Staff Picks 4 Kids Category: Realistic Stories

E-Book – Operatic by Kyo Maclear and Byron Eggenschwiler 

Operatic OverDrive BookHave you ever had a hard time making friends? Charlie is more of a shy, quiet person, but she is able to connect with people through music. She discovers opera music and Maria Callas specifically, and is able to be more empathetic to her friends Luka and Emile. Charlie sees that she is not the only person who struggles or feels unsure. She also has a wonderful teacher, Mr. K, who is just the understanding adult you need who will listen to you and not laugh at you. I feel like Charlie could be my best friend if she were a real person. 

This book is also available as an ebook in Overdrive’s Digital Library. 

Book reviewed by Anne W., Youth Services Assistant 

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 

Missing Mike by Shari Green 

Missing MikeMike and Cara are inseparable. Mike is a one-eyed rescue mutt who has had encounters with coyotes. 12-year-old Cara Donovan sometimes feels friendless until she picks this rust colored mutt to adopt. When wildfires encroach on the family’s town they are forced to evacuate. In the chaos of leaving Mike is lost and the family was not able to search for him. Cara and her family are placed into a volunteer host family’s home. Cara meets Jewel but her friendship can’t stop her thinking about the friend she left behind. Cara and Jewel start searching for Mike and soon find out how dangerous wildfires can be. This heartwarming story of is one girl’s stressful journey to find a new definition of home. 

Book reviewed by Rebecca R., Youth Collection Librarian 

Sam the Man and the Chicken Plan by Frances O’Roark Dowell 

Everyone else in his family has a job. Sam wants to earn money too, so he turns to his neighbors to see if they need help doing chores and lands himself not one, but TWO jobs! One neighbor pays him a whole dollar each time he can convince her cranky old dad to join him for a walk. Sam’s second job is helping Mrs. Kerner take care of her chickens, which he discovers a knack for. Sam is soon on a mission to get a chicken of his own– one that lays blue eggs, which he can sell to his classmates to make even MORE money! Will his plan work? What will he do with all his riches? Find out the answers to these questions and see what else happens to Sam the Man in this charming and funny beginner chapter book series. 

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator 

The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor 

The Truth As Told By Mason Buttle This is Mason: 

Mammoth in size 

Always sweaty 

Super at dog care 

Outstanding friend 

Not good at reading and writing 

Not only is Mason big in size, he also seems to have a big amount of bad luck.  First, his grandpa dies, then his mom, and then fifteen months ago Benny Kilmartin, his best friend, turned up dead in the Buttle Family orchard.  Now Lieutenant Baird won’t stop asking questions because he believes Mason knows something he isn’t telling. Just when Mason thinks his luck is improving, his new friend Calvin disappears.  What is happening and will anyone believe Mason’s story?   

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head