Book of Acts


GENRE: Religious Text

SUMMARY: The Book of Acts, Luke’s second writing, opens with Jesus saying farewell to the apostles before returning to heaven to sit in his rightful place as King. Before leaving them, Jesus commissions the Apostles with the task of taking the good news of the salvation of Jesus Christ and spreading it throughout the world. He tells them that the Holy Spirit will provide them with the ability to accomplish this task. The rest of the book is a record of how the Holy Spirit worked through the Apostles in telling everyone about Jesus. In his final words to the Apostles, before he returned to heaven, Jesus outlined what would happen next. He said to them,

“It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  Acts 1:7-8, NIV

The Prince Warriors and the Swords of Rhema

AUTHOR: Priscilla Shirer

GENRE: Fantasy Fiction, Adventure Fiction, Christian Fiction, Religious Fiction

SUMMARY: In this third book of The Prince Warriors trilogy, the Prince Warriors finally receive their last piece of armor—the swords they were promised when they began their adventure in the unseen realm of Ahoratos. And none too soon, for they must face the ultimate enemy, one who is gathering his Forgers and creating unthinkable new evil to stop the Prince Warriors from winning any battle ever again.

Yours Truly

AUTHOR: Heather Vogel Frederick

GENRE: Mystery

SUMMARY: Even Truly Lovejoy has to admit that teeny-tiny Pumpkin Falls, New Hampshire, has its charms—like the annual maple festival, where tourists flock from all over to sample the local maple syrup, maple candy, maple coffee, and even maple soap! But when someone tries to sabotage the maple trees on her friend Franklin’s family farm, Truly has to rally the Pumpkin Falls Private Eyes to investigate.

Meanwhile, she uncovers another, more personal mystery under the floorboards of her very own home—a diary written centuries ago by her namesake, the original Truly Lovejoy…and it might just prove her family’s ties to Pumpkin Falls run deeper than anyone ever could have imagined.

2020 SALT Tournament Postponed

The second annual Salem Area Literature Tournament, originally scheduled for Saturday, April 4, 2020, has been POSTPONED due to Governor Kate Brown’s executive order regarding the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. The order prohibits large gatherings and places restrictions on social distancing over the next four weeks. You can find more details about the mandate here. The SALT Board of Directors will review options for resuming the tournament at a later date. We will send email notifications to coaches, and update the website, as new information becomes available.

Final Book List for 2019-2020

We are so excited to get started for the school year! The official reading list for 2019-2020 is here:

  • Absolutely Truly Heather Vogel Frederick
  • Book of Nehemiah NIV Bible
  • Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate
  • Listening for Lions by Gloria Whelan
  • Mary Poppins Comes Back by P.L. Travers
  • Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis
  • Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
  • Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan
  • The Prince Warriors and the Unseen Invasion by Priscilla Shirer
  • The Van Gogh Deception by Deron Hicks
  • What Was the Underground Railroad? by Yona Zeldis McDonough
  • Wonder by R.J. Palacio
  • Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes (5th-6th Grade Division Only)
  • Quinny & Hopper by Adriana Brad Schanen (5th-6th Grade Division Only)
  • Soul Surfer by Bethany Hamilton (5th-6th Grade Division Only)
  • The Twenty-One Balloons by William Péne du Bois (5th-6th Grade Division Only)

Brief details for each book can be found here on the website.

Please remember that we have a mandatory coaches meeting scheduled for Thursday, September 19, 2019. Join us at 4:00 pm in the Salem Academy Elementary Library. If you are unable to attend, please contact us so we can make alternate plans to get you the current information you will need for starting up your SALT program this fall. 

The Van Gogh Deception

AUTHOR: Deron Hicks

GENRE: Mystery


Two kids race around a city on a wintry night, tangling with elite operatives and foiling a crime they don’t understand. In contemporary Washington, D.C., an unidentified man tries to evade goons in a parking garage. A roughly-12-year-old boy sits on a bench in the National Gallery of Art, alone, struck with amnesia. (This amnesia’s a plot device, not psychological realism.) Art—his name?—knows nothing about himself but everything about art history. Criminal mastermind Dorchek Palmer and his highly skilled covert criminal operatives will do anything to protect their sale of a forged van Gogh, including hacking and erasing security footage across the city—and kidnapping Art and 10-year-old Camille, Art’s friend from emergency-placement foster care.

Mary Poppins Comes Back

AUTHOR: P.L. Travers

GENRE: Fantasy

SUMMARY: Pulled down from the clouds at the end of a kite string, Mary Poppins is back. In Mary’s care, the Banks children meet the King of the Castle and the Dirty Rascal, visit the upside-down world of Mr. Turvy and his bride, Miss Topsy, and spend a breathless afternoon above the park, dangling from a clutch of balloons.

Quinny & Hopper

AUTHOR: Adriana Brad Schanen

GENRE: Fiction

SUMMARY: When eight-year-old Quinny Bumble and her family move from New York City to “middle of nowhere” Whisper Valley, she hits the town like a tornado, rushing in to find action the second they pull into the driveway. Hopper Grey, Quinny’s shy neighbor, is frequently picked on by his two older brothers and happiest alone in his room building models. As rambunctious, talkative Quinny introduces Hopper to the joys of spraying his older brothers with the hose and trying to save a stray chicken named Freya, he discovers that life beyond his bedroom can be pretty great. When school approaches, Hopper fears Quinny will discover he’s a friendless loser, but it’s Quinny who struggles as third grade begins, while Hopper begins to come into his own.

The Twenty-One Balloons

AUTHOR: William Péne du Bois

GENRE: Fiction

SUMMARY: In this story, a sixty-six-year-old retired arithmetic teacher decides to take a hot-air balloon trip around the world in an effort to get away from everyone. Halfway around the globe, however, he becomes stranded on a volcanic island that is about to experience a massive eruption. The fantasy of The Twenty-One Balloons is built around an actual historic event—the massive volcanic eruption that destroyed the Pacific island of Krakatoa in 1883. But there the connection with history ends. The Professor discovers that the inhabitants of the island have established a unique, Utopian society, which he seeks to understand. Threatened with destruction, the Professor and the inhabitants must cooperate and discover a way to escape the island before the final explosion.


AUTHOR: Holly Goldberg Sloan

GENRE: Fiction

SUMMARY: Always considered short for her age, Julia is used to being picked last for sports teams in school, even by her closest friends, and is self-conscious enough of her height that she never uses the dreaded S-word. Her outlook changes, however, when her mother forces her to audition for the local university’s summer-theater production of The Wizard of Oz, in which she is cast as the lead Munchkin dancer. Chance friendships with her neighbor Mrs. Chang, a costuming genius, and Olive, an adult cast mate who is her exact size, help transform Julia’s summer from one of grudging obligation into an inspirational experience that enables her to put her own insecurities into perspective. Sloan combines Julia’s interior monologue with events in real time to create a winning portrait of an inquisitive white adolescent girl whose shrewd observations of family members and cast mates reveal a keen mind and a delightfully quirky sense of humor. Her musings about the play also serve as a well-crafted introduction to theater terminology and convey drama’s ability to open participants up to new experiences.

Soul Surfer

AUTHOR: Bethany Hamilton

GENRE: Non-Fiction

SUMMARY: They say Bethany Hamilton has saltwater in her veins. How else could one explain the passion that drives her to surf? How else could one explain that nothing—not even the loss of her arm—could come between her and the waves? That Halloween morning in Kauai, Hawaii, Bethany responded to the shark’s stealth attack with the calm of a girl with God on her side. Pushing pain and panic aside, she began to paddle with one arm, focusing on a single thought: “Get to the beach….” And when the first thing Bethany wanted to know after surgery was “When can I surf again?” it became clear that her spirit and determination were part of a greater story—a tale of courage and faith that this soft-spoken girl would come to share with the world.

Soul Surfer is a moving account of Bethany’s life as a young surfer, her recovery after the attack, the adjustments she’s made to her unique surfing style, her unprecedented bid for a top showing in the World Surfing Championships, and, most fundamentally, her belief in God. It is a story of girl power and spiritual grit that shows the body is no more essential to surfing—perhaps even less so—than the soul.


AUTHOR: Katherine Applegate

GENRE: Fiction, Fantasy

SUMMARY: Hunger is a constant for soon-to-be fifth-grader Jackson and his family, and the accompanying dizziness may be why his imaginary friend is back. A giant cat named Crenshaw first appeared after Jackson finished first grade, when his parents moved the family into their minivan for several months. Now they’re facing eviction again, and Jackson’s afraid that he won’t be going to school next year with his friend Marisol. When Crenshaw shows up on a surfboard, Jackson, an aspiring scientist who likes facts, wonders whether Crenshaw is real or a figment of his imagination. Jackson’s first-person narrative moves from the present day, when he wishes that his parents understood that he’s old enough to hear the truth about the family’s finances, to the first time they were homeless and back to the present. The structure allows readers access to the slow buildup of Jackson’s panic and his need for a friend and stability in his life. Crenshaw tells Jackson that “Imaginary friends don’t come of their own volition. We are invited. We stay as long as we’re needed.” The cat’s voice, with its adult tone, is the conduit for the novel’s lessons: “You need to tell the truth, my friend….To the person who matters most of all.”

Absolutely Truly

AUTHOR: Heather Vogel Frederick

GENRE: Fiction, Mystery

SUMMARY: Truly Lovejoy, or Drooly as her brother calls her, tries to stay under the radar. But she’s nearly six feet tall and sporting size 10.5 shoes, so being overlooked is impossible.

When her father loses an arm to an IED in Afghanistan, the family is yanked from their first home in Austin and plunked into tiny, duller-​than-dull Pumpkin Falls, New Hampshire. The move is supposed to be good for her dad, but Truly struggles with being displaced. A bright spot is getting to know her colorful and perky Aunt True, who begins to work with Truly’s dad to make over the 100-year-old family bookstore. The whole town soon comes together to turn the bookstore into something wonderful. While working in the store, Truly finds a cryptic message stuck inside a copy of Charlotte’s Web. Soon she finds that chasing clues is more intriguing than dwelling on being “stuck” in Pumpkin Falls.

Partial Book List for 2019-2020

We are so excited to jump into our second season of SALT. Here are the first eight books on our 2019-2020 reading list:

  • Book of Nehemiah NIV Bible
  • Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis
  • Wonder by R.J. Palacio
  • The Prince Warriors and the Unseen Invasion by Priscilla Shirer
  • Listening for Lions by Gloria Whelan
  • What Was the Underground Railroad? by Yona Zeldis McDonough
  • Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
  • Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes (5th-6th Grade Division Only)

The first eight books we’ll be diving into are listed with details here on the website. Thank you for your suggestions and we hope you enjoy some great summer reading. Watch for the remaining eight books to be announced in August.

2020 SALT Tournament Date

We’re excited to announce that the second annual Salem Area Literature Tournament will be held at Salem Academy on Saturday, April 4, 2020. Our website’s tournament clock has been set so you can enjoy the anticipation! Get details about the SALT tournament here. Please remember to check the website throughout the summer for other important information and dates you will want to mark on your calendars.