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Review Date Title Author Series Grades Rating Teen Comments
10/10/2021 The Hollow Boy Stroud, Jonathan Lockwood & Co. 5 - 8 Problematic
Children continue their adventures as they try to solve dangerous hauntings. A new girl is hired causing the experienced girl to be very jealous of her - tries to come to grip with her feelings after she saves her life. Sometimes girls and boys grab each other's arms when scared but not romantic. People often hold an iron crucifix to ward off ghosts. Department store featured belly dancers (no description). Boy "let out a giggle" as he shook pretty girl's hand.
Language
weird, hellhole, idiots, shut up, what the hell, hell of a lot, stupid, berserk, bloody idiots, going to hell, sure as hell, all hell's breaking loose, heck,what the hell..., drat, it would be hell, a darn sight too many, creepy
10/04/2021 The Screaming Staircase Stroud, Jonathan Lockwood & Co. 5 - 8 Problematic
A girl who can hear ghosts, joins 2 boys in an agency run by teens that investigates hauntings and solves them. Girls mother doesn't pay much attention to her children- she sits and watches TV. Boy takes a ghost in a jar into the bath with him as an experiment- girl comments "You got naked with a ghost". Art work is "three plump semi naked women". Monks "turned away from G-d to the worship of darke things".
Language
stupid, idiot, weird, butt, cock and bull story, shut up, what the hell (frequent), freaked out, hellish thing, how the hell, dumb, damned, drat, sure as hell
09/30/2021 The Whispering Skull Stroud, Jonathan Lockwood & Co. 5 - 8 Problematic
Children who solve dangerous hauntings are hired to be present when the tomb of a dangerous man is opened. They find a mirror that he created that can make someone see the "other side" - where people go when they die. Anyone who looks in the mirror dies. When it is stolen they go on a mission to locate it and end up in a very dangerous situation. Discussion about talking to spirits and finding out secrets about "death, about the soul and its passage to a place beyond".
Language
idiots, stupid, damned fool, weird, sure as hell, dumb, bloody hell, who gives a damn, shut up, lunatic, to hell with this, what the hell are you doing?, drat, it would be hell, a darn sight too many
09/26/2021 World's Collide Colfer, Chris The Land of Stories 5 - 8 Problematic
Boy finishes setting up his storybook army to conquer the bad guys, but his twin sister is bewitched to fight for the other side. The characters from the previous books in this series come together to fight the war set in New York City. Author says he and his wife were "middle school sweethearts"- their relationship is described in previous books. Mentions of TV and movies and Broadway shows. Many mentions of characters from classic novels and movies made from them which may or may not be appropriate. Lady kisses frog man all over when they are reunited. Female trollputs her hand into the tinman's hand and makes him blush. At a wedding the bride and groom "share their first kiss as a married couple".
Language
frequent language- creepy, holy crap, heck, freak out, weird, kick butt, bastards, stupid, blasted, damned, shut up,idiot, brats, stinking
09/26/2021 A Grimm Warning Colfer, Chris The Land of Stories 5 - 8 Not Acceptable
Boy twin travels to Germany with his teacher and discovers a clue left by famous authors that points to a dangerous army coming to attack the fairy tale world. In the meantime, the girl twin remains in the fairy world training to become the next fairy godmother. The grandmother unexpectedly weakens and is close to death as the twins try to save the world. Girl has a crush on a "cute" boy. they go on a "walk" together hand in hand and eventually end up kissing.She wonders if she is expriencing "her own classic love story" or if it is "just a mild case of puppy love" Boy has a crush on a classmate and isn't sure how to handle it- he blushes every time she talks to him. At wedding the gromm and brdie "locked lips as the crowd cheered wildly". Breif description of a sci fi TV show about outer space. Cemetary has a crusifix on the gate. Old woman tells children that when she was young she fell in love with a circus clown and followed him around the globe- after 6 months she told him how she felt and they got married. Children run out of money and convince a random hotel to charge two bikesl to a stranger's room- they feel justified in doing this since it is for a good cause "sometimes you have to do the wrong things for the right reasons". Young boy discovers he can't save someone in real kife "like a superhero in the movies". Sad when the grandmother dies. It is explained that "a fairy never really dies. When a fairy's time is up, jis or her soul simply returns to magic They become the very substance that helps the fairies make the world a better place.
