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Books to Read If You Can't See Hamilton!

Hamilton is huge as most of you know. So huge that it's very hard to get tickets.  So if you can't see the musical, here's some books you could maybe read instead!

First to learn about the man and how he influenced our country.

The Making of American: Alexander Hamilton
by Teri Kanefield

The America that Alexander Hamilton knew was largely agricultural and built on slave labor. He envisioned something else: a multi-racial, urbanized, capitalistic America with a strong central government. He believed that such an America would be a land of opportunity for the poor and the newcomers. But Hamilton’s vision put him at odds with his archrivals who envisioned a pastoral America of small towns, where governments were local, states would control their own destiny, and the federal government would remain small and weak.

The disputes that arose during America’s first decades continued through American history to our present day. Over time, because of the systems Hamilton set up and the ideas he left, his vision won out. Here is the story that epitomizes the American dream—a poor immigrant who made good in America. In the end, Hamilton rose from poverty through his intelligence and ability, and did more to shape our country than any of his contemporaries.

If you want to learn more about who Alexander Hamilton was and how he shaped the United States, this would be a great place to start.  It starts with his childhood and goes on hitting the highlights of his life.  The writing is simple and straightforward, so completely perfect for middle grade and older.  At the end of the book is a timeline of his life, endnotes for each chapter and a list of other places to look for information on Hamilton.  Great book! 

If you want more of a story - a love story!

Alex and Eliza: A Love Story
by Melissa De La Cruz

Their romance shaped a nation. The rest was history.

1777. Albany, New York. 

As battle cries of the American Revolution echo in the distance, servants flutter about preparing for one of New York society’s biggest events: the Schuylers’ grand ball. Descended from two of the oldest and most distinguished bloodlines in New York, the Schuylers are proud to be one of their fledgling country’s founding families, and even prouder still of their three daughters—Angelica, with her razor-sharp wit; Peggy, with her dazzling looks; and Eliza, whose beauty and charm rival that of both her sisters, though she’d rather be aiding the colonists’ cause than dressing up for some silly ball. 

Still, she can barely contain her excitement when she hears of the arrival of one Alexander Hamilton, a mysterious, rakish young colonel and General George Washington’s right-hand man. Though Alex has arrived as the bearer of bad news for the Schuylers, he can’t believe his luck—as an orphan, and a bastard one at that—to be in such esteemed company. And when Alex and Eliza meet that fateful night, so begins an epic love story that would forever change the course of American history.

When I got a copy of this in the mail my daughter - a huge Hamilton fan - tore it out of my hands and claimed it.  She also immediately Snapchatted a pic to her friends.  Let's just say she was excited.  So if you want to know about the relationship between Alexander and Eliza this is one you'll need to check out.  

Blog Tour: Review of Lemons by Melissa Savage

I've very excited today to be a part of the blog tour of Lemons by Melissa Savage

About the book

Lemonade Liberty Witt’s mama always told her: When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. But Lem can’t possibly make lemonade out of her new life in Willow Creek, California—the Bigfoot Capital of the World—where she’s forced to live with a grandfather she’s never met after her mother passes away.

Summer seems to bring Lem lemons upon lemons as she deals with an entire new life without any of the comforts of her old home—and then she meets Tobin Sky.

Eleven years old and the CEO of Bigfoot Detectives Inc., Tobin is the sole Bigfoot investigator for their small town. After he invites Lem to be his assistant for the summer, they set out on an epic adventure to capture the elusive beast on film. But along the way, Lem and Tobin end up discovering more than they ever could have imagined. And Lem realizes that maybe she can make lemonade out of her new life after all.

About the Author
Melissa Savage is a writer and a child and family therapist. Her desire to write purposeful, issue-driven books for young people, coupled with her interest in cryptozoology and the mystery of Bigfoot, inspired her to write Lemons. Melissa lives in Minneapolis. You can follow her on Twitter at @melissadsavage, and visit her at

If you only have a second: Nice mix of cute and thoughtful.  Well done.

If you have a few minutes: At first I was a bit leery of this one because of Lemonade (Lem).  I'm not a fan of characters that are precocious, and it seemed that Lem would be just that.  BUT after a few chapters I realized that she was to a degree, but she was also a young girl that had her life completely shaken up and rattled.  It made me really feel for her and understand some of why she acted why she did.  As the story went along I liked her more and more.  That actually was one of the reasons I ended up really liking the book - watching Lem grow and cope.  I cared about her.

I do have to say, though, the character of Tobin came in a very close second has my favorite character!  Love that kid! How could I not?  He chased Bigfoot! You need to know I'm a fan of Bigfoot tv shows like Finding Bigfoot.  If I knew him in person he would be making me laugh again and again. Oh and making me shake my head!  He was such a wonderful contrast to Lem as well.  His personality was a perfect balance to hers.  

The story of these two was good.  It also had a nice balance of more light-heartedness and tough topics.  I liked that because it allowed me to enjoy the story without it being so heavy.  I could struggle with Lem but also laugh with her.  Well done in that regard.

Side note:  Parts of it kept reminding me of the cartoon Gravity Falls!  My kids got me hooked on it, and there were parts that just made me think of it!  

Best for kids who like: Books with some seriousness but also like topics like Bigfoot or other unknown mysteries like it.

Friday in the Library

I am a middle school media specialist - grades 6-8.  Here are some things happening in our media center! 

Today when I was walking around as the students were working I saw this book that a student is reading.  I'd never heard of it before.  It looks great!  
One to look at adding to the stacks!

Edge of Extinction
by Laura Martin

One hundred and fifty years ago, the first dinosaurs were cloned. Soon after, they replaced humans at the top of the food chain. The only way to survive was to move into underground compounds. . . .

Five years ago, Sky Mundy’s father vanished from North Compound without a trace. Now she has just stumbled on a clue that not only suggests his disappearance is just the tip of an even larger mystery, but also points directly to the surface. To find her dad—and possibly even save the world—Sky and her best friend, Shawn, must break out of their underground home and venture topside to a land reclaimed by nature and ruled by dinosaurs.

Retro Reads: Kissing Doorknobs by Terry Spencer Hesser

In Retro Reads I like to look at some books from the past - long or short past - that I really enjoyed and think need a reminder.

Today's Retro Read:

Kissing Doorknobs by Terry Spencer Hesser
During her preschool years, Tara Sullivan lived in terror that something bad would happen to her mother while they were apart. In grade school, she panicked during the practice fire drills. Practice for what?, Tara asked. For the upcoming disaster that was bound to happen?

Then, at the age of 11, it happened. Tara heard the phrase that changed her life: Step on a crack, break your mother's back. Before Tara knew it, she was counting every crack in the sidewalk. Over time, Tara's "quirks" grew and developed: arranging her meals on plates, nonstop prayer rituals, until she developed a new ritual wherin she kissed her fingers and touched doorknobs....

What I Remember:

This was the first book I remember reading that dealt with a mental illness - in this case OCD.  It seemed, at the time, to be a realistic view of what it is like to have OCD.  I also remember that it didn't end in a nice neat little bow with everything resulted.  It was positive, but you knew it was still going to be a struggle.  

Have you read it?? What do you remember? 

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