Category Archives: Books

Nightlights

Nightlights by Lorena Alvarez

Every night, tiny stars appear out of the darkness in Sandy’s bedroom. She catches them and creates wonderful creatures to play with until she falls asleep, and in the morning brings them back to life in the whimsical drawings that cover her room.  One day, Morfie, a mysterious pale girl, appears at school. And she knows all about Sandy’s talent and her drawings.

First- this graphic novel has amazing illustrations! If you don’t want to read it, just pick it up to look at the pictures! Second- it was a creepier story than I thought it would be. I can’t wait to read the next one!  Look for it in our Juvenile Graphic Novels under
J GRAPHIC ALVAREZ.

 

~am

Mighty Jack

Mighty Jack by Ben Hatke

Mighty JackJack might be the only kid in the world who’s dreading summer. But he’s got a good reason: summer is when his single mom takes a second job and leaves him at home to watch his autistic kid sister, Maddy. It’s a lot of responsibility, and it’s boring, too, because Maddy doesn’t talk. Ever. But then, one day at the flea market, Maddy does talk–to tell Jack to trade their mom’s car for a box of mysterious seeds. It’s the best mistake Jack has ever made. What starts as a normal little garden out back behind the house quickly grows up into a wild, magical jungle with tiny onion babies running amok, huge, pink pumpkins that bite, and, on one moonlit night that changes everything…a dragon.

This graphic novel is a cool new twist on Jack and the Beanstalk. Lots of adventure and a little bit of magic makes me want to read the next book in the series! This book is recommended for grades 5-7. Look for it in our Juvenile Graphic Novels under J GRAPHIC HATKE. 

 

~am

Book Review: Lily and Dunkin

Today we recommend: Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart
lily and dunkin

Lily Jo McGrother, born Timothy McGrother, is a girl. But being a girl is not so easy when you look like a boy. Especially when you’re in the eighth grade.
Dunkin Dorfman, birth name Norbert Dorfman, is dealing with bipolar disorder and has just moved from the New Jersey town he’s called home for the past thirteen years. This would be hard enough, but the fact that he is also hiding from a painful secret makes it even worse. 
One summer morning, Lily Jo McGrother meets Dunkin Dorfman, and their lives forever change. 

For readers who enjoyed Wonder and Counting by 7’s , award-winning author Donna Gephart crafts a compelling dual narrative about two remarkable young people: Lily, a transgender girl, and Dunkin, a boy dealing with bipolar disorder. Their powerful story will shred your heart, then stitch it back together with kindness, humor, bravery, and love.

You can find Lily and Dunkin can be found in the Juvenile Fiction section at J GEPHART.

Book Review: Dear Hank Williams

jacketThis week I finished reading Dear Hank Williams by Kimberly Willis Holt.

When the teacher assigns a pen pal project to the class, 11-year-old Tate chooses the soon to be famous (in then, 1948) country western musician Hank Williams.  She writes him letters throughout the school year, sharing everything about her life in Louisiana.  She writes about her little brother and her dog, her talented mother- who is in jail, and her own dreams of becoming a famous singer.

Imagine a time before the internet and social media. A time when you had maybe one chance to hear your favorite singer on the radio, and if you missed it, you had to wait another day or another week to hear them again.  There is a lot to learn about what life was like in a post-WWII southern town. Writing and mailing letters and looking out for your favorite radio program made me think of how different things are today!  If you like historical fiction or classic country western music, try Dear Hank Williams.  If you can, I also recommend reading it with some Hank Williams music playing in the background.  Maybe you’ll become as big a fan as Tate!

You can find this book in the Juvenile Fiction section at J HOLT!

Book Review: Secrets of a Civil War Submarine

civil war subToday we recommend: Secrets of a Civil War Submarine: Solving the Mysteries of the H. L. Hunley by Sally M. Walker.

When the Union blockade of all ports in the South stopped supplies from reaching the Confederate Army, Horace L. Hunley decided to create a submarine that would be able to sneak up on enemy ships and blow them up. After many years of trial and error, the H. L. Hunley actually succeeded in sinking the USS Housatonic in February of 1864. But the submarine never returned to port, and her crew perished in the Charleston Harbor. This book presents the history of the Civil War submarine the H.L. Hunley, including the construction, mysterious sinking, recovery, and restoration.

This book was the 2006 winner for the Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal. This book hooked me right from the start, and the numerous pictures, sketches, and maps made it easy to picture the submarine. This book is perfect for those interested in the Civil War or archaelogy. It is a great nonfiction book packed with information that avoids being dry or dull. You can find it in the Juvenile Nonfiction section at j973.757 WALKER or as an audiobook in the Juvenile Audiobook section j973.757 WAL.

Book Review: Finding Wonders

This week I read: Finding Wonders by Jeannine Atkins.finding-wonders.jpg

A biographical novel in verse of three different girls in three different time periods who grew up to become groundbreaking scientists.

I really enjoyed this book. The poems cover the lives of three female scientists: Maria Merian who studied caterpillars and metamorphosis, Mary Anning who studied fossils, and Maria Mitchell who studied the night sky looking for comets. This was a quick read, each chapter is written as a short poem. The language and description are beautiful. If you like poetry I recommend checking out this book!  Look for this book in our Juvenile Fiction section at the call number J ATKINS.

The Bicycle Spy by Yona Zeldis McDonough

 

  • If you love bike riding and bicycle racing this book is for you.  Twelve-year-old Marcel loves riding his bike, and dreams of competing in the Tour de France, but it is 1942 and the Nazis have occupied his homeland.  It is his job to deliver bread from his parents’ bakery around Aucoin, France.  One day while making deliveries, he discovers that it is more than just pastries and bread he is delivering.  Suddenly finding himself with a heavy and dangerous secret, one that could send many people to prison including his new friend Delphine, Marcel must skillfully maneuver between the world of ordinary citizens and the world of the French resistance.

 

Book Review: The Girl Who Drank the Moon

This week I finished reading The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill.girl-who-drank-moon

An epic fantasy about a young girl raised by a witch, a swamp monster, and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon, who must unlock the powerful magic buried deep inside her. Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest to keep her from terrorizing their town. But the witch in the forest, Xan, is kind and gentle and rescues the babies. One year, Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight instead of starlight, filling the ordinary child with extraordinary magic. Xan decides she must raise this enmagicked girl, whom she calls Luna, as her own. Meanwhile, a young man from the Protectorate is determined to free his people by killing the witch. Soon, it is up to Luna to protect those who have protected her–even if it means the end of the loving, safe world she’s always known.

The Girl Who Drank the Moon was 2016’s Newbery Award Winner, and is a good book for anyone who likes very detailed fantasy novels. This book has a slower pace but the question of who exactly is spreading the rumors about the evil witch will keep you reading to the end of the novel. You can find this book in the Juvenile Fiction section at J Barnhill.

Book Review: The Crystal Ribbon

This week I read The Crystal Ribbon jacket
by Celeste Lim.

Li Jing is an 11 year-old girl with a special connection to the village guardian, the Great Golden Huli Jing- a five-tailed fox.  The family farm isn’t doing well, so they sell her as a bride to the 3 year-old son of the Guo family in another city.  Sadly, her new life is not what her family thought it would be. As her situation worsens, she realizes that the only thing to do is escape.  

This magical story had me hooked right away and I was desperate to know what would happen to dear Li Jing!  It also had me wondering: could I be that brave?  Would I be able to leave my family for a new life I knew would be awful, to save them?  Look for this book in our New Juvenile Fiction collection under the call number J LIM.

 

 

~am

Book Review: Ungifted

This week we recommend: Ungifted by Gordon Korman.

ungifted

Here is an offbeat, humorous tale about Donovan, a student who finds himself in the most unexpected place.  After accidentally destroying the school gym, he is scared stiff to face the punishment. However, due to a mix-up in the school administration office, his name is placed on the list for the local school for gifted students.

Read Ungifted to discover how Donovan “might” just surprise everyone with his special talents. You can find Ungifted in the Juvenile Fiction section at J KORMAN or as a book on CD in our Audiobook section at jCD FIC KORMAN.