Audio Review: Nightbooks!

It’s another Tuesday, so it’s time for another audio review!

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By J. A. White

Narrated by Kirby Heyborne
6 CDs, 7 1/4 Hours

Alex was just sneaking out of his apartment to go down to the basement. It was the middle of the night, but he needed the privacy and quiet–and the boiler–to complete his errand. He didn’t expect the elevator to stop on the fourth floor. He never expected to get off on and follow the sound of his favorite movie in the whole wide world playing inside the apartment there. And he certainly never dreamed that he would knock on the door and go inside.

But he did, and suddenly, instead of burning the three notebooks full of creepy stories he’d written, Alex is stuck in the middle of his own creepy story. Captured by a witch straight out of a storybook. Alex expects to be chopped up and used in a spell, or eaten by the witch, but on his first night as a prisoner, someone outside his door whispers “She likes stories…” Alex is a storyteller, so he goes with his instincts and just before the witch screams at him to stand still and not close his eyes (because she is about to put a dangerous spell on him) he asks her if she wants to hear a story. Luckily, she does.

Alex opens one of his notebooks–his Nightbooks–and reads. It satisfies the cruel witch Natacha, and she decides he has better uses than what she had originally intended. Alex is thrust into her vast library and told to write. He’s a modern-day Scheherazade, and if he can’t come up with a new story to tell her each and every night, well…Natacha will have no use for him.

Yasmin, the girl who whispered to him that first night, is also a captive of the witch, and has been for months. She assures him there’s no way out. She’s tried everything. And it doesn’t matter anyway, because Lenore, Natacha’s enchanted cat, watches their every move. But Alex is determined to escape, and sure that he can find a way. He has some built in time to work, because he has his Nightbooks, full of older creepy stories he’s written over the years. He has a couple weeks to find a way out, and convince Yasmin to join him.

Or does he..?

Nightbooks is a creepy and exciting adventure book, containing several short stories within the story. (Alex’s Nightbook stories are told as each is read to Natacha.) It does get off to a bit of a slow start…I listened to the first disc, not sure if I actually wanted to continue. That might have been a bit because the first few stories Alex tells don’t integrate well into the audio…I kind of wish that they’d used another voice to read them. In the book, they’re visually different, so it’s not as jarring to realize that you’re listening to a character telling a story. Still, if you’re ready for that (and if you’re reading this review, you will be) you will be prepared for the difference in the storytelling.

The narrator is very good. I like Kirby Heyborne’s voice and pacing, and he does a really good job sounding like a couple children caught in a nightmarish situation. He’s also great at portraying Natacha, the easily irritated and casually cruel witch. He is especially scary as a surprise character at the end of the book. After the first disc, the flow caught up with my expectations, and things played out well. Several times I waited in the car after reaching the destination, wanting to know what was going to happen next.

Nightbooks is probably best for slightly older middle readers…fifth through eighth grades. It’s a quick read, and would be especially good for fans of Small Spaces by Katherine Arden, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz, A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz, Sweetly by Jackson Pearce, or any books by Dan Poblocki or R.L. Stine. Best not to listen to it with younger readers though, unless they’re fans of horror.

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If you’re a fan of horror, you’ll like this book. If you like dark witches, you’ll like this book. If you like books that take a fairy tale or two, twist it a bit, and set it in the modern world, you’ll like this book. Try it anyway, and see what you think! And then let me know…

Apparently, Nightbooks has now been optioned as a Netflix project! So if you’re a fan of reading the book first, either in print or by listening to the audio, come check it out at the library. The project sounds like it has a great cast, director and producers, so it’s likely to be a big hit. I know I’ll watch it!

As always, if you need help finding this or any other book in the library, please ask one of our librarians! We love to help you find the next book you’ll love. 😀

Happy Reading!

Booklist — History and Home

Have you ever wished you lived in some other place, or in some other time? Where things are different from what you’re living…where instead of cold yellow grass, waiting to be covered with snow, there’s green plants, sunshine and the smell of the sea. Instead of 2021, it’s 1944, or 1910, or even 1962. Where the atmosphere is rich, family is present, and history is happening.

This list started off as a 5 Books Featuring… segment, but it got out of control with all the additions! And there are so many that could be added. Enjoy the twentieth century in Cuba, Kenya and (mostly) the warmer parts of the United States.

At any rate, here is a short(ish) booklist of titles with a strong sense of place, of history and of family.


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I Lived on Butterfly Hill by Marjorie Agosin
Celeste Marconi is a dreamer. She lives peacefully among friends and neighbors and family in the idyllic town of Valparaiso, Chile–until the time comes when even Celeste, with her head in the clouds, can’t deny the political unrest that is sweeping through the country. Warships are spotted in the harbor and schoolmates disappear from class without a word. Celeste doesn’t quite know what is happening, but one thing is clear: no one is safe, not anymore. The country has been taken over by a government that declares artists, protestors, and anyone who helps the needy to be considered “subversive” and dangerous to Chile’s future. So Celeste’s parents–her educated, generous, kind parents–must go into hiding before they, too, “disappear.” To protect their daughter, they send her to America. As Celeste adapts to her new life in Maine, she never stops dreaming of Chile. But even after democracy is restored to her home country, questions remain: Will her parents reemerge from hiding? Will she ever be truly safe again?

Precious Bones by Mika Ashley-Hollinger
Meet Bones, whose playground is the Florida swamps, brimming with black bears, alligators and bobcats. Bones’ father, Nolay, a Miccosukee Indian, is smart and mischievous. Her Mama, practical as corn bread, can see straight into Bones’ soul. It’s summer, and Bones is busy hunting and fishing with her best friend, Little Man. Now that the war is over, things look better for most swamp families. But then two Yankee real estate agents trespass on her family’s land, and Nolay scares them off with his gun. When a storm blows in and Bones and Little Man uncover something horrible at the edge of the Loo-chee swamp, the evidence of foul play points to Nolay. The only person that can help Nolay is Sheriff LeRoy, who’s as slow as pond water. Bones is determined to take matters into her own hands. If it takes a miracle, then a miracle is what she will deliver.

Orange for the Sunsets by Tina Athaid
Asha and her best friend, Yesofu, never cared about the differences between them: Indian. African. Girl. Boy. Short. Tall. But when Idi Amin announces that Indians have ninety days to leave the country, suddenly those differences are the only things that people in Entebbe can see–not the shared after-school samosas or Asha cheering for Yesofu at every cricket game. Determined for her life to stay the same, Asha clings to her world tighter than ever before. But Yesofu is torn, pulled between his friends, his family, and a promise of a better future. Now as neighbors leave and soldiers line the streets, the two friends find that nothing seems sure–not even their friendship. Tensions between Indians and Africans intensify and the deadline to leave is fast approaching. Could the bravest thing of all be to let each other go?

Letters from Cuba by Ruth Behar
Esther is in Cuba…a place where she relishes the sunshine, wearing sandals for the first time, and enjoys the beautiful language and music of the island. But the situation is getting dire for Jews in Poland on the eve of World War II. Esther’s father has fled to Cuba, and she is the first one to join him. It’s heartbreaking to be separated from her beloved sister, so Esther promises to write down everything that happens until they’re reunited. And she does, recording both the good–the kindness of the Cuban people and her discovery of a valuable hidden talent–and the bad: the fact that Nazism has found a foothold even in Cuba. Esther’s evocative letters are full of her appreciation for life and reveal a resourceful, determined girl with a rare ability to bring people together, all the while striving to get the rest of their family out of Poland before it’s too late.

Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos
Melding the entirely true and the wildly fictional,Dead End in Norveltis a novel about an incredible two months for a kid named Jack Gantos, whose plans for vacation excitement are shot down when he is “grounded for life” by his feuding parents, and whose nose spews bad blood at every little shock he gets. But plenty of excitement (and shocks) are coming Jack’s way once his mom loans him out to help a feisty old neighbor with a most unusual chore–typewriting obituaries filled with stories about the people who founded his utopian town. As one obituary leads to another, Jack is launched on a strange adventure involving molten wax, Eleanor Roosevelt, twisted promises, a homemade airplane, Girl Scout cookies, a man on a trike, a dancing plague, voices from the past, Hells Angels . . . and possibly murder. Endlessly surprising, this sly, sharp-edged narrative is the author at his very best, making readers laugh out loud at the most unexpected things in a dead-funny depiction of growing up in a slightly off-kilter place where the past is present, the present is confusing, and the future is completely up in the air.

Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
World War II has come to Patty Bergen’s hometown of Jenkinsville, Arkansas, in the form of a German prisoner of war camp. Patty, a twelve-year-old Jewish girl, is curious about these Nazi soldiers, who must be monsters for the killing they have done. She is also lonely and awkward, and looking for a friend. Anton, a German soldier, is not the monster that Patty imagined, but a frightened young man with feelings not unlike her own. He sees Patty in a way no one else does, as “a person of value.” When she decides to help him escape from the camp, the consequences will change Patty’s life forever. This thought-provoking, emotional narrative tackles difficult issues with insight and courage.

The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani
It’s 1947, and India, newly independent of British rule, has been separated into two countries–Pakistan and India. The divide has created much tension between Hindus and Muslims, and hundreds of thousands are killed crossing borders. Half-Muslim and half-Hindu, Nisha doesn’t know where she belongs, or what her country is anymore. When Papa decides it’s too dangerous to stay in what is now Pakistan, Nisha and her family become refugees and embark first by train but later on foot to reach her new home. The journey is long, difficult, and dangerous; after losing her mother as a baby, Nisha can’t imagine losing her homeland, too. But even if her country has been ripped apart, Nisha still believes in the possibility of putting herself back together. Told through Nisha’s letters to her mother, this is a heartfelt story of one girl’s search for home, for her own identity…and for a hopeful future.

