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Best new books for kids

This season's best new reads for third through fifth graders.

By Susan Freinkel

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Liesl & Po

By Lauren Oliver

Ages: 8 and up

Locked away by her conniving stepmother since her father’s death, Liesl lives in a tiny attic room. Her only companions are mice and shadows. Then one day Po — a ghost from the Other Side  — comes to help Liesl take her father’s ashes home. The two become friends and Po helps her escape. They soon collide with Will, an alchemist’s apprentice who sets them all on a dangerous course when he mixes up the box containing the ashes of Liesl's father with one holding "the Most Powerful Magic in the World." Part fairy-tale, part adventure story, Liesl and Po ($11.19) shows how generosity can conquer greed and how friendship can brighten even the darkest of places.

Bottom line: Older elementary schoolers and young tweens will appreciate the fairy-tale elements and clearly drawn lines between good and evil.

Next:  Wildwood »

Susan Freinkel is the author of Plastic: A Toxic Love Story and has written for the New York Times, Discover, Smithsonian, Real Simple, and other national publications.

Comments from GreatSchools.org readers

11/28/2011:
"It is well written, but it needs more details. "
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