Staff Picks 4 Kids Category: Picks by Laura B.

Listen, Slowly by Thanhha Lai

Cover image for Listen, slowlyMai is ready for summer vacation in California. She plans to spend it on the beach with her best friend and maybe even talk to the guy she likes, but her parents have other ideas. Mai’s family is from Vietnam. Her grandmother left with her children after the Vietnam War. Her grandfather was never found after the war. Now, a detective thinks he has found some information on what happened to her grandfather and her grandmother wants to return to Vietnam for answers. Mai’s parents insist that Mai accompany her grandmother on the trip, which means no beach for Mai. Soon, Mai is in Vietnam, a place she considers hot, smelly, and with a lot of extended family. She doesn’t speak the language well and Vietnam is very different than California. It’s even worse when she finds out that her best friend in California is on the beach hanging with the guy she likes. If only the detective and grandmother could work something out. Then, she would get to go home, but that doesn’t seem likely. Now, she must try to find a balance between California life and Vietnam life, and maybe even try to give Vietnam and her extended family a chance.

Book reviewed by Laura B. Youth Technology Librarian

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 Sasquatch Escape by Suzanne Selfors

Cover image for The sasquatch escapeSummer in Buttonville is anything but exciting and Ben is about to spend the entire summer there with his grandfather. That means that the most exciting thing that will happen to Ben is having Saturday Pudding Days at the Senior Center. However, that changes when his grandfather’s cat brings home what looks like a baby dragon. With the help of Pearl, a girl from Buttonville, they take the baby dragon to the only veterinarian in town, Dr. Woo’s Worm Hospital. However, when they get there, Ben forgets to close the door and suddenly they find out a big, hairy, smelly sasquatch or bigfoot has escaped. Yep, you heard right, a sasquatch. It seems that there is more to Dr. Woo’s hospital since it is actually a hospital for imaginary animals. Now, Ben and Pearl must try to find the Sasquatch before Buttonville does. Luckily, Sasquatches like chocolate, but will Ben and Pearl be able to find the sasquatch before he destroys Buttonville and is discovered? If anything, Ben’s boring summer has just gotten a lot more interesting.

Book reviewed by Laura B. Youth Technology Librarian

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

A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd

Cover image for A snicker of magicMidnight Gulch is a magical place, or at least it used to be, but that was before the curse. Now, there is just a snicker of that magic hanging in Midnight Gulch, and unless they can end the curse, a snicker of magic is all that will remain. Felicity’s mama is cursed with a wandering heart, which means that whenever Felicity and her sister think they might have found a home, their mama packs up their van and moves them. This time, their mama has brought them back to her hometown, Midnight Gulch. After meeting a new friend, Jonah, and learning more about Midnight Gulch, Felicity wants to stay there and call the town her home. However, with her mama’s curse and the town’s curse, it looks like Felicity might be destined to wander with her mama. Can she find a way to end the curse on Midnight Gulch? Maybe her new friend Jonah can help or maybe they can get help from the mysterious Beedle who does good deeds around town for people.

Book reviewed by Laura B., Youth Technology Librarian

Astronaut Academy: Zero Gravity by Dave Roman

Cover image for Astronaut Academy : zero gravityHakata Soy is an intergalactic hero. However, that all changes when his parents send him to Astronaut Academy, a space school. Now, instead of saving worlds he has to take classes like Science, which by the way is taught by an elf, and anti-gravity gymnastics. With new friends and a new school, will Hakata ever be happy? This goofy graphic novel is fun to read. It’s not only told from Hakata’s point of view, but also his school friends. It is also broken down into small chapters and the illustrations are great. Check out this graphic novel if you are interested in reading about a crazy school with some very weird students.

Book reviewed by Laura B., Youth Technology Librarian

Jedi Academy by Jeffrey Brown

Cover image for Jedi AcademyRoan’s life is over. He is never going to leave Tatooine. He didn’t get accepted into the Pilot Academy like is father and big brother and is now going to have to go to plant school. However, that changes when he receives an acceptance letter to go to the Jedi Academy. Roan doesn’t think he is a jedi. He’s never done anything like a jedi before, but he decides to go. With the help of his new friends and his teachers, Roan is about to embark on a strange fun adventure at the Jedi Academy. Now, he just has to survive it. This book is part comic, part diary, and part chapter book. Fans of Origami Yoda and Diary of a Wimpy Kid will really like this book.

Book reviewed by Laura B., Youth Technology Librarian

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein

Cover image for Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's libraryKyle is really not a fan of reading. He would rather play games whether their board games or video games. However, that changes when Kyle is selected along with 11 other kids to spend the night at the new library in their town. The library was built by Luigi Lemoncello, the creator of all the games Kyle likes and who also grew up in the same town. Mr. Lemoncello, though, is very eccentric and this library is anything but typical. With robots, holographs, and many other technological items, this library is fantastic. However, what Kyle and the rest of the kids don’t realize is that once you enter the library, it’s difficult to leave. You need to play Lemoncello’s game, find the clues, and then find your way out of the library. The first one to leave gets a prize. This book is a ton of fun to read and there is constantly stuff going on. Check it out and see if you can figure out the puzzle before you get to the end of the book and all is revealed.

Book reviewed by Laura B., Youth Technology Librarian