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Staff Picks 4 Kids

Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin

Cover image for Rain reignIn Ann M. Martin’s newest novel entitled Rain Reign, we meet 5th grader Rose Howard who is diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome. This beautiful novel is told through her voice.  Rose is obsessed with homonyms (which are words that sound alike but are spelled differently; like the title of this book Rain Reign).

No one seems to understand her…not her teachers, the kids at school, or even her own father!  They don’t get her obsession with homonyms, prime numbers, and following rules.  This makes school and home quite a struggle.

When her town is hit by a super storm, Rose’s world is turned upside down.  The power is out, schools are closed, her already stressed father loses his job, and the search for her missing dog, Rain, pushes her way out of her comfort zone.

From sadness to joy, this book takes you on a rewarding adventure filled with emotion and allows the reader to see things from the very different viewpoint of someone on the Autism spectrum.

I recommend this book for 4th-6th graders who enjoy a heartfelt read.

Book reviewed by Carol C.., Elementary School Liaison

By lbos on April 6, 2015 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Picks by Carol C., Realistic Stories

Zane and the Hurricane by Rodman Philbrick

Cover image for Zane and the hurricane : a story of KatrinaTwelve year old Zane Dupree and his dog, Bandy, travel to New Orleans to meet his deceased father’s grandmother, Miss Trissy.  While there, Zane finds himself trying to survive Hurricane Katrina all by himself. This book is full of suspenseful events as he experiences the physical effects of the storm as well as how it brought out the best and worst in the people affected by the storm.  If you like suspenseful realistic or historical fiction you will love this book.

Book reviewed by Barb M., Youth Outreach and Programming Assistant

By lbos on March 16, 2015 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Picks by Barb M., Realistic Stories

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

Cover image for The crossoverIn The Crossover by Kwame Alexander, narrator Josh Bell delivers a dynamic play-by-play of the basketball season and his middle school turmoil through poems that evoke a hip-hop vibe while telling a heartfelt tale of basketball, brotherhood, and so much more. Josh is the only middle-schooler around who can dunk, his twin brother Jordan has a mean three-point shot, and together they’re a well-oiled machine—both on and off the court. But when Jordan gets a girlfriend, Josh finds their relationship suddenly changing—and he doesn’t like it. A fast read that will hook you from the warm up and deliver an emotional punch before the final buzzer, this book is a slam dunk.

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator

By lbos on March 2, 2015 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Picks by Erin E., Realistic Stories

Ruby Goldberg’s Bright Idea by Anna Humphrey

Cover image for Ruby Goldberg's bright ideaHey Scientists! Would you like a machine to do your chores for you? Ruby Goldberg is an inventor, and in Ruby Goldberg’s Bright Idea by Anna Humphrey, she likes to invent Rube Goldberg machines. Rube Goldberg was a cartoonist and an inventor of machines that had many steps to perform a simple task. When Ruby’s grandfather loses his dog, Tomato, Ruby wants to think of a way to help her grandfather to feel better. She decides to make a machine that will pick up the newspaper and put it on the table, and also fetch her grandfather’s slippers and place them by his favorite chair. Tomato used to do these things when he was alive, and Ruby’s grandpa misses Tomato very much.

If you would like to see a Rube Goldberg machine in action, check out the opening sequence of Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. Pee Wee invents a machine that wakes him up and makes his breakfast each morning. Another example is Wallace and Gromit, they also invent a machine to wake them up and feed them breakfast, which you can see in Wallace & Gromit: The Wrong Trousers.

Book reviewed by Anne W., Youth Services Assistant

By lbos on February 2, 2015 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Picks by Anne W., Realistic Stories

Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Summer Vacation by Tommy Greenwald

Cover image for Charlie Joe Jackson's guide to summer vacationIf you don’t already know who Charlie Joe Jackson is, the first thing he’ll tell you is how much he hates to read and the lengths he has gone to in the past to avoid reading, including bribing his best friend with ice cream sandwiches to read books for him. So how did he end up at a summer camp for kids who love to read? Well, in a moment of weakness, Charlie Joe agreed to go to Camp Rituhbukkee to make his parents happy. So now he is stuck away from most of his friends at camp for three weeks where most people don’t act anything like him. At least there is basketball, and for once Charlie Joe is the best player on the team! Fans of Origami Yoda, Big Nate, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid will want to check out Charlie Joe Jackson.

Book reviewed by Keary B., Youth Collection Specialist Librarian

By lbos on January 12, 2015 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Funny, Picks by Keary B., Realistic Stories

The Five Lives of Our Cat Zook by Joanne Rocklin

Cover image for The five lives of our cat ZookOona has a pretty good life. She lives with her brother, mother, and their quirky cat, Zook, in a cozy apartment, and she and her brother enjoy earning fried zucchini by dancing in front of a pizza place. When Zook becomes very ill and her mom begins to date again after the death of her father, Oona quickly realizes that keeping certain secrets is much harder than she first thought.  What are her secrets, and why must she keep them from her family and her mom’s new boyfriend? Read to find out!

Book reviewed by Amy S., Youth Services Assistant

By lbos on November 17, 2014 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Picks by Amy S., Realistic Stories

Pie by Sarah Weeks

Cover image for PieWhat’s your favorite type of pie? No matter; whatever your favorite is, it would be available and free at PIE, Aunt Polly’s bakery. She just loved baking pies, and didn’t need the money, so her pies would all be free!

But then she died, and no one, not her sister, not her favorite niece, Alice, no one, had a copy of her famous pie crust recipe. Aunt Polly left the only known copy of it to her cat, Lardo!

How can someone leave a recipe to a cat? Good question. It’s a mystery, and Alice, with her friend, Charlie, is determined to find out!

(Another plus to this books are the 14 pie recipes, each one guaranteed to be delicious! Come to read the book; stay and try out a pie recipe!)

Book reviewed by Loreen S., Youth Services Assistant

By lbos on November 10, 2014 Categories: For Grades 2-4, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Loreen S., Realistic Stories

The Secret Hum of a Daisy by Tracy Holczer

Cover image for The secret hum of a daisyIf you’re looking for a heartfelt read, Tracy Holczer’s first novel, The Secret Hum of a Daisy, is beautifully written and emotionally charged.  Grace’s mom always had them moving in search of a “home”.  After her tragic death, 12 year old Grace is sent to live with the grandmother that she never knew.  Blaming her grandma for making her mom move away while she was pregnant with Grace, she decides to make grandma’s life miserable.

Through a scavenger hunt she believes her mom left for her and the help of new friends, Grace makes some surprising discoveries.  While she learns about her family history, she wonders if she will find the “home” her mom was seeking.  Can she forgive her grandma?  How will she cope with the overwhelming sadness?  Will she resume writing which was always her passion?

This is a tough book to put down!

Book reviewed by Carol C., Elementary School Liaison

By lbos on November 3, 2014 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Picks by Carol C., Realistic Stories

Zane and the Hurricane by Rodman Philbrick

syndetics-lcZane’s dad died before he was born. Zane is a biracial child, and his mom makes contact with his dad’s grandmother in New Orleans. Zane is going to meet his great-grandmother for the first time, as he knows nothing about his dad’s family. After Zane and his dog Bandit arrive and meet Miss Trissy, Hurricane Katrina hits. There is no power, and Zane, Miss Trissy, and Bandit have to figure out how to get to higher ground before the waters flood Miss Trissy’s house. Zane, Bandit, and Miss Trissy get a ride in the church van, but Bandit is scared and jumps out. Zane jumps out after him and gets separated from Miss Trissy. Bandit goes all the way back to Miss Trissy’s house, and then Zane and Bandit are rescued by Malvina, a 12 year old girl just like Zane, and her guardian, an elderly musician named Tru. Will Zane, Bandit, Malvina, and Tru make it to higher ground? Will they find helpful or harmful people along the way? Read this engrossing book and find out!

Book reviewed by Anne W., Youth Services Assistant

By lbos on August 11, 2014 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Picks by Anne W., Realistic Stories

Close to Famous by Joan Bauer

syndetics-lcCupcakes are the best dessert. Just ask Foster McFee, upcoming television chef. At least she hopes to be when she grows up. However, it is hard to obtain your dream when you have to start over with your mom in a new town called Culpepper, which has some really interesting people living there. Soon the town encounters some unexpected events, and will have to support each other through some tough times if they want to survive. Foster is ready for the challenge, because sometimes things don’t go the way you plan, but you can always just keep on baking.

Book reviewed by Laura B., Youth Technology Librarian

By lbos on August 4, 2014 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Picks by Laura B., Realistic Stories