Book List

Download List

Comments are explicit and detailed and are intended for parents to use to determine acceptability for their children. Please read comments - do not rely on ratings alone. Books are reviewed to the best of our abilities, we apologize for any errors.

Review Date Title Author Series Grades Rating Teen Comments
02/23/2020 Mya In The Middle Allen, Crystal The Magnificent Mya Tibbs 4 - 6 Problematic
Girl with a new baby sister suddenly becomes a middle child and decides to start a class newspaper to grab her tired parents' attention. One word xmas. Some middos between siblings. Mean girl in the previous books finally apologizes. One word xmas. In the acknowledgements in the back of the book author begins by thanking her savior yoshka.- hard to miss.
Boy/girl relationship, Tznius and Negiah
girls say a DJ is "boo- yang cute".
Language
weird, gross, dumb, freaking, berserk
TV, Movies, Rock Music, Internet and other Media
Children use computer to create a newspaper
02/13/2020 The Unteachables Gordon Korman 4 - 7 Generally Acceptable
Burnt-out teacher connects with class of "unteachables". Cute.
Boy/girl relationship, Tznius and Negiah
Passing mention of cute girl liking athletic boy
Religion/Hashkafa
Passing mention of xmas, Grinch
Language
butt.
TV, Movies, Rock Music, Internet and other Media
Some passing references to characters from books and movies
02/12/2020 The Witch's Boy Barnhill, Kelly 5 - 8 Problematic
The son of a witch teams up with the daughter of a bandit to save 2 kingdoms. Boy's twin drowned and his mother, the witch, wouldn't let his soul fly away but stitched it into his brother's body. Detailed description of girl's mother dying from sickness, father killed by a knife. A lot of discussion of death and souls "there is no death...there is only the next thing". A lot of nonromantic negiah as boy and girl help each other, hold hands as they run away, cover themselves with a cloak as they sleep next to each other on the cold ground, etc.
Language
stupid, idiots, shut up, damn (p151)
02/10/2020 Spirit Week Showdown Allen, Crystal The Magnificent Mya Tibbs 4 - 6 Problematic
A girl is partnered with the school bully for a week long competition and loses her best friend. She gradually discovers that both the school bully and her former friend have facets to their characters she never knew. GIrl does TV commecials and is in beauty pageants. Girl wishes she could be a cowboy and dresses the part and listens to country music.
Girl wants to win contest to have a chance at being in a TV show and being a movie star.
Boy/girl relationship, Tznius and Negiah
Fourth grade girl flirts with fifth grade boy- is only friends with his sister because she "likes" him.
Language
weird, gross, kick butts, dorky, stupid, brat, jerk, sucker, creepy
02/10/2020 The Jelly Bean Experiment Adler, David A. Danny's Doodles 2 - 4 Generally Acceptable
Boy befriends an eccentric boy and they conduct a funny jelly bean experiment. Boy wonders where his friends father is. He claims he is away because he is a spy but boy suspects this isn't true. Boy sees gossip magazines with pictures of famous people on the covers in his friends living room. Boy fools around in class and gets in trouble.
Language
weird (frequent), creepy
TV, Movies, Rock Music, Internet and other Media
Boy uses internet for school report. Boy has a TV in his living room. Boy watches sports on TV.
02/10/2020 The Dog Biscuit Breakfast Adler, David A. Danny's Doodles 2 - 4 Generally Acceptable
Boy makes friends with an eccentric classmate and they try to start a dog renting business together.
TV, Movies, Rock Music, Internet and other Media
boy researches a topic for school on the internet. Magnets are used in TVs.
01/30/2020 The Sorcerer's Shadow Quinn, Jordan The Kingdom of Wrenly 2 - 4 Generally Acceptable
Children travel with knights to figure out what kind of monster is causing problems in the kingdom- end up befriending a young sorcerer who is treated badly by the townspeople and solving the problem. Girl puts her hand on boy's shoulder to calm him down- text and illustration- completely innocent.
Language
pesky
01/29/2020 The Wall of Fame Game Allen, Crystal The Magnificent Mya Tibbs 3 - 5 Problematic
Nine year old girl is disappointed not to be watching a cowboy movie marathon with her mother, when she is forced to participate in a school contest to respond to her enemy's dare. She learns a lot about good and bad motivation, parental expectations, family and friends. A lot of bad middos among classmates. One word xmas. Goes to church to sign up for contest. Girl stands in front of a picture of yoshka and "folds her hands sas if she's praying. "Sorry about that lie I just told back there in your office. I'll talk to you more about it tonight at bedtime prayers...after my parents leave my room."
Boy/girl relationship, Tznius and Negiah
father gives mother a "smoochie" and rubs her pregnant belly.
Language
creepy, jerk, dumb, weird, stupid, stinkin'
TV, Movies, Rock Music, Internet and other Media
Girl likes to sit with her mother and watch TV and movies. Uses internet to find information.
01/17/2020 The False Fairy Quinn, Jordan The Kingdom of Wrenly 2 - 4 Generally Acceptable
A fairy known for making up stories finally tells the truth to save her fellow fairies. Fairy clothing is not tznius but not super revealing.
01/17/2020 The Secret World of Mermaids Quinn, Jordan The Kingdom of Wrenly 2 - 4 Questionable
Prince befriends a mermaid. The mermaid on the cover has her shoulders showing, the ones inside the book are more tsnius. Illustration of human king shaking hands with mermaid queen.
Language
darn- p74, 97
01/17/2020 The Witch's Curse Quinn, Jordan The Kingdom of Wrenly 2 - 4 Generally Acceptable
Children figure out who has put a curse on the kingdom causing too much rain.
Language
weird
01/17/2020 The Bard and the Beast Quinn, Jordan The Kingdom of Wrenly 2 - 4 Generally Acceptable
Prince is forced to take music lessons which he dislikes until he is able to use music to calm a wild beast.
Language
loopy, gross
01/16/2020 The Pegasus Quest Quinn, Jordan The Kingdom of Wrenly 2 - 4 Questionable
Children help a mythical animal return home.
Language
darn- p57
01/16/2020 The Thirteenth Knight Quinn, Jordan The Kingdom of Wrenly 2 - 4 Generally Acceptable
Girl competes to join an exclusive company of knights- a prophecy has told them that younger people can try out. Boy is excited and puts his hands on girl's shoulder to convince her to try out- hugs her when she wins- text and illustration- innocent.
01/16/2020 A Ghost In the Castle Quinn, Jordan The Kingdom of Wrenly 2 - 4 Questionable
Children help a ghost "restore" her soul and "rest in peace". When girl is scared squeezes her male friend's hand- innocent. Other than concept of a ghost this is relatively fine.
Language
weird, creepy
01/16/2020 The Quest to the Uncharted Lands Johnson, Jaleigh 5 - 7 Problematic
a girl is upset that her scientist parents are being sent on a dangerous exploratory mission so she decides to stow away on their airship. She befriends a boy who is also stowing away and together they figure out who is sabotaging the mission.
Boy/girl relationship, Tznius and Negiah
a lot of non romantic negiah as the children help each other physically and emotionally- eventually turns slightly romantic girl "suddenly became aware that he was still holding her hand...it had just felt...right.Now that she was aware of it though a blush streaked across Stella's cheeks". Her mother tries to talk to her about him and says he is cute- she blushes. When he is sick she kisses his forehead and holds his hand. At the end they share a long hug.
Language
idiot, stupid, weird
01/08/2020 The True Blue Scouts of Sugarman Swamp Appelt, Kathi 5 - 7 Problematic
Racoons try to save their swamp from marauding wild boars at the same time as a boy tries to save the swamp from a developer who wants to turn it into an arena for alligator wrestling. Boy is in mourning for his grandfather who recently passed away. He is being brought up by his mother who runs a restaurant in the swamp. One word xmas.
Boy/girl relationship, Tznius and Negiah
comical description of pigs fallilng in love "He immediately fell in love with her soft sow's ears. She immediately went gaga over his yellow gleaming eyes..." . Lady wears a tank top to show off her "impressive biceps". Lady briefly thinks about kissing man "an urge that both disgusted her and thrilled her all at the same time. It was the same with kissing alligators. Thrill. Disgust. Thrill. Disgust..."
Language
frequent language- heck, darned, dang, freak, stupid, freaking
TV, Movies, Rock Music, Internet and other Media
Alligator wrestler is in negotiations with a reality TV show.
01/08/2020 Star Wars The Mighty Chewbacca in the Forest of Fear Angleberger, Tom 3 - 5 Questionable
Based on characters and plotlines in the movie Star Wars. Smugglers take on a mission to smuggle animals out of the planet and end up on a dangerous mission to find a dangerous book on a planet inhabited by a huge monster and the dark force. One of the characters is so busy flirting with the woman who hired him that he doesn't realize he has fallen into a trap.
Language
cruddy, freaking out, weird, stupid, gross, creepy, dumb
01/08/2020 A Little Taste of Poison Anderson, R.J. 6 - 8 Not Acceptable
Companion book to A Pocket Full of Murder. A poor girl who is best friends with a wealthy boy helps him accuse his brother of murder. A lot of magic. The children have a running joke that he asks permission to kiss her and she refuses- at the end she accepts and things become romantic. A lot of description of boys and girls, men and women dancing together. Girl and her family belong to a religious group called Moshites that is persecuted- they only pray to the "All One"
Language
stinking, stupid, idiot
01/02/2020 Kazu Jones and the Denver Dognappers Holyoak Shauna 5 - 7 Problematic
Girl and boy best friends catch a dognapping ring despite the fact that her mother doesn't let her be a detective and put herself in danger. ONe sentence mention of a girl getting a dog for xmas, newsgirl gets tips for xmas. Girl likes to watch movies with her parents lying between them on their king sized bed. Children refer to older neighbor as "Geezer". Girl forced to work with a classmate she doesn't get along with. BOys father gambled away part of their tax refund playing internet poker. Boy catches sister and boyfriend "kissing on the lips".
A lot of Halloween- Halloween costumes, trick or treating, Halloween parade, Halloween parties
Language
freakish, weirdo, puke, dang it, gross, creepy, stupid, holy crap, weird, freaked out, dumb, freaks, jerk, darned, creepy
TV, Movies, Rock Music, Internet and other Media
mentions of TV, Japanese movies by name. Girl is shopping for an ipad.
12/30/2019 Scat Hiaasen, Carl 6 - 8 Not Acceptable
Mean teacher goes missing in a swamp on a class trip and concerned students try to find her- become entangled with a misfit boy who is accused of starting a fire, a criminal oil company and people trying to save an endangered panther. As in other books by this author, there is a defiance of authority and even minor law-breaking in order to protect the environment and/or animals. Quite a bit of chutzpah to a teacher who severely embarrasses a student- eventually resolves itself but it is retold in stark detail. Boy is very worried about his father who is fighting overseas who eventually comes home with his arm amputated- boy straps his arm behind his back to learn to function with his left hand just like his father. Dysfunctional substitute teacher tells boy he must sing white christmas to the class. Teacher loves watching shopping infomercials on TV and buying worthless gizmos.
Boy/girl relationship, Tznius and Negiah
Boys best friend is a girl. She asks him to put sunblock on her face "Touching her skin felt weird. Not bad but weird". Boy remembers holding hands with a girl in fifth grade.
Language
very frequent language- weird, idiots, butt, dumb, snotty, punked, freaked out, stupid, freaky, creepy, heck, shut up, damn, moron, danged, wacko, dumbass. freaky, buck-nekked, sucks, stupid, screw up, spaz, screwball, lunatic, bummed, crap, maniac, when hell freezes over, poop, darn, gross, danged, crackpot
TV, Movies, Rock Music, Internet and other Media
boy uses his computer a lot, especially to email his father who is in the army overseas. A different boy is being brought up by a dysfunctional and neglectful father since his mother abandoned the family. Kids pretend they are going to the movie theater - mom only lets if it is rated PG. Man talks like a cowboy because watches too many westerns on cable TV. Babysitter watches MTV instead of paying attention to the kids. Kids are warned not to tell anyone about an endangered animal- not even friends on facebook. Mentions of TV shows. Internet research.
12/30/2019 Hoot Hiaasen, Carl 6 - 8 Not Acceptable
A boy and his friends help stop a pancake house from building a new restaurant in order to protect owls who are nesting on the empty lot of land. As in other books by this author, there is defiance of authority and even minor law-breaking in order to protect the environment and/or animals. Quite a lot of bullying described in detail. BOy says another boy "has the hots" for a girl. A lot of discussion about television commercials and the actress who advertises the pancake house. Boy's stepmother is a waitress who drives around a golf course in a bathing suit serving beer to golfers. Boy runs away from dysfunctional home (described). Teenage smoking- boy breaks into a construction trailer to steal cigarettes. In the back of the book is preview for "Squirm" by the same author which has its own set of issues.
Language
Frequent language-stupid, weird, screwing up, dumb-butt, dumb jerk, heck, stupid, damn, darn, psycho, badass, wacko, sucks, butt head, freak out, dumb ass, creep
TV, Movies, Rock Music, Internet and other Media
many mentions of tv news, commercials, sports games, movies, browsing internet for information
12/30/2019 Let the Games Begin Quinn, Jordan The Kingdom of Wrenly 2 - 4 Generally Acceptable
Girl who wants to be a knight when she grows up competes in horse race even though people make fun of her for being a girl.
12/30/2019 Beneath The Stone Forest Quinn, Jordan The Kingdom of Wrenly 2 - 4 Acceptable
Prince goes with his best friend- a common girl- to explore a stone forest for her school assignment. They are forced to bring a spoiled princess with them and end up becoming friends with her.
Language
creepy
12/30/2019 Whistling In The Dark Hughes, Shirley 7 - 9 Problematic
A girl living in England during WW2 encounters rationing, the black market and bombing. Her father was killed on a ship and her mother dates a man the daughter doesn't like-she hates watching them dance "cheek to cheek" eventually the man's wife comes to tell them that he is a married man ! He also turns out to be a black marketer. Sister has a very serious boyfriend- they hug and dance together a lot. Many mentions of popular singers and bands of the period as well as movies and movie stars.Going to the "cinema" and dances are basically the only entertainment available during wartime- a lot of teenage agony about being and not being asked to dance by a boy. GIrl is jealous of her best friend who has "lovely legs". GIrl befriends a Jewish refugee who briefly describes what it was like to live in Poland under the Nazis.
