News from Youth Services Category: For Grades 4-6

How to Find What You’re Not Looking For

by Veera Hiranandani

how to find what you're not looking for book cover
JF HIRANANDANI, V.

Ariel Goldberg is in middle school, dealing with friendship and learning challenges. Ariel is also dealing with family issues, as her beloved older sister Leah leaves home to marry Raj, the Indian man that she has fallen in love with.  When Leah’s parents refuse to accept the marriage, Ariel realizes that it is through poetry that she is best able to communicate her feelings about all that is happening in her life.

This story takes place shortly after the Supreme Court decision Loving v. Virgina in 1967 and is inspired by the author’s own family history.  

Ophie’s Ghosts

by Justina Ireland

ophie's ghosts book cover
JF IRELAND, J.

Ophelia, or Ophie, wakes up one night to her father telling her she needs to get out of the house. Moments later, some men from town come and set it on fire. It is only later that Ophie discovers her father was killed the night before, and that his ghost came to give her the message. She and her mother flee Georgia for Pittsburgh, where they must live with Ophie’s sweet great aunt, but also her horrible aunt and cousins. Seriously, they are really unpleasant! Ophie’s mother gets a job as a maid in a very rich family’s home, and soon Ophie must come to work there as well. All the while, she keeps seeing ghosts, and what’s more, the ghosts know she can see them. They start to ask her for things, things they need said or done so they can pass on. Ophie stumbles across a mystery at her job, and her curiosity and desire to help cause her to put herself in danger, all in the name of solving the mystery and helping one very charming ghost.   

This book takes place in the 1920s, and Ophelia’s family is black. Her father is killed because he tried to vote. Even though black men got the right to vote in 1870, it was basically impossible in the South at that time. And even though Ophie and her mom come to the north, they still experience a lot of racism and bad treatment. The story is a hard and sad one, but also very exciting, and by the end, I was so proud of Ophie for her bravery and compassion. If you like your ghost stories with some historical facts sprinkled in, pick up Ophie’s Ghosts by Justina Ireland. I listened to the book, which was wonderful, so if you like audiobooks, give it a listen.  

Across the Desert

by Dusti Bowling

across the desert book cover
JF BOWLING, D.

Jolene has become friends online with Addie, who livestreams when she flies her ultralight plane. When Jolene sees Addie crash her plane in the desert, she knows she has to move quickly to find her. Jolene leaves a note for her mom and takes off, hoping to get to Addie as fast as she can. Does Jolene find Addie? Read on to find out. 

Hide and Geek

by T.P. Jagger

hide and geek book cover
JF JAGGER, T.

Meet the GEEKs:  Gina, Edgar, Elena, and Kevin–best friends who are determined to save their hometown of Elmwood, the former headquarters of the famous toy maker Maxine Van Houten.  At one time Maxine’s toy the Bamboozler put the town on the map.  But now Maxine has died, her heirs have bankrupted the company, and the toy factory is closing down.  The only thing that can save the town and keep the friends together is solving Maxine’s last puzzle, a scavenger hunt with a priceless treasure at the end.   This is a great readalike for fans of Escape From Mr Lemoncello’s Library.

No Vacancy

by Tziporah Cohen

no vacancy book cover
JF COHEN, T.

Miriam and her family move from Manhattan to upstate New York to run a motel. Miriam is 11, and has two good friends she hates to leave back home. Upon arrival in her new town, Miriam meets a new friend, Kate and a cast of towns people who begin to make her feel welcome. This is a sweet summer friendship story which also deals with religion and tolerance.  Miriam is Jewish and her new friend Kate is Catholic. Both these faiths are explored in this book as the girls grapple with a decision  they make to help business at the struggling motel.  This story is full of authentic characters and a wonderful summer setting.