Full of Beans by Jennifer L. Holm
Grown-ups lie. That’s one truth Beans knows for sure. He and his gang know how to spot a whopper a mile away, because they are the savviest bunch of barefoot conchs (that means “locals”) in all of Key West. Not that Beans really minds; it’s 1934, the middle of the Great Depression. With no jobs on the island, and no money anywhere, who can really blame the grown-ups for telling a few tales? Besides, Beans isn’t anyone’s fool. In fact, he has plans. Big plans. And the consequences might surprise even Beans himself. The companion book to Turtle in Paradise, this book will leave you wanting both a cousin like Beans and a visit to Key West. Try all of Jennifer Holm’s books! They’re set all over the US, and they all have a very strong sense of place and characters.

Turtle In Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm
Turtle is smart and tough and has seen enough of the world not to expect a Hollywood ending. After all, it’s 1935 and jobs and money and sometimes even dreams are scarce. So when Turtle’s mama gets a job housekeeping for a lady who doesn’t like kids, Turtle says goodbye without a tear and heads off to Key West, Florida to live with relatives she’s never met. Florida’s like nothing Turtle’s ever seen before though. It’s hot and strange, full of rag tag boy cousins, family secrets, scams, and even buried pirate treasure! Before she knows what’s happened, Turtle finds herself coming out of the shell she’s spent her life building, and as she does, her world opens up in the most unexpected ways. Full of a sense of Florida in the depression, this will make you long for heat and sunshine.

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
Calpurnia Virginia Tate is eleven years old when she wonders why the yellow grasshoppers in her Texas backyard are so much bigger than the green ones.With a little help from her notoriously cantankerous grandfather, an avid naturalist, she figures out that the green grasshoppers are easier to see against the yellow grass, so they are eaten before they can get any larger. As Callie explores the natural world around her, she develops a close relationship with her grandfather, navigates the dangers of living with six brothers, and comes up against just what it means to be a girl at the turn of the century. Dusty Texas comes to life in this story set in a small town inhabited by people full of character.

The Turtle of Oman by Naomi Shihab Nye
Aref Al-Amri does not want to leave Oman. He does not want to leave his elementary school, his friends, or his beloved grandfather, Siddi. He does not want to live in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where his parents will go to graduate school. His mother is desperate for him to pack his suitcase, but he refuses. Finally, she calls Siddi for help. But rather than pack, Aref and Siddi go on a series of adventures. They visit the camp of a thousand stars deep in the desert, they sleep on Siddi’s roof, they fish in the Gulf of Oman and dream about going to India, and they travel to the nature reserve to watch the sea turtles. At each stop, Siddi finds a small stone that he later slips into Aref’s suitcase–mementos of home.

Auma’s Long Run by Eucabeth Odhiambo
Auma loves to run. In her small Kenyan village, she’s a track star with big dreams. A track scholarship could allow her to attend high school and maybe even become a doctor. But a strange new sickness called AIDS is ravaging the village, and when her father becomes ill, Auma’s family needs her help at home. Soon more people are getting sick–even dying–and no one knows why. Now Auma faces a difficult choice. Should she stay to support her struggling family or leave to pursue her own future? Auma knows her family is depending on her, but leaving might be the only way to find the answers to questions about this new disease. Set in the 1990s in Kenya, this is a gripping story about a girl with a deep sense of purpose.

How High the Moon by Karyn Parsons
In the small town of Alcolu, South Carolina in 1944, Ella spends her days fishing and running around with her best friend Henry and cousin Myrna. But life is not always so sunny for Ella, who gets bullied for her light skin tone and whose mother is away pursuing a jazz singer dream in Boston. So Ella is ecstatic when her mother invites her to visit for Christmas. Little does she expect the truths she will discover about her mother, the father she never knew and her family’s most unlikely history. And after a life-changing month, she returns South and is shocked by the news that her schoolmate George has been arrested for the murder of two local white girls. Bittersweet and eye-opening, Ella is a girl finding herself in a world all but determined to hold her down.

A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck
What happens when Joey and his sister, Mary Alice–two city slickers from Chicago–make their annual summer visits to Grandma Dowdel’s seemingly sleepy Illinois town?
August 1929: They see their first corpse, and he isn’t resting easy.
August 1930: The Cowgill boys terrorize the town, and Grandma fights back.
August 1931: Joey and Mary Alice help Grandma trespass, poach, catch the sheriff in his underwear, and feed the hungry
all in one day.
Together, Joey and Mary Alice have nine summers they’ll never forget in a small town that really isn’t as sleepy as it first seems.

Night of the Howling Dogs by Graham Salisbury
Dylan’s scout troop goes camping in Halape, a remote spot below the volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii. The only thing wrong with the weekend on a beautiful, peaceful beach is Louie, a tough older boy. Louie and Dylan just can’t get along. But an earthquake rocks the camp halfway through the trip, and then a wave rushes in, sweeping everyone and everything before it. Dylan and Louie must team up on a dangerous rescue mission. The next hours are an amazing story of survival and the true meaning of leadership and family. Hawaii beauty and danger come to life in this tale, complete with a volcanic eruption, and earthquake and a tidal wave.

Under the Blood-Red Sun by Graham Salisbury
Tomi was born in Hawaii. His grandfather and parents were born in Japan, and came to America to escape poverty. World War II seems far away from Tomi and his friends, who are too busy playing ball on their eighth-grade team, the Rats. But then Pearl Harbor is attacked by the Japanese, and the United States declares war on Japan. Japanese men are rounded up, and Tomi’s father and grandfather are arrested. As WWII intensifies and Pearl Harbor is bombed, Tomi’s family faces racism, violence and hardship at every turn. Tomi’s father and grandfather are taken away, leaving Tomi to worry if he can perform honorably as man of the house.It’s a terrifying time to be Japanese in America. But one thing doesn’t change: the loyalty of Tomi’s buddies, the Rats.

Terrible, Horrible Edie by E. C. Spykman
EVEN IF she has lived ten terrible years, terrible, horrible Edie really isn’t terrible and horrible at all, but rather charming and engaging and gutsy. It’s true of course that Edie does get into–and not always without it being at least a little bit her fault–some pretty terrible and horrible scrapes, and that sometimes she will sulk, but these are the kinds of things that happen to the kid sister of two snooty boys and one fancy-pants girl, not to mention having to deal with the distraction of two half sisters who are no better than babies. It’s 1910, and Edie’s father and stepmother have headed to Europe for the summer, and though the rest of the family can look forward to good times at a beloved summer house on the sea, Edie still has to fight to hold her own. Adventures on a sailboat and on an island, and the advent of a major hurricane and what Edie takes to be a military coup, all come to a climax when Edie solves the mystery of who stole the neighbor’s jewels and saves, at least for one day, the day.

Listening for Lions by Gloria Whelan
Left an orphan after the influenza epidemic in British East Africa in 1918, Rachel is tricked into assuming a deceased neighbor’s identity to travel to England, where she’s forced into posing as the deceased daughter of a nefarious couple in an effort to gain them an enormous inheritance. Her irrepressible spirit and extraordinary wit turn her from victim to heroine in a surprising and empowering tale of a remarkable young woman. Even through she faces tragedy and deception, her only dream is to return to Africa and rebuild her parents’ mission hospital. Will she and triumph against everything she faces?

Echo Mountain by Lauren Wolk
After losing almost everything in the Great Depression, Ellie’s family is forced to leave their home in town and start over in the untamed wilderness of nearby Echo Mountain. Ellie has found a welcome freedom, and a love of the natural world, in her new life on the mountain. But there is little joy after a terrible accident leaves her father in a coma. An accident unfairly blamed on Ellie. Ellie is a girl who takes matters into her own hands, and determined to help her father she will make her way to the top of the mountain in search of the healing secrets of a woman known only as “the hag.” But the hag, and the mountain, still have many untold stories left to reveal. Read all of Lauren Wolk’s books…they all fit this list!

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So there you have it…almost twenty books with a rich (and mostly warm) setting and a kid (or two) with history happening all around them. How many of these places would you like to visit? What kind of person would you be in these times? How many of these books will you read? If you can think of other books you would include, let us know in the comments below!

Immerse yourself in one of these books this winter and see what life is like in another (warm!) place and time. (Can you tell that I’m tired of the temperature in January?)

As always, if you would like help finding these or any other books, ask one of our librarians. We’re here to help! And if you would like other suggestions, we do that too!

Happy Reading!

Audio Book: Lintang and the Pirate Queen

This dreary time of year is a great time to listen to a great audio book! The descriptions can transport you to a place that’s warmer, sunnier and FAR more adventurous than New England in January. So grab your headphones and get ready to hear all about Lintang, her best friend Bayani, dangerous Mythies, stolen treasure and…pirates!

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Lintang and the Pirate Queen
by Tamara Moss, narrated by Catherine Ho
7 CDs, 7.75 Hours

She’s Lintang of Desa, village on the island of Tolus, daughter of Aanjay and Arif, child of Nyasamdra. It’s a mouthful of introduction for an island girl. But it’s an announcement that she’s practiced over and over. It’s one of the ways that will get her off the island and into a life of adventure!

Lintang longs for adventure. She doesn’t fit in with the other children of her island community, and even her best friend Bayani is more likely to try to prevent her from having a dangerous adventure than he is to join her. But Lintang is persistent, and sometimes she can get Bayani to practice sword fighting or help her get out of trouble. Because she gets into a lot of trouble. And not always on purpose.

It’s not like she meant to burn her mother’s pantry…it’s just that circumstances (and a pixie) made her good intentions turn into a disaster. And when her solution to helping restore the supplies for her mother causes her and Bayani to be stalked by a dangerous mythie called a malam rasha that eats human organs…well, it’s a good thing that she’s resourceful. Lintang and Bayani escape the malam rasha, with only a little unexpected assistance. Lintang is a known storyteller though, so no one believes her when she tries to warn the rest of the islanders about the dangerous mythie, or the mysterious stranger who helped her. Lintang just gets in more trouble when she tries to tell everyone what happened. No one even believes Bayani!

So Lintang isn’t in the best position with the villagers or her mother when Captain Shafira, the Pirate Queen, shows up on the island. She’s looking for a girl to take on board her ship to help her leave the islands. Lintang is surprised and delighted when the Captain believes their tale of the malam rasha, and admits to being the person who assisted them. Even more amazing, when the monster attacks the village, Captain Shafira asks Lintang to help come up with a plan to capture it. When the malam rasha is finally defeated, as a reward the Captain decides to take Lintang with her.

Lintang’s mother is not pleased, even though she had threatened to send Lintang to a mining camp after the pantry incident. In desperation, she begs the Captain to let her keep Lintang at home, on the island. The Captain gives up a wondrous treasure as a promise to bring Lintang back, unharmed.

So Lintang is off on an adventure as part of the pirate crew onboard the Winda with her hero, Captain Shafira. Only things don’t exactly go according to Lintang’s plan. First, Bayani stows away on board the ship, with a secret mission he won’t share with Lintang. Then Lintang’s inability to follow orders, even orders from her beloved Captain Shafira, get her into more trouble. She’s demoted to cabin girl, the position with the least respect on the ship.

Can Lintang overcome her own instincts and learn how to be part of a team? Can she do something, anything, that will impress the Captain and get her back into her good graces? Will Bayani be able to fulfill his secret mission? Once that mission comes to light, will Lintang be able to help him, or will she lose him? And then there’s the mythies. What is the mystery behind their existance?

Lintang is on the first step of an adventure that will change not only her life, but the lives of everyone she knows.

The audio book for Lintang and the Pirate Queen is extremely satisfying to listen to. The narration is clear and crisp. There is enough variation in pacing and diction to know who is speaking at any time. The tone of the narrator and the pacing of the storytelling is easy to follow, and in some spots, leaves the listener on the edge of their seat. And the story is great!

I loved all the supporting characters, but I have to say, I thought Lintang herself was a bit self-centered. There were clues all around her that Bayani was struggling with something serious, but she didn’t even notice, preferring to sulk or worry about her own, less difficult problems. But I guess that’s what happens when you have an adult’s point of view. Kids might not notice, or might just think that it’s normal. But still…it’s worth mentioning.

I loved Captain Shafira and Bayani and Xiang, and also some of the lesser used characters like Avalon, Farah the clamshell and her daughter Dee, Pelita, and even the disagreeable Yamini. I want to know all their what brought them to be pirates, their motivation, and their stories. One of my favorite things about fantasy worlds is when the reader wants to know more, or they want to know the backstory of every major and minor character. Lintang and the Pirate Queen gives you that.

Lintang and the Pirate Queen was left wide open for a sequel. I hope we get another look at the Twin Islands and the rest of Lintang’s world. (I looked it up online, and apparently two other books about Lintang have been published in Australia. Hopefully, we’ll get them here as well!)

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So there you have it…a new audio adventure, with pirates, and mythical creatures, and swords and action and intrigue.

This book is probably best for fourth through seventh grade readers. The audio book will appeal to readers of all ages, although some suspenseful scenes might make it difficult for first grade and under. The mythology and adventure will make it appealing to older fans of Percy Jackson.

Some read-alikes include Magic Marks the Spot by Caroline Carlson, Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi, The Storm Runner by J.C. Cervantes and The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell.

Will you read it? Or listen? Let me know!

As always, if you need help finding these books, or anything else in the library, please ask one of our librarians. We love helping to share good books!

Happy Reading!

5 Books Featuring…Winter Adventures!

Get ready for winter!

I don’t know when or if we’ll have snow in December, but it’s time to start thinking snow. So let’s start with a snow-filled adventure. The books on this list are winter adventures…but with a sprinkling of the fantastic! Maybe a dash of scifi, or a pinch of magic, or even the twist of a fairy tale. These adventures will chill you to the bone–and warm your heart.

Our Five Books feature is a booklist of five books (occasionally with a few extras) on a specific topic, with a short synopsis so you can decide if it sounds like something you would like to read. Five Books–One Old, one New, one Popular with Kids, one Well-Reviewed, and one Favorite. (But you’ll have to guess which is which)! And if there are more than five…it’s anyone’s guess why they’re all there! (mostly it’s because I keep thinking “but I can’t leave this one off!”…)

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The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken
Wicked wolves and a grim governess threaten Bonnie and her cousin Sylvia when Bonnie’s parents leave Willoughby Chase for a sea voyage. Left in the care of the cruel Miss Slighcarp, the girls can hardly believe what is happening to their once happy home. The servants are dismissed, the furniture is sold, and Bonnie and Sylvia are sent to a prison-like orphan school. It seems as if the endless hours of drudgery will never cease. With the help of Simon the gooseboy and his flock, they escape. But how will they ever get Willoughby Chase free from the clutches of the evil Miss Slighcarp?

The Way Past Winter by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
Mila lives with her sisters, Pipa and Sanna, her brother Oskar, and their sled dogs in a small cottage in a frozen forest. In their world, winter has held sway for five years, ever since their father disappeared. When a mysterious man and twelve boys show up on her doorstep, Mila and her family grant them shelter for the night. But in the morning, the man is gone–and he’s taken Oskar with them. Determined to save their brother, Mila and her sisters set out on a mission to rescue him. But challenges await them at every turn: wolves with the speed of demons, tempestuous gold, an untrustworthy mage–and always the relentless, stinging freeze of winter.

Winterfrost by Michelle Houts
Christmas has come, and with it a sparkling white winterfrost over the Danish countryside. But Bettina’s parents have been called away unexpectedly, leaving her in charge of the house, the farm, and baby Pia. In all the confusion, Bettina’s family neglects to set out the traditional bowl of Christmas rice pudding for the tiny nisse who are rumored to look after the family and their livestock. No one besides her grandfather ever believed the nisse were real, so what harm could there be in forgetting this silly custom? But when baby Pia disappears during a nap, the magic of the nisse makes itself known. To find her sister and set things right, Bettina must venture into the miniature world of these usually helpful, but sometimes mischievous folk.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
Four adventurous siblings–Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie–step through a wardrobe door and into the land of Narnia, a land frozen in eternal winter and enslaved by the power of the White Witch. Can these siblings band together with the good citizens of Narnia and defeat the Witch? But when almost all hope is lost, the return of the Great Lion, Aslan, signals a great change . . . and a great sacrifice.

Greenglass House by Kate Milford
It’s wintertime at Greenglass House. The creaky smuggler’s inn is always quiet during this season, and Milo, the innkeepers’ 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.

Tomorrow’s Magic by Pamela Service
It’s 500 years after the nuclear holocaust that devastated the earth’s population and left the few survivors dealing with unending winter. At their remote British boarding school, Wellington Jones and Heather McKenna have a lot in common. Both are misfits trying to avoid attention, and both are fascinated by Earl, a tall, calm, older boy with no recollection of his past, but a remarkable knack for showing up when he is needed most. When a blow to the head brings Earl’s memory back, he claims that he is actually Merlin . . . a 2000-year-old wizard. If this is true, does he have the secret to restoring the world? Can Welly and Heather help him?

Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
Once upon a time, Hazel and Jack were best friends. But that was before he stopped talking to her, before he was snatched away by an evil woman in a sleigh and carried away into a strange magical world where snow and cold abound-a place where his new frozen emotions seem perfectly at home. Now it’s up to Hazel to go in after him and bring him home…if she can.

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And there you have it. Five (okay, seven) stories where endless winter must be defeated, and someone must be rescued. These would be a perfect read for a gloomy day near a warm fire, or a day when the sun is shining off a sparkling blanket of white outside your window. Or even an ordinary day like today! Try one, or two, or more…and find out. 😀

If you need any help finding these–or any other book in the library–just ask one of our librarians for assistance. We’re always happy to help you find the book you want!

Happy Reading!

5 Books Featuring…Libraries!

This week is Thanksgiving, and I am thankful for many things. One of the things I’m most thankful for though, is libraries! It’s my profession, it’s my passion, and it brings lots of books my way. It’s difficult NOT to be thankful for libraries.

So here are five books set in libraries to be thankful about. Check it out!

Our Five Books feature is a booklist of five books (occasionally with a few extras) on a specific topic, with a short synopsis so you can decide if it sounds like something you would like. Five Books–One Old, One New, One Popular with Kids, One Well-Reviewed, and One Favorite. (But you’ll have to guess which is which)! And if there are more than five…it’s anyone’s guess why they’re all there!

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Fantastical Libraries:

The Library of Ever by Zeno Alexander
With her parents off traveling the globe, Lenora is bored, bored, bored–until she discovers a secret doorway into the ultimate library. Mazelike and reality-bending, the library contains all the universe’s wisdom. Every book ever written, and every fact ever known, can be found within its walls. And Lenora becomes its newly appointed Fourth Assistant Apprentice Librarian. She rockets to the stars, travels to a future filled with robots, and faces down a dark nothingness that wants to destroy all knowledge. To save the library, Lenora will have to test her limits and uncover secrets hidden among its shelves.
And now there’s a sequel: Rebel in the Library of Ever!

The Book Wanderers by Anna James
Since her mother’s disappearance, Tilly Pages has found comfort in the stories at Pages & Co., her grandparents’ bookshop. But when her favorite characters, Anne of Green Gables and Alice from Wonderland, start showing up at the shop,Tilly’s adventures become very real. Not only can she follow Anne and Alice into their books, she discovers she can bookwander into any story she chooses. Tilly’s new ability leads her to fun and exciting adventures, but danger may be lurking on the very next page…
When new secrets are uncovered, it’s up to Tilly to solve the mystery of what happened to her mother all those years ago. From debut author Anna James comes a charming and exciting adventure about a bookish young heroine, a mysterious librarian, and a magical bookshop that will delight book lovers everywhere.
Read the other books in the Pages & Co. series


The Curse of the Boggin by D.J. MacHale
There’s a place beyond this world, beyond the land of the living, where ghosts go to write their unfinished stories-stories that ended too soon. It’s a place for unexplained phenomena- mysteries that have never been solved, spirits that have never been laid to rest. And there’s only one way in or out.
It’s called the Library, and you can get there with a special key. But beware! Don’t start a story you can’t finish. Because in this library, the stories you can’t finish just might finish you.
Read the rest of The Library trilogy too!

The Story Thieves by James Riley
Life is boring when you live in the real world, instead of starring in your own book series. Owen knows that better than anyone, what with the real world’s homework and chores. But everything changes the day Owen sees the impossible happen–his classmate Bethany climb out of a book in the library. It turns out Bethany’s half-fictional and has been searching every book she can find for her missing father, a fictional character. Bethany can’t let anyone else learn her secret, so Owen makes her a deal: All she has to do is take him into a book in Owen’s favorite Kiel Gnomenfoot series, and he’ll never say a word. Besides, visiting the book might help Bethany find her father…or it might just destroy the Kiel Gnomenfoot series, reveal Bethany’s secret to the entire world, and force Owen to live out Kiel Gnomenfoot’s final (very final) adventure.
Read the rest of the books in the Story Thieves series!

The Grimm Legacy by Polly Schulman
Elizabeth has just started working as a page at the New York Circulating Material Repository – a lending library of objects, contemporary and historical, common and obscure. And secret, too – for in the repository’s basement lies the Grimm Collection, a room of magical items straight from the Grimm Brother’s fairy tales. But the magic mirrors and seven-league boots and other items are starting to disappear. And before she knows it, she and her fellow pages – handsome Marc, perfect Anjali, and brooding Aaron – are suddenly caught up in an exciting, and dangerous, magical adventure.
Try the other books in The Repository series as well.

The Forbidden Library by Django Wexler
When Alice’s father goes down in a shipwreck, she is sent to live with her uncle Geryon–an uncle she’s never heard of and knows nothing about. He lives in an enormous manor with a massive library that is off-limits to Alice. But then she meets a talking cat. And even for a rule-follower, when a talking cat sneaks you into a forbidden library and introduces you to an arrogant boy who dares you to open a book, it’s hard to resist. Especially if you’re a reader to begin with. Soon Alice finds herself INSIDE the book, and the only way out is to defeat the creature imprisoned within.
It seems her uncle is more than he says he is. But then so is Alice.
Read the other books in The Forbidden Library series!

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Realistic Libraries:

Help! I’m a Prisoner in the Library! by Eth Clifford
Mary Rose and Jo-Beth are sisters who hardly ever agree on anything, but they both feel as if this night will never end. First their car runs out of gas in an unfamiliar city and their father goes in search of a gas station. Then Jo-Beth makes Mary Rose go with her to find a bathroom and they stumble across a curious old library. And then, worst of all, they get locked in! But their troubles are just beginning. Is Jo-Beth right about the library being haunted by banshees? Or is there a logical explanation, as Mary Rose claims?
None of the other Jo-Beth and Mary Rose Adventures take place in a library, but they’re fun anyway!

A Summer of Sundays by Lindsay Eland
Sunday Fowler is a middle-of-the-middle child, and it’s the absolute worst. Her sisters say she’s too young. Her brothers say she’s too old. And her parents remember the dog’s name more often than they remember hers. But standing out is hard work when you have to help repair an old library and make sure your siblings don’t steal your new best friend–or ruin all your plans. Then Sunday finds something in the library’s basement that might make her so famous no one will forget her name ever again. But revealing her finding means stirring up secrets that some people in the town hoped to keep buried. Sunday must decide if some things–loyalty, trust, friendship–are worth more than her name in the headlines.

Into the Lion’s Den by Linda Fairstein
Someone has stolen a page from a rare book in the New York Public Library. At least, that’s what Devlin’s friend Liza thinks she’s seen, but she can’t be sure. Any other kid might not see a crime here, but Devlin Quick is courageous and confident, and she knows she has to bring this man to justice-even if it means breathlessly racing around the city to collect evidence. But who is this thief? And what could the page-an old map-possibly lead to? With her wits, persistence, and the help of New York City’s finest (and, okay, a little bit of help from her police commissioner mother, too), Dev and her friends piece the clues together to uncover a mystery that’s bigger than anyone expected-and more fun, too.
The other Devlin Quick Mysteries don’t take place in a library, but they’re still fun!

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein
Kyle Keeley is the class clown and a huge fan of all games–board games, word games, and particularly video games. His hero, Luigi Lemoncello, the most notorious and creative gamemaker in the world, just so happens to be the genius behind the construction of the new town library. Lucky Kyle wins a coveted spot as one of twelve kids invited for an overnight sleepover in the library, hosted by Mr. Lemoncello and riddled with lots and lots of games. But when morning comes, the doors stay locked. Kyle and the other kids must solve every clue and figure out every secret puzzle to find the hidden escape route!
Read all of the books in the fantastic Mr. Lemoncello series!

Ban This Book! by Alan Gratz
Amy Anne is shy and soft-spoken, but don’t mess with her when it comes to her favorite book in the whole world. When From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg is challenged by a well-meaning parent and taken off the shelves of her school library, Amy Anne and her lieutenants wage a battle for the books that will make you laugh and pump your fists as they start a secret banned books locker library, make up ridiculous reasons to ban every single book in the library to make a point, and take a stand against censorship.

A Kind of Paradise by Amy Rebecca Tan
Jamie Bunn made a mistake at the end of the school year. A big one. And every kid in her middle school knows all about it. Because of that mistake, she has to spend her summer vacation volunteering at the Foxfield Public Library as a punishment. What a waste of a summer!
Or so she thinks. Jamie quickly grows to love the people there and enthusiastically joins the fight to save the library.

The Story Collector by Kristin O’Donnell Tubb
Viviani Fedeler has spent her whole life in the New York Public Library. She knows every room by heart, except the ones her father keeps locked. When Viviani becomes convinced that the library is haunted, new girl Merit Mubarak makes fun of her. So Viviani decides to play a harmless little prank, roping her older brothers and best friend Eva to help out. But what begins as a joke quickly gets out of hand, and soon Viviani and her friends have to solve two big mysteries: Is the Library truly haunted? And what happened to the expensive new stamp collection? It’s up to Viviani, Eva, and Merit (reluctantly) to find out.
Also read the sequel: The Story Seeker.

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Do you love libraries? Wouldn’t you love to find an adventure in a library…or a magic book…or a doorway to a fantastical adventure there?

There are a few books that start in a library with magic books too–I should probably do another 5 Books list with them, but just in case you’d like to look on your own, there’s Seven Day Magic, So You Want to Be a Wizard, The Neverending Story, The Treasure of Alpheus Winterborn, and probably lots of others!

So keep your eyes open when you visit a library; you never know what magic you may find…

Happy Thanksgiving, and
Happy Reading!

Booklist…Alternate History!


It’s time to share another Booklist! This time we’re going for something a little more specific than just time travel, or historical fiction–but something that’s a bit in-between: Alternate History. That’s a story based on something in history changing, but the “world” of the book staying true to the time period. Like if hot air balloons were so popular and developed in the 1700s that airplanes were never invented. How would that change how people lived during a time like the American Civil War? It’s pure speculation…and lots of fun to imagine!

So…onto the best of two worlds– Historical Fantasy books!

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Black Hearts in Battersea by Joan Aiken
Simon arrives in London to meet an old friend and pursue the study of painting. Instead he finds himself unwittingly in the middle of a wicked crew’s fiendish caper to overthrow the good King James and the Duke and Duchess of Battersea. With the help of his friend Sophie and the resourceful waif Dido, Simon narrowly escapes a series of madcap close calls and dangerous run-ins. In a time and place where villains do nothing halfway, Simon is faced with wild wolves, poisoned pies, kidnapping, and a wrecked ship.
In this world, King James III of Scotland became James the first of England, but the Hanoverians (King George III) are plotting to overthrow the Stuarts.

Airman by Eoin Colfer
In the 1890’s Conor and his family live on the sovereign Saltee Islands, off the Irish coast. Conor spends his days studying the science of flight with his tutor and exploring the castle with the king’s daughter, Princess Isabella. But his idyllic life changes forever the day he discovers a conspiracy to overthrow the king. When Conor tries to expose the plot, he is branded a traitor and thrown into jail on the prison island of Little Saltee. There, he has to fight for his life as he and the other prisoners are forced to mine for diamonds in inhumane conditions. There is only one way to escape Little Saltee, and that is to fly. So he passes the solitary months by scratching drawings of flying machines into the prison walls. The months turn into years, but eventually the day comes when Conor must find the courage to trust his revolutionary designs and take to the skies.

