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Kid Tested, Librarian Approved: Fire & ice

Wildfires, floods, hurricanes, the Artic glaciers melting away due to global warming, a young boy’s brave challenge to be just who he is and two frosty fantasies full of icy beasties and adventure – these books have it all! 

Two Degrees by Alan Gratz 

Two Degrees starts at a crazy heart-pounding pace, and it does not stop, ever! This book yells in your face, “Global warming is no joke so wake up people, time is running out!”     

Akira is in California trying to outrun a wildfire on her horse Dodger. The fire grows unbelievably fast. At times they are surrounded by trees igniting like matchsticks and must run through the flames. Can they get to safety and Akira’s family? 

Owen and George are best friends living in Churchill, Manitoba, where it is normal to see a polar bear. Climate change has created warmer temperatures, totally messing up polar bears' cycle of life and they are now spending more time on land. So, yep, Owen and George have a close encounter with a polar bear, and it is a long haul to survival.  

Natalie is in a Miami hurricane, pulled out of her home by crashing waves of floodwaters. With her neighbor’s chihuahua Churro tucked in her arms they try to survive this horrible storm. Will it ever stop?    

While reading this book I found myself saying out loud, “Oh no, not again!” “Look out!” “Where did that polar bear come from?!?” “Swim, swim, swim!” “Go faster!” It moves quickly. Blink and you will miss something. At the end I felt hopeful for the future of our earth. There are so many people of all ages getting together expressing their concern and sharing “stop global warming” ideas.  

Brave Like That by Lindsey Stoddard 

Cyrus Olson was left on the steps of the firehouse when he was just a baby. He announced his arrival by screaming louder than any firetruck siren in the town of Northfield. His dad is one of Northfield’s brave firemen and a football star. Now everyone thinks Cyrus is going to grow up to be just like his dad, but he doesn’t feel brave like that. 

Cyrus likes to watch football but does not like to play it. He wants to adopt the stray dog that was whimpering at the firehouse door, dumped off just like him 11 years ago, but dad has a no-pet rule. Cyrus is in sixth grade and would like to be able to read an entire book, but he can’t. He would like to fit in, but he doesn’t feel brave like that. 

You will cheer Cyrus on as he learns to become his own person. With the help of Parker, the little stray dog, some music in his soul, family and new friends, Cyrus discovers he is exactly brave like that.    

Wildfire by Rodman-Philbrick 

Twelve-year-old Sam Castine’s summer camp is being evacuated. Buses are loading and the wildfire is still far enough away that it can’t be seen. Sam realizes he left his phone at the camp and runs back to get it. Then it happens. Boom! Heat blast, trees exploding and suddenly there is a wall of fire that makes it impossible to get back to the buses. Now it’s time to run as fast as he can. 

Sam pulls out all the survival skills his late father taught him. Wildfires can spread super-fast, so you must keep moving. Fortunately, Sam is quick thinking, “Use your brain or die, that’s the rule.” That is just what he does with the help of an abandoned, crazy mind of its own, old military jeep and a newly found friend, 14-year-old Delphy who was left behind at a girl’s camp.

Sam and Delphy are so brave. You will take a big sigh of relief when they are finally out of danger.  You might think nothing else weird is going to happen and then – What?!? Are you kidding?!? More danger.   

At the end of the book there are safety tips and info about wildfires. 

The Miraculous Sweetmakers: The Frost Fair by Natasha Hastings 

The Great Frost came in 1683, covering all of London and giving 13-year-old Thomasina a chance to make her life normal again. 

Thomasina’s mom and dad have not been the same since her twin brother, Arthur, died 4 years ago. She so badly wants her family back to the way it was. While selling sweets by the frozen river with her good friend, Anne, the two make plans to find the magical Frost Fair that only happens at night. If they find it Father Winter must grant a wish. Thomasina’s wish is for her brother to come back to life. They do find Frost Fair plus all kinds of trouble too. Frost beasts, frost wolves, Frost Folk and Father Winter. He sure isn’t what they expected.  

This is a wonderful, fantastical book about friendship and love and finding your way through grief.  There are many twists and turns. Read it with a friend and a big cup of hot cocoa and marshmallows. Not the little ones, they melt too fast, get the big marshmallows.  

Voyage of the Frostheart by Jamie Littler 

Ash is a Song Weaver. Not a welcome talent for a young man to have growing up in the frozen world of the Fira people. He is exiled from the Fira Stronghold for singing to the monsters that live under the snow and ice, along with his yeti guardian Tobu. Ash wants to find his parents who disappeared on a Pathfinder adventure. He manages to get a ride on the great sleigh, Frostheart that is captained by a walrus, Captain Nuk, and other misfit crew members. They go on a perilous journey filled with bizarre creatures. 

I really enjoyed Ash’s fantastic journey. It has everything – battles, adventure and mystery. He strives so hard to control his Song Weaving talents and develops great friendships along the way with very worthy characters.  

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