Booklist: Djinn!

It’s another magical fantasy list…featuring djinn…sometimes also called genies! Everyone knows the most famous genie…do you? (He helped Aladdin.) But there are other books featuring these mythical characters–and these djinn, or jin, or genies go from silly to helpful to downright scary! I know which type I’d prefer to meet! Do you?

Check out any of these books and see what you think.

(This was going to be a Five Books featuring…but there were just too many good books! It would have been difficult to decide on what to leave out. So…Booklist! But you can keep that in mind, because there’s still at least one old book, one new book, one award winner, one kids’ favorite, and one staff favorite!)

Here we go…grab your magic carpet and settle in to read!

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Amira & Hamza: The War to Save the Worlds by Samira Ahmed

On the day of a rare super blue blood moon eclipse, twelve-year-old Amira and her little brother, Hamza, can’t stop their bickering while attending a special exhibit on medieval Islamic astronomy. While stargazer Amira is wowed by the amazing gadgets, a bored Hamza wanders off, stumbling across the mesmerizing and forbidden Box of the Moon. Amira can only watch in horror as Hamza grabs the defunct box and it springs to life, setting off a series of events that could shatter their world–literally.

Suddenly, day turns to night, everyone around Amira and Hamza falls under a sleep spell, and a chunk of the moon breaks off, hurtling toward them at lightning speed, as they come face-to-face with two otherworldly creatures: jinn.

The jinn reveal that the siblings have a role to play in an ancient prophecy. Together, they must journey to the mystical land of Qaf, battle a great evil, and end a civil war to prevent the moon–the stopper between realms–from breaking apart and unleashing terrifying jinn, devs, and ghuls onto earth. Or they might have to say goodbye to their parents and life as they know it, forever…. Also read the second book: The Quest for the Ring of Power.

Sophie’s Mixed-Up Magic: Wishful Thinking by Amanda Ashby

Sophie can’t wait to start middle school. She’s ready for positive thinking and cute clothes. So when an odd (okay, totally weird, orange and floating) Zac Efron look-alike appears and offers Sophie his fabulous rhinestone ring–well, why would she refuse?

But Sophie soon discovers that by wearing the ring she’s become a djinn–and things rapidly start to spin out of control. Who wouldn’t enjoy having the power to grant wishes? But when Sophie develops RWD (Random Wish Disorder) and can’t STOP granting wishes, things get more than a little mixed-up!Now she’ll have to learn to manage her new powers–and her new, not-always-entirely-helpful djinn guide–just to survive the first week! Read the other books in this fun trilogy.

Wishes and Wellingtons by Julie Berry

Be careful what you wish for …

Maeve Merritt chafes at the rigid rules at her London boarding school for “Upright Young Ladies.” When punishment forces her to sort through the trash, she finds a sardine tin that houses a foul-tempered djinni with no intention of submitting to a schoolgirl as his master.

Soon an orphan boy from the charitable home next door, a mysterious tall man in ginger whiskers, a disgruntled school worker, and a take-no-prisoners business tycoon are in hot pursuit of Maeve and her magical discovery. It’ll take all of her quick thinking and sass to set matters right. Maeve Merritt is one feisty heroine you won’t soon forget. The final book in this trilogy is coming out in March ’23!

Eden’s Wish by M. Tara Crowl

All 12 years of Eden’s life have been spent in an antique oil lamp. She lives like a princess in her luxurious home, but to Eden, the lamp is nothing but a prison. She hates being a genie, all she wants is freedom. When Eden finds a gateway to Earth, she takes her chance. This time, she won’t be sent back after three wishes!

Posing as the new kid at a California school, Eden revels in all of Earth’s pleasures – but quickly learns that this world isn’t as perfect as she always thought it was. Eden soon finds herself in the middle of a centuries-old conflict between powerful immortals. A ruthless organization run by a former genie will do anything to acquire the lamp and it’s power. To save her new friends and protect the lamp’s magic, Eden must decide once and for all where she belongs. Read Eden’s Escape too!

Never After: The Thirteenth Fairy by Melissa De La Cruz

Nothing ever happens in Filomena Jefferson-Cho’s sleepy little suburban town of North Pasadena. The sun shines every day, the grass is always a perfect green, and while her progressive school swears there’s no such thing as bullying, she still feels bummed out. But one day, when Filomena is walking home on her own, something strange happens.

Filomena is being followed by Jack Stalker, one of the heroes in the Thirteenth Fairy, a series of books she loves about a brave girl and her ragtag group of friends who save their world from an evil enchantress. She must be dreaming, or still reading a book. But Jack is insistent–he’s real, the stories are real, and Filomena must come with him at once!

Soon, Filomena is thrust into the world of evil fairies and beautiful princesses, sorcerers and slayers, where an evil queen drives her ruthless armies to destroy what is left of the Fairy tribes. To save herself and the kingdom of Westphalia, Filomena must find the truth behind the fairytales and set the world back to rights before the cycle of sleep and destruction begins once more.

Read the trilogy–the third book comes out this month!

Emma and the Blue Genie by Cornelia Funke

What if a genie had no wishes?

One darknight, Emma finds a mysterious green bottle floating in the ocean. When she pulls out the stopper, she sets a blue genie free!

Most genies grant three wishes, but Karim can’t grant even one anymore. A yellow genie stole his magic nose ring, leaving him small, powerless, and trapped in that bottle. Emma and Tristan, her noodle-tailed dog have to help Karim get his nose ring–and his magic–back. And if it takes a magic carpet ride to the distant land of Barakash to help…well, that’s just what they’ll do!

Rebels of the Lamp by Michael M. B. Galvin & Peter Speakman

Life is a blast when you have your very own genie. But when Parker Quarry is shipped from sunny Los Angeles to live with relatives in a quiet New Hampshire college town and releases a 2,000 year-old jinn from an ancient canister ‘borrowed’ from the university building where his uncle works, the biggest blasts comes from the millennia old power struggle he reignites.

Now it’s up to Parker, his mild-mannered cousin Theo, and their whiz-kid classmate Reese to stop a battalion of battle-ready jinn from restarting an all-out war–one with humanity in the crosshairs.

Also read the sequel: Finders Keepers.

Nura and the Immortal Palace by M. T. Khan

Nura longs for the simple pleasure of many things–to wear a beautiful red dupatta or to bite into a sweet gulab. But with her mom hard at work in a run-down sweatshop and three younger siblings to feed, Nura must spend her days earning money by mica mining. But it’s not just the extra rupees in her pocket Nura is after. Local rumor says there’s buried treasure in the mine, and Nura knows that finding it could change the course of her family’s life forever.

Her plan backfires when the mines collapse and four kids, including her best friend, Faisal, are claimed dead. Nura refuses to believe it and shovels her way through the dirt hoping to find him. Instead, she finds herself at the entrance to a strange world of purple skies and pink seas–a portal to the opulent realm of jinn, inhabited by the trickster creatures from her mother’s cautionary tales. Yet they aren’t nearly as treacherous as her mother made them out to be, because Nura is invited to a luxury jinn hotel, where she’s given everything she could ever imagine and more. 

But there’s a dark truth lurking beneath all that glitter and gold, and when Nura crosses the owner’s son and is banished to the working quarters, she realizes she isn’t the only human who’s ended up in the hotel’s clutches. Faisal and the other missing children are there, too, and if Nura can’t find a way to help them all escape, they’ll be bound to work for the hotel forever.

Children of the Lamp: The Akhenaten Adventure by P. B. Kerr

A one-armed chauffer? Twin djinn? Three wishes? Qwertyuiop? What does it all add up to?

John and Philippa Gaunt, two not-very-identical twins, live a privileged life on the Upper East of Manhattan with their wealthy parents and two curiously-mannered Rottweilers named Alan and Neil. The twins realize there’s something amiss with their world when a string of strange things begin to happen after their wisdom teeth are extracted: for some strange reason, they dream the same dreams, they become stronger, their zits clear up, and wishes wished in their presence inexplicably come true!

When their estranged Uncle Nimrod asks them to come to England for the summer during one such shared dream, the discovery of their destiny is set in motion. John and Phillippa discover that they are descended from a long line of Djinn and have great inherent powers. They must call on these powers a lot sooner than they anticipated, though, because the ancient Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten is not as dead as history has so far declared and his legion of seventy magical djinn could tip the balance of power in the magical realm and affect the whole world order.

Read all eight books in this adventurous fantastical series!

Whatever After: Genie in a Bottle by Sarah Mlynowski

Be careful what you wish for…

When Abby and her brother Jonah travel through their mirror into the story of Aladdin, they’re excited. There is sure to be magic lamps and genies granting wishes, right?

Wrong.

The genie they meet isn’t quite as helpful as they expected. And if Aladdin’s wishes don’t come true, he won’t get to marry the princess and live happily ever after. Now they have to escape an enchanted cave, find forty buckets of jewels, plan a parade and learn to fly a magic carpet. Otherwise they’ll run out of wishes…and never get home! Read all the other Whatever After books, where Abby and Jonah visit other fairy tales.

Once Upon Another Time by James Riley

Five and a half feet might seem pretty tall for a twelve-year-old, but it’s not when your parents are giants. Lena has kept the fact that she’s a tiny giant secret, using magic to grow when out in the giant village. But hiding who she is has always felt wrong, even though she knows the other giants might not accept her. Fortunately, Lena has friends down in the Cursed City who understand that looking different doesn’t make her less of a giant.

Someone who knows not to judge by appearances is Jin, a young genie currently serving one thousand and thirty-eight years of genie training that requires him to fulfill the wish of whoever holds his magical ring. In Jin’s case, it’s the power-hungry Golden King. At least the king only has two wishes left, one of which is for Jin to go to the Cursed City and capture its protector, the Last Knight–one of Lena’s closest friends.

What Lena and Jin don’t know is how close the Golden King’s plans are to coming together, between his dark magic and his horrible Faceless knights. If Jin does find the Last Knight and bring him to the Golden King, why, that could doom the entire fairy-tale world. Um…This sounds like it’ll end badly, doesn’t it?

This popular author’s series are great…and this is his most recent trilogy!

Bartimaeus: The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud

Nathaniel is a young magician’s apprentice, taking his first lessons in the arts of magic. He believes he’s ready to take on more challenging spells than those just for beginners! But when a devious hotshot wizard named Simon Lovelace ruthlessly humiliates Nathaniel in front of everyone he knows, Nathaniel decides to kick up his education a few notches and show Lovelace who’s boss. With revenge on his mind, he masters one of the toughest spells of all: summoning the all-powerful Bartimaeus, a 5000-year-old djinni. But summoning Bartimaeus and controlling him are two different things entirely, and when Nathaniel sends the djinni out to steal the powerful Amulet of Samarkand, Nathaniel finds himself caught up in a whirlwind of magical espionage, murder, blackmail, rebellion and revolt.

Will he control Bartimaeus, or will Bartimaeus control him? Read the whole trilogy and find out! (This book has also been made into a graphic novel…which is also good!)

Dealing with Dragons by Patricia Wrede

Meet Princess Cimorene–a princess who refustes to be proper. She is everything a princess is not supposed to be: headstrong, tomobyish smart… And bored.

So bored that she runs away to live with a dragon. And not just any dragon, but Kazul–one of the most powerful and dangerous dragons arounds. Of course, Cimorene has a way of hooking up with dangerous characters, and soon she’s coping with a witch,a a jinn, a death-dealing talking bird, a stone prince, and some very oily wizards.

If this princess ran away to find some excitement, it looks like she’s found plenty! Although the djinn only appears in the first book of the Enchanted Forest Chronicles, the rest are great reads too!

The Wishmakers by Tyler Whitesides

A genie that grants ALL your wishes–it’s a dream come true! Want to fly, turn invisible, or get a lifetime supply of sandwiches? Done, done and done! Ask and you shall recieve. But there are a FEW catches…which Ace is about to learn the hard way.

Ace’s life is about to change in the most unexpected and magical ways–all because of a peanut butter jar.

When he opens it, he inadvertently releases a genie named Ridge. Now a Wishmaker, Ace is given a week to complete a seemingly impossible quest, and if he fails the world will end in the most tragic (but cuddly) way imaginable.

Luckily, Ridge can help by granting Ace an unlimited number of wishes…as long as Ace is willing to accept the consequences. The bigger the wish, the greater the consequence. So, if Ace wants to avoid having pogo sticks for legs or his clothes turn invisible, he’ll have to be careful what he wishes for and get a little creative. But as consequences begin to pile up, Ace finds himself wondering if he’ll actually be able to save the world…or if he might be the one to doom it altogether!

Read the sequel: The Wishbreaker.

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So…there you have it; fifteen plus books about djinn. Or genies. Or jinn. Read them all and see what kind of things happen when you make wishes. And if you find a strange lamp on the beach, or in a storage chest, or up in your attic…would you rub it or not?

If you need any help finding these or any other books at the library, just ask one of our librarians for help. We love matching kids and books!

Happy Reading!
::kelly::

5 Books Featuring…Mythology set in Mexico!

It’s Dia de los Muertos…and we’re celebrating with some great fantasy adventure!

Whether our characters are facing La Llorona, La Cuca, El Sombreron, K’ukumatz, Qutzacoatl or even a Chupacabra…they’re prepared for anything! Anyone who has enjoyed Percy Jackson should enjoy these books as well, featuring a whole different world of mythology. So check out one of these books, set in Mexico or featuring mythological creatures. You’ll be happy you did!

Our Five Books feature is a booklist of five books (usually with a few fun extras) on a specific topic, with a short synopsis so you can decide if it sounds like something you would like. Mostly Middle Grade, with the occasional younger or older or graphic title thrown in for flavor.

Five Books–one old, one new, one popular with kids, one well-reviewed, and one staff favorite. (But you’ll have to guess which is which)! 

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Tales of the Feathered Serpent by David Bowles, illustrated by Charlene Bowles

Adventure to the Underworld! A prophecy predicts that a young boy, half-human and half-mystical being, will defeat the evil king and lead the kingdom back to justice. But can Sayam pass the three impossible tasks the king sets out for him?

The first in a projected graphic novel series set on the Yucatan peninsula a thousand years ago.

Charlie Hernandez and the League of Shadows by Ryan Calejo

Charlie Hernández has always been proud of his Latin American heritage. He loves the culture, the art, and especially the myths. Thanks to his abuela‘s stories, Charlie possesses an almost encyclopedic knowledge of the monsters and ghouls who have spent the last five hundred years haunting the imaginations of children all across the Iberian Peninsula, as well as Central and South America. And even though his grandmother sometimes hinted that the tales might be more than mere myth, Charlie hasn’t believed in them. But when Charlie begins to grow wings, he is suddenly swept up in a world where the mythical beings he’s spent his entire life hearing about. And even stranger, they seem to know more about him than he knows about himself!

Soon, Charlie finds himself in the middle of an ancient battle between La Liga, a secret society of legendary mythological beings sworn to protect the Land of the Living, and La Mano Negra (a.k.a. the Black Hand), a cabal of evil spirits determined to rule mankind. With only the help of his lifelong crush, Violet and his grandmother’s stories to guide him, Charlie must navigate a world where monsters and brujas rule and things he couldn’t possibly imagine go bump in the night. That is, if he has any hope of discovering what’s happening to him and saving his missing parents (oh, and maybe even the world). No pressure, muchacho.

The Storm Runner by J. C. Cervantes

Zane would much rather explore the dormant volcano near his home in New Mexico than go to school with kids who bully him for his limp. But what Zane doesn’t know is that the volcano in his back yard is actually a gateway to another world, a world he’s thrust into with his dog, Rosie, and the new girl at school, Brooks. Once he enters the hidden tunnels that lead to the center of the volcano, he is kicking off an epic adventure full of surprising discoveries, dangerous secrets, and an all-out war between the gods.

To survive, Zane will have to become the Storm Runner. But how can he run when he can’t even walk well without a cane? To prevent the Mayan gods from battling each other and destroying the world, Zane will have to unravel an ancient prophecy, stop an evil god, and discover how the physical disability that makes him reliant on that cane also connects him to his father and his ancestry.

ChupaCarter by George Lopez

 Jorge is lonely and resentful after being sent to live with his grandparents. His first day at his new school doesn’t go well after catching the attention of his belligerent principal and the school bullies, so Jorge might be a little desperate for a friend.

But the only kid who shares his interest in junk food and games turns out to be a young chupacabra-a legendary monster whose kind is known for being bloodthirsty livestock killers. The truth is, Carter is anything but savage-he’s kind, a good listener, and has great taste in sneakers. Being friends with a mythical creature should be amazing, but when local cattle turn up dead and his principal suspects the truth, Jorge is torn. Should he trust that his friend is innocent and protect him from exposure, or reveal his dangerous existence and change the world forever?

The Chupacabras of the Rio Grande by Adam Gidwitz & David Bowles, illustrated by Hatem Aly

After encountering a Jersey Devil while on a field trip to the Pine Barrens, Elliot and his new friend Uchenna help their weird teacher Professor Fauna rescue the mythological creature from a pair of greedy billionaire brothers. In this volume, a new adventure begins for Elliot and Uchenna when Professor Fauna bursts into their classroom with
a frightening report from the Texas-Mexico border: something has completely drained the blood from
a cow’s body! The team must fly to Laredo, where tempers are running high.
 
