At your next party, have each person bring an unwanted item from his home. Have a contest to see who can think of the best way to reuse the item in a piece of jewelry, sculpture, or in a new way you can think up. Have parents be the judges.
Middle School to Young Adult Books
Theme: Creative Trades: Bargaining, Bartering, Swapping, and Re-using
Artemis Fowl - (ISBN: 978-1423124528)
by Eoin Colfer
The brilliant Artemis Fowl plans to kidnap a fairy and exchange her for gold to save his shady family from plunging into obscurity. An amazing cast of characters turns up to save the fairy and entertain readers, including satyrs, trolls, dwarfs, fairies and other goblin types. Do not be fooled into thinking this is a traditional “fairy tale,” however, since the use of technology adds lots of kick to the plot with gadgets galore. Will the powers of evil win? Read it and see. Try other books featuring the treacherous but dazzling genius!
Neverwhere - (ISBN: 978-0060557812)
by Neil Gaiman
Richard Mayhew’s attempt to help a battered girl named Door escape the murderers who did away with her family leads him to a shadowy underground world with all new rules. They cannot escape and return to the real city until they deal with former Londoners who have succumbed to the world below. These include a marquis who demands more than money and a powerful female hunter. Try this fantasy novel if you enjoy books you cannot put down.
Shakespeare Makes the Playoffs - (ISBN: 978-0763644352)
by Ron Koertge
This appealing book offers some new kinds of exchange: e-mail, poetry writing, and experiments with using new subjects in traditional poetic forms. Shakespeare, a baseball player, communicates electronically with his new friend Amy, but he also writes in the new daybook he got from his father. The author does a great job of creating a young male character that is an accomplished poet as well as a busy athlete.
The Story of Blue Eye - (ISBN: 978-1894345781 )
by Tyler Trafford
The history of Western Canada in the early 1800’s provides the backdrop for this historical re-creation of a young Native American who starts a trading post where the native and Anglo cultures meet, both physically and metaphorically.
Vintage Veronica - (ISBN: 978-0375859236)
by Erica Perl
Sixteen-year-old Veronica does for bargain clothing stores what Versace does for glamour handbags. This tale follows an overweight girl who can create haute couture from the pile of items the store’s dump slot shoots onto the floor. No haughty teen is too big of a challenge for the savvy Veronica as she creates original combinations of second hand treasures. Check out the “thrift” stores in your community for materials to create something new. Maybe start from the floor of your closet!