Friday, February 3, 2023

Fast Five Fiction: 2023 Youth Media Awards

It's Friday and time for Fast Five Fiction! Each week I share five fiction books: new books, notable books, books around a common theme. 

Each year the American Library Association (ALA) honors books, videos, and other outstanding materials for children and teens through the Youth Media Awards. Selected by committees composed of librarians and other literature and media experts, the awards encourage original and creative work in the field of children’s and young adult literature and media. The 2023 Awards took place virtually this past Monday so today I'm sharing five books that won top awards. If you're curious, here's the full list of award winners.

Click the title to be directed to the book in our catalog. Book descriptions are from Goodreads.


Freewater by Amina Luqman-Dawson

The John Newbery Medal awards the most outstanding contribution to children's literature.

The Coretta Scott King Author Award is given annually to an outstanding African American author of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values. 

Under the cover of night, twelve-year-old Homer flees Southerland Plantation with his little sister Ada, unwillingly leaving their beloved mother behind. Much as he adores her and fears for her life, Homer knows there’s no turning back, not with the overseer on their trail. Through tangled vines, secret doorways, and over a sky bridge, the two find a secret community called Freewater, deep in the swamp.

In this society created by formerly enslaved people and some freeborn children, Homer finds new friends, almost forgetting where he came from. But when he learns of a threat that could destroy Freewater, he crafts a plan to find his mother and help his new home.

Deeply inspiring and loosely based on the history of maroon communities in the South, this is a striking tale of survival, adventure, friendship, and courage.


Hot Dog by Doug Salati

The Randolph Caldecott Medal is awarded for the most distinguished American picture book for children.

It's summer in the city, and this hot dog has had enough! Enough of sizzling sidewalks, enough of wailing sirens, enough of people's feet right in his face. When he plops down in the middle of a crosswalk, his owner endeavors to get him the breath of fresh air he needs. She hails a taxi, hops a train, and ferries out to the beach.

Here, a pup can run!

With fluid art and lyrical text that have the soothing effect of waves on sand, Doug Salati shows us how to find calm and carry it back with us so we can appreciate the small joys in a day.



Wildoak by C.C. Harrington

The Schneider Family Book Award is given to a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience.

When the fates of a snow leopard, a child, and an ancient forest collide, the unimaginable can happen.

Maggie Stephens's stutter makes school especially hard. She will do almost anything to avoid speaking in class or calling attention to herself. So when her unsympathetic father threatens to send her away for so-called "treatment," she reluctantly agrees to her mother's intervention plan: a few weeks in the fresh air of Wildoak Forest, visiting a grandfather she hardly knows. It is there, in an extraordinary twist of fate, that she encounters an abandoned snow leopard cub, an exotic gift to a wealthy Londoner that proved too wild to domesticate. But once the cub's presence is discovered by others, danger follows, and Maggie soon realizes that time is running out, not only for the leopard, but for herself and the forest as well. 

 

I Did It! by Michael Emberley

The Theodor Seuss Geisel Award is awarded to the most distinguished beginning reader book.

Learning to ride a bike is hard. Can I do it? Yes, I can! A fun comic that kindergarteners and first graders can read on their own.

Can I do it?
I can't do it.
I want to do it.
I did it!

Simple text that new readers can read by themselves, along with delightful pictures in a comic format, show a little creature trying and trying again as they learn to ride a bicycle. All their friends help with supportive words of encouragement. "You did it!" their friends exclaim.


The Children’s Literature Legacy Award honors an author or illustrator whose books, published in the United States, have made, over a period of years, a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children through books that demonstrate integrity and respect for all children’s lives and experiences. The 2023 winner is James Ransome.


Happy Friday and happy reading!


Friday, January 27, 2023

Fast Five Fiction: 2023 Mock Caldecott

Edited to add: 

The 2023 Caldecott Winner was....

Hot Dog by Doug Salati

It's summer in the city, and this hot dog has had enough! Enough of sizzling sidewalks, enough of wailing sirens, enough of people's feet right in his face. When he plops down in the middle of a crosswalk, his owner endeavors to get him the breath of fresh air he needs. She hails a taxi, hops a train, and ferries out to the beach.

Here, a pup can run!

With fluid art and lyrical text that have the soothing effect of waves on sand, Doug Salati shows us how to find calm and carry it back with us so we can appreciate the small joys in a day.

Our choice, Berry Song by Michaela Goade did receive a Caldecott Honor. 

Coming up on Monday is the American Library Associations Youth Media Awards. Every year the American Library Association honors books, videos, and other outstanding materials for children and teens. These awards include the prestigious Newbery, Caldecott, Printz, and Coretta Scott King Book Awards. The winners are selected by committees of librarians and other literature and media experts. 

This week I got together with other northern Indiana Children's Librarians to hold our own Mock Caldecott. We read and evaluated numerous books and through discussion and multiple ballots found our winner. 