Teaming up with local kids Lupita and Mateo–plus their brilliant mother, Dr. Alejandra Cervantes, and her curandero husband, Israel–can the Unicorn Rescue Society save the region’s animals and help bring a divided community together once more? And what is that spiny, bloodsucking, adorable little creature?

Shinji Takahashi and the Mark of the Coatl by Julie Kagawa

Shinji Takahashi is just an ordinary kid. An ordinary homeschooled smart-alecky kid being raised by his globe-trotting aunt Yui. But when a magical guardian decides to use him as a conduit to awaken its power, Shinji’s life takes a turn for the anything-but-ordinary. Captured by the menacing Hightower Corporation, which is bent on using the guardian’s magic for its own nefarious purposes, Shinji must team up with a brilliant young tech whiz named Lucy and her robot mouse, Tinker, in order to escape.

Together the two turn to the venerable Society of Explorers and Adventurers and its ragtag cast of spelunkers, hackers, mapmakers, pilots, and mythology experts (among other things) to return the guardian to its rightful home and release Shinji from its magic–which seems to be draining his life force. Time is ticking, the Hightower Corporation is in hot pursuit, and success or failure might depend on one small thing–Shinji finally coming around to the belief that he is anything but ordinary.

Omega Morales and the Legend of La Lechuza by Laekan Zea Kemp

Omega Morales’s family has been practicing magic for centuries in Noche Buena. But over the years, the town’s reputation for the supernatural is no longer one the people carry with pride. So Omega’s family keeps to themselves, and in private, they’re Empaths–diviners who can read and manipulate the emotions of people and objects around them. But Omega’s powers don’t quite work, and it leaves her feeling like an outsider in her own family.

When a witch with the power to transform herself into an owl–known in Mexican folklore as La Lechuza–shows up unannounced, Omega, her best friend Clau (who happens to be a ghost), and her cousin Carlitos must conduct a séance under a full moon in order to unravel the mystery of the legend.

Suddenly Omega’s magic begins to change, and the key to understanding her powers is more complicated than she thought. Omega will have to decide what’s more important–trusting the instincts of others or learning to trust in herself.

Paola Santiago and the River of Tears by Tehlor Kay Mejia

Space-obsessed Paola Santiago and her two best friends, Emma and Dante, know the rule: Stay away from the river. Pao has been told to stay away for even longer than that, because her mother is constantly warning her about La Llorona, the wailing ghost woman who wanders the banks of the Gila river at night, looking for young people to drag into its murky depths. Pao organises a meet-up to test out her new telescope near the Gila, since it’s the best stargazing spot. But when Emma never arrives and Pao sees a shadowy figure in the reeds, it seems like maybe her mum was right…

Paola has always relied on hard science to make sense of the world, but to find her friend she will have to enter the world of her nightmares, which includes unnatural mists, mind-bending monsters, and relentless spirits controlled by a terrifying force that defies both logic and myth.

Love Sugar Magic: A Dash of Trouble by Anna Meriano

Leonora Logroño’s family owns the most beloved bakery in Rose Hill, Texas, spending their days conjuring delicious cookies and cakes for any occasion. And no occasion is more important than the annual Dia de los Muertos festival.

Leo hopes that this might be the year that she gets to help prepare for the big celebration–but, once again, she is told she’s too young. Sneaking out of school and down to the bakery, she discovers that her mother, aunt, and four older sisters have in fact been keeping a big secret: they’re brujas–witches of Mexican ancestry–who pour a little bit of sweet magic into everything that they bake.  

Leo knows that she has magical ability as well and is more determined than ever to join the family business–even if she can’t let her mama and hermanas know about it yet.

And when her best friend, Caroline, has a problem that needs solving, Leo has the perfect opportunity to try out her craft. It’s just one little spell, after all…what could possibly go wrong?

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So what do you think? Will you join Paola, Charlie, Omega, Zane and all these other kids on the adventure of a lifetime? On El Dia de los Muertos, it’s the perfect time to visit the library and check out one of these titles. Since most of them are series, you’ll have plenty of reading to keep you going!

As always, if you need help finding these or any other books at the library, ask one of our librarians. We love matching kids and books! (and hearing about it afterwards, too!)

Happy Reading!
::Kelly::

5 Books Featuring…Stories with plots like Stranger Things

Have you watched the adventures of Eleven and her friends? With a mix of parallel worlds, secret laboratories, supernatural occurrences, government agencies running amok, or scary monsters inhabiting the woods (or elsewhere)–these similar reads will make you shiver. Perfect for Halloween, or for anytime you want some creepiness to enjoy. Try one!

Our Five Books feature is a booklist of five books (although we went a little overboard on this one) on a specific topic, with a short synopsis so you can decide if it sounds like something you would like. Mostly Middle Grade, with the occasional younger or older or graphic title thrown in for flavor.

Five Books–one old, one new, one popular with kids, one well-reviewed, and one staff favorite. (But you’ll have to guess which is which)! 

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The In-Between by Rebecca Ansari

Cooper is lost. Ever since his father left their family three years ago, he has become distant from his friends, constantly annoyed by his little sister, Jess, and completely fed up with the pale, creepy rich girl who moved in next door and won’t stop staring at him. So when Cooper learns of an unsolved mystery his sister has discovered online, he welcomes the distraction.

It’s the tale of a deadly train crash that occurred a hundred years ago, in which one young boy among the dead was never identified. The only distinguishing mark on him was a strange insignia on his suit coat, a symbol no one had seen before or since. Jess is fascinated by the mystery of the unknown child– because she’s seen the insignia. It’s the symbol of the jacket of the girl next door.

As they uncover more information– and mounting evidence of the girl’s seemingly impossible connection to the tragedy–Cooper and Jess begin to wonder if a similar disaster could be heading to their hometown.

Small Spaces By Katherine Arden

After suffering a tragic loss, Ollie only finds solace in books. So when she happens upon a crazed woman at the river threatening to throw a book into the water, Ollie doesn’t think–she just acts, stealing the book and running away. In the book is a chilling story about a girl named Beth, the two brothers who both loved her, and a peculiar deal made with “the smiling man,” a sinister specter who grants your most tightly held wish, but only for the ultimate price.

Ollie is captivated by the tale until her school trip the next day, where she stumbles upon the graves of the very people she’s been reading about. Could it be the story about the smiling man is true? Ollie doesn’t have too long to think about the answer to that. On the way home, the school bus breaks down, sending their teacher back for help. But the strange bus driver has some advice for the kids left behind in his care: “Best get moving. At nightfall they’ll come for the rest of you.” Then Ollie’s previously broken digital wristwatch begins a startling countdown and delivers a terrifying message: RUN.

Only Ollie and two of her classmates heed the bus driver’s warning. As the trio head out into the woods–bordered by a field of scarecrows that seem to be watching them–the bus driver has just one final piece of advice for Ollie and her friends: “Avoid large places. Keep to small.” And with that, a deliciously creepy and hair-raising adventure begins. Read the whole scary series!

The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste

Corinne La Mer claims she isn’t afraid of anything. Not scorpions, not the boys who tease her, and certainly not jumbies. They’re just tricksters made up by parents to frighten their children. Then one night Corinne chases an agouti all the way into the forbidden forest, and shining yellow eyes follow her to the edge of the trees. They couldn’t belong to a jumbie. Or could they?

When Corinne spots a beautiful stranger at the market the very next day, she knows something extraordinary is about to happen. When this same beauty, called Severine, turns up at Corinne’s house, danger is in the air. Severine plans to claim the entire island for the jumbies. Corinne must call on her courage and her friends and learn to use ancient magic she didn’t know she possessed to stop Severine and to save her island home. Read the trilogy!

The Mostly True Story of Jack by Kelly Barnhill

Enter a world where magic bubbles just below the surface. . . .

When Jack is sent to Hazelwood, Iowa, to live with his strange aunt and uncle, he expects a summer of boredom. Little does he know that the people of Hazelwood have been waiting for him for quite a long time. When he arrives, he begins to make actual friends for the first time in his life. He befriends Wendy and Frankie, the latter scarred and silent years after a childhood disappearance, and the eerily psychic Anders. Jack also becomes the focus of a town bully and an evil patriarch who cultivates power through magic; tension mounts as Jack provokes the supernatural forces that cause children and buildings to disappear. When the richest man in town begins to plot Jack’s imminent, and (according to him) hopefully painful demise, it’s up to Jack to figure out why suddenly everyone cares so much about him. Back home he was practically… invisible. Here, everyone already seems to know him. Why? And what exactly do they want?

The Inn Between by Marina Cohen

 Quinn has had some bad experiences lately. She was caught cheating in school, and then one day, her little sister Emma disappeared while walking home from school. She never returned.

When Quinn’s best friend Kara has to move away, she goes on one last trip with Kara and her family. They stop over at the first hotel they see, a Victorian inn that instantly gives Quinn the creeps, and she begins to notice strange things happening around them. When Kara’s parents and then brother disappear without a trace, the girls are stranded in a hotel full of strange guests, hallways that twist back in on themselves, and a particularly nasty surprise lurking beneath the floorboards. Will the girls be able to solve the mystery of what happened to Kara’s family before it’s too late?

The Darkdeep by Allie Condie and Brendan Reichs

Everyone in Timbers knows Still Cove is off-limits, with its creepy Beast sightings and equally terrifying legends. But when a bullying incident sends twelve-year-old Nico Holland over a cliff and into Still Cove’s icy waters, friends Tyler and Emma–and even Opal Walsh, who usually runs with the popular kids–rush to his rescue . . . and discover a mysterious island hiding in the murky, swirling mists below.

Though the island appears uninhabited, the kids can’t shake a feeling that something about it is definitely not right. Their suspicions grow when they stumble upon an abandoned houseboat filled with all sorts of curiosities: odd-looking weapons, unnerving portraits, maps to unknown places, and a glass jar containing something completely unidentifiable. And in its lowest depths churns a dark, deep secret.

As the group delves deeper into this mysterious new clubhouse, their lives begin to intertwine in weird and dangerous ways. For something ancient has awakened . . . and it can detect not only their wishes and dreams, but also their darkest, most terrible imaginings. Do they have what it takes to face the shadowy secrets lurking within their own hearts? Read the series!

What Lives in the Woods by Lindsay Currie

All Ginny Anderson wants from her summer is to sleep in, attend a mystery writing workshop, and spend time with her best friend. But when Ginny’s father surprises the family with a month-long trip to Michigan, everything changes. They aren’t staying in a hotel like most families would. No, they’re staying in a mansion. A twenty-six room, century-old building surrounded by dense forest. Woodmoor Manor.

But unfortunately, the mansion has more problems than a little peeling wallpaper. Locals claim the surrounding woods are inhabited by mutated creatures with glowing eyes. And some say campers routinely disappear in the woods, never to be seen again.

As terrifying as it sounds, Ginny can’t shake the feeling that there’s something darker . . . another story she hasn’t been told. When the creaky floors and shadowy corners of the mansion seem to take on a life of their own, Ginny uncovers the wildest mystery of all: There’s more than one legend roaming Saugatuck, Michigan, and they definitely aren’t after campers. It’s after her.

Finders Creepers by Derek Fridolfs and Dustin

Twins Atticus and Esmeralda Fetch are the best pet finders in Thorns Hollow — a town where people have a lot of pets, and those pets often get lost. But when a lost dog leads them to an old, Victorian house on the edge of town, the twins find their world turned upside down.

This creepy house contains a portal that leads to a whole other world — a world where mythical creatures like trolls, fairies, and dragons are real.The secrets this mythical world contains are bigger than these kids could ever imagine. Secrets that could threaten to destroy the world as we know it. Now, Minerva, Atticus, and yes, their canine companion will have to work together if they want to save our world, and the world beyond the portal!

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Coraline discovered the door a little while after they moved into the house….

Her family has just moved to a completely new town, and so Coraline already feels a bit strange. In her new house there is one door that opens onto a brick wall. At least, it does until one day the bricks are gone and Coraline finds herself stepping over the threshold into another house . . . a house that’s just like hers.

At first things appear marvelous in this other house. The food is better. The toy box is filled with windup angels that flutter about, books whose pictures crawl and shimmer, and little dinosaur skulls that chatter their teeth. But there’s another mother and another father–and they want Coraline to be their little girl and stay with them forever. They want to change her and never let her go.

Other children are also trapped, as lost souls behind a mirror, and Coraline is their only hope. She will have to find a way to meet the other mother’s challenge in order to save the lost children, her ordinary life, and herself.

The Strangers By Margaret Peterson Haddix

What makes you you? The Greystone kids thought they knew. Chess has always been the protector over his younger siblings, Emma loves math, and Finn does what Finn does best–acting silly and being adored. They’ve been a happy family, just the three of them and their mom.

But everything changes when reports of three kidnapped children reach the Greystone kids, and they’re shocked by the startling similarities between themselves and these complete strangers. The other kids share their same first and middle names. They’re the same ages. They even have identical birthdays. Who, exactly, are these strangers?

Before Chess, Emma, and Finn can question their mom about it, she takes off on a sudden work trip and leaves them in the care of Ms. Morales and her daughter, Natalie. But puzzling clues left behind lead to complex codes, hidden rooms, and a dangerous secret about uncover their ties to an alternate world that will turn their lives upside down. Read the whole trilogy!

Hide and Seeker by Daka Hermon

Something is wrong with Zee, who has returned after a year’s absence. Nobody knows where he was or what happened to him, but now he is distracted and violent. He even freaks out when he sees his friends, Justin, Nia, and Lyric, playing an odd game of hide-and-seek. As they chant the play rhyme I went up the hill, the hill was muddy, stomped my toe and made it bloody, should I wash it? Zee starts talking wildly about some danger that is approaching.

It seems Zee is right when their simple game goes wrong. Very wrong. One by one, everyone who plays the game disappears, pulled into a world of nightmares come to life. Justin and his friends realize this horrible place is where Zee had been trapped. All they can do now is hide in this shadowy world ruled by a monstrous, shape-shifting Seeker as they are forced to play a terrifying game of hide-and-seek. Only by confronting their worst nightmares will they be able to find their way home

Whispering Pines By Heidi Lang and Kati Bartkowski

Rae’s father vanished without a trace–and Rae knows what happened to him. But no one believes her when she says that her father didn’t run off, that he was actually taken. Now, a year of therapy later, Rae’s mother decides they need a fresh start, and so they move to a new town in the hope that life can return to normal. The problem is, there is nothing normal about the town of Whispering Pines.

No one knows this better than Caden. He’s lived in Whispering Pines his entire life, and he’s seen more than his fair share of weird–starting with his own family, as the town is the perfect home base for his mother’s ghost hunting business.

When several kids go missing and then show up like zombies with their eyes removed, many locals brush it off. Just another day in Whispering Pines. But Caden has a dark secret, one that may explain why someone is stealing eyes. And Rae, who knows how it feels to not be believed, may be just the person Caden needs to help him put things right. Read the whole trilogy!

The Stitchers by Lorien Lawrence

Something strange is happening on Goodie Lane . . .

Quinn Parker knows that there’s something off about her neighbors. She calls them “the Oldies” because they’ve lived on Goodie Lane for as long as anyone can remember, but they never seem to age. Are they vampires? Or aliens? Or getting secret experimental surgeries? Or is Quinn’s imagination just running wild again?

If her dad were still around, he’d believe her. When he was alive, they’d come up with all sorts of theories about the Oldies. Now, Quinn’s determined to keep the investigation going with the help of Mike, her neighbor and maybe-crush. They’ll have to search for clues and follow the mystery wherever it leads–even if it’s to the eerie pond at the end of the street that’s said to have its own sinister secrets. But the Oldies are on to them. And the closer Quinn and Mike get to uncovering the answers, the more they realize just how terrifying the truth may be.

Dreamwood by Heather Mackey

Lucy Darrington has no choice but to run away from boarding school. Her father, an expert on the supernatural, has been away for too long while doing research in Saarthe, a remote territory in the Pacific Northwest populated by towering redwoods, timber barons, and the Lupine people. But upon arriving, she learns her father is missing: Rumor has it he’s gone in search of dreamwood, a rare tree with magical properties that just might hold the cure for the blight that’s ravaging the forests of Saarthe.

Determined to find her father (and possibly save Saarthe), Lucy and her vexingly stubborn friend Pete follow William Darrington’s trail to the deadly woods on Devil’s Thumb. As they encounter Lupine princesses, giant sea serpents, and all manner of terrifying creatures, Lucy hasn’t reckoned that the dreamwood itself might be the greatest threat of all.

Thirteens by Kate Alice Marshall

Eleanor has just moved to the quiet, prosperous Eden Eld. When she awakes to discover an ancient grandfather clock that she’s never seen before outside her new room, she’s sure her eyes must be playing tricks on her. But then she spots a large bird, staring at her as she boards the school bus. And a black dog with glowing red eyes follows her around town. All she wants is to be normal, and these are far from normal. And worse–no one else can see them.

