Dive into reading!

Island Readers & Writers, a nonprofit based in Southwest Harbor, strives to instill a love of reading and learning among children living in coastal Maine. The organization shared a few of the many books on its “2019 Winter Book List.” To learn more, visit islandreadersandwriters.org.

“Sunny Rolls the Dice,” by Jennifer L. Holm; illustrated by Matthew Holm (Grades 3-7).

It’s the 1970s: A new game called D&D (Dungeons & Dragons) has captured the country while teen magazines give tips on how to be super groovy.

Middle-schooler Sunny isn’t sure why her best friend suddenly seems interested in nothing but makeup, designer jeans and boys.

When a new group of friends welcomes Sunny into weekly adventures of swordplay and monster slaying, tough decisions need to be made. What do you do when what brings you joy makes your best friend feel totally “un-groovy”?

“Sunny Rolls the Dice” proves that no matter the decade, middle school is a challenge and friends are worth fighting for.



“Infinite Hope: A Black Artist’s Journey from WWII to Peace by Ashley Bryan (Grades 5-6).

The last line of Ashley’s latest book, an autobiography and original artwork of his war experiences, reads: “what is life if not a voyage of endless discovery.”

All of us who have been privileged to be in his presence know that this man is full of love and life, inspired to share his discoveries and creations. But until now readers of Ashley’s award-winning poetry, legends, and illustrated books for children and adults have known little of his time in the Army. Ashley takes us with him on that long-past journey, when he encounters segregation for the first time, through his time as a stevedore in Scotland to Omaha Beach on D-Day. He sketched constantly during this time and those drawings figure in the book, along with letters and text, to give readers a close-up of his fellow soldiers, others he encountered, and himself — best of all.

“King Alice,” by Matthew Cordell (Preschool-Kindergarten).

Alice is stuck indoors with her family on a snowy day. How is she supposed to entertain herself and her family all day long? Through stories, of course! King Alice (as she prefers to be called)

plans to write a book filled with tales of Alice the king, a damsel in distress, pirates and more. Kids will delight in Alice’s adventures and parents will relate to the grown-ups, who endure her antics during a long day stuck indoors

“Dead Voices,” by Katherine Arden (Grades 5-6).

Ollie, Coco and Brian are looking forward to a fun ski trip at the newly renovated Mount Hemlock Lodge. Soon, strange figures start appearing, nightmares feel real, and something doesn’t seem right about those stuffed creatures in the lobby.

After narrowly escaping the smiling man in the cornfield just a few months prior, Ollie, Coco and Brian will need to rely on their quick wit and fierce friendship to survive what the lodge holds in store. A terrifying and fun follow-up to “Small Spaces,” reuniting with the three tweens and their supernatural encounters is a pure delight.

“A Slip of a Girl,” by Patricia Reilly Giff (Grades 5-9).

Anna tries to save her family’s farm as their British landlords want to drive small Irish farms out so they can raise the more profitable sheep.

Anna’s older siblings emigrate to America but Anna stays to fulfill a promise to her dying mother to fight to keep the farm. She takes care of her special needs younger sister as they struggle with starvation, cold and exhaustion, as well as the British. Written in free verse, this is the story of a strong girl during the Irish Land War of the late 19th century.

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