Staff Picks 4 Kids Category: Realistic Stories

Checked by Cynthia Kadohata

Checked Book CoverConor is a typical 11-year-old boy who eats and breathes hockey. After Conor, his dad, and his Doberman, Sinbad, temporarily relocate due to wildfires near their home, he discovers his dog is suffering from cancer and his dad is struggling with his stressful job as a police officer. Because hockey can be an expensive sport, he decides to take some time off to fund his dog’s cancer treatments. With that time off, Conor tries to answer a few questions: will he go back to playing hockey? What can he do to help his dad? What if Sinbad doesn’t recover? Conor’s relatable and thoughtful outlook on life will keep you turning the pages.

Book reviewed by Amy M., Youth Services Assistant

Breakout by Kate Messner

Breakout Book CoverThis exciting novel is told from three girls’ perspectives as they each write letters that will go into their small town’s time capsule. Two prisoners have just escaped from the local prison. Nora’s dad is the superintendent, and Elidee, who has just moved to town with her mom, has a brother who is an inmate in the prison. Nora and her best friend Lizzie form a friendship with Elidee, and the three of them set out to find the escaped convicts in order to end the chaos around them. This book will really make you question why you see things the way that you do, and how someone else with different experiences might see the same situation differently. Breakout is super engaging, thought provoking, and accessible for young readers.

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator

Saraí and the Meaning of Awesome/Saraí y el significado de lo genial by Saraí Gonzalez and Monica Brown

Sarai and The Meaning of Awesome Book CoverEvery morning, Saraí sees “you’re awesome” above her bed. Her life is pretty awesome: she has a business selling cupcakes, she knows how to dance, and her family and best friend live close enough to visit all the time. One day, her grandparents announce that they have to move. Saraí doesn’t know what to do…if they move really far away, it will be hard to see them. Their house is important to her, so she decides to save it. Can she do it, with help from her sisters and cousin/best friend? If you like realistic stories and beginning chapter books, try this one. It was written by Monica Brown, and Saraí, a girl who became famous through a music video of the Columbian group, Bomba Estéreo. Now she’s an activist that encourages kids to be true to themselves.

Cada mañana, Saraí ve “eres genial” arriba de su cama. Su vida es bastante genial: tiene su negocio de magdalenas, sabe bailar, y su familia y mejor amiga viven cerca para muchas visitas. Un día, sus abuelos anuncian que tienen que mudar. Saraí no sabe qué hacer… si mudan muy lejos, sería difícil de verles. Su casa es importante para ella, así que Saraí decide salvarla. ¿Puede lograrlo, con la ayuda de sus hermanas y prima/mejor amiga? Si te gustan cuentos realísticos y libros de capítulos cortos, intenta este. Fue escrito por Monica Brown, y Saraí, una niña que se hizo famoso en un video musical del grupo colombiano, Bomba Estéreo. Ahora es activista que motiva a los niños y niñas a ser fiel a uno mismo.

There are English and Spanish copies of this book. The call numbers are: JF GONZALEZ, S. or JF SPANISH GONZALEZ, S.

 

Book reviewed by Claire B., Youth Outreach 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

Knockout by K.A. Holt

KnockoutLevi is tired of being told what he can’t do, of having his mother and brother always hovering and worrying about him. He was born prematurely, and still has some health issues, but that doesn’t mean that he wants to be treated like a baby. His dad encourages him to try a new sport, and he discovers boxing. It turns out he LOVES it, but he can’t tell his mom or brother or they will freak out. This story is a novel in verse, or written in poetry, which makes it a fast read. Levi is a funny guy, who has found that if he clowns around, he will get people laughing with him, instead of at him. I enjoyed the concrete poetry, where the poem takes the shape of something, and Levi’s funny and determined attitude. Pick this book up if you are looking for a fun and fast read about sports, friends, and family.

Book reviewed by Claire B., Youth Outreach Librarian