Kids Read & Write: week five

"The Wig in the Window" by Kristen Kittscher

"Wig in the Window" (sic) by Kristen Kittscher is a suspenseful mystery about two sixth-grade girls who like to spy on people. One of the girls has a teacher named Dr. Agford who they believe is posing as someone else. The FBI gets involved and soon the girls realize even the FBI can't be trusted. This book keeps you guessing and there's lots of surprises. I highly recommend "Wig in the Window." It was my favorite book of the summer.

— Becky Blood, 9, Aurora

This piece first ran in Printers Row Journal, delivered to Printers Row members with the Sunday Chicago Tribune and by digital edition via email. Click here to learn about joining Printers Row.

"The Art of Racing in the Rain" by Garth Stein

To start off let me get something straight: I hate dogs in books, especially when they are narrating a book, car racing, rain, cancer, and annoying grandparents. Which is weird, because that's the plot of the book: it is told from a dog's perspective and his master is really good at racing in the rain the mom gets cancer and the annoying grandparents don't think the dad is responsible and want to be the daughter's legal guardians. Boom. Done. Worst Book ever. Except that it's not. My definition of a great writer is someone who can take something that you would hate to read about, and makes it into something that you WANT to read about, which is exactly what Garth Stein did. He drew parallels between racing in the rain and life itself and made me realize that no one can be equal, and we just have to be willing to except that. The ending (I don't want to spoil it for you because I've spoiled enough for you already) was literally the best ending I have ever read in my entire life. If you don't read this book you are missing out on an education that you cannot get from school.

— Darcy Cagen, 16, Northbrook

"Bad Kitty" by Nick Bruel

I've seen posters of "Bad Kitty" hanging in the halls of my school, and now I finally got to read it.

I liked it.

"Bad Kitty" is about a cat that at first isn't a bad kitty. But then the owners run out of cat food and try feeding her vegetables, and she gets mad and starts doing bad things around the house.

Finally the owner gets back from the store with cat food and Bad kitty is a good kitty again.

The owners say, "What could we reward a good kitty… I know…"

You'll have to read the story to find out.

Sometimes my parents try to get me to eat vegetables that I don't like to eat.

But here's a tip for if you have a cat. Okay so everybody knows that cats are carnivores, right? So I suggest that if you don't have any meat for your cat don't feed them anything.

I thought the book was kind of funny, like when Kitty hugged the little mouse to apologize for when he tormented it. My favorite part was when Kitty kissed the goldfish.

I felt like it was a little bit easy for me, but just so you know I'm a little bit more than six and three quarters (years old). Bye!

— Kaden Rocheleau, 6, Clarksville, Tenn.

"The People of Sparks" by Jeanne DuPrau

"The People of Sparks" is the second book in the four-part Books of Ember series by the amazing author Jeanne DuPrau. This book is about two courageous kids, Lina Mayfleet and Doon Harrow who have just led their citizens out of their dying, underground city called Ember. When they come upon a village called Sparks, the two villages start to butt heads. There are arguments over food and destroyed property. The three town leaders of Sparks decide that Ember's citizens must leave and start their own village. They are not happy about this and soon there is talk of war. They then resolve their problems when Ember's citizens save Sparks by putting out a giant fire in City Hall. This book is a brilliant story with a fictional glance to the future. It gives a message that no matter how old you are, who you are, or where you are you can make a difference.

— Sephi Konstantoudakis, 10, Lincoln Square

"Fair Weather" by Richard Peck

Have you ever wondered what the Chicago World's Fair was all about? If you have, read "Fair Weather" by Richard Peck. In the book, the author recreates the World's Columbian Exposition in such detail, you feel as if you are there. The story begins in 1893 on a farm in Illinois, where 13-year-old Rosie Beckett and her family receive an invitation from Aunt Euterpe. With great enthusiasm, Rosie, her older sister Lottie, her younger brother Buster, and her Granddad Fuller set off on a journey to visit Aunt Euterpe in Chicago during the Fair. Watching Rosie change from a timid and meek country girl to a confident and resourceful young woman is at the heart of this tale. Rosie is so transformed by all she sees and hears at the fair that she can never go back to the life she had before. My favorite part of the book was when the Beckett family gathered up their courage to go on the newly invented Ferris Wheel. I recommend this book for kids in grades 3-6 who are interested in Chicago's history. For all fair lovers galore, read this book!

— Katerina von Helms, 9, Glenview

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