Except for her new friends, Pip and Otto, who teach her a thing or two about surviving in Eden Eld. First: Don’t let the “wrong things” know you can see them. Second: Don’t speak of the wrong things to anyone else.

The only other clue they have about these supernatural disturbances is a book of fairytales unlike any they’ve read before. It tells tales of the mysterious Mr. January, who struck a cursed deal with the town’s founders. Every thirteenth Halloween, he will take three of their children, who are never heard from again. It’s up to our trio to break the curse–because Eden Eld’s thirteen years are up. And Eleanor, Pip, and Otto are marked as his next sacrifice. Read the series!

Fuzzy Mud By Louis Sachar

Be careful. Your next step may be your last.

Tamaya Dhilwaddi and Marshall Walsh have been walking to and from Woodridge Academy together since elementary school. But their routine is disrupted when bully Chad Hilligas challenges Marshall to a fight. To avoid the conflict, Marshall takes a shortcut home through the off-limits woods. Tamaya, unaware of the reason for the detour, reluctantly follows. They soon get lost. And then they find trouble. Bigger trouble than anyone could ever have imagined. Their shortcut home from school leads to the discovery what looks like fuzzy mud but is actually a substance with the potential to wreak havoc on the entire world
 
In the days and weeks that follow, the authorities and the U.S. Senate become involved, and what they uncover might affect the future of the world.

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There you have it–sixteen books to make you question your next trip into the woods! If you can think of any others, please share them! This is a popular topic…especially in the fall.

If you need help finding these, or any other books in the library, just ask one of our librarians. We love to match books and readers!

Happy Reading!
::kelly::

5 Books Featuring…Amusement Park Rides!

Roller Coasters. Ferris Wheels. Love them or hate them, you can always see them for miles away. Some people travel for miles to ride on one, some people avoid them as much as they can. But the kids in these books end up on amusement park rides to solve a mystery, or prove themselves…or just for fun! So check out these books that feature roller coasters or ferris wheels (but not the scariest ride of all–merry-go-rounds) and see if you would be brave enough to join them!

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. Mostly Middle Grade, with the occasional younger or older or graphic title thrown in for flavor.

Five Books–one old, one new, one popular with kids, one well-reviewed, and one staff favorite. (But you’ll have to guess which is which)! 

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Almost Flying by Jake Maia Arlow

Would-be amusement park aficionado Dalia only has two items on her summer bucket list: (1) finally ride a roller coaster and (2) figure out how to make a new best friend. But when her dad suddenly announces that he’s engaged, Dalia’s schemes come to a screeching halt. With Dalia’s future stepsister Alexa heading back to college soon, the grown-ups want the girls to spend the last weeks of summer bonding–meaning Alexa has to cancel the amusement park road trip she’s been planning for months. Luckily Dalia comes up with a new plan: If she joins Alexa on her trip and brings Rani, the new girl from her swim team, along maybe she can have the perfect summer after all. But what starts out as a week of funnel cakes and Lazy River rides goes off the rails when Dalia discovers that Alexa’s girlfriend is joining the trip. And keeping Alexa’s secret makes Dalia realize one of her own: She might have more-than-friend feelings for Rani.

Cyclone by Doreen Cronin

Riding the Cyclone, the world famous Coney Island rollercoaster, was supposed to be the highlight of Nora’s summer. But right after they disembark, Nora’s cousin Riley falls to the ground…and doesn’t get up. Nora had begged and dragged Riley onto the ride, and no matter what the doctors say, that she had a heart condition, that it could have happened at any time, Nora knows it was her fault. Then, as Riley comes out of her coma, she’s not really Riley at all. The cousin who used to be loud and funny and unafraid now can’t talk, let alone go to the bathroom by herself. Now she’s only 10% Riley. Nora, guilt eating her up on the inside worse than a Coney Island hotdog, thinks she knows how to help. How to get 100% Riley back. But what Nora doesn’t realize is that the guilt will only get worse as that percentage rises.

The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd

Ted and Kat watched their cousin Salim board the London Eye. But after half an hour it landed and everyone trooped off–except Salim. Where could he have gone? How on earth could he have disappeared into thin air? Ted and his older sister, Kat, become sleuthing partners, since the police are having no luck. Despite their prickly relationship, they overcome their differences to follow a trail of clues across London in a desperate bid to find their cousin. And ultimately it comes down to Ted, whose brain works in its own very unique way, to find the key to the mystery. This is an unput-downable spine-tingling thriller–a race against time.
(Be sure to read the sequel, by Robin Stevens: The Guggenheim Mystery.

Foreverland by Nicole C. Kear

Margaret is tired of everything always changing. Middle school has gone from bad to worse. Her best friend is becoming a stranger. And her family–well, it’s not even a family anymore. So Margaret is running away to Foreverland, her favorite amusement park. Hiding out there is trickier than she expects–until she meets Jaime, a thrill-seeking, fast-thinking runaway who teaches Margaret how to stay one step ahead of the captain of security. At first, this after-hours, all-access pass to the park is a dream come true: sleepovers in the Haunted House, nonstop junk food, and an unlimited ticket to ride. But as the runaways learn each other’s secrets, they must face the reasons they left their normal lives behind. With the Captain closing in and Jaime’s future on the line, can Margaret finally take control?

Bringing Down the Mouse by Ben Mezrich

Charlie Lewis is a genius at math and a whiz at probability. He and his friends at the genius table in the cafeteria get called the Dork Brigade or Nerd Herd. He expects middle school to be difficult to navigate, as a nerd. He was not expecting a couple of cool older kids to recruit him into a super-smart gang that meets in secret to practice beating carnival games. But their biggest goal is to game the system at the biggest theme park in the world–and win the grand prize. Soon Charlie is caught up in the excitement and thrill of using his math skills for awesomeness…but what’s at stake may be more than he’s willing to risk. How far will Charlie go for a chance at the ultimate reward? It’s a roller coaster ride of risk, math and gaming! Be sure to read the whole Charlie Numb3rs series!

Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Unicorn Training by Jackson Pearce and Maggie Stiefvater

Some things Pip and Tomas will find when dealing with unicorns: Show-offs. Stampedes. Mystery. A unicorn who is afraid of everything.  Some things Pip and Tomas will not find when dealing with unicorns: Peace. And quiet!   Pip Bartlett has a way with magical creatures. But even she’s challenged by Regent Maximus, a unicorn who’s afraid of everything. With the help of her friend Tomas, Pip has to get Regent Maximus ready for a big unicorn competition-even if Regent Maximus would rather do anything than compete. Making matters worse, someone mysterious is trying to win the competition by cheating-and if Pip and Tomas don’t stop the bad things from happening, it’s not only Regent Maximus who’ll have reason to be afraid.

The Kingdom Keepers: Disney After Dark by Ridley Pearson

Using a cutting-edge technology called DHI–which stands for both Disney Host Interactive and Daylight Hologram Imaging–Finn Whitman, an Orlando teen, and four other kids are transformed into hologram projections that guide guests through the park. The new technology turns out, however, to have unexpected effects that are both thrilling and scary. Soon Finn finds himself transported in his DHI form into the Magic Kingdom at night. Is it real? Is he dreaming? Finn’s confusion only increases when he encounters Wayne, an elderly Imagineer who tells him that the park is in grave danger. Led by the scheming witch, Maleficent, a mysterious group of characters called the Overtakers is plotting to destroy Disney’s beloved realm, and maybe more. This gripping high-tech tale will thrill every kid who has ever dreamed of sneaking into Walt Disney World after hours and wondered what happens at night, when the park is closed.

Bark vs. Snark by Spencer Quinn

Arthur doesn’t always remember where he buried his bone, or what he was doing before he started scratching his ear, but he never forgets three important facts: 1) Bacon is delicious; 2) He loves his humans, twins Bro and Harmony, with all his heart; 3) Queenie the cat is out to destroy him. So when Queenie wins first place in a feline beauty contest at the county fair, Arthur expects her to be snootier than ever. (Even though she barely beat out another cat who looked almost exactly like her.) Yet when Queenie returns from the fair, she seems oddly nice and sociable — almost like she’s had a personality change! The humans chalk up Queenie’s good mood to her recent win, but Arthur knows the truth. He can tell from the smell that this friendly Queenie is an imposter! Yet before he can decide what to do, Cuthbert the Clown — the only one who knows what’s really going on — turns up missing. Arthur wants to help his humans find Cuthbert, but he has seen some disturbing things they have not. Can he solve a mystery on his own? Or will he have to accept that he needs Queenie as much as he needs bacon?

Into the Dream by William Sleator

Every night Paul has the same frightening dream. He’s standing at the edge of a vast empty field, trying to move toward a large, glowing sphere. A small boy is in terrible trouble…and Paul must save him. Paul’s convinced he’s losing his mind—until he learns that his classmate Francine is having the same harrowing dream. Together, the two of them start looking for clues in their dreams…something that might lead them to the little boy they both feel is in terrible danger. As their dreams continue, and the clues mount, Paul and Francine are determined to solve the mystery and same the little boy—before their nightmare becomes terrifying reality.

Wretched Waterpark by Kiersten White

Meet the Sinister-Winterbottoms: brave Theo, her timid twin, Alexander, and their older sister, Wil. They’re stuck for the summer with their Aunt Saffronia, who doesn’t know how often children need to eat and can’t use a smartphone, and whose feet never quite seem to touch the floor when she glides–er–walks. When Aunt Saffronia suggests a week pass to the Fathoms of Fun Waterpark, they hastily agree. But the park is even stranger than Aunt Saffronia. The waterslides look like gray gargoyle tongues. The employees wear creepy black dresses and deliver ominous messages. An impossible figure is at the top of the slide tower, people are disappearing, and suspicious goo is seeping into the wave pool. Something mysterious is happening at Fathoms of Fun, and it’s up to the twins to get to the bottom of it. The mystery, that is. NOT the wave pool. Definitely NOT the wave pool. But are Theo and Alexander out of their depth?

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So what do you think? Would you go to Fathoms of Fun…ride the London Eye…go to Disneyworld after dark? Are you brave enough?

If you need help finding these–or any other–books at the library, just ask one of our librarians for help. We love matching books with kids! And if you can think of any other books that feature roller coasters or ferris wheels, let us know! We’d love to add to our reading list.

Happy Reading!
::Kelly::

Booklist–Virtual Visit to India!

Travel to India via your Bookshelf! Whether you like the climate, the beautiful buildings, the people, or the adventure, it’s a great destination! Can’t get on a plane? Just check out one of these great books…

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Running on the Roof of the World by Jess Butterworth

A story of adventure, survival, courage, and hope, set in the vivid Himalayan landscape of Tibet and India. Tash lives in Tibet, where as a practicing Buddhist she must follow many rules to avoid the wrath of the occupying Chinese soldiers. Life remains peaceful as long as Tash, her family, and their community hide their religion and don’t mention its leader, the Dalai Lama. The quiet is ruptured when a man publicly sets himself on fire to protest the occupation. In the crackdown that follows, soldiers break into Tash’s house and seize her parents. Tash barely escapes, and soon she and her best friend, Sam, along with two borrowed yaks, flee across the mountains, where they face blizzards, hunger, a treacherous landscape, and the constant threat of capture. It’s a long, dangerous trip to the Indian border and safety–and not all will make it there. This action-packed novel tells a story of courage, hope, and the powerful will to survive, even in the most desperate circumstances.

The Savage Fortress by Sarwat Chadda

After three weeks of vacation, Ash Mistry is ready to leave the heat and dust of India behind him. Then he discovers a hidden gold arrowhead—a weapon used to defeat evil King Ravana in legend. At least, Ash is pretty sure it’s only a legend . . . But when Lord Savage comes after Ash, the legends are suddenly way too real. Savage commands an army of monstrous shape changers called rakshasas, who want only to seize the arrowhead and restore Ravana to power. As they hunt Ash through magnificent fortresses and brutal deserts, he must learn to work with a powerful rakshasa girl named Parvati, and find the strength within himself to fight on and save the world as we know it.

Mangoes, Mischief, and Tales of Friendship: Stories from India by Chitra Soundar

Can Prince Veera and his best friend outsmart the king’s trickiest subjects? Inspired by traditional Indian folktales, these stories are sure to delight. Being a wise and just ruler is no easy task. That’s what Prince Veera discovers when he and his best friend, Suku, are given the opportunity to preside over the court of his father, King Bheema. Some of the subjects’ complaints are easily addressed, but others are much more challenging. How should they handle the case of the greedy merchant who wishes to charge people for enjoying the smells of his sweets? And can they prove that an innocent man cannot possibly spread bad luck? Will Prince Veera and Suku be able to settle the dispute between a man and his neighbor to whom he sells a well — but not the water in it? Or solve the mystery of the jewels that have turned into pickles? Illustrated throughout by Uma Krishnaswamy, these eight original tales by Chitra Soundar task Veera and Suku with outwitting the kingdom’s greediest, wiliest subjects. Are the two clever boys up to the challenge?

Chloe in India by Kate Darnton

Chloe is a blonde, middle-class Bostonian who has just moved to India and now must adjust to a new culture, language, and country. She hates that she is the only girl without long black hair, and she misses terribly her best friend from home. Lakshimi is from India, but lives in the slums, dresses differently, and is much poorer than the other students. Though they’re divided by class, language, appearance–you name it–Chloe and Lakshmi have a lot in common. Both girls are new to Class Five at Premium Academy in New Delhi, India, and neither seems to fit in. But they soon discover how extraordinary an ordinary friendship can be and how celebrating our individuality can change the world. A poignant and delightful story involving class, race, social customs, and a unique friendship that questions them all.

Serpent’s Secret by Sayantani Dasgupta

Meet Kiranmala: International Demon Slayer..only she doesn’t know it yet! On the morning of her twelfth birthday, Kiranmala is just a regular sixth grader living in Parsippany, New Jersey . . . until her parents mysteriously vanish and a drooling rakkhosh demon slams through her kitchen, determined to eat her alive. Turns out there might be some truth to her parents’ fantastical stories-like how Kiranmala is a real Indian princess and how she comes from a secret place not of this world. To complicate matters, two crush-worthy princes ring her doorbell, insisting they’ve come to rescue her. Suddenly, Kiran is swept into another dimension full of magic, winged horses, moving maps, and annoying, talking birds. There she must solve riddles and battle demons all while avoiding the Serpent King of the underworld and the Rakkhoshi Queen in order to find her parents and basically save New Jersey, her entire world, and everything beyond it . . . (There’s not much set in India in this, the first book of a great series, but there’s lots of cultural references to India.)

The Conch Bearer by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

In a dingy shack in the less-than-desirable Indian neighborhood he calls home, twelve-year-old Anand is entrusted with a conch shell that possesses mystical powers. His task is to return the shell to its rightful home many hundreds of miles away. Accompanying him are Nisha, a headstrong but resourceful child of the streets, and a mysterious man of indeterminate age and surprising resources named Abadhyatta. His quest will take him farther from home than he’s ever been and will teach him more than he ever imagined — and it will force him to make a poignant decision that will change him forever. This is literary fiction of the highest order, as well as an adventure story that is almost impossible to put down; and the first in a trilogy.

Rea and the Blood of the Nectar by Payal Doshi

It all begins on the night Rea turns twelve. After a big fight with her twin brother Rohan on their birthday, Rea’s life in the small village of Darjeeling, India, gets turned on its head. It’s four in the morning and Rohan is nowhere to be found. It hasn’t even been a day and Amma acts like Rohan’s gone forever. Her grandmother, too, is behaving strangely. Unwilling to give up on her brother, Rea and her friend Leela meet Mishti Daadi, a wrinkly old fortuneteller whose powers of divination set them off on a thrilling and secret quest. In the shade of night, they portal to an otherworldly realm and travel to Astranthia, a land full of magic and whimsy. There with the help of Xeranther, an Astranthian barrow boy, and Flula, a pari, Rea battles serpent-lilies and blood-sucking banshees, encounters a butterfly-faced woman and blue lizard-men, and learns that Rohan has been captured. Rea also discovers that she is a princess with magic. Only she has no idea how to use it. Struggling with the truth her Amma has kept hidden from her, Rea must solve clues that lead to Rohan, find a way to rescue him, and save Astranthia from a potentially deadly fate. But the clock is ticking. Can she rescue Rohan, save Astranthia, and live to see it all?

Tiger Skin Rug by Joan Haig

Two homesick Indian boys and their new Scottish friend join a magical tiger on a journey across continents. Lal and his brother Dilip miss home. They don’t like drizzle, midges, or the tiger skin rug in their creepy new house. All they want is to leave Scotland and go back to India. But that’s before they make friends with Jenny, the girl next door–and before the tiger skin rug comes back to life. The mysterious tiger tells them it will take them home to India in return for their help, but it must first fulfill an old promise. An adventure story in which the young protagonists learn not only the true significance of the tiger skin rug’s final message but also come to understand the real meaning of home. (Set in Scotland, but with lots of references to India!)

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, half-Hindu twelve-year-old 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, and 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.

Ahimsa by Supriya Kelkar

In 1942, when Mahatma Gandhi asks Indians to give one family member to the freedom movement, ten-year-old Anjali is devastated to think of her father risking his life for the freedom struggle. But it turns out he isn’t the one joining. Anjali’s mother is. And with this change comes many more adjustments designed to improve their country and use Ahimsa–non-violent resistance–to stand up to the British government. First the family must trade in their fine foreign-made clothes for homespun cotton, so Anjali has to give up her prettiest belongings. Then her mother decides to reach out to the Dalit community, the “untouchables” of society. Anjali is forced to get over her past prejudices as her family becomes increasingly involved in the movement. When Anjali’s mother is jailed, Anjali must step out of her comfort zone to take over her mother’s work, ensuring that her little part of the independence movement is completed.

Strong as Fire, Fierce as Flame by Supriya Kelkar

India, 1857 Meera’s future has been planned for her for as long as she can remember. As a child, her parents married her to a boy from a neighboring village whom she barely knows. On the eve of her thirteenth birthday, she prepares to leave to live with her husband’s family–as her religion dictates. But that night, Indian soldiers mutiny against their British commanders and destroy the British ammunition depot, burning down parts of Delhi. Riots follow, and Meera’s husband is killed. Upon hearing the news, Meera’s strictly religous father insists that she must end her life by throwing herself on her husband’s funeral pyre. Instead, Meera runs away, escaping into the chaos of the rebellion. But her newfound freedom is short-lived, as she is forced to become a servant in the house of a high-ranking British East India Company captain. Slowly through her work, she gains confidence, new friends, new skills—and sometimes her life even feels peaceful. But one day, Meera stumbles upon the captain’s secret stock of ammunition, destined to be used by the British to continue colonizing India and control its citizens. Will Meera do her part to take down the British colonists and alert the rebellion of the stockpile? Or will she stay safe and let others make decisions for her? It really comes down to this: how much fire must a girl face to finally write her own destiny?

Chained by Lynne Kelly

After ten-year-old Hastin’s family borrows money to pay for his sister’s hospital bill, he leaves his village in northern India to take a job as an elephant keeper and work off the debt. He thinks it will be an adventure, but he isn’t prepared for the cruel circus owner. The crowds that come to the circus see a lively animal who plays soccer and balances on milk bottles, but Hastin sees Nandita, a sweet elephant and his best friend, who is chained when she’s not performing and hurt with a hook until she learns tricks perfectly. Hastin protects Nandita as best as he can, knowing that the only way they will both survive is if he can find a way for them to escape.

Kim by Rudyard Kipling

Set in India during the British Raj. Kim O’Hara, a cunning and street-wise orphaned Sahib, a child of India in all but blood, embarks upon a journey with a Tibetan lama in search of spiritual cleansing. Kim matures under the lama’s patient guidance and, in turn, gives his heart to his mentor. The two support each other through the passages they both must make; in time, Kim’s parentage and talents are discovered by the British and he is drafted and trained to be a participant within the Great Game — that is, the political battle between Russia and Britain for control of Central Asia. Lama and student seek their disparate goals together as they traverse the plains of India, hike Himalayan foothills, and discourse along the way. . . . and find as they travel something much, much more . . .

Book Uncle and Me by Uma Krishnaswami

Every day, Yasmin borrows a book from Book Uncle, a retired teacher who has set up a free lending library on the street corner. But when the mayor tries to shut down the rickety bookstand, Yasmin has to take her nose out of her book and do something. What can she do? The local elections are coming up, but she’s just a kid. She can’t even vote! Still, Yasmin has friends — her best friend, Reeni, and Anil, who even has a blue belt in karate. And she has family and neighbors. What’s more, she has an idea that came right out of the last book she borrowed from Book Uncle. So Yasmin and her friends get to work. Ideas grow like cracks in the sidewalk, and soon the whole effort is breezing along nicely… Or is it spinning right out of control? An energetic, funny and quirky story about community activism, friendship, and the love of books.

The Grand Plan to Fix Everything by Uma Krishnaswami

 Dini loves movies–watching them, reading about them, trying to write her own–especially those oh-so-fabulous Bollywood movies where you don’t need to know the language to get what’s going on. But when her mother reveals some big news, it does not at all jibe with the script Dini had in mind. Her family is moving to India. And not even to Bombay, which is the “center of the filmi universe” (and home to Dini’s all-time most favorite star, Dolly Singh). No, they’re moving to a teeny, tiny town that she can’t even find on a map: Swapnagiri. It means Dream Mountain, a sleepy little place where nothing interesting can happen…. But wait a movie minute! Swapnagiri is full of surprises like rose petal milk shakes, mischievous monkeys, a girl who chirps like a bird, and…could it be…Dolly herself? Also read the sequel–The Problem with Being Slightly Heroic, set in the US.

The Sultan’s Tigers by Josh Lacey

While serving as a soldier in India in 1799, Tom Trelawney’s ancestor Horatio stole a jewel-encrusted tiger statue. It is one of eight that once surrounded the throne of a legendary sultan. Now a ruthless Indian billionaire is collecting the full set–and only one is still missing. With his reckless Uncle Harvey in tow, Tom follows a trail of clues that leads to southern India…where they hope to find this family treasure. But they aren’t the only ones looking for it, and they soon end up on the run. The search brings danger, friendship, arson, cultural understanding and a bit of introspection on the part of Tom as they are chased by the police, mercenaries, and even man-eating tigers in this wild, fast-paced thriller that spans three continents. Read the companion book: Island of Thieves.

Red, White and Whole by Rajanni LaRocca

Reha feels torn between two worlds: school, where she’s the only Indian American student, and home, with her family’s traditions and holidays. But Reha’s parents don’t understand why she’s conflicted–they only notice when Reha doesn’t meet their strict expectations. Reha feels disconnected from her mother, or Amma. Although their names are linked–Reha means “star” and Punam means “moon”–they are a universe apart. Then Reha finds out that her Amma is sick. Really sick. Reha, who dreams of becoming a doctor even though she can’t stomach the sight of blood, is determined to make her Amma well again. She’ll be the perfect daughter, if it means saving her Amma’s life. Although set in the US, the cultural information about India makes it a book not to miss.

Mission Mumbai: a novel of Sacred Cows, Snakes and Stolen Toilets by Nahtab Narsimhan

Travel to the colorful and chaotic streets of India from the comfort of your home in this hilarious and heartfelt story about friendship and family.When aspiring photographer Dylan Moore is invited to join his best friend Rohit Lal on a family trip to India, he jumps at the chance to embark on an exciting journey just like their Lord of the Rings heroes, Frodo and Sam. But each boy comes to the trip with a problem: Rohit is desperate to convince his parents not to leave him behind in Mumbai to finish school, and Dylan is desperate to use his time in India to prove himself as a photographer and to avoid his parents’ constant fighting. Keeping their struggles to themselves threatens to tear the boys apart. But when disaster strikes, Dylan and Rohit realize they have to set aside their differences to navigate India safely, confront their family issues, and salvage their friendship.

Tiger Boy by Mitali Perkins

When a tiger cub escapes from a nature reserve near Neel’s island village, the rangers and villagers hurry to find her before the cub’s anxious mother follows suit and endangers them all. Mr. Gupta, a rich newcomer to the island, is also searching-he wants to sell the cub’s body parts on the black market. Neel and his sister, Rupa, resolve to find the cub first and bring her back to the reserve where she belongs.
The hunt for the cub interrupts Neel’s preparations for an exam to win a prestigious scholarship at a boarding school far from home. Neel doesn’t mind-he dreads the exam and would rather stay on his beloved island in the Sunderbans of West Bengal with his family and friends. But through his encounter with the cub, Neil learns that sometimes you have to take risks to preserve what you love. And sometimes you have to sacrifice the present for the chance to improve the future.

The Samosa Rebellion by Shanthi Sekaran

Before his grandmother moved from India to the island of Mariposa, Muki Krishnan’s life was good. But now He has to share his bedroom with Paati, his grandmother, who snores like a bulldozer and wakes him up at dawn to do yoga. Paati’s arrival coincides with even bigger changes in Mariposa. The president divides citizens into Butterflies–families who have lived in Mariposa for three generations–and Moths, who, like Muki’s family, are more recent immigrants. The changes are small at first. But then Muki and his friends find a camp being built to imprison Moths before sending them away. Soon after, his Paati is captured and taken there. While devising Paati’s escape, Muki discovers that a secret rebellion is underway, and as he digs deeper, he realizes that rescuing Paati will be the fight of his life.

Ticket to India by N. H. Senzai

A map, two train tickets, and a mission. These are things twelve-year-old Maya and her big sister Zara have when they set off on their own from Delhi to their grandmother’s childhood home of Aminpur, a small town in Northern India. Their goal is to find a chest of family treasures that their grandmother’s family left behind when they fled from India to Pakistan during the Great Partition. But soon the sisters become separated, and Maya is alone. Determined to find her grandmother’s lost chest, she continues her trip, on the way enlisting help from an orphan by named Jai. Maya’s grand adventure through India is as thrilling as it is warm: a journey through her family’s history becomes a real coming-of-age quest.

Shiva’s Fire by Suzanne Fisher Staples

On a day when fish leap among the stars and birds soar beneath the waters, a remarkable girl named Parvati is born in a village in the South of India. As she grows, she becomes known for the peculiar events that seem to spring from beneath her dancing feet, and is widely thought to have supernatural powers. When a great master of Indian classical dance comes to see for himself, he recognizes in Parvati a rare talent and invites her to study with him at his gurukulam in the city of Madras. There she commits herself to a rigorous and solitary program of study, dance, and devotion. But when she meets a boy with his own extraordinary powers, her life is turned upside down, and she must question the one thing of which she has always been most sure – that she was born to dance. The poignant story of a strong girl who refuses to squander her magical gifts in the face of life’s ordinary but perplexing mysteries.

Born Behind Bars by Padma Venkatraman

Kabir has been in jail since the day he was born, because his mom is serving time for a crime she didn’t commit. He’s never met his dad, so the only family he’s got are their cellmates, and the only place he feels the least bit free is in the classroom, where his kind teacher regales him with stories of the wonders of the outside world. Then one day a new warden arrives and announces Kabir is too old to stay. He gets handed over to a long-lost “uncle” who unfortunately turns out to be a fraud, and intends to sell Kabir. So Kabir does the only thing he can–run away as fast as his legs will take him. How does a boy with nowhere to go and no connections make his way? Fortunately, he befriends Rani, another street kid, and she takes him under her wing. But plotting their next move is hard–and fraught with danger–in a world that cares little for homeless, low caste children. This is not the world Kabir dreamed of–but he’s discovered he’s not the type to give up. Kabir is ready to show the world that he–and his mother–deserve a place in it.

The Bridge Home by Padme Venkatraman

Life is harsh in Chennai’s teeming streets, so when runaway sisters Viji and Rukku arrive, their prospects look grim. Very quickly, eleven-year-old Viji discovers how vulnerable they are in this uncaring, dangerous world. Fortunately, the girls find shelter–and friendship–on an abandoned bridge. When they meet two homeless boys, Muthi and Arul, the group starts to form a family of sorts. And while making a living scavenging the city’s trash heaps is the pits, the kids find plenty to laugh about and take pride in too. After all, they are now the bosses of themselves and no longer dependent on untrustworthy adults. But when illness strikes, Viji must decide whether to risk seeking help from strangers or to keep holding on to their fragile, hard-fought freedom.

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This booklist started out as a “5 Books Featuring…” list. But there were too many good choices! It was impossible to limit. But there is a popular book, an old book, a new book, an award winner and a favorite book on the list. So whether you’ve never been to India and would like to visit via the pages of a book, or if you have been to India before and want to revisit via a story, all of these books are great choices. Check them out and have a Virtual Visit to India!

As always, if you need help finding these or any other books in the Library, just ask one of our librarians for help. We love matching books with readers!

Happy Reading!
::kelly::

5 Books Featuring: Summer Vacations That Didn’t Go Quite as Planned…

If you’ve ever been on a vacation, you know that they don’t always go the way you expected. But in these books, things go catastrophically wrong, in one way or another. Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it’s sad, sometimes it’s exciting…but it’s never boring! Check out this list of Vacations Gone Wrong.

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. Mostly Middle Grade, with the occasional younger or older or graphic title thrown in for flavor.

Five Books–one old, one new, one popular with kids, one well-reviewed, and one staff favorite. (But you’ll have to guess which is which)! 

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Just Harriet by Alana K. Arnold

There are a few things you should know about Harriet Wermer: She just finished third grade, She has a perfect cat named Matzo Ball, She doesn’t always tell the truth, She is very happy to be spending summer vacation away from home and her mom and dad and all the wonderful things she had been planning all year. Okay, maybe that last one isn’t entirely the truth. Of course, there’s nothing Harriet doesn’t like about Marble Island, the small island off the coast of California where her nanu runs a cozy little bed and breakfast. And nobody doesn’t love Moneypenny, Nanu’s old basset hound. But Harriet doesn’t like the fact that Dad made this decision without even asking her. When Harriet arrives on Marble Island, however, she discovers that it’s full of surprises, and even a mystery. One that seems to involve her Dad, back when he was a young boy living on Marble Island. One that Harriet is absolutely going to solve. And that’s the truth.

Shipwreck Island by S.A. Bodeen

Sarah Robinson is deeply troubled in the wake of her dad’s second marriage. She now has to deal with a new stepmom and two stepbrothers, Marco, who is her age, and Nacho, who’s younger. Even though they’ve all moved from Texas to California to start life as a new, blended family, none of the kids seem remotely happy about it. Sarah’s dad and stepmom then decide to take the whole family on a special vacation in order to break the ice and have everyone get to know one another. They’ll fly to Tahiti, charter a boat, and go sailing for a few days. It’ll be an adventure, right? Wrong. Dead wrong.

Wild Ride by Keith Calabrese

No parents. No rules. No curfew. Things are about to get dangerous… The grownups are out-of-town, and for Charley Decker that means one thing: a last epic weekend with her older brother Greg before he leaves for college. Bring on the burgers, milkshakes, and movie marathons! So when Greg ditches Charley for a date night downtown, she’s kind of crushed. Worse, he gets their mom’s boyfriend’s super-expensive, super-rare Mustang towed and needs Charley’s help to get it back. What’s an unsupervised seventh grader to do? Grab her best friends, sneak into the city, pull off the ultimate car heist, and then make Greg pay, of course! Only now the Mustang has a new feature in the trunk: a stowaway named Mitch who’s guarding a world-changing secret. And a pair of seriously big, seriously scary dudes are after him. What follows is an all-night race around the clock as Charley and her friends try to dodge the twin terrors, save Mitch, fix a sibling squabble…and get the Mustang home before morning!

Pippa Passes by Scott Corbett

On their way to a summer camp Meg and her sister, Lulie, bump into Pippa Phillips, a famous child movie star. Pippa, who is running away from an aunt and uncle who whe is convinced are exploiting her talents for their own profit. She begs Meg to help her. On the trip to camp, the girls devise an ingenious strategy to help Pippa. But soon the lies start piling up, and Pippa seems to want to grab the spotlight, even while she’s supposed to be hiding. Summer Camp is definitely not going as Meg had planned…

When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Peach Pie by Erin Soderberg Downing

Sweet summer has taken a rotten turn . . . After a tough year, Lucy, Freddy, and Herb Peach are ready for vacation. Lucy wants to read all of the books on the summer reading list. Freddy wants to work on his art projects (when he isn’t stuck in summer school). Herb wants to swim every day. Then their dad makes a big announcement: one of the inventions their mom came up with before she passed away has sold, and now they’re millionaires! But Dad has bigger plans than blowing the cash on fun stuff or investing it. He’s bought a used food truck. The Peaches are going to spend the summer traveling the country selling pies. It will be the Great Peach Experiment–a summer of bonding while living out one of Mom’s dreams. Summer plans, sunk. And there’s one more issue Dad’s neglected: none of them knows how to bake. . . .

The World Between Blinks by Amie Kaufman & Ryan Graudin

Whenever Jake and Marisol get together, adventure follows. They have their late Nana to thank for that. Her epic trips and treasure hunts were legendary. With the whole family reuniting for one last summer vacation at Nana’s home, the cousins are prepared for an extraordinary trip of their own. Following a map Nana left behind, Jake and Marisol sneak out to a nearby lighthouse–then accidentally slip into another world!  The World Between Blinks is a magical place, where all sorts of lost things and people wind up. Everywhere they turn, the cousins find real mysteries from history and a few they thought were just myths, from pilot Amelia Earhart to the fabled city of Atlantis. But the man who holds the key to Jake and Marisol’s journey home doesn’t want to be found . . . and if the cousins don’t catch him fast, they could end up lost in this world forever.

Our Own Little Paradise by Marianne Kaurin

Could summer in your neighborhood turn out to be better than an exotic holiday overseas? Ina and her new neighbor Vilmer are about to find out… Ina has no plans for the summer. Suddenly, she finds herself lying in front of the entire class, telling them she is going to the Mediterranean for three weeks. And then the lie keeps growing and growing via social media. The only problem is that the new boy in class has moved to Ina’s neighborhood and he will easily find out that she is not in the Mediterranean. How can Ina convince Vilmer to keep her secret? Perhaps the best summer holiday is the one you thought would be the worst?

A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L’Engle

After a tumultuous year in New York City, the Austins are spending the summer on the small island where their grandfather lives. He’s very sick, and watching his condition deteriorate as the summer passes is almost more than Vicky can bear. To complicate matters, she finds herself as the center of attention for three very different boys. Zachary Grey, the troubled and reckless boy Vicky met last summer, wants her all to himself as he grieves the loss of his mother. Leo Rodney has been just a friend for years, but the tragic loss of his father causes him to turn to Vicky for comfort–and romance. And then there’s Adam Eddington. Adam is only asking Vicky to help with his research on dolphins. But Adam–and the dolphins–may just be what Vicky needs to get through this heartbreaking summer.

The Worry Week by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

It’s supposed to be the Best Summer Ever! Allegra, Minnow and Alice are spending the summer in Maine, at their regular vacation cottage, on an island. But then their parents have to go back to Boston for a funeral, and they’re going to be sent to stay with their mean (and old!) great-aunt. But when Allegra takes the call saying Great Aunt Ruth has broken her hip and can’t come, she doesn’t tell their parents. She thought it would be easy to just spend the week alone together. But she didn’t know her mother was going to throw out all the food! Surviving alone for a week is not going to be easy, especially when they have to hide from the neighbors. Allegra and her sisters scrounge for food and search for the treasure rumored to be hidden somewhere on the premises. Kids often imagine what their lives would be like if they were left on their own for even a short time. The three very different sisters in this story have just that kind of adventure for a week on an island in Maine.

Drive Me Crazy by Terra Elan McVoy

Lana and Cassie have met only once before, at the wedding of Lana’s Grandpa Howe and Cassie’s Grandma Tess two months ago. The two girls couldn’t be more different, and they didn’t exactly hit it off–but they’re about to spend an entire week together for their grandparents’ honeymoon, road-tripping from California to Maine in the backseat of a Subaru. It’s going to be a disaster. Told in alternating chapters between Cassie and Lana, Drive Me Crazy shows that even though friendship can be a bumpy road, it just might change your life for the better.

This is All Your Fault, Cassie Parker by Terra Elan McVoy

Fiona and Cassie are best friends for life. No one else can make Fiona laugh like Cassie can, and that meant everything when Fiona’s parents were divorcing. They love each other in spite of their (many) differences, and even though Cassie cares a little too much about being popular, Fiona can’t imagine life without her. Until Fiona’s diary is stolen at school, and everything changes. It’s a middle schooler’s worst nightmare come true: not only is Fiona’s diary taken, but it’s read out loud on the bus by the popular kids that day. Even worse: Cassie was there, and she didn’t do anything to stop them. And for some reason, now she’s ignoring Fiona. Suddenly the whole world has shifted.  Life without a best friend is confusing, scary, and maybe impossible. But as Fiona navigates a summer of big changes, she learns more about herself–and friendship–than she ever thought possible. 

Summer of the Gypsy Moths by Sara Pennypacker

Stella misses her (unreliable) mom, but she loves it at great-aunt Louise’s house. Louise lives on Cape Cod, where Stella hopes her mom will someday come and settle down. The only problem? Angel, the foster kid Louise has taken in. The two girls live together but there’s no way they’ll ever be friends. Then Louise suddenly passes away one morning–and Stella and Angel decide not to tell anyone. Now they have to depend on each other for survival. Now they are forced to trust each other with the biggest secret ever. This is the story of two very different girls who unexpectedly become each other’s true family.

To Night Owl, From Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Avery Bloom, who’s bookish, intense, and afraid of many things, particularly deep water, lives in New York City. Bett Devlin, who’s fearless, outgoing, and loves all animals as well as the ocean, lives in California. What they have in common is that they are both twelve, and are both being raised by single dads. When their dads fall in love, Bett and Avery are sent, against their will, to the same sleepaway camp. Their dads hope that they will find common ground and become friends–and possibly, one day, even sisters. But things soon go off the rails for the girls (and for their dads too), and they find themselves on a summer adventure that neither of them could have predicted. Now that they can’t imagine life without each other, will Bett and Avery (who sometimes call themselves Night Owl and Dogfish) figure out a way to be a family?

Once Upon a Cruise by Anna Staniszewski

Ainsley never wanted to spend her summer on a fairy tale cruise–especially since, instead of lounging by the pool, she’s running around the ship doing favor after favor for her cruise director mom. Things aren’t all bad–it’s good to see her mom acting confident again after the divorce, and she’s learning a lot about obscure German fairy tales and how to fold towels into entertaining shapes for little kids (um, yay?). There’s also a guy who’s super cute, even in a dorky dwarf costume–if only Ainsley could get Prince Handsome to stop babbling about himself long enough for her to say more than ‘hi’ to the cute dwarf! But once the cruise starts, things start to go wrong: the laundry turns pink, the kitchen runs out of food, the guy playing the Pig King is always in Ainsley’s hair, and her mom expects her to be in a hundred places all at once. Is this fairy tale cruise under a wicked curse? Or can Ainsley stand up for herself and make the cruise end happily ever after?

Room to Dream by Kelly Yang

Mia Tang is going for her dreams! After years of hard work, Mia Tang finally gets to go on vacation with her family — to China! A total dream come true! Mia can’t wait to see all her cousins and grandparents again, especially her cousin Shen. As she roams around Beijing, witnessing some of the big changes China’s going through, Mia thinks about the changes in her own life, like . . .1)Lupe’s taking classes at the high school! And Mia’s own plans to be a big writer are . . . stuck. 2)Something happened with Jason and Mia has no idea what to do about it. 3)New buildings are popping up all around the motel, and small businesses are disappearing. Can the Calivista survive? Buckle up! Mia is more determined than ever to get through the turbulence, now that she finally has . . . room to dream!

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So…how is your vacation going? Better than the ones above, I hope!

This turned out to be a longer “5 Books” than usual! I guess vacations just have a habit of not going the way they’re supposed to…

If you need help finding these, or any other books at the Library, just ask one of our Librarians. We’re always happy to match readers with their next favorite book! (And if you’re going on vacation, try reading a book about the place you’re going. Always fun to see things through a different lens!)

Happy Reading!
::Kelly::

5 Books Featuring…Magic in Graphic Novels!

So you like fantasy…and magic…and graphic novels? Do those all work together? Sure they do, and we’re here to prove it! Here’s a little magical light reading in a format that’s become all the rage for middle grade reading.

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 staff favorite. (But you’ll have to guess which is which)! (Graphic novels are a newish genre, so our “old” title might be decades younger than our normal “old” book in our other lists. But still…our “old” title definitely has sticking power.)

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Amethyst: Princess of Gemworld by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale, illustrated by Asiah Fulmore

Amaya, princess of House Amethyst in Gemworld, is something of a troublemaker. She and her brother have great fun together until a magical prank goes much too far and her parents ground her…to Earth! They hope a whole week in the mundane world will teach her that magic is a privilege…and maybe washing dishes by hand will help her realize the palace servants should be respected. Three years later, Amy has settled into middle school and ordinary life. She doesn’t remember any other home. So when a prince of the realm brings her home and restores her magical destiny, how will she cope?

Aster and the Accidental Magic Story and Script by Thom Pico, Story and Art by Karensac

Quiet…birds…nature… That’s what Aster expects when her parents move their whole family to the middle of nowhere. It’s just her (status- super-bored), her mom and dad (status- busy with science), her brother (status- has other plans), and…magic? In her new home, Aster meets a mysterious old woman with a herd of dogs who gives her a canine companion of her own. But when she and her dog Buzz are adventuring in the forest, they run into a trickster spirit who gives Aster three wishes. After wishing for the ability to understand and talk to her dog, she becomes only able to talk in dog language…and the trouble she gets into is just starting. Maybe the middle of nowhere will be more interesting than Aster thought!

Beetle and the Hollowbones by Aliza Layne, coloring by Natalie Riess and Kristen Acampora

In the eerie town of ‘Allows, some people get to be magical sorceresses, while other people have their spirits trapped in the mall for all ghastly eternity. Then there’s twelve-year-old goblin-witch Beetle, who’s caught in between. She’d rather skip being homeschooled completely and spend time with her best friend, Blob Glost. But the mall is getting boring, and B.G. is cursed to haunt it, tethered there by some unseen force. And now Beetle’s old best friend, Kat, is back in town for a sorcery apprenticeship with her Aunt Hollowbone. Kat is everything Beetle wants to be: beautiful, cool, great at magic, and kind of famous online. Beetle’s quickly being left in the dust. But Kat’s mentor has set her own vile scheme in motion. If Blob Ghost doesn’t escape the mall soon, their afterlife might be coming to a very sticky end. Now, Beetle has less than a week to rescue her best ghost, encourage Kat to stand up for herself, and confront the magic she’s been avoiding for far too long. And hopefully ride a broom without crashing.

The City on the Other Side by Mairghread Scott and Robin Robinson

Sheltered within her high-society world, Isabel plays the part of a perfectly proper little girl–she’s quiet, well-behaved, and she keeps her dresses spotlessly clean. She’s certainly not the kind of girl who goes on adventures. But that all changes when Isabel breaches an invisible barrier and steps into another world. She discovers a city not unlike her own, but magical and dangerous. Here, war rages between the fairies of the Seelie and Unseelie Courts. Only Isabel, with the help of a magical necklace and a few new friends, stands a chance of ending the war before it destroys the fairy world, and her own. When Isabel stumbles into a pitched war between two fairy kingdoms, and the fate of San Francisco itself hangs in the balance!

Hooky by Miriam Bonastre Tur

When Dani and Dorian missed the bus to magic school, they never thought they’d wind up declared traitors to their own kind! Now, thanks to a series of mishaps, they are being chased by powerful magic families seeking the prophesied King of Witches and royals searching for missing princes. But they aren’t alone. With a local troublemaker, a princess, and a teacher who can see the future on their side, they might just be able to clear their names…but can they heal their torn kingdom? Two twins, one prophecy, and a whole lot of hijinks. 

Little Witch Academia by Trigger/Yoh Yoshinari, Art by Keisuke Sato

“Reach out your hand, and your story will begin!” Those words changed young Atsuko “Akko” Kagari forever, sparking in her a lifelong dream of becoming a real witch. Now she’s been accepted to the same school as her childhood hero, Shiny Chariot-the prestigious Luna Nova Witchcraft Academy. As the only student to come from a non-magical family, Akko finds herself surrounded by prodigies from around the world, but giving up isn’t in her vocabulary. Whether it’s making friends, proving the doubters wrong, or just flying on a broom, Akko is going to make her fantasy a reality!

Maddy Kettle: The Adventure of the Thimblewitch by Eric Orchare

Maddy loved working in her parents’ bookstore… especially when joined by her pet flying toad Ralph. But that was before the mysterious Thimblewitch turned her mom & dad into kangaroo rats! Now Maddy’s on the adventure of a lifetime. To save her parents, she’ll need to sneak past an army of spider-goblins, scarecrow warriors, and much more… Fortunately, an assortment of new friends await, including the cloud cartographers Harry and Silvio, a bear and raccoon who explore the world in their moon-balloon. They’ll help her along the way, but in the end, the fate of everyone will depend on Maddy’s courage, compassion, and creativity.

Mooncakes by Wendy Xu and Suzanne Walker

Nova Huang knows more about magic than your average teen witch. She works at her grandmothers’ bookshop, where she helps them loan out spell books and investigate any supernatural occurrences in their New England town. One fateful night, she follows reports of a white wolf into the woods, and she comes across the unexpected: her childhood crush, Tam Lang, battling a horse demon in the woods. As a werewolf, Tam has been wandering from place to place for years, unable to call any townhome. Pursued by dark forces eager to claim the magic of wolves and out of options, Tam turns to Nova for help. Their latent feelings are rekindled against the backdrop of witchcraft, untested magic, occult rituals, and family ties both new and old in this enchanting tale of self-discovery.

The Okay Witch by Emma Steinkellner

Magic is harder than it looks. Moth Hush loves all things witchy. But she’s about to discover that witches aren’t just the stuff of movies, books, and spooky stories. When some eighth-grade bullies try to ruin her Halloween, something really strange happens. It turns out that Founder’s Bluff, Massachusetts, has a centuries-old history of witch drama. And, surprise: Moth’s family is at the center of it all! When Moth’s new powers show up, things get totally out-of-control. She meets a talking cat, falls into an enchanted diary, and unlocks a hidden witch world. Secrets surface from generations past as Moth unravels the complicated legacy at the heart of her town, her family, and herself. A story packed with humor and heart about the weird and wonderful adventures of a witch-in-progress.

The Misadventures of Salem Hyde: Spelling Trouble by Frank Cammuso

Salem Hyde just isn’t like other kids. For one thing, she’s stubborn, independent, and impulsive. For another, she’s a witch. Salem acts first and thinks later–which means most of her thinking involves coming up with excuses! Good thing she’s been assigned an animal companion, Lord Percival J. Whamsford III. This over-anxious cat doesn’t like Salem calling him “Whammy,” and Salem doesn’t like listening to his long-winded explanations as to why she shouldn’t do something . . . like enter the class spelling bee. Salem knows she can beat all her classmates at spells, no problem. Too late, she realizes the competition is about spelling words, not magic. And there’s nothing like a misspelled spell to cause all kinds of havoc!

Witches of Brooklyn by Sophie Escabasse

Effie lost her mom and her home. And now she has to live with two strange aunts who she’s never met before. Life in Brooklyn takes a strange twist for Effie as she learns more about her family and herself. Life in Brooklyn takes a strange turn when Effie discovers that real MAGIC runs in the family. When Tily Shoo, a pop megastar, comes to Effie and her aunts in need of a magical skincare remedy, it takes the charm and skill of all three witches to save the diva’s day. With new friends who will do whatever they can to be there for her and her new magically-inclined family — Effie’s life is about to get verrrrry interesting….

Zatanna and the House of Secrets by Matthew Cody and Yoshi Yoshitani

Welcome to the magical, mystical, topsy-turvy world of the House of Secrets, where Zatanna embarks on a journey of self-discovery and adventure … all with her pet rabbit, Pocus, at her side. Zatanna and her professional magician father live in a special house, the House of Secrets, which is full of magic, puzzles, mysterious doors, and storybook creatures–it’s the house everyone in the neighborhood talks about but avoids. Not that Zatanna cares, though, because she is perfectly content. But at school one day, Zatanna stands up to a bully and everything changes … including her friends. Suddenly, Zatanna isn’t so sure about her place in the world, and when she returns home to tell her father, he’s gone missing, lost within their own home. Can Zatanna open the right door and find her father?

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Spells and cats and witches and hats…life is interesting with a little magic flowing! Now most of these books feature magic that touches on the real world…but we have lots of magic books in fantasy lands as well! Another booklist..? Maybe!

As always, if you need help finding these or any other books, ask one of our librarians. We love to match books and readers! And if you have any suggestions for graphic novels about magic we may have missed, let me know. Suggestions from readers are always welcome.

Happy Reading!
::Kelly::

Booklist: American Revolution

Every fifth grader in our school system studies the American Revolution. But what if you could live it? Not through a movie, or re-enactors…but through a book! See what life was like in Massachusetts (and other states) between 1775 and 1783. Would you have been a Loyalist or a Tory? Stood with General Washington, or General Gage?

It’s good that you don’t have to make that kind of decision. But in these books, the kids do. Which side will they choose? Check out one of these books and find out!

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Anna Strong and the Revolutionary War Culper Spy Ring by Enigma Alberti & Laura Terry

Meet the secret Culper Ring, a network of American spies fighting against the army of British redcoats, and historical figures like George Washington and the soon-to-be-infamous Benedict Arnold. And meet Anna Strong, an unsung heroine who found ingenious ways to communicate top-secret messages to her fellow spies, helping to save the American colonies from British rule. It’s a mystery to solve: There are clues embedded in the book’s text and illustrations. Spycraft materials, including a cipher wheel, come in an envelope at the beginning of the book. Use them to decode Anna’s hidden message and discover the secret mission she undertook for the Culper Ring!

The Fighting Ground by Avi

Jonathan may be only thirteen years old, but with the Revolutionary War unfolding around him, he’s more certain than ever that he wants to be a part of it–to fight for independence alongside his brother and cousin to defeat the British. But Jonathan’s father, himself wounded from battle, refuses to let his son join the front lines. When Jonathan hears the tavern bell toll, calling all soldiers to arms, he rushes to enlist without telling his dad. Gun in hand, Jonathan falls in with a militia and marches onward to the fighting ground. It feels like he’s been waiting his whole life for this moment. But no amount of daydreaming could prepare Jonathan for what he encounters. In just twenty-four hours, his life will be forever changed–by his fellow soldiers, unsuspecting enemies, and the frightening and complicated realities of war. 

Loyalty by Avi

When his father is killed by rebel vigilantes, Noah flees with his family to Boston. Intent on avenging his father, Noah becomes a spy for the British and firsthand witness to the power of partisan rumor to distort facts, the hypocrisy of men who demand freedom while enslaving others, and the human connections that bind people together regardless of stated allegiances. Awash in contradictory information and participating in key events leading to the American Revolution, Noah must forge his own understanding of right and wrong and determine for himself where his loyalty truly lies.

Sophia’s War by Avi

In 1776, young Sophia Calderwood witnesses the execution of Nathan Hale in New York City, which is newly occupied by the British army. Sophia is horrified by the event and resolves to do all she can to help the American cause. Recruited as a spy, she becomes a maid in the home of General Clinton, the supreme commander of the British forces in America. Through her work she becomes aware that someone in the American army might be switching sides, and she uncovers a plot that will grievously damage the Americans if it succeeds. But the identity of the would-be traitor is so shocking that no one believes her, and so Sophia decides to stop the treacherous plot herself, at great personal peril: She’s young, she’s a girl, and she’s running out of time. And if she fails, she’s facing an execution of her own.

The Year of the Hangman by Gary Blackwood

It’s 1777-the rebellious American colonies have been soundly defeated by the powerful British redcoats, and the imprisoned General Washington is to hang from the end of a gibbet. That’s the situation that faces Creighton Brown, a seventeen-year-old Britisher who is abducted and arrives in America with nothing but an attitude. Creighton comes to settle in the heart of the rebel stronghold-Benjamin Franklin’s house, where the banned Liberty Tree is secretly published. Creighton is expected to spy for the British, but as he comes to know more patriots, he must consider “turning his coat” and joining the rebels. No boring historical novel, this provocative “alternate history” nearly jumps from the page with nonstop action, including a frigate battle, prison escape, arson, code-cracking, and a bona fide duel.

Toliver’s Secret by Esther Wood Brady

Ellen Toliver is shocked to learn that her grandfather is a patriot spy. Then he’s injured on the day of an important mission–and she’s the only one who can take his place. It’s the last thing shy, timid Ellen wants to do, but her grandfather–and her country–are depending on her. It seems simple: take a boat across new York Harbor and deliver a loaf of bread with a secret message for General Washington baked inside. Disguised as a boy, Ellen finds courage she never dreamed she had. But things don’t go as planned. First Ellen finds herself on a boat full of British soldiers, and then she lands at the wrong town. As she faces each obstacle on her journey, Ellen wonders–will she ever get her message through? And will she ever see her family again?

The Arrow Over the Door by Joseph Bruchac

For Samuel Russell, called “coward” for his peace-loving Quaker beliefs, the summer of 1777 is a time of fear. The British and the Patriots will soon meet in battle near his home in Saratoga, New York. The Quakers are in danger from roaming Indians and raiders — yet to fight back is not the Friends’ way. To Stands Straight, a young Abenaki Indian on a scouting mission for the British, all Americans are enemies, for they killed his mother and brother. But in a Quaker Meetinghouse he will come upon Americans unlike any he has ever seen. What will the encounter bring? Based on a real historical incident, this fast-paced and moving story is a powerful reminder that “the way of peace…can be walked by all human beings”.

My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

The Revolutionary War had no clear-cut loyalties–it divided families, friends, and towns. Young Tim Meeker’s sixteen-year-old brother goes off to fight with the Patriots while his father remains a reluctant British Loyalist in the Tory town of Redding, Connecticut. Tim’s always looked up to his brother, who’s smart and brave. With the war soon raging, Tim knows he’ll have to make a choice–between the Revolutionaries and the Redcoats…and between his brother and his father. Over the course of the war, Tim learns that life teaches some bitter lessons and does not guarantee clear answers.

A True Patriot: The Journal of William Thomas Emerson by Barry Denenberg

On an early summer morning in 1774, William Emerson, on the run from his abusive foster parents, awakens to a dusty-faced stranger who has discovered his roadside bed. After hearing the boy’s story, Mr. John Wilson–a writer for and organizer of the revolutionary cause–invites Will to accompany him into Boston. From that day forward, Will lives and works at the Seven Stars Tavern, gradually earning the trust of the colonial patriots who spend their time there. Through listening to tavern talk and closely observing Mr. Wilson, Will begins to grasp the importance of the colonial cause. But when conflicts between the citizens of colonial Boston and the British lobsterbacks escalate, Will is confronted with an impossible question–how much is he willing to sacrifice for the revolution and the freedom of his fellow citizens? 

Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes

Johnny Tremain, an apprentice silversmith with a bright future ahead of him, injures his hand in a tragic work accident, causing his apprenticeship to be cancelled. With one hand barely functioning, he has to find some work while he hopes for the hand to improve enough to go back to his craft. In his new job as a horse-boy, riding for the patriotic newspaper The Boston Observer and as a messenger for the Sons of Liberty, he encounters John Hancock, Samuel Adams, and Dr. Joseph Warren. Soon Johnny is involved in the pivotal events of the American Revolution, from the Boston Tea Party to the first shots fired at Lexington.

Early Thunder by Jean Fritz

Daniel knew he was loyal to England and the King. Until something happened that changed his life forever… Salem, 1774. Daniel West and his widowed doctor father are undeniably Tories, and neither tax on tea nor wild acts by the rowdy Liberty Boys could weaken their loyalty to the king. After a series of further disappointments, from his father and from England, Daniel disappoints himself on a night when all of Salem goes wild. Eventually, Daniel must come to terms with himself and makes a difficult decision. In a major confrontation between the British troops and the townspeople, he proudly supports his chosen side.

Hope’s Crossing by Joan Elizabeth Goodman

They came from across Long Island Sound, Tories in search of plunder and ransom, bringing terror to Hope Wakeman’s Connecticut home. The family is defenseless now that Father is away serving in General Washington’s army. They can only watch as Noah Thomas and his crew strip the house of treasured belongings. And before she realizes what is happening, Hope finds herself a captive and a slave to Thomas’s ill-tempered wife. Hope has one unlikely ally: Thomas’s plucky mother is a different sort of Tory, one who sees beyond partisan divisions. Together the frail old woman and the girl escape, setting off in search of safety, on a journey that takes them from the tiny villages of Long Island to the bustling Tory stronghold of Manhattan.

Friends of Liberty by Beatrice Gormley

It’s 1773, and Boston is in political turmoil. As tension rises between England and the colonies, lines are being drawn between the Loyalists and the Patriots. And Sally Gifford, a shoemaker’s daughter, finds herself on the opposite side from her best friend Kitty Lawton, the daughter of a wealthy merchant. Sally is torn between her cherished friendship and her loyalties to her own family and community in their fight for freedom. As the conflict continues to grow more charged in the weeks leading up to the Boston Tea Party, Sally finds within herself a bravery she didn’t know she had, and ultimately takes a stand for what she comes to find is most important.

Midnight Rider by Joan Hiatt Harlow

It’s 1775 and the American colonies are on the brink of revolution. Boston is swarming with soldiers, spies, and secrets. Tempers are flaring between the Whigs and the Tories. Fourteen-year-old Hannah Andrews is thrown into the middle of it all when she is driven out of her home by her guardian aunt to work as an indentured servant in the Boston household of Thomas Gage, governor of the colonies and general of the British armies.Soon after Hannah’s arrival, the stable boy, Caleb, befriends her and alerts her to the issues faced by Americans under British rule. Hannah dreams of freedom and begins to sympathize with Americans who desire independence from Britain. On the other hand, Hannah has deep respect for the Gage family and affection for her rebellious young mistress, Meg. Hannah soon realizes that Meg is as trapped in her aristocratic life as Hannah is in her own bondage as a servant. Hannah relies on her beloved horse, Promise, to help her through the difficult times. Disguised as a boy on her midnight rides with Promise, Hannah learns on which side her heart belongs. Then, when Hannah overhears a British plot to march on her hometown, she and Promise risk their lives to carry the warning to the town of Salem.

The Hollow Tree by Janet Lunn

It is 1777, and Phoebe Olcott is thrown headlong into the turmoil of war when her beloved cousin Gideon is hanged for being a British spy. When she finds a secret message from Gideon, containing the names of Loyalist families to be protected by the King’s soldiers, she decides to deliver it to the British general at Fort Ticonderoga. There’s only one problem: Phoebe has never been away from her small New Hampshire village, and she knows absolutely nothing about survival in the wilderness–much less dealing with warring Patriots and Tories. But she won’t let that stop her! Thus begins an enthralling wilderness journey, where Phoebe is accompanied by a cat, a bear cub, and Jem Morrissay, a young Loyalist heading to British Canada himself.

The Keeping Room by Anna Myers

When Colonel Joseph Kershaw leaves Camden, South Carolina, to lead the American rebels in their struggle against the British, he leaves his son Joey behind as the man of the house. As much as Joey fears the dreaded Redcoats, he is more afraid that he may not be able to fulfill his father’s expectations. But try as he might to protect his family, the horrors of the war reach right up to Joey’s doorsteop when General Cornwallis comes into town and makes the Kershaws’ home his headquarters. Soon after, he begins hanging American prisoners in the family garden. Although his family and teachers counsel against it, Joey is determined to help avenge his countrymen and prove himself–even if he has to risk everything.

The Secret Mission of William Tuck by Eric Pierpoint

William Tuck is set on justice. For his brother killed by British soldiers, for his friend Rebecca’s father held prisoner by the redcoats, and for the countless other rebel Americans struggling beneath the crushing weight of British rule. The whispered words of a dying soldier and a mysterious watch both give William all the ammunition he needs; a secret message for the leader of the rebel army. Rebecca disguises herself as a boy, and she and William join the American troops. They embark on an epic journey that pulls them into a secret network of spies, pits them against dangerous gunmen, and leads them on a quest to find General George Washington himself. Can William and Rebecca determine friend from foe long enough to deliver a message that might just change the tide of the American Revolution?

Liberty’s Son by Paul B. Thompson

Oliver Carter arrives in Boston in 1773 with the simple plan to work for Dr. Benjamin Church. However, the American colonists had grown tired of British tyranny and Boston has turned into a center of rebellious activity. Oliver joins Dr. Church in the Sons of Liberty, a group of colonists fighting for the rebel cause, but soon Oliver discovers that his boss is a traitor, giving secrets to the British. What can Oliver do to warn his friends about the danger they may be facing? Follow Oliver Carter in this spy story as he joins the rebellion, risks his life, and witnesses one of the climactic events beginning the American Revolution, the Boston Tea Party.

The Reb and the Redcoats by Constance Savery

Charlotte Darrington and her brothers and sisters can’t understand Uncle Lawrence’s bad mood. What could be more interesting than having their own American prisoner of war? The children are determined to make friends with the young rebel–but they find themselves thwarted by Uncle Lawrence and the prisoner himself. It is only after a near-disastrous attempt to reach France that the Reb allows himself to be drawn into the life at White Priory in southern England. The children are happy to become is “redcoats”–but they know that as long as the rebellion in the Colonies is going on, the cannot rely on the Reb to stay in their home. After the Reb nearly dies, even Uncle Lawrence, embittered by the unjust death of a friend in America, thaws toward him-but this doesn’t stop the Reb from scheming to escape at the first honorable opportunity.

John Treegate’s Musket by Leonard Wibberley

It is 1769, ten years since America’s colonial militia had joined with the British regular army and defeated the French for dominion of Canada. The current of feeling about what it means to be loyal to the King has changed. While many colonists are angry about England’s unjust taxation, wealthy merchant John Treegate remains fiercely loyal and certain that an agreement can be reached between the colonies and their mother country. Deciding to travel to England to appeal to the government there means leaving his motherless, eleven-year-old son Peter on his own, apprenticed to one of Treegate’s friends, a manufacturer of barrel staves. Peter’s new master is not severe, but the senior apprentice is a vicious bully and worse. A chain of events leads to trouble for Peter involving murder, shipwreck, loss of memory, adoption by a strange and bitter Scotsman, until finally he is reunited with his father on the eve of America’s battle for independence.

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If you’re looking for a local production you can see to visualize what happened during the Revolution in our very own town, you could check out Allegiance: The Legend of Isaac Jones, which was filmed right here in Weston by local high school students back in 2009.

Allegiance: The Legend of Isaac Jones

Isaac Jones is an innkeeper in Weston, Massachusetts at the time of the American Revolution. He is a loyal to England and his tavern becomes a safe haven for British spies as they plan their famous march to Lexington and Concord. When his fellow residents find out that Isaac is serving tea, he comes under their scrutiny. ‘Allegiance: The Legend of Isaac Jones’ is the story of Isaac’s reluctant change of loyalty in the time of war.

A historical dramatization of events that actually happened in 1775 at the Golden Ball Tavern in Weston, Massachusetts.

Check it out at the Weston Public Library!

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So whether you’re studying Colonial Times in school, or are simply interested in history during the American Revolution, these books are sure to satisfy your curiosity!

If you need help finding these–or any other–books at the Library, just ask one of our librarians. We’re always happy to match kids and books!

Happy Reading!
::Kelly::

5 Books Featuring…Lighthouse Adventures!

Lighthouses are all over the world. Probably our closest ones are in Maine or on the Cape. If you’ve ever visited the coast in either of these places, you’ve probably seen at least one lighthouse…maybe more. But have you ever been inside one? If you can get up all those stairs, you’ll find yourself high above the world, with a 365-degree view. You can see all kinds of things from up there…the ocean, waves, whales, puffins, ships about to wreck, doorways between dimensions, crazy criminals… ALL kinds of things!

The books in this 5 Books…well, it expanded to about fifteen, so this Booklist…feature adventures that take place in or around lighthouses. One is sure to grab your attention!

As it started out as a 5 Books Featuring…you can apply the same rules to the list: 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)!

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The Lighthouse Between the Worlds by Melanie Crowder

Griffin and his father tend to their lighthouse on the craggy coast of Oregon with the same careful routine each day. There are hardly ever any visitors, but they like it that way. Which is why, when a group of oddly dressed strangers suddenly appears, Griffin begins to see just how many secrets his father has been keeping. He never imagined that his lighthouse contains a portal to strange and dangerous worlds, or that a Society of Lighthouse Keepers exists to protect the Earth from a fearsome enemy invasion. But then Griffin’s dad is pulled through the lens of the lighthouse into one of those other worlds. With his father gone, nobody from the Society is giving Griffin any answers, so he’s on his own. Armed only with a book of mysterious notes from his parents, Griffin is determined to find his father, no matter what dangers lurk on the other side of the portal.

A Million Miles from Boston by Karen Day

Schoool’s out! That means Lucy is off to her favorite place: Pierson Point, Maine, where her family spends the summer. And Lucy can’t get there soon enough. She wants out of Boston and to forget her wories about starting middle school. Lucy plans on a perfect summer at the Maine lake where her family has owned a cottage for decades, but family of a classmate she dislikes has bought a home there and her widowed father is bringing a girlfriend to visit. Will Lucy survive the summer? Will she find out if change is always bad, or is it sometimes a chance to see things differently?

Storm Keepers Island by Catherine Doyle

Fionn Boyle comes from a long line of brave seafarers, people with the ocean behind their eyes. But he can’t help but fear the open sea. For years, Fionn’s mother has told him stories of Arranmore Island, a strange place that seems to haunt her. Fionn has always wondered about this mysterious island, and from the day he arrives he starts noticing things that can’t be explained. He can sense the island all around him, and it feels like the island is watching him, too. Once in a generation, Arranmore Island chooses a new Storm Keeper to wield its power and keep its magic safe from enemies. The time has come for his grandfather, a secretive and eccentric old man, to step down. But as Fionn and the other descendants of Arranmore’s most powerful families fight to become the island’s next champion, a more sinister magic is waking up, intent on rekindling a long-ago war and changing Fionn’s life and the island’s future forever.

Conrad’s Fate by Diana Wynne Jones

“Unless you put right what you did wrong in your previous life — and put it right now — you are going to be horribly and painfully dead before the year’s out.” Someone at the mysterious Stallery Mansion is pulling the possibilities. At first only small details change — the color of the mailboxes, the titles of books — but the changes keep getting bigger and bigger. It’s up to Conrad Tesdinic, a twelve-year-old with truly terrible karma, to find the person behind it all. Armed with his camera and a sticky cork that can summon an eerie being called a Walker, Conrad infiltrates the staff at Stallery. And he’s not the only one snooping around the mansion. His fellow servant-in-training — charming, confident Christopher Chant — is searching for his friend Millie, who’s lost in one of the possibilities. Christopher always seems to have a trick up his sleeve. To find the person behind all the mischief and to rescue Millie, the two boys have to work together. Can they keep Conrad’s fate from catching up to them?

Notorious by Gordon Korman

Keenan has lived all over the world but nowhere quite as strange as Centerlight Island, which is split between the United States and Canada. The only thing weirder than Centerlight itself is his neighbor Zarabeth, aka ZeeBee. ZeeBee is obsessed with the island’s history as a Prohibition-era smuggling route. She’s also convinced that her beloved dog, Barney, was murdered–something Keenan finds pretty hard to believe. Just about everyone on Centerlight is a suspect, because everyone hated Barney, a huge dog–part mastiff, part rottweiler–notorious for terrorizing the community. Accompanied by a mild-mannered new dog who is practically Barney’s opposite, ZeeBee enlists Keenan’s help to solve the mystery. As Keenan and ZeeBee start to unravel the clues, they uncover a shocking conspiracy that dates back to Centerlight’s gangster past. The good news is that Keenan may have found the best friend he’s ever had. The bad news is that the stakes are sky-high. And now someone is after them. . . .

Between the Lighthouse and You by Michelle Lee

Alice Jones’s mother died in a boating accident. Well, that’s what everyone says. Alice doesn’t believe them–her mother’s body was never recovered off the coast of Aviles Island, and Alice has always thought she might still be out there somewhere. Then Alice discovers that the residents of Aviles know how to communicate with loved ones who have died. If Alice can go there and try to contact her mother, she might have all the answers she needs. For generations, Leo Mercury’s family has been in charge of the Aviles Island lighthouse, and Leo himself is determined to take after his beloved grandfather and be a Lighthouse Keeper one day. When nosy Alice Jones shows up for the festival, asking questions about the tidings that outsiders shouldn’t, Leo knows it’s up to him to protect the island’s traditions. But he starts to realize that he and Alice may actually want the same things–and together, they can believe in the impossible, even if no one else will.

The Family Fletcher Takes Rock Island by Dana Alison Levy

Welcome to Rock Island, Where Time Stands Still! The Fletchers are back on Rock Island, home of all their best summer memories. But from the first day they arrive, it’s clear that this year, things have changed. first, a giant fence is blocking their beloved lighthouse. Second, they have new neighbors. Third, who the heck is the weird artist guy who’s never actually painting? And fourth, there’s now an ice cream truck! Can the island stay the same even with these crazy transformations?  Over the course of the summer, the Fletchers will learn that sometimes, even in a place where time stands still, the wildest, weirdest, and most wonderful surprises await.

Family Tree: Better to Wish by Anne Martin

In 1930, Abby Nichols is eight, and can’t imagine what her future holds. The best things today would be having a dime for the fair, keeping her Pops from being angry, and saving up eighty-seven cents to surprise her little sister with a tea set for Christmas. But Abby’s world is changing fast. Soon there will be new siblings to take care of, a new house to move into, and new friends to meet. But there will also be good-byes to say and hard choices to make. As Abby grows older, how will she decide what sort of life will fit her best? The first in a four-book quartet; each featuring a different generation in the Nichols family.

The Extraordinary Adventures of Ordinary Basil by Wiley Miller

Basil thought that nothing exciting would ever happen where he lived, until the day an airship arrived outside his window! After hopping aboard, Basil is taken to Helios, the beautiful city in the sky. A stunningly illustrated tale of a boy who is bored by his life and ready to break free from the lighthouse he calls home. Led off by a wonderfully eccentric professor in a hot-air-balloon ship, Basil travels to another dimension where he and a new friend save the fantasy city of Helios from destruction.

The Puffin Keeper by Michael Morpurgo

One stormy night, a four-masted schooner was driven onto the rocks by angry seas. The sails were soon in tatters, three of her masts broken. She was helpless in the towering waves, and was sinking fast… As a child, Allen is saved from this nautical disaster by Benjamin Postlethwaite, a solitary lighthouse keeper. Years later, Allen returns to the lighthouse, and the two nurse an injured young puffin back to health. When Allen is called up to fight in World War Two, he’s not sure he’ll see his mother or Benjamin again, but his fond memories of his time at the lighthouse keep him going, even through prison camp.

Catch as Catch Can by Josephine Poole

Piers and Virginia are on their way to the country when a man, rushing from his compartment on the train, pushes pas Piers and makes a fatal leap from the moving trian. But not before slipping a note into Piers’ pocket. The summer days become filled with danger and intrigue for the cousins as they try to translate the note and solve the mystery. Summer heat, the odors of the moor, the haunting desolation of a lighthouse, and the fear of being kidnapped are elements in this suspenseful British mystery.

Mystery Isle by Judith St. George

Bright, curious Kim is spending a summer on shag island in Maine. the island and mansion on it have been in her family for generations, but now Kim’s great-grandfather intends to sell them. Kim and her mother busy themselves with preparations, but when Mom is called away on business, Kim and great-grandpa find themselves alone on the island. strange music, bright flashing lights, and an exotic parrot convince great-grandpa that he is losing his mind. but Kim knows what she saw, and as she digs into the mystery, soon realizes they are in grave danger. Now she must discover what—or who—is haunting shag island.

The Light at Tern Rock by Julia L. Sauer

Ronnie and his aunt are tending the Tern Rock lighthouse for two December weeks while its keeper takes a much-needed vacation. Ronnie learns to love the slap of the waves against the Rock, sleeping in a bunk, climbing the winding staircase, and lighting the great lamp each night, and he looks forward to telling his family about it Christmas. But the days go by, and the lighthouse keeper doesn’t return to take them home. Will Ronnie ever get to leave the island? Or will he and his aunt have to stay there until they can find another keeper?

Of Salt and Shore by Annet Schaap

Every evening Lampie, the lighthouse keeper’s daughter, must light a lantern to warn ships away from the rocks, but one stormy night disaster strikes. The lantern is not lit, a ship is wrecked, and someone must pay. To work off her debt, Lampie is banished to the Admiral’s lonely house, where a monster is rumored to live. The terrors inside the house aren’t quite what she thought they would be–they are even stranger. After Lampie saves the life of the neglected, deformed son of the admiral, a boy she calls Fish, they form a close bond. Soon they are pulled into a fairytale adventure swimming with mermaids, pirates, and misfits. Lampie will discover the courage to fight for friendship, knowledge, and the freedom to be different.

Our Castle by the Sea by Lucy Strange

England is at war. Growing up in a lighthouse, Pet’s world has been one of storms, secret tunnels and stories about sea monsters. But now the clifftops are a terrifying battleground, and her family is torn apart. Pet is a girl who is small, afraid and unnoticed. A girl who freezes with fear at the enemy planes ripping through the skies overhead. A girl who is somehow destined to become part of the strange, ancient legend of the Daughters of Stone… A haunting wartime tale about a girl who lives in a lighthouse, woven through with an unforgettable legend.

Leaving the Bellweathers by Kristin Clark Venuti

The young Bellweathers–Spider, Ninda, and triplets Brick, Spike, and Sassy–and their equally peculiar parents have brought constant chaos to the once-peaceful village of Eel-Smack-by-the-Bay. Still, no one has suffered more than their loyal butler, Benway, who has finally had enough. He is secretly writing his tell-all memoirs, packing his bags, and planning his move to a tropical location, Far, Far Away. But when the siblings discover Benway is preparing to leave their lighthouse home, they band together to prove how much he’s needed, as only Bellweathers can. . . . Full of comic capers and close calls, an art heist and albino alligators, and good intentions gone wrong, this is the story of a family that is absolutely unforgettable.

Through the Storm by Ginger Zee

Battered, bruised, but alive, Helicity Dunlap rides out a hurricane in the Bolivar Peninsula Lighthouse in Texas. She somehow manages to keep herself safe and to even rescue a lost dog in the process. After a day in the hospital, she and her mom and Sam make the two-day drive back to Western Michigan. Much to her dismay, Helicity ends up in the spotlight–first in a good way after surviving the hurricane and rescuing the dog–and then social media turns on her and she finds herself in the eye of a completely different kind of storm. Back at school Helicity struggles to maintain her focus. She decides to accept an offer to be interviewed about her experience in Texas by a reporter who followed her story. They meet up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, during the annual International Hot Air Balloon Festival, a spectacle that must be seen to be believed. The excitement builds as Helicity delights in her first ride in a lighter-than-air balloon when disaster strikes. A severe dust storm–a haboob–typical of the area erupts while Helicity is aloft. An exciting book in a weather survival trilogy.

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Are you tempted now to visit a lighthouse? Then my job is done. 😀 If you can think of any other fictional books featuring lighthouses, let us know. They’re harder to find than you might think!

If you need help finding these or any other books in the Library, just ask one of our librarians. We love to match books and readers. And who knows? We might help you find your next favorite.

Happy Reading!
::kelly::

Booklist: New York City

Virtual Visits!

In this entry, we’ll be visiting New York City in books.  From the 1800s to contemporary times, with mysteries, humor and even a bit of fantasy!  So grab a map, find a comfortable spot, and read on!

This started out as a 5 Books Featuring….but there are just SO MANY books set in NYC! Still, we do have quite a few award winners, kid favorites, staff favorites, new books, old books and everything in between in this Booklist!

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Lucky Broken Girl  by Ruth Behar

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 the arts can sweeten even the worst of times.

In the Country of Queens by Cari Best

Shirley Alice Burns lives with her domineering mother, Hurricane Anna, and loving Grandmother. One day she unexpectedly discovers that her beloved father isn’t in Absentia as her family would have her believe, but dead. And she understands all too well why they haven’t told her; she’s always been shy and quiet, and Anna has always been protective of her. But if Shirley doesn’t start speaking up, she isn’t going to be able to do the things she wants to do: go on vacation to Lake Winnipesaukee with her cousins, stop taking ballet lessons, and talk about her father. Through the help of a mouse, her hero Pippi Longstocking, and her cousin Phillie, Shirley finds the strength to give her dreams a voice and convince everyone, even Hurricane Anna, that she doesn’t need to be sheltered, especially from the truth.

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Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters by Lesley M.M. Blume

Cornelia is the daughter of two world-famous pianists–a legacy that should feel fabulous, but instead feels just plain lonely. She surrounds herself with dictionaries and other books to isolate herself from the outside world. But when a glamorous neighbor named Virginia Somerset moves next door with her servant Patel and a mischievous French bulldog named Mister Kinyatta, Cornelia discovers that the world is a much more exciting place than she had originally thought.

The Supernatural Sleuthing Service: The Lost Legacy by Gwenda Bond & Chistopher Rowe

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Stephen’s dad has moved their two-person family across the country to New York City, where he is taking over as head chef in an exclusive hotel. A hotel that has the most elite of clientele: monsters (though they prefer to be called supernormals). Surprise! And an even bigger surprise? Stephen is part supernormal himself.  When a magical family heirloom is stolen and Stephen is framed, he must work with two new friends to navigate this whole new world and clear his name. After all, consequences can be dire in the world of monsters.

Madhattan Mystery by John J. Bonk

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All set to spend their summer in New York City with their aunt while their father is honeymooning with his new wife, Lexi and her younger brother Kevin discover their snoozy summer plans turn into high-stakes adventure when Lexi overhears a plot to steal Cleopatra’s famous jewels from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Joining forces with budding investigative journalist Kim Ling Levine, they ditch day camp to track down the thieves and rake in the reward money. Can Lexi, Kevin, and Kim find out who’s behind the jewel heist without getting into too much trouble themselves?

Ana María Reyes Does Not Live in a Castle by Hilda Eunice Burgos

Her last name may mean kings, but Ana María Reyes REALLY does not live in a castle. Rather, she’s stuck in a tiny apartment with two parents (way too lovey–dovey), three sisters (way too dramatic), everyone’s friends (way too often), and a piano (which she never gets to practice). And when her parents announce a new baby is coming, that means they’ll have even less time for Ana María.
Then she hears about the Eleanor School, New York City’s best private academy. If Ana María can win a scholarship, she’ll be able to get out of her Washington Heights neighborhood school and achieve the education she’s longed for. To stand out, she’ll need to nail her piano piece at the upcoming city showcase, which means she has to practice through her sisters’ hijinks, the neighbors’ visits, a family trip to the Dominican Republic . . . right up until the baby’s birth! But some new friends and honest conversations help her figure out what truly matters, and know that she can succeed no matter what. Ana María Reyes may not be royal, but she’s certain to come out on top.

The Good, the Bad, and the Beagle by Catherine Lloyd Burns

Set in Manhattan, this is the story of feisty eleven-year-old Veronica Morgan, who believes that a furry lemon beagle from the neighborhood pet store will be the solution to the endless worries she has about life in general and friendship in particular. This is a problem, since her bumbling psychiatrist parents won’t buy her the puppy she wants or stop meddling in her life at her challenging new school. But things never turn out the way you plan, particularly if you never stop expectingthe worst to happen, and haven’t taken a chance on being a true friend yourself.

Skylark and Wallcreeper by Anne O’Brien Carelli

Hurricane Sandy is flooding New York City, and Lily is at a nursing home with her grandmother, Collette. Lily visits Collette often, as she is beginning to lose her memories. When the National Guard shows up to evacuate the building and take them to safety at the Park Slope armory in Brooklyn, Lily’s granny suddenly produces a red box she’s hidden in a closet for years. Once they get to safety, Lily opens the box, where she finds an old, beautiful Montblanc pen. Granny tells Lily that the pen is very important and that she has to take care of it, as well as some letters written in French. But Lily loses the pen in the course of helping other nursing home residents; as she searches the city trying to find it, she learns more about her grandmother’s past in France and begins to uncover the significance of the pen with the help of her best friend, a quirky pen expert, and a larger-than-life, off-Broadway understudy. Told in alternating sections (2012 and 1944), this engaging book explores a deep friendship during difficult times and the importance of family.

Snow Struck by Nick Courage

Neither Elizabeth nor her little brother, Matty, have ever been north of Georgia. They’re used to sandals and shorts, not boots and parkas. So when they fly to New York City to spend the holidayswith their cousin Ashley, they want to experience one thing: SNOW! Ashley can’t wait to show her cousins how magical Manhattan is at Christmastime. But instead of a week of fun, what they get is an arctic blast that knocks out the power and plunges the skyscrapers into darkness. It’s unreal: the blizzard covers the Statue of Liberty in ice and topples the famous Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center! When Ashley’s dog, Fang, gets lost outside, the cousins take matters into their own hands. . . and are caught in the storm’s dangerous path as they chase Fang across the frozen city. Can the little Pomeranian survive the cold, snow, and ice blanketing Manhattan? Can they?

Trace By Pat Cummings

Carter doesn’t know how to feel at ease in his new life in New York. Even though his artsy Auntie Lea is cool, her brownstone still isn’t his home. Haunted by flashbacks of the accident that killed his parents, the best he can do is try to distract himself from memories of the past. But the past isn’t done with him. When Trace takes a wrong turn in the New York Public Library, he finds someone else lost in the stacks with him: a crying little boy, wearing old, tattered clothes. And though at first he can’t quite believe he’s seen a ghost, Trace soon discovers that the boy he saw has ties to Trace’s own history–and that he himself may be the key to setting the dead to rest.

All Four Stars by Tara Dairman

Gladys Gatsby has been cooking gourmet dishes since the age of seven, only her fast-food-loving parents have no idea! Now she’s eleven, and after a crème brûlée accident (just a small fire), Gladys is cut off from the kitchen (and her allowance). She’s devastated but soon finds just the right opportunity to pay her parents back when she’s mistakenly contacted to write a restaurant review for one of the largest newspapers in the world. But in order to meet her deadline and keep her dream job, Gladys must cook her way into the heart of her sixth-grade archenemy and sneak into New York City–all while keeping her identity a secret! Easy as pie, right? Read the whole series!

Times Squared by Julia DeVillers and Jennifer Roy

Identical twin sisters Payton and Emma Mills have “traded faces” and created “twin-dentical chaos” at school and at home. But you haven’t seen anything yet. Payton and Emma are off to “twin-vade” New York City! Payton’s drama club plans a field trip to see an off-Broadway show, and Emma’s mathletes team will compete in an elite competition. Sounds twin-tastic! But Payton never imagined the star of the show would be Ashlynn, her old nemesis from summer camp whose chores Payton traded for designer clothes. Are Payton’s summer promises coming back to haunt her? Or will she be saved by a flip-flop twin swap? Emma has her own nemesis to face–she and Jazmine James are on the same team. But teamwork? Not so much. Since Jazmine is in it to win it…will Emma have to “twin” it? Payton and Emma must do a ‘twins-formation’ to rescue each other again. And again! (Not again!) Toss in cute boys, crazy triplet poofy Pomeranian stage puppies, and New York City and things get a little twin-sane. Is the big city ready for Payton and Emma! (or is it Emma and Payton?) and their mixed-up mayhem? Which is which in the biggest twin switch yet!

The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright

Meet the Melendys! Mona, the eldest, is thirteen. She has decided to become an actress and can recite poetry at the drop of a hat. Rush is twelve and a bit mischievous. Miranda is ten and a half. She loves dancing and painting pictures. Oliver is the youngest. At six, he is a calm and thoughtful person. They all live with their father, who is a writer, and Cuffy, their beloved housekeeper, who takes on the many roles of nurse, cook, substitute mother, grandmother, and aunt. When the Melendys get bored though…watch out! It’s actually Oliver who comes up with the idea…none of them have enough allowance to do anything exciting on a weekend. But what if they pool that allowance, and each Saturday, one Melendy gets to do whatever they want with their bigger funds..? See New York City of the 1940s as the Melendys explore their different versions of “the perfect day.”

Into the Lion’s Den, a Devlin Quick Mystery 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 Goat by Anne Fleming

When Kid accompanies her parents to New York City for a six-month stint of dog-sitting and home-schooling, she sees what looks like a tiny white cloud on the top of their apartment building. Rumor says there’s a goat living on the roof, but how can that be? As Kid soon discovers, a goat on the roof may be the least strange thing about her new home, whose residents are both strange and fascinating.
In the penthouse lives a famous skateboarding fantasy writer. On the ninth floor are a retired couple trying to adapt to a new lifestyle after a stroke. The resident on the tenth loves opera and tends to burble on nervously about his two hamsters — or are they guinea pigs? Then there’s Kid’s own high-maintenance mother who is rehearsing for an Off Broadway play and is sure it will be the world’s biggest flop.
Kid is painfully shy and too afraid to talk to new people at first, but she is happy to explore Manhattan, especially the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Central Park, where she meets Will, who is also home-schooled and under the constant watchful eye of his grandmother. When Kid learns that the goat will bring good luck to whoever sees it, suddenly it becomes very important to know whether the goat on the roof is real. So Kid and Will set out to learn the truth, even if it means confronting their own fears.

Many Points of Me by Caroline Gertler

Georgia Rosenbloom’s father was a famous artist. His most well-known paintings were a series of asterisms–patterns of stars–that he created. One represented a bird, one himself, and one Georgia’s mother. There was supposed to be a fourth, but Georgia’s father died before he could paint it. Georgia’s mother and her best friend, Theo, are certain that the last asterism would’ve been of Georgia, but Georgia isn’t so sure. Then Georgia finds a sketch her father made of her. One with pencil points marked on the back–just like those in the asterism paintings. Could this finally be the proof that the last painting would have been of her? Georgia’s quest to prove her theory takes her around her Upper West Side neighborhood and to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which was almost a second home to Georgia, having visited favorite artists and paintings there constantly with her father. But will the sketch leads her back to where she’s always belonged?

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser

The Vanderbeekers–twins Isa and Jessie, only brother Oliver, animal lover Hyacinth and imaginative Laney–have always lived in the brownstone on 141st Street. It’s practically another member of the family. So when their reclusive, curmudgeonly landlord Mr Beiderman decides not to renew their lease, the five siblings have eleven days to do whatever it takes to stay in their beloved home. Their best plan is to convince the dreaded Beiderman just how wonderful they are. They may have to enlist all their friends, the other residents of the brownstone, and maybe the whole neighborhood to help them! But all is fair in love and war when it comes to keeping their home. Read every book in this wonderful series!

Fearless by Mandy Gonzalaz

Monica Garcia has arrived in NYC with her grandmother and a few suitcases to live her dream on Broadway. She’s been chosen as understudy to the star of Our Time, the famed Ethel Merman Theater’s last chance to produce a hit before it shutters its doors for good. Along with her fellow castmates–a.k.a. “the squad”–Monica has a big and very personal reason to want this show to succeed. But rumors of a long-running curse plague the theater. And when strange and terrible things start to threaten their hopes for a successful opening night, Monica and the rest of the squad must figure out how to reverse the curse before their big Broadway debuts. With the help of her new friends, her family, and a little magic, can Monica help save the show–and save their dreams? From Broadway and television star Mandy Gonzalez comes a story about what it means to dream, be yourself, and be fearless.

The Metropolitans by 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 and experience the feelings of King Arthur, Queen Guinevere, Morgan le Fay, and Lancelot- 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?

Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff

Albie has never been the smartest kid in his class. He has never been the tallest. Or the best at gym. Or the greatest artist. Or the most musical. In fact, Albie has a long list of the things he’s not very good at.  But then Albie is being forced to switch from his private New York City school to P.S. 183. His new school gives him more specialized attention, but it also means dodging a name-calling bully and making friends other than his buddy Erlan, whose family is starring in a reality TV show. Because of Albie’s academic struggles (especially in spelling and math), his mother hires Calista, a college art student, to tutor and spend time with him. Even though he has to deal with the changes, it’s Calista who helps him figure out all of the things he is good at and how he can take pride in himself.

Spring Break Mistake by Allison Gutknecht

After years of suffering through the most boring spring vacations ever, Avalon Kelly is ready for a week of adventure. On a hash-tagged whim, she entered the PhotoReady app’s spring break getaway contest to NYC–and won! But right away, this trip of a lifetime isn’t turning out as planned. Avalon’s best friend isn’t one of the PhotoReady winners, which means that not only will Avalon have to venture to the Big Apple by herself, but she’ll be assigned a stranger as a roommate. The perky and talkative Sofia seems pleasant enough, but snooty Kensington–who was placed in Room 609 at the last moment due to a mix-up–is a whole other story. Just when Avalon is about ready to abandon the trip entirely, one of the fellow contest winners, the cute and mysterious Tate, disappears from the group, and the Room 609 girls must band together, using the clues within their photographs, if they have any hope of tracking him down. Will the hunt for Tate and the view of New York City through her camera lens be enough to convince Avalon to stick it out for the full week?

The Sky at Our Feet by Nadia Hashimi

Jason has just learned that his Afghan mother has been living illegally in the United States since his father was killed in Afghanistan. Although Jason was born in the US, it’s hard to feel American now when he’s terrified that his mother will be discovered — and that they will be separated. When he sees his mother being escorted from her workplace by two officers, Jason feels completely alone. He boards a train with the hope of finding his aunt in New York City, but as soon as he arrives in Penn Station, the bustling city makes him wonder if he’s overestimated what he can do. After an accident lands him in the hospital, Jason finds an unlikely ally in a fellow patient. Max, a whip-smart girl who wants nothing more than to explore the world on her own terms, joins Jason in planning a daring escape out of the hospital and into the skyscraper jungle — even though they both know that no matter how big New York City is, they won’t be able to run forever.

Same Sun Here by Silas House and Neela Vaswani

In this extraordinary novel in letters, an Indian immigrant girl in New York City and a Kentucky coal miner’s son find strength and perspective by sharing their true selves across the miles.Meena and River have a lot in common: fathers forced to work away from home to make ends meet, grandmothers who mean the world to them, and faithful dogs. But Meena is an Indian immigrant girl living in New York City’s Chinatown, while River is a Kentucky coal miner’s son. As Meena’s family studies for citizenship exams and River’s town faces devastating mountaintop removal, this unlikely pair become pen pals, sharing thoughts and, as their camaraderie deepens, discovering common ground in their disparate experiences. With honesty and humor, Meena and River bridge the miles between them, creating a friendship that inspires bravery and defeats cultural misconceptions. Narrated in two voices, each voice distinctly articulated by a separate gifted author, this chronicle of two lives powerfully conveys the great value of being and having a friend and the joys of opening our lives to others who live beneath the same sun.

Jack & Louisa: Act 1 by Andrew Keenan-Bolger and Kate Wetherhead

Jack Goodrich was a Broadway star-until a sudden voice change cost him his dream role. Now he lives with his parents in Shaker Heights Ohio, trying hard to leave his acting past behind. But his new neighbor, Louisa-a self-proclaimed “musical theater nerd”-won’t stop until Jack auditions for a local production of Into the Woods. Will Jack and Lou cement their friendship through the audition process? Or will they have an epic falling out? Find out in this fun trilogy about “theater kids”.

The Mystery of the Blinking Eye by Kathryn Kenny

A trip New York City brings on a mystery when, during a sightseeing trip Trixie helps a stranger and receives as thanks a purse containing a cryptic prophecy and a promise of great fortune. What does the strange Spanish poem mean? Villains and thieves and danger are all foreseen by the fortune-teller, but what do thieves want with the group? The Bob-Whites of the Glen are on the case as Trixie and her friends try to translate the cryptic warning and solve the riddles revealed to discover who is targeting the friends and what is the treasure they are trying to find. One of the Trixie Belden series!

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

When Claudia Kincaid decides to run away, she knows she doesn’t just want to run from somewhere–she wants to run to somewhere–to a place that is comfortable, beautiful, and preferably elegant. She chooses the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Knowing that her younger brother Jamie has money and thus can help her with the serious cash flow problem, she invites him along. Once settled into the museum, Claudia and Jamie, find themselves caught up in the mystery of an angel statue that the museum purchased at an auction for a bargain price of $250. The statue is possibly an early work of the Renaissance master Michelangelo, and therefore worth millions. Or is it? Claudia is determined to find out.

Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me by E.L. Konigsburg

Elizabeth is an only child, new in town, and the shortest kid in her class. She’s also pretty lonely, until she meets Jennifer. Jennifer is…well…different. She’s read Macbeth. She never wears jeans or shorts. She never says “please” or “thank you.” And she says she is a witch. It’s not always easy being friends with a witch, but it’s never boring. At first an apprentice and then a journeyman witch, Elizabeth learns to eat raw eggs and how to cast small spells. And she and Jennifer collaborate on cooking up an ointment that will enable them to fly. That’s when a marvelous toad, Hilary Ezra, enters their lives. And that’s also when trouble starts to brew…

The Young Unicorns by Madeleine L’Engle

The Austins are trying to settle into their new life in New York City, but their once close-knit family is pulling away from each other. Their father spends long hours alone in his study working on the research project that brought the family to the city. John is away at college. Rob is making friends with people in the neighborhood: newspaper vendors, dog walkers, even the local rabbi. Suzy is blossoming into a vivacious young woman. And Vicky has become closer to Emily Gregory, a blind and brilliant young musician, than to her sister Suzy. With the Austins going in different directions, they don’t notice that something sinister is going on in their neighborhood–and it’s centered around them. A mysterious genie appears before Rob and Emily. A stranger approaches Vicky in the park and calls her by name. Members of a local gang are following their father. The entire Austin family is in danger. If they don’t start telling each other what’s going on, someone might get hurt.

Not If I Can Help It by Carolyn Mackler

Willa likes certain things to be certain ways. Her socks have to be soft . . . and definitely can’t have irritating tags on the inside. She loves the crunch of popcorn and nachos . . . but is grossed out by the crunch of a baby carrot. And slimy foods? Those are the worst. Willa can manage all these things — but there are some things she can’t deal with, like her father’s big news. He’s been keeping a big secret from her . . . that he’s been dating the mom of Willa’s best friend Ruby. Willa does NOT like the idea of them being together. And she does NOT like the idea of combining families. And she does NOT like the idea of her best friend becoming her sister overnight. Will she go along with all of these changes? NOT if she can help it!

Tight by Torrey Maldonado

Bryan’s mom has always encouraged his quiet, thoughtful nature, but his dad is different. He thinks it’s time for the sixth-grader to toughen up. With a quick temper and recently out of jail on probation, he tells Bryan it’s better for a man to be feared than to be liked. Bryan’s not really sure about this, and it doesn’t seem to even matter when he befriends new kid Mike. At first everything is calm and chill, the way Bryan likes it, as the boys bond over their love of reading comics and drawing superheroes. But things get uncomfortable when it turns out Mike has some risky ideas about how to have fun. Then Bryan’s dad gets in a fight and ends up back in jail, and something in Bryan snaps. He starts cutting school, jumping subway turnstiles and going train surfing, with Mike in the lead. But when Mike takes things a step too far and shows his true colors, Bryan has a difficult decision to make.

What Lane? by Torrey Maldano

“Stay in your lane.” Stephen doesn’t want to hear that–he wants to have no lane. Anything his friends can do, Stephen should be able to do too, right? So when they dare each other to sneak into an abandoned building, he doesn’t think it’s his lane, but he goes. Here’s the thing, though- Can he do everything his friends can? Lately, he’s not so sure. As a mixed kid, he feels like he’s living in two worlds with different rules–and he’s been noticing that strangers treat him differently than his white friends… So what will he do? Hold on tight as Stephen swerves in and out of lanes to find out which are his–and who should be with him.

At Your Service by Jen Malone

Chloe Turner has pretty much the BEST life. She gets to live in the super fancy Hotel St. Michele. New York City is her hometown. And her dad, Mitchell Turner, concierge extraordinaire, is teaching her all the secrets of the business so she can follow in his footsteps. After helping him out with a particularly difficult kid client, Chloe is appointed the official junior concierge, tending to the hotel’s smallest, though sometimes most demanding, guests. Her new position comes with tons of perks like cupcake parties, backstage passes to concerts, and even private fittings with the hippest clothing designers. But Chloe hasn’t faced her toughest challenge yet. When three young royals (including a real-life PRINCE!) come to stay, Chloe’s determined to prove once and for all just how good she is at her job. Except the trip is a total disaster–especially when the youngest royal disappears. Now it’s up to Chloe to save the day. Can she find the missing princess before it becomes international news?

Girl’s Best Friend by Leslie Margolis

Dogs are disappearing in her neighborhood, and Maggie Brooklyn Sinclair knows all about it. After all, she has a semi-secret after-school gig as a professional (okay, okay, amateur) dog-walker. Maggie hates to see a pup in trouble, so she’s even willing to help her ex-best friend Ivy recover her rescue-dog, Kermit. Kermit’s being held for ransom, and Maggie has noticed some suspicious behavior lately. But she never suspected her crush Milo could be involved. Working with her twin brother and her best friend, Maggie is determined to find Kermit. REad all the Maggie Brooklyn Mysteries!

The Ghost in Apartment 2R by Denis Markell

Danny is thoroughly peeved to learn that his financially strapped parents have converted his college-bound brother’s room into an AirHotel rental instead of letting Danny have it. Worse yet, they shrug him off when he reports seeing shadowy faces in the room’s window, along with midnight lights and other weird manifestations. How can he convince them that he’s not just acting out from spite or crazy? Danny and his friends encounter a terrifying and increasingly hostile dybbuk as they search for answers through their Brooklyn neighborhoods, generations, and particularly its cultures. Ultimately, Danny undertakes some absorbing detective work into the ghost’s tragic past that propels the plot forward and helps to turn the haunting into a community affair.

Annie by Thomas Meehan

It’s a hard-knock life for America’s favorite orphan! Everyone knows the story of the irrepressible Annie, who lives at Miss Hannigan’s orphanage until she beats the odds and finds a new life with the benevolent and wealthy Daddy Warbucks. A novelization of the classic story told through both comics and various musical adaptations, this novel delves even deeper into Annie’s story, as she lives on the streets during the Great Depression, finds Sandy the dog, and encounters characters both familiar and new.

The Pushcart War by Jean Merril

The pushcarts have declared war! New York City’s streets are clogged with huge, rude trucks that park where they want, hold up traffic, and bulldoze into anything that is in their way, and the pushcart peddlers are determined to get rid of them. But the trucks are just as determined to get rid of the pushcarts, and the result is chaos. The pushcarts have come up with a brilliant strategy that will surely let the hot air out of their enemies. The secret weapon- a peashooter armed with a pin. The target- the vulnerable truck tires. Once the source of the flat tires is discovered, the children of the city joyfully join in with their own pin peashooters. The pushcarts have won one battle, but can they win the war against a corrupt mayor who taxes the pins and prohibits the sale of dried peas?

The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore

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.

Apartment 1986 by Lisa Papademetriou

Callie never meant to let it go this far. Sure, she may have accidentally-on-purpose skipped a day at her fancy New York City prep school, but she never thought she’d skip the day after that! And the one after that . . . and . . . uh . . . the one after that. But when everything in your real life is going wrong (fighting parents! bullied little brother! girls at school who just. don’t. get. it!) skipping school starts to look like a valid mental-health strategy. And when Callie runs into Cassius, a mysterious and prickly “unschooled” kid doing research at museums all across the city, it seems only natural for her to join him. Because museums are educational, which means they’re as good as going to class. Right? Besides, school can wait. What can’t wait is the mystery of why her grandmother seems to wish she could travel back in time to 1986, or what she wants so much to relive there. As Cassius helps Callie see the world in a whole new light, she realizes that the people she loves are far from perfect–and that some family secrets shouldn’t be secret at all.

Operation Sisterhood by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich

Bo and her mom always had their own rhythm. But ever since they moved to Harlem, Bo’s world has fallen out of sync. She and Mum are now living with Mum’s boyfriend Bill, his daughter Sunday, the twins, Lili and Lee, the twins’ parents…along with a dog, two cats, a bearded dragon, a turtle, and chickens. All in one brownstone! With so many people squished together, Bo isn’t so sure there is room for her.  Bo is used to it being just her and her mom in their cozy New York apartment, but Bo must adjust to her new sisters and a music-minded blended family that is much larger, louder, and more complex than she ever imagined!

The Good Thieves by Katherine Rundell

When Vita’s grandfather’s mansion is taken from him by a powerful real estate tycoon, Vita knows it’s up to her to make things right. With the help of a pickpocket and her new circus friends, Vita creates the plan: Break into the mansion. Steal back what’s rightfully her grandfather’s. Expose the real estate tycoon for the crook he truly is. But 1920s Manhattan is ever-changing and full of secrets. It might take more than Vita’s ragtag gang of misfits to outsmart the city that never sleeps. An utterