Monday, September 28, 2009

Middle School Mysteries

If you're looking for a fun mystery series for middle schoolers, check out the following:

Chasing Vermeer
By Blue Balliett
Illustrated by Brett Helquist

When a book of unexplainable occurrences brings sixth graders Petra and Calder together, strange things start to happen: Seemingly unrelated events connect, an eccentric old woman seeks their company, and an invaluable Vermeer painting disappears. Before they know it, the two find themselves at the center of an international art scandal, where no one is spared from suspicion. But tracking down the Vermeer isn’t easy, as Calder and Petra try to figure out what a set of pentominos (mathematical puzzle pieces), a mysterious book about unexplainable phenomena and their nervous teacher have to do with a centuries old artwork. Can they solve a crime that has stumped even the FBI?
Sometime called The DaVinci Code for kids, Chasing Vermeer will have middle grade readers scrutinizing art books as they try to solve the mystery along with Calder and Petra. In an added bonus, artist Brett Helquist has also hidden a secret pentomino message in several of the book’s illustrations for readers to decode.

The Wright 3
By Blue Balliett
Illustrated by Brett Helquist

Spring semester at the Lab School in Hyde Park finds Petra and Calder drawn into another mystery when unexplainable accidents and ghostly happenings throw a spotlight on Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House, and it's up to the two young sleuths to piece together the clues. They become tangled in a dangerous web thanks to the return of Calder's friend Tommy, H.G. Wells's The Invisible Man, 3-D pentominoes, and the hunt for a coded message left behind by Wright.

The Calder Game
By Blue Balliett
Illustrated by Brett Helquist

When Calder Pillay travels with his father to a remote village in England, he finds mazes and mystery, including an unexpected Alexander Calder sculpture in the town square. Calder is strangely drawn to the sculpture, while other people have less-than-friendly feelings towards it. Both the boy and the sculpture seem to be out of place…and then, on the same night, they disappear! Calder's friends Petra and Tommy must fly out to help his father find him. But this mystery has many twists and turns that will keep readers guessing!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Award Nomination - I Love My Librarian!

Have you been impressed by a librarian in your community? Now's your chance to nominate that person for a special award! The "I Love My Librarian" award is sponsored by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and The New York Times. Nominations close Oct. 9, 2009. Winners will be announced in early November.

According to the American Library Association, librarians in our country’s 123,000 libraries make a difference in the lives of millions of Americans every day. On the nomination form, you can explain why your librarian should receive this prestigious honor.

Each of the up to ten librarians selected will receive $5,000 and will be recognized at a special awards ceremony. Nominations are being accepted in three categories: public librarians, school media specialists, and college, community college and university librarians.

To access the nomination form, click on this link: