Youth Services Staff Picks
Check out some of the books our children's librarians been reading and enjoying! You'll find our reviews of books for kids and adults. Enjoy!
When a Wolf Is Hungry by Christine Naumann-Villemin
Summary: “When Edmond Bigsnout, a lone wolf, sets out to satisfy his craving for a city rabbit, his efforts are foiled by apartment dwellers who think he is a new neighbor.”
Kate’s Thoughts: A truly funny picture book that parents will love as much as kids do. I love the dark sense of humor, and the way Edmond Bigsnout’s animal nature is at odds with his polite elegance. Well written, perfect pacing, and a little bit of danger -- with a happy ending.
Old Hat by Emily Gravett
Summary: “After buying one outrageous hat after another in an attempt to keep up with the latest fashions set by his teasing animal friends, Harbet the dog learns that true happiness comes from being yourself.”
Kate’s Thoughts: A lighthearted and funny book about the fruitlessness of trend-hopping. Colorful and engaging illustrations, and a very lovable dog protagonist, add to the fun. A useful book for anyone struggling with peer pressure, or just anyone who needs a chuckle.
Thank You, Earth: A Love Letter To Our Planet by April Pulley Sayre
Summary: “A love letter to the Earth shares striking photographic images from around the world that introduce such concepts as nature and science. Water, air, light. Patterns, curves,most thankful for?”
Kelly’s Thoughts: Here is yet another gorgeous, evocative book by one of my heroes, April Pulley Sayre. I try to bring science and nature into my storytimes whenever I can, so I'm always on the look out for books like this. Share the love and respect for nature with your child with this beautiful new book!
The Antlered Ship by Dashka Slater
Summary: “An inquisitive fox named Marco and a bored flock of pigeons join the crew of deer Captain Sylvia, setting sail in her antlered ship in search of a wonderful island and finding friendship on the way.”
Adelle’s Thoughts: Oh my goodness! The illustrations in this book are over-the-top beautiful! I fell in love with the Fan Brothers’ art in The Night Gardner, but they may have outdone themselves with this new title. From the muted landscapes, to the detailed animal faces, they get everything right. And, who doesn’t love map endpapers? Themes of both curiosity and friendship make the story equaling appealing.
It’s Springtime, Mr. Squirrel! by Sebastian Meschenmoser
Summary: “It's springtime and bees, flowers, and love are in the air! When Mr. Squirrel's friend, the hedgehog, catches sight of an attractive lady hedgehog, he isn't sure what to do to win her heart. What a stroke of luck that he has a friend like Mr. Squirrel, who can help him.”
Kelly’s Thoughts: The art: whimsical. The message: whimsical. The book: whimsical. I ooh-ed and aw-ed (as in awesome artwork!) and giggled through the whole thing. Take it out and see if you can come up with some different adjectives!
All Paws On Deck by Jessica Young
Summary: “Tank is a clumsy, outgoing Great Dane, and Haggis is a bored, curmudgeonly Scottie--so one afternoon Tank suggests they turn the wagon in the backyard into a ship and play pirate.”
Cassie’s Thoughts: This is a wonderful series for young readers beginning chapter books and graphic novels. It’s just plain hilarious and in this one, much of the humor is full of puns and teaches homophones.
Refugee by Alan Gratz
Summary: “Although separated by continents and decades, Josef, a Jewish boy living in 1930s Nazi Germany; Isabel, a Cuban girl trying to escape the riots and unrest plaguing her country in 1994; and Mahmoud, a Syrian boy in 2015 whose homeland is torn apart by violence and destruction, embark on harrowing journeys in search of refuge, discovering shocking connections that tie their stories together.”
Kelly’s Thoughts: This book has very intense stories of family, love, extreme hardship and loss, so take care when sharing with your child. The age recommendation is grades 5 – 7. Reading it made me even more determined to support immigrants and their families than ever before.
Where’s Halmoni? by Julie Kim
Summary: “Searching for their missing grandmother, two Korean children follow tracks into a fantastic world filled with beings from folklore who speak in Korean.”
Adelle’s Thoughts: This story is enchanting and the illustrations are amazing, but perhaps my favorite part is the last page featuring the images of the Korean folklore beings exactly as they appear within the story without the Korean characters; the creatures are featured with English translations. Children can read through while making up their own story and then reread, flipping back and forth to read the book as the author intended. The author includes notes in the back about the Korean folktale characters encountered in the story. A fun introduction to a little Korean culture.
Her Right Foot by Dave Eggers
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Summary: “The author of This Bridge Will Not Be Gray shares engaging historical facts about America's emblematic Statue of Liberty, revealing how the story of the Statue's right foot has become powerfully representative of the country's foundations upon the principles of acceptance and diversity.”
Cassie’s Thoughts: I was choked up by the end of this book and my 5 year old asked me to read it all again right away! This stunning and moving portrait of the Statue of Liberty and the foundations of our amazing country is marvelous. It’s an essential reminder and a must read for all families.
Libba: The Magnificent Musical Life of Elizabeth Cotten by Laura Veirs
Summary: “Elizabeth Cotten was only a little girl when she picked up a guitar for the first time. It wasn't hers (it was her big brother's), and it wasn't strung right for her (she was left-handed). But she flipped that guitar upside down and backwards and taught herself how to play it anyway. By age eleven, she'd written "Freight Train," one of the most famous folk songs of the twentieth century. And by the end of her life, people everywhere from the sunny beaches of California to the rolling hills of England knew her music.”
Kate’s Thoughts: We are very lucky to see so many fantastic children’s biographies coming out year after year. This is one of my new favorites. I loved this lyrical, loving story of folk icon Elizabeth “Libba” Cotten. I like how this book celebrates Libba’s resiliency and unique style. I also appreciate the message that a person can blossom at any age – Libba comes into her own as a musician in her later years. We need reminding of that more often! Soft illustrations have an old-time feel without seeming dated. An inspiring story suffused with love.
Picks for Parents (because it's great for kids to see you reading!)
Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Summary: “This look at the near future presents the story of Offred, a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, once the United States, an oppressive world where women are no longer allowed to read and are valued only as long as they are viable for reproduction."
Sarah’s Thoughts: After watching the Hulu series, I was inspired to reread the classic and fell in love with it again. It was chilling to read it during our current political climate, but the writing just draws you into the Republic of Gilead and the suffering and strength of Offred.