Staff Picks 4 Kids Category: Picks by Amy M.

Helen Thayer’s Arctic Adventure: A Woman and a Dog Walk to the North Pole by Sally Senzell Isaacs

Cover image for Helen Thayer's Arctic adventure : a woman and a dog walk to the North PoleExperience the thrill of a real-life adventure in this non-fiction picture book. Follow the unbelievable story of Helen Thayer, an outdoorswoman who fulfilled her dream of being the first woman to hike solo from Canada to the magnetic North Pole with only a sled, supplies, a tent, a dog, and a radio. With no outside help and only her two feet as transportation, she and her dog, Charlie, traveled mile after mile for many days with the constant threat of cracking ice, dangerous polar bears, and killer weather. The detailed illustrations pull you into the story and make you think you are hiking with her!

Book reviewed by Amy M., Youth Services Assistant

Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Cover image for Fish in a tree : a novelSixth-grader Ally gets into trouble during class enough to be a frequent flyer in the principal’s office. Not only does she struggle with her father’s absence due to an overseas deployment, she dreads going to school since she has no friends and she knows she’ll be forced to act out in order to protect a secret. Her life drastically changes when her strange behavior causes a move to a new classroom. Ally initially panics as Mr. Daniels, her new teacher, uncovers her secret. As the school year goes on and new friends are made, however, Ally begins to blossom. If you enjoy reading books that feature a main character who faces challenges in a school setting, this book is for you!

Book reviewed by Amy M., Youth Services Assistant

The Creeping Shadow (Lockwood & Co. series) by Jonathan Stroud

Cover image for The creeping shadowDo you enjoy slightly spooky stories that feature a hint of mystery and a dash of adventure? Then dive into this 4th installment from the thrilling Lockwood & Co. series! Once again, the reader is returned to the alternate-London world in which deadly ghosts are a daily part of life, and only children can detect their presence. Lucy Carlisle, a freelance agent who can communicate with ghosts, is getting used to her independent life. A surprise break-in at her home, however, forces her back to her former place of employment to seek help. Lockwood & Co. may have just what she needs to help solve the break-in mystery. Trust me; you will not believe what Lucy and her friends discover by the end of this gripping tale!

Book reviewed by Amy M., Youth Services Assistant

Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks

Cover image for Save me a seatImagine starting fifth grade at a new school in a new country. It’s tough! Ravi, who has just moved from India, is stunned to learn that his classmates and teacher at Albert Einstein Elementary do not seem impressed by his previous stellar grades, popularity among his former classmates, and his athletic prowess at cricket. At first, he feels his only hope for climbing the social ladder involves befriending Dillon Samreen, an outgoing classmate. Joe, a fellow student who sits behind Ravi, is bullied frequently by Dillon and notices that he has his sights now set on Ravi. With viewpoints of Ravi and Joe alternating every chapter, you’ll root for each one as they both do their best to navigate life in the fifth grade.

Book reviewed by Amy M., Youth Services Assistant

Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George

Cover image for Tuesdays at the castleCelie is an ordinary princess who lives in a castle with her royal family. Castle Glower, however, is anything but ordinary. It has a mind of its own, and it seems to have taken a shining to the royal family, especially Celie.  The Kingdom of Sleyne is happy and safe, until one day, the King and Queen, along with Bran, one of Celie’s brothers, disappear while on a trip.  Celie and her other two siblings struggle to solve the mystery of their missing family members. Where did they go? Are they truly gone?  Come along for an adventure through the many twists and turns inside Castle Glower. You won’t be disappointed!

Book reviewed by Amy M., Youth Services Assistant

Booked by Kwame Alexander

Cover image for BookedThis novel-in-verse follows Nick, a boy who LOVES soccer and has a crush on April,  a girl at his school.  When a double-whammy comes up in his life in the form of his parents deciding to separate (with his mom moving away) and an emergency stay in the hospital, Nick struggles with staying calm and facing his fears.  Nick wants things to be like they were before, but that isn’t an option anymore.  If you enjoy lightning-fast reads that take place in a school setting, this one’s for you!

Book reviewed by Amy M., Youth Services Assistant

The Boy Who Fell Off the Mayflower or John Howland’s Good Fortune by P.J. Lynch

Cover image for The boy who fell off the Mayflower or John Howland's good fortuneThis longer non-fiction picture book immerses the reader in the early life of John Howland, an indentured servant who, in the year 1620, sailed across the ocean on the Mayflower with his master to become one of the first settlers in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The incredibly rich illustrations and  first-person narrative detailing the unbelievable challenges he faced will easily capture your attention.  Who doesn’t enjoy a true tale of survival?

Book reviewed by Amy M., Youth Services Assistant

Space Case by Stuart Gibbs

Cover image for Space caseTransport yourself to Earth Year 2041 in Space Case by Stuart Gibbs. After months of living inside Moon Base Alpha, Earth’s first human colony on the moon, twelve-year-old Dash Gibson has some choice words to say about his experience:  “Life in outer space sucks. Trust me, I know.” The furniture is inflatable and uncomfortable, the food is iffy, and the faraway toilets clog…A LOT.  He’s resigned to the fact that he’s stuck there until his scientist parents have completed their assignments, so he deals with the monotony until a 2 a.m. bathroom run pulls him into a serious mystery involving the death of the base physician. He decides to investigate the death with the help of friends. What else will he do in this boring place? Crack open this quirky mystery and you too can travel to Moon Base Alpha.

Book reviewed by Amy M., Youth Services Assistant

Lockwood & Co: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud

Cover image for The screaming staircaseImagine working full-time and earning a salary even before your 16th birthday. In The Screaming Staircase, Book 1 of the Lockwood & Co. series by Jonathan Stroud, most children need to work. Why? Because of “the Problem.”  In London, ghosts have become an all too familiar sight, and anyone who is touched by one endures deadly ghostlock. Since adults can’t see ghosts; only children and teens can be agents, and daily use of lavender, iron, and salt to ward off ghostly “visitors” is the new normal. Without any adults in the new agency, Lockwood & Co. who is run by Anthony Lockwood and his two associates, Lucy and George, who are agents trained in the use of rapiers (swords) and are hired to clear areas of ghosts while solving mysteries in the process. Join them on their next case as they go down into the dark on The Screaming Staircase. Beware:  this new series is only for those who like spooky thrills and chills with a touch of mystery.

Book reviewed by Amy M., Youth Services Assistant