Hippos 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
Amina is fleeing Syria in a boat with a lot of other people. The boat capsizes, and the people fall into the Mediterranean Sea. As Amina sinks in the water, she remembers her family and the ancient hero Zenobia, Queen of ancient Syria. Zenobia gives her courage not to panic in the water.
Book reviewed by Anne W., Youth Services Assistant
“Avoid large places at night—keep to small.”
This is the warning that 11 year old Olivia “Ollie” Adler gets from a distraught woman trying desperately to throw a book in the river. Ollie, a lover of books, steals it from the woman, and finds the story within is one she can’t put down. It is the story of two brothers, the girl they love, and a bargain they’ve made with a sinister figure known only as “the smiling man.” Ollie dismisses it as a made up ghost story, until a field trip to Misty Valley Farm—the location of the story—ends in a broken down bus and a warning on her previously broken digital watch to “RUN.” Can Ollie help save her classmates from the horrors lurking in the woods? Maybe—if she remembers to stick to small spaces until sunrise. For fans of Mary Downing Hahn and Goosebumps, Small Spaces by Katherine Arden is a must-read.
Book reviewed by Julie J., Assistant Head of Youth Services
The 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
Little girl Fern senses that her grandma, Nanna, is not like she used to be. There’s no longer a sparkle in her eye, nor the warm smile on her face. Nanna needs more joy, and little Fern is determined to find it for her. Little Fern takes all of her best tools, and off she goes, searching for joy to share with her grandma. But little Fern doesn’t know what joy looks like, or where to find it. Have you ever seen joy before? Do you know all the secret places to look? And if Little Fern finds the joy that her grandma needs, will she be able to share it with her Nanna?
As you read this delightful tale, you will discover how Fern solved her dilemma of how to put more joy in her Nanna’s life.
Book reviewed by Darice C., Youth Services Assistant