Mechanics & Literature: May 2022
In this month’s Dart, Arrow, Boomerang, and Slingshot your family will encounter stories of adventure, enchantment, adversity, and discovery. The pages of these stories will take you to:
- an isolated island,
- an enchanted forest,
- a city fighting for survival in the midst of a pandemic,
- and a small town where big learning unfolds.
Buckle your seatbelts as you explore writing, mechanics, and literary devices this month—these books will take you on some wild rides!
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Nim’s Island (Wendy Orr)
A girl. An iguana. An island. And e-mail. Meet Nim–a modern-day Robinson Crusoe! She can chop down bananas with a machete, climb tall palm trees, and start a fire with a piece of glass. So she’s not afraid when her scientist dad sails off to study plankton for three days, leaving her alone on their island. Besides, it’s not as if no one’s looking after her–she’s got a sea lion to mother her and an iguana for comic relief. She also has an interesting new e-mail pal. But when her father’s cell-phone calls stop coming and disaster seems near, Nim has to be stronger and braver than she’s ever been before.
And she’ll need all her friends to help her.
Get the Dart.
Midsummer’s Mayhem (Rajani LaRocca)
Can Mimi undo the mayhem caused by her baking in this contemporary fantasy retelling of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream?
Eleven-year-old Mimi Mackson comes from a big Indian American family: Dad’s a renowned food writer, Mom’s a successful businesswoman, and her three older siblings all have their own respective accomplishments. It’s easy to feel invisible in such an impressive family, but Mimi’s dream of proving she’s not the least talented member of her family seems possible when she discovers a contest at the new bakery in town. Plus, it’ll start her on the path to becoming a celebrity chef like her culinary idol, Puffy Fay.
But when Mimi’s dad returns from a business trip, he’s mysteriously lost his highly honed sense of taste. Without his help, Mimi will never be able to bake something impressive enough to propel her to gastronomic fame.
Drawn into the woods behind her house by a strangely familiar song, Mimi meets Vik, a boy who brings her to parts of the forest she’s never seen. Who knew there were banyan trees and wild boars in Massachusetts? Together they discover exotic ingredients and bake them into delectable and enchanting treats.
But as her dad acts stranger every day, and her siblings’ romantic entanglements cause trouble in their town, Mimi begins to wonder whether the ingredients she and Vik found are somehow the cause of it all. She needs to use her skills, deductive and epicurean, to uncover what’s happening. In the process, she learns that in life, as in baking, not everything is sweet.
Get the Arrow.
Fever 1793 (Laurie Halse Anderson)
During the summer of 1793, Mattie Cook lives above the family coffee shop with her widowed mother and grandfather. Mattie spends her days avoiding chores and making plans to turn the family business into the finest Philadelphia has ever seen. But then the fever breaks out.
Disease sweeps the streets, destroying everything in its path and turning Mattie’s world upside down. At her feverish mother’s insistence, Mattie flees the city with her grandfather. But she soon discovers that the sickness is everywhere, and Mattie must learn quickly how to survive in a city turned frantic with disease.
Get the Boomerang.
Swing (Kwame Alexander with Mary Rand Hess)
Best friends Noah and Walt are far from popular, but Walt is convinced junior year is their year, and he has a plan that includes wooing the girls of their dreams and becoming amazing athletes. Never mind he and Noah failed to make their baseball team yet again, and Noah’s crush since third grade, Sam, has him firmly in the friend zone. While Walt focuses on his program of jazz, podcasts, batting cages, and a “Hug Life” mentality, Noah feels stuck in status quo … until he stumbles on a stash of old love letters. Each one contains words Noah’s always wanted to say to Sam, and he begins secretly creating artwork using the lines that speak his heart. But when his art becomes public, Noah has a decision to make: continue his life in the dugout and possibly lose the girl forever, or take a swing and finally speak out.
At the same time, American flags are being left around town. While some think it’s a harmless prank and others see it as a form of protest, Noah can’t shake the feeling something bigger is happening to his community. Especially after he witnesses events that hint divides and prejudices run deeper than he realized.
As the personal and social tensions increase around them, Noah and Walt must decide what is really important when it comes to love, friendship, sacrifice, and fate.