Mercer Reads

  • Louisiana's Way Home

    by Kate DiCamillo Year Published: 2018

    2019

    When Louisana Elefante's granny wakes her in the middle of the night to tell her that the day of reckoning has arrived and they have to leave home immediately, Louisiana isn't overly worried.  After all, Granny has many middle-of-the-night ideas.  But this time, things are different.  This time, Granny intends for them never to return.  Separated from her best friends, Raymie and Beverly, Louisiana struggles to oppose the winds of fate (and Granny) and find a way home.  But as Louisiana's lifebecomes entwined with the lives of the people of a small Georgia town-including a surly motel owner, a walrus like minister, and a mysterious boy with a crow on his shoulder-she starts to worry that she is destined only for good-byes.  (Which could be due to the curse on Louisiana's and Granny's heads.  But that is a story for another time.) 

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  • Wishtree

    by Katherine Applegate Year Published: 2017

    2018

    Red is an oak tree who is many rings old. Red is the neighborhood "wishtree"—people write their wishes on pieces of cloth and tie them to Red's branches. Along with her crow friend Bongo and other animals who seek refuge in Red's hollows, this "wishtree" watches over the neighborhood.

    You might say Red has seen it all. Until a new family moves in. Not everyone is welcoming, and Red's experiences as a wishtree are more important than ever.

    Funny, deep, warm, and nuanced, this is Katherine Applegate at her very best—writing from the heart, and from a completely unexpected point of view.

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  • Fish in a Tree

    by Lynda Mullaly Hunt Year Published: 2017

    2017
    Ally has been smart enough to fool a lot of smart people. Every time she lands in a new school, she is able to hide her inability to read by creating clever yet disruptive distractions.  She is afraid to ask for help; after all, how can you cure dumb? However, her newest teacher Mr. Daniels sees the bright, creative kid underneath the trouble maker. With his help, Ally learns not to be so hard on herself and that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of. As her confidence grows, Ally feels free to be herself and the world starts opening up with possibilities. She discovers that there’s a lot more to her—and to everyone—than a label, and that great minds don’t always think alike.

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  • Crenshaw

    by Katherine Applegate Year Published: 2015

    2016
    Katherine Applegate delivers an unforgettable and magical story about family, friendship, and resilience.
    Jackson and his family have fallen on hard times. There's no more money for rent. And not much for food, either. His parents, his little sister, and their dog may have to live in their minivan. Again.
    Crenshaw is a cat. He's large, he's outspoken, and he's imaginary. He has come back into Jackson's life to help him. But is an imaginary friend enough to save this family from losing everything?

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  • Flora and Ulysses

    by Kate DiCamillo Year Published: 2013

    2015
    It begins, as the best superhero stories do, with a tragic accident that has unexpected consequences. The squirrel never saw the vacuum cleaner coming, but self-described cynic Flora Belle Buckman, who has read every issue of the comic book Terrible Things Can Happen to You!, is the just the right person to step in and save him. What neither can predict is that Ulysses (the squirrel) has been born anew, with powers of strength, flight, and misspelled poetry—and that Flora will be changed too, as she discovers the possibility of hope and the promise of a capacious heart. 

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  • The One and Only Ivan

    by Katherine Applegate Year Published: 2012

    2014
    Katherine Applegate celebrates the transformative power of unexpected friendships. Inspired by the true story of a captive gorilla known as Ivan, this illustrated novel is told from the point-of-view of Ivan himself.
    Having spent 27 years behind the glass walls of his enclosure in a shopping mall, Ivan has grown accustomed to humans watching him. He hardly ever thinks about his life in the jungle. Instead, Ivan occupies himself with television, his friends Stella and Bob, and painting. But when he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from the wild, he is forced to see their home, and his art, through new eyes.

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  • Pie

    by Sarah Weeks Year Published: 2013

    2013
    When Alice's Aunt Polly, the Pie Queen of Ipswitch, passes away, she takes with her the secret to her world-famous pie-crust recipe. Or does she? In her will, Polly leaves the recipe to her extraordinarily fat, remarkably disagreeable cat, Lardo . . . and then leaves Lardo in the care of Alice.
    Suddenly, the whole town is wondering how you leave a recipe to a cat. Everyone wants to be the next big pie-contest winner, and it's making them pie-crazy. It's up to Alice and her friend Charlie to put the pieces together and discover the not-so-secret recipe for happiness: Friendship. Family. And the pleasure of doing something for the right reason.

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  • Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things

    by Lenore Look Year Published: 2009

    2012
    Alvin, an Asian American second grader, is afraid of everything—elevators, tunnels, girls, and, most of all, school. He’s so afraid of school that, while he’ s there, he never, ever, says a word. But at home he’s a very loud superhero named Firecracker Man, a brother to Calvin and Anibelly, and a gentleman-in-training, so he can be just like his dad.

