Staff Favorites

Picture Books

Benny's BrigadeBenny’s Brigade
By Arthur Bradford
Ages 5-105

When Sisters Theo and Elsie find a wiggly nut outside, the pry it open and are met with the gratitude of a miniature walrus who is quite pleased they had saved him. Wacky and wonderful, this McSweeny’s children’s book is sure to please quirky children and adults alike. ERYCA

A Beginner's Guide to Bear SpottingA Beginner’s Guide to Bear Spotting
By Michelle Robinson
Ages 3-7

This hilarious outdoor adventure follows a young hiker on his perilous journey through bear country! Check out this bear-y silly title today! CHELSIE

 

 

Cat NapCat Nap
By Toni Yuly
Ages 0-4

Cat wants to sleep but kitten wants to play. With cat. How can cat cope?! ALLISON

 

 

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Poetry

This is Just to SayThis Is Just to Say: Poems of Apology and Forgiveness
By Joyce Sidman, Illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski
Ages 8-12

When the kids in Mrs. Merz’s 6th grade class have to write their own apology poems, they end up liking them enough to put them together in a book. By turns poignant and hilarious, This Is Just to Say is a heartfelt collection of apology and response poems sure to delight fans of Wonder, Love That Dog and Because of Winn Dixie. CHELSIE

 

 

How I Discovered PoetryHow I Discovered Poetry
By Marilyn Nelson
Ages 9 & up

Many young people probably can’t imagine the 1950’s–a decade of racism and frightening possibilities, but also a time of innovation and progression. Luckily, Marilyn Nelson has created How I Discovered Poetry, a biographical collection of poems that document ten years of her childhood and adolescence. Readers are given a glimpse into her life, and ultimately, a trying time in our nation’s history. ALLISON

 

 

Hip Hop Speaks to ChildrenHip Hop Speaks to Children: A Celebration of Poetry with a Beat
Edited by Nikki Giovanni
All ages

Who says poetry is old-fashioned? Hip Hop Speaks to Children shows that poetry is a living and changing art form. Featuring poets and performers from local stars like Hope Anita Smith to Mos Def and Phife Dawg (RIP). KEVIN

 

 

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Beginning Readers/First Chapter Books

Hilda and the TrollHilda and the Troll
By Luke Pearson
Ages 6 & up, graphic novel

Finally available in paperback, Luke Pearson’s Hilda and the Troll is a lovely fantasy-adventure sure to charm fans of Journey and Amulet alike. CHELSIE

 

 

GhostsIn a Dark Dark RoomGhosts! Ghostly Tales from Folklore and
In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories

By Alvin Schwartz
Ages 6-8

Looking for some good scary stories for the younger set? Look no further than these two compilations by Alvin Schwartz! Both are spooky and will definitely send shivers down your spine, but won’t keep kids up all night. The stories in In a Dark, Dark Room are on the creepier side and include classic stories like “The Night it Rained,” a retelling of the famous “phantom hitchhiker” urban legend and “The Green Ribbon,” the story of a girl named Jenny with a dark secret. Ghosts! is a little better for the faint at heart and ends with “Ghost Get Lost,” a chant designed to get rid of any pesky ghosts that might show up after reading! Happy Hauntings! CHELSIE

 

Cooble Street CousinsThe Cobble Street Cousins: In Aunt Lucy’s Kitchen
By Cynthia Rylant
Ages 6-8

This book is a fun and lighthearted treat, reminiscent of simple summers full of neighborhood adventures. It follows the tale of three cousins who share a room in their Aunt Lucy’s attic for the summer while their parents are away. Each girl has their own dreams and interests: Lily aspires to be a poet, Tess is eying the Broadway stage, and Rosie loves cottages with flowers. It is nice to see each character bring their unique tastes to the table as they work together to start up a cookie company. During this process, they meet some lovely neighbors and get to know them better. This book reminds us that we don’t necessarily need to go far away for a summer adventure- there may be some surprises waiting for you in your own backyard. GRACE

 

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Middle Grade Fiction

How I Became a GhostHow I Became a Ghost
By Tim Tingle
Ages 10 & up

Issac, a young Choctaw boy, begins to have horrible premonitions that foretell the deaths of many of his neighbors. Realizing that these visions are a premonition of his own death, Issac and his family begin one of the most perilous journeys in American history as they are forced onto the Trail of Tears. In a story that is at once, stark, heartfelt, magical and terrifying, Tim Tingle’s How I Became a Ghost will stay with you long after you put the book down. CHELSIE

 

The Girl Who Drank the MoonThe Girl Who Drank the Moon
By Kelly Barnhill
Ages 9-14

