Friday, March 1, 2024

Fast Five Fiction: Middle Grade Madness

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. Today kicks of Middle Grade Madness here at the library so today I'll be sharing five of our most popular middle grade standalones and authors.  

Middle Grade madness is a month-long competition between students in grades 5-8. Individual students who read 5 books will be entered into a raffle for a grand prize. The grade that reads the most books will earn a coupon for 2 FREE tacos from La Parilla Caliente Mexican Restaurant. Students must register to participate. You can register by visiting the library or using the Beanstack app

When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller

Would you make a deal with a magical tiger? This uplifting story brings Korean folklore to life as a girl goes on a quest to unlock the power of stories and save her grandmother.

Some stories refuse to stay bottled up...

When Lily and her family move in with her sick grandmother, a magical tiger straight out of her halmoni's Korean folktales arrives, prompting Lily to unravel a secret family history. Long, long ago, Halmoni stole something from the tigers. Now they want it back. And when one of the tigers approaches Lily with a deal--return what her grandmother stole in exchange for Halmoni's health--Lily is tempted to agree. But deals with tigers are never what they seem! With the help of her sister and her new friend Ricky, Lily must find her voice...and the courage to face a tiger.

Tae Keller, the award-winning author of The Science of Breakable Things, shares a sparkling tale about the power of stories and the magic of family. Think Walk Two Moons meets Where the Mountain Meets the Moon!

Books by Alan Gratz

Alan Gratz is the bestselling author of nineteen novels and graphic novels for young readers. His 2017 novel Refugee has spent more than four years on the New York Times bestseller list, and is the winner of 14 state awards. Its other accolades include the Sydney Taylor Book Award, the National Jewish Book Award, the Cybils Middle Grade Fiction Award, a Charlotte Huck Award Honor, and a Malka Penn Award for Human Rights Honor. Refugee was also a Global Read Aloud Book for 2018.

Alan’s 2022 novel Two Degrees and his 2021 novel Ground Zero were both instant #1 New York Times bestsellers, and were also ABA Indie, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestsellers. His 2019 novel Allies debuted at #2 on the New York Times bestseller list and received four starred reviews, and 2018’s Grenade debuted at #3. His other books include Prisoner B-3087, which was a YALSA Best Fiction for Young Readers pick and winner of eight state awards; Projekt 1065, a Kirkus Best Middle Grade Book of 2016 and winner of five state awards; Code of Honor, a YALSA Quick Pick for Young Readers; and Ban This Book, which was featured by Whoopi Goldberg on The View.

Books by Mike Lupica

Mike Lupica is one of the most prominent sports writers in America. His longevity at the top of his field is based on his experience and insider's knowledge, coupled with a provocative presentation that takes an uncompromising look at the tumultuous world of professional sports. Today he is a syndicated columnist for the New York Daily News as well as an author. Lupica is also what he describes as a "serial Little League coach," a youth basketball coach, and a soccer coach for his four children, three sons and a daughter.

It's my Party and I Don't Want to Go by Amanda Panitch

A funny and honest portrayal of living with social anxiety, this timely novel explores the universal themes of growing up and finding your voice, set in a fast-paced comedy.

Ellie Katz is sabotaging her own party.Sure, it seems extreme, but it's the only option for her bat mitzvah. Crowds and attention always made her nervous, and lately they've been making it harder and harder for Ellie to breathe. The celebration would mean (1) a large crowd, (2) lots of staring, and (3) distant family listening to her sing in another language. No thank you!To avoid certain catastrophe, she hatches a plan with her best friend Zoe to ruin the big day. Cue the email hacking, DJ takedown, and an all-out food fight! Everything is falling apart according to plan, until a fight with Zoe leaves Ellie alone on her path of destruction, facing some unintended consequences and disappointments. Can she find a way to right her wrongs, face her fears, and light her candles?

I, Cosmo by Carlie Sorosiak

A golden retriever narrates a hilarious, heart-tugging tale of a dog and his humans as he tries to keep his family together while everything around them falls apart.

Ever since Cosmo became a big brother to Max ten years ago, he's known what his job was: to protect his boy and make him happy. Through many good years marked by tennis balls and pilfered turkey, torn-up toilet paper and fragrant goose poop, Cosmo has doggedly kept his vow. Until recently, his biggest problems were the evil tutu-wearing sheepdog he met on Halloween and the arthritis in his own joints. But now, with Dad-scented blankets appearing on the couch and arguing voices getting louder, Cosmo senses a tougher challenge ahead. When Max gets a crazy idea to teach them both a dance routine for a contest, how can Cosmo refuse, stiff hips or no? Max wants to remind his folks of all the great times they've had together dancing -- and make them forget about the "d" word that's making them all cry. Told in the open, optimistic, unintentionally humorous voice of a golden retriever, I, Cosmo will grab readers from the first page -- and remind them that love and loyalty transcend whatever life throws your way.

Happy Friday and happy reading!

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

What Should Oliver Read Next?

Meow are you doing, everyone? It is I, Oliver, back once again with my next review! This recommendation comes from my good fur-end, Chloe. She recommended I give Meet the Bears: An Around the World Adventure a try. And wow! What a book! I never knew there were so many different types of bears in the world. I knew there were lots of different cats beclaws cats are pawsome like that. I got to learn about sun bears and sloth bears and even spectacled bears! Can you believe it? A bear with glasses, how hissterical! However, my favorite bear to read about were the polar bears. All that long, white majestic fur. Big, meaty paws with claws. Short little ears but still purrfect for hearing. Wait a I?...GASP!...part polar bear!? No, no. That simply can’t be, I’ve never been to Alaska. And I can’t stand the cold. I prefer the warmth of sunbeams and human laps. No way could I be a polar bear. Furget it! 

If you want to read more about all the amazing bears there are in the world (and to make sure you’re not one yourself), paw-lease stop by the children’s department to check out this fun book! Until next time, my fur-ends!

Friday, February 23, 2024

Fast Five Fiction: Gaming

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. Our February Family Reading Program is gaming-themed this year so this week I'm sharing some of our gaming-themed books and series. There's still time to participate, stop and pick up a game board at either service desk. The goal is for each family to collaboratively read for 4 hours. 

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

Lemoncello series by Chris Grabenstein

READ the books, PLAY the games, and SOLVE the puzzles in this collectible box that includes the first SIX books in the New York Times bestselling Mr. Lemoncello series:

Mr. Lemoncello's Very First Game: Discover how Luigi Lemoncello grew up to become the greatest game master on Earth!

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library: Can you unravel Mr. Lemoncello's very first puzzles?

Mr. Lemoncello's Library Olympics: The competition only gets more fierce when kids from across America join Lemoncello's library Olympics.

Mr. Lemoncello's Great Library Race: Mr. Lemoncello has a new Fabulous Fact-Finding Frenzy game, and someone has to test it out!

Mr. Lemoncello's All-Star Breakout Game: The pressure is on when Mr. Lemoncello's latest competition airs LIVE—and the kids are the game pieces!

Mr. Lemoncello and the Titanium Ticket!: Mr. Lemoncello is hiding a secret, and it will take solving a scavenger hunt to discover it.

Diary of a Roblox Pro series by Avi Avatar

Ari Avatar is just your average Roblox kid living in a blocky world! Battle monsters and avoid disasters in a Roblox world -- all through the eyes of Ari and his friends. Diary of a Roblox Pro is a must-read for any kid who loves to play Roblox!

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

A bizarre chain of events begins when sixteen unlikely people gather for the reading of Samuel W. Westing's will. And though no one knows why the eccentric, game-loving millionaire has chosen a virtual stranger—and a possible murderer—to inherit his vast fortune, one thing's for sure: Sam Westing may be dead ... but that won't stop him from playing one last game!

Gamer Baby series by Anne Elder

Your little's one's first introduction to gaming:

Power up your little gamer with this introduction to video game play.

Strategy is child’s play in this friendly, adorable guide to Chess.

A magical quest awaits you and your little adventurer in this introduction to Role Playing Games.

Press Start series by Thomas Flintham

The 'Press Start! ' series is part of Scholastic's early chapter book line, Branches, aimed at newly independent readers. With easy-to-read text, high-interest content, fast-paced plots, and illustrations on every page, these books will boost reading confidence and stamina. Branches books help readers grow!

Uh-oh, Animal Town is in trouble! Meanie King Viking has created a dreaded robot army to spread No Fun across the land. On top of that, he has stolen the happiest and most fun animal ever, Singing Dog. There is only one person who can save the day -- Super Rabbit Boy! Super Rabbit Boy is super fast and super brave, but he's also a video game character living in a video game world. What will happen when Sunny, the boy playing the game, loses each level? Will it be game over for Super Rabbit Boy and all his friends?

Happy Friday and happy reading!

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

What Should Oliver Read Next?


Meowlo, again! It’s me, Oliver, here with another review! Today’s book comes from cool cat Cooper who recommended Paw Patrol: Mighty Pup Power! Wait...are you kitten me? A book about dogs? Oh boy, this is going to be one ruff read. The book starts with a litter-al bang when a meteor heads straight for Adventure Bay Beach. What a cat-astrophe! Luckily for the pups this meteorite came with surprise and gave them all superpowers! Chase has super speed, Everest can breathe ice, and Marshall gets heat paws. I also have heat paws but only after I have been sleeping on the heat register for several hours. However, it will take more than just fancy new powers for these puppies to defeat the pawful duo of Mayor Humdinger and Harold and their superpowered robot. While it may seem an impawsible task, with a little teamwork the pups are sure to save Adventure Bay once more.

Thank mew for stopping by and don’t fur-get to check out today’s recommended book at your local library! Until next time, stay pawsome!

Friday, February 16, 2024

Fast Five Fiction: Black History Month Recommendations

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. All month long we've been celebrating Black History Month with various displays and book recommendations. Celebrate along with us by reading one of these fiction titles.

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

An American Story by Kwame Alexander

From the fireside tales in an African village, through the unspeakable passage across the Atlantic, to the backbreaking work in the fields of the South, this is a story of a people's struggle and strength, horror and hope. This is the story of American slavery, a story that needs to be told and understood by all of us. A testament to the resilience of the African American community, this book honors what has been and envisions what is to be.

With stunning mixed-media illustrations by Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award winning artist Dare Coulter, this is a potent book for those who want to speak the truth. Perfect for family sharing, the classroom, and homeschooling.

Remember Us by Jacqueline Woodson

National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson brings readers a powerful story that delves deeply into life’s burning questions about time and memory and what we take with us into the future.

It seems like Sage’s whole world is on fire the summer before she starts seventh grade. As house after house burns down, her Bushwick neighborhood gets referred to as “The Matchbox” in the local newspaper. And while Sage prefers to spend her time shooting hoops with the guys, she’s also still trying to figure out her place inside the circle of girls she’s known since childhood. A group that each day, feels further and further away from her. But it’s also the summer of Freddy, a new kid who truly gets Sage. Together, they reckon with the pain of missing the things that get left behind as time moves on, savor what’s good in the present, and buoy each other up in the face of destruction. And when the future comes, it is Sage’s memories of the past that show her the way forward. Remember Us speaks to the power of both letting go . . . and holding on.

A child reflects on the meaning of being Black in this moving and powerful anthem about a people, a culture, a history, and a legacy that lives on.

Red is a rainbow color.
Green sits next to blue.
Yellow, orange, violet, indigo,
They are rainbow colors, too, but

My color is black . . .
And there’s no BLACK in rainbows.

From the wheels of a bicycle to the robe on Thurgood Marshall's back, Black surrounds our lives. It is a color to simply describe some of our favorite things, but it also evokes a deeper sentiment about the incredible people who helped change the world and a community that continues to grow and thrive.

