"Liesl & Po" by Lauren Oliver
"Liesl and Po" is about a girl, a boy, a ghost, and a ghost pet. Will (the boy), confuses a box containing ashes of Henry Morbower, who is Liesl's father, with the most powerful magic in the world. Liesl is locked in the attic by her evil stepmother. Po (the ghost) and Bundle (the ghost pet) come to visit. The Lady Premiere is sooo angry about Will's mix-up! Will goes out to find the magic, and at the same time, Liesl is running away with the magic, which she thinks is her father's ashes. She wants to bring her father to the place she was born. Po and Bundle accompany Liesl. The journey is long and mysterious and things stir up trouble. But she gets there. I like the mysteriousness of the journey. If you like fantasy, you will love "Liesl & Po." To find out what happens next read, "Liesl & Po."
— Hannah Gruber, 8, Cumberland, R.I.
"The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom" by Christopher Healy
I read a newly published book called "The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom." I think that other kids should read it because there is a lot of suspense and happiness. There are also thrilling moments and breathtaking points in this book. This story is about the four Prince Charmings from different fairy tales: Frederic, Gustav, Liam, and Duncan, and their princesses. The cool part about this book is that all the princes' personalities are really different.
All the princes showed courage in different ways. For example, battling a dragon and an evil witch named Zauberer, and distracting a giant. These are only a few examples. I really, really, really liked this book a lot and I think other kids would enjoy it, too.
— Sophia Andrews, 9, Oak Park
"Dragon Valley" by Luke Herzog
"Dragon Valley" is a 203-page fantasy novel that just happens to have been written by my 11-year-old brother, Luke Herzog. He wrote it in spiral notebooks over 18 months. It is the story of five lab-created dragons of five different colors and personalities who are set free in a valley. The book takes place over one thousand years, and by then there are tribes of dragons — some good and some bad. There are also other creatures with names like Grizzclaws and Neomeons. The book has tales of rescues, dragon contests and battles. All of it was a lot of fun to read. There is even some dragon romance (which wasn't so bad either), as well as a long glossary and a map of Dragon Valley. It's one of my favorite books, even though my brother wrote it.
— Jesse Herzog, 10
"Natasha Lands Down Under" by Katherine McCaughan
Natasha thinks that life is fine in Shanghai, China, but when the war erupts and takes over her city, her family is forced to move out. Natasha is worried, but would rather do ANYTHING than move to Sidney, Australia. However, her parents say it is the safest place to stay and there is no stopping her parents! She has many worries, but is mainly focused on one problem. In Sidney, people speak English and she doesn't know how to say yes or no in English!!! She is scared to move to a new land but, she is forced to. After a long trip to Sidney traveling by cargo boat and airplane, she finds out that she is living with her Aunt Vera for a while. Not only is her Aunt very vain, she is 100 percent rude to Natasha!!! If that isn't bad enough she has her 2 cousins, Vladimir and Peter, who are also rude to her. FINALLY, her parents save up enough pennies to buy their own home. Many problems arise after they move, but it doesn't only happen at home. She faces problems at school and other unexpected places. She is teased about her hair being old fashioned. She is also embarrassed about many things, but mostly the remark "Bloody-New-Australians." Many things worry Natasha and make life harder in this new place. Those things include: secrets about her family, troubles with her sister, trouble making new friends, and the loss of relatives and animals she loved.
Does being from a different country make Natasha so different after all?
Read the book "Natasha Lands Down Under" to find out!!
— Magie Andries, 11, Oak Park
"The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict" by Trenton Lee Stewart
In Trenton Lee Stewart's most recent book, "The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict," a young boy named Nicholas is sent to yet another orphanage. Since Nicholas has a problematic sleeping disorder, he sleeps on the third floor, separated from the others in the boy's dormitory. During his first few days, he makes enemies with a group of boys nicknamed The Spiders. At the same time, he manages to befriend a boy named John. At any rate, Nicholas discovers that life at Rothchild's End, the orphanage, won't be easy. Despite hardships, Nicholas manages to have quite a few extraordinary adventures. You'll have to read the book to discover what they are! I will say that Stewart has really outdone himself. I just adore this book because I find it highly entertaining. People who enjoy mystery, adventure and comedy should not only read this book, but the entire "Mysterious Benedict Society" series!
— Maeve Anger, 11, Lake Forest