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Staff Picks 4 Kids

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

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

Cities: Discover How They Work by Kathleen M. Reilly

Cover image for Cities : discover how they workDo you know how to get water to the top of a building? Or why potholes occur? If you’ve ever wondered how cities work, or enjoy real life applications of science, technology, engineering, and math, you’ll probably like this book. It explains why cities came about and how and why they work the way they do. Along the way, there are fun activities and experiments so you can get hands-on experience with things like building a skyscraper, making a battery, or simulating an earthquake to see what causes buildings to fall or stay standing.

I also liked learning about the history of cities, and seeing how we’ve made things better. For example, before flush toilets, you used to have to use a pot, which got dumped into the street and caused a lot of diseases; or how city planners work to help blind people know when to cross the street. Some signs make a loud beeping noise, like a chirping bird, when it’s time to cross. Others have a raised arrow you can feel with your fingers that vibrates and tells people when to cross and how much time they have. Pick up this book to learn even more interesting facts about cities, and try your hand at planning and building your own city!

Book reviewed by Claire B., Outreach Coordinator

By lbos on February 9, 2015 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Non-fiction, Picks by Claire B

Almost Super by Marion Jensen

Cover image for Almost superRafter and Benny Bailey are about to learn their super powers. In their family, everyone gets a super power the year they turn 12 so they can battle the supervillains, the Johnsons. Except this year, their powers are duds. Even Juanita Johnson admits that her power isn’t so super. Despite the warnings of their parents, the three decide to work together to try and figure out what went wrong. Along the way, they learn more about each other’s families and about what it means to be super. This is a funny and exciting read that should appeal to chapter book readers who enjoy movies like The Incredibles.

Book reviewed by Claire B., Youth Outreach Coordinator and Volunteen Coordinator

By lbos on September 22, 2014 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Claire B

Saving Audie by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent

syndetics-lcAudie is your average puppy: energetic, caring and devoted to his family. But he wasn’t always this way. He and 48 other pit bulls used to belong to the Bad Newz Kennels where they were used for dog fights. When the dog fights were discovered, most people believed that the dogs would be dangerous and might need to be put down. With the help of some caring people, they found that almost all of the dogs were safe, and soon they were able to leave and start their lives over. Even though Audie had a difficult life when he was young, he now lives with a loving family and spends his time training for competitions, helping train other dogs, and of course, playing! I liked this story because it shows that animals are capable of some amazing things, like surviving an abusive childhood and learning how to trust and get along with humans and other dogs again. If you like books about animals and the surprising things they can do, check this book out!

Book reviewed by Claire B., Youth Outreach Coordinator and Volunteen Coordinator

By lbos on September 1, 2014 Categories: For Grades 2-4, Non-fiction, Picks by Claire B

Fake Mustache by Tom Angleberger

syndetics-lcIn Fake Mustache by Tom Angleberger, all Casper has to do to become president of the United States is buy a fake mustache and a fancy suit. Did I mention that the mustache once belonged to an evil villain and has mind-control powers? With this mustache, he convinces teachers and fast food restaurant employees to rob banks and do his bidding, and he’s convinced the whole world that he should be in charge! It seems nothing can stop Casper and his mustache from taking over the world…but there are two people who aren’t fooled. One is Lenny Flem Jr, Casper’s best friend, and the other is Jodie O’Rodeo, famous yodeling child TV star. Can they thwart the evil plan and bring the world back to normal? You’ll just have to read to find out! Tom Angleberger’s books are really fun to read, with adventure, mystery, and a lot of laughs along the way.

Book reviewed by Claire B., Youth Outreach Coordinator and Volunteen Coordinator

By lbos on July 28, 2014 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Funny, Picks by Claire B

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

syndetics-lcWhat do you do when you’re bored? Milo, who is tired of everything he owns, perks up when he notices that the large package in his room is really a tollbooth! Milo gets in his toy car, points to a random place on the map, pulls up to the tollbooth, and is instantly transported to the Kingdom of Wisdom! He travels around with a watchdog named Tock and a grumpy Humbug meeting some strange and amusing characters, like King Azaz and the Mathemagician, who rule the Kingdom of Wisdom but can’t decide whether words or numbers are more important. They’ve banished Princesses Rhyme and Reason, but the kingdom needs them back to restore balance! Can Milo and his companions find the princesses and convince them to come back? Will the rulers of Wisdom finally be able to agree on something? This is a funny and clever adventure that has been loved by children and adults for many years. Pick up a copy today and be transported to another world.

Book reviewed by Claire B., Youth Outreach Coordinator and Volunteen Coordinator

By lbos on June 9, 2014 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Claire B

Monkey and Robot by Peter Catalanotto

syndetics-lcWhat should you do if you are afraid of scary movies, but your friend wants to watch them? If you are Monkey, you cover your head and hum through all the scary music. How do you play hide and seek for the first time? If you are Robot, you hide right behind Monkey so that he will find you right away and you can laugh and hug and jump up and down. Meet Monkey and Robot, who met at work on a space ship, and have silly adventures together. I laughed and had a lot of fun reading these stories, and I bet you will too!

Book reviewed by Claire B., Outreach Coordinator

By lbos on October 28, 2013 Categories: For Grades 2-4, Picks by Claire B

A Little Book of Sloth by Lucy Cooke

syndetics-lcGet ready for a cuteness overload! No, this book isn’t about kittens or puppies, it’s about sloths! I never thought they were cute, until I saw “A Little Book of Sloth”. This book is full of puns, interesting facts about sloths, and a ton of pictures. You’ll learn about the two kinds of sloths—the “Muppet” variety and the “cross between a Wookie and a pig” variety—, what they like to do all day (Hint: Rest and hug. But mostly rest), and meet the superstar sloths at a sloth sanctuary in Costa Rica. Plus, this book will remind you that sometimes, the best thing to do is “just chill” and relax.

Book reviewed by Claire B., Outreach Coordinator

By lbos on September 9, 2013 Categories: For Grades 2-4, For Grades 4-6, Non-fiction, Picks by Claire B

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