Staff Picks 4 Kids Category: For Grades 4-6

Knockout by K.A. Holt

KnockoutLevi is tired of being told what he can’t do, of having his mother and brother always hovering and worrying about him. He was born prematurely, and still has some health issues, but that doesn’t mean that he wants to be treated like a baby. His dad encourages him to try a new sport, and he discovers boxing. It turns out he LOVES it, but he can’t tell his mom or brother or they will freak out. This story is a novel in verse, or written in poetry, which makes it a fast read. Levi is a funny guy, who has found that if he clowns around, he will get people laughing with him, instead of at him. I enjoyed the concrete poetry, where the poem takes the shape of something, and Levi’s funny and determined attitude. Pick this book up if you are looking for a fun and fast read about sports, friends, and family.

Book reviewed by Claire B., Youth Outreach Librarian

My Year in the Middle by Lila Quintero Weaver

My Year in the MiddleLu is the daughter of Argentinian immigrants, living in Alabama. She’s in sixth grade, in a recently integrated school and feeling like an outsider of her own because she’s Latina. For the most part, white students and black students sit on opposite sides of the room, are only friends with people who look like them. Lu’s love of running brings her closer to a black student, Belinda, but this also puts her at odds with her traditional parents sometimes. Tensions rise throughout the book with the upcoming election between Brewer and Wallace (the segregationist)… people start choosing sides leading to disagreements between friends, fights, and a lot of confusion about what is right. When Lu ultimately decides to stand up for what she believes in, she’ll discover who her real friends are and who she really is. Pick up this historical fiction novel if you are interested in civil rights, running, and a well written story that’s heartwarming.

Book reviewed by Claire B., Youth Outreach Librarian

Drum Roll Please by Lisa Jenn Bigelow 

Drum Roll PleaseMelly and her best friend, Olivia, are all set for rock-‘n’-roll summer camp and on their way when Melly’s parents announce that they are getting a divorce. Then Melly and Olivia get placed in different cabins and bands…but Melly has only ever played with Olivia. Everyone else in her band has a different style of music and it doesn’t seem like they can find any common ground. Her bandmate Adeline becomes a new friend and Melly realizes she has a crush on her. This novel takes Melly through many emotions: angry, confused, shy, scared, curious, understanding. This is a great story about coming out of your shell, romance, and of course, music.

Book reviewed by Claire B., Youth Outreach Librarian

Louisiana’s Way Home by Kate DiCamillo

Louisiana’s Way HomeIn Kate DiCamillo’s 2016 book entitled Raymie Nightingale, we were introduced to Louisiana Elephante. She’s a sweet girl, with a beautiful singing voice and trapeze artist parents!  In 2018 we get the pleasure of an entire book revolving around her in Louisiana’s Way Home. It can be read as a standalone, but I really enjoyed reading it as a sequel. With grace and style all her own, Louisiana is faced with some terrible circumstances and some truths she’s not sure she is ready to face. Granny up and takes her to Georgia from Florida without warning, without her cat, and without even getting to say goodbye to her friends. Granny has no money and no apparent plan and Louisiana finds herself alone in a strange town wondering who she really is and what will become of her.

Recommended for kids in 4th-6th grade who like heartfelt reads.

Book reviewed by Carol C., Elementary School Liaison

The Creativity Project: An Awesometastic Story Collection edited by Colby Sharp

The Creativity Project: An Awesometastic Story CollectionThe Creativity Project, edited by Colby Sharp, is a written and visual collaboration of innovative  ideas using words, art, poetry and stories from various professionals about how writers and illustrators think,explore, and their ideas evolve to a completed work. Each short segmented chapter initiates the process by submitting  a conceptual prompt and then another resourceful contributor submits their idea of how  they work from scratch, sometimes to a finished product.

Book reviewed by Darice C., Youth Services Assistant