Darlington School: Recommended Reads for the Holiday Break
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Recommended Reads for the Holiday Break

Melinda Holmes | December 16, 2015 | 521 views

What better way to spend the holidays than reading a good book! Darlington's library services department has compiled the following recommended reading list for every age in your household. Enjoy!

by Kallie George (early reader)

"Spark" is a whimsical story about a little dragon that struggles to control his ability to breathe fire. As he grows, his Mama and Papa provide him with opportunities to practice taming his flame. Unfortunately Spark burns, scorches and sets several things on fire, but he learns to persevere and not give up….Good things are worth waiting for!

How Santa Got His Job
by Stephen Krensky (picture book)

Through a period of trial and error, Santa finds himself and the perfect job that matches his unique skill set. Santa tries his hand at many different jobs ranging from chimney sweep to circus performer before finding his place. Throughout the story, Santa makes mistake after mistake, but he does not give up and eventually develops into the jolly character that we love.

The World According to Humphrey
by Betty G. Birney (easy chapter book)

Humphrey is a delightful pet hamster for the students in Room 26 at Longfellow School. He can read, write and even shoot rubber bands! Throughout the school year, Humphrey finds great adventures and learns more about the students in Room 26 by going home with them each weekend. Humphrey is an intelligent and inspirational little guy that helps the children, their families, and staff at the school learn some amazing lessons along the way. Humphrey and the humans discover there is much that can be learned by observing and caring for another species.

The Honest Truth
by Dan Gemeinhart (children’s fiction)

In this adventure of self-discovery, a boy named Mark goes to Washington state to climb Mount Rainier. Mark is a completely normal kid who loves playing with his best friend and writing haiku poems. However, Mark is also sick—the kind of sick that means hospitals and treatments. Tired of being tired, Mark runs away from home with only a backpack and his dog. This book pulls at your heartstrings and makes you feel alive all at once. Recommended for fourth-grade readers and up.

Umbrella Summer
by Lisa Graff (children’s fiction)

Annie Richards is cautious. She enjoys reading books about different diseases and putting Band-Aids on imaginary wounds. Annie used to enjoy obstacle courses, riding her bike at full speed, and just being a kid, but when her brother, Jared, dies...the world becomes her enemy. Now with a new neighbor moving in next door, can Annie learn about closing her umbrella and letting the sun in? This book helps those dealing with loss and is recommended for third-grade readers and up.

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library
by Chris Grabenstein (children’s fiction)

Imagine the combination of Mr. Wonka meets the library, and you’ll begin to understand some of this book. Kyle Keeley has never really liked reading, but he thoroughly enjoys playing all sorts of games. When he and some of his classmates get locked in at the new public library, their only chance at escaping is using their wits and the library itself to find the exit. This book grabs the attention of reluctant readers and is recommended for third-grade readers and up.

The Selection (Book 1) 
by Kiera Cass (young adult fiction)

America Singer wishes nothing more than to stay in her quiet town with Aspen, the love of her life, but everything changes when she is "selected." The Selection is a chance of a lifetime for some girls: they can go from being the lowest of the low to being the Queen. What will America do when she wants nothing to do with it? This romantic novel is recommended for those intrigued by a reality TV meets dystopian landscape, and for seventh-grade readers and up.

Goodbye Stranger
by Rebecca Stead (young adult fiction)

Explore the bonds of friendships and relationships in this multi-perspective novel written by Newbery Award-winning author Rebecca Stead. In this story, we meet three friends: Bridge, Emily and Tabitha. They have one rule—NO FIGHTING. However, when they begin high school, that particular rule is harder and harder not to break. Drama ensues and entices the reader with it. This book is recommended for fifth-grade readers and up.

Star Wars: Lost Stars
by Claudia Gray (young adult fiction)

Who isn’t excited about the new "Star Wars" movie coming out? Here’s an exciting young adult novel about the past "Star Wars" movies through the perspective of two childhood friends, Ciena Ree and Thane Kyrel. One becomes a Rebel pilot, while the other becomes an Imperial officer. Can the two friends ever meet again? Find out in this adventurous novel recommended for sixth-grade readers and up.

by Julie Murphy (young adult fiction)

Willowdean Dickson is the poster child for body positivity—as comfortable as can be in her own skin—being fat or skinny or somewhere in between has never been on her radar of things to care about. Upon meeting the Ryan Gosling of former jocks, it's no surprise that Willow likes him—the amazing part? He likes her back. When her new relationship causes self-doubt to creep in, Willow decides to enter the Miss Clover City Beauty Pageant—nothing could possibly go wrong.

by Noelle Stevenson
(young adult fiction)

This award-winning graphic novel is an amazingly witty and quirky take on the story of the medieval villain and the knight in shining armor. Nimona pops up as the shapeshifting sidekick to the not-so-villainous Lord Blackheart, and together they wreak some hilarious havoc on the Institution of Law Enforcement when they find out enforcing law is not really their main priority. There are dragons, and damsels, and not to mention some serious deadpan—oh my!

The Territory
by Sarah Govett
(young adult fiction)

...A thrilling read set in the not-too-distant future of 2059 where normal teenagers compete against the affluent citizens of "The Territory.” Members of The Territory possess computerized brains, and if they don't measure up they are sent away to disease-ridden wetlands where survival is unlikely. At 15, the "test" is given to the normals and Noa, the main character, is studying as her life DOES depend on it. Suddenly life becomes even more complicated when she meets someone from The Territory who is more than just his computerized brain...

The Nightingale
by Kristin Hannah (adult historical fiction)

This one is a heart-wrenching story about two sisters who are greatly impacted and almost destroyed by the awful casualties of World War II in France. When they are left behind as their men go off to the war, the reader sees how resourceful, resilient and reckless with purpose these women are. Not only do they risk their lives for the cause, they struggle with living in German-occupied territories.

All the Light We Cannot See
by Anthony Doerr (adult fiction)

Two characters growing up in different parts of Europe, unaware of each other's existence, find themselves brought together by unfortunate circumstances in World War II. Although one is French and blind, and the other is German and can see, their lives intersect through radio. These enemies of war discover that even in times of conflict, there is a place for humanity.

Christmas Bells
by Jennifer Chiaverini (adult fiction)

Chiaverini ties together the story of how Henry Wadsworth Longfellow came to write his famous poem "Christmas Bells" during the American Civil War with a modern-day backdrop of families and individuals dealing with the struggles of everyday life. The reader's perspective shifts back and forth between 17th and 21st-century life, with the common theme of trials and tribulations that people have shared throughout time. As reminded by the famous line in Longfellow's poem, "Of peace on Earth, good-will to men," even in difficult times, we must persevere and embrace the joys of Christmas.