Ella and Zachary, called Z, have been friends forever, but Z has always been “the weird kid” in their class. He collects stubby pencils, plays chess, and maintains an elaborate fantasy life, starring himself as a brave knight. Z’s games were okay back in 3rd or 4th grade, but by now their other friends have ditched them both. Z doesn’t care, but Ella longs to be part of a group of friends, even though most of the class makes fun of her. When a new boy, Bailey, moves to town, he befriends Ella, because they are now the only two black kids in the sixth grade class. But Bailey is popular – popular enough to make Ella cool and give her a wider circle of friends – but only if she stops hanging out with Z. That's a tough choice, one that Ella doesn't want to face. This is a moving story about friendship, bullying, and doing the right thing.
Aladdin, 2011 p. 224
You can learn a lot of facts just by looking, listening and reading. Seurat painted using dots of colour. Kangaroos don't make a particular sound and Koalas sleep a lot. Benjamin Franklin believed in spelling reform and got rid of six letters of the alphabet. And Georges (the s is silent) was just a normal 7th grader at a normal middle school in the normal suburb of Brooklyn. But when he and his parents move into their new apartment Georges meets a rather abnormal boy, Safer, when he unwittingly joins his spy club. Together the two boys investigate the mysterious Mr. X and slowly Georges begins to discover that not everything in the world of espionage is what it seems. And looking, listening and reading don't always add up to the truth...
Published by Andersen Press, 2012.
Dark times have fallen on McQuarrie Middle School. Dwight, a seventh grader renowned for his OrigamiYoda finger puppet, returns to the school and warns of an approaching crisis. Sure enough, when the latest batch of standardized test scores fails to please the principal, he cancels all the fun elective classes, like art, music, and LEGO design, and replaces them with a test prep program called the FunTime learning system, which pretty much consists of "educational" cartoons with awful songs and worse singing. With the help of Origami Yoda, the students form a Rebel Alliance to defeat the FunTime Menace and restore order (and art, music etc.,) to their school Universe. Can they win with the help of the Force and cope with a surprise attack from Jabba the Puppett?
Published by Amulet Books, 2013
What could a newly homeless parrot and a girl stricken with leukemia possibly have in common? Much more than you would think, at first glance. In this story of an unusual friendship, Zeno is the proud bird who can speak 127 words but suddenly finds himself on the street due to the death of his devoted servant (commonly called his owner). Alya is a young girl who has lost her former active life because of her debilitating illness. They bond over a banana nut muffin. Though trials and hardships lead them to give up hope, they find strength, support and courage in each other. And a way to find out what really matters in life.
Published by Feiwel & Friends, 2013
Joanne Zienty is a reader, a writer, a librarian and a tech geek. For more info, see the About Me page.