Staff Picks 4 Kids Category: For Grades 4-6

Sarai and The Meaning of Awesome by Saraí González 

Sarai and The Meaning of AwesomeSarai Gonzalez is in fourth grade. She loves to dance, bake cupcakes, and spend time with her family. When she is with them, they pronounce her name the Spanish way, SAH-RAH-EEE, which is different than the English way of SAR-EYE. However, this doesn’t bother her since that means her name is awesome for having different ways to say it. Also, she thinks her life is pretty awesome all the time, but then, she finds out that her grandparents, aunt, uncle, and cousins are going to have to move from the house they have lived in forever. This means they won’t be as close to the Gonzalez’s house anymore and Sarai may not get to spend as much time with her family. How is she going to help them save the house? There has to be a way to make sure they can all stay together. She’s not sure, but she knows it will be awesome. Find out in this chapter book that also includes some great drawings of Sarai and her family.  

Book reviewed by Laura B., Youth Technology Librarian 

Our Castle by the Sea by Lucy Strange 

Our Castle by the SeaBefore the war, Pet was just an ordinary 11-year-old living with her family.  But when Hitler’s bombers begin attacking the English coast, everything starts to fall apart.  Someone in her village is helping the Germans by sabotaging telephone lines and setting fire to buildings.  Since Pet’s mother is German, she is the most obvious suspect.  The tribunal finds her guilty of being a traitor and she is taken away to an internment camp.  Pet is determined to prove her innocence by finding other suspects such as her sister Mags who is keeping secrets or her neighbor Spooky Joe who is skulking around with binoculars and a notebook.  Who is the real spy?  Will Pet be able to find answers that will set her mother free? 

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head 

Restart by Gordon Korman 

RestartHave you ever wished you could have a “do over” for one day? How about a “do over” for your entire life? 

 This is what happens to Chase. He survives a fall from his roof, but he has loses all his memory. He doesn’t even recognize his mother or dad! And he doesn’t understand why some of the kids at school are afraid of him, and others just plain hate him. 

 Read this book to find out what he learns about himself- the good and the bad. This is Gordon Korman at his best! 

 Book reviewed by Loreen S., Youth Services Assistant 

Magic on the Map! Let’s Mooove! by Courtney Sheinmel and Bianca Turetsky  

Magic on the Map! Let’s Mooove!Would you like to ride in a magic camper that talks to you? Finn and Molly decide to check out the camper their dad has brought home while their parents are asleep. When they go inside, they find out that the camper can talk to them and take them places very quickly! The camper takes them to a cattle ranch, and tells them they have some work to do. What will Finn and Molly find? How will they get back home? Read more to find out! First in a series. 

Appropriate for third grade and up. 

Book reviewed by Anne W., Youth Services Assistant