unRequired Reading Blog

07/26/2016 - 1:56am
Waiting for Harry

Things are buzzing in the Harry Potter world. A new book is coming out! I am among the fans anxiously awaiting the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on July 31. When the last book in the Harry Potter series, The Deathly Hallows, came out nine years ago, many fans had mixed emotions. While we couldn’t wait to know what happened with the story, we were also sad, knowing that, when we came to the end, our journey with Harry and his friends would be over. The Cursed Child promises to whisk us right back into Harry’s world, and I can’t wait! This eighth book in the Harry Potter story is going to be unique. The Cursed Child is a two-part play based on a story written by J.K. Rowling and Jack Thorne. The play opens in London on July 30, and will be followed the next day by the release of the script publication. The details of The Cursed Child are under tight wraps, but we know that the story is set in Harry Potter's adulthood, picking up 19 years after the defeat of Voldemort. Harry is raising a family and working at the Ministry of Magic, and his son, Albus, figures prominently in the story.

07/04/2016 - 12:05am
Cover to T4 by Ann Clare LeZotte

“Life Unworthy of Life”

The Nazi leaders (mostly) went along with idea of eugenics. That is, having more of the types of people they thought were worthy of keeping around, while getting rid of the people they believed were undesirable—whom they considered a “burden to society.” They blamed the Jews for the economic troubles their country faced after World War I. So, in their “Final Solution,” the Jews had to go. The horrors as millions of people—mothers, children, fathers, businesspeople, craftspeople, retirees—were taken to their imprisonment and death is remembered as the Holocaust.

06/27/2016 - 8:21am
Cover to Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee

St. Clare’s School for Girls is San Francisco’s most prestigious finishing school, a place where younger generations of the rich and powerful come to train for a life of luxury. It’s also Mercy Wong’s best chance to break from the poverty of Chinatown and secure a safe, happy future for herself and her younger brother. But can a 15-year-old launderer’s daughter rise above her circumstances—especially in 1906, when nearly insurmountable racial and economic barriers stand in the way?

06/13/2016 - 2:48am
Cover to A Tyranny of Petticoats

Whether sinking Spanish warships off the coast of the Carolinas or seeking out Confederate spies at a Washington, D.C. ball, American girls have always had adventures to tell.

06/06/2016 - 1:27am
The Night Gardener: A Scary Story by Jonathan Auxier

Orphans Molly and her younger brother Kip are looking for work away from their home in famine-stricken Ireland. They find it at the Windsor estate, an isolated, sprawling house in England that is a lot more than it seems.

As they work and live with the Windsors, Molly and Kip begin to discover that the atmosphere of the old, crumbling mansion is slowly taking the life force of the once-cheerful family of four.

06/08/2016 - 11:36am
Cover to Raven Speak

Scandinavian raiders, known as Vikings, are all over movie and TV screens these days. Thor movies, a show on the History Channel, and, in general, an uptick in interest as well as a "rehabilitation" of their reputation in some circles. You can visit a "Viking" village in York, England—Jorvik, as it was known then, in the heart of the Danelaw lands. There is even a "Viking" school in Norway!

05/30/2016 - 1:23am
Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

Amani Al’Hiza isn’t exactly up to no good. Sure, she snuck out of her house disguised as a boy and riding a stolen horse in order to enter a sharpshooter contest at the most notorious pistol pit in town. But Amani needs the prize money to get out of Dustwalk. She has to escape before she winds up dead—or worse, married.

05/26/2016 - 4:02pm
Cover to Strange Maps

I never saw my grandfather read a book; his reading was confined to maps. He and his fishing buddies would pore over maps for places and routes for their fishing treks way up into Canada. That was my first inkling of the function of maps; Gramp always came back.

05/23/2016 - 1:17am
The Fire Wish by Amber Lough

Zayele, a lovely and strong-minded girl, did not wish to be on her way to Baghdad to marry a prince she had never met. She certainly did not wish to be separated from her blind brother who relied on her to help him.

So, when a girl jinni appears—a girl who looks surprisingly like Zayele—the unwilling bride-to-be Wishes, as one does with jinnis, that they can change places, and that she, Zayele, can go home. But Zayele doesn’t go back to her village and her family. Instead, she is transported to the magical cavern-city that is home to all the jinni. Sworn enemies of humanity after decades of living as their slaves, the jinni hate humankind even as they are intrigued by them. Trying to pass for a jinni girl is both harder and easier than Zayele expects.

05/02/2016 - 10:22am
Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker

If you go to high school in Sticks, Louisiana, you’re not just off the beaten track from mainstream America. It’s a long way to the interstate, and you’re surrounded by something else entirely—the Swamp. They’ve tried to fence it off to keep people safe for decades. Yes, there are alligators, but there’s something else out there that’s far worse.  It’s a wise move to Beware the Wild.


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