A Riddle in Ruby by Kent Davis
Ruby Teach, daughter of a smuggler and pirate, has been learning how to swindle and steal and pick the most complex locks for as long as she can remember. But a collision with aristocratic young lord Athen sends her spinning into chaos. Little did she know that her whole life has been spent in hiding from nefarious secret societies and the Royal Navy . . . who are both now on her trail. A rip-roaring tale of an alternate colonial Philadelphia, where alchemy–that peculiar mix of magic and science–has fueled the industrial revolution.

Battlesaurus: Rampage at Waterloo by Daniel Falkner
In 1815, Napoleon Bonaparte wins the Battle of Waterloo by unleashing a secret battlefield weapon–a legion of giant, carnivorous dinosaurs imported from the wilds of the Americas. Only Willem Verheyen, an outsider living in hiding in the tiny village of Gaillemarde, has the power to ruin the tyrant’s plans. And Napoléon will stop at nothing to find him.
In this alternate world, dinosaurs are still around. Smaller “saurs” are an everyday danger in the forests of Europe, and the Americas are a forbidden zone roamed by the largest and most deadly animals ever to walk the earth. But in his quest for power, Napoléon has found a way to turn these giant dinosaurs into nineteenth-century weapons of mass destruction.

The Metropolitans / Carol Goodman
The day Japan bombs Pearl Harbor, four thirteen-year-olds converge at the Metropolitan Museum of Art where an eccentric curator is seeking four uncommonly brave souls to track down the hidden pages of the Kelmsbury Manuscript, an ancient book of Arthurian legends that lies scattered within the museum’s collection, and that holds the key to preventing a second attack on American soil. When Madge, Joe, Kiku, and Walt agree to help, they have no idea that the Kelmsbury is already working its magic on them. But they begin to develop extraordinary powers: courage, friendship, love…and betrayal. Are they playing out a legend that’s already been lived, over and over, across the ages? Or can the Metropolitans forge their own story?
It’s WWII, but Morgan le Fay is still influencing the world.

League of Seven by Alan Gratz
In an alternate 1875 America, electricity is forbidden, Native Americans and Yankees are united, and eldritch evil lurks in the shadows. Young Archie Dent knows there really are monsters in the world. His parents are members of the Septemberist Society, whose job it is to protect humanity from hideous giants called the Mangleborn. Trapped in underground prisons for a thousand years, the giant monsters have been all but forgotten–but now they are rising again as the steam-driven America of 1875 rediscovers electricity, the lifeblood of the Mangleborn. When his parents and the rest of the Septemberists are brainwashed by one of the evil creatures, Archie must assemble a team of seven young heroes to save the world!

The Glass Sentence by S.E. Grove
Sophia Tims comes from a family of explorers and cartologers who, for generations, have been traveling and mapping the New World–a world changed by the Great Disruption of 1799, when all the continents were flung into different time periods.  Eight years ago, her parents left her with her uncle Shadrack, the foremost cartologer in Boston, and went on an urgent mission. They never returned. Life with her brilliant, absent-minded, adored uncle has taught Sophia to take care of herself. Then Shadrack is kidnapped. And Sophia, who has rarely been outside of Boston, is the only one who can search for him. Together with Theo, a refugee from the West, she travels over rough terrain and uncharted ocean, encounters pirates and traders, and relies on a combination of Shadrack’s maps, common sense, and her own slantwise powers of observation. But even as Sophia and Theo try to save Shadrack’s life, they are in danger of losing their own.
This alternate world story starts in Boston, 1891, with a completely different map of our world.

The Lost Kingdom by Matthew Kirby
Billy Bartram, his father, and a secret society of philosophers and scientists venture into the American wilderness in search of the lost people of the Welsh Prince Madoc, seeking aid in the coming war against the French. Traveling in a flying airship, the members of the expedition find their lives frequently endangered in the untamed American West by terrifying creatures, a party of French soldiers hot on their trail, and the constant threat of traitors and spies. Billy will face hazards greater than he can ever imagine as, together with his father, he gets caught up in the fight for the biggest prize of all: America. This is 1753, and a completely different version of the French and Indian War.

Bluecrowne by Kate Milford
Lucy Bluecrowne is beginning a new life ashore with her stepmother and half brother, though she’s certain the only place she’ll ever belong is with her father on a ship of war as part of the crew. She doesn’t care that living in a house is safer and the proper place for a twelve-year-old girl; it’sboring. But then two nefarious strangers identify her little brother as the pyrotechnical prodigy they need to enact an evil plan, and it will take all Lucy’s fighting instincts to keep her family together.
In a very different 1810, Lucy and Laio may hold the fate of Nagspeake in their hands.

The Inventors at No. 8 by A.M. Morgen
Meet George, the third Lord of Devonshire and the unluckiest boy in London. Why is George so unlucky? First, he’s an orphan. Second, unless he sells everything, he’s about to lose his house. So when his family’s last heirloom, a priceless map to the Star of Victory (a unique gem said to bring its owner success in any battle) is stolen by a nefarious group of criminals, George knows that there is no one less lucky–or more alone–than he is. That is until Ada Byron, the future Countess of Lovelace, bursts into his life. She promises to help George recover his family legacy, and is determined to find her own father along the way–all in a flying machine she built herself. Joined by a mischievous orangutan and the long-lost son of an infamous pirate, Ada and George take off on a cross-continent journey through the skies that will change their lives, and perhaps the world, forever.

The Inquisitor’s Apprentice by Chris Moriarity
The day Sacha found out he could see witches was the worst day of his life. Being an Inquisitor is no job for a nice Jewish boy. But when the police learn that Sacha Kessler can see witches, he’s apprenticed to the department’s star Inquisitor, Maximillian Wolf. Their mission is to stop magical crime. And New York at the beginning of the twentieth century is a magical melting pot where each ethnic group has its own brand of homegrown witchcraft, and magical gangs rule the streets from Hell’s Kitchen to Chinatown. Soon Sacha has teamed up with fellow apprentice Lily Astral, daughter of one of the city’s richest Wall Street Wizards–and a spoiled snob, if you ask Sacha. Their first case is to find out who’s trying to kill Thomas Edison. Edison has invented a mechanical witch detector that could unleash the worst witch-hunt in American history. Every magician in town has a motive to kill him. But as the investigation unfolds, all the clues lead back to the Lower East Side. And Sacha soon realizes that his own family could be accused of murder!

The Dactyl Hill Squad by Daniel Jose Older
It’s 1863 and dinosaurs roam the streets of New York as the Civil War rages between raptor-mounted armies down South. Magdalys Roca and her friends from the Colored Orphan Asylum are on a field trip when the Draft Riots break out, and a number of their fellow orphans are kidnapped by an evil magistrate, Richard Riker. Magdalys and her friends flee to Brooklyn and settle in the Dactyl Hill neighborhood, where black and brown New Yorkers have set up an independent community — a safe haven from the threats of Manhattan. Together with the Vigilance Committee, they train to fly on dactylback, discover new friends and amazing dinosaurs, and plot to take down Riker. Can Magdalys and the squad rescue the rest of their friends before it’s too late?

Live in Infamy by Caroline Tung Richmond
What if the Axis powers had won World War II? In the eighty years since the Axis powers won World War II with their genetically engineered super soldiers, America has changed drastically in the hands of the unforgiving victors. But there are still those who aspire to what the country used to stand for: freedom for all. In the Western American Territories, Ren Cabot has lost nearly everything to Imperial Japan’s rule. After the public execution of his mom for treason five years ago, Ren and his family live under constant scrutiny of the Empire, afraid that one wrong step will rip apart what remains of their family for good. However, when a chance encounter with a resistance group offers Ren an opportunity to save lives and quite possibly topple the government, he agrees to their deadly plot. But his role will lead him straight into the heart of the enemy, and if caught, death would be a much better fate than what the Empire will do to him. . . .

York: The Shadow Cipher by Laura Ruby
It was 1798 when the Morningstarr twins arrived in New York with a vision for a magnificent city: towering skyscrapers, dazzling machines, and winding train lines, all running on technology no one had ever seen before. Fifty-seven years later, the enigmatic architects disappeared, leaving behind for the people of New York the Old York Cipher–a puzzle laid into the shining city they constructed, at the end of which was promised a treasure beyond all imagining. By the present day, however, the puzzle has never been solved, and the greatest mystery of the modern world is little more than a tourist attraction. Tess and Theo Biedermann and their friend Jaime Cruz live in a Morningstarr apartment–until a real estate developer announces that the city has agreed to sell him the five remaining Morningstarr buildings. Their likely destruction means the end of a dream long held by the people of New York. And if Tess, Theo, and Jaime want to save their home, they have to prove that the Old York Cipher is real. Which means they have to solve it.

The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands
“Tell no one what I’ve given you.”
Until he got that cryptic warning, Christopher Rowe was happy, learning how to solve complex codes and puzzles and creating powerful medicines, potions, and weapons as an apprentice to Master Benedict Blackthorn–with maybe an explosion or two along the way. But when a mysterious cult begins to prey on London’s apothecaries, the trail of murders grows closer and closer to Blackthorn’s shop. With time running out, Christopher must use every skill he’s learned to discover the key to a terrible secret with the power to tear the world apart. It’s 1665 in London where Christopher and his best friend Tom follow a trail of puzzles, codes, pranks, and danger toward an unearthly secret with the power to tear the world apart.

Fights and Chimes and Mysterious Times by Emma Trevayne
Jack Foster has stepped through a doorway and into Londinium. Londinium is a smoky, dark, and dangerous place, home to mischievous metal fairies and fearsome clockwork dragons that breathe scalding steam. The people wear goggles to protect their eyes, brass grill insets in their nostrils to filter air, or mechanical limbs to replace missing ones. Over it all rules the Lady, and the Lady has demanded a new son–a perfect flesh-and-blood child. She has chosen Jack. His only hope of escape lies with a legendary clockwork bird. The Gearwing grants wishes–or it did, before it was broken–before it was killed. But some things don’t stay dead forever.
In nineteenth-century England, a boy is about to discover a mysterious mechanical world he may never escape.

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
It is the cusp of World War I, and all the European powers are arming up. The Austro-Hungarians and Germans have their Clankers, steam-driven iron machines loaded with guns and ammunition. The British Darwinists employ fabricated animals as their weaponry. Their Leviathan is a whale airship, and the most masterful beast in the British fleet. Aleksandar Ferdinand, prince of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battle-torn Stormwalker and a loyal crew of men. Deryn Sharp is a commoner, a girl disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She’s a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered. With the Great War brewing, Alek’s and Deryn’s paths cross in the most unexpected way…taking them both aboard the Leviathan on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure. One that will change both their lives forever.

The Thirteenth Child by Patricia Wrede
Eff was born a thirteenth child. Her twin brother, Lan, is the seventh son of a seventh son. This means he’s supposed to possess amazing talent — and she’s supposed to bring only bad things to her family and her town. Undeterred, her family moves to the frontier, where her father will be a professor of magic at a school perilously close to the magical divide that separates settlers from the beasts of the wild.
Eff must finally get over believing she is bad luck and accept that her special training in Aphrikan magic and develop her extraordinary power to combat magical creatures that threaten settlements on the western frontier.
It’s not the Wild West of our world, but one where things took a different direction!

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If you could write a book based on one thing in history changing…what would it be? Would it look like one of these books…or would it be totally different?

If you can think of another book that fits in this category, let me know in the comments below. I know I’m probably forgetting something obvious! But a few other titles that came up were too close to Time Travel (also a fun genre!) or Steampunk (ditto) Speculative fiction is so much fun!

If you need help finding these or any other books when visiting the library, please ask one of our librarians. We’re always happy to help you find exactly what you’re looking for!

Happy Reading!

5 Books Featuring…Robots!

Tin Men? Metallic Humans? At any rate, the heroes in these books aren’t exactly flesh and blood…but they are friends with humans. But what makes somoene human? Is it their body, or is it their personality and sense of self? As you join these adventures with these human and not-human friends, you’ll have to decide–which one is the hero? If you like books featuring adventures and figuring out what is human…this booklist is for you!

Our Five Books feature is a booklist of five books (occasionally with a few extras) on a specific topic, with a short synopsis so you can decide if it sounds like something you would like. Five Books–One Old, One New, One Popular with Kids, One Well-Reviewed, and One Favorite. (But you’ll have to guess which is which)! And if there are more than five…it’s anyone’s guess why they’re all there!

But now…on with the metal magic!

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Fuzzy by Tom Angleberger
When Max – Maxine Zelaster – befriends her new robot classmate Fuzzy, part of Vanguard One Middle School’s new Robot Integration Program, she helps him learn everything he needs to know about surviving middle school – the good, the bad, and the really, really, ugly. Little do they know that surviving seventh grade is going to become a true matter of life and death. Because Vanguard has an evil presence at its heart: a digital student evaluation system named BARBARA that might be taking its mission to shape the perfect student to extremes!

The Last Human by Lee Bacon
In the future, robots have eliminated humans, and 12-year-old robot XR_935 is just fine with that. Without humans around, there is no war, no pollution, no crime. Every member of society has a purpose. Everything runs smoothly and efficiently. Until the day XR discovers something impossible: a human girl named Emma. Now, Emma must embark on a dangerous voyage with XR and two other robots in search of a mysterious point on a map. But how will they survive in a place where rules are never broken and humans aren’t supposed to exist? And what will they find at the end of their journey? A humorous, action-packed story about friendship, technology, and challenging the status quo no matter the consequences. It’s not just about what it means to be a robot–it’s about what it means to be a friend.

Andy Buckram’s Tin Men by Carol Ryrie Brink
Andy’s imagination (and his Popular Mechanics collection) leads him to builds four tin men from scraps of metal. Campbell is ferocious looking, but actually just a big, cute baby. Bucket was created to do the chores that Andy hates. Lily Belle was created because Andy’s friend Sparrow needed a friend. And the fourth tin man? He’s to help Andy with the leaky rowboat he uses to get between jobs to pay for all his ten men. All four robots help him with the farm work and other jobs, as well as being his companions. But when flood waters overrun his small farm, Andy, his baby cousin Dot, and all four robots are swept down the river. No one would have ever dreamed of the heroic services the robots will perform in an emergency to save Andy, Dot, Sparrow and each other.

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown
When robot Roz opens her eyes for the first time, she discovers that she is all alone on a remote, wild island. She has no idea how she got there or what her purpose is–but she knows she needs to survive. After battling a violent storm and escaping a vicious bear attack, she realizes that her only hope for survival is to adapt to her surroundings and learn from the island’s unwelcoming animal inhabitants.
As Roz slowly befriends the animals, the island starts to feel like home–until, one day, the robot’s mysterious past comes back to haunt her.
Don’t miss The Wild Robot Escapes, the sequel!

Eager by Helen Fox
It’s the end of the 21st century where technocrats rule and robots take care of humans’ every need. Your house watches you, knows your secrets, and talks to you. And your closest friend can be—a machine? Gavin Bell and his sister Fleur come from a middle-class family. Their much-loved, old-fashioned robot, Grumps, is running down and can’t be repaired, so a scientist friend loans them EGR3, an experimental new robot to help Grumps. EGR3, known as Eager, learns from his experiences, as a child would. He feels emotions—wonder, excitement, and loss. When the ultra high-tech, eerily human BDC4 robots begin to behave suspiciously, Eager and the Bells are drawn into a great adventure. As Eager’s extraordinary abilities are tested to the limit, he will try to find the answer to this question: What does it mean to be alive?

Tin by Padraig Kenny
Christopher is ‘Proper’: a real boy with a real soul, orphaned in a fire. He works for an engineer, a maker of the eccentric, loyal and totally individual mechanicals who are Christopher’s best friends. But after a devastating accident, a secret is revealed and Christopher’s world is changed forever… What follows is a remarkable adventure, as Christopher discovers who he really is, and what it means to be human.

Cog by Greg Van Eekhout
Cog looks like a normal twelve-year-old boy. But his name is short for “cognitive development,” and he was built to learn. But after an accident leaves him damaged, Cog wakes up in an unknown lab–and Gina, the scientist who created and cared for him, is nowhere to be found. Surrounded by scientists who want to study him and remove his brain, Cog recruits four robot accomplices for a mission to find her.
The journey that Cog, ADA, Proto, Trashbot, and Car take will likely involve much cognitive development in the form of mistakes, but Cog is willing to risk everything to find his way back to Gina.

Friendroid by M.M. Vaughan
Danny’s a kid. Eric’s a kid, too. They’re on the way to being best friends, until they hit a snag. For Danny, it becomes hard to ignore Eric’s super strange tendencies. He has weekly “dentist” appointments and parents who never stop smiling. It’s almost impossible to wake him up and he’s always getting fancy gifts from his mysterious uncle. Danny always assumed that Eric was just a spoiled rich kid…until he discovers Eric’s hidden robot reality.
As the two friends dig deeper into Eric’s origins and purpose, powerful forces swarm into town, and Danny and Eric are left with more questions than answers–and more danger than humanly possible.

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So there you have it. Five…(okay, eight)…stories of dangerous situations, daring rescues, and friendships that will last forever.

It almost makes you want to go out and build a friend!

I haven’t read every one of these books, but now I plan to! And I hope you will as well. There were a couple books that I would have loved to add, but we don’t own them anymore. If you can find them at another library, or maybe in your parents’ old collections of their childhood favorites, maybe you could try those books too: My Robot Buddy, by Alfred Slote and Conrad by Christine Nostlinger. Both fun reads from long ago…

If you need help finding these or any other books, just ask one of our librarians when you call or visit the library. We’ll look forward to seeing you!

Happy Reading!

Booklist: Talking about Racism

 A selection of books in the Weston Children’s Collection about racism.  If you would like to talk about current events with your child, these are some books that would make a good starting place.
Click on the book cover or title for more information and to place a hold.
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Go to details page
by Larry Dane Brimner
by Harriet Brundle and Blaine Wiseman
by Marianne Celano, PhD, ABPP, Marietta Collins, PhD, and Ann Hazzard, PhD, ABPP
Go to details page
by Duchess Harris
written and illustrated by Anastasia Higginbotham
edited by Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson ; foreword by Ashley Bryan
by Julius Lester
Go to details page
by Susan Martineau
Go to details page
by Yamile Saied Méndez ; illustrated by Jaime Kim
Go to details page
by Charlie Ogden
Go to details page
compiled by Joanne Randolph

what's racism  What’s racism? /
Amy B. Rogers


Rachael L. Thomas
written by Carole Boston Weatherford

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For more information or help, please ask one of our children’s librarians.  While the library is closed, you can fill our our book request form or email us.




Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.  Discover what life is like for a kid who is like you on the inside…but who looks different on the outside.

Try one of these books–some historical fiction, some in contemporary settings.  Think about what the world is like for everyone living in it, and decide how you can be part of it changing for the better.

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Lucky Broken Girl / Ruth Behar lucky broken girl
Ruthie Mizrahi and her family recently emigrated from Castro’s Cuba to New York City. Just when she’s finally beginning to gain confidence in her mastery of English–and enjoying her reign as her neighborhood’s hopscotch queen–a horrific car accident leaves her in a body cast and confined her to her bed for a long recovery. As Ruthie’s world shrinks because of her inability to move, her powers of observation and her heart grow larger and she comes to understand how fragile life is, how vulnerable we all are as human beings, and how friends, neighbors, and the power of th
e arts can sweeten even the worst of times.

The Only Black Girls in Town / Brandy Colbert only black girls in town
Beach-loving surfer Alberta has been the only black girl in town for years. Alberta’s best friend, Laramie, is the closest thing she has to a sister, but there are some things even Laramie can’t understand. When the bed and breakfast across the street finds new owners, Alberta is ecstatic to learn the family is black-and they have a 12-year-old daughter just like her.  Alberta is positive she and the new girl, Edie, will be fast friends. But while Alberta loves being a California girl, Edie misses her native Brooklyn and finds it hard to adapt to small-town living.  When the girls discover a box of old journals in Edie’s attic, they team up to figure out exactly who’s behind them and why they got left behind. Soon they discover shocking and painful secrets of the past and learn that nothing is quite what it seems.

The Watsons go to Birmingham–1963 /  by Christopher Paul Curtis watsons go to birmingham
Enter the hilarious world of Kenny and his family, the Weird Watsons of Flint, Michigan. There’s Momma, Dad, little sister Joetta, and brother Byron, who’s thirteen and an “official juvenile delinquent.”  When Byron gets to be too much trouble, they head South to Birmingham to visit Grandma, the one person who can shape him up. And they’ll be in Birmingham during one of the darkest moments in America’s history.

Blended / Sharon M. Draper blended
Isabella’s parents are divorced, so she has to switch lives every week: One week she’s Isabella with her dad, his girlfriend Anastasia, and her son Darren living in a fancy house where they are one of the only black families in the neighborhood. The next week she’s Izzy with her mom and her boyfriend John-Mark in a small, not-so-fancy house that she loves.  Because of this, Isabella has always felt pulled between two worlds. Isabella feels stuck in the middle, more split and divided between them than ever. And she’s is beginning to realize that being split between Mom and Dad is more than switching houses, switching nicknames, switching backpacks: it’s also about switching identities. When her parents, who both get engaged at the same time, get in their biggest fight ever, Isabella doesn’t just feel divided, she feels ripped in two. What does it mean to be half white or half black? To belong to half mom and half dad? And if you’re only seen as half of this and half of that, how can you ever feel whole?  It seems like nothing can bring Isabella’s family together again–until the worst happens. Isabella and Darren are stopped by the police. A cell phone is mistaken for a gun. And shots are fired.

Unstoppable Octobia May / Sharon G. Flake unstoppable octobia may
Octobia May is girl filled with questions. Her heart condition makes her special – and, some folks would argue, gives this ten-year-old powers that make her a “wise soul.” Thank goodness for Auntie, who convinces Octobia’s parents to let her live in her boarding house that is filled with old folks. That’s when trouble, and excitement, and wonder begin. Auntie is non-traditional. She’s unmarried and has plans to purchase other boarding homes and hotels. At a time when children, and especially girls, are “seen, not heard,” Auntie allows Octobia May the freedom and expression of an adult. When Octobia starts to question the folks in her world, an adventure and a mystery unfold that beg some troubling questions: Who is black and who is “passing” for white? What happens when a vibrant African American community must face its own racism?  And, perhaps most important: Do vampires really exist?

Armstrong & Charlie / Steven B. Frank armstrong and charlie
Charlie isn’t looking forward to sixth grade. If he starts sixth grade, chances are he’ll finish it. And when he does, he’ll grow older than the brother he recently lost. Armstrong isn’t looking forward to sixth grade, either. When his parents sign him up for Opportunity Busing to a white school in the Hollywood Hills, all he wants to know is “What time in the morning will my alarm clock have the opportunity to ring?”  When these two land at the same desk, it’s the Rules Boy next to the Rebel, a boy who lost a brother elbow-to-elbow with a boy who longs for one.
From September to June, arms will wrestle, fists will fly, and bottles will spin.  There’ll be Ho Hos spiked with hot sauce, sleepovers, boy talk about girls, and a little guidance from the stars.  Set in Los Angeles in the 1970s, Armstrong and Charlie is the hilarious, heartwarming tale of two boys from opposite worlds, Different, yet the same.

The Other Half of my Heart / Sundee T. Frazier other half of my heart
Twin daughters of interracial parents, Keira and Minna have very different skin tones and personalities, but it is not until their African American grandmother enters them in the Miss Black Pearl Pre-Teen competition in North Carolina that red-haired and pale-skinned Minna realizes what life in their small town in the Pacific Northwest has been like for her more outgoing, darker-skinned sister.

The Liberation of Gabriel King / K.L. Going liberation of gabriel king
Gabriel King believes he was born chicken. He’s afraid of spiders, corpses, loose cows, and just about everything related to the fifth grade. If it’s a choice between graduating or staying in the fourth grade forever, he’s going to stay put-only his best friend, Frita Wilson, won’t hear of it. When Frita makes up her mind, she’s like a locomotive-there’s no stopping her. “First, you’re going to make a list. Write down everything you’re afraid of.” Gabe’s list is a lot longer than he’d like Frita to know. Plus, he can’t quite figure out how tackling his fears will make him brave. Surely jumping off the rope swing over the catfish pond can only lead to certain death . . . but maybe Frita knows what she’s doing. It turns out she’s got her own list, and while she’s watching Gabe face all his fears, she’s avoiding the fear that scares her the most.

Ruby Lee & Me / Shannon Hitchcock ruby lee and me
Everything’s changing for Sarah Beth Willis. After Robin’s tragic accident, everyone seems different somehow. Days on the farm aren’t the same, and the simple fun of riding a bike or playing outside can be scary. And there’s talk in town about the new sixth-grade teacher at Shady Creek. Word is spreading quickly–Mrs. Smyre is like no other teacher anyone has ever seen around these parts. She’s the first African American teacher. It’s 1969, and while black folks and white folks are cordial, having a black teacher at an all-white school is a strange new happening. For Sarah Beth, there are so many unanswered questions. What is all this talk about Freedom Riders and school integration? Why can’t she and Ruby become best friends? And who says school isn’t for anybody who wants to learn–or teach? In a world filled with uncertainty, one very special teacher shows her young students and the adults in their lives that change invites unexpected possibilities.

The Lions of Little Rock / Kristin Levine lions of little rock
Marlee doesn’t have many friends until she meets Liz, the new girl at school. Liz is bold and brave, and always knows the right thing to say, especially to Sally, the resident mean girl. Liz even helps Marlee overcome her greatest fear – speaking, which Marlee never does outside her family.  But then Liz is gone, replaced by the rumor that she was a Negro girl passing as white. But Marlee decides that doesn’t matter. Liz is her best friend. And to stay friends, Marlee and Liz are willing to take on integration and the dangers their friendship could bring to both their families.

For Black Girls Like Me / Mariama J. Lockington for black girls like me
Makeda June Kirkland is eleven-years-old, adopted, and black. Her parents and big sister are white, and even though she loves her family very much, Makeda often feels left out. When Makeda’s family moves from Maryland to New Mexico, she leaves behind her best friend, Lena–the only other adopted black girl she knows–for a new life. In New Mexico, everything is different. At home, Makeda’s sister is too cool to hang out with her anymore and at school, she can’t seem to find one true friend. Through it all, Makeda can’t help wondering: What would it feel like to grow up with a family that looks like me?Through singing, dreaming, and writing secret messages back and forth with Lena, Makeda might just carve a small place for herself in the world.

The Stars Beneath Our Feet / David Barclay Moore stars beneath our feet
It’s Christmas Eve in Harlem, but Lolly Rachpaul and his mom aren’t celebrating. They’re still reeling from his older brother’s death in a gang-related shooting just a few months earlier. Then Lolly’s mother’s girlfriend brings him a gift that will change everything: two enormous bags filled with Legos. Lolly’s always loved Legos, and he prides himself on following the kit instructions exactly. Now, faced with a pile of building blocks and no instructions, Lolly must find his own way forward.  His path isn’t clear–and the pressure to join a “crew,” as his brother did, is always there. When Lolly and his friend are beaten up and robbed, joining a crew almost seems like the safe choice. But building a fantastical Lego city at the community center provides Lolly with an escape–and an unexpected bridge back to the world. 

How High the Moon / Karyn Parsonshow high the moon
n the small town of Alcolu, South Carolina, in 1944,  Ella spends her days fishing and running around with her best friend Henry and cousin Myrna. But life is not always so sunny for Ella, who gets bullied for her light skin tone and whose mother is away pursuing a jazz singer dream in Boston.  So Ella is ecstatic when her mother invites her to visit for Christmas. Little does she expect the truths she will discover about her mother, the father she never knew and her family’s most unlikely history.  And after a life-changing month, she returns South and is shocked by the news that her schoolmate George has been arrested for the murder of two local white girls.  Bittersweet and eye-opening, How High the Moon is a timeless novel about a girl finding herself in a world all but determined to hold her down.

A Good Kind of Trouble / Lisa Moore Ramée good kind of trouble
Shayla is allergic to trouble. All she wants to do is to follow the rules. (Oh, and she’d also like to make it through seventh grade with her best friendships intact, learn to run track, and have a cute boy see past her giant forehead.)  But in junior high, it’s like all the rules have changed. Now she’s suddenly questioning who her best friends are and some people at school are saying she’s not black enough. Wait, what?  Shay’s sister, Hana, is involved in Black Lives Matter, but Shay doesn’t think that’s for her. After experiencing a powerful protest, though, Shay decides some rules are worth breaking. She starts wearing an armband to school in support of the Black Lives movement. Soon everyone is taking sides. And she is given an ultimatum.  Shay is scared to do the wrong thing (and even more scared to do the right thing), but if she doesn’t face her fear, she’ll be forever tripping over the next hurdle. Now that’s trouble, for real.


Ghost / Jason Reynolds ghosts
host. Lu. Patina. Sunny. Four kids from wildly different backgrounds with personalities that are explosive when they clash. But they are also four kids chosen for an elite middle school track team–a team that could qualify them for the Junior Olympics if they can get their acts together. They all have a lot to lose, but they also have a lot to prove, not only to each other, but to themselves.  Running. That’s all Ghost (real name Castle Cranshaw) has ever known. But Ghost has been running for the wrong reasons–it all started with running away from his father, who, when Ghost was a very little boy, chased him and his mother through their apartment, then down the street, with a loaded gun, aiming to kill. Since then, Ghost has been the one causing problems–and running away from them–until he meets Coach, an ex-Olympic Medalist who sees something in Ghost: crazy natural talent. If Ghost can stay on track, literally and figuratively, he could be the best sprinter in the city. Can Ghost harness his raw talent for speed, or will his past finally catch up to him?  Read the stories of the other track team members as well.

Ghost Boys / Jewell Parker Rhodesghost boys
Jerome is shot by a police officer who mistakes his toy gun for a real threat. As a ghost, he observes the devastation that’s been unleashed on his family and community in the wake of what they see as an unjust and brutal killing.  Soon Jerome meets another ghost: Emmett Till, a boy from a very different time but similar circumstances. Emmett helps Jerome process what has happened, on a journey towards recognizing how historical racism may have led to the events that ended his life. Jerome also meets Sarah, the daughter of the police officer, who grapples with her father’s actions.

The Hero Two Doors Down  / Sharon Robinson hero two doors down
Stephen Satlow lives in Brooklyn, New York, which means he only cares about one thing-the Dodgers. Steve and his father spend hours reading the sports pages and listening to games on the radio. Aside from an occasional run-in with his teacher, life is pretty simple for Steve.  But then Steve hears a rumor that an African American family is moving to his all-Jewish neighborhood. It’s 1948 and some of his neighbors are against it. Steve knows this is wrong. His hero, Jackie Robinson, broke the color barrier in baseball the year before.  Then it happens–Steve’s new neighbor is none other than Jackie Robinson! Steve is beyond excited about living two doors down from the Robinson family. He can’t wait to meet Jackie. This is going to be the best baseball season yet! How many kids ever get to become friends with their hero?

Clean Getaway / Nic Stone clean getaway
How to Go on an Unplanned Road Trip with Your Grandma:
– Grab a Suitcase: Prepacked from the big spring break trip that got CANCELLED.
– Fasten Your Seatbelt: G’ma’s never conventional, so this trip won’t be either.
–  Use the Green Book: G’ma’s most treasured possession. It holds history, memories, and most important, the way home.
What Not to Bring:
– A Cell Phone: Avoid contact with Dad at all costs. Even when G’ma starts acting stranger than usual.
Set against the backdrop of the segregation history of the American South, take a trip with this New York Times bestseller and an eleven-year-old boy who is about to discover that the world hasn’t always been a welcoming place for kids like him, and things aren’t always what they seem–his G’ma included.”

Mississippi Bridge / Mildred Taylormississippi bridge Cassie Logan and her brothers watch as the weekly bus from Jackson comes splashing through a heavy rainstorm–they are there to see their grandmother off on a trip. One by one, the passengers board the bus. But this is Mississippi in the 1930s, so when several white passengers arrive at the last minute, the driver roughly orders the black passengers off the bus, including Cassie’s grandmother. Then, disaster strikes in the rain, and the children witness a shocking end to the day’s drama.

Some Places More Than Others / Renée Watson some places more than others
All Amara wants for her birthday is to visit her father’s family in New York City–Harlem, to be exact. She can’t wait to finally meet her Grandpa Earl and cousins in person, and to stay in the brownstone where her father grew up. Maybe this will help her understand her family–and herself–in new way.  But New York City is not exactly what Amara thought it would be. It’s crowded, with confusing subways, suffocating sidewalks, and her father is too busy with work to spend time with her and too angry to spend time with Grandpa Earl. As she explores, asks questions, and learns more and more about Harlem and about her father and his family history, she realizes how, in some ways more than others, she connects with him, her home, and her family.

My Year in the Middle / Lila Quintero Weaver my year in the middle
In a racially polarized classroom in 1970 Alabama, Lu’s talent for running track makes her a new best friend – and tests her mettle as she navigates the school’s social cliques. Miss Garrett’s classroom is like every other at our school. White kids sit on one side and black kids on the other. Sixth-grader Lu Olivera just wants to keep her head down and get along with everyone in her class. Trouble is, Lu’s old friends have been changing lately – acting boy crazy and making snide remarks about Lu’s newfound talent for running track. Lu’s secret hope for a new friend is fellow runner Belinda Gresham, but in 1970 Red Grove, Alabama, blacks and whites don’t mix. As segregationist ex-governor George Wallace ramps up his campaign against the current governor, Albert Brewer, growing tensions in the state – and in the classroom – mean that Lu can’t stay neutral about the racial divide at school. Will she find the gumption to stand up for what’s right and to choose friends who do the same?

Revolution / Deborah Wiles revolution
It’s 1964, and Sunny’s town is being invaded. Or at least that’s what the adults of Greenwood, Mississippi, are saying. All Sunny knows is that people from up north are coming to help people register to vote. They’re calling it Freedom Summer.  Meanwhile, Sunny can’t help but feel like her house is being invaded, too. She has a new stepmother, a new brother, and a new sister crowding her life, giving her little room to breathe. And things get even trickier when Sunny and her brother are caught sneaking into the local swimming pool–where they bump into a mystery boy whose life is going to become tangled up in theirs.

One Crazy Summer / Rita Williams-Garcia one crazy summer
Delphine is like a mother to her two younger sisters, Vonetta and Fern. She’s had to be, ever since their mother, Cecile, left them seven years ago for a radical new life in California. But when the sisters arrive from Brooklyn to spend the summer with their mother, Cecile is nothing like they imagined.  While the girls hope to go to Disneyland and meet Tinker Bell, their mother sends them to a day camp run by the Black Panthers. Unexpectedly, Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern learn much about their family, their country, and themselves during one truly crazy summer.

The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond / Brenda Woods blossoming universe of violet
Violet is a smart, funny, brown-eyed, brown-haired girl in a family of blonds. Her mom is white, and her dad, who died before she was born, was black. She attends a mostly white school where she sometimes feels like a brown leaf on a pile of snow. She’s tired of people asking if she’s adopted. Now that Violet’s eleven, she decides it’s time to learn about her African American heritage. And despite getting off to a rocky start trying to reclaim her dad’s side of the family, she can feel her confidence growing as the puzzle pieces of her life finally start coming together. Readers will cheer for Violet, sharing her joy as she discovers her roots.

The Unsung Hero of Birdsong USA / Brenda Woods unsung hero
On Gabriel’s twelfth birthday, he gets a new bike–and is so excited that he accidentally rides it right into the path of a car. Fortunately, a Black man named Meriwether pushes him out of the way just in time, and fixes his damaged bike. As a thank you, Gabriel gets him a job at his dad’s auto shop. Gabriel’s dad hires him with some hesitation, however, anticipating trouble with the other mechanic, who makes no secret of his racist opinions.  Gabriel and Meriwether become friends, and Gabriel learns that Meriwether drove a tank in the Army’s all-Black 761st Tank Battalion in WWII. Meriwether is proud of his service, but has to keep it a secret because talking about it could be dangerous. Sadly, danger finds Meriwether, anyway, when his family receives a frightening threat. The South being the way it is, there’s no guarantee that the police will help–and Gabriel doesn’t know what will happen if Meriwether feels forced to take the law into his own hands.

My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich / by Ibi Zoboimy life as an
In the summer of 1984, Ebony-Grace Norfleet makes the trip from Huntsville, Alabama, to Harlem, where she’ll spend a few weeks with her father while her mother deals with some trouble that’s arisen for Ebony-Grace’s beloved grandfather, Jeremiah. Jeremiah Norfleet is a bit of a celebrity in Huntsville, where he was one of the first black engineers to integrate NASA two decades earlier. And ever since his granddaughter came to live with him when she was little, he’s nurtured her love of all things outer space and science fiction–especially Star Warsand Star Trek, both of which she’s watched dozens of time on Grandaddady’s Betamax machine. So even as Ebony-Grace struggled to make friends among her peers, she could always rely on her grandfather and the imaginary worlds they created together. In Harlem, however, she faces a whole new challenge. Harlem in 1984 is an exciting and terrifying place for a sheltered girl from Hunstville, and her first instinct is to retreat into her imagination. But soon 126th Street begins to reveal that it has more in common with her beloved sci-fi adventures than she ever thought possible, and by summer’s end, Ebony-Grace discovers that gritty and graffitied Harlem has a place for a girl whose eyes are always on the stars.

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Find out what the world is like for kids who are different from you.  Only the living can make the world better. Read, live and make the world better.