There is no age requirement for becoming a hero. Read these books
and find out how kids are able to save the world.
There really is another whole world out there. All you have to
do to find it is open your mind, find the right crack in the
sidewalk, know the password, be a member of a special family or
just don't follow the rules.
LEVEN THUMPS AND THE GATEWAY TO FOO, by Obert Skye, Simon &
Schuster, $17.95; ages 10-13.
Leven Thumps is an orphan, growing up with his step-aunt and her
husband. He feels unwanted and unloved. He assumes his life will
always be dull, boring and without meaning. Then one day he meets
Clover, a small cat-like creature who walks on two legs, has the
ability to disappear and acts and speaks like a human.
Clover tells Leven it is his destiny to defeat the evil Sabine
and save the world. But first they must find the entrance to Foo.
With the help of Clover, a girl named Winter who can freeze things
and Geth, a toothpick who talks and claims to be the King of Foo,
Leven finds real friends and learns the truth about the meaning of
There were a few moments where the author forgot his voice and
started talking directly to the reader, Lemony Snicket style. I
found this to be distracting and annoying, but it does not spoil
the adventure. This book is fast paced and entertaining. Winter's
ability to freeze things is fascinating. And the part where Leven
is able to get back at the school bullies is very satisfying. I
look forward to reading the next book in the series.
THE SECRET HISTORY OF TOM TRUEHEART, by Ian Beck, HarperCollins
Children's Books, $16.99; ages 8-11.
Tom Trueheart is the youngest of the famous Trueheart
adventurers. The Truehearts work for the Story Bureau where it is
their job to take the lead in the story and become the hero. Tom is
waiting for the day when he is old enough to join his brothers in
Tom is home alone; all his brothers have been sent out to their
stories. But something is wrong. The red hooded girl has not been
saved, the sleeping girl has not been kissed, no one has climbed up
the beanstalk, the girl in the tower is about to cut her very long
hair and the brothers have been gone far too long.
Tom sets out on the journey of his life. Not only must he save
his brothers, but he must also find a way to save the stories.
WUTHERING HIGH: A BARD ACADEMY NOVEL, by Cara Lockwood, MTV,
(paperback) $9.95; ages 12 and up.
Mia is 15 and in big trouble. She maxed out her stepmother's
credit card and totaled her dad's car. Her parents decide the only
way to handle her is to ship her off to boarding school-a boarding
school designed to fix troubled teens.
Mia arrives to find that uniforms are in and cell phones and
iPods are out. Punishment is kitchen duty. And to make the matters
worse, her roommate has decorated her side of the room with Marilyn
Manson posters and skull candles.
I picked up this book more than once and put it back down. I
thought it was going to be another book about teenagers and bad
behavior. I was happy to realize I was wrong. At this school,
English class is so interesting authors like Virginia Woolf, Ernest
Hemingway and Charlotte Bronte come to life. The plot kept me in
suspense and the twist at the end caught me by surprise.
TERRIER (BEKA COOPER), by Tamora Pierce, Random House Books for
Young Readers, $18.95; ages 11-14.
Beka is a puppy (rookie) in the Provost's Guard (police
department). She wants desperately to prove herself to her Dogs
(superiors), but she is having a hard time getting past her
shyness. Her beat is the toughest part of town, but she isn't
scared because this is where she was born. She proves her
usefulness to her Dogs when she is able to stop some misbehaving
kids by talking to them in their own Lower City slang.
Beka's greatest weapon is her ability to hear messages from the
pigeons, which carry the souls of the dead.
When Beka hears the voices of children and the voices of men
trapped in unmarked graves, she knows she must solve these
mysteries and save the lost souls.
EREC REX, THE DRAGON EYE, by Kaza Kinsgley, Firelight Press,
$17.99; ages 9-12.
Erec, his mother and siblings are poor-they are always moving to
smaller apartments. But how odd it is that some household items are
magical. His alarm clock, for example, will even resort to throwing
things at him until he gets out of bed. One morning Erec gets up to
find his mother gone and a strange babysitter in the living room. A
very odd feeling comes over him and a voice in his head tells him
to find his mother.
His journey takes him to a strange world below the city-a world
full of magical creatures ruled by kings. He discovers his mother
is in a dungeon and it is up to him to rescue her. But first, he
must enter a contest, fulfill his destiny, become king and save the
I wanted to dislike this book because it feels like a copy of
Harry Potter. But then I couldn't put it down. I found myself
really enjoying the story. Many questions were left unanswered, so
I look forward to the next book in the series.
Sandi Pedersen is the mom of four and the Web mistress for
See more of Sandi's stories here.
Let us plan your weekend with the best family events and activities in Chicagoland.
Start the week right with deals, prizes, parent life hacks and more delivered straight to your inbox.
Need last-minute ideas for a weekend of family fun? No worries. We've got you.
Get the inside scoop on the people, places and things we are loving right now.
Resources, tips, inspiration and more for parents of children with special needs.
Score exclusive offers from our fabulous advertisers.