According to the votes, the winner was: 

Berry Song by Michaela Goade

On an island at the edge of a wide, wild sea, a girl and her grandmother gather gifts from the earth. Salmon from the stream, herring eggs from the ocean, and in the forest, a world of berries.

Salmonberry, Cloudberry, Blueberry, Nagoonberry.

Huckleberry, Snowberry, Strawberry, Crowberry.

Through the seasons, they sing to the land as the land sings to them. Brimming with joy and gratitude, in every step of their journey, they forge a deeper kinship with both the earth and the generations that came before, joining in the song that connects us all. Michaela Goade's luminous rendering of water and forest, berries and jams glows with her love of the land and offers an invitation to readers to deepen their own relationship with the earth.


We had two books that scored high enough that they would be honor books. They are:





A heart-tugging story about an abandoned dog who is looking for a forever home -- and a boy who finds him!

There is a dog that no one wants. Abandoned and afraid, he must use his wits to survive the city’s streets. Sadly, no one comes for him.

Meanwhile, not far away, there is a boy who wants a dog more than anything in the world. But his room is a mess. He needs to help more around the house. And his parents tell him he must learn to be more responsible. Little does the boy know, there is a dog nearby longing for a forever home and someone to love him. And that dog has his eye on our boy!

Henry Cole masterfully weaves together two tender storylines that result in a heart-tugging wordless picture book that celebrates love, kindness, and compassion for animals.


The Talk by Alicia Williams

Jay’s most favorite things are hanging out with his pals, getting kisses from Grandma, riding in his dad’s cool car, and getting measured by his mom with pencil marks on the wall. But as those height marks inch upward, Grandpa warns Jay about being in too big a group with his friends, Grandma worries others won’t see him as quite so cute now that he’s older, and Dad has to tell Jay how to act if the police ever pull them over.

And Jay just wants to be a kid.

All Black and Brown kids get The Talk—the talk that could mean the difference between life and death in a racist world. Told in an age-appropriate fashion, with a perfect pause for parents to insert their own discussions with their children to accompany prompting illustrations, The Talk is a gently honest and sensitive starting point for this far-too-necessary conversation, for Black children, Brown children, and for ALL children. Because you can’t make change without knowing what needs changing.

The other books rounding out the top 5 were:


The Great Zapfino by Mac Barnett

From two Caldecott Honor–winning creators comes a sweet and inspiring picture book about a runaway circus performer who learns to face his fears and follow his heart.

When The Great Zapfino climbs to the top of the circus platform, all eyes are on him, waiting for his incredible leap. But Zapfino is afraid of heights! He can’t take the pressure and flees, boards a plane, and runs away to start a new life.

In the city, Zapfino starts work as an elevator operator in a tall building but soon learns you can never really outrun your fears. When disaster strikes, can Zapfino find the strength to be great?


by Carole Boston Weatherford

This inspirational book encapsulates African American history and invites conversations at all levels. Carole Boston Weatherford's riveting text and Frank Morrison's evocative and detailed paintings are informative reminders of yesterday, hopeful images for today, and aspirational dreams of tomorrow.

Stretching more than four hundred years, this book features pivotal moments in history, such as the arrival of enslaved people in Jamestown, Virginia, in 1619; Nat Turner's rebellion; the integration of the US military; the Selma to Montgomery marches; and peaceful present-day protests. It also celebrates the feats of African American musicians and athletes, such as Duke Ellington and Florence Griffith Joyner.

Visually stunning and incredibly timely, this book reckons with a painful history while serving as a testament to the human spirit's ability to persevere in even the most hopeless of circumstances. Its universal message of faith, strength, and resilience will resonate with readers of all ages.

The end of the book includes descriptions of the people, places, and events featured, along with a note from the author.

You can tune into the live stream of the Youth Media Awards on youtube on Monday, January 30 at 9 am. Or come back next week for another Fast Five Fiction where winners will be included!

Happy Friday and happy reading!

Friday, January 20, 2023

Fast Five Fiction: My Top 5 Middle Grade Series read in 2022

There were a lot of really great books published in 2022. Over the next few weeks we'll be counting down some of my favorite reads from last year. I had a great reading year and read 356 books across all different age groups and genres. I'm continually impressed, year after year, with the amount of quality literature that is being published. If you want to follow along with my 2023 reading adventures, you can follow me on Goodreads for even more reading recommendations. 

Click the title to be directed to the book in our catalog. Book descriptions are from Goodreads.

My 5 favorite Middle Grade Series read in 2022 (in no particular order):


Sinister Summer series by Kiersten White

Meet the Sinister-Winterbottom twins, who solve mysteries at increasingly bizarre summer vacation destinations in the hopes of being reunited with their parents—or at the very least finally finding a good churro.

Twelve-year-old twins Theodora and Alexander and their older sister Wilhelmina Sinister-Winterbottom don’t know how they ended up with their Aunt Saffronia for an entire summer. She’s not exactly well equipped to handle children. The twins are determined to make it a good vacation, though, so when Aunt Saffronia suggests a waterpark, they hastily agree.

