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Staff Picks 4 Kids

Touch Blue by Cynthia Lord

Cover image for Touch blueThis realistic fiction story focuses on 11 year-old Tessa, a born and bred Maine islander who enjoys helping her dad fish for lobster off of their family’s boat. When her school might close due to low enrollment, the town hatches a plan to keep it open by bringing several foster children to live with them on the island. Tessa’s father comes back with Aaron, a reserved 13 year-old boy who is not at all like she expected.   Tessa keeps her good luck charms with her always, but as Aaron spends more time with the family, her worries and secrets begin to multiply despite her efforts to stay lucky.

Book reviewed by Amy S., Youth Services Assistant

By lbos on May 18, 2015 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Picks by Amy S., Realistic Stories

Boys of Blur by N.D. Wilson

Cover image for Boys of blurCharlie’s family has just moved back to the town his father and step-father are from. It is where football is a way of life and boys chase rabbits through the sugar cane for fun. There’s something different about this town. It starts when Charlie’s cousin takes him out at night, and they see a man wearing a silver helmet and carrying a sword who is accompanied by a panther. Then there’s the awful smell that usually makes people unnaturally angry all of a sudden. Charlie is trying to move past the pain his father caused in the past, and adjust to a new happier life in a different place, but the secrets of the town are too much to ignore. He and his cousin find themselves right in the middle of a war between good and evil that threatens everyone in their town. This book has zombies and other fantastical elements, but paints a realistic place you can clearly imagine. It is a fast and exciting read that should appeal to readers in 4th-6th grade, especially those who like adventures and fantasy.

Book reviewed by Claire B., Outreach Coordinator

By lbos on May 11, 2015 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Claire B

Sneaky Art: Crafty Surprises to Hide in Plain Sight by Marthe Jocelyn

Cover image for Sneaky art : crafty surprises to hide in plain sightThis is a cute craft book with ideas of art you can leave in different places to make life a little more interesting. For instance, you can make a little cork sail boat to leave in a public fountain or sink. Spruce up a chair by putting baby socks on the feet of the chair or a winter glove on a doorknob.

Book reviewed by Barb M., Youth Outreach and Programming Assistant

By lbos on May 4, 2015 Categories: For Grades 2-4, For Grades 4-6, Non-fiction, Picks by Barb M.

The Last Apprentice:  Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney     

Cover image for Revenge of the witchTom Ward, the seventh son of a seventh son, has the disturbing ability to sense ghosts and other beasties that go bump in the night. He’d rather not have this “gift, but it is something from which he can’t escape.  When Tom reluctantly begins an apprenticeship with the Spook, a person who rids the County of harmful beings like boggarts and witches, he thinks he might be in over his head. With mortal danger lurking behind every dark corner, Tom struggles to conquer his fear while protecting those he cares about. This book is only for those brave enough to stomach truly scary tales. Are you brave enough?

Book reviewed by Amy S., Youth Services Assistant

By lbos on April 27, 2015 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Amy S.

El Deafo by Cece Bell

Cover image for El deafoWhen Cece was young, she lost her hearing because of an illness and her whole life changes. She starts wearing a bulky hearing aid around her neck, and has to learn not only how to use that, but how to read people’s lips. There are all sorts of adjustments she has to make. Worst of all, people start treating her differently, speaking to her really slowly, like there’s something wrong with her. She starts dreaming about being the good kind of special, like a superhero and having a best friend. However, it’s not really a sad book. Even though Cece has to deal with a lot of hard things, there are plenty of funny moments too! I’d recommend this book for fans of Smile by Raina Telgemeier, and people who like funny and heartfelt stories.

Book reviewed by Claire B., Outreach Coordinator

By lbos on April 20, 2015 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Graphic Novels, Picks by Claire B

How Do You Burp in Space?: And Other Tips Every Space Tourist Needs to Know by Susan E. Goodman

Cover image for How do you burp in space? : and other tips every space tourist needs to knowThis book is like a travel guide for visiting space and has all kinds of fun facts about what you need to know to have a good visit. It was fun to think about what I would take to space with me. Some things I think of taking don’t make sense because of the lack of gravity. Astronauts can only take 2 lbs. of personal items. Luckily they provide the toothpaste!

Book reviewed by Barb M., Youth Outreach and Programming Assistant

By lbos on April 13, 2015 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Non-fiction, Picks by Barb M.

Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin

Cover image for Rain reignIn Ann M. Martin’s newest novel entitled Rain Reign, we meet 5th grader Rose Howard who is diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome. This beautiful novel is told through her voice.  Rose is obsessed with homonyms (which are words that sound alike but are spelled differently; like the title of this book Rain Reign).

No one seems to understand her…not her teachers, the kids at school, or even her own father!  They don’t get her obsession with homonyms, prime numbers, and following rules.  This makes school and home quite a struggle.

When her town is hit by a super storm, Rose’s world is turned upside down.  The power is out, schools are closed, her already stressed father loses his job, and the search for her missing dog, Rain, pushes her way out of her comfort zone.

From sadness to joy, this book takes you on a rewarding adventure filled with emotion and allows the reader to see things from the very different viewpoint of someone on the Autism spectrum.

I recommend this book for 4th-6th graders who enjoy a heartfelt read.

Book reviewed by Carol C.., Elementary School Liaison

By lbos on April 6, 2015 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Picks by Carol C., Realistic Stories

The Cabinet of Curiosities: 36 Tales Brief and Sinister by Stefan Bachmann, Katherine Catmull, Claire Legrand, and Emma Trevayne

Cover image for The cabinet of curiosities : 36 tales brief & sinisterWithin a collection of short stories, especially with a variety of authors, there will always be some hits and some misses…but most of these 36 tales were hits! Some were more memorable than others, but all of them were entertaining, just the right amount of creepy, and well-written. Some would be fun to read aloud. I loved how the stories were divided into themed sections, such as “Cake,” “Luck,” and “Fairy Tales.” You could read them all, or just a few!

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator

By lbos on March 30, 2015 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Erin E.

Greenglass House by Kate Milford

Cover image for Greenglass HouseIt’s the middle of winter at Greenglass House, a smuggler’s inn on the side of a steep hill.  The only way up is a creaky old cable car or a long hike up the stairs.  The house used to belong to the famous smuggler Doc Holliday, who disappeared mysteriously some years ago.   Twelve-year old Milo thinks he will spend a relaxing vacation snowed in with just the owners (his parents), because who would want to stay at the hotel at this time of year?  Wrong!  Guests begin arriving out of nowhere, each one with their own secret agenda, turning Milo’s quiet holiday into chaos. Strange things begin to happen.  Milo finds a mysterious nautical map.  Who does it belong to and where does it lead?   Then items begin disappearing from the guests’ rooms.  Now it is up to Milo and his friend Meddy to follow the clues to find the thief and discover the secrets of the Greenglass House.

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

By lbos on March 23, 2015 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Mystery & Suspense, Picks by Mary S.

Zane and the Hurricane by Rodman Philbrick

Cover image for Zane and the hurricane : a story of KatrinaTwelve year old Zane Dupree and his dog, Bandy, travel to New Orleans to meet his deceased father’s grandmother, Miss Trissy.  While there, Zane finds himself trying to survive Hurricane Katrina all by himself. This book is full of suspenseful events as he experiences the physical effects of the storm as well as how it brought out the best and worst in the people affected by the storm.  If you like suspenseful realistic or historical fiction you will love this book.

Book reviewed by Barb M., Youth Outreach and Programming Assistant

By lbos on March 16, 2015 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Picks by Barb M., Realistic Stories