Theodora “Theo” Tenpenny knows a lot about artwork. Her grandfather was an artist and worked as a security guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Then, he passed away and left her a note telling her to “look under the egg.” What egg? Did he mean the painting that hangs in his art studio? It has a large egg on it. When she accidentally spills water on this painting, she finds that there is another painting; one that looks like it should be in a museum. How did her grandfather get this painting? Did he do something illegal? Theo doesn’t know what to do. With the help of a new friend, Theo decides she must figure out what her grandfather did to get this painting and also clear his name if she needs to. This mystery has many twists and turns as well as some great information about art, World War II, and a special group called the Monuments Men.
Book reviewed by Laura B., Youth Technology Librarian
Growing up can be rough: sometimes your friends move away, sometimes your friends aren’t as kind as they should be, and sometimes you just feel out of place. Shannon Hale writes about how she viewed the world while she was in elementary school. Like most kids, she had trouble with her sibling and friends. As the story goes on, she realizes she may not always realize all the things the people in her life are dealing with. It’s a helpful reminder that growing up isn’t always easy, and sometimes we need to walk in someone else’s shoes to understand them. If you loved Smile or El Deafo, you’ll enjoy this graphic novel too!
Book reviewed by Katharin D., Youth Outreach Liaison
Starting as an assignment for school, Caitlin is a middle school student in the United States who decides to write to Martin in Zimbabwe. They learn about each other’s lives and become friends long after the assignment has been completed. As Caitlin realizes that Martin and his family are in increasing danger in their country, she and her family find ways to help and eventually get Martin to the United States so he can continue his education. It’s a true story.
Book reviewed by Anne W., Youth Services Assistant
Looking for a chapter book that sends cold shivers up your spine? Look no further than The Gathering, the first book in the “Shadow House” series by Dan Poblocki. Five children from across the U.S. are lured to the mysterious Larkspur House under false pretenses. Is it a music academy? Is it the residence of a long-lost great aunt? What they find inside the immense building is something completely different. Once the kids are behind the locked doors, they may never leave again. One of the strengths of this unique title is its connection to an app called “Shadow House” which can be downloaded for free from the Google Play app for Android smartphones or from the Apple app store for iPhones. Once the app is downloaded, the reader can access additional ghost stories every time a sigil, or symbol, is discovered on a book page. I enjoyed the app’s creepy music and stories as well as the spooky illustrations. The book will entice you without the app, but I recommend trying the app to add to the chilling experience.
Book reviewed by Amy M., Youth Services Assistant