Language
gross, idiot, creepy, stupid, heck, idiot, brats, jerk
09/17/2021 Beyond the Kingdoms Colfer, Chris The Land of Stories 5 - 8 Not Acceptable
Twins try to capture an evil man who at first they suspect is their dead father, but eventually, he turns out to be their wicked uncle. They end up in classic storybooks- the boy in Robin Hood and the girl in King Arthur.The girl ends up having a romance with the teenage king arthur- she is "smitten" with him- many descriptions- she gets "lost" in his blue eyes, they walk "hand in hand", she kisses him "passionately" etc. Mother goose has a romance with Merlin- they drink together, flirt,etc. and she decides to stay with him instead of returning to the fairy tale world. With the help of the book's characters, they return to the fairytale world and help save the day. Many other book titles mentioned as well. Nineteenth-century author finds writing a challenge because the church will accuse him of alluding to something unholy. Man gave a lady love potions so he could "seduce her and marry her" as a stepping stone to taking over the world. One word xmas. Girl gives her former boyfriend a hug and a kiss on the cheek to thank him and he blushes. The padre says a prayer and holds a crucifix before a "hovering spirit". Man and woman "share a kiss". Boy writes a love story
Language
damn, idiot, creep me out, stupid, give me the creeps, shut up, brats, what the heck, lunatic, dang it, freaked out
09/17/2021 The Wishing Spell Colfer, Chris The Land of Stories 5 - 8 Not Acceptable
Boy and girl twins who have recently lost their father and are still mourning him, travel to a fairy tale land and find they have to go on a quest to gather enough items to leave and return to their world. They encounter many famous fairy tale characters on their journey and discover that they aren't exactly as simple as they were made out to be in the stories. Teacher says that "the only exposure to the tales some children acquire are versions bastardized by the film companies. Children remember their father's funeral "holding their mother's hands as they walked down the church aisle". Girl sees that her brother got the answers wrong on his test so she changes some of them. She feels guilty but then realizes "she'd done the right thing- not as a student, but as a sister". Boy misses watching television.
Boy/girl relationship, Tznius and Negiah
At a ball "guests paired up and began waltzing around the room, each looking lovingly into their partner's eyes the entire time". Queen is in love with a man and proposes to him each week, but he is in love with an outlaw and refuses her. Man meets his outlaw girlfriend by a fence and holds her hands and they touch foreheads and kiss "passionate, pure and long overdue". Female troll has a crush on boy and flirts with him. Boy has to let her kiss him so she will let them escape. As soon as prince saw girl it was "love at first sight". Love letters are detailed- say things like "My time is filled with a longing to be in your arms" and "Not being able to touch your skin or kiss your lips has made my soul hurt." etc. Woman finally frees man she loves from a magic mirror but he dies in her arms. Man and woman "fell madly in love" and "used to laugh together and hold each ohter in their arms until dusk each day".
Language
idiot, creepy, annoyed the heck out of them, stupid, weird, freaky looking, dumb, shut up, brat, stupid. heck of a fight, freaks, crappy, jerk, one heck of a trial, that would just suck, bimbo, shut up you red blooded harlot, gives me the creeps, gross, who screwed you up?
09/17/2021 The Mother Goose Diaries Colfer, Chris The Land of Stories 5 - 8 Problematic
A short book giving the backstory to the Mother Goose character in the Land of Stories series. She volunteers to tell fairy tales to children who are dying- they tell her "soon the L-rd will take us to be with our parents. After they die a nun says a "prayer for their souls" and covers them with sheets. Whenever Mother Goose is having a hard time she takes a "swig" from her "flask" that she hides in her bonnet. She is often "tipsy".When fairy godmother isn't acting herself, Mother Goose asks her if she "got a boyfriend" since "lots of men are dating older women these days". Friend "seduces" Mother Goose's fiance. She goes to march for marraige equality for LGBT people. She pretends to be Saint Margaret to influence Joan of Arc who she finds kneeling in a catheral playing (illustration of her on her knees).
Language
weird, idiot, ditz, numbskull, moron, suckers, shut up, crap, creep, heck, butt
09/05/2021 Shooting Kabul Senzai, N.H. 5 - 8 Questionable
An Afghani American boy is riddled with guilt for letting go of his little sister's hand as they fled their country leading to her getting lost. He is amazed to find out everyone in his family feels equally guilty. Eventually, he locates her picture in a photography contest he enters and this information leads to her rescue. Girl is angry at the Taliban for banning everything- movies, music, kite flying etc. since it doesn't say anything about those things in their bible. Father grew a beard since they forced him to but explains to the children that "no one can force someone to be religious. It must come from their heart." School children display poor middos- call a girl "Fatty Patty".Boys hurt children they see as different. Discussion of kid's favorite movies- they list the titles of their favorite ones including Casablanca, Gone with the Wind, Friday the 13th, The Terminator, Predator, etc. Iman translates from the Quran- "We ordained for the children of Israel that if anyone slew a person- unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land- it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people". A lot of bias against muslims after September 11. Ice cream truck driver was beat up because he was wearing a turban and a beard even though he isn't even a Muslim. In school bullies pick on Muslim boys- call them turban-heads and terrorists- detailed description of the bullies trying to beat up a mulsim boy.
Language
butt, brat, morons, darn (p93, 179, 206), twerp, stupid, dumb, freaked out, idiot, gross, shut up, crud, heck (p247)
09/05/2021 NIght of Soldiers and Spies Messner, Kate Ranger In Time 3 - 4 Questionable
Time travelling dog helps a boy who is spying for the Continental army. Boy compares xmas in the army to xmas at home "At home.. there would have been meat pies baking and bells ringing in the churches. Here in camp, the chaplains called men together for simple quiet services. Boys are friends from church.
08/31/2021 Rescue on the Oregon Trail Messner, Kate Ranger In Time 3 - 4 Generally Acceptable
Time travelling rescue dog helps a family traveling west on the Oregon Trail. Sad when a fellow traveler dies.
08/31/2021 Journey Through Ash and Smoke Messner, Kate Ranger In Time 3 - 4 Questionable
Time-traveling rescue dog helps a girl in Iceland find her father when her mother goes into labor unexpectedly early. In the back of the book is information about VIkings and how they accepted Christianity.
Language
freak out
08/24/2021 Sylvia and Aki Conkling, Winifred 3 - 5 Generally Acceptable
A Japanese American girl is sent with her family to a camp during World War II. Her family's farm is leased by a Mexican American girl. The girls each experience a different form of discrimination and become friends. One word mention of church. One word xmas. Girl wears her favorite church dress to court. People in the camp have a movie night.
08/24/2021 Escape from the Great Earthquake Messner, Kate Ranger In Time 3 - 4 Questionable
Time Traveling dog helps rescue Chinese American children when fires break out after an earthquake in San Fransisco. Girls who are brought illegally from China to America to work as servants are rescued and placed in a home. Girls flee to a church after the earthquake. Family donates clothing to a church that is collecting things for refugees. Somewhat scary
08/24/2021 Race to the South Pole Messner, Kate Ranger In Time 3 - 4 Questionable
Time travelling dog helps a boy who stows away on a failed expedition to the South Pole. Scientists want to collect penguin eggs to "discover the missing link between birds and their reptile ancestors from long ago". Men on boat celebrate xmas with flags, hymns and mutton (one sentence).
08/24/2021 Attack on Pearl Harbor Messner, Kate Ranger In Time 3 - 4 Problematic
Time travelling rescue dog helps rescue a wounded soldier and some Japanese American children during the attack on Pearl Harbor. A few mentions of a poem about a boy kneeling to pray. Xmas tree, carols, gifts, cookies, lights- text and illustration. A few titles of songs popular at the time. In the back of the book black and white photo of the female author wearing a sleeveless shirt.
08/24/2021 Long Road to Freedom Messner, Kate Ranger In Time 3 - 4 Generally Acceptable
Time-traveling rescue dog helps brother and sister escape from slavery to freedom.
08/20/2021 Hurricane Katrina Rescue Messner, Kate Ranger In Time 3 - 4 Questionable
Dog magically transports to New Orleans to help a girl who is trapped in her attic with her grandmother who has dementia. Many scary moments until she is reunited with her father. TV news. Many mentions of book Bud, Not Buddy which is questionable.
Language
weird
08/18/2021 Spindlefish and Stars Andrews, Christiane M. 5 - 7 Problematic
A girl who is a loner lives with her father a theif. One day he doesn't come home but sends her a message to take a boat, The boat leaves her on a strange island where nothing ever changes and where she is put to work spinning yarn from magical dead fish. Eventually she discovers that the old lady who adopted her is spinning a tapestry that shows the past and the future. Very strange hashkafa- a lot about a cat that tears holes in the tapestry and causes bad things to happen but there is beauty in the bad too. The whole thing feels like one big metaphor but there is no G-d in it anywhere. Girl finds a sketch her father made of a woman and wonders if her father ever danced with her.
hell (p51)
08/18/2021 Hunt for the Lost Anderson, Brian The Conjurers 4 - 6 Questionable
The saga continues as children flee from the bad guys and try to defeat them. Bad guy gets his strength by siphoning off magic powers from magicians. Boy reminisces about TV shows he used to watch. A lot of good guy vs. bad guy violence.
Language
creepy, brat, stupid, weird, psycho, creep, maniacal moron
08/18/2021 Henry Heckelbeck Dinosaur Hunter Coven, Wanda Henry Heckelbeck 2 - 3 Questionable
Boy goes on a school trip to dig where an old building used to be. Boy hopes he can find dinosaur bones and become famous. Many mentions of the kind of dinosaur bone he hopes to find and what he will name the dinosaur he discovers. He uses his magic book to make a wish to find dinosaur bones- and he does- fake ones. TV new sends a reporter to the dig site to interview him. Book never states that dinosaurs were real, but implies it.
Language
weird
08/13/2021 Henry Heckelbeck and the Haunted Hideout Coven, Wanda Henry Heckelbeck 2 - 3 Questionable
Boys have trouble finding a place they can hideout in private, so boy makes one with magic. Girl joins them and pretends it is haunted as a practical joke.
Language
weird. gross
08/13/2021 Henry Heckelbeck and the Race Car Derby Coven, Wanda Henry Heckelbeck 2 - 3 Generally Acceptable
Children enter a race car derby. Magical book suggests that boy ask his father for help, so he does and wins.
Language
weird
08/12/2021 Heidi Heckelbeck Is a Flower Girl Coven, Wanda Heidi Heckelbeck 2 - 4 Problematic
Girl who is a witch is a flower girl at her aunt's wedding and discovers that weddings can be fun. Girl has an ongoing fued with a mean girl in school named Melanie but girl calls her "Smell-a-nie", Girl also comes up with a plan to find out if her principal is a witch- she puts sneezing powder into flowers and gets him to smell them- nothing happens. After "exchanging vows" the bride and groom kiss- text and cartoonish illustration. The bride and groom leave for their honeymoon. At the end of the book is an excerpt from the next book- has word "stupid"
Language
dumb, weird
08/12/2021 Heidi Heckelbeck and the Hair Emergency Coven, Wanda Heidi Heckelbeck 2 - 3 Questionable
A girl who is a witch has a problem when her little brother's windup toy gets stuck in her hair and her mother cuts it out leaving her a bald spot. She casts a spell with her mother and aunt to fix it but the spell goes wrong. Finally her mother comes up with a good old fashioned solution - a new headband that was intended for valentines day, but she gave it to her early.
Language
creepy, dumb, gross, weird
08/12/2021 The Fugitive Grisham, John Theodore Boone 5 - 7 Questionable
8th grade boy who wants to be a lawyer goes on a graduation trip with his class to Washington DC and spots a man accused of murder who skipped bail in his hometown. With the help of his eccentric uncle, he involved the FBI who capture him. He convinces an illegal alien to be a witness in the trial, despite his fear of being arrested. Kids are excited like "a bunch of five year olds waiting for Santa".One word xmas. Uncle listens to Bob Dylan music. Boy once saw a movie with someone who ran from the FBI. Male teacher is "prone to flirting with the young female teachers." Many mentions of technology including cell phones, you tube, internet. TV, movies.
Language
stupid, idiot, weird, butt out, creep, screwed up, butt
08/11/2021 The Scandal Grisham, John Theodore Boone 5 - 7 Problematic
Boy who wants to be a lawyer becomes enmeshed in a scandal involving teachers from an underperforming school who altered test results to improve the scores. Throughout, the reader feels sorry for the teachers who cheated to help their underprivileged students, though at no time is their crime whitewashed. A lot of discussion about the problems with standardized testing in schools. A lot of technology- computers, online searches, cellphones. movies. One word xmas.Boy's mother is a divorce lawyer who helps a women whose drunk husband beat her up - description of him coming to the house drunk and yelling for them to let him see his family- he throws a rock and shatters a window. At the end he shows remorse and goes to rehab. 70 year old secretary constatly hugs the boy and pinches his cheeks. Boy often gets teased that his female friend is his girlfriend but "they were close friends, nothing romantic or anything like that". Boy has a "secret crush" on a popular girl. Boy is upset at his father's reaction to his scores on the standardized tests so he decides to ruin dinner and inspire his mother to fight with his father and "make him feel rotten".One sentence mention of going to church- no details.
Language
it really stinks, stupid, dumb, creep, weird, brat, damned (p152, 160)
08/10/2021 The Accomplice Grisham, John Theodore Boone 5 - 7 Questionable
A boy who wants to be a lawyer gets involved with helping his friend who has been arrested. The friend comes from a troubled home- his mother is on her second or third husband who is away a lot and doesn't show much interest in the kids, the mother works many low paying jobs and isn't home to supervise the kids. Boys go into a car with an older boy who gives them beer and uses a water pistol to rob a convenience store. Although the boys aren't involved they are arrested as accomplices and end up in jail since their mother can't raise enough money for bail. They get beaten up by a vicious prisoner in jail. A lot of injustices in the justice system are described. At the end the boys resolve to get their act together and keep away from trouble in the future. Some boys dream of becoming rock stars. Boy wonders if his brother is buying pot. 13 year old says 18 year old dates "one of the cutest girls he had ever seen". A lot of tv watching. Boy has a "friend-girl which is altogether different from a real girlfriend". Ninth grade girls become "infatuated with older guys". Brief mention of popular singer John Lennon. Uncle listens to Bob Dylan. One word Easter. Lawyers make a deal to encourage boys to lie under oath- they refuse.
Language
jerk, stupid, shut up, screwed up, crap, idiot, creep, weird, dumb, freak out
08/08/2021 Posted Anderson, John David 5 - 7 Not Acceptable
A middle school outlaws cellphones after a girl is caught texting terrible things about a teacher who accused her of cheating. A group of outcast boys starts a new trend of sticking post its all over school to leave messages. Some kids write ones that are mean and hurtful. A new girl comes and befriends some of the boys in their group creating a change in the dynamics. The boys struggle to deal with it. This book is filled with inappropriate language and a lot of boy/ girl and some serious bullying. Minute details about fighting parents who eventually get divorced.
08/08/2021 The Activist Grisham, John Theodore Boone 5 - 7 Questionable
Boy who wants to be a lawyer gets involved with protesting the building of a bypass road that will affect a school and soccer field after surveyors beat up his dog very badly. Children go into principals office to protest the closure of their music class, the secretary asks them to wait ousdie, they ignore her request and insist on waiting in the reception room- she doesn't force them but is very annoyed. Family eats dinner while watching TV. Many mentions of computers, social media, email etc. Older secretary pinches boy's cheek. Family goes to church, no description. Scout master runs a chapel service. No description. Boy's best friend is a girl, but not a girlfriend. A boy considers a court clerk "the secret love of his life and a woman he would marry if she wasn't already married and pregnant"- when she talks to him he feels his cheeks burning". Boy and his uncle stay up all night with his injured dog- they discuss incidents that happened in previous books in this series. One word xmas. Uncle listens to Bob Dylan music.
Language
jerk, stupid, moron, vomit, shut up, idiot, that sucks, brats, idiotic
08/06/2021 The Dungeoneers Anderson, John David 5 - 7 Questionable
A boy from a poor family pickpockets to get money to pay for medicine for his sister. He is saved from going to prison by a member of a guild of dragoneers who learn to defeat monsters to go into dangerous underground dungeons to find treasure. The boy is forced by a dishonest staff member to make a decision between personal greed and loyalty to his friends. He chooses loyalty. Very minor, subtle boy /girl- mostly boy notices girl is pretty, another is "amazing" and when a girl talks to him he feels a "clammy, clumsy giddiness that he didn't really understand or have any control over". Boys and girls hold hands when they are magically traveling places. Girl hugs boy goodbye.
Language
stupid, kicking butt, jerk, dopey, freaky, bloody hell (p141), idiot, weird, snot, heck (p279, 366), fart, shut your trap, freakish, blasted
08/03/2021 The Accused Grisham, John Theodore Boone 5 - 7 Questionable
Boy who wants to be a lawyer is framed for stealing from an electronics store and works to prove his innocence. Uncle listens to Bob Dylan music. Uncle convinces boy to steal the password from his parent;s law firm so they can find the ones who are framing him. Boy feels that it is dishonest and wants to tell his parents but uncle convinces him not to. In the end, it helps them find the perpetrators- kids whose parents were going through a messy divorce- father can't stay sober and gambles, mother has mental problems. Someone used a shady email server to make the boy look bad- a lot of discussions of this, intrnet, social media and other technology. One word Halloween, xmas. TV. Brief description of church service- very neutral- sermon is about not stealing. Boy makes fun of him, his friend attacks the bully, the bully's friend joins in so boy feels he had no choice but to help his friend even though he doesn't like to fight. Secretary hugs the boy in a grandmotherly way.
