Skip to main content

The Short Seller by Elissa Brent Weissman, 250 pp, RL 5

The Short Seller is the newest book from Elissa Brent Weissman, author of Nerd Camp, Standing for Socks and The Trouble with Mark Hopper. What I love about all of Weissman's books is that she finds a way to take the ordinary, everyday life of most middle-school age kids and from this spin an exciting story with great characters. In Nerd Camp, a soon-to-be-step-brother makes main character Gabe take a different look at his visit to the Summer Center for Gifted Enrichment. In Standing for Socks, when Fara mistakenly wears two differently patterned socks to school, the kids and teachers think she is making a statement and she is catapulted into popularity and a position of power that she's not sure she wants. The Trouble with Mark Hopper finds two very different boys, both named Mark Geoffrey Hopper, who cross swords, metaphorically, mostly, when their schedules get mixed up the first day of school. In The Short Seller Weissman gives us Lindy Sachs, middle schooler with two best friends who don't really like each other, and an advanced math class that is making her life miserable.

Howe, who's dad owns Sweet Escape bakery, bristles and leaves the room every time Lindy's new friend Steph, a transplant from Arizona to New Jersey, is around. Maybe it's because Steph insists on calling him Howard, or maybe it's because it seems like she only thinks about clothes and her new smart phone and taking quizzes from magazines. Either way, Lindy is definitely feeling torn between the two. And miserable about her seeming inability to keep up in her advanced math class. But, before she can attack either problem, she finds herself in bed for weeks with a diagnosis of mononucleosis. At first, Lindy just wants to sleep all day. But, when her dad asks her to go online and make a stock trade for him while he is at work, Lindy is happy to help. In fact, Lindy takes a real interest in the stock market after her dad and her new math tutor, a former stockbroker, explain a few things to her. Lindy is so intrigued that her dad gives her $100 to invest and manage on her own and her grandmother sends her books on learning how to play the market.

Lindy tries to keep in touch with Steph and Howe by email during her long time absence, but communications are limited and she can tell things are changing with her friends. When Steph invites Lindy to join her a new group of friends from her ice skating class (a class Lindy was supposed to be in before she got mono) at a concert that costs $100 a ticket, Lindy thinks about using her stock money after her mother tells her it is too expensive. But then Lindy remembers the seemingly large chunk of money in her parents' stock market portfolio. Lindy has doubled her own money quickly making day trades. Why can't she do the same with her parents' money without them even knowing it? Things don't go quite as Lindy planned and she finds herself in very hot water with disaster imminent. There are some very tense moments in The Short Seller and, just when things seem to be looking up for Lindy, the stock market and her social life, the plot takes a turn I did not see coming! Once again, Weissman has taken the known and inserted an element of unknown into into her plot, making The Short Seller a very relatable and also exciting read!


Popular posts from this blog

Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedforddescribes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how hisWhat I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford'sWhat I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kidsthat you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!


How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers

How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers remains the most read post on my blog since I wrote it in 2012. Because of this, I have cleaned up this post, tightened the writing and added in any pertinent information that has come about since it originally ran. When I first started in August of 2008, I was scrambling for content, finding my purpose and my voice and not always doing my best writing. How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers was one of the first articles I wrote and, as a bookseller and a book reviewer, and now as an elementary school librarian where I have gone from working with kids reading well beyond their grade level to kids reading well below, this philosophy remains my organizing principle and central focus when reading and recommending books to parents and children. 

In the interest of my mission and the attention this article continues to receive, I have updated and expanded this article and included a guide to using …

POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, paper engineering by Ruth Wickings, illustrations by Frances Castle RL: All ages

POP-UP:  Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!!  I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper.  I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right wa…