In which a story is told of a witch named Xan and a magical child called Luna. In which a perfectly humongous dragon called Fyrian fits in a perfectly tiny pocket. In which a monster named Glerk who is older than the hills and forgets more than he remembers. In which a town forgets itself and loses its light. In which a good boy named Altain becomes a good man and fights a malevolent witch. In which author Kelly Barnhill takes the reader on a magical journey about what we choose to forget or remember. BREIN

 

 

ApolloApollo: The Brilliant One (Olympians #8)
By George O’Connor
Ages 9 & up, graphic novel

The Olympians series continues with this latest installment, Apollo. As always, O’Connor’s strength lies in his ability to make these larger-than-life characters seem as relatable as any mortals. This book is, in a word, “brilliant.” CHELSIE

 

 

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Young Adult Fiction

The NaturalsThe Naturals
By Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Ages 14 & up

The Naturals is a thrilling mystery novel that will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat. Our teenage protagonist, Cassie, is a natural at reading people. So much so, that she is recruited for the trial FBI program for gifted teens. They are only supposed to be helping solve cold cases, but when a serial killer strikes too close to home, Cassie and the other naturals get involved. Too involved. ERYCA

 

 

AudacityAudacity
By Melanie Crowder
Ages 14 & up

For those of us who don’t normally pick up a poetry anthology as light reading, Audacity is the perfect introduction. Written in moving verse, this unique novel follows historical figure Clara Lemlich as she arrives in the Lower East Side of New York City at the turn of the 20th century. While many of us know the story of Clara and her role in the shirtwaist factory strike, Crowder has developed a fictional story of Clara’s hardships not just at work, but of her turmoil and oppression at home. Clara is a Russian Jewish immigrant and with her family she lives in unimaginably poor conditions. She’s expected to not only provide for her family as a factory worker, but to also devote herself to endless housekeeping. The verse format lends itself well to this emotional story and offers a fresh look at the strength and determination of a driven American woman. ALLISON

 

Salt to the SeaSalt to the Sea
By Ruta Sepetys
Ages 14 & up

Expertly researched and beautifully told. Historical fiction mogul Ruta Sepetys is back and this time with a haunting WWII thriller that you’ll never forget! ALLISON

 

 

More Young Adult Fiction


Graphic Novels

Sunny Side UpSunny Side Up
By Jennifer L Holm and Matthew Holm
Ages 9+

Sunny was ready for summer fun with her best friend at the Jersey Shore, instead she ends up on a plane to her grandfather’s retirement community in Florida. It’s a perfect blend of the quirky fun of the duo’s Babymouse graphic novels and the intense drama of Jennifer L Holm’s historical fictions (Turtle in Paradise and Penny from Heaven). CHELSIE

 

 

El DeafoEl Deafo
By Cece Bell
Ages 8 & up

Sweet, funny, and at times uncomfortably honest, El Deafo is author-illustrator Cece Bell’s autobiographical story of growing up hearing impaired. After a bout of meningitis as a young child, Cece is unable to hear and must spend her school days with a heavy and uncomfortable phonic ear strapped to her chest. Burdened with a growing sense of isolation, she struggles to fit in among her neighbors and classmates, and searches to find a true and lasting friendship. El Deafo is a wonderful, heartfelt memoir and an excellent read for any fans of Smile or Wonder. KEVIN

 

RelishRelish, My Life in the Kitchen
By Lucy Knisley
Ages 14 & up

In Relish, a graphic novel memoir/cookbook, Knisley reminisces about growing up in New York City, and upstate New York after her parents’ divorce. Having grown up surrounded by food/ restaurant culture in the city and farm-to-table culture in the country, Knisley has great stories involving food! Besides writing about her family and how food has shaped her life, she also writes about trips she’s taken: from Mexico to Japan to various parts of Europe, and how food played a role in her travels. At the end of each section, she illustrates a corresponding recipe. It’s so many different kinds of books in one, you’ll want to read it again and again! Not to mention, keeping it handy in your own kitchen. Perfect for kids and adults! ERYCA

More Graphic Novels


Mystery/Horror

Deep, Dark & DangerousDeep, Dark and Dangerous
By Mary Downing Hahn
Ages 9-13

Looking for a good ghost story? You’ve got one here with Deep, Dark and Dangerous! Ali is looking forward to spending the summer away from her overbearing mother at Sycamore Lake with her carefree, artistic aunt Dulcie and her adoring little cousin Emma. But then Ali and Emma meet Sissy, a strange, mean-spirited kid who turns Ali’s cousin against her and tries to scare them with stories about the lake. But who exactly is Sissy anyway, and could her stories be more than just campfire tales? Does any of this have to do with the mysterious torn picture Ali found of her mother and aunt at the lake when they were children? Check out Mary Downing Hahn’s best scare yet, Deep, Dark and Dangerous! CHELSIE

 

 