But Fathoms of Fun is not your typical waterpark. Instead of cabanas, guests rent mausoleums. The waterslides are gray tongues extending from horrible gargoyle faces. The few people they encounter are very, very odd. And the owner disappeared under bizarre circumstances, lost to the Cold, Unknowable Sea—the wave pool.

When Wil goes missing, rule following, cautious Alexander and competitive, brave Theo will have to work together to solve the mystery of Fathoms of Fun. But are they out of their depth?


Thieves of Shadow series by Kevin Sands

A magic-infused fantasy that brings together a ragtag group of kids to pull off a crime so difficult, countless adults have already tried and failed. Lured by the promise of more money than they've ever dreamed of, five young criminals are hired to steal a heavily guarded treasure from the most powerful sorcerer in the city. There's Callan the con artist, Meriel the expert at acrobatics (and knives!), Gareth the researcher, Lachlan who can obtain anything, and Foxtail, whose mysterious eyeless mask doesn't hinder her ability to climb walls like a spider. Though their shadowy backgrounds meant that they've never trusted anyone but themselves, the five must learn to rely on each other in order to get the job done.
But as Callan has been warned most of his life, it's best to stay away from magic. It can turn on you at any moment, and make you think you're the one running the con game, when in reality you're the one being fooled. Faced with these unsurmountable odds, can the new friends pull off this legendary heist, or has their luck finally run out?


The Islanders by Mary Alice Monroe

Eleven-year-old Jake's life has just turned upside-down. His father was wounded in Afghanistan, and his mother is going to leave to care for him. That means Jake's spending the summer on tiny Dewees Island with his grandmother. The island is a nature sanctuary--no cars or paved roads, no stores or restaurants. To make matters worse, Jake's grandmother doesn't believe in cable or the internet. Which means Jake has no cell phone, no video games...and no friends. This is going to be the worst summer ever!

He's barely on the island before he befriends two other kids--Macon, another "summer kid," and Lovie, a know-it-all who lives there and shows both Jake and Macon the ropes of life on the island. All three are struggling with their own family issues and they quickly bond, going on adventures all over Dewees Island. Until one misadventure on an abandoned boat leads to community service. Their punishment? Mandatory duty on the Island Turtle Team. The kids must do a daily dawn patrol of the beach on the hunt for loggerhead sea turtle tracks. When a turtle nest is threatened by coyotes, the three friends must find a way to protect it. Can they save the turtle nest from predators? Can Jake's growing love for the island and its inhabitants (be they two-legged, four-legged, feathered, or finned) help to heal his father? 



Forgotten Five by Lisa McMann

Fifteen years ago, eight supernatural criminals fled Estero City to make a new life in an isolated tropical hideout. Over time, seven of them disappeared without a trace, presumed captured or killed. And now, the remaining one has died.

Left behind to fend for themselves are the criminals' five children, each with superpowers of their own: Birdie can communicate with animals. Brix has athletic abilities and can heal quickly. Tenner can swim like a fish and can see in the dark and hear from a distance. Seven's skin camouflages to match whatever is around him. Cabot hasn't shown signs of any unusual power--yet.

Then one day Birdie finds a map among her father's things that leads to a secret stash. There is also a note:

Go to Estero, find your mother, and give her the map.

The five have lived their entire lives in isolation. What would it mean to follow the map to a strange world full of things they've only heard about, like cell phones, cars, and electricity? A world where, thanks to their parents, being supernatural is a crime?

Lost Legends by Jen Calonita

The first book in a new middle grade series that features the adventures of Disney’s most loveable roguish heroes as kids!

“You know the great thing about beginnings? It means we’re only getting started.” — Flynnigan Rider and the Hunt for the Red Pearl

Twelve- year-old Eugene Fitzherbert needs a plan. It’s not that he doesn’t love his time in the orphanage that raised him—Miss Clare and the boys are his family. As is his best friend, Arnie, with whom he’s often in cahoots, acting out passages from his favorite Flynnigan Rider books, or pretending they’re Lance Archer, the iconic thief who takes from the rich to give to the poor. But Eugene knows that most orphans his age set off to make their own way, and the orphanage already doesn’t have the means to support them all. Besides, he wants to see the world with Arnie, and maybe, just maybe find his parents someday.

So when a traveling circus comes to the kingdom promising a life of adventure, brotherhood, and riches, Eugene jumps at the chance to join them. He even convinces Arnie to come too. But soon it becomes clear that there’s more to this ragtag crew than meets the eye, and they may have a dubious plot in the works. It’ll take new heroes—namely, Flynn Rider and Lance Strongbow, to save the day.


Happy Friday and happy reading!

