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Staff Picks 4 Kids

The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann

syndetics-lcThe Unwanteds by Lisa McMann. Alex and Aaron, identical twins, have spent all of their 13 years together in the land of Quill, but that was ending today. Quillerans are expected to conform unquestioningly to all the rules; all creativity and independence are totally not tolerated. Not “tolerated”? At 13 years of age, every child is labeled as “Wanted” (destined for higher education and a possible future leadership position), “Necessary” (deemed needed for less important positions, a worker), or “Unwanted” (not considered worthy to even live and so is condemned to death). Aaron has always met the community’s expectations and is announced as one of the celebrated Wanteds. But Alex, who has been caught drawing a few times, is consigned to go to the Death Farm and the Lake of Burning Oil. What horrors await Alex as he approaches the heavy iron gates of the Death Farm? And how will Aaron manage without him?

Book reviewed by Loreen S., Youth Services Assistant

By lbos on December 20, 2012 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Loreen S.

The Story Behind Toilets by Elizabeth Raum

The Story Behind Toilets The Story Behind Toilets by Elizabeth Raum. Tired of reading yet another biography of George Washington or Amelia Earhart? Why not try a “biography” of toilets? There’s a real story to how people learned to treat their “waste products” (i.e., urine and excrement – we know what those are, right?).  Once people began building bigger and bigger settlements, what to do with this stuff became a really big deal. And some of their ideas just didn’t work that well.  This is an interesting (if you like toilets – and who doesn’t?) and quick-reading book, with lots of diagrams and photos. Check it out! Maybe you can read it while you’re in the bathroom!

Book reviewed by Loreen S., Youth Services Assistant

By MPPL on September 27, 2011 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Non-fiction, Picks by Loreen S.

No Passengers Beyond This Point by Gennifer Choldenko

No Passengers Beyond This Point After Dad died, life became hard for the Tompkins. Then the day came when Mom could no longer even afford to keep their home. India, Finn, and Mouse would have to go and live with their Uncle Red. Despite their misgivings, the three set off on a plane to Denver, Colorado. But their plane lands in the strange town of Falling Bird instead. And what a mysterious place that is! Riding in a feather-covered taxi seems almost normal in Falling Bird. They have to decide whether to stay in Falling Bird or not, and when they decide to leave, they’re in real trouble! No Passengers Beyond This Point is an engaging mixture of realistic fiction and fantasy.

Book reviewed by Loreen S., Youth Services Assistant

By MPPL on June 20, 2011 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Loreen S., Realistic Stories

Spaceheadz by Jon Scieszka

Spaceheadz Attention those of you who have traveled with the Time Warp Trio! Attention any of you who suffered along with the class in the Math Curse! You may decide that Spaceheadz–the latest offering by Jon Scieszka–is not quite up to his best, but you will be the best judge.

Michael K, a newly arrived 5th grader, meets two other newcomers–Venus and TJ. Newcomers? I’ll say! TJ and Venus are aliens from another planet, and they’re here to make Spaceheadz out of 3.14  million + 1 earthlings or else they will turn off (whatever that means–doesn’t sound good, does it?) our whole planet! Are you willing to become one of the 3.14 miilion +1 and become a Spacehead? Maybe you won’t have a choice!  For more Spacehead adventures, check out the 2nd and 3rd books in the series.

Book reviewed by Loreen S., Youth Services Assistant

 

By MPPL on March 7, 2011 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Funny, Picks by Loreen S.

We the Children by Andrew Clements

We the Children Jill and Ben’s school is going to be torn down so an amusement park can be built! What could be better news than that? So why do the two children begin to search out school secrets in the hopes of keeping their school open? And why are their efforts a concern to the new custodian? Author Andrew Clements gives us We the Children, the first book of his new series Benjamin Pratt & the Keepers of the School, with a promise of five more books to come. Don’t miss this exciting beginning!

Book reviewed by Loreen S., Youth Services Assistant

 

By MPPL on January 4, 2011 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Mystery & Suspense, Picks by Loreen S.

The Great Death by John Smelcer

Great Death The Great Death by John Smelcer. When white men came to explore and settle in Alaska among the Native Americans early in the 1900’s, they didn’t bring only food, canoes, and other supplies. They also inadvertently brought along diseases, diseases that they had immunity to, but diseases that killed many, many Native Americans, sometimes erasing entire villages and whole tribes. Native Americans called it the time of “The Great Death.” And yet, occasionally, inexplicably, some few Native Americans would survive the plague. This is the story of two young sisters who did survive, and their long travel in search of other survivors, people they might be able to live with. With wild dogs, wolves, bears, and moose, this is an exciting, fast moving tale!

Book Reviewed by Loreen S., Youth Services Assistant

By MPPL on June 6, 2010 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Historical Fiction, Picks by Loreen S.

The Great Death by John Smelcer

Great Death The Great Death by John Smelcer. When white men came to explore and settle in Alaska among the Native Americans early in the 1900’s, they didn’t bring only food, canoes, and other supplies. They also inadvertently brought along diseases, diseases that they had immunity to, but diseases that killed many, many Native Americans, sometimes erasing entire villages and whole tribes. Native Americans called it the time of “The Great Death.” And yet, occasionally, inexplicably, some few Native Americans would survive the plague. This is the story of two young sisters who did survive, and their long travel in search of other survivors, people they might be able to live with. With wild dogs, wolves, bears, and moose, this is an exciting, fast moving tale!

Book Reviewed by Loreen S., Youth Services Assistant

Brushing Mom’s Hair by Andrea Cheng

Brushing Mom's HairIn Brushing Mom’s Hair by Andrea Cheng, Ann receives a book of quotations for her 15th birthday, and turns to the one that reads, “Don’t sweat the small stuff. And it’s all small stuff.” All ‘small stuff?’ Even mom’s breast cancer? Recorded in prose, Ann reveals the changes mom’s illness brings into her life and the lives of the whole family. A quick read, though one with a lot of food for thought.

Book reviewed by Loreen S., Youth Services Assistant

By MPPL on March 29, 2010 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Picks by Loreen S., Realistic Stories

Brushing Mom’s Hair by Andrea Cheng

Brushing Mom's HairIn Brushing Mom’s Hair by Andrea Cheng, Ann receives a book of quotations for her 15th birthday, and turns to the one that reads, “Don’t sweat the small stuff. And it’s all small stuff.” All ‘small stuff?’ Even mom’s breast cancer? Recorded in prose, Ann reveals the changes mom’s illness brings into her life and the lives of the whole family. A quick read, though one with a lot of food for thought.

Book reviewed by Loreen S., Youth Services Assistant

Watching Jimmy by Nancy Hartry

Watching Jimmy Carolyn has a secret. A big one. She knows that her friend Jimmy didn’t fall off a swing that day when his uncle came over. She saw. She saw what really happened. And now Jimmy’s not really like Jimmy anymore, and maybe he never will be. Jimmy needs a big expensive operation and even then his brain may not ever be right again. Should Carolyn tell what she saw? Would anyone believe her? And is she in trouble now that it seems his uncle has guessed that she knows? Watching Jimmy is a story of loyalty and of learning when to keep a secret, and when it’s important to tell.

Book reviewed by Loreen S., Youth Services Assistant

 

By MPPL on December 22, 2009 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Picks by Loreen S., Realistic Stories