And Then There Were NoneAnd Then There Were None
By Agatha Christie
Ages 8 & up

This book hooked me on the mystery genre for almost a solid year in Junior High. It has everything that you could possibly ask of a whodunit: an inhospitable island setting, a large and oddly terrifying mansion, and a group of eccentric characters who are introduced as strangers but who are all actually connected to each other by an unexpected and potentially fatal set of circumstances. It’s the kind of book that you should read at night before bed. It will keep you up later than you like, but that’s half the fun! KEITH

 

 

Half-Minute HorrorsHalf-Minute Horrors
By Susan Rich and others
Ages 10-13

This incredible anthology brings you over 70 terrifying stories, poems and comics from some of your favorite authors including Dan Gutman, Jon Sciezka, Gail Carson Levine, Pseudonymous Bosch and James Patterson. Each story takes only 30 seconds to read, making this collection of bite-sized horrors a Halloween treat you can enjoy the entire year! BEWARE though, some of these short and shivery stories may be too intense for younger readers. Try reading the first story by Lemony Snicket, it’ll only take half a minute! CHELSIE

 

 

More Mystery/Horror


Biography

Claudette ColvinClaudette Colvin: Twice Towards Justice
By Phillip M. Hoose
Ages 12 & up

Before Mrs. Rosa Parks made history for protesting segregation on Montgomery city buses, there was a fifteen year old girl named Claudette Colvin. Unlike Mrs. Parks, she was not celebrated or praised for her protest and until recently was not to be found in many history books. This book, Claudette Colvin: Twice Towards Justice, chronicles her struggle, beginning with her arrest in 1955 and following her through the landmark 1956 Browder vs Gayle court case and beyond. Through Claudette’s eyes we see the humiliation of living with Jim Crow and get a close look at the battles fought by the NAACP for integration and equality.CHELSIE

 

 

The Mad PotterThe Mad Potter: George E. Ohr, Eccentric Genius
By Jan Greenberg
Ages 7 & up

George E. Ohr, the Mad Potter of Mississippi, was probably not actually insane, but he was most certainly eccentric! Living and working in the American South at the turn of the century, Ohr was an innovative craftsman who produced an astonishing variety of pottery, each one displaying a sense of experimentation and individuality. Self-designated as the ‘Mad Potter’, Ohr was a skilled craftsman, a flamboyant self-promoter, and a bit of an antediluvian hipster. ‘The Mad Potter’ puts Ohr’s visionary talent and larger-than-life personality on display, and examines the life of a true artist and American original.KEVIN

 

 

The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse HawkinsThe Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins
By Barbara Kerley, Illustrated by Brian Selznick
Ages 6 & up

In Victorian England, Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins was an artist and sculptor who became fascinated by the discovery of gigantic animal bones that we now recognize as dinosaur bones. Since no complete dinosaur skeleton had yet been found, scientists of the day used their knowledge of biology to speculate about the construction of these bizarre animals. Hawkins made it his mission to construct life-size models of the creatures to educate and amaze the general public. This superb book traces Hawkins’ efforts, successes, mistakes, and crushing defeats. Engagingly written by Barbara Kerley with Brian Selznick’s lavish illustrations, The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins captures both the excitement and the small-mindedness of the era. Copious endnotes by the author and illustrator expand on the fascinating story of this largely unknown figure. CHERYL

 

 

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Non-Fiction

Human Body TheaterHuman Body Theater
By Maris Wicks
Ages 10-14

This terrifically entertaining and informative book is a great new addition to the classic explorations of the human body for children. Told in graphic novel format with a theater theme, this book will be an essential addition to raising an informed and conscientious child. BREIN

 

 

Nice Work FranklinNice Work Franklin
By Suzanne Tripp Jurmain
Ages 6-10

How one man’s ambition, empathy and resilience enabled Americans to work past their fears to surmount the Great Depression. MARCELA

 

 

House That Jane BuiltThe House that Jane Built
By Tanya Lee Stone
Ages 5-10

An amazing picture book showing the importance of service and community.KEVIN

 

 

More Non-Fiction


Mythology/Folktales

Cupid & PsycheCupid & Psyche
By M. Charlotte Craft, illustrated by K.Y. Craft
Ages 8 & up

M. Charlotte Craft and her mother K.Y. Craft have come together and recreated my favorite myth to perfection (well, as perfect as any abridged story can be). K.Y. Craft’s illustrations are truly something to behold and complement her daughter’s retelling of Cupid & Psyche’s story of love, envy, and betrayal. This is definitely a picture book for the “older crowd” and whether a fan of mythology or not a fan, the beautifully illustrated Cupid and Psyche can be enjoyed by anyone, except those who hate good stories.ANGIE

 

 

Empty PotThe Empty Pot
By Demi
Ages 4 & up

Demi’s The Empty Pot is a stunning Chinese folktale about integrity. The emperor announces an unusual test to choose his heir. Getting flower seeds to sprout is the simple task. A year later Ping returns with an empty pot, but he is rewarded!DIANE