in this article, however, this month 

 was an exception.   Lately I see a trend away from the dystopian “Hunger Games’ type books and back toward books that have stories that are based on situations and emotions to which our kids can better relate.  I hope the trend continues!  Thanks for reading, and as always if you have comments or suggestions please let me know at

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Serafina and the Black Cloak Hunger Games The Untimely Deaths of Alex Wayfare The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare M.G. Buehrlen Inside Out and Back Again Thanhha Lai The Search for the Homestead


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