Staff Picks 4 Kids Category: Picks by Anne W.

Ruby and Olivia by Rachel Hawkins

Ruby and Olivia by Rachel Hawkins book coverEeeeewwww, an old, abandoned, probably haunted house! Why would you want to go inside? Ruby and Olivia have to because they have gotten into trouble and are completing community service at a summer day camp. Live Oak House needs to be cleaned up so it can be turned into a museum. As Ruby and Olivia start their duties, they hear mysterious noises and see things. Are there ghosts in the house? If so, what do they want? Find out along with Ruby and Olivia, who learn to become friends.

Book reviewed by Anne W., Youth Services Assistant

Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Cover image for Ghost boysJerome is shot by a police officer who thinks he has a gun. Jerome’s ghost tells us the story of how it happened. Jerome is a brave boy trying to protect his sister and be safe in their dangerous neighborhood. He deals with bullies and sees drug dealers near his home regularly. Jerome decides to reach out to a new student at his school (which he normally would not do) and makes a real, actual friend. This story was heartbreaking, and so well told that I wanted to enter the book and help the characters myself.

Book reviewed by Anne W., 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

I Will Always Write Back by Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda

Cover image for I will always write back : how one letter changed two livesStarting as an assignment for school, Caitlin is a middle school student in the United States who decides to write to Martin in Zimbabwe. They learn about each other’s lives and become friends long after the assignment has been completed. As Caitlin realizes that Martin and his family are in increasing danger in their country, she and her family find ways to help and eventually get Martin to the United States so he can continue his education. It’s a true story.

Book reviewed by Anne W., Youth Services Assistant

A Night Divided by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Cover image for A night dividedImagine that someone builds a wall in the middle of the night separating your town into different sides. You have to stay on the side you are on and never get to visit the other side. That is exactly what happened when the Berlin Wall was built to separate the West from the East. Gerta, her brother Fritz, and her mom are on the east side while her father and her brother Dominic are on the west side. The people on the east side are watched very closely, and the people on the west side have better living conditions. Gerta is inspired to get her family to the west side, but can she do it without being discovered by the guards? Read this story to find out!

Book reviewed by Anne W., Youth Services Assistant

I am Drums by Mike Grosso

Cover image for I am drumsDrums are Sam’s life. She hears music everywhere she goes, even when she is dreaming. She even makes her own drum kit out of her encyclopedias and her Calvin and Hobbes books so she can practice all the time. Sam wants to become a better drummer, and she has to figure out how she can pay for lessons. This story is funny, sad, and cool.

Book reviewed by Anne W., Youth Services Assistant

The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier

Cover image for The Night gardener : a scary storyA spooky, mysterious tree is at the center of this story. Molly and Kip encounter the Windsor family, who are in need of a housekeeper/cook and someone to take care of their yard. The longer Molly and Kip stay, the more they realize that the tree (which the house has been built around) has magical powers. They also meet a malevolent figure who only comes out at night to take care of the tree. I felt sympathy for Molly and Kip, who have to make their way in the world, because they are not sure they will ever see their parents again. I found this to be a satisfyingly creepy story. Check it out for yourself!

Book reviewed by Anne W., Youth Services Assistant

How to Capture an Invisible Cat by Paul Tobin

Cover image for How to capture an invisible catInvisible Cats? Dogs that can talk? Villains chasing Nate and Delphine? In How to Capture an Invisible Cat by Paul Tobin, Nate and Delphine have to figure out how to shrink Nate’s cat, Proton, to his original size (Nate loves science and experimenting and made Proton the size of an elephant and invisible). The Red Death Tea Society (the villains) are trying to stop Nate and Delphine from shrinking Proton. Who will win? Read this book and find out!

Book reviewed by Anne W., Youth Services Assistant

The Disappearance of Emily H. by Barrie Summy

Cover image for The disappearance of Emily H.Raine is the new girl at school, and she is living in the house Emily H. lived in before she disappeared. What happened to Emily? Do the mean girls know something? Raine has the ability to see “sparkles” on objects, so when she touches them, she can see what happened. Is Emily still alive? Will Raine be able to find her? This is a thrilling mystery that will keep you wanting to know more and find out what happened to Emily.

Book reviewed by Anne W., Youth Services Assistant

City of light, City of Dark: A Comic Book Novel by Avi

Cover image for City of light, city of dark : a comic book novelHow can a seemingly ordinary subway token hold the power to light a whole city? When Carlos finds this token, he meets several people who want it. Will the city be frozen over forever by the Kurbs, who actually own the city, and not the humans? Carlos and Sarah have to uncover the truth in this intriguing and fascinating comic book novel. Read more to find out.

Book reviewed by Anne W., Youth Services Assistant