By Knopf

Reviewed for Fifth Grade, 2010

12-year-old Linus has always been a scaredy-cat. But when he and his parents move to Liberia along with his older (and cooler) brother Law, there's more reason than ever to freak out ... especially since the first thing he sees in Africa is the deadly black mamba snake. But Linus is determined to start over fresh, and that means taking some chances: like asking a girl out, speed-skating down a hill, and facing the snake that seems to follow him everywhere. Set in Liberia in the 1980's, Mamba Point sneaks in some culture and historical references to give kids a snapshot of another world. Written in a funny, approachable voice that every kid can relate to, this entertaining story about growing up and reinventing oneself is sure to please. (Knopf, $16.99)