Boy/girl relationship, Tznius and Negiah
see above. Additionally, rumors about a friends mother who is rumored to go to dance halls with local servicemen while husband is away in the army.
Religion/Hashkafa
descriptions of wartime xmas. Brief mention of going to church to pray for boyfriend who is missing in action.
Language
weird, shut up, hell, creep
12/28/2019 Greetings From Witness Protection Burt, Jake 5 - 8 Generally Acceptable
Girl in foster care is assigned for adoption by family in witness protection program. Her father is a criminal and her grandmother trained her to be a pickpocket. Running theme of girl being a kleptomaniac who cannot control herself from stealing. But sweet story overall.
Religion/Hashkafa
passing mention of books/authors which may or may not be appropriate: Bud not Buddy, Tarzan, Gilly Hopkins, Hugo Cabaret.Girl is a 'gamer' on internet. Mother complains that she doesn't do 'normal' things like talk about boys and watch movies.xmas decorations and movie.
Language
screw up. bra, damnit, heck, jeez.kids say boy "shows his butt on Facebook" - after 2 pages, it turns out this means he complains on Facebook.
12/08/2019 The Final Exam Daneshvari, Gitty School of Fear Series 4 - 7 Problematic
Children finally save their school from a nosy reporter trying to shut them down. They finally reconcile their teacher with her estrayed stepson and graduate. Many odd characters and odd behaviors as in the rest of the series. Grownups are often childish and irresponsible. Silly violence.
Boy/girl relationship, Tznius and Negiah
Continued mentions of girl having a crush on a boy- girl thinks he is "gorgeous and kind" She blushes a lot when near him. She feels "excited, embarrassed and electrified by his comments". When he is scared she gives him a "peck" on the cheek- "the kiss electrified Garrison, drowning him in adrenaline and excitement" Boy hopes flight attendant isn't "overeager" to use CPR since he is saving his first kiss "for someone special".Boy says a 14 year old boy allergic to peanuts died after kissing his girlfriend. Boy says that after his stepmother handcuffed him to a monkey the monkey tried to kiss him- man comments that since he spent the whole night with the monkey the monkey must have thought it was a date. Man wonders if women "cheated" on her husband. A lot of non romantic but affectionate negiah.
Religion/Hashkafa
GIrl and man enjoy singing xmas carols together like "Santa Says Smile". Angry teacher calls her stepson "Judas" book explains that Judas was the apostle who betrayed yoshka.
Language
freak, shut up, weird, creepy, gross, darn, butt, dumb, sucks, maniacs, jerks, stupid
TV, Movies, Rock Music, Internet and other Media
Brief mention of TV. Brief mentions of internet, itunes, You Tube
12/08/2019 Jess's Story Heppermann, Christine and Ron Koertge Backyard Witch 3 - 4 Questionable
Parents hire witch to babysit girl. One word xmas. Brief mention of watching TV. Older boys are mean to girls- call them "weirdos". Girl's father plays professional baseball- it is hard on her that he is away so much.
Language
stinky, weirdos, stupid, drat, heck (p156), butt
12/08/2019 Sadie's Story Heppermann, Christine and Ron Koertge Backyard Witch 3 - 4 Questionable
Girl is sad when her friends go on vacation without her and is cheered up by a witch who mysteriously moves into her backyard playhouse. One word Halloween. One word church. Minor bathroom humor. Girls are bored on vacation without TV.
Language
gross, poop, butt, drat, weird
12/08/2019 The Mystery of the Secret Society Paris, Harper Greetings From Somewhere 3 - 5 Questionable
Children go to Greece and become members of a secret society. Text and illustrations about various Greek gods. Illustration of mother in a sleeveless dress. Ilustration of mother and father walking down street holding hands.
Language
creepy
12/08/2019 Make Friends Dillard, Sarah Mouse Scouts 3 - 4 Questionable
Female mouse scouts are forced to work with male mouse scouts. At first there is a lot of protests that they hate boys, but eventually become good friends. Very innocent but there are many texts adn illustrations of them shaking hands, holding hands while playing, etc. No romance at all
12/07/2019 Camp Out Dillard, Sarah Mouse Scouts 3 - 4 Acceptable
Mouse children go on a campout and their scout leader gets lost.
12/07/2019 Make A Difference Dillard, Sarah Mouse Scouts 3 - 4 Acceptable
Mouse children in scout troop try to earn the "Make a Difference" badge by helping clean up the park.
Language
stupid (once)
12/07/2019 Mouse Scouts Dillard, Sarah Mouse Scouts 3 - 4 Acceptable
Mouse children move up to an older scout troop and try to earn a badge for planting a garden.
Language
booger
12/07/2019 The Mystery of the Lion's Tale Paris, Harper Greetings From Somewhere 2 - 4 Questionable
Children go on Safari in Kenya and find a lion. Boy sees big bird outside his window and thinks it is a pterodactyl- father says it is so big he isn't surprised his son thought the bird was from the age of the dinosaurs. Illustration of young boys and girls posing for a picture with their arms on each others shoulders, and giving each other a group hug- very innocent.
Language
poop
12/04/2019 Marty Mcguire Digs Worms! Messner, Kate 3 - 5 Questionable
Girl wants to win a school contest for coming up with the most original project to save the environment. Her grandmother builds a worm box for her lunchroom so that the worms can eat leftovers from lunch but it doesn't work out exactly as she expects. Girl is angry that her father doesn't recycle and says that when she finds cans in the garbage she will take them out and "shove them under his pillow"- teacher says there might be a better way- girl invents an alarm to remind him. One word xmas. Juvenille bathroom humor.
gross, poop, dumb, stink, weird, stupid
TV, Movies, Rock Music, Internet and other Media
Children hope the guest at the school assembly will be someone from a TV show. Father watches sports on TV. Girl who wins prize thanks everyone like on a TV awards show.
12/04/2019 The Mystery at the Coral Reef Paris, Harper Greetings From Somewhere 2 - 4 Generally Acceptable
Twins travel to Australia and find a coral thief. Black and white illustration of mother wearing a sleeveless dress. Language- weird.
12/04/2019 The Mystery of the Stolen Painting Paris, Harper Greetings From Somewhere 2 - 4 Generally Acceptable
Twins visit Paris and help locate a stolen painting. Mention of Notre Dame Cathedral with its gargoyles as a historic landmark. At a museum statue of a Greek goddess.
12/04/2019 The Mystery of the Gold Coin Paris, Harper Greetings From Somewhere 2 - 4 Generally Acceptable
Children are saddened to find out they will be leaving their house, friends and grandfather to travel on an around the world trip with their parents. They find a lost coin before they leave. One sentence mention of having green milk on St. Patricks Day.
12/04/2019 The Mystery of the Mosaic Paris, Harper Greetings From Somewhere 2 - 4 Generally Acceptable
Twins visit Venice and help find a stolen gondola. One sentence mention that grandmother liked to visit churches in Venice and one mention of a specific church as a geographical landmark. No religion

In order to reduce the number of printed pages, you may choose to omit comments. PLEASE NOTE: Lists printed for use by children should not include comments.

Do you want to print without comments?
Secrets of Tamarind
Aguiar, Nacia
Grades: 4 - 7
Questionable
Series
Children return to mysterious island and defeat an evil scientist harvesting a valuable resource from the island despite the destruction it causes. Children have this adventure after sneaking out of house in the middle of the night- they did leave a note for their parents, though.
Boy/girl relationship, Tznius and Negiah
Two elderly sisters haven't spoken in twenty years because they were both in love with the same man. Boy and girl hug each other as they go over the side of a waterfall. Girl "threw her arms" around boy who was missing.
Religion/Hashkafa
People on the island put their dead in a lake where they lie and they come to the lake to visit them.
Language
stupid, weird, blast, to hell with them (p169), I'll be damned (p170, 288), dumb, all hell is about to break loose (p311)
TV, Movies, Rock Music, Internet and other Media
TV
The Lost Island of Tamarind
Aguiar, Nadia
Grades: 5 - 7
Generally Acceptable
Series
Children live on a boat with their parents who are scientists- a storm washes their parents overboard and they end up on a mysterious island. Children face dangers in the quest to be reunited with their parents.
Boy/girl relationship, Tznius and Negiah
Father tells daughter she is too young to cabanas to hang out with teenagers. Girl realized boy who saved them wasn't "so bad" and was handsome- feels sorry for him and wants to take his hand (but doesn't) No romance until later books. Non romantic negiah. Coed dance.
Language
dumb, weird, weirdo, stupid
The Great Wave of Tamarind
Aguiar, Nadia
Grades: 4 - 7
Questionable
Series
Girl who was very little in previous books gets older and returns to mysterious island to save her grandmother. Ends up competing in a contest to retrieve a substance that will save the island.
Boy/girl relationship, Tznius and Negiah
Girl is upset that her friends only want to sit around talking about boys. Man dreams of girl he was friendly with long ago- eventually they are reunited.
Language
stupid, dumb, gross, weird
The Children who Smelled a Rat
Ahlberg, Allan
Grades: 2 - 4
Acceptable
Children are suspicious of changes in teacher and find out she's her evil twin. Fun read - short text and illustrations will appeal to younger readers, but funny enough for older ones.
The Better Brown Stories
Ahlberg, Allan
Grades: 4 - 6
Problematic
Unusual book. Characters in book keep approaching their author to rewrite their story more to their liking. At one point, author makes a girl 2 years older and gives her a boyfriend and has him kiss her on the mouth - she tells him she doesn't like it. One boy asks for an X-mas story - ends up being about a snowman - boy is disappointed that the snowman isn't like the one he saw on a film.