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  • The Candymakers

    by Wendy Mass Year Published: 2011

    2012
    In the town of Spring Haven, four children have been selected to compete in the national candymaking contest of a lifetime. Who will make a candy more delicious than the Oozing Crunchorama or the Neon Yellow Lightning Chew?
    This sweet, charming, and cleverly crafted story, told from each contestant's perspective, is filled with mystery, friendship, and juicy revelations.

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  • Emily's Fortune

    by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor Year Published: 2011

    2011
    Emily Wiggins is poor and timid, without a drop of self-confidence. When unexpectedly orphaned, she is left all alone except for her turtle, Rufus. What in blinkin' bloomers should Emily do? Emily's neighbors, Mrs. Ready, Mrs. Aim, and Mrs. Fire, have the answer. Emily must travel by stagecoach to honorable Aunt Hilda. What a hootin', tootin' grand idea! But Miss Catchum of the Catchum Child-Catching Services will get a big bonus for making Emily live with her next of kin, vicious Uncle Victor. How in ding dong dickens will Emily escape Miss Catchum? It will take all the gumption and cunning of fellow orphan and traveler, Jackson, to help Emily find her confidence, conniving spirit, and the truth behind why Uncle Victor wants to claim her. But how in flippin' flapjacks will Emily outsmart Uncle Victor?

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  • How to Steal a Dog

    by Barbara O'Connor Year Published: 2009

    2010
    Georgina Hayes is desperate. Ever since her father left and they were evicted from their apartment, her family has been living in their car. With her mama juggling two jobs and trying to make enough money to find a place to live, Georgina is stuck looking after her younger brother, Toby. And she has her heart set on improving their situation. When Georgina spots a missing-dog poster with a reward of five hundred dollars, the solution to all her problems suddenly seems within reach. All she has to do is "borrow" the right dog and its owners are sure to offer a reward. What happens next is the last thing she expected.

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  • Masterpiece

    by Elise Broach Year Published: 2010

    2009
    Marvin lives with his family under the kitchen sink in the Pompadays' apartment. He is very much a beetle. James Pompaday lives with his family in New York City. He is very much an eleven-year-old boy. After James gets a pen-and-ink set for his birthday, Marvin surprises him by creating an elaborate miniature drawing. James gets all the credit for the picture and before these unlikely friends know it they are caught up in a staged art heist at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that could help recover a famous drawing by Albrecht Dürer. But James can't go through with the plan without Marvin's help. And that's where things get really complicated (and interesting!). This fast-paced mystery will have young readers on the edge of their seats as they root for boy and beetle.

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  • Each Little Bird That Sings

    by Deborah Wiles Year Published: 2006

    2008
    Ten-year-old Comfort Snowberger has attended 247 funerals. But that's not surprising, considering that her family runs the town funeral home. And even though Great-uncle Edisto keeled over with a heart attack and Great-great-aunt Florentine dropped dead--just like that--six months later, Comfort knows how to deal with loss, or so she thinks. She's more concerned with avoiding her crazy cousin Peach and trying to figure out why her best friend, Declaration, suddenly won't talk to her. Life is full of surprises. And the biggest one of all is learning what it takes to handle them.

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  • Because of Winn-Dixie

    by Kate DiCamillo Year Published: 2001

    2007
    One summer's day, ten-year-old India Opal Buloni goes down to the local supermarket for some groceries – and comes home with a dog. But Winn-Dixie is no ordinary dog. It's because of Winn-Dixie that Opal begins to make friends. And it's because of Winn-Dixie that she finally dares to ask her father about her mother, who left when Opal was three. In fact, as Opal admits, just about everything that happens that summer is because of Winn-Dixie.

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  • The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

    by Kate DiCamillo Year Published: 2006

    2006
    Once, in a house on Egypt Street, there lived a china rabbit named Edward Tulane. The rabbit was very pleased with himself, and for good reason: he was owned by a girl named Abilene, who adored him completely. And then, one day, he was lost. . . . 
    Kate DiCamillo takes us on an extraordinary journey, from the depths of the ocean to the net of a fisherman, from the bedside of an ailing child to the bustling streets of Memphis. Along the way, we are shown a miracle – that even a heart of the most breakable kind can learn to love, to lose, and to love again.

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  • The Tale of Desperaux

    by Kate DiCamillo Year Published: 2003

    2005
    Welcome to the story of Despereaux Tilling, a mouse who is in love with music, stories, and a princess named Pea. It is also the story of a rat called Roscuro, who lives in the darkness and covets a world filled with light. And it is the story of Miggery Sow, a slow-witted serving girl who harbors a simple, impossible wish. These three characters are about to embark on a journey that will lead them down into a horrible dungeon, up into a glittering castle, and, ultimately, into each other's lives. What happens then? As Kate DiCamillo would say: Reader, it is your destiny to find out. 

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