Friday, January 13, 2023

Fast Five Fiction: My Top 5 Graphic Novels of 2022

There were a lot of really great books published in 2022. Over the next few weeks we'll be counting down some of my favorite reads from last year. I had a great reading year and read 356 books across all different age groups and genres. I'm continually impressed, year after year, with the amount of quality literature that is being published. If you want to follow along with my 2023 reading adventures, you can follow me on Goodreads for even more reading recommendations. 

Click the title to be directed to the book in our catalog. Book descriptions are from Goodreads.

My 5 favorite Middle Grade Stand Alone novels of 2022 (in no particular order):

Button Pusher by Tyler Page

A memoir-driven realistic graphic novel about Tyler, a child who is diagnosed with ADHD and has to discover for himself how to best manage it.

Tyler’s brain is different. Unlike his friends, he has a hard time paying attention in class. He acts out in goofy, over-the-top ways. Sometimes, he even does dangerous things—like cut up a bus seat with a pocketknife or hang out of an attic window.

To the adults in his life, Tyler seems like a troublemaker. But he knows that he’s not. Tyler is curious and creative. He’s the best artist in his grade, and when he can focus, he gets great grades. He doesn’t want to cause trouble, but sometimes he just feels like he can’t control himself.


Sweet Valley Twins: Best Friends by Francine Pascal

Jessica and Elizabeth have always been inseparable twins, but starting middle school means a chance for new beginnings! Elizabeth is excited to organize a school newspaper, but Jessica is more interested in joining the exclusive Unicorn Club. What will happen when the twins realize they might not be as alike as they thought?

Middle school is hard enough, but with these twins each dealing with becoming their own person--will they be able to stay friends at the same time?

Are We Lost Yet? by Will Henry

Book 4 in the wonderfully imaginative Wallace The Brave series introduces an expanded and more diverse cast, including the dynamic, fan-favorite Rose, who gives Wallace a run for his money in kickball competitions, aquatic explorations, and other adventures. Together with Rose, Spud, Amelia, and the rest of their friends, Wallace enjoys a lifestyle of mischief, exploration, (and yes, school) that will thrill middle-grade readers while reminding their parents of the carefree, nostalgic appeal of Calvin & Hobbes and other classic comics.

 

Enola Holmes: The Graphic Novels by Serena Blasco

A graphic novel adaptation of the hit books that inspired the Netflix film! Sherlock Holmes’ brilliant, strong-willed younger sister takes center stage in this delightfully drawn graphic novel based on Nancy Springer’s bestselling mystery series.

14-year-old Enola Holmes wakes on her birthday to discover that her mother has disappeared from the family's country manor, leaving only a collection of flowers and a coded message book. With Sherlock and Mycroft determined to ship her off to a boarding school, Enola escapes, displaying a cleverness that even impresses the elder Holmes. But nothing prepares her for what lies ahead…

Apple Crush by Lucy Knisley

Jen is just getting used to her life on Peapod Farm with her brand-new step-sisters, Andy and Reese. But when the school year starts, there are even more changes in store for her. Jen has to navigate new friends and new challenges--but at least she'll have Andy with her, right? As school begins, she finds that her step-sister seems way more interested in crushes and boys than hanging out with her, while Jen wants to know when the world decided boys and girls couldn't be just friends anymore.


Happy Friday and happy reading!


Friday, January 6, 2023

Fast Five Fiction: My Top 5 Middle Grade Standalone Novels of 2022

There were a lot of really great books published in 2022. Over the next few weeks we'll be counting down some of my favorite reads from last year. I had a great reading year and read 356 books across all different age groups and genres. I'm continually impressed, year after year, with the amount of quality literature that is being published. If you want to follow along with my 2023 reading adventures, you can follow me on Goodreads for even more reading recommendations. 

Click the title to be directed to the book in our catalog. Book descriptions are from Goodreads.

My 5 favorite Middle Grade Stand Alone novels of 2022 (in no particular order):

The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera

There lived a girl named Petra Peña, who wanted nothing more than to be a storyteller, like her abuelita.

But Petra's world is ending. Earth has been destroyed by a comet, and only a few hundred scientists and their children – among them Petra and her family – have been chosen to journey to a new planet. They are the ones who must carry on the human race.

Hundreds of years later, Petra wakes to this new planet – and the discovery that she is the only person who remembers Earth. A sinister Collective has taken over the ship during its journey, bent on erasing the sins of humanity's past. They have systematically purged the memories of all aboard – or purged them altogether.

Petra alone now carries the stories of our past, and with them, any hope for our future. Can she make them live again?

Attack of the Black Rectangles by Amy Sarig King

Award-winning author Amy Sarig King takes on censorship and intolerance in a novel she was born to write.

Everyone in town knows and fears Ms. Laura Samuel Sett. She is the town watchdog, always on the lookout for unsavory words and the unsavory people who use them.

She is also Mac's sixth-grade teacher.

Mac and his friends are outraged when they discovered that their class copies of Jane Yolen's The Devil's Arithmetic have certain works blacked out. Mac has been raised by his mom and grandad to call out things that are wrong, so he and his friends head to the principal's office to protest the censorship. Her response isn't reassuring -- so the protest grows.


