Staff Picks 4 Kids Category: Picks by Claire B

If My Moon Was Your Sun by Andreas Steinhöfel 

Cover image for If my moon was your sunThis book is about a kidnapping, but not the kind you might be imagining. You see, Max’s grandfather lives in a nursing home for people who have “lost their marbles,” as grandfather says. Grandfather hasn’t lost all his marbles, but he forgets things and people sometimes (we know this is dementia, but Max doesn’t). That’s why Max has to break grandfather out of the nursing home and take him to a place he’ll never forget. It isn’t Max’s fault that Miss Schneider sneaks out along with them and decides to follow them. Max knows this is his chance to help his grandfather, his favorite person, remember. Of course, now the police and caregivers and Max’s mom are out looking for them! This short book includes pictures and an audiobook with music to accompany the story. It was translated from German, and is a sweet, amusing story about family and a mini-adventure.

Book reviewed by Claire B., Youth Outreach Librarian

Auma’s Long Run by Eucabeth Odhiambo

Cover image for Auma's long runAuma’s Long Run transports the reader to a Kenya where people are just discovering and coming to grips with the AIDS epidemic. Auma, unlike most of her classmates, looks beyond a career as a farmer or wife and dreams of being a doctor. It’s part of why she works to understand why so many people are dying and what can be done. Auma, and most in her community, have to deal with being poor and the limited options there are for women, but she has a great relationship with her family, and the whole community works together to help one another. The author did a good job of putting us in that setting, so that even though it is not my own culture, I could relate. Auma is not only a dutiful daughter and student, but a runner and someone who wishes to go back to being a child. Her friends and classmates experience grief, taunting, romantic feelings, and moments of laughter, just like teens here. I recommend this story especially to middle grade and teen readers who want a new perspective.

 Book reviewed by Claire B., Youth Outreach Librarian

Making it Right by Marilee Peters

Cover image for Making it right : building peace, settling conflictLet’s talk about real life superheroes! When bad things happen, we can’t call Batman or the Avengers, but there are things we ourselves can do. Making it Right, by Marilee Peters, explains how the criminal justice system, which makes rules on how to deal with crime, was developed and how it works today. Most of the time in the US, people go to court and have lawyers, a judge, and jury decide what happens. At school, the principal probably decides your punishment. In some communities, the offender and victim meet, along with a mediator, learn more about each other’s perspectives, and decide together what the offender can do to make up for their wrong. There are stories about kids who learn how to resolve fights at school, kids in New Orleans who worked on solving problems in their schools after Hurricane Katrina, and the ways young people in South Africa worked to heal after apartheid. I thought this was a really interesting book, and a good one to check out to help you deal with problems at school and beyond. All around the world, kids like you are doing something to help others and make the world a better place. Pick up this book if you want to start learning more!

Book reviewed by Claire B., Youth Outreach Librarian

Comics Squad: Recess! edited by Jennifer L. Holm, Matthew Holm & Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Cover image for Comics Squad : recess!In each of these short comic stories, recess plays a part. This book features stories by some of the best graphic novel writers today: Gene Luen Yang, Dav Pilkey, Raina Telgemeier, and more! You’ll hear stories about familiar characters, like Babymouse, Betty from Lunch Lady, and George and Harold from Captain Underpants. You’ll also meet people like Daryl, who wants to join the Super-Secret Ninja Club but needs to prove his skills first, and Jiminy Sprinkles, a cupcake who faces off against the vitamin-fortified Green Gang.  Along the way you’ll find fun activities like a comic character mashup and instructions for drawing different characters.

Book reviewed by Claire B., Youth Outreach Librarian

The Adventures of Arnie the Doughnut: Bowling Alley Bandit by Laurie Keller

Cover image for Bowling alley banditArnie is a pet “doughnut dog.” His owner, Mr. Bing, was hoping to eat him for breakfast, but when Arnie started talking he knew he had to come up with something else to do with his doughnut. He’s exactly the kind of pet you might like to have: he tells jokes, does impressions, and most people think he’s adorable. In this book, Arnie tries to figure out why Mr. Bing keeps rolling gutter balls in his championship bowling match. Together with his friends, a pizza slice, the karaoke lady, and some bowling balls and pins, Arnie will discover if someone is trying to sabotage the game. Along the way there will be songs, dancing, and lucky pink sprinkles galore! If you are a new chapter book reader, and love laughs and silliness, pick up The Adventures of Arnie the Doughnut:Bowling Alley Bandit.

Book reviewed by Claire B., Youth Outreach Librarian

Inspector Flytrap and the Big Deal Mysteries by Tom Angleberger and Cece Bell

Cover image for Inspector FlytrapInspector Flytrap is a venus flytrap (that’s a plant that eats insects) on a skateboard, who solves mysteries with the help of his sidekick, Nina the Goat. They only take “Big Deal” mysteries, like the case of a mysterious blob on a famous painting or a single giant stinky shoe! This book has mysteries that need to be solved, but also a lot of funny parts like Nina eating everything in sight or the mysteries too small for Inspector Flytrap to take.  The first in the Inspector Flytrap series is a fun and quick read, especially for someone just starting to read chapter books. You might also like it if you’ve read other books by Tom Angleberger (like Origami Yoda) or Cece Bell (like El Deafo). The second in the series is already out, so there’s a lot to enjoy!

Book reviewed by Claire B., Youth Outreach Librarian

Milo Speck, Accidental Agent by Linda Urban

Cover image for Milo Speck, accidental agentThis is the story of Milo Speck, a boy whose father travels a lot for work, and leaves him with Grandmother, a woman who is not actually his grandmother, and who makes him wear dorky clothes with squawking ducks on them. He’s emptying out the laundry machine one day when a sock pulls him in…suddenly he’s in a world called Ogregon, filled with, you guessed it, ogres! They are giant, not very smart, and obsessed with eating children. Milo is desperate for a way to escape, until he hears that his father might be trapped there as well. So he goes to rescue his father, and learns along the way about secret agents, turkeys that obey commands, the mysterious Dr. El, and something called a whatzit that promises to bring the ogres lots of kids to eat. This book is exciting and explores worlds very different from our own, but it should also make you laugh. If you’re looking for something magical with a sense of humor, check out this book!

Book reviewed by Claire B., Youth Outreach Librarian

Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust by Loic Dauvillier

Cover image for Hidden : a child's story of the HolocaustElsa can’t sleep and she finds her grandmother sitting up. Grandma Dounia tells the story of her childhood in France. Her life was pretty normal, with a best friend and a boy they both had a crush on. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, people start treating her different because she is Jewish. To survive, Dounia must stay hidden and separated from her parents and everything she knows. This graphic novel tells one story of the Holocaust that took place in Europe in the 1940s. This book gives you an idea of what it was like to live through a sad part of history, but tells the story in a gentle way with a hopeful ending.

Book reviewed by Claire B., Youth Outreach Librarian

Lowriders in Space by Cathy Camper

Cover image for Lowriders in space. Book 1Lupe, Flapjack, and Elirio work in an auto shop, and they love what they do. Lupe is a mechanic, while Flapjack cleans the cars, and Elirio is a detail artist. They also live in outer space, and are an impala, octopus, and mosquito, respectively. They would like to own their own garage, but they don’t even have enough money for a car of their own. That all changes when they find a car competition that promises a carload of cash. The three find a beat up car to fix, but will it win the race? This book was illustrated in black, blue, and red ballpoint pens, because that is what the artist liked to use when he drew as a child. It might inspire you to start drawing your own comics, or learning Spanish, since they use a lot of Spanish slang in the book. This is an enjoyable read for people who like cars, fantasy stories, and wacky adventures.

Book reviewed by Claire B., Youth Outreach Librarian

Lost in NYC: A Subway Adventure by Nadja Spiegelman

Cover image for Lost in NYC : a subway adventurePablo’s family moves around a lot. On his first day at his new school they take a trip to the Empire State Building, and they ride the famous New York subway to get there. Along the way, Pablo and his classmate, Alicia get separated from the rest of the class and have to find the group, using regular trains, express trains, and walking through the streets of New York City. As we go on the journey with them, we learn about how the subway was constructed, and other fun facts about the largest city in the United States. Each page and illustration has so much detail; you can spend plenty of time just looking at the different people and sights. The illustrator also has a fun story about how he researched the subway before he drew the pictures, and includes himself in most of the pages for an extra hide and seek activity while you’re reading. Check this book out for an adventure in another part of the country!

Book reviewed by Claire B., Youth Outreach Librarian