Saturday, May 23, 2015

This Librarian's Quick Picks: Gingerbread For Liberty!

Gingerbread For Liberty!: How a German Baker Helped Win the American Revolution
by Mara Rockliff
illustrations by Vincent X. Kirsch
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Jan. 27, 2015)
Informational Picture Book


A picture book biography about a forgotten hero of the American Revolution who rose to the occasion and served his country, not with muskets or canons, but with gingerbread!

Why You'll Love It:
  • Rockliff’s dialogue-laden text is accessible, even humorous at times.
  • Author Rockliff includes a recipe for gingergread at the end of the book, offering options for different skill levels.
  •  Kirsch pays careful attention to mirror the narrative in his book design and illustration. The interior art is made up of layered paper cut outs in primary colors, with white edging that mimics traditional gingerbread decoration.

Who Should Read It:

Great for grades 2-5...or any grade that specifically studies the American Revolution.

What Else You Should Read:

Sunday, May 17, 2015

This Librarian's Quick Picks: Dinosaur Boy

Dinosaur Boy
by Cory Putman Oakes
Jabberwocky Books (Feb. 3, 2015)
Science Fiction chapter book


Sprouting a tail and spikes over the summer before fifth grade, Sawyer, a boy with the dinosaur gene, is bullied in school, but when his tormentors begin to disappear, it is up to Sawyer, his best friend Elliot, and a mysterious new girl to rescue them from a galactically horrible fate.

Why You'll Love It:
  •  A fast-paced narrative and mixture of science fiction and humor will appeal to reluctant readers.
  • Themes of bullying and racial identity are woven into an entertaining story that never stops moving.
  • If you loved Wonder and would like to read another book with similar ideas about acceptance, this is a great choice.

Who Should Read It:

Great for grades 3-6...and here's the teacher guide.

What Else You Should Read:

Saturday, May 9, 2015

This Librarian's Quick Picks: Public School Superhero

Public School Superhero
by James Patterson/Chris Tebbetts
illustrations by Cory Thomas
Little, Brown Books (March 16, 2015)
Chapter Book


In Kenny Wright's active imagination he's a world famous superhero, but in the real world he's a sixth grade 'Grandma's Boy' whose struggles to fit in at his Washington D.C. inner city school will put his grades and family loyalty to the test.

Why You'll Love It:
  • Students already familiar with the Middle School and I Funny series will welcome a new Patterson book.
  • Underlying the humor is a commentary on inner-city schools, a subsection of our educational system plagued by budget cuts, principal-hopping and a society that may have written them off entirely.
  • Kenny is African American and his classmates include kids from a rich and realistic diversity of racial and ethnic backgrounds, adding to the overall appeal of this novel.

Who Should Read It:

Great for grades 5 and up ...and here's a book trailer.

What Else You Should Read:

Saturday, May 2, 2015

This Librarian's Quick Picks: Dragonbreath -- Knight-napped!

Dragonbreath: Knight-napped!
by Ursula Vernon
Dial Books (January 6, 2015)
Fantasy chapter book


Danny’s super-annoying cousin Spencer has been kidnapped by knights, every dragon’s worst enemy. After briefly enjoying the peace, Danny and friends go to his rescue.

Why You'll Love It:
  • My kiddos at school are always excited about a new Dragonbreath addition. It's a no-brainer.
  • Okay, still need convincing? Ursula Vernon’s witty passages will have readers chuckling. The description of Danny’s cousin is particularly funny: “If there had been a world championship for Most Annoying Cousin, Spencer would win every time. Then he’d whine until somebody carried the trophy for him.”
  • Appealing comic-book-style illustrations appear throughout, enhancing the humor. For example, Wendell explains the composition of the moat that surrounds the castle by pointing to a visual aid labeled glop, ooze, and mafia informant.
Who Should Read It:

Great for grades 2-5.

What Else You Should Read:

Saturday, April 25, 2015

This Librarian's Quick Picks: Frank Einstein and the Electro-Finger

Frank Einstein and the Electro-Finger
by Jon Scieszka
illustrations by Brian Biggs
Amulet Books (Mar. 17, 2015)
Science Fiction/Humor Chapter Book


Frank Einstein (kid-genius scientist and inventor) and his best friend, Watson, along with intelligent robots Klink and Klank once again find themselves in competition with T. Edison, their classmate and archrival--this time in the quest to unlock the power behind the science of energy.

Why You'll Love It:
  • In this second book in the Frank Einstein series, Jon Scieszka continues to dole out scientific information and humor in equal measure.
  • A kid-friendly take on the relevant and timely topic of alternative energy sources, brought to life with distinct characters, wily villains, and funny asides.
  • It's full of visual appeal. Brian Bigg’s illustrations—ranging from diagrams of simple machines, including wedges and pulleys, to over-the-top scenes, such as the calculating T. Edison and Mr. Chimp swinging a wrecking ball from a crane—appear on nearly every spread.
Who Should Read It:

Great for grades 2-5...and here's the teacher guide.

What Else You Should Read:

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

What they're (really) reading: April edition

 photo by Toby Neal

By keeping a pulse on what my kiddos are checking out and keeping a close eye on which books are circulating heavily, I feel that I can spend the small budget I have more wisely by choosing books I know will have a greater likelihood of circulating widely.

Each month I'll feature a few fiction and a few nonfiction books that are on the "heavy rotation" list at our elementary library. They're not necessarily new, shiny, or covered with awards -- they're just what the kids want.

This month's selections:

The Best of Pro Basketball 
by Matt Doeden

Presents some of the best moments and players in professional basketball history.

John Cena
by Tim O'Shei

Profiles the life and career of pro wrestler John Cena, and describes his personal and professional achievements.

Cat Secrets
by Jef Czekaj

Important secrets about how best to live a cat's life will be revealed only to those who can prove that they are genuine cats.

Flora and the Flamingo
by Molly Idle

In this wordless book, a friendship develops between a girl named Flora and a graceful flamingo, as they learn to dance together.

All the Lovely Bad Ones
by Mary Downing Hahn

Travis and his sister Corey decide to boost business at their grandmother's Vermont inn by staging a few "hauntings" that soon draw tourists from across the country, but when their antics awaken a dark force, they must find a way to put to rest the ghosts they have disturbed. 

Eight Keys
by Suzanne LaFleur

When twelve-year-old Elise, orphaned since age three, becomes disheartened by middle school, with its bullies, changing relationships, and higher expectations, keys to long-locked rooms and messages from her late father help her cope.