Staff Picks 4 Kids Category: Picks by Erin E.

The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani

The Night Diary book coverThis book made me hungry for Indian food. One of the things Nisha loves to do is prepare food, which she does with Kazi, who is her family’s cook. Kazi also happens to be Muslim, while Nisha’s family is Hindu. Nisha never thought about this before, until suddenly India is being split into two countries– a new India for Hindu people and Pakistan for Muslim people. Gandhi doesn’t think this is right, and neither does Nisha. The book is told through diary entries that Nisha addresses to her mother, whom she never knew. Her mother was Muslim, which also makes Nisha feel conflicted about her identity. This is a well-written and interesting historical fiction.  The narrator has an authentic voice and the story tells about a part of India’s history with which many kids may be unfamiliar.

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator

The Serpent’s Secret by Sayantani DasGupta

The Serpents Secret book coverKiranmala comes home from school on her 12th birthday to discover that her parents have disappeared from their New Jersey home, there’s a rakkosh demon on her front lawn, and all those stories her parents have always told her about being an Indian princess from another dimension full of demons and magic– well, it turns out it was all true! In order to bring her parents back, Kiranmala and two princes must travel to the Kingdom Beyond, where Kiranmala uncovers surprising facts in her family tree, and comes into her own as a strong young woman.  What sets this novel apart from the rest is the playful tone. I mean, how would YOU react if you’re living a normal boring life and are suddenly meeting talking birds and half-demons? Fans of Rick Riordan will love this action-packed new series!

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator

Saving Fiona: The Story of the World’s Most Famous Baby Hippo by Thayne Maynard

Saving Fiona: The World's Most Famous Baby Hippo Book CoverHippos Bibi and Henry were living at the Cincinnati Zoo when they were expecting their first baby. The little hippo arrived two months early, making her very small and weak, and even unable to be with her parents in their big pool. A team of human caregivers monitored and cared for the hippo, naming her Fiona, after the princess from the movie Shrek. The team decided to share Fiona’s struggles with the world on social media, and Fiona earned fans around the world. This book is written by the director of the Cincinnati Zoo and contains tons of adorable pictures of Fiona and interesting facts about hippos. You can look up #TeamFiona to see how she’s doing now!

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator

Thank You, Earth: A Love Letter to Our Planet by April Pulley Sayre

Thank You, Earth: A Love Letter to Our PlanetThe author of Raindrops Roll and Best in Snow has come out with another celebration of nature and its wonders. This book is full of stunning photographs and rich descriptive words. The back matter gives information on how to turn your “thank you” into actions—skipping straws, for example. Sayre also gives location and species detail for all of the photographs, in case you’re wondering WHAT or WHERE some of the amazing pictures are. Thank You, Earth is biology, ecology, math, and life lessons wrapped in a gorgeous package.

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator

Thank you, Omu! by Oge More

Thank you, Omu!This book begins with Omu (AH-moo) in her top floor apartment cooking a thick red stew in a big fat pot for her nice evening meal. Just before she sits down to eat it, there’s a knock at the door. It’s a little boy asking about the delicious smell. What do you think Omu does? Of course she shares her stew! But then, the smell drifts further, and another person comes knocking! And another, and another. Will there be enough stew for everyone? The warm colors on the pages match the warm & fuzzy feelings you’ll get from this sweet book about food, comfort, and community.

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator