Staff Favorites: Mystery/Horror

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

 

 

How Angel Peterson Got His NameHow Angel Peterson Got His Name
By Gary Paulsen
Ages 5 & up

Every 13-year-old boy should read this book. There, I said it. Fifty years before the term “Extreme Sports” became overused and outdated, Gary and his friends invented it. Ever borrow a quarter to wrestle a bear to impress a girl? That is in this book. Ever try to shoot a barrel down a waterfall? They got it covered. Almost electrocuted? Check. And they did it with no sports trainers, no Gatorade, and (sorry Mom and Dad) no helmets. While the events in this book are extreme, Gary recounts his wild days like we were all in his living room for a fireside chat. Some of the events may be slightly embellished, but they all happened. I also recommend this book to all the adults out there who (self included) have forgotten how to enjoy the outdoors. No Playstation, no ipods, and no internet. But please, don’t try this at home. ANTHONY

 

 

Jean Laffite: The Pirate Who Saved AmericaJean Laffite: The Pirate Who Saved America
By Susan Goldman Rubin, Illustrated by Jeff Himmelman
Ages 2-5

A picture book biography of a man who was both a pirate and a patriot. The book is filled with fascinating facts about the life of Jean Laffite and the pirate culture, including how piracy was sanctioned by governments as an act of aggression against their enemies. Raised by his Jewish grandmother in Port-au-Prince, Jean Laffite’s hatred of Spain was fueled by her tales of the mistreatment of the Jews by Spain. The pirates of the Caribbean had many Jews in their lot, and by the time Jean was sixteen he had joined his brothers in a life or privacy, flying under the French flag and capturing Spanish ships. Jean Laffite: The Pirate Who Saved America, is filled with accounts of his life at sea, as a favorite citizen of New Orleans, his participation in the slave trade, and a hero in the War of 1812. SHARON

 

 

Temple GrandinTemple Grandin: How the Girl who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World
By Temple Grandin and Sy Montgomery
Ages 9-13

Using extensive research and interviews with Temple Grandin herself, Montgomery does an excellent job of showing how Temple’s autism gave her the unique perspective that allowed her to reimagine the treatment of livestock. This book also does an excellent job of explaining what living with Autism is like and the important role Temple’s teachers and family played in her development. A remarkable story about a remarkable woman.CHELSIE