About admin

teacher, librarian, chess instructor, author, storyteller, expert on boys and reading. Email me at mike@talestoldtall.com.

Sports and History

Andrew Maraniss. Games of Deception: The True Story of the First U.S. Olympic Basketball Team at the 1936 Olympics in Hitler’s Germany (Philomel, 2019)

Follows the game of basketball from its invention to the first Olympic tournament 45 years later, set against the harrowing backdrop of of the rise of the Nazis in Germany and Hitler’s attempt to use the 1936 Berlin Olympics to sell the world on the accomplishments of his brutal regime. The story flows from the racism athletes faced, not just in Germany but the United States as well, to the burning question of the day: should, or even can, sports and politics be separated? Can a bunch of factory and odd-jobs workers take the court at the worlds greatest sports event and just play ball?


Blast Off!

Marty Kelley. Experiment #256 (Sleeping Bear Press, 2019)

It’s a science experiment gone… well, Marty Kelley, not wrong, just really goofy. Why think it through when you can can, say, strap a rocket to your dog’s back and see what happens? not fun for the dog, grandma, the neighbors, and the garden gnome, but great fun for us.


Four Legs and the Heart of a Hero

Alison Hart, illustrated by Michael G. Montgomery. Leo, Dog of the Sea. 1519-1521. (Peachtree, 2018) [Dog Chronicles #3]
Leo has everything that a great explorer needs, courage, resourcefulness, a vital skill that will help his fellow explorers survive a dangerous journey into an unknown world, four legs… Wait, what? Yes, where would an expedition on a wooden sailing ship be on a three-year voyage without a faithful rat dog? Not that Ferdinand Magellan, the great Captain General of the voyage, concerns himself with such matters. He is focused on an impossible goal. In the early 1500′s is it even possible to sail a ship around the world?

Fake It Till You Make It

Craig Robinson and Adam Mansbach, art by Keith Knight. Jake the Fake Keeps It Real. (Crown Books for Young Readers, 2017)
What’s harder than faking your way into an exclusive Arts school? Out weird-ing the weirdos there long enough to stay!

Run Free!

David Trifunov. Free Runner. (Lorimer, 2018)
It’s called free running, or the sport of parkour, and we have all been amazed by it either in online videos or TV commercials, with runners flipping off of walls, sprinting down railings, bouncing over dumpsters, and clearing walls at full speed. Free Runner takes you into the blood-pumping, sweat=flying reality of street level parkour in a short, intense story, where the action comes first… and second and third. Let fly, and to get in the mood, check out this video:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vfoyY9lshI.



Are You Scared, Darth Vader?

Adam Rex. Star Wars: Are You Scared, Darth Vader? (Disney, 2018)
Are you scared of ghosts, Darth Vader? Is it the ghost of Obi-Wan Kenobi? Yoda? Then no, Darth Vader isn’t afraid of ghosts, or… what? Can you guess before the last page is turned? For all the little Star Wars fans out there, and all the big ones that will be reading it to them.

Take to the Woods!

Justin and Gary VanRiper. The Adirondack Kids [Series]
Mixing action, humor, mystery, and a whole lot of the great outdoors, The Adirondack Kids shows off the best of regional fiction. If you are from the Adirondacks, you’ll be thrilled to see places, people, and animals that hit close to home. If you live in a city, well, here is your doorway into a world of bears, minxes, huge fish, skunks, eagles, and moose, with some bad guys, local legends, and buried treasure to boot. Quick reads and fast-moving stories from a land that was just made for kids.

#1 – The Adirondack Kids
#2 – Rescue on Bald Mountain
#3 – The Lost Lighthouse
#4 – The Great Train Robbery
#5 – Islands in the Sky
#6 – The Secret of the Skeleton Key
#7 – Mystery of the Missing Moose
#8 – Escape From Black Bear Mountain
#9 – Legend of the Lake Monster
#10 – The Final Daze of Summer
#11 – The Fall of Fort Ticonderoga
#12 – The Pond Hockey Challenge
#13 – The Carousel Case, the Bicycle Race & the Blackfly Bad Guy
#14 – Journey Into the Land of Makebelieve
#15 – Mystery Under the Midnight Moon – A Collection of Short Stories
#16 – The Outlaws of Cascade Falls
#17 – Spies on Castle Rock & the Secrets of the Secret Code