Staff Picks 4 Kids
If you like a good mystery, take a look at the clues in Room One: A Mystery or Two by Andrew Clements, and see what you make of it. There’s more than one mystery going on in the tiny farm town of Plattsford, and Ted Hammond is in on all of them. The only sixth-grader in the one-room, one-teacher school, Ted has always been a big fan of mysteries. He reads at least three a week, and he doesn’t just read them. He solves them, too. He stops half way through the book, takes notes on suspects and evidence, and works through the theories. Eight times out of ten, he’s right.
It’s not surprising then that Ted notices the face in a second-floor window of the old Anderson place. Only problem is, the Anderson moved away two years ago and the farmhouse has been abondoned and boarded up ever since. He investigates, and what he finds is a homeless family – a mom and two kids in desperate need of shelter and secrecy ever since their dad was killed in Iraq. What will Ted do? Help the family and keep their secrecy? Turn them in to the authorities as trespassers? Ted makes some surprising choices that have some big, big consequences.
Book read by Mary Ann S., Assistant Head of Youth Services
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil. E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg is considered a classic by many and is also a Newbery award winner from the 1960’s. I’d heard it was a story about two kids who run away from home in an unusual way. I was intrigued. So I picked it up and found out that the story is just as clever and cute as I’d hoped, and the characters are realistic and lovable. Claudia Kincaid, a 12-year-old straight-A perfectionist, does not want to pull off that “old-fashioned kind of running away… in the heat of anger with a knapsack on [your] back,” so instead she arranges to run towards something. So she recruits her brother, Jamie, mostly because he has money saved up, and they go to a large, comfortable, beautiful place- the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Between keeping their residency a secret and trying to solve the mystery of a controversial statue, the two have plenty to keep them busy. This book kept me guessing ‘til the end!
Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Programming Librarian
Do you like Christmas stories that are also mysteries? I hope so because you’re going to enjoy reading The Theft and the Miracle by Rebecca Wade! Overweight, suffering from acne, and feeling insecure, Hannah Price does not have many friends. But what she does have is talent. She’s a wonderful artist. When a wooden statue of baby Jesus is stolen from the cathedral after she sketches it, Hannah becomes a suspect. This wasn’t just any statue but one that people felt had a special power. When a terrible illness travels throughout the city, people are sure that this is because of Hannah. No, the illness isn’t the Bubonic Plague, it’s more like colds, but it spreads like a plague! Will people stop getting sick? Will Hannah find the statue? Will she make more friends? And who exactly was the thief? This is a mystery that will thrill you!
Book reviewed by Anne W., Youth Library Assistant
In Shakespeare’s Secret by Elise Broach, a sixth grade girl named Hero moves with her family into a Maryland house that has a secret of its own. Her school year begins with a bumpy start, but she makes friends with Danny Cordova, the cutest and most popular boy in the eighth grade. Things take an interesting turn when Hero befriends her eccentric next door neighbor, Mrs. Roth, who reveals to her that a centuries-old million dollar diamond might be hidden in the girl’s house. The plot thickens as the search for the precious jewel unearths a link between the diamond’s original owner and a nobleman believed by some to be the original author of Shakespeare’s plays. This book is a great mystery!
Book reviewed by Darice C., Youth Library Assistant