Monday, December 15, 2014

This Librarian's Quick Picks: Try This!!

Try This! 50 Fun Experiments for the Mad Scientist in You
by Karen Romano Young
National Geographic Children's Books (August 5, 2014)


Provides instructions for fifty kid-friendly science experiments and an explanation of the science involved, as well as more than twenty bonus experiments, science fair tips, and STEM connections for each project.

Why You'll Love It:
  • The dynamic full-color photographs and layout meet the standard set by other National Geographic books and are undeniably appealing.
  • Some experiments take days, while others take just minutes, but it is always obvious that the creators have tried each experiment.
  • Readers shouldn't have major trouble gathering materials, following the steps or adapting most of the demos into science-fair projects.
Who Should Read It:

Great for grades 5 and up...and here's the educator guide.

What Else You Should Read:

Monday, December 8, 2014

Best of the Best!

Contrary to what you normally see here, I do still read "adult" books. Quite a lot of them.

Here are my top 10 best reads of 2014 (in no particular order.)

I hope some of these books bring as much joy to you as they did to me.
  1. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
  2. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
  3. Below Stairs by Margaret Powell
  4. The Darlings by Cristina Alger
  5. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
  6. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty
  7. Working Stiff by Judy Melinek
  8. Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure
  9. Remarkable Courtship of General Tom Thumb by Nicholas Rinaldi
  10. A Tale Dark & Grimm by Adam Gidwitz (okay, okay...I had to sneak at least 1 kidlit book into the list!)

Monday, December 1, 2014

This Librarian's Quick Picks: The Book With No Pictures

The Book With No Pictures
by B. J. Novak
Dial (Sep. 30, 2014)
Picture Book -- kind of...


A book with no pictures “probably seems boring and serious. Except . . . Everything the words say, the person reading the book has to say." Genius!!!

Why You'll Love It:
  • If you love yelling, singing, and being generally goofy while reading to kids (like I do), this book was MADE for you!
  • Dynamic design, judicious use of color, and varied typeface and font size all work together to bring personality and expression to the story.
  • The text is presented through artful typography that visually conveys its changing tone to guide oral readings.
  • It has the words "Boo Boo Butt" in it. 
Who Should Read It:

I mean. Really anyone and everyone. But especially great for K-2 crowds. And here's a video...please watch!

What Else You Should Read:

There's really nothing else quite like this, but if I had to make a suggestion...

Monday, November 24, 2014

This Librarian's Quick Picks: Fear the Amoeba

Fear the Amoeba (Squish #6)
by Jennifer Holm & Matthew Holm
Random House (Jul. 8, 2014)
Graphic Novel


Afraid to watch horror movies with his friend, Pod, Squish the amoeba feels better after learning that even comic book superheroes get scared sometimes. 

Why You'll Love It:
  • This graphic novel sympathetically and realistically depicts Squish’s two competing fears: first, of the frightening Water Bear movies his friends enjoy, and second, his worry that if he admits he is scared, he will “look, you know, lame in front of other kids.”
  • Squish’s outsized panic after seeing the first two movies is humorously conveyed in the fluid and energetic illustrations. Super Amoeba’s subplot also provides comic relief, as he is terrified of a dark mist paralyzing Small Pond.
  • Pod and Peggy, Squish’s friends, prove to be consistent and supportive in their reactions to his predicament. Pod doesn’t mind when Squish declines to see the new Water Bear sequel, and Peggy is thrilled to have someone with whom to watch Zweebort Beach Party!

Who Should Read It:

Great for grades 2-5.

What Else You Should Read:

Monday, November 17, 2014

This Librarian's Quick Picks: Zero Degree Zombie Zone

The Zero Degree Zombie Zone
by Patrik Henry Bass
Scholastic (Aug. 26, 2014)


Fourth-grader Bakari Johnson is having a really bad day--class bullies Tariq and Keisha are mad at him, his best friend Wardell has nominated him for hall monitor, a pack of ice zombies from a frozen world are demanding he return the magic ring that Keisha has, and somehow he has to find a way to save the school.

Why You'll Love It:
  • Kids will enjoy this school story that includes familiar details such as class elections and library time, while offering an exciting sci-fi twist.
  • A fun middle-grade fantasy featuring African American characters.
  • Zombie-fighting action will keep readers engaged.
  • Jerry Craft’s expressive, bold-lined illustrations complement the story.
Who Should Read It:

Great for grades 3-6.

What Else You Should Read:

Thursday, November 13, 2014

This Librarian's Quick Picks: Lives of the Explorers

Lives of the Explorers: Discoveries, Disasters (and what the neighbors thought)
by Kathleen Krull
Houghton Mifflin (Aug. 26, 2014)


Presents a series of biographies of well-known adventurers traveling through the centuries and across the globe, whose curiosity and courage have led them to make discoveries in the world.

Why you'll love it:
  • Krull does not sugarcoat the history; the negative impacts of discovery upon native peoples are discussed, such as the violence resulting from Columbus’s expeditions.
  • Readers learn about these historical figures’ adventures while also getting a taste of each explorer’s personality and character.
  • Special attention is given to less fabled discoverers, including Mary Kingsley and Isabella Bird.

Who should read it:

Great for grades 4-6...and here's the discussion guide.

What else you should read: