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Staff Picks 4 Kids

Maximilian & the Mystery of the Guardian Angel: A Bilingual Lucha Libre Thriller by Xavier Garza

syndetics-lcHave you ever heard of Lucha Libre, the style of wrestling from Mexico? Max is obsessed with lucha libre, and with his favorite luchador, el Ángel de la Guarda, or the Guardian Angel. Max thought he was in for a boring summer of truth or dare and driving around in Old Ironsides, his dad’s ancient car. Then the luchadores come to town, and he discovers that he has a surprise connection to el Ángel de la Guarda which will change his life forever. Read this funny and exciting book to find out what happens!

¿Has escuchado de lucha libre, que viene de México? Max está obsesionado con lucha libre, y con su luchador favorito, el Ángel de la Guarda. Max piensa que será un verano aburrido de verdad o atrevemiento y andando en el carro anciano de su padre, Vieja Locomotora. Bueno hasta que los luchadores vienen a su pueblo, y el descubre que tiene una conexión sorprendente al Ángel de la Guarda, que cambiara su vida para siempre. ¡Lea a este libro chistoso e interesante para ver lo que pasa!

Book reviewed by Claire B., Outreach Coordinator

By lbos on July 15, 2013 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Picks by Claire B, Spanish

The Time Warp Trio: Knights of the Kitchen Table by Jon Scieszka

syndetics-lcIf you like funny adventures, you should read The Time Warp Trio: Knights of the Kitchen Table by Jon Scieszka. While Joe, Fred, and Sam are eating lunch, they decide to read, THE BOOK, Joe’s last present from his magician uncle. The boys think they are just going to read a story about King Arthur and his knights, but when they open THE BOOK, they are magically thrown into the story! They are confronted by the Black Knight and have to figure out how to get back home. Funny, thrilling, and a quick read. First in the series. Suggested for grades 3-5.

Book reviewed by Anne W., Youth Services Assistant

By lbos on July 8, 2013 Categories: For Grades 2-4, For Grades 4-6, Funny, Picks by Anne W.

Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke

syndetics-lcVery lively narration brought this orphan story to life on the audiobook. A detective is trying to track down two boys that have run away to Venice to get away from their snooty aunt. The boys find shelter with other orphans who are cared for by the “Thief Lord,” who turns out to have a lot of secrets. The story is full of adventure, interesting characters, and a hint of magic.

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator

By lbos on July 1, 2013 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Mystery & Suspense, Picks by Erin E.

Secret Letters from 0 to 10 by Susie Morgenstern

syndetics-lcHumdrum and boring, that is the sad life of our hero, ten-year-old Ernest Morlaisse, who lives in Paris with his very old, very quiet grandmother.  It’s the same old breakfast, same old route to school, same old healthy snack, no phone, no TV, and no computer.  But, believe it or not, Ernest is actually okay with all this, since he doesn’t really know any better.  That is, until Victoria, the new girl in class, scoops him up into her boisterous, messy, wonderful life in a huge, loving family, and he discovers the fun of even simple everyday things like grocery shopping, running in the park, and holding a baby.  He even gets the courage to search for his long-missing father.  Secret Letters from 0 to 10 by Susie Morgenstern is a feel-good story, packed with humor and heart that says it’s okay to live life in a BIG way!

Book reviewed by Mary Ann S., Assistant Head of Youth Services

By lbos on June 24, 2013 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Picks by Mary Ann S., Realistic Stories

A City Tossed and Broken: The Diary of Minnie Bonner (Dear America Series) by Judy Blundell

syndetics-lcCan you imagine your family being so poor that at 14 you were contracted to a wealthy family to be a servant?  Not only that, but you had to leave your home in Philadelphia and cross the country to San Francisco.  Part of Minnie’s job was to be a companion to Lily, a girl who was close to her own age.  A short time after they arrived in San Francisco, a powerful earthquake hit.  Minnie was in the kitchen when it happened and was safe, but Lily and the rest of the family did not survive.  The lawyer/guardian thought that Minnie was Lily, and she decided to continue this pretense so she would be taken care of.  Minnie had also found a strongbox of money and bonds that she was able to bury until she could come back for it.  Will Minnie be able to live a life of luxury or will she decide she can’t live a lie and tell the truth?  The ending will surprise you.

Book reviewed by Mary Lou H., Youth Services Assistant

By lbos on June 10, 2013 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Historical Fiction, Picks by Mary Lou H.

Words in the Dust by Trent Reedy

syndetics-lcLife in rural Afghanistan is pretty tough for thirteen-year-old Zulaikha, the main character in Words in the Dust by Trent Reedy.  Born with a cleft lip and teeth that stick straight out, she is constantly teased by the boys in her neighborhood and endures stares every time she goes to the market place.  Her older sister, Zeynab, is beautiful, and her strongest supporter.  Her real mother is deceased and instead she now has to deal with a crabby, pregnant, stepmother who only cares about having a son.  Things start to look up for her when, by chance, she meets an American soldier who says that he has a way that she can get corrective facial surgery at the Army base-and for free!  Also, around the same time, she meets a kind literature professor who offers to teach her how to read and write, in hopes that she can maybe attend school one day.  However, Zulaikha must juggle all of that with her sister’s upcoming wedding to a not-so-nice older gentleman, as well as problems with the helicopter flight that is supposed to take her to meet the American doctor.  Will she have the facial surgery? Does she learn to read and write and eventually attend school?  You will have to read the book to find out!


By lbos on June 3, 2013 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Realistic Stories

The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano by Sonia Manzano

syndetics-lcRosa Evelyn Serrano doesn’t like living in Spanish Harlem. Everyone is named Rosa, so she goes by Evelyn. It smells all the time, because the city doesn’t clean up the garbage. And she can’t understand her mother, with her ugly decorations and how she’s practically a slave to her husband and the bodega. Then Evelyn’s grandmother comes to town, with her brightly dyed hair, too high heels, and radical ideas that Evelyn’s mother can’t stand. When some college kids start cleaning up the streets and demanding food and shelter for the neighborhood’s poor, everyone takes a side. Abuela is reminded of the protests she went to in Puerto Rico for its independence, and Evelyn is inspired by the promise of change. But can they convince Evelyn’s mom and the rest of the neighborhood that this is a good change? And will it make a difference? Read this book for a heartfelt, but fun story about growing up, learning where you come from, and standing up for what you believe in.


Book reviewed by Claire B., Outreach Coordinator

By lbos on May 20, 2013 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Historical Fiction, Picks by Claire B

Hold Fast by Blue Balliett

syndetics-lcI read Hold Fast, the latest book by Blue Balliett, in just two days! So for the weekend I was completely immersed in the world of the Pearl family, taking delight in Blue Balliett’s beautiful writing. It’s no wonder that one of the themes of this book is rhythm… this author is so gifted at creating rhythms with her words. Like her other books, this one has a Chicago setting, and the majority of the scenes take place in a homeless shelter. There are definitely sad moments, but overall this book is full of hope, and it inspires warm, fuzzy feelings about family and what it is we call home.

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator

By lbos on May 13, 2013 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Mystery & Suspense, Picks by Erin E.

Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage

syndetics-lcIt would sure take a lot to be luckier than Miss Moses LoBeau (Mo for short). As a baby, she was found washed ashore during a hurricane by the Colonel who took her in.  Mo now helps the Colonel and Miss Lana run the café in the small southern town they call home.  Mystery comes knocking there when a detective shows up asking all kinds of questions about a murder. The Colonel seems to be the prime suspect with his mysterious past. Mo tries to solve the crime first but will her luck hold out? Bank robbers, race car drivers, and best friends could all become suspects. Parents and kids alike will love the quirky southern charm of Mo as she cracks the case in the Newbery honor title.

Book reviewed by Keary B., Youth Collection Specialist Librarian

By lbos on May 6, 2013 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Funny, Mystery & Suspense, Picks by Keary B.

Drama by Raina Telgemeier

syndetics-lcDo you ever feel like you are living in a soap opera? In the graphic novel, Drama by Raina Telgemeier, Callie is dealing with all the “drama” in her life, while also working on the school play. Callie has a crush on Greg, who is going out with Bonnie. Greg’s younger brother Matt has a crush on Callie, although Callie does not realize it. Funny things happen as Callie continues to build the sets for the play and two twin brothers, Justin and Jesse, join the play. Drama is an enjoyable, funny story about growing up, making friends, having your first crush on someone, and being in a play. The graphic format is ideal for this story.

Book reviewed by Anne W., Youth Services Assistant

By lbos on April 29, 2013 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Graphic Novels, Picks by Anne W.