Staff Picks 4 Kids Category: For Grades 4-6

The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier 

Cover image for The Night gardener : a scary storyIf you enjoy hearing spooky tales told ‘round the campfire, look no further than the audiobook version of The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier. Listen to the tale of Irish orphans Molly and Kip as they travel to a rural English village to begin working and living inside a quirky family’s old mansion. In the dead of night, they hear heavy footsteps walking throughout the house. Who or what is walking through the house? And how are those footprints connected to the family’s weird behavior and to the old tree just outside the window?This Victorian ghost story, brought to life by the incredible voice talents of narrator Beverly Crick, will keep you riveted.

Book reviewed by Amy M., Youth Services Assistant

The Painting by Charis Cotter

Cover image for The paintingAnnie and her mother are very different, and have trouble talking to each other sometimes. Annie finds an old painting in the attic of her house and is drawn to it. It fascinates her every time she looks at it, until she notices one day that things in the painting are actually moving. The more she looks, the closer she gets, until finally she falls into the painting and enters that world. How will she get back? Why do some things feel familiar? Will Annie and her mom improve their relationship?

Book reviewed by Anne W., Youth Services Assistant

Tumble & Blue by Cassie Beasley

Cover image for Tumble & BlueFate can be a great thing, but not for Blue, whose fate it is to always lose, no matter what. Or for Tumble, who wants desperately to be a hero and save others, but always ends up needing to be saved herself in the end. There’s a legend that says a golden crocodile lives in the swamp and on the night of the blood red crescent moon one lucky person who finds him can have a great fate bestowed on them. So, on the night on the blood red crescent moon Tumble and Blue set out to find the golden crocodile and change their fate. However, the crocodile only has one fate he can give. So who should get it? Tumble? Blue? Or someone else that might need it more? This is also a great audio.

Book reviewed by Keary B., Youth Collection Librarian

The Whiz Mob and the Grenadine Kid by Colin Meloy

Cover image for The whiz mob and the grenadine kidThe Whiz Mob and the Grenadine Kid by Colin Meloy is a whimsical adventure full of tongue-in-cheek humor and a whole lot of twists and turns. When Charlie’s mother abandons him, he finds himself suddenly traveling the world with his diplomat father whom he hardly knows and never sees. They are currently in France and Charlie is bored. One day while sitting on a bench with his notebook, a boy comes up and steals the pen right out of Charlie’s hand. The boy is so sneaky that Charlie doesn’t even know it’s happening! Charlie is so intrigued that he begs the boy to teach him the ways of pickpocketing, and thus gets pulled into the fast-paced, high stakes world of the whiz mob: a group of kids who make their living stealing from the rich.

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator

River Runs Deep by Jennifer Bradbury

Cover image for River runs deep : a novelFollow Elias, who at the ripe young age of twelve contracts consumption and is sent to a doctor who specializes in experimental treatment of the disease. What is the catch? The doctor only treats people deep inside a cave! Once Elias is in his tiny hut underground, he struggles to adjust to the darkness and his quirky fellow patients. He thinks he is hearing voices and that the slaves who assist the doctor may be hiding something. What could they be hiding? This historical fiction tale is especially fascinating since it takes place within Kentucky’s world-famous Mammoth Cave and several of the characters are based on real people.

Book reviewed by Amy M., Youth Services Assistant

The Harlem Charade by Natasha Tarpley

Cover image for The Harlem charadeHow do a painting, a goat, a feather, and the neighborhood Harlem in New York City all go together? That is exactly what Jin, Alex, and Elvin are trying to figure out. It all started when this young boy finds a famous piece of artwork from an obscure Harlem Renaissance artist in a garden. Then, Elvin’s grandfather is attacked in that same garden and is in the hospital. Soon, they are working together to figure out what happened to Elvin’s grandfather while also trying to learn more about the found painting and the artist. Somehow they all seem to be linked and maybe that means there is more artwork to find. However, they aren’t the only ones that have thought of this. There are some adults also looking for it. If the wrong people get their hands on it, it could mean the end of Harlem as a neighborhood.

Book reviewed by Laura B., Youth Technology Librarian

Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk

Cover image for Beyond the bright seaThe Newbery honor author of Wolf Hollow has come out with another stunningly poignant novel with a unique historical setting. In Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk, 12-year-old Crow was a baby when she washed up on an island off the New England coast. It was Osh who found her and he has cared for her ever since. But Crow does not look like everyone else on the tiny island, and has always wondered where she came from. In her search for answers, she triggers a dangerous chain of events that brings conflict to the island and to her home with Osh. This beautifully written book explores themes of identity and belonging and what it means to be a family.

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator

Pablo and Birdy by Alison McGee

Cover image for Pablo and BirdyWelcome to the island of Isla where an infant and a mute, flightless parrot arrive in a child’s inflatable pool after a storm. The islanders have kept Pablo and Birdy safe ever since.

Ten years have passed and suddenly brought some very strong winds of change. Pablo becomes desperate to learn about his origins. Will his parrot companion Birdy help him in is his discovery?

This is a fable like story and do not forget to pay close attention to the wonderful illustrations.

Book reviewed by Marsha D., Youth Services Assistant

What a Waste! Where Does Garbage Go? by Claire Eamer

Cover image for What a waste! : where does garbage go?Did you know that recycling bins are blue due to the fact that blue plastic takes longer to decompose than any other color of plastic? Discover more facts like this one in this fascinating non-fiction book recommended for those in 3rd grade and up. Since the dawn of civilization, people in groups have accumulated garbage. What did they do with it? Using a blend of history and science, this book answers this question and also explains how different countries manage their large amounts of trash in modern times. The colorful layout and “trash talk” sidebars will have you hooked immediately.

Book reviewed by Amy M., Youth Services Assistant

Young Fredle by Cynthia Voigt 

Cover image for Young FredleIf it hadn’t been for the delicious combination of chocolate and peppermint, Fredle might have lived his whole life as an indoor mouse. When he becomes ill from overeating, he is pushed from the safety of his family’s nest out onto the unprotected kitchen floor. There, Missus traps him under a glass and releases him outside. Having lived his whole life inside, there are so many outside things that Fredle doesn’t understand. What do outdoor mice eat? Where do they sleep? And what are the dangers to avoid? On his quest to get back home, Fredle is nearly eaten by raccoons, narrowly escapes being lunch for the barn cats, and has a scary conversation with a snake. Will Fredle be able to get back inside? Will he even want to know that he has seen the excitements of outside?

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head