1998 Summer Junior Novels


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Nancy's picks for the best junior novels of summer 1998 and ideas for using them in the classroom. Compiled by Nancy Polette 1998.
Last updated: Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Beard, Darleen. THE FLIMFLAM MAN Farrar, 1998 (Gr 3-5)
An advance man for a circus drives in to Wetumka, OK. on a hot summer day in 1950.
Bobbie Jo is taken with the man, especially when he gives her free tickets and helps her with her stuttering. So she and Clara Jean unwittingly join the filmflam man in the effort to bamboozle the town.
ACTIVITY: Check out a book on magic tricks and try one of the tricks on your friends. Can you "bamboozle" them? What does bamboozle mean?
Branford, Henrietta. FIRE, BED AND BONE. Candlewick, 1998. Gr 5-8
In 1381 unrest is spreading like the plague among the serfs of England. This unforgettable tale is narrated by an old hunting dog.
Activity: Use all of these words in one sentence to describe the cover of the book:embers, freedom, byre, trough, pallet, Great House, wicked, village, serfs,goodhearted, squabbles, shepherd, meadow, knight, nuzzled, Bishop, scruff, midday, passage, prisoners, steward, dwindled.
DeFelice, Cynthia. THE GHOST OF FOSSIL GLEN. Farrar, 1998. (Gr 4-6)
Allie is good at knowing things about people and she knows she is being pursued by a ghost..is it the ghost of a girl in her dreams who falls from a cliff crying "help me!"
What do the dreams really mean?
ACTIVITY: Check out a library book on the meaning of dreams. What would you tell
Allie that her dream means?
Gregory, Kristiana. ORPHAN RUNAWAYS. Scholastic, 1998. Gr 4-6
In 1878 Danny and Judd run away from a miserable orphanage in San Francissco, and thus begins an exciting adventure set in a gold rush boom town.
Activity: Find out what the following would cost in San Francisco at the beginning of the gold rush (1849)1 doz. eggs, 1 loaf bread, 1# butter,needle and thread, a shovel. (A good source of information is Rhonda Blumberg’s Great American Gold Rush.
Hill, Donna. SHIPWRECK SEASON. Clarion, 1998 GR 5-8
Young Daniel spends eight months among rough seamen at a lifesaver’s station but gains respect for those who risk their lives to save others in this 1880s story.
Activity: Research and write ten clues about someone connected with the sea. One clue must be a give-away clue. Ask classmates to give you a number between one and ten. Read the clue. The student can guess or pass. The game continues until the person is guessed or all clues are read.
Karr, Kathleen. THE GREAT TURKEY WALK. Farrar, 1998. (Gr 3-5)
Simon Green who has just completed the third grade for the fourth time intends to herd a flock of turkeys from eastern Missouri to ?Denver where they’ll fetch a mighty price. In 1860 the hazards of such a trek are many in this wild west adventure.
ACTIVITY: Map a route for Simon to take and explain why it is the best route.
Karr, Kathleen. THE LIGHTHOUSE MERMAID. Hyperion, 1998. (Gr 2-4)
Growing up near the sea, Kate fills her days dreaming of mermaids. But when her father, the lighthouse keeper goes to sea one stormy night,Kate must keep the beacon burning for the storm-tossed boats.
ACTIVITY: Complete the pattern: If I were a lighthouse keeper I would ( list four
things) and I’d ( list four more ) but I wouldn’t (list something a sailor would do) because sailors do that.
Lasky, Kathryn. ALICE ROSE & SAM. Hyperion, 1998. Gr 4-7
A gritty silver mining town, a young girl, crooked judges, and a murder all make for an exciting tale of the days of the Comstock Lode when Alice Rose and Samuel Clemens team up to foil the plans of the mysterious Society of Seven.
Activity: Summarize the story using the title as the first letters of each line.
Osborne, Mary. FAVORITE MEDIEVAL TALES. Scholastic, 1998.
Nine favorite tales from medieval Europe including tales that feature Sir Gawain, Beowolf, Merlin, and Robin Hood.
Activity: Create a bio-poem about a hero: First name, Four traits, Related to, Has, Needs, Fears, Would like to see, Resident of.
Rinaldi, Ann. MINE EYES HAVE SEEN. Scholastic, 1998. Gr 5-8
In 1859 John Brown gathers his army while his fifteen-year-old daughter watches at the beginning of a summer of promise and menace, tenderness and cruelty and of growing up and letting go.
Activity: Choose someone living today whom you admire. Write a letter from that person to John Brown giving needed advice.
William Morrow, 1998,
Solve several mysteries in each book with a boy genius!
Skurzynski, Gloria and Alane Ferguson. RAGE OF FIRE. National Geographic, 1998. (Gr 4-6)
It was supposed to be a restful family vacation in Hawaii. So why is Jack chasing his younger sister Ashley and a kid named Danny through a lava crater? And who’s chasing all three of them?
ACTIVITY: Create a book titled H is for Volcano. How many H words can you connect with volcano? Each word can be a different page in your book with an explanation of the word as it relates to volcanoes. Examples might be : hot, Hawaii, high etc.
Wright, Betty Ren. A GHOST IN THE FAMILY. Scholastic, 1998. Gr 4-6
Chad vacations in a boarding house full of odd characters...a mummy appears, a panther leaps out of his closet, a fortune-teller predicts trouble and a diamond bracelet is stolen.
Activity: Describe a strange character you might create if you were to write a boarding house story.
Yep, Laurence. THE IMP THAT ATE MY HOMEWORK. HarperCollins, 1998. GR 4-7
Jim discovers that his Grandpop has the ability to turn himself into a supernatural warrior when a nasty green imp appears. Together they face the imp in a wild battle of magic and wits.
Activity: Write an excuse for not having your homework. Include at least three of these items in the excuse: a firecracker, a crazed deer, a strong wind, a jar of peanut butter, a one-eyed cat, a magnet, a table with one leg, a bucket of water, a cracked sidewalk, an alarm clock.