My Brother's Ghost
Ahlberg, Allan
Grades: 3 - 5
Problematic
Strange little book of a woman's recollections of her childhood. She was orphaned at a young age and sent to live with a somewhat mean aunt and uncle. Her ten year old brother dies when a car hits him and he comes back as a ghost. Somewhat poignant and also somewhat believable for this age group. Mention of having a boyfriend at age 14.
The Stolen Lake
Aiken, Joan
Grades: 5 - 8
Generally Acceptable
Continuation of "Nightbirds on Nantucket". On her way back to England, girl ends up on an island and helps defeat an evil queen. Lots of strange magic. Many references to King Arthur. The island people worship a god named Sol and give him human sacrifices. Relatively tame romance leads to marriage many years later. Non-romantic negiah. Difficult dialect.
The Witch of Clattering Shaws
Aiken, Joan
Grades: 5 - 8
Questionable
Continuation of series. A girl helps find an heir to the throne since her friend, the current king of England, isn't happy in the job. Minor magic, magical creatures, a witch. Minor religion - mostly tongue in cheek references to saints and their last words before they die. Language: hell hag (meaning witch), piss. Lots of difficult dialect like the other books in the series.
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase
Aiken, Joan
Grades: 4 - 6
Acceptable
Two girls outsmart wicked governess with help of a peasant boy. Describes some very cruel adults who eventually get punished, but also some very kind adults. Girls dress like boys to save themselves.
Nightbirds on Nantucket
Aiken, Joan
Grades: 5 - 7
Generally Acceptable
Continuation of story of girl who was shipwrecked in "Blackhearts in Battersea". She is rescued by a whaling ship and helps capture a band of rebels. The language and dialects are getting increasingly difficult as this series goes on. Story is engaging but children may not have patience to figure out the dialogue. Girls are chutzpadik to a cruel woman who is posing as her aunt - she seemingly deserves to be treated this way but it is a poor show of middos.
Up the Chimney Down and other stories
Aiken, Joan
Grades: -
Not Acceptable
Collection of short stories. Some are fine but some have boy/girl, religion, language.
Midwinter Nightingale
Aiken, Joan
Grades: N/A
Problematic
Continuation of 'Wolves' series. Girl helps dying king transfer power to his successor. Passing mentions of illegitimate children - no explanation. Church annuls marriage so king could remarry. A girl wants to marry the heir - silly one way courtship. Mention that a child resulted from a man's passing interest in a milkmaid but that "didn't count". Minor language: stupid, idiotic.
Black Hearts in Battersea
Aiken, Joan
Grades: 4 - 6
Questionable
Continuation of story of peasant boy in "Wolves of Willoughby Chase". He goes to town to attend art school and finds himself caught up in a band of rebels against royalty. Finds out he is royalty himself. Brief unimportant incident of a man tickling a girl against her will to get her to go out with him (p. 59-60). Language: a lot of hackney slang that kids probably won't get; dammit (p. 119).
Arabel and Mortimer
Aiken, Joan
Grades: 3 - 6
Generally Acceptable
Continuation of Arabel series. Comical black and white illustration of a lady in a backless gown. Language: drat.
Arabel's Raven
Aiken, Joan
Grades: 3 - 6
Generally Acceptable
Cute adventures of a girl and her mischievous pet raven. Language: drat, nincompoop
A Necklace of Raindrops and other stories
Aiken, Joan
Grades: 4 - 6
Generally Acceptable
Collection of short stories.
Religion/Hashkafa
One brief mention of X-mas trees.
The Cuckoo Tree
Aiken, Joan
Grades: 5 - 8
Generally Acceptable
Continuation of "The Stolen Lake". Girl helps save the king's life. Lots of magic and witchcraft. Setting is St. Paul's Cathedral but only religion is invoking saints' names, eg: "Why not in the name of St. Pancras?" (p 243). Difficult dialect.
Poison: Deadly Deeds, Perilous Professions, and Murderous Medicinces
Albee, Sarah
Grades: 5 - 9
Generally Acceptable
Non-Fiction. Interesting magazine-style history of poisons.
P. 75 cartoon drawing of side-view of man dancing naked, because of effects of poison. Tame.
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Albertalli, Becky
Grades: -
Not Acceptable
Extremely inappropriate: deviant lifestyles, extreme language, very inappropriate references.
Teeth Week
Alberts, Nancy
Grades: N/A
Generally Acceptable
Second grader worries that she will be the only one in her class not to lose a tooth. She is confused about a classmate who is often mean and a tease, but occasionally does nice things as well.Brief mention of bobbing for apples at a Halloween party. Language- darn, drat, dumb.
Tuesdays with Morrie
Albom, Mitch
Grades: 9 - 12
Classic
Teen
Teen
A man meets with his former college professor to get lessons about life as professor is dying from Lou Gherig's disease. Very philosophical and deep. School should consider the weightiness of the theme before assigning for independent reading.
Religion/Hashkafa
Talks about being raised as an observant Jew and became agnostic in response to tragedy. A few descriptions of Buddhists. Native American beliefs - no descriptions. Rabbi conducted cremation service.
Language
Quite graphic about progression of illness and deterioration of body including need to "pee in a beaker" and have someone "wipe his ass" and catheter inserted "into his _____". Mentions of JC used as a mild curse. Language: Damn, bitch, tush.
The Timekeepers
Albom, Mitch
Grades: 9 - 12
Classic
A great book with a message: people get too caught up in calculating time, not enough in relationships with other people. Mythical “Father Time” is charged with helping 2 people who are badly caught up in time. One main character is a wealthy business who is dying, who wants to have his body preserved until a future cure is found.
Boy/girl relationship, Tznius and Negiah
Mild affectionate negiah between Father Time and his wife. One of main characters is an unpopular girl who desperately chases after a popular boy who is not really interested in her. One scene (page 95) in which they drink, kiss, he keeps pulling her and she keeps pushing away. Later she thinks that next time she will let him do what he wants. Mentions that she “made out” with other boys - no explanation. When he posts nasty comment about her on his facebook page, she tries to commit suicide.
Language
Hell.
The Five People You Meet in Heaven
Albom, Mitch
Grades: 11 - 12
Classic
Teen
Teen
A carnival maintenance worker goes to “heaven”, where he finds that there are 5 people from different stages of his life, who are there to explain to him the meaning of his life, and of life in general. Beautiful, touching, deep philosophical ideas, with lots of room for discussion. Language: hell, damn, J--.
Boy/girl relationship, Tznius and Negiah
Mild romantic negiah between man and girl that he will marry. Somewhat disturbing scene in which drunk friend of father accosts mother while she is changing in her bedroom, and is chased out by father.
Religion/Hashkafa
The most obvious issue is clarifying that this idea of “heaven” is opposed to the Torah view; and in fact the author did not mean to imply that this is what heaven really is, but rather that we should learn these lessons while still alive.
Language
Hell, damn, J--.
Stranger at the Window
Alcock, Vivien
Grades: 6 - 7
Questionable
Children of social activist mother secretly hide illegal alien child in house. When mother discovers her & wants to report her, children are chutzpadik and criticize her for being a hypocrite. "Brotherly" kiss between friends
The Red-Eared Ghosts
Alcock, Vivien
Grades: 6 - 8
Problematic
Strange story of girl who thinks she is seeing ghosts and discovers time-warp and parallel universe. Side story of teacher falling in love - including kiss. Mention of poor maids who disappear and show up later "with child", falsely claiming they were married - may go over kid's heads, or might raise questions.
The Sylvia Game
Alcock, Vivien
Grades: 5 - 8
Problematic
Girl tries to solve mystery of her artist father's secrecy. Thinks she has found evidence of his dishonesty - surprising twists at the end. Boy tells her that he is a bastard - not explicitly defined- only that father was a fair gypsy that "moved on before he had time to hear I was on the way". Some chutzpah to parents.
The Stonewalkers
Alcock, Vivien
Grades: 4 - 6
Problematic
Girl accidentally causes stone statues to come to life, with dangerous results. Language: hell, etc. Juvenile religious discussions about whether there is a G-d and whether he cares what you say or do.
The Cuckoo Sister
Alcock, Vivien
Grades: 6 - 8
Problematic
A wealthy girl eagerly awaits the return of her kidnapped sister but is shocked when a girl raised in the slums claims to be her. Many descriptions of slum life including a somewhat dysfunctional mother, her drunken boyfriend, gambling, “men friends”, going to the disco, the pub, etc. Cover illustration of a 12 year old girl wearing a very tight miniskirt and makeup. A lot of middos between siblings and chutzpah towards parents and housekeeper (due to deep seated issues and emotions). Non religious xmas, brief reference to bible story of the “prodigal son”. A few mentions of praying in church, kneeling in church. Language- stupid, dumb, brat, weird, bums, flipping, damn (twice), idiot, hell (twice), bitch (once). Girl sneaks a magazine called “Real Love and Confessions” out of her housekeeper’s bag and gets unrealistic ideas about falling in love. When someone says the girl’s mother beat her she pulls up her skirt to show she has no bruises, revealing her underwear; a boy whistles. A lot of affectionate negiah between 2 teens but not overtly romantic.
The Trial of Anna Cotman
Alcock, Vivien
Grades: 5 - 8
Questionable
Girl joins secret society; when she breaks the rules, finds she is in danger. Turns out leader was on drugs; is caught in end. Somewhat disturbing; everything comes out OK in the end.
