Friday, July 1, 2022

Fast Five Fiction: Mermaids

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 summer reading theme this year is Oceans of Possibilities and we've got an ocean of great books for readers of all ages. This week is Mermaid week in the children's department and we have so many books that fit this week's theme!

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


Emily Windsnap series by Liz Kessler

For as long as she can remember, twelve-year-old Emily Windsnap has lived on a boat. And, oddly enough, for just as long, her mother has seemed anxious to keep her away from the water. But when Mom finally agrees to let her take swimming lessons, Emily makes a startling discovery - about her own identity, the mysterious father she's never met, and the thrilling possibilities and perils shimmering deep below the water's surface. With a sure sense of suspense and richly imaginative details, first-time author Liz Kessler lures us into a glorious undersea world where mermaids study shipwrecks at school and Neptune rules with an iron trident - an enchanting fantasy about family secrets, loyal friendship, and the convention-defying power of love.

 

Mermaid Tales by Debbie Dadey

In this start to a new series starring Shelly the mermaid, a classroom conflict is no fun--even when school is 20,000 leagues under the sea.

It's MerGirl Shelly Siren's first day at a new school, and she is nervous from the tip of her head to the end of her sparkling mermaid tail. How will she ever fit in at the prestigious Trident Academy? Everyone there is so smart and so pretty and so rich. At least she and her best friend, Echo, are in the same class, but so is Pearl, a spoiled know-it-all who only wants to make trouble for Shelly; Rocky, a MerBoy who loves to tease everyo≠ and Kiki, a shy MerGirl who's new to Trident City.

At first Shelly and Echo have lots of fun: eating lunch together, trying to make grumpy Mr. Fangtooth smile, and joining after-school clubs. But when Shelly and Echo have an argument about their very first school assignment, Pearl gets involved and makes matters worse. Will Shelly and Echo fix their friendship?



Can I Give You a Squish? by Emily Nielson

Kai is a little mer-boy who's big on hugs--or "squishes," as he and his mama call them. But not everyone's a fan of Kai's spirited embrace, which he discovers soon after squishing a puffer fish, who swells up in fright! Kai feels awful; but with the help of his friends, he figures out another way to show his affection, and then everyone demonstrates their preferred ways of being greeted. Because, as Kai realizes, "Every fish likes their own kind of squish."


Maybe a Mermaid by Josephine Cameron

A summer romp full of mystery, new friends, and maybe a mermaid!

Eleven-year-old Anthoni Gillis is not the kind of kid who believes in fairies, unicorns, or even the word "maybe." She's more of a comic-books girl. So when her mom brings her to Thunder Lake for a summer at the Showboat Resort, she doesn't believe the local rumors about the Boulay Mermaid.

Anthoni has bigger fish to fry. She's always wanted a True Blue Friend. But it's been hard to find one, since for the past five years she's been bouncing from town to town, helping her mother sell Beauty & the Bee cosmetic products to keep them both afloat. This summer will be different, though. Anthoni has a plan--a foolproof checklist for making lifelong friends! There won't be any maybe s this time.

But as she grows entangled in local gossip, and her mother stretches the truth, Anthoni must decide if she'll "stick to the plan," like always, or dive into a summer full of extraordinary possibilities.




Purrmaids series by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen

Coral, Shelly, and Angel are best friends. They love exploring their home in Kittentail Cove. On the first day of sea school, their teacher asks everyone to bring in something special to share with the class. Shelly and Angel can't wait to visit Tortoiseshell Reef to find an extra-special treasure. But the reef is all the way on the edge of the cove and Coral is scared to swim that far away from home. Can this scaredy-cat learn to be brave?

These adorable purrmaids will have young readers paws-itively hooked from page one!





Happy Reading!




Friday, June 24, 2022

Fast Five Fiction: Lighthouses

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 summer reading theme this year is Oceans of Possibilities and we've got an ocean of great books for readers of all ages. This we've been talking about water safety and lighthouses are a huge part of helping keep boats safe so today I'm sharing books about lighthouses. 

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

The Lighthouse Family by Cynthia Rylant

Life with just the sea can be lonely. Just ask Pandora or Seabold. They've lived most of their lives with the sea, and they're quite used to being alone. Or they were. But one extraordinary day, the same sea that brought Pandora and Seabold together gives them the ingredients for an adventure that neither of them had considered before--an adventure called "family.


The Puffin Keeper by Michael Morpurgo

As a child, Allen is saved from a nautical disaster by Benjamin Postlethwaite, a solitary lighthouse keeper. Years later, Allen returns to the lighthouse, and the two nurse an injured young puffin back to health. When Allen is called up to fight in World War Two, he's not sure he'll see his mother or Benjamin again, but his fond memories of his time at the lighthouse keep him going, even through prison camp.

Allen and Ben's enduring friendship over the years is the basis for this story about friendship, art, war and an incredibly adorable puffin.




The Boxcar Children: Lighthouse Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner

The Aldens take a trip to the New England coast and get to stay in a lighthouse! But strange things happen after it gets dark--an unknown woman is seen walking around, and Watch wakes up growling late at night. Can the Boxcar Children shed light on a seaside mystery?



Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall

Watch the days and seasons pass as the wind blows, the fog rolls in, and icebergs drift by. Outside, there is water all around. Inside, the daily life of a lighthouse keeper and his family unfolds as the keeper boils water for tea, lights the lamp's wick, and writes every detail in his logbook.

Step back in time and through the door of this iconic lighthouse into a cozy dollhouse-like interior with the extraordinary award-winning artist Sophie Blackall.

Of Salt and Shore by Annet Schaap

Every evening Lampie, the lighthouse keeper's daughter, must light a lantern to warn ships away from the rocks, but one stormy night disaster strikes. The lantern is not lit, a ship is wrecked, and someone must pay.

To work off her debt, Lampie is banished to the Admiral's lonely house, where a monster is rumored to live. The terrors inside the house aren't quite what she thought they would be--they are even stranger. After Lampie saves the life of the neglected, deformed son of the admiral, a boy she calls Fish, they form a close bond. Soon they are pulled into a fairytale adventure swimming with mermaids, pirates, and misfits. Lampie will discover the courage to fight for friendship, knowledge, and the freedom to be different.

Friday, June 17, 2022

Fast Five Fiction: Oceans

 

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 summer reading theme this year is Oceans of Possibilities and we've got an ocean of great books for readers of all ages. 

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

Consider the Octopus by Nora Raleigh Baskin

Jeremy "JB" Barnes is looking forward to spending the summer before seventh grade hanging on the beach. But his mother, a scientist, has called for him to join her aboard a research ship where, instead, he'll spend his summer seasick and bored as he stares out at the endless plastic, microbeads, and other floating debris, both visible and not, that make up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Miles and miles away, twelve-year-old Sidney Miller is trying to come up with an alternate activity worthy of convincing her overprotective parents that she can skip summer camp.

When Jeremy is asked to find the contact information for a list of important international scientists and invite them to attend a last-minute Emergency Global Summit, he's excited to have a chance to actually do something that matters to the mission. How could he know that the Sidney Miller he messages is not the famous marine biologist he has been tasked with contacting, but rather a girl making podcasts from her bedroom--let alone that she would want to sneak aboard the ship?

Consider the Octopus is a comedy of errors, mistaken identity, and synchronicity. Above all, it is a heartfelt story about friendship and an empowering call to environmental protection, especially to our young people who are already stepping up to help save our oceans and our Earth.

Super Sidekicks: Ocean's Revenge

JJ, Flygirl, Dinomite, and Goo are settling into their fancy new headquarters and living the sweet life of superheroes. The Mother of the Seas, on the other hand, is NOT happy. She's sick of land dwellers using the ocean as a dumping ground . . . and she's seeking revenge! Can the Sidekicks step up and save humanity from the ocean's rage?



The Fog Diver by Joel N. Ross

A deadly white mist has cloaked the earth for hundreds of years. Humanity clings to the highest mountain peaks, where the wealthy Five Families rule over the teeming lower slopes and rambling junkyards. As the ruthless Lord Kodoc patrols the skies to enforce order, thirteen-year-old Chess and his crew scavenge in the Fog-shrouded ruins for anything they can sell to survive.

Hazel is the captain of their salvage raft: bold and daring. Swedish is the pilot: suspicious and strong. Bea is the mechanic: cheerful and brilliant. And Chess is the tetherboy: quiet and quick…and tougher than he looks. But Chess has a secret, one he’s kept hidden his whole life. One that Lord Kodoc is desperate to exploit for his own evil plans. And even as Chess unearths the crew’s biggest treasure ever, they are running out of time...


Knife's Edge by Hope Larson

Twelve-year-old twin adventurers Cleopatra and Alexandra Dodge are reunited with their father and realize that two family heirlooms reveal the location of a treasure that is their birthright. When they set sail with Captain Tarboro on the Almira, they know they're heading into danger --the ocean is filled with new and old enemies, including their nemesis, the infamous pirate Felix Worley. But like a coral reef that lurks below the surface of the waves, trouble is brewing between the siblings. Alex is determined to become a sailor and is happy with his role aboard the Almira, but Cleo--the only girl on the ship--is tired of washing dishes in the galley. In an effort to find her own purpose, she begins studying sword fighting with Tarboro, but neither Alex nor her father approves. Can the twins remain close as they pursue different goals and dreams, or will their growing differences tear the family apart before the treasure can be found?


Ocean Fairies series by Daisy Meadows

The Ocean Fairies keep all the sea creatures safe and happy-until their magic goes missing! The enchanted conch shell has been split into seven pieces and scattered throughout the oceans. King Oberon and Queen Titania have sent seven magical sea creatures to guard the shells. Now it's up to the Ocean Fairies to find them, with Rachel and Kirsty's help!


Happy reading!


Friday, June 10, 2022

Fast Five Fiction: Oceans of Possibilities



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 summer reading theme this year is Oceans of Possibilities and we've got an ocean of great books for readers of all ages. This week has been boat weeks so we're sharing books that take place in boats, including some on the most famous shipwreck in history, the Titanic.

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

The Titanic Trilogy by Gordon Korman

The Titanic is meant to be unsinkable, but as it begins its maiden voyage, there's plenty of danger waiting for four of its young passengers. Paddy is a stowaway, escaping a deadly past. Sophie's mother is delivered to the ship by police - after she and Sophie have been arrested. Juliana's father is an eccentric whose riches can barely hide his madness. And Alfie is hiding a secret that could get him kicked off the ship immediately. The lives of these four passengers will be forever linked with the fate of Titanic. And the farther they get from shore, the more the danger looms. . . .



Treasure Hunters series by James Patterson & Chris Grabenstein

The Kidd siblings have grown up diving down to shipwrecks and traveling the world, helping their famous parents recover everything from swords to gold doubloons from the bottom of the ocean. But after their parents disappear on the job, the kids are suddenly thrust into the biggest treasure hunt of their lives. They'll have to work together to defeat dangerous pirates and dodge the hot pursuit of an evil treasure hunting rival, all while following cryptic clues to unravel the mystery of what really happened to their parents-and find out if they're still alive.





Ten-year-old George Calder can't believe his luck- he and his little sister, Phoebe, are on the famous Titanic, crossing the ocean with their Aunt Daisy. The ship is full of exciting places to explore, but when George ventures into the first class storage cabin, a terrible boom shakes the entire boat. Suddenly, water is everywhere, and George's life changes forever.




"On an expedition around the world by sea, the reader chooses between alternatives throughout the book. Only one series of choices will lead safely around the world. Illustrated in comic book style and based on real, true-life facts about sailing the oceans.



Tonight on the Titanic by Mary Pope Osborne

Jack and Annie are in for an exciting, scary, and sad adventure when the Magic Tree House whisks them back to the decks of the "Titanic." Is there anything they can do to help the ill-fated ship? Will they be able to save anyone? Will they be able to save themselves?





Friday, May 6, 2022

Fast Five Fiction: American Pacific American Heritage Month

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.  May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month so today I'm highlighting books written by Asian Pacific Americans. 


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

A Wish in the Dark by Christian Soontonrvat

All light in Chattana is created by one man — the Governor, who appeared after the Great Fire to bring peace and order to the city. For Pong, who was born in Namwon Prison, the magical lights represent freedom, and he dreams of the day he will be able to walk among them. But when Pong escapes from prison, he realizes that the world outside is no fairer than the one behind bars. The wealthy dine and dance under bright orb light, while the poor toil away in darkness. Worst of all, Pong’s prison tattoo marks him as a fugitive who can never be truly free.

Nok, the prison warden’s perfect daughter, is bent on tracking Pong down and restoring her family’s good name. But as Nok hunts Pong through the alleys and canals of Chattana, she uncovers secrets that make her question the truths she has always held dear.



Fly on the Wall by Remy Lai

Henry Khoo's family treats him like a baby. He's not allowed to go anywhere without his sister/chaperone/bodyguard. His (former) best friend knows to expect his family's mafia-style interrogation when Henry's actually allowed to hang out at her house. And he definitely CAN'T take a journey halfway around the world all by himself!

But that's exactly his plan. After his family's annual trip to visit his father in Singapore is canceled, Henry decides he doesn't want to be cooped up at home with his overprotective family and BFF turned NRFF (Not Really Friend Forever). Plus, he's hiding a your-life-is-over-if-you're-caught secret: he's the creator of an anonymous gossip cartoon, and he's on the verge of getting caught. Determined to prove his independence and avoid punishment for his crimes, Henry embarks on the greatest adventure ever. . . hoping it won't turn into the greatest disaster ever.



We Dream of Space by Erin Entrada Kelly

It's January 1986. The launch of the Challenger is just weeks away, and Cash, Fitch, and Bird Nelson Thomas are three siblings in seventh grade together in Park, Delaware.

Cash loves basketball, Dr. J, and a girl named Penny; he's also in danger of failing seventh grade for a second time. Fitch spends every afternoon playing Major Havoc at the arcade and wrestles with an explosive temper that he doesn't understand. And Bird, his twelve-year-old twin, dreams of being NASA's first female shuttle commander, but feels like she's disappearing.

The Nelson Thomas siblings exist in their own orbits, circling a tense, crowded, and unpredictable household, dreaming of escape, dreaming of the future, dreaming of space. They have little in common except an enthusiastic science teacher named Ms. Salonga—a failed applicant to the Teacher in Space program—who encourages her students to live vicariously through the launch. Cash and Fitch take a passive interest, but Bird builds her dreams around it.

When the fated day arrives, it changes everything.



Front Desk Series by Kelly Yang

Mia Tang has a lot of secrets.

Number 1: She lives in a motel, not a big house. Every day, while her immigrant parents clean the rooms, ten-year-old Mia manages the front desk of the Calivista Motel and tends to its guests.

Number 2: Her parents hide immigrants. And if the mean motel owner, Mr. Yao, finds out they've been letting them stay in the empty rooms for free, the Tangs will be doomed.

Number 3: She wants to be a writer. But how can she when her mom thinks she should stick to math because English is not her first language?

It will take all of Mia's courage, kindness, and hard work to get through this year. Will she be able to hold on to her job, help the immigrants and guests, escape Mr. Yao, and go for her dreams?



Girl Giant and the Monkey King by Van Hoang

Eleven-year-old Thom Ngho is keeping a secret: she’s strong. Like suuuuper strong. Freakishly strong. And it’s making it impossible for her to fit in at her new middle school.

In a desperate bid to get rid of her super strength, Thom makes a deal with the Monkey King, a powerful deity and legendary trickster she accidentally released from his 500-year prison sentence. Thom agrees to help the Monkey King get back his magical staff if he'll take away her strength.

Soon Thom is swept up in an ancient and fantastical world in where demons, dragons, and Jade princesses actually exist. But she quickly discovers that magic can’t cure everything, and dealing with the trickster god might be more trouble than it’s worth.



Happy Friday and happy reading!

Friday, April 22, 2022

Fast Five Fiction: Earth Day

 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. Since today is Earth Day, today I have some book recommendations to encourage appreciation of the environment, learning, and advocacy. 

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


My Friend Earth by Patricia MacLachlan

Celebrate Earth Day with this valentine to our wonderful planet from the Newbery Award-winning author of Sarah, Plain and Tall.

Our friend Earth does so many wonderful things! She tends to animals large and small. She pours down summer rain and autumn leaves. She sprinkles whisper-white snow and protects the tiny seeds waiting for spring.

Readers of all ages will pore over the pages of this spectacular book. Its enticing die-cut pages encourage exploration as its poetic text celebrates everything Earth does for us, all the while reminding us to be a good friend in return.



Strange Birds by Celia C. Perez
When three very different girls find a mysterious invitation to a lavish mansion, the promise of adventure and mischief is too intriguing to pass up.

Ofelia Castillo (a budding journalist), Aster Douglas (a bookish foodie), and Cat Garcia (a rule-abiding birdwatcher) meet the kid behind the invite, Lane DiSanti, and it isn't love at first sight. But they soon bond over a shared mission to get the Floras, their local Scouts, to ditch an outdated tradition. In their quest for justice, independence, and an unforgettable summer, the girls form their own troop and find something they didn't know they needed: sisterhood.


Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar

Fifth grader Tamaya Dhilwaddi and seventh grader Marshall Walsh have been walking to and from Woodbridge Academy together since elementary school. But their routine is disrupted when bully Chad Wilson challenges Marshall to a fight. To avoid the conflict, Marshall takes a shortcut home through the off-limits woods. Tamaya reluctantly follows. They soon get lost, and they find trouble. Bigger trouble than anyone could ever have imagined.

In the days and weeks that follow, the authorities and the U.S. Senate become involved, and what they uncover might affect the future of the world.
 

The Digger and the Flower by Joseph Kuefler

Each day, the big trucks go to work. They scoop and hoist and push.

But when Digger discovers something growing in the rubble, he sets in motion a series of events that will change him, and the city, forever.


Hoot by Carl Hiassen

Unfortunately, Roy's first acquaintance in Florida is Dana Matherson, a well-known bully. Then again, if Dana hadn't been sinking his thumbs into Roy's temples and mashing his face against the school-bus window, Roy might never have spotted the running boy. And the running boy is intriguing: he was running away from the school bus, carried no books, and-here's the odd part-wore no shoes. Sensing a mystery, Roy sets himself on the boy's trail. The chase introduces him to potty-trained alligators, a fake-fart champion, some burrowing owls, a renegade eco-avenger, and several extremely poisonous snakes with unnaturally sparkling tails.


Happy Friday, and happy reading. 


Friday, April 15, 2022

Fast Five Fiction: Novel in Verse

It's Friday and time for Fast Five Fiction! April is National Poetry Month so today's roundup features five novels in verse. A verse novel is a type of narrative poetry in which a novel-length narrative is told through the medium of poetry rather than prose. 

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



The One Thing You'd Save by Linda Sue Park

If your house were on fire, what one thing would you save? Newbery Medalist Linda Sue Park explores different answers to this provocative question in linked poems that capture the diverse voices of a middle school class. 

When a teacher asks her class what one thing they would save in an emergency, some students know the answer right away. Others come to their decisions more slowly. And some change their minds when they hear their classmates' responses. A lively dialog ignites as the students discover unexpected facets of one another--and themselves.


Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson

For as long as ZJ can remember, his dad has been everyone's hero. As a charming, talented pro football star, he's as beloved to the neighborhood kids he plays with as he is to his millions of adoring sports fans. But lately life at ZJ's house is anything but charming. His dad is having trouble remembering things and seems to be angry all the time. ZJ's mom explains it's because of all the head injuries his dad sustained during his career. ZJ can understand that--but it doesn't make the sting any less real when his own father forgets his name. As ZJ contemplates his new reality, he has to figure out how to hold on tight to family traditions and recollections of the glory days, all the while wondering what their past amounts to if his father can't remember it. And most importantly, can those happy feelings ever be reclaimed when they are all so busy aching for the past?


Starfish by Lisa Fipps

Ever since Ellie wore a whale swimsuit and made a big splash at her fifth birthday party, she's been bullied about her weight. To cope, she tries to live by the Fat Girl Rules-like "no making waves," "avoid eating in public," and "don't move so fast that your body jiggles." And she's found her safe space-her swimming pool-where she feels weightless in a fat-obsessed world. In the water, she can stretch herself out like a starfish and take up all the room she wants. It's also where she can get away from her pushy mom, who thinks criticizing Ellie's weight will motivate her to diet. Fortunately, Ellie has allies in her dad, her therapist, and her new neighbor, Catalina, who loves Ellie for who she is. With this support buoying her, Ellie might finally be able to cast aside the Fat Girl Rules and starfish in real life--by unapologetically being her own fabulous self



Packed with silly rhymes and witty wordplay, A.F. Harrold's poetry is positively bursting with fun--and advice. But it's not always the most useful. . .

Never apologize to a door you've walked into, unless it's a really special door.

Don't serve a cat soup when the cat wants jelly. Tomato soup won't fill a feline belly.

Don't put a rock in a roll, unless you hate having teeth.

Among the seemingly nonsensical stanzas on onions, sausages, and kilted koalas are exercises in critical thinking--what advice should readers follow, and what should they dismiss? Harrold's short, clever poems work seamlessly alongside Mini Grey's vibrant art to create visual gags that will have readers in stitches. Both silly and poignant, this book is perfect for curious readers, poets, and cabbages everywhere.



BenBee and the Teacher Griefer is a funny, clever novel-in-verse series about Ben Bellows--who failed the Language Arts section of the Florida State test--and three classmates who get stuck in a summer school class.

But these kids aren't dumb--they're divergent thinkers, as Ms. J tells them: they simply approach things in a different way than traditional school demands.

Each chapter is told through the perspective of one of the four students, who each write in a different style (art, verse, stream of consciousness). This book is a heartwarming, laugh-out-loud novel-in-verse.



Happy Friday and happy reading!


Friday, March 18, 2022

Fast Five Fiction: Middle Grade March

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 book lovers will be celebrating Middle Grade March on Instagram so today's roundup is a selection of middle grade reads. Many middle grade books have a wide appeal and can be enjoyed by both older readers and even younger readers as read-alouds.

A little about Middle Grade March
Middle Grade March is a reading challenge that was started on Instagram. The book community there dedicates the month of March to reading Middle Grade Books. You don't have to read exclusively Middle Grade in March or even be on Instagram. It's just a nudge to get more people to pick up middle grade books, especially if you don't read that genre often. It can be a breath of fresh air to pick up a middle grade book and see the world through a child’s eyes again. Often middle grade books are tackling similar issues to their adult counterparts, but with a more hopeful perspective

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


Tangled Up in Luck by Merrill Wyatt

If you told Sloane Osburn and Amelia Miller-Poe that they'd be hiding in their town cemetery from an evil mastermind, they would have been hard-pressed to believe you. If you also told them that person was intent on beating them to a cache of long-lost jewels using nothing more than a slingshot and wicked aim, they'd have been sure you got your facts wrong. Finally, if you told them they'd be doing all of this as friends...well, they would have been sure you needed medical attention.

Whether through serendipity (really, really good luck) or zemblanity (really, really bad luck), someone tricked their teacher into using their seventh-grade class to investigate the mystery of their town's long-missing treasure. From there, things have escalated. Quickly. Now, the girls are stuck hiding behind a gravestone, dodging acorns (who knew acorns could be so threatening?), and just a few clues short of those jewels.

It's up to these enemies-turned-partners to uncover centuries-old clues to find the treasure at the end of this book before the mysterious person on their trail can get to it first.



Stuntboy, in the Meantime by Jason Reynolds

Portico Reeves’s superpower is making sure all the other superheroes—like his parents and two best friends—stay super. And safe. Super safe. And he does this all in secret. No one in his civilian life knows he’s actually…Stuntboy!

But his regular Portico identity is pretty cool, too. He lives in the biggest house on the block, maybe in the whole city, which basically makes it a castle. His mom calls where they live an apartment building. But a building with fifty doors just in the hallways is definitely a castle. And behind those fifty doors live a bunch of different people who Stuntboy saves all the time. In fact, he’s the only reason the cat, New Name Every Day, has nine lives.

All this is swell except for Portico’s other secret, his not-so-super secret. His parents are fighting all the time. They’re trying to hide it by repeatedly telling Portico to go check on a neighbor “in the meantime.” But Portico knows “meantime” means his parents are heading into the Mean Time which means they’re about to get into it, and well, Portico’s superhero responsibility is to save them, too—as soon as he figures out how.

Only, all these secrets give Portico the worry wiggles, the frets, which his mom calls anxiety. Plus, like all superheroes, Portico has an arch-nemesis who is determined to prove that there is nothing super about Portico at all.




Twelve-year-old Lark Heron-Finch is steeling herself to spend the summer on Swallowtail Island off the shores of Lake Erie. It's the first time that she and her sister will have seen the old house since their mom passed away. And while her stepfather and his boys are okay, the island's always been full of happy memories--and now everything is different.

When Nadine, a close family friend, tells Lark about a tragic boat accident that happened off the coast many years before, Lark's enthralled with the story. Nadine's working on a book about Dinah Purdy, Swallowtails's oldest resident who had a connection to the crash, and she's sure that the accident was not as it appeared. Impressed by Lark's keen eye, she hires her as her research assistant for the summer.

And then Lark discovers something amazing. Something that could change Dinah's life. Something linked to the crash and even to her own family's history with Swallowtail. But there are others on the island who would do anything to keep the truth buried in the watery depths of the past.


Will Hunter thought his life couldn’t get any worse: His parents just got divorced, His best (and only) friend now is his dog, Fitz, And his mom moved them from New York City to the middle-of-nowhere town called East Emerson. But Will was wrong—things are about to get worse. Because East Emerson is filled with a whole lot of monsters, and he’s the only person who can see them.

When all the town pets (including Fitz) go missing, Will suspects there’s something sinister going on. So he joins forces with outcast Ivy and super-smart Linus to uncover the ancient secrets of East Emerson. Besides, nothing bad could happen when three sixth graders team up against monsters, magic, myths, and mad science . . . right?



Set in a fragmented future England, The Outlaws Scarlett and Browne introduces us to a world where gunfights and monsters collide, and where the formidable outlaw Scarlett McCain fights daily against the odds. When she discovers a wrecked coach on a lonely road, there is only one survivor – the seemingly hapless youth, Albert Browne. Against her instincts, Scarlett agrees to escort him to safety. This is a mistake. Soon, new and implacable enemies are on her heels. As a relentless pursuit continues across the broken landscape of England, Scarlett must fight to uncover the secrets of Albert’s past – and come to terms with the implications of her own.


Happy Friday, and happy reading!

Friday, February 25, 2022

Fast Five Fiction: Black History Month

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. Black History Month is celebrated each February and is a time to honor the contributions and legacy of African Americans across U.S. History and society. One way we can celebrate is by amplifying black voices and reading their literary contributions. 

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


Look Both Ways by Jason Reynolds

This story was going to begin like all the best stories. With a school bus falling from the sky. But no one saw it happen. They were all too busy--

Talking about boogers.
Stealing pocket change.
Skateboarding.
Wiping out.
Braving up.
Executing complicated handshakes.
Planning an escape.
Making jokes.
Lotioning up.
Finding comfort.
But mostly, too busy walking home.

Jason Reynolds conjures ten tales (one per block) about what happens after the dismissal bell rings, and brilliantly weaves them into one wickedly funny, piercingly poignant look at the detours we face on the walk home, and in life. 


New Kid by Jerry Craft

Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade.

As he makes the daily trip from his Washington Heights apartment to the upscale Riverdale Academy Day School, Jordan soon finds himself torn between two worlds—and not really fitting into either one. Can Jordan learn to navigate his new school culture while keeping his neighborhood friends and staying true to himself?
 

This Newbery award winning title is also available on Playaway.



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?



Genesis Begins Again by Alice D. Williams

This deeply sensitive and powerful debut novel tells the story of a thirteen-year-old who must overcome internalized racism and a verbally abusive family to finally learn to love herself.

This is the story of a thirteen-year-old girl who is filled with self-loathing and must overcome internalized racism and a verbally abusive family to finally learn to love herself.


There are ninety-six things Genesis hates about herself. She knows the exact number because she keeps a list. Like #95: Because her skin is so dark, people call her charcoal and eggplant—even her own family. And #61: Because her family is always being put out of their house, belongings laid out on the sidewalk for the world to see. When Genesis reaches #100 on the list of things she hates about herself, will she continue on, or can she find the strength to begin again?


Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson

For as long as ZJ can remember, his dad has been everyone's hero. As a charming, talented pro football star, he's as beloved to the neighborhood kids he plays with as he is to his millions of adoring sports fans. But lately life at ZJ's house is anything but charming. His dad is having trouble remembering things and seems to be angry all the time. ZJ's mom explains it's because of all the head injuries his dad sustained during his career. ZJ can understand that--but it doesn't make the sting any less real when his own father forgets his name. As ZJ contemplates his new reality, he has to figure out how to hold on tight to family traditions and recollections of the glory days, all the while wondering what their past amounts to if his father can't remember it. And most importantly, can those happy feelings ever be reclaimed when they are all so busy aching for the past?



Happy Friday and happy reading!


Friday, February 18, 2022

Fast Five Fiction: Cozy Winter Reads

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. Snow days are the perfect time to curl up with a good book so today's selections feature some cozy winter reads.

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

The Winterhouse series by Ben Guterson

Orphan Elizabeth Somers's malevolent aunt and uncle ship her off to the ominous Winterhouse Hotel, owned by the peculiar Norbridge Falls. Upon arrival, Elizabeth quickly discovers that Winterhouse has many charms--most notably its massive library. It's not long before she locates a magical book of puzzles that will unlock a mystery involving Norbridge and his sinister family. But the deeper she delves into the hotel's secrets, the more Elizabeth starts to realize that she is somehow connected to Winterhouse. As fate would have it, Elizabeth is the only person who can break the hotel's curse and solve the mystery. But will it be at the cost of losing the people she has come to car for, and even Winterhouse itself?

Mystery, adventure, and beautiful writing combine in this exciting debut richly set in a hotel full of secrets.


Sisterland by Salla Sumukka
Alice thought it was unusual to see a dragonfly in the middle of winter. But she followed it until she fell down-down-down, and woke up in a world unlike any other.

Welcome to Sisterland, a fantastical world where it is always summer. The most enchanting magic of all, though, is Alice's new friend Marissa. But as the girls explore the strange land, they learn Sisterland's endless summer comes at a price. Back on Earth, their homes are freezing over. To save their families, Alice and Marissa must outwit the powerful Queen Lili. But the deeper they go into Sisterland, the less Alice and Marissa remember about their homes, their lives before, and what they are fighting for.


The Heartwood Hotel series by Kallie George
When Mona the Mouse stumbles across the wondrous world of the Heartwood Hotel in the middle of a storm, she desperately hopes they'll let her stay. As it turns out, Mona is precisely the maid they need at the grandest hotel in Fernwood Forest, where animals come from far and wide for safety, luxury, and comfort. But the Heartwood Hotel is not all acorn souffl and soft moss-lined beds. Danger lurks, and as it approaches, Mona finds that this hotel is more than a warm place to spend the night. It might also be a home.


Greenglass House series by Kate Milford
It's wintertime at Greenglass House. The creaky smuggler's inn is always quiet during this season, and twelve-year-old Milo, the innkeepers' adopted son, plans to spend his holidays relaxing. But on the first icy night of vacation, out of nowhere, the guest bell rings. Then rings again. And again. Soon Milo's home is bursting with odd, secretive guests, each one bearing a strange story that is somehow connected to the rambling old house. As objects go missing and tempers flare, Milo and Meddy, the cook's daughter, must decipher clues and untangle the web of deepening mysteries to discover the truth about Greenglass House--and themselves


The Winterborne Home for Vengeance and Valor series by Ally Carter

When 11-year-old April joins a group of kids living at Winterborne Home she doesn't expect to be there for very long. But she soon learns that this home isn't like any of the others - especially when she unearths the secret of the missing-and-presumed-dead billionaire, Gabriel Winterborne, who is neither missing nor dead but is actually living in a basement lair, sharpening his swords and looking for vengeance.

Now that April knows Gabriel Winterborne is alive, she must turn to the other orphans to keep him that way. As a looming new danger threatens to take Gabriel down once and for all, they must use their individual talents to find a way to make sure this home for misfits isn't lost to them for ever.

Because at the Winterborne Home, nothing is what it seems, no one is who they say they are and nowhere is safe. And now a ragtag group of orphans must unravel the riddle of a missing heir, a supposed phantom and a secret key, all without alerting the adults of Winterborne House that trouble is afoot.



Happy Friday and happy reading!


Fast Five Fiction: Mermaids

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....