Treasure Island: Runaway Gold by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Three kids. One dog. And the island of Manhattan, laid out in an old treasure map.

Zane is itching for an adventure that will take him away from his family's boarding house in Rockaway, Queens. So when he is entrusted with a real treasure map, leading to a spot somewhere in Manhattan, Zane wastes no time in riding the ferry over to the city to start the search with his friends Kiko and Jack and his dog, Hip-Hop.

Through strange coincidence, they meet a man who is eager to help them find the treasure: John, a sailor who knows all about the buried history of Black New Yorkers of centuries past--and the gold that is hidden somewhere in those stories.

As a vicious rival skateboard crew follows them around the city, Zane and his friends begin to wonder who they can really trust. And soon it becomes clear that treasure hunting is a dangerous business...

Jewell Parker Rhodes has written a version of Treasure Island like none you've never seen--one that takes the reader through little-known Black history, and under the city of Manhattan itself.

The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson

The letter waits in a book, in a box, in an attic, in an old house in Lambert, South Carolina. It's waiting for Candice Miller.

When Candice finds the letter, she isn't sure she should read it. It's addressed to her grandmother, after all, who left Lambert in a cloud of shame. But the letter describes a young woman named Siobhan Washington. An injustice that happened decades ago. A mystery enfolding the letter-writer. And the fortune that awaits the person who solves the puzzle. Grandma tried and failed. But now Candice has another chance.

So with the help of Brandon Jones, the quiet boy across the street, she begins to decipher the clues in the letter. The challenge will lead them deep into Lambert's history, full of ugly deeds, forgotten heroes, and one great love; and deeper into their own families, with their own unspoken secrets. Can they find the fortune and fulfill the letter's promise before the summer ends?

Happy Friday and happy Monday!

Friday, February 9, 2024

Fast Five Fiction: Valentine's 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. With Valentine's Day being right around the corner, today I've got five adorable Valentine-themed books perfect readers of any age. 

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

Cupig: The Valentine's Day Pig by Claire Tattersfield

Cupig absolutely loves Valentine's Day. Every year she enjoys spreading love and cheer to every creature, far and near. But when a storm blows through and sends her arrows off course, Cupig accidentally puts arrows in hearts that don't need to be mended. Peanut Butter has stopped loving Jelly! Salt and Pepper have broken up! Needle and Thread are falling apart at the seams! Will Cupig ever fix her mistakes and get these classic pairs back together again?

With clever rhyming text and comically expressive art, Cupig is sure to be a Valentine's Day classic for years to come!

When Jim Panzee hears Oxpecker cooing over her doting boyfriend on Valentine's Day, he has just one thought: Gross. But Jim finds out that not everything about Valentine's Day is hearts and kisses. Jim learns there are different types of valentines and many kinds of love, such as love for a parent or for friends. 

The Secret Life of Squirrels: A Love Story by Nancy Rose

Mr. Peanuts spends his days climbing trees and gathering nuts--but he wishes he had another squirrel to share his time with. When he meets a special squirrel friend, he soon finds himself falling in love! They visit the bookstore, go to the park, and have a romantic candlelit dinner. Will Mr. Peanuts get his happily ever after?

Little Blue Truck's Valentine by Alice Schertle

Join Little Blue Truck as he delivers Valentine's Day cards to all his farm animal friends. But as Blue beeps along, he starts to wonder: will he get any cards of his own?

Pete the Cat: Valentine's Day is Cool by Kimberly and James Dean

At first, Pete thinks Valentine's Day isn't cool...until he realizes all the special cats there are in his life. Pete the Cat: Valentine’s Day Is Cool comes complete with a poster, stickers, and twelve punch-out Valentine’s Day cards.

Once Pete the Cat realizes how much fun Valentine’s Day can be, he decides to make valentine cards for his family and friends. But what happens when he realizes he's forgotten to make a card for a very important cat?

Happy Friday and happy reading!

Monday, February 5, 2024

What Should Oliver Read Next?

