Staff Picks 4 Kids Category: Non-fiction

Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery and Other Haunted Places of the Midwest by Matt Chandler

Cover image for Bachelor's Grove Cemetery and other hauntings of the midwestImagine taking a walk in the woods and coming upon an old cemetery. It’s by a pond that is covered in algae and it looks as if no one has been there in a very long time. It’s quiet, but kind of creepy, and you think that maybe you are not alone. That is exactly what happens when you visit Bachelor’s Grove cemetery in the southwest suburbs of Chicago. This eerie cemetery supposedly has many ghosts and is just one location in this book. If cemeteries aren’t creepy enough, there are haunted houses, theaters, and even the Great Lakes. Do you believe in ghosts? Either way, this book has some fun information about the area where we live and is really fun to read.

Book reviewed by Laura B. Youth Technology Librarian

Kid Pickers: How to Turn Junk into Treasure by Mike Wolfe

Cover image for Kid pickers : how to turn junk into treasureHave you ever heard the saying, “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure?” It basically means that the things you don’t want or like could be wanted by someone else. This book is all about that. Mike Wolfe is from the show, American Pickers, which airs on the History Channel. In this show, Mike goes around finding items that some people consider junk and he either buys them or is given them. He then cleans them up and sometime sells them. What this show doesn’t tell you is that Mike has been doing this since he was a kid. It started with old bikes, cigar boxes, and comic books, and it soon grew to more items. This book is great resource for learning how to pick items and will help you either begin a collection or start a new one. Mike explains places you can go to find items, how to research the item, and even how to re-purpose the item into something new. I especially liked reading about the repurposing of items. I also liked that each chapter ends with a kid picker and their collection. So check out this book to start your picking and have a fun summer doing an interesting activity outside.

Book reviewed by Laura B. Youth Technology Librarian

The Boy Who Fell Off the Mayflower or John Howland’s Good Fortune by P.J. Lynch

Cover image for The boy who fell off the Mayflower or John Howland's good fortuneThis longer non-fiction picture book immerses the reader in the early life of John Howland, an indentured servant who, in the year 1620, sailed across the ocean on the Mayflower with his master to become one of the first settlers in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The incredibly rich illustrations and  first-person narrative detailing the unbelievable challenges he faced will easily capture your attention.  Who doesn’t enjoy a true tale of survival?

Book reviewed by Amy M., Youth Services Assistant

Out of the Woods: A True Story of an Unforgettable Event by Rebecca Bond

Cover image for Out of the woods : a true story of an unforgettable eventOut of the Woods, by Rebecca Bond, is an amazing story. It is a true tale written about an event that took place during the childhood of the author’s grandfather. Living in the deep woods of Ontario, Canada, five-year-old Antonio grew up in his family’s hotel. It was surrounded by thick forest of trees. It was also surrounded by numerous wild animals, like foxes, bobcats, deer, bears, and even more. A lot of people lodged there, including lumberjacks (people who cut down trees), fisherman, and hunters. Then one day, because of a tragic event, something amazing happened. I have never heard of such an incredible thing! Open this good book to read about an unforgettable experience. I wish I could have been there!

Book reviewed by Darice C., Youth Services Assistant

The 50 States: Explore the U.S.A. with 50 Fact-Filled Maps! by Gabrielle Balkan

Cover image for The 50 states : explore the U.S.A. with 50 fact-filled maps!This over-sized gem is so much more than an atlas. Each of the 50 states is featured and the beautifully illustrated pages include key facts about the states  and moments to remember from each state’s history. Inspiring people from all the states are included, some well-known, others that may be new to young readers. Did you know that the Jackson, MS Children’s Museum has a giant Scrabble Board or that there is a Rattlesnake Museum in Albuquerque, NM? Take a picture book road trip through the United States with this fantastic book.

Book reviewed by Amy S., Youth Outreach and Programming Assistant

Enormous Smallness: A Story of E.E. Cummings by Matthew Burgess

Cover image for Enormous smallness : a story of E. E. CummingsThis sweet picture book biography tells the story of poet E.E. Cummings.  Edward Estlin Cummings grew up in Cambridge, MA and had an idyllic childhood, perfect for inspiring creativity and poetry.  Edward saw beauty in his surroundings and with support from his teachers and family, he created poems at a young age and continued creating poetry his whole life. This beautifully illustrated biography takes the reader through the life of E.E. Cummings and intersperses his poems throughout the book.  It is a lovely book to read for anyone looking to see the beauty around them.

Book reviewed by Amy S., Youth Outreach and Programming Assistant

Robbers: True Stories of the World’s Most Notorious Thieves by Andreas Schroeder

Cover image for Robbers! : true stories of the world's most notorious thievesThis is a great book to read if you are looking for something that you can put down sometimes and then come back to it later, and that is because each chapter is about a different person and there are some great comic style pictures throughout the book. While this is a nonfiction book, it reads more like fiction. Have you ever heard of a thief who stole a painting and then, rather than sell it for money, held onto it or the illustrious career of Arthur Barry, the classiest thief in Manhattan? Well, if you are interested in these characters as well as bank robbers and others, check Robbers out. Warning: Do not attempt these feats in your lifetime, just read about them.

Book reviewed by Laura B. Youth Technology Librarian

Water is Water: A Book About the Water Cycle by Miranda Paul

Cover image for Water is water : a book about the water cycleIn Water is Water: A Book About the Water Cycle, the illustrator, Jason Chin, emphasizes the importance of water and its ever changing and evolving forms using expressive full page illustrations. In these illustrations, we follow children as they experience water in all its forms including snow, rain, fog, running in a stream, and more. These vibrant illustrations include some fun surprises and also are exceptional in their depiction of human emotions. The accompanied text, written by Miranda Paul, adds even more to the book in its lyrical and simplistic poetic form. However, don’t let the simplistic text fool you; this book still contains information on the water cycle. Check out this beautifully illustrated nonfiction picture book!

Book reviewed by Laura B., Youth Technology Librarian

Viva Frida by Yuyi Morales

Cover image for Viva FridaEver wish you could see inside the mind of an artist? Award winning author and illustrator, Yuyi Morales does just that with her book Viva Frida. Photographs and illustrations rich with texture and details take readers into the imagination of Frida Kahlo. Simple text floats on the pages in English and Spanish giving you a glimpse of her creativity and dreams. This book is a fantastic introduction to the artist and will definitely inspire further investigation into the life and art of Frida Kahlo.

Book reviewed by Youth Services Intern.

Earmuffs for Everyone: How Chester Greenwood Became Known as the Inventor of Earmuffs by Megan McCarthy

Cover image for Earmuffs for everyone! : how Chester Greenwood became known as the inventor of earmuffsDo you have creative ideas for a new invention? Maybe you have some thoughts on how to improve an existing invention?  Well that’s exactly what Chester Greenwood did in the book by Meghan McCarthy entitled Earmuffs for Everyone: How Chester Greenwood Became Known as the Inventor of Earmuffs.

But the question surrounding this book is, did he really invent earmuffs? After researching the topic, the author learns that sometimes finding the true inventor of something is trickier than it seems.  There were various forms of ear coverings before Chester Greenwood came along, but when Chester was only 19 years old, he improved on other people’s ideas by adding a wire that goes across the top.  He received a patent for that addition and now on December 21st in Maine, they celebrate Chester Greenwood Day…and of course everyone wears earmuffs.

But did he really “invent” them?  Should he be given credit for these fun accessories?  You decide!  This book is told in a humorous yet informative manner with fun illustrations, giving budding inventors some inspiration and insight on patents.

Recommended for K-2nd grade.

Book reviewed by Carol C., Elementary School Liaison