Staff Book Picks: September

Voices in St. Augustine 3D-bookVoices in St. Augustine
Written by Jane R. Wood
ISBN: 9780979230455
Paperback Retail Price: $8.99

Thirteen-year-old Joey Johnson hears voices. Only he can’t find the people who belong to them. His curiosity leads him on a quest where he learns more than just history about the Nation’s Oldest City. He discovers he has a special connection to the past—something that changes his life forever.


Written by Crystal White and Illustrations by Mark Wayne Adams
ISBN: 978-061585-316-1
Pages: 36
Hardbound Retail Price: $14.95

Franny’s Rescue is a beautiful children’s book complete with vibrant illustrations and educational resources for both parents and teachers, not to mention an exciting and heartfelt story.

Franny is a scrappy little dog living on the streets, never knowing where her next meal will come from. She finds herself in all sorts of danger as she prowls the town in search of food and shelter: People, cars, other creatures! One day Franny finds herself in a situation she can’t handle on her own. Who will help her in her struggle to survive?

At the end of the story the author (a 20-year reading teacher) has included a small nonfiction section describing the characteristics of the breeds featured in the story. This is also an excellent resource for the teaching or review of text features. There is also a section for parents describing activities they can do with their children to enhance reading skills. These activities can be used with any text.


Jaces Adventure in the Forbidden Forest-3D
Jace’s Adventure in the Forbidden Forest

Written by Diane Harper
ISBN: 9780984873630
Paperback Retail Price: $4.99

It’s the first day of summer vacation. Jace and his best friend, Rocco, are anxious to get to the park to play catch. Their ball accidentally goes into the Forbidden Forest. Jace goes in to look for it and he gets lost. Two young dinosaurs named Ribney and Ryder are in the forest and help Jace find his way home. But before they do, Jace helps the dinosaurs with a big problem they have!

Review: Jace’s Adventure in the Forbidden Forest

Jaces Adventure in the Forbidden Forest-3D

What young reader doesn’t like an adventure? And Jace certainly has one when he enters the Forbidden Forest to retrieve a lost baseball. His best friend Rocco urges him not to go, but Jace thinks he can go right in, and come right back out. But that does not happen, and that’s where his adventure begins.

Jace is initially scared when he encounters two dinosaurs—a Tyrannosaurus Rex, and a baby Pterodactyl who hasn’t yet learned to fly. His fears are soon dismissed, and the story becomes one of friendship and caring. Jace helps his new friends solve some problems, and they help him find his way home again.

But more importantly, Jace learns that things aren’t always what they seem to be, and that just because you come from a different place, you can still be friends with someone who is not like you. When Jace returns to the real world, he shares his journey with Rocco and they change the name of the Forbidden Forest to the Friendly Forest.

Chapter books, like Jace’s Adventure in the Forbidden Forest, provide teachers with an opportunity to reinforce some basic standards, like: identify details in text including who, what, when and where; identify words and images that evoke feelings such as happiness or surprise; and identify characters, settings, main problem, and sequence of events in fiction.

Another meaningful discussion could include how people from diverse backgrounds can make contributions. Even though dinosaurs are not human beings, they can be a metaphor for people from different cultures, stimulating a discussion about ethnic diversity and not judging a book by its cover. Jace learns that lesson during his visit to this magical place.

D.W. Harper includes simple illustrations adding a touch of whimsy to this engaging story.

Reviewed by:

Jane R. Wood is the author of Schools: A Niche Market for Authors and an award-winning series of chapter books: Voices in St. AugustineAdventures on Amelia IslandTrouble on the St. John’s RiverGhosts on the Coast, and Lost in Boston.


Teacher Resources for Jane’s Books

Wood-Author Bio Media: