Staff Picks 4 Kids Category: Picks by Claire B

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

The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson.

Cover image for The great Greene heistJackson Greene is known for a couple of things: his blazer jacket and red tie, and big scale tricks or cons like the “Blitz at the Fitz” or incidents like the “Mid-day PDA.” But for the past four months, things have been different. After his last con blew up, he’s decided to stay on the straight and narrow. That was until he found out that Keith Sinclair is planning on running for student council president against Gabby de la Cruz, Jackson’s former best friend/almost girlfriend who kind of hates him right now.  Jackson knows he shouldn’t get involved, but Keith is known for playing dirty, and he has the greedy principal on his side. So Jackson gets together a group of students, each talented at something different, to make sure the election goes according to plan. And if Jackson wins back Gabby’s respect in the process, and stays out of trouble, that will just be the icing on the cake. If you like mystery, adventure, and fast paced stories, check out this entertaining book.

Book reviewed by Claire B., Youth Outreach Librarian

Boys of Blur by N.D. Wilson

Cover image for Boys of blurCharlie’s family has just moved back to the town his father and step-father are from. It is where football is a way of life and boys chase rabbits through the sugar cane for fun. There’s something different about this town. It starts when Charlie’s cousin takes him out at night, and they see a man wearing a silver helmet and carrying a sword who is accompanied by a panther. Then there’s the awful smell that usually makes people unnaturally angry all of a sudden. Charlie is trying to move past the pain his father caused in the past, and adjust to a new happier life in a different place, but the secrets of the town are too much to ignore. He and his cousin find themselves right in the middle of a war between good and evil that threatens everyone in their town. This book has zombies and other fantastical elements, but paints a realistic place you can clearly imagine. It is a fast and exciting read that should appeal to readers in 4th-6th grade, especially those who like adventures and fantasy.

Book reviewed by Claire B., Youth Outreach Librarian

El Deafo by Cece Bell

Cover image for El deafoWhen Cece was young, she lost her hearing because of an illness and her whole life changes. She starts wearing a bulky hearing aid around her neck, and has to learn not only how to use that, but how to read people’s lips. There are all sorts of adjustments she has to make. Worst of all, people start treating her differently, speaking to her really slowly, like there’s something wrong with her. She starts dreaming about being the good kind of special, like a superhero and having a best friend. However, it’s not really a sad book. Even though Cece has to deal with a lot of hard things, there are plenty of funny moments too! I’d recommend this book for fans of Smile by Raina Telgemeier, and people who like funny and heartfelt stories.

Book reviewed by Claire B., Youth Outreach Librarian

Cities: Discover How They Work by Kathleen M. Reilly

Cover image for Cities : discover how they workDo you know how to get water to the top of a building? Or why potholes occur? If you’ve ever wondered how cities work, or enjoy real life applications of science, technology, engineering, and math, you’ll probably like this book. It explains why cities came about and how and why they work the way they do. Along the way, there are fun activities and experiments so you can get hands-on experience with things like building a skyscraper, making a battery, or simulating an earthquake to see what causes buildings to fall or stay standing.

I also liked learning about the history of cities, and seeing how we’ve made things better. For example, before flush toilets, you used to have to use a pot, which got dumped into the street and caused a lot of diseases; or how city planners work to help blind people know when to cross the street. Some signs make a loud beeping noise, like a chirping bird, when it’s time to cross. Others have a raised arrow you can feel with your fingers that vibrates and tells people when to cross and how much time they have. Pick up this book to learn even more interesting facts about cities, and try your hand at planning and building your own city!

Book reviewed by Claire B., Youth Outreach Librarian