The Last Mapmaker by Christina Soontornvat

In a fantasy adventure every bit as compelling and confident in its world building as her Newbery Honor Book A Wish in the Dark, Christina Soontornvat explores a young woman’s struggle to unburden herself of the past and chart her own destiny in a world of secrets. As assistant to Mangkon’s most celebrated mapmaker, twelve-year-old Sai plays the part of a well-bred young lady with a glittering future. In reality, her father is a conman—and in a kingdom where the status of one’s ancestors dictates their social position, the truth could ruin her. Sai seizes the chance to join an expedition to chart the southern seas, but she isn’t the only one aboard with secrets. When Sai learns that the ship might be heading for the fabled Sunderlands—a land of dragons, dangers, and riches beyond imagining—she must weigh the cost of her dreams. Vivid, suspenseful, and thought-provoking, this tale of identity and integrity is as beautiful and intricate as the maps of old.

Across the Desert by Dusti Bowling

One girl sets out on a journey across the treacherous Arizona desert to rescue a young pilot stranded after a plane crash.

Twelve-year-old Jolene spends every day she can at the library watching her favorite livestream: The Desert Aviator, where twelve-year-old “Addie Earhart” shares her adventures flying an ultralight plane over the desert. While watching this daring girl fly through the sky, Jolene can dream of what it would be like to fly with her, far away from her own troubled home life where her mother struggles with a narcotic addiction. And Addie, who is grieving the loss of her father, finds solace in her online conversations with Jolene, her biggest—and only—fan.

Then, one day, it all goes wrong: Addie's engine abruptly stops, and Jolene watches in helpless horror as the ultralight plummets to the ground and the video goes dark. Jolene knows that Addie won’t survive long in the extreme summer desert heat. With no one to turn to for help and armed with only a hand-drawn map and a stolen cell phone, it's up to Jolene to find a way to save the Desert Aviator.

 

The Ogress and the Orphans by Kelly Barnhill

Stone-in-the-Glen, once a lovely town, has fallen on hard times. Fires, floods, and other calamities have caused the people to lose their library, their school, their park, and even their neighborliness. The people put their faith in the Mayor, a dazzling fellow who promises he alone can help. After all, he is a famous dragon slayer. (At least, no one has seen a dragon in his presence.) Only the clever children of the Orphan House and the kindly Ogress at the edge of town can see how dire the town’s problems are.

Then one day a child goes missing from the Orphan House. At the Mayor’s suggestion, all eyes turn to the Ogress. The Orphans know this can’t be: the Ogress, along with a flock of excellent crows, secretly delivers gifts to the people of Stone-in-the-Glen.

But how can the Orphans tell the story of the Ogress’s goodness to people who refuse to listen? And how can they make their deluded neighbors see the real villain in their midst?



Happy Friday and happy reading!


Friday, December 30, 2022

Fast Five Fiction: New Chapter Books

 It's Friday and time for Fast Five Fiction! Each week I share five fiction books: new books, notable books, books around a common theme. We've had ton of new books come in as the holidays approach. This week I'm sharing five of my favorite new releases in popular series we've added to our shelves. 

Click the title to be directed to the book in our catalog. Book descriptions are from Goodreads.


Bibbidi Bobbidi Academy: Mai and the Tricky Transformation by Kallie George

Learn the secrets to becoming a Disney fairy godmother in the second book of this new illustrated chapter book series for young readers!

Determined to earn her wand twinkles at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Ball, Mai Magicwhisp decides to do all of her spells at once. But her plan to perform the most magical transformation ever is put on hold when she accidentally turns one of her classmates, Tatia Shine, into a unicorn! Now Mai has to work together with Tatia to reverse the transformation before Tatia is stuck as a unicorn forever.

The Vanderbeeker's on the Road by Karina Yan Glaser

In this fresh adventure in the New York Times bestselling series about the beloved Vanderbeeker family, a surprise road trip turns rocky when the younger siblings try to keep their family from ever facing change.

The popular Harlem family is putting the VAN in Vanderbeekers as they hit the highway to give their dad the best birthday surprise EVER! Re-creating a road trip Papa never got the chance to take with his own father, the whole crew is packed and ready for a cross-country adventure.

Things get off to a rocky start when the car breaks down on their way to pick up Papa. But they really veer off course when Laney discovers that Jessie and Orlando are interviewing at a college once they get to California. How can they even think about leaving New York? Wouldn't that change their family? And how can she and her other siblings stop them?

Exploring themes of leaving home, embracing change, and the lessons to be learned from going to new places, The Vanderbeekers on the Road is every bit an engaging and rewarding journey.


Middle School: Winter Blunderland by James Patterson

Sometimes middle school feels like a dangerous mission in the cold, unforgiving tundra. Sometimes it literally is. Will Rafe survive his most (frost)biting adventure yet?