Language
punk, creeps, jerk, shut up, gross, weird, stupid
08/02/2021 Henry Heckelbeck Gets A Dragon Coven, Wanda Henry Heckelbeck 2 - 3 Generally Acceptable
Boy finds a spell that brings his remote control dragon to life, but panics when the dragon escapes in school. He eventually finds it and reverses the spell. His sister tells him to watch out- he loves her but thinks that sometimes she can be a "grump-a-saurus".
Language
weird
08/02/2021 Henry Heckelbeck Never Cheats Coven, Wanda Henry Heckelbeck 2 - 3 Generally Acceptable
Boy wants to be goalie for the soccer team but the new girl is also very good. He finds a spell to make her scared of the ball, but when he sees her crying he regrets it and takes the spell off- she wins the game for the team.
Language
weird
08/02/2021 Henry Heckelbeck Spells Trouble Coven, Wanda Henry Heckelbeck 2 - 3 Generally Acceptable
A boy finds a spell to help him with stage fright for the school spelling bee. In the end, he lets his competitor win. Boy worries that when he is onstage he might burp in the middle of a word.
Language
weird
08/01/2021 Kid Lawyer Grisham, John Theodore Boone 5 - 7 Questionable
A seventh grade boy whose parents are lawyers dreams of becoming a lawyer when he grows up. In the meantime, he gives legal advice to his friends. When the cousin of an illegal immigrant approaches him and tells him that his cousin could be a witness that could decide a murder case, the boy needs to figure out what to do- how to make sure justice is done while still protecting an illegal immigrant. Details of the murder case and exactly how the victim was strangled. Many mentions of the fact that the victim and her husband had a rocky marraige and had separated a few times and consulted divorce lawyers. Boy is "in love" wiith a young pretty law secretary who is married and pregnant. Boy helps his classmate in court and she sits very close to him- later she "slid her hand around Theo's left elbow" He appreciates the moments even though this girl "changed boyfriends every other month". He thinks she is a "flirt". Mentions of watching TV, texting, computer use, watching movies on cable TV.
Language
butt out, shut up
07/30/2021 The Abduction Grisham, John Theodore Boone 5 - 7 Questionable
A boy who dreams of becoming a lawyer helps to find his friend who disappeared. Everyone is afraid that she was kidnapped by an escaped fugitive she was pen pals with, and that he killed her, but when the body they find in the river turns out not to be hers, the boy researches online until he locates her. Many mentions of the fact that the girl and boy are best friends but not boyfriend or girlfriend, even though it became "cool" in seventh grade to have a girlfriend. Many descriptions of the girl's dysfunctional parents- both had drug convictions, mother takes pills, mother leaves girl alone for days at a time, father travels with a rock band and doesn't communicate with family for long periods of time.. Many mentions of technology including internet, ipad, cellphone, chatting online, TV news, going out to the movies. Girl is found at a college fraternity party where her father's band is playing- lots of drinking and dancing. Boy sits next to the girl with their knees touching. Boy doesn't like when his friends older sister babysits for him since she flirts with him. In the school, classes are gender separated but in the hallways there is "awkward flirting".
Language
weird, weirdo, stupid, idiot, dumb, shut up, creep, poop
07/28/2021 Granted Anderson, John David 4 - 6 Questionable
A fairy has harrowing adventures as she tries to grant the wish of a girl who wants a bicycle. A lot of detail about different things humans can do to make a wish. Fairy wonders why humans would waste a wish hoping for a "sloppy kiss". Fairy blames the internet for ruining people's imaginations. Describe death as nature "reclaiming" a spirit. Dog says people call him son of a _ (word not filled in). When fairy is mad she calls things all kinds of names- mostly nonsensical like "flabforkin, fartfiddled, toejammed,spitwashed, lumpsucking, bonyheaded buttfish"
Language
snot, nincompoop, dont screw it up, stupid, butt, jerkface, stinking, gross, shutup, poop, heck(p229, 259), weird, lunatic, drat, freaking, vomit
07/26/2021 Rise of the Shadow Anderson, Brian The Conjurers 4 - 6 Questionable
A brother and sister live with a strict uncle after their archeologist parents vanish and are presumed dead. The girl never gives up hope that they will return some day, until one day a monster appears in their house and chases them. They are led to a magical alternate universe where they discover that magic is real and their parents weren't simply archeologists. They try to figure out who is good and who is evil and what to do next. The book ends in a cliffhanger. The uncle doesn't let the children watch TV and punishes them when he discovers them watching TV on a machine built by the boy. A boy in the magical world says his father "bolted" when he was 5 years old. The children's parents met in grad school and "fell in love".
Language
weird, heck (p43, 121), stupid, shut up, gross
07/25/2021 Silverworld Abu-Jaber Diana 5 - 7 Questionable
A Lebanese American girl travels through a mirror to a magical world to battle an evil creature to save her grandmother and the world. Girl hugs a male magical being goodbye. Girl is very upset when her mother tells her that her grandmother has dementia and that they are putting her in a home. In the end, the girl magically saves her and the grandmother is fine. Grandmother has a picture of the virgin mary over her bed- calls her "the goddess". Girl's father was killed when he pushed his college student out of the way of a car that was about to hit her. In the magical world instead of dying they say people are inside time and outside of time.
Language
weird, dumb, heck, freak, freak out, freaky, creepy, stupid, heck (p270)

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Young Cam Jansen and the Magic Bird Mystery
Adler, David A.
Grades: 1 - 3
Acceptable
Series
Children help magician find his missing bird
Cam Jansen The Ghostly Mystery
Adler, David A.
Series:
Grades: 2 - 4
Generally Acceptable
Series
Children catch robbers while they are in line to buy tickets to a rock band called "Triceratops Pops", who wear dinosaur costumes while perfuming. A few humorous descriptions of unusual people who are waiting in line, e.g. a woman with green and purple hair.
The Accidental Adventures of India McAllister
Agell, Charlotte
Grades: -
Not Acceptable
Girl's parents are divorced and father now lives with another man.
Secrets of Tamarind
Aguiar, Nacia
Grades: N/A
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 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 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.
Amira & Hamza The War to Save the Worlds
Ahmed, Samira
Grades: 5 - 7
Questionable
An Indian American brother and sister go to an Islamic astronomy exhibit and accidentally become involved in a magical journey to save the world. The girl is very into science and there is a lot of scientific information throughout as the girl attempts to figure out how all of the magical experiences she is having are possible (she often can't). Boy spends his time comparing their adventures to cartoons- titles, plots and characters and superpowers referenced. Many Islamic sayings and philosophy referenced- mostly neutral. Girl says her mother watches "the news and swearing at the TV when she doesn't think we're listening to her". Boy names a horse after his "celebrity crush". Girl grew out her hair becuase she wanted to be Rapunzel for Halloween which is bsed on a persian story of "a beautiful girl who unfulred her black hair from a tower so the boy she loved could climb up and see her because her parents didn't want them to get married. Mention of a movie about a quest to find the holy grail. They pray a few times but no description. In the back of the book there are explanations for the terms used which include detailed legends and nythology about fairies and creatures as well as information about historical figures who are mentioned.
Language
gross, stupid, nerds, kick your butt, nerd, weird, dang it, puke, freaked out, dumb, heck (frequent), butt, creepy, snarky, snot nosed, shut up, I was pissed, stink
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.
Midwinter Nightingale
Aiken, Joan
Grades: 5 - 8
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.
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.
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.
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.
Arabel's Raven
Aiken, Joan
Grades: N/A
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.
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.
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.
Ground Zero: A Novel of 9/11
Alan Gratz
Grades: 7 - 10
Questionable
Teen
Teen
Boy is in World Trade on 9/11, escapes while his father is killed. Interspersed story of girl growing up during Afghanistan war.
Boy/girl relationship, Tznius and Negiah
Afghani mother tells daughter that she used to wear a mini skirt and the boys liked it and she did too.Woman hugs boy when saved from danger. Husband and wife hug and kiss when he is saved.
Language
Hell, damn, crap, pee, JC, butt
Violence
Graphic descriptions of injuries, deaths, danger.
TV, Movies, Rock Music, Internet and other Media
Passing mention of Facebook.
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.
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--.
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 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.
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
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.
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 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)
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.