Jo's Boys
Alcott, Louisa May
Grades: 6 - 9
Problematic
The boys in previous books are all grown up. Book is full of boy/girl relationships that lead to marraige and that don't. Girl is determined to be a doctor instead of marrying and having "a nice little house and family to take care of". Many coed dances and plays and flirting. Cultured people go to opera and the theater. Many mentions of Greek mythology. Many mentions of religion similar to previous books. Xmas. Womens lib.
Eight Cousins
Alcott, Louisa May
Grades: 6 - 9
Questionable
Classic story of an orphaned girl raised by her uncle surrounded by her 7 boy cousins. Old fashioned values including proper etiquette and dress for boys and girls. Girl convinces her boy cousins to stop smoking cigars. Mentions of old fashioned undergarments including corsets.
Boy/girl relationship, Tznius and Negiah
Girl kisses her uncle and hugs him- considers him like a father. Boy leads in girl by the arm as was appropriate in polite society. Boy and girl cousins swim with uncle. Man kisses his wife when he returns home after a long journey.
Religion/Hashkafa
Description of church service- no real religion. Xmas- dinner, presents, boys try to catch girls under the mistletoe to kiss them. Brief mention of Chinese gods, Indian idol. Little children play going to church with a prayer "Now I lay me down to sleep" and a sermon "Little children love one another". Children act out bible story "Bilaam and the ass"- girl plays the angel blocking the donkey.
Little Men
Alcott, Louisa May
Grades: 6 - 8
Problematic
minor religion scattered throughout - 2 pages of J-- - can be torn out. Juvenile and innocent boy/girl. Minor women's lib. Minor push for co-ed education.
Little Women
Alcott, Louisa May
Grades: 6 - 9
Classic
4 sisters grow up together, fall in love, and marry, except for one who dies young. Very religious family – father is a minister.
Boy/girl relationship, Tznius and Negiah
A lot of old fashioned boy/girl, many dances described, talk of flirting. Eg p. 300-301 (part 2 chap 32) a lot of platonic boy/girl and questions if platonic relationship can turn into romantic love and then back to platonic again a lot of negiah. Some affectionate between “friends”, some mildly romantic, a lot unclear eg: p. 171-172 (part 1 chap 18) p. 210 (part 1 chap 23) p. 233 (part 1 chap 25) p 390-391 (part 2 chap 41) p. 439 (part 2 chap 46)A lot of courting leading to marriage which includes mild negiah.
Religion/Hashkafa
Many references to religion but not explained clearly – eg many mentions of “Pilgrim’s Progress” and trying to reach the “celestial city” by being good, eg p 10-11 (part 1 chapter 1), p. 132 (part 1 chapter 13)a lot of x-mas presents, santa claus, being good on x-mas. E.g. p. 3 (part 1 chapter 4), entire chapter 2 (part 1)Talk of heavenly father p. 77 (part 1 chap 8)crosses and rosaries – p. 178-179 (part 1 chap 19)JC – p. 184 (part 1 chap 20 ). Madonna and child and x-mas – p 202 (part 1 chap 22). Hymn – p. 206 (part 1 chap 22)
Taran Wanderer
Alexander, Lloyd
Grades: 6 - 8
Generally Acceptable
Series
The saga continues as boy goes in search of information about his parentage and encounters adventures. Meet a man who somehow finds things that provide for his family- calls it luck- some discussion about it.
Language
drat, blast it, stupid
The High King
Alexander, Lloyd
Grades: 6 - 8
Generally Acceptable
Series
The quest ends- lots of magic. A mild running romance - a few hugs - end up marrying. Can easily be crossed out. Some difficult old-fashioned language. Brief mention that a character in the book built an ark and saved the animals from a terrible flood. There are sad moments where favorite characters are killed in battle.
Language
idiot
The Black Cauldron
Alexander, Lloyd
Grades: 6 - 8
Generally Acceptable
Series
Medieval-style mission to find evil magical cauldron. Some knight-type violence
Language
drat
the Philadelphia Adventure
Alexander, Lloyd
Grades: 5 - 7
Generally Acceptable
Girl, guardian and friends rescue kidnapped children and save the lives of the president of the US and the emperor of Brazil. General kisses girl's hand "with a flourish, that in former days, would have brought on palpitations in every female heart and vexation in every male. Girl "embraces" male friend when she is happy to see him. Language- maniac, idiot.
The Rope Trick
Alexander, Lloyd
Grades: -
Not Acceptable
Girl illusionist tries to find magician who does secret rope trick. Romantic thoughts, talk, and negiah.
The Book of Three
Alexander, Lloyd
Grades: N/A
Generally Acceptable
Series
A boy goes on a quest to save the land from an evil king. Meets a girl who comes with him. As the series develops, he realizes he wants to marry her. In this book completely innocent.
Language
stupid, idiots, drat
The Illyrian Adventure
Alexander, Lloyd
Grades: 5 - 7
Generally Acceptable
Girl and guardian go to an island to see if the legend in the book The Iliad is true. Minor non affectionate negiah. girl is a rebel and wears "pantaloons"