Things heat up at Hills Village Middle School when Rafe gets an invitation from Dr. Daria Deerwin to join a research study on polar bears. How many times in life do you get a chance to come face‑to‑face with a real polar bear in the wild? Rafe is ready to find out!

Alaska is pinkie‑freezing, hair‑freezing, snot‑freezing cold, but Rafe might be headed for a meltdown. He's spending every waking moment with Penelope, who he definitely has a crush on, and a polar bear Dr. Deerwin is tracking goes missing...with poachers on the tundra. It's up to Rafe, Penelope, and their new friends to save the day in Rafe's coolest adventure yet

Forgotten Five: The Invisible Spy by Lisa McMann

The forgotten five have made it to Estero to search for their missing supernatural criminal parents. With the help of their new allies, Lada and The Librarian, they've managed to find Birdie and Brix's mother, Elena, and free her from captivity in the presidential palace. Now the president's henchmen are searching everywhere for the children who broke out Elena, driving the group into hiding in the ancient underground tunnels beneath the city.

Meanwhile, President Fuerte is making headlines for his nighttime flights to other countries accompanied by an invisible man. But why would the president who outlawed supernaturals be working with the people he supposedly hates? And could it be that some of the five's own parents are helping him?

Never After: The Broken Mirror by Melissa de la Cruz

The Never After crew is back for another twisted adventure. This time, they’re off to Snow Country—that is, after they rescue the beleaguered Lord Sharif of Nottingham from the evil Robin Hood, who has been plaguing the land with his thievery and mischief.

But Robin’s antics aren’t the only dangers afoot in the Kingdom of Never After. At the behest of her daughter, the evil Cinderella, Queen Olga has turned Prince Charming into a Frog after his wedding to the beautiful Hortense. And how could we forget the ominous Prophecy, which still looms large over Filomena and her friends?

Along with Jack, Alistair, Gretel, Beatrice, Byron Bessley, and some new Snow Country pals like Rose Red and a chatty magic mirror, Filomena sets off to find the only ones who can save the kingdom once and for all: The League of the Seven – a group of fearless warriors devoted to fighting the ogres at any cost.

Still, new threats lurk around every corner, both in Never After and back home in North Pasadena . . . Even with the League of the Seven’s help, can Filomena and her friends rescue the land from Olga’s clutches? Or will the ogres finally prevail?


Happy Friday and happy reading!


Friday, December 23, 2022

Fast Five Fiction: New Playaways

It's FRIDAY! Which means it's time for Fast Five Fiction. Each week I share 5 fiction books: new books, notable books, books around a common theme. Today's roundup features 5 Playaways that were recently added to our shelves. Playaways are all-in-one audiobooks, you just need a set of headphones to plug in and listen away. Click the title to be directed to the books in the library's catalog. Book descriptions are from Goodreads.


War and Millie McGonigle by Karen Cushman

Millie McGonigle lives in sunny California, where her days are filled with beach and surf. It should be perfect--but times are tough. Hitler is attacking Europe and it looks like the United States may be going to war. Food is rationed and money is tight. And Millie's sickly little sister gets all the attention and couldn't be more of a pain if she tried. It's all Millie can do to stay calm and feel in control.

Still--there's sand beneath her feet. A new neighbor from the city, who has a lot to teach Millie. And surfer boy Rocky to admire--even if she doesn't have the guts to talk to him.

It's a time of sunshine, siblings, and stress. Will Millie be able to find her way in her family, and keep her balance as the world around her loses its own?



Pinkalicious Pink, pink, pink. More than anything, Pinkalicious loves pink, especially pink cupcakes. Her parents warn her not to eat too many of them. But when Pinkalicious does, she turns pink. What to do? This sparkling collection, filled with such favorites as pink bubble gum, pink peonies, pink cotton candy, and pink fairy princess dresses, celebrates all things pink while showing that being a true person is best of all.



Lines of Courage by Jennifer A. Nielsen

The stories of five kids living through World War I, each of whom holds the key to the others' futures... if they are lucky - and brave - enough to find each other.

World War I stretches its cruel fingers across Europe, where five young people, each from different backgrounds and nations, face the terror of battle, the deprivations of hunger, and all the awful challenges of war.

Felix, from Austria-Hungary, longs for the bravery to resist Jewish deportations before his own family can be taken.

Kara, from Britain, dreams of someday earning her Red Cross pin and working as a nurse - or even a doctor.

Juliette, of France, hopes her family can remain knitted together, despite her father's imprisonment, as the war's longest battle stretches on and on.

Elsa, from Germany, hopes her homing pigeon might one day bring her a friend from out of the chaos.

And Dimitri, of Russia, wants only to survive the front, where he's been sent with no weapon.

None of them will find exactly what they want. But the winds of fate may cross their paths to give each of them just what they need.



Author Marc Brown presents a collection of his most beloved character, Arthur, in such tales as: Arthur's First Sleepover; Arthur's Tooth; Arthur's Birthday; Arthur's Pet Business; Arthur's New Puppy; and Arthur Writes a Story.




Owen and other stories by Kevin Henkes

Owen: When Mrs. Tweezers convinces Owen's parents that their son is becoming a little too attached to Fuzzy, his beloved yellow blanket, Owen vehemently disagrees. Chrysanthemum: A little mouse thinks her name is absolutely perfect until she starts school and all the kids make fun of her. A Weekend with Wendell: Wendell spends the weekend at Sophie's house, he wants to play games that are no fun for her at all.



Happy Friday and happy reading!

Friday, December 16, 2022

Fast Five Fiction: New Graphic Novels

It's Friday and time for Fast Five Fiction! Each week I share five fiction books: new books, notable books, books around a common theme. We've had ton of new books come in as the holidays approach. This week I'm sharing five of my favorite new graphic novels we've added to our shelves. 

Click the title to be directed to the book in our catalog. Book descriptions are from Goodreads.

Pucky, Prince of Bacon by Georgia Dunn

This just in! The adorable feline reporters at Breaking Cat News are back with an all-new sixth comic collection!

The cats of BCN are back and have they got news for you! When Elvis goes missing it’s Tommy to the rescue—but just who is rescuing whom? Stayed tuned for relaxing light baths, an intruder on the couch, adventures in laundry, Operation: Second Breakfast, an invisible cat, a new wrestler entering the ring, baby pictures of Elvis, dangerous spiders, packing peanuts galore and more! ...And what about that rumored battle with the vacuum cleaner?




In Book 2 of the series, Enola is back on the case, deciphering clues and developing leads in each of three new mysteries. What she doesn't know is that she, too, is being pursued--by her own brother! Once again, Sherlock Holmes' brilliant, strong-willed younger sister takes center stage in this delightfully drawn graphic novel based on Nancy Springer's bestselling mystery series.

London, 1889. A woman is being held prisoner while she awaits a forced marriage. Another has been kidnapped, and yet another disappears...

As Enola seeks to rescue the three women, her brother embarks on a quest of his own. When Sherlock receives a mysterious package, he knows he'll need Enola's help to decipher its meaning. In the end, the three Holmes siblings will have to work together to answer the question that started it all: What happened to their mother?

Book Two contains three engrossing mysteries: The Case of the Peculiar Pink Fan, The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline, and The Case of Baker Street Station




Naomi, Melvin, Flippy, Li'l Petey, Molly, and nineteen baby frog siblings return in a new book in the hilarious and heartwarming Cat Kid Comic Club series. Award-winning author and illustrator Dav Pilkey uses a variety of techniques -- including acrylic paints, colored pencils, photography, collage, gouache, watercolors, and much more -- to illustrate each frog's creative purpose and encourage teamwork. The kaleidoscope of art styles, paired with Pilkey's trademark storytelling and humor, fosters creativity, collaboration, independence, and empathy.



The Tryout by Christina Soontornvat

STAND TALL.

BE LOUD.

GAME FACE ON.

When cheerleading tryouts are announced, Christina and her best friend, Megan, literally jump at the chance to join the squad. As two of the only kids of color in the school, they have always yearned to fit in-and the middle school cheerleaders are popular and accepted by everyone. But will the girls survive the terrifying tryouts, with their whole grade watching? And will their friendship withstand the pressures of competition?




With their first formal school dance around the corner, Beth and Chanda are on a mission to make it the best night ever. Step one? Secure the perfect dresses so they can dominate the dance floor! But when neither of them can find an outfit that lives up to their high expectations--and when they encounter unexpected pressure to find dates--these besties will need to lean on their friendship more than ever if they hope to find their groove and bust a move!

New York Times bestselling author Kayla Miller and co-author Jeffrey Canino share a thoughtful and lively story about the challenges of finding your own personal style...and how it always helps to keep your favorite person at your side. Accompanied by Kristina Luu's dynamic, expressive art, this graphic novel is the perfect companion to Olive's stories.


Happy Friday and happy reading!



Friday, December 9, 2022

Fast Five Fiction: New Picture Books

It's Friday and time for Fast Five Fiction! Each week I share five fiction books: new books, notable books, books around a common theme. We've had ton of new books come in as the holidays approach. This week I'm sharing five of my favorite new picture books we've added to our shelves. 

Click the title to be directed to the book in our catalog. Book descriptions are from Goodreads.

Mushroom Lullaby by Kenneth Kraegel

Here is your mushroom at the end of the day.
The sun stretches out and sets far away.

In gentle rhyme, this spare and whimsical picture book from the one-of-a-kind imagination of Kenneth Kraegel introduces little readers to all sorts of wonderful mushrooms: ones that grow up high and ones that never stay dry, ones that grow in a park and ones that glow in the dark, and even one made just for them! Who can resist climbing up the soft mushroom stair, curling up in a plush mushroom chair, and preparing to dream sweet mushroom dreams? The lulling narration and warm illustrations of this charmingly quirky book will have drowsy young ones settling into their own comfy beds, ready to drift off to sleep.


The Great Caper Caper by Josh Funk

In the fifth adventure of the Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast series, our delectable rhyming friends find their home covered in darkness and embark on a Las Veggies heist--perfect for fans of The Food Group series.

When Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast awake one morning to near-darkness, they are aghast. Who would steal the fridge light? And what if the fridge is--gasp--dark all the time? Not to worry. Our trusty heroes are on the case. Will they be able to bring the fridge back to its bright self, or will they have to live in semi-darkness...forever?
 


In this reimagined version of The Twelve Days of Christmas, winter wildlife is observed as the snow comes. What animals do you think you might see? Do you think bears will be included? Why or why not? The only way to find out is to read or sing along as animals watch their world get blanketed by gentle layers of snow.

Construction Site: Farming Strong, All Year Long by Sherri Duskey Rinker

There's work to do! No time to waste! All year the farm's a busy place!
Six hardworking trucks—with help from brand-new farm vehicles—have work to do in each of the seasons: planting in spring, building a barn in the summer, harvesting in fall, and finally tucking the animals in for a cozy winter. Construction enthusiasts will love this look at a farm through the year, and all the rough, tough work there is to do!

Winter Fun Anita Bijsterbosch

An interactive picture book loaded with winter fun! For snow-loving children ages 3 years and up.

Fox, Mouse, Raccoon, and Owl are playing in the snow. They want to make a snowman on top of a hill. But . . . a snowball as big as that is quite heavy. Will you help them roll the ball to the top of the hill?



Happy Friday and happy reading!

Friday, December 2, 2022

Fast Five Fiction: NEW Christmas Books

It's FRIDAY and time for Fast Five Fiction. The library is getting festive in anticipation of our Holiday Extravaganza & Santa Visit. As we approach this holiday season we've got books for all ages, picture books, chapter books, and nonfiction baking and craft books. This week I've got five Christmas picture books new to our shelves. 

Click the title to be directed to the book in our catalog. Book descriptions are from Goodreads.


The Twelve Cats of Christmas

Celebrate the holidays with twelve adorable cats—and one kitten—with this festive feline take on the classic carol The Twelve Days of Christmas!

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave me cats:
FOUR on the gifts,
THREE dressed up,
TWO batting bows,
and a kitten under the tree.

From chasing ribbons and shredding paper to cuddling by the fire and climbing the Christmas tree (uh-oh), the sweet and mischievous kitties teach readers of all ages to enjoy the holiday season in true feline fashion. With festive illustrations and irresistible text that invites readers to read—or sing!—aloud, this charming Christmas picture book is guaranteed to delight all.





No one is more of a bah humbug than a Disney Villain. This Christmas Maleficent, Hades, Captain Hook, the Queen, Ursula, and Cruella are planning to ruin the holiday season once and for all! Join these dastardly Disney characters as they cause some Christmas chaos by sending their minions to ruin Christmas dinner, steal the Lost Boys presents, disguise themselves as Santa Claus, and more!


The Return of the Christmas Witch by Dan Murphy & Aubrey Plaza

By now you've heard the legend, all but forgotten, of Santa Claus's twin sister. Many years ago, this shadowy figure followed in Santa's footsteps, searching for him while leaving odd gifts of her own. One fateful night, they finally came face-to-face, and she hasn't been heard from since. Until now . . .

The Christmas Witch has returned.

After centuries trapped in her icy chamber, the snow is finally melting, and Kristt rn awakens. She finds that the holiday she loved is now controlled by the mysterious Kringle Corporation. She embarks on a journey to a world unknown to her, where she meets the inventive young Poppy and sweet old reindeer Donner, who agree to help her restore Christmas to its former glory. Little do they know that she wants more than order . . . she wants revenge.

In the highly anticipated follow-up to the bestselling The Legend of the Christmas Witch, award-winning producer andactress Aubrey Plaza and her creative partner Dan Murphy give the true spirit of Christmas modern and wonderfully witchy twist.



Twelve Dinging Doorbells by Tameka Fryer Brown

Every holiday, aunties, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and neighbors come over to eat, sing, and celebrate life. But all our main character can think about is the sweet potato pie Granny makes just for her. As tables fill with baked macaroni and cheese, chitlins, and other sides a-steaming, she and Granny move the pie to keep it intact. The task becomes tricker as the room grows with dancing and card games and pie cravings. Just when all seems lost and there’s no more pie, Granny pulls out a sweet surprise.


Holiday Hunt by Margarite Kukhtina

With more than 900 festive objects to seek and find, this stunningly illustrated look and find book provides hours of fun and brings the joy of Christmas to curious young learners.


Happy Friday and happy reading!

Fast Five Fiction: 2023 Youth Media Awards

It's Friday and time for Fast Five Fiction! Each week I share five fiction books: new books, notable books, books around a common theme....