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Staff Picks 4 Kids

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

Double Dribble by W.C. Mack

syndetics-lcIn Double Dribble by W.C. Mack, fraternal twins Owen and Russ belong to the same basketball team. The team is finally working well together, and it looks like they will make it to the play-offs. Suddenly in mid-season, superstar identical twins Mitch and Marcus join the team without having to try out! Owen and Russ have trouble adjusting to this change and wonder why Mitch and Marcus do everything together?  How can they recreate the same magic Mitch and Marcus have when they play basketball with each other? Will Owen and Russ come together, or will they derail the team? Read this book to find out! Sequel to Mathlete Vs. Athlete.

Book reviewed by Anne W., Youth Services Assistant

By lbos on June 30, 2014 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Picks by Anne W., Realistic Stories

Ungifted by Gordon Korman

syndetics-lcWhat a heap of trouble Donavon Curtis is in this time! Didn’t think things were going to turn out THAT bad, eh? Now what to do, and where to hide? However, by some incredible stroke of luck, Donovan is accepted into the well-admired Academy for Scholastic Distinction Gifted School. What everybody is wondering, though, is just HOW did he get in? Read this amazingly funny book, to “find out” what happens when Donavon Curtis is “found out!”

Book reviewed by Darice C., Youth Services Assistant

By lbos on June 23, 2014 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Funny, Picks by Darice C., Realistic Stories