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Staff Picks 4 Kids

50 Poisonous Questions by Tanya Lloyd Kyi

50 Poisonous QuestionsWhen you read 50 Poisonous Questions by Tanya Lloyd, you will learn a lot about poison, obviously, but also about history. Like the crazy medical treatments doctors used for George Washington’s fever…that ended up killing him! You’ll learn how to hunt with a frog.  Find out why the government is conspiring with your mom to make you eat vegetables. And learn whether some poisons can actually help people. With all your new knowledge you can solve the book’s puzzles about how people and animals have been poisoned. Prepare to be surprised and amused by these amazing true facts!

Book reviewed by Claire B., Youth Outreach Coordinator

By bjones on October 8, 2012 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Non-fiction, Picks by Claire B

Mirrorscape by Mike Wilks

MirrorscapeIn Mirrorscape by Mike Wilks, Mel lives in a world sort of like ours, except where he lives the five Mystery organizations control “pleasures”, or everything to do with the senses. That means you have to pay extra for your clothes to have color in them, or to eat food besides bread, water, and homegrown vegetables. Mel has lived in the country his whole life, drawing pictures in his spare time, until a famous artist asks him to come to the city and be one of his apprentices. It’s a dream come true…until he gets there. The head apprentice is jealous of Mel’s talent and the High Bailiff of the Fifth Mystery has got it in for him. Then he discovers a secret world inside of paintings where fantastical creatures, talking houses, and mines that seek inspiration (instead of minerals) exist. Mel and his friends find themselves in the middle of an epic battle between the Fifth Mystery and the people who want to keep pleasures affordable for everyone. This book celebrates art and creativity, and makes me want to start drawing. It also reminds me of another story with evil forces, a two-boy-and-one-girl trio of friends, and adventures that can’t seem to be avoided… Harry Potter, anyone?

Book reviewed by Claire B., Youth Outreach Coordinator

By bjones on July 23, 2012 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Claire B

Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos

Dead End in NorveltGetting grounded for an entire summer was not Jack’s idea of a good time, but that’s what happens when he fires his dad’s WWII rifle by accident and cuts down all of his mother’s corn. (His dad made him cut down the corn!) Then his mother volunteers him to help his elderly neighbor with a strange task: writing obituaries for the Norvelt newspaper. Along the way, he dresses up as the Grim Reaper to check on an elderly resident, drives underage, has a run in with the Hells Angels, has quite a few nosebleeds, and learns that history is “the reason you remind yourself of the stupid stuff you’ve done in the past is so you don’t do it again.” Not to mention, he helps solve the mystery of why all the original residents of Norvelt keep dying. It’s a funny story with plenty of excitement and interesting characters. This year, Dead End in Norvelt won the Newbery Award! But just to warn you, this book talks about bloody noses and dead bodies.

Book reviewed by Claire B., Youth Outreach Coordinator

By bjones on March 13, 2012 Categories: Award Winners, For Grades 4-6, Funny, Picks by Claire B

Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper

Out of My Mind School is hard enough for most of us…imagine what it would be like if you couldn’t talk, or walk, or even feed yourself.  In Out of My Mind, Melody has this very problem. She has cerebral palsy, which makes it hard for her to even hold things. But she has an amazing mind and the capacity to remember almost everything she hears. She’d like to share her thoughts with her family, the kids at school, and be able to participate like everyone else, but most people just look right past her.
But things start to look up for Melody. She gets a communication device that talks for her and an aide who begins taking her to regular classes. Before you know it, she is taking a test to be on the school’s trivia team, and gets every question right! Will the other students finally start seeing the person she is and not just the disability? This book made me laugh, made me angry and sad at some of the things that happened to Melody, but also really happy to see the positive changes that happen for Melody. Give it a chance and this book will surprise you.

Book reviewed by Claire B., Youth Outreach Coordinator


By MPPL on April 18, 2011 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Picks by Claire B, Realistic Stories