Hi, everyone! It’s me, Oliver, here with my first ever recommended book review! Today’s review is for Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes, recommended to me by the pawsome Lawton. Thanks for the recommendation, buddy! I loved this Pete the Cat book and not just beclaws I’m also a cat (okay, maybe a little). Like Pete, I also have white shoes. Paws count as shoes, right? And just like Pete, my shoes change color when I step into puddles much to the hisstress of my human. She really does not like my brown shoes especially when I wear them throughout the house. But Pete has taught me that I should keep on walking no matter what I step in, to love my shoes, and to remind my human that “it’s all good.”

Until next time, everyone!

Friday, January 26, 2024

Fast Five Fiction: 2024 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 2024 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.

The Eyes & the Impossible by Dave Eggers

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

The illustrated story of a dog who unwittingly becomes a hero to a park full of animals.

Johannes, a free dog, lives in an urban park by the sea. His job is to be the Eyes—to see everything that happens within the park and report back to the park’s elders, three ancient Bison. His friends—a seagull, a raccoon, a squirrel, and a pelican—work with him as the Assistant Eyes, observing the humans and other animals who share the park and making sure the Equilibrium is in balance.

But changes are afoot. More humans, including Trouble Travelers, arrive in the park. A new building, containing mysterious and hypnotic rectangles, goes up. And then there are the goats—an actual boatload of goats—who appear, along with a shocking revelation that changes Johannes’s view of the world.

Big by Vashti Harrison

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

This deeply moving story shares valuable lessons about fitting in, standing out, and the beauty of joyful acceptance.

The first picture book written and illustrated by award-winning creator Vashti Harrison traces a child’s journey to self-love and shows the power of words to both hurt and heal. With spare text and exquisite illustrations, this emotional exploration of being big in a world that prizes small is a tender portrayal of how you can stand out and feel invisible at the same time.

An American Story by Kwame Alexander, Illustrated by Dare Coulter

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. Coulter received the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award.

From the fireside tales in an African village, through the unspeakable passage across the Atlantic, to the backbreaking work in the fields of the South, this is a story of a people's struggle and strength, horror and hope. This is the story of American slavery, a story that needs to be told and understood by all of us. A testament to the resilience of the African American community, this book honors what has been and envisions what is to be.

With stunning mixed-media illustrations by newcomer Dare Coulter, this is a potent book for those who want to speak the truth. Perfect for family sharing, the classroom, and homeschooling.

Fox has a Problem by Corey R. Tabor

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

Fox has a problem: his kite is stuck in a tree! But every clever plan creates even more problems for him - and for all his friends. Can they work together to fix things before it's too late?

Carefully crafted using basic language, word repetition, sight words, and whimsical illustrations, Fox has a Problem is ideal for sharing with your emergent reader. The active, engaging My First I Can Read stories have appealing plots and lovable characters, encouraging children to continue their reading journey.

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 2024 winner is Pam Muñoz Ryan. 

Happy Friday and happy reading!

Friday, January 19, 2024

Fast Five Fiction: My Top 5 Middle Grade Series of 2023

There were a lot of really great series starters published in 2023. Over the last few weeks we've been counting down some of my favorite reads from last year. I had a great reading year and read 387 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 2024 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 New Series for 2023 (in no particular order):

The Story of Gumluck the Wizard by Adam Rex

Meet Gumluck the Wizard, the star of a new chapter book series by the inimitable Adam Rex!

This is a story about magic, if you like that kind of thing. It is also a story about a ghost with amnesia, an unpopular fairy, an ungrateful little town, and an extremely wise and helpful raven (who happens to be a pretty talented storyteller). But mostly, it is about a friendly little wizard who lives inside a big hill and really, really, really wants to be a hero. His name is Gumluck, and he is a bumbling noodlehead.

In this tall tale about a short wizard, celebrated author Adam Rex proves once and for all that the biggest heroes often come in the smallest nightgowns.

The Jules Verne Prophecy by Larry Schwarz

When a mysterious book by the legendary writer Jules Verne falls into the hands of three unlikely friends, it sets off a treasure hunt like no other—get ready for a modern-day reimagining of The Goonies !

Owen Godfrey is spending his summer in Paris studying science fiction writer Jules Verne, the brilliant mind behind Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and Around the World in Eighty Days . When Owen and his new friends find what appears to be a dusty copy of Verne’s collected works in an old bookshop, they’re intrigued by the hidden codes written inside. As one clue leads to another, the trio gets swept up in an epic treasure hunt spanning the city—from the depths of the catacombs to the top of the Eiffel Tower, and by way of skateboard, boat, car, and even a hot air balloon! But they quickly realize they’re not the only ones searching for the hidden riches, and that there are others who will stop at nothing to get to them first. This fast-paced larger-than-life adventure is filled with action, high stakes, and three friends who are dead set on cracking the Jules Verne mystery.

Sea of Gold by Gregory Mone

In the tradition of Treasure Island , an unlikely young pirate races a band of devious rogues to a hidden fortune in Sea of Gold , the first book in a middle-grade series by New York Times bestselling author Gregory Mone.

Twelve-year-old Fish—nicknamed for his skill as a swimmer—never intended to become a pirate. For starters, he’s just a kid from a poor farming family, and second, he absolutely hates to fight. But after his parents send him to work as a courier, one of his deliveries is stolen, and as Fish hurries to get it back, he’s captured by a ship of scalawags. And the mysterious package? It’s the key to locating the Chain of Chuacar, a legendary treasure.

Swabbing the deck of the Scurvy Mistress , Fish will have to earn the trust of the fortune-obsessed captain and learn the ropes from the rest of the crew, including a boy encyclopedia on all things piracy, a tough-as-nails young thief, and a fearless girl with knives up her sleeves. Yet with mutiny on the horizon and a ruthless first mate testing him at every turn, Fish isn’t sure he’ll survive, let alone find the Chain. Armed only with wit, courage, and determination, Fish leads his new friends in the fight of their young lives and a hunt for hidden gold.

The Puppets of Spelhorst by Kate DiCamillo

From master storyteller Kate DiCamillo comes an original fairy tale—with enchanting illustrations by Julie Morstad—in which five puppets confront circumstances beyond their control with patience, cunning, and high spirits.

Shut up in a trunk by a taciturn old sea captain with a secret, five friends—a king, a wolf, a girl, a boy, and an owl—bicker, boast, and comfort one another in the dark. Individually, they dream of song and light, freedom and flight, purpose and glory, but they all agree they are part of a larger story, bound each to each by chance, bonded by the heart’s mysteries. When at last their shared fate arrives, landing them on a mantel in a blue room in the home of two little girls, the truth is more astonishing than any of them could have imagined. A beloved author of modern classics draws on her most moving themes with humor, heart, and wisdom in the first of the Norendy Tales, a projected trio of novellas linked by place and mood, each illustrated in black and white by a different virtuoso illustrator. A magical and beautifully packaged gift volume designed to be read aloud and shared, The Puppets of Spelhorst is a tale that soothes and strengthens us on our journey, leading us through whatever dark forest we find ourselves in.

The Manifestor Prophecy

Internationally bestselling superstar author Angie Thomas makes her middle grade debut with the launch of an inventive, hilarious, and suspenseful new contemporary fantasy trilogy inspired by African American history and folklore.

It’s not easy being a Remarkable in the Unremarkable world. Some things are cool—like getting a pet hellhound for your twelfth birthday. Others, not so much—like not being trusted to learn magic because you might use it to take revenge on an annoying neighbor.

All Nic Blake wants is to be a powerful Manifestor like her dad. But before she has a chance to convince him to teach her the gift, a series of shocking revelations and terrifying events launch Nic and two friends on a hunt for a powerful magic tool she’s never heard save her father from imprisonment for a crime she refuses to believe he committed.

Happy Friday and happy reading!

Friday, January 12, 2024

Fast Five Fiction: My Top 5 Middle Grade Graphic Novels of 2023

There were a lot of really great books published in 2023. 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 387 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 2024 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 Graphic Novels of 2023 (in no particular order):

The Moth Keeper by Kay O'Neill

Anya is finally a Moth Keeper, the protector of the lunar moths that allow the Night-Lily flower to bloom once a year. Her village needs the flower to continue thriving and Anya is excited to prove her worth and show her thanks to her friends with her actions, but what happens when being a Moth Keeper isn't exactly what Anya thought it would be?

The nights are cold in the desert and the lunar moths live far from the village. Anya finds herself isolated and lonely. Despite Anya's dedication, she wonders what it would be like to live in the sun. Her thoughts turn into an obsession, and when Anya takes a chance to stay up during the day to feel the sun's warmth, her village and the lunar moths are left to deal with the consequences.

K. O'Neill brings to life a beautifully illustrated fantasy world about responsibility to yourself and your community. The Moth Keeper is filled with magic, hope, and friendship.

Everything's Coming Up Beatrix by Georgia Dunn

Join Elvis, Puck, Lupin, Tommy, Beatrix, and the whole team for spooky tales around the space heater, daring hairstyles, not-so-hilarious sweaters, an Easter egg hunt disaster, new cat foods, “Heck on the Deck!”, something called a papasan, and the first ever celebration of St. Catty’s Day! Tune into a ghostly broadcast when Puck makes a harrowing journey to the attic and gets in over his head. . . . Can Elvis and Tabitha work together to save him?

A First Time for Everything: A True Story by Dan Santat

A middle grade graphic memoir based on bestselling author and Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat's awkward middle school years and the trip to Europe that changed his life.

Dan's always been a good kid. The kind of kid who listens to his teachers, helps his mom with grocery shopping, and stays out of trouble. But being a good kid doesn't stop him from being bullied and feeling like he's invisible, which is why Dan has low expectations when his parents send him on a class trip to Europe.

At first, he's right. He's stuck with the same girls from his middle school who love to make fun of him, and he doesn't know why his teacher insisted he come on this trip. But as he travels through France, Germany, Switzerland, and England, a series of first experiences begin to change him―first Fanta, first fondue, first time stealing a bike from German punk rockers... and first love.

Lost Time by Tas Mukanik

Jurassic World meets How to Train Your Dragon in this gorgeously drawn, adventure-packed middle grade graphic novel about a girl who gets trapped 65 million years in the past and must learn to survive with only her wits…and the pterosaur she befriends.

Twelve-year-old Evie didn’t mean to get lost—especially in the Cretaceous period! Now she’s alone, without her parents or anyone else to turn to for help. That is until she rescues a baby pterosaur and raises it on her own. As the baby grows into a giraffe-sized flying reptile, which Evie names Ada, the two manage to to find a way to survive in the prehistoric wilderness.

But Evie will have to risk everything when she makes a discovery that may just be her only chance of returning home. Putting Ada’s flying skills to the ultimate test, the duo must embark on a journey halfway across the world—battling all nature throws at them, from fearsome dinosaurs to raging storms. Will Evie manage to overcome all the odds and find a way back to her family... or is she truly lost in time?

Mexikid: A Graphic Memoir by Pedro Martin

A poignant, hilarious, and unforgettable graphic memoir about a Mexican-American boy’s family and their adventure-filled road trip to bring their Abuelito back from Mexico to live with them.

Pedro Martín has grown up hearing stories about his Abuelito—his legendary crime-fighting, grandfather who was once a part of the Mexican Revolution! But that doesn't mean Pedro is excited at the news that Abuelito is coming to live with their family. After all, Pedro has 8 brothers and sisters and the house is crowded enough! Still, Pedro piles into the Winnebago with his family for a road trip to Mexico to bring Abuelito home, and what follows is the trip of a lifetime, one filled with laughs and heartache. Along the way, Pedro finally connects with his Abuelito and learns what it means to grow up and find his grito.

Happy Friday and happy reading!

Fast Five Fiction: Middle Grade Madness

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...