Staff Picks 4 Kids Category: Picks by Laura B.

Sarai and The Meaning of Awesome by Saraí González 

Sarai and The Meaning of AwesomeSarai Gonzalez is in fourth grade. She loves to dance, bake cupcakes, and spend time with her family. When she is with them, they pronounce her name the Spanish way, SAH-RAH-EEE, which is different than the English way of SAR-EYE. However, this doesn’t bother her since that means her name is awesome for having different ways to say it. Also, she thinks her life is pretty awesome all the time, but then, she finds out that her grandparents, aunt, uncle, and cousins are going to have to move from the house they have lived in forever. This means they won’t be as close to the Gonzalez’s house anymore and Sarai may not get to spend as much time with her family. How is she going to help them save the house? There has to be a way to make sure they can all stay together. She’s not sure, but she knows it will be awesome. Find out in this chapter book that also includes some great drawings of Sarai and her family.  

Book reviewed by Laura B., Youth Technology Librarian 

The Crayon Man: The True Story of the Invention of Crayola Crayons by Natascha Biebow 

The Crayon Man: The True Story of the Invention of Crayola CrayonsHow many times have you used crayons in your life? The answer is probably a lot, but did you know that before there were crayons, the only way to color was to use special artist type crayons that were expensive, broke easily, and some were even toxic? This is what Edwin Binney, an inventor, learned when his wife asked him to try and create a new type of crayon. Soon, he got to work. There were many writing tools at the time including a gray slate pencil, white chalk, and a black crayon, but how to make crayons with other colors. It was a lot of different experiments, mixing of materials, and using different pigments or colors, but soon he created what we know as Crayola Crayons. This true story is filled with amazing colorful illustrations and some unique facts.  

Book reviewed by Laura B., Youth Technology Librarian 

The Cardboard Kingdom by Chad Sell 

The Cardboard Kingdom book coverWhat can you do with cardboard, an imagination, and break from school? In the graphic novel, Cardboard Kingdom, the neighborhood kids create a whole new world with a sorceress, a gargoyle, and more. Each chapter introduces you to a new kid and his or her’s cardboard creation like a banshee or a mad scientist. The chapter also shows you what is going on in that particular kid’s life, which could be good or bad. For example, one kid is dealing with bullies and another kid’s parents are getting a divorce. However, through their friendship and creation of their cardboard kingdom, every day of summer is fun. This colorful graphic novel is a great read and may lead to you creating your own Cardboard Kingdom. 

Book reviewed by Laura B., Youth Technology Librarian 

The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Pérez

The First Rule of Punk Book CoverThe first rule of punk is to be yourself. How will Malú do that in a new city and school while living with her Mom? They have nothing in common. Malú likes punk music, skateboarding, and making zines, a type of collage magazine. Malú’s mom seems to only like things connected to her Mexican heritage. Malú is being forced to move from Florida to Chicago, Illinois. It’s away from her father, who also likes punk music. Plus, she has to start a new school and on the first day, she accidentally breaks the dress code and clashes with a mean girl. She can’t talk to her mom, because her mom just doesn’t understand her. Malú will have to find friends to help her survive Chicago and a new school, but how do you make friends in a new city? She looks for people who also like music, and creates a band, but there’s a big problem: punk isn’t allowed.

Book reviewed by Laura B., Youth Technology Librarian

Beauty and the Beak: How Science, Technology, and a 3D-Printed Beak Rescued A Bald Eagle by Deborah Lee Rose

Beauty and the Beak: How Science, Technology, and a 3D-Printed Beak Rescued A Bald EagleBeauty is an amazing bald eagle and was born in the wild. She learned to fly, hunt and use her beak to break up food, and live on her own. However, one day that all changed when she was hurt by a bullet. It took most of her upper beak and hurt her face as well. Without her beak, she couldn’t hunt anymore or take care of herself. Luckily, a policeman found her and brought her to a wildlife center where they helped her heal. However, she was still missing her beak and that is when an engineer became interested in helping Beauty. Could they 3D print a beak for her to wear? Would it work the same way her original beak worked? It had never been done before, but maybe this was a way to help Beauty. In this incredible true story, learn how using a 3D printer helped Beauty.

Book reviewed by Laura B., Youth Technology Librarian