Staff Picks 4 Kids Category: Picks by Loreen S.

Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story by Nora Raleigh Baskin

Cover image for Nine, ten : a September 11 storyIt is September 9, 2001. A day like any other day. Children in school, parents working, families settling down to their dinners – nothing out of the ordinary in any way. Our story begins here, introducing us to four children and their families, one each in Chicago, Illinois; Shanksville, Pennsylvania; Brooklyn, New York; and Columbus, Ohio. All of them will soon feel the impact of the events of September 11, 2001, each in their own special way. The tragedy of 9.11 is gently brought home through the stories of these ordinary children. The history of the day becomes more personal as we see it unfold through their eyes. If you like historical fiction, and would like to understand 9.11 in a new way, this is the book for you.

Book reviewed by Loreen S., Youth Services Assistant

Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin

Cover image for Bomb : the race to build and steal the world's most dangerous weaponThrills! As the USA and Soviet Union race to see who can build an atomic bomb first!

Chills! As double agent scientists work for the USA, and give away secrets as spies to the Soviet Union!

Surprises! As you learn of the many, many mistakes and accidents that occurred, costing many military men their lives – and almost costing our lives as well!

Sound good? It is! Give Bomb a try!

Book reviewed by Loreen S., Youth Services Assistant

Pie by Sarah Weeks

Cover image for PieWhat’s your favorite type of pie? No matter; whatever your favorite is, it would be available and free at PIE, Aunt Polly’s bakery. She just loved baking pies, and didn’t need the money, so her pies would all be free!

But then she died, and no one, not her sister, not her favorite niece, Alice, no one, had a copy of her famous pie crust recipe. Aunt Polly left the only known copy of it to her cat, Lardo!

How can someone leave a recipe to a cat? Good question. It’s a mystery, and Alice, with her friend, Charlie, is determined to find out!

(Another plus to this books are the 14 pie recipes, each one guaranteed to be delicious! Come to read the book; stay and try out a pie recipe!)

Book reviewed by Loreen S., Youth Services Assistant

The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann

syndetics-lcThe Unwanteds by Lisa McMann. Alex and Aaron, identical twins, have spent all of their 13 years together in the land of Quill, but that was ending today. Quillerans are expected to conform unquestioningly to all the rules; all creativity and independence are totally not tolerated. Not “tolerated”? At 13 years of age, every child is labeled as “Wanted” (destined for higher education and a possible future leadership position), “Necessary” (deemed needed for less important positions, a worker), or “Unwanted” (not considered worthy to even live and so is condemned to death). Aaron has always met the community’s expectations and is announced as one of the celebrated Wanteds. But Alex, who has been caught drawing a few times, is consigned to go to the Death Farm and the Lake of Burning Oil. What horrors await Alex as he approaches the heavy iron gates of the Death Farm? And how will Aaron manage without him?

Book reviewed by Loreen S., Youth Services Assistant

The Story Behind Toilets by Elizabeth Raum

The Story Behind Toilets The Story Behind Toilets by Elizabeth Raum. Tired of reading yet another biography of George Washington or Amelia Earhart? Why not try a “biography” of toilets? There’s a real story to how people learned to treat their “waste products” (i.e., urine and excrement – we know what those are, right?).  Once people began building bigger and bigger settlements, what to do with this stuff became a really big deal. And some of their ideas just didn’t work that well.  This is an interesting (if you like toilets – and who doesn’t?) and quick-reading book, with lots of diagrams and photos. Check it out! Maybe you can read it while you’re in the bathroom!

Book reviewed by Loreen S., Youth Services Assistant

No Passengers Beyond This Point by Gennifer Choldenko

No Passengers Beyond This Point After Dad died, life became hard for the Tompkins. Then the day came when Mom could no longer even afford to keep their home. India, Finn, and Mouse would have to go and live with their Uncle Red. Despite their misgivings, the three set off on a plane to Denver, Colorado. But their plane lands in the strange town of Falling Bird instead. And what a mysterious place that is! Riding in a feather-covered taxi seems almost normal in Falling Bird. They have to decide whether to stay in Falling Bird or not, and when they decide to leave, they’re in real trouble! No Passengers Beyond This Point is an engaging mixture of realistic fiction and fantasy.

Book reviewed by Loreen S., Youth Services Assistant

Spaceheadz by Jon Scieszka

Spaceheadz Attention those of you who have traveled with the Time Warp Trio! Attention any of you who suffered along with the class in the Math Curse! You may decide that Spaceheadz–the latest offering by Jon Scieszka–is not quite up to his best, but you will be the best judge.

Michael K, a newly arrived 5th grader, meets two other newcomers–Venus and TJ. Newcomers? I’ll say! TJ and Venus are aliens from another planet, and they’re here to make Spaceheadz out of 3.14  million + 1 earthlings or else they will turn off (whatever that means–doesn’t sound good, does it?) our whole planet! Are you willing to become one of the 3.14 miilion +1 and become a Spacehead? Maybe you won’t have a choice!  For more Spacehead adventures, check out the 2nd and 3rd books in the series.

Book reviewed by Loreen S., Youth Services Assistant


We the Children by Andrew Clements

We the Children Jill and Ben’s school is going to be torn down so an amusement park can be built! What could be better news than that? So why do the two children begin to search out school secrets in the hopes of keeping their school open? And why are their efforts a concern to the new custodian? Author Andrew Clements gives us We the Children, the first book of his new series Benjamin Pratt & the Keepers of the School, with a promise of five more books to come. Don’t miss this exciting beginning!

Book reviewed by Loreen S., Youth Services Assistant


The Great Death by John Smelcer

Great Death The Great Death by John Smelcer. When white men came to explore and settle in Alaska among the Native Americans early in the 1900’s, they didn’t bring only food, canoes, and other supplies. They also inadvertently brought along diseases, diseases that they had immunity to, but diseases that killed many, many Native Americans, sometimes erasing entire villages and whole tribes. Native Americans called it the time of “The Great Death.” And yet, occasionally, inexplicably, some few Native Americans would survive the plague. This is the story of two young sisters who did survive, and their long travel in search of other survivors, people they might be able to live with. With wild dogs, wolves, bears, and moose, this is an exciting, fast moving tale!

Book Reviewed by Loreen S., Youth Services Assistant

Brushing Mom’s Hair by Andrea Cheng

Brushing Mom's HairIn Brushing Mom’s Hair by Andrea Cheng, Ann receives a book of quotations for her 15th birthday, and turns to the one that reads, “Don’t sweat the small stuff. And it’s all small stuff.” All ‘small stuff?’ Even mom’s breast cancer? Recorded in prose, Ann reveals the changes mom’s illness brings into her life and the lives of the whole family. A quick read, though one with a lot of food for thought.

Book reviewed by Loreen S., Youth Services Assistant