Texas Bluebonnet Award 2014-2015

Resources for the TBA Nominees

Rebel McKenzie

Ransom_Rebel McKenzie

Rebel McKenzie
by Candice Ransom

Scroll down to find Related Activities & Resources, Book Talk Teasers, Read Alikes, and Book Reviews.

Readers Theater Script – Rebel McKenzie (PDF)


Publisher’s website:

Author’s website:


American Museum of Natural History–Paleontology: The Big Dig: http://www.amnh.org/explore/ology/paleontology

National Park Service–Paleontology Lessons:

National Park Service Kid’s Stuff–This page is designed especially for kids. This is the place to find games, activities, books, and other fun ways to learn about paleontology: http://nature.nps.gov/geology/nationalfossilday/kids.cfm

National Park Service–National Fossil Day is October 15, 2014 http://nature.nps.gov/geology/nationalfossilday/activities.cfm#jrranger

(October is anti-bullying prevention month.)

Disney Friends for Change “Bullying Prevention Action Kit”: http://a.dolimg.com/friendsforchange/interim/pdfs/FFC13-BullyPrevention-ActionKit-FINAL-WEB-093013.pdf

Education World–Lessons and worksheets on bullying:

Nickelodeon Anti-bullying page:

PACER – Anti-bullying educational activities:



Read chapter 1 and end on page 6 with “Skeeter won the bet.”


Other books by Candice Ransom (Author Appeal):

The day of the black blizzard. Ten-year-old Orry Jenkins and his stepsister Mildred find themselves in the middle of a huge dust storm. (NoveList)

Finding day’s bottom. After her father dies, eleven-year-old Jane-Ery slowly finds healing through her relationship with her grandfather and their rural Virginia home. (NoveList)

Iva Honeysuckle meets her match. Soon-to-be eleven-year-old Iva Honeycutt, her cousin Heaven, and their families are going to Stingray Point on the Chesapeake Bay for a short vacation, and Iva is eager to explore and discover something–like just who the mysterious Mr. Smith upstairs is. (NoveList)

Maggie L. Walker: Pioneer banker and community leader. Retells the life and career of Maggie L. Walker, who founded the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank, the first bank established specifically for African Americans. (NoveList)

Night of the hurricane’s fury. In 1900, while visiting his aunt in Galveston, Texas, ten-year-old Robert Pettibone is washed into swirling floodwaters when a hurricane takes the town by surprise.

Secret in the tower. (Time spies series) When Alex discovers an old spyglass, he and his two sisters find themselves back in time in the middle of the Revolutionary War where they meet George Washington. (NoveList)

Seeing sky-blue pink. Although fearful at first, eight-year-old Maddie soon begins to enjoy living in the country and getting to know her new stepfather. (NoveList)

Other issue-oriented books (Subject Appeal):

Carmichael, Clay. Wild things. Stubborn, self-reliant, eleven-year-old Zoe, recently orphaned, moves to the country to live with her prickly half-uncle, a famous doctor and sculptor, and together they learn about trust and the strength of family. (NoveList)

Franklin, Kristine L. Lone wolf. When a large family moves into the house near where he and his father live in the woods, Perry’s friendship with the oldest girl helps him come to terms with his sister’s death and his parents’ divorce. (NoveList)

Grimes, Nikki. The road to Paris. Inconsolable at being separated from her older brother, eight-year-old Paris is apprehensive about her new foster family but just as she learns to trust them, she faces a life-changing decision. (NoveList)

Lombard, Jenny. Drita, my homegirl. When ten-year-old Drita and her family, refugees from Kosovo, move to New York, Drita is teased about not speaking English well, but after a popular student named Maxine is forced to learn about Kosovo as a punishment for teasing Drita, the two girls soon bond. (NoveList)

Other character-driven novels (Storyline Appeal):

Henkes, Kevin. Bird Lake moon. Twelve-year-old Mitch and his mother are spending the summer with his grandparents at Bird Lake after his parents separate, and ten-year-old Spencer and his family have returned to the lake where Spencer’s little brother drowned long ago, and as the boys become friends and spend time together, each of them begins to heal. (NoveList)

McDonald, Megan. Judy Moody and the not bummer summer. Judy’s big plans for the summer seem ruined when two of her best friends go away, and then her parents leave her and Stink with Aunt Opal, but a new “thrill-a-delic” plan has her racing toward fun. (NoveList)

McDonald, Megan. Stink: solar system superhero. When Stink discovers that Pluto has been downgraded from a planet to a dwarf planet, he launches a campaign in his classroom to restore its status to that of a full-fledged member of the solar system. (NoveList)

Patron, Susan. The higher power of Lucky. Fearing that her legal guardian plans to abandon her to return to France, ten-year-old aspiring scientist Lucky Trimble determines to run away while also continuing to seek the Higher Power that will bring stability to her life. (NoveList)

Another feel-good novel (Tone Appeal):

Bosak, Susan V. Something to remember me by. As time goes on, a grandmother and her granddaughter each give the other something to remember them by. (NoveList)


★Rebel McKenzie. By Candice Ransom. 2012. 288p. Disney/Hyperion, $16.99 (9781423145394). Gr. 4–6. (Booklist, June 1, 2012).

Twelve-year-old Rebel McKenzie, who is practically a paleontologist, sees her summer take an unexpected turn when, instead of attending the Ice Age Kids’ Dig and Safari, she is commandeered to babysit her young nephew, Rudy. Having relocated to the Grandview Estates “mobile community” with Rudy and his beauty-school-student mom, Rebel stumbles upon a plan to raise money for camp; she will win the Frog Level Volunteer Fire Department’s beauty pageant. How hard can that be for the most interesting person on the Grandview Estates? With a cast of characters that includes a 21-pound Siamese cat who can pee in a toilet, a former hand model, a seven-year-old who picnics with God at lunchtime, and an up-and-coming pageant contestant and her mother—who act as if they live in Buckingham Palace as opposed to a trailer park—Rebel is hardly surrounded by bores. Everyone is worth knowing in this rich and funny book. While Rebel learns a thing or two about loyalty, family, and empathy, her sharp-as-a-tack wit and boatload of sass guarantees that no lesson is delivered with a heavy hand. Like a blueberry Slurpee on a scorching hot day, Rebel McKenzie is perfect for summer, when everything can go right, even if nothing goes as planned.— Kara Dean

Horn Book:
Ransom, Candice Rebel McKenzie
280 pp. Hyperion 2012. ISBN 978-1-4231-4539-4
(4) 4-6 Rebel gets stuck baby-sitting for her sister Lynette’s son Rudy in a Virginia mobile home community instead of spending her summer at paleontology camp. She enters a pageant in hopes of winning the money to attend; she ends up learning more about Lynette and Rudy, a new friend, and herself than expected. Southern quirkiness abounds throughout the mildly amusing but unsurprising tale. (Fall 2012 Guide) Reprinted from The Horn Book Guide by permission of The Horn Book, Inc., www.hbook.com

School Library Journal:
Ransom, Candice F. Rebel McKenzie

Gr 4–7—As her name suggests, Rebel McKenzie does not like taking “no” for an answer. When her mom tells her she can’t afford to send her to the Ice Age Kids’ Dig, the 12-year-old plans to take a Greyhound to the summer camp. Unfortunately, she misses the bus and when a policeman returns her home her parents ground her for the rest of the summer. Her older sister, Lynette, saves Rebel by inviting her to move into the nearby “Grandview Estates” (a trailer park) and watch her seven-year-old nephew while Lynette attends beauty school. Rebel is still obsessed with making money and attending camp the following summer so she can fulfill her dream of becoming a paleontologist. She finds a friend in Lacey Jane and an enemy in beautiful and bossy Bambi. When Rebel learns that Bambi has recently won $500 in a beauty contest, she signs up for the Frog Level Volunteer Fire Department’s beauty contest. After all, how hard can it be? Luckily, an elderly neighbor agrees to tutor Rebel and Lacey Jane in all things pageant related. Humorous southern euphemisms abound; Rebel’s “Field Notebook” entries, beauty quizzes and articles, and cartoon panels are interspersed throughout. The story never gets weighed down by the many issues facing the characters. Rebel is a likable protagonist who certainly knows how to dream big, and this novel will make a fresh addition to summer reading lists.—Alison O’Reilly, Cutchogue New Suffolk Free Library, Cutchogue, NY


One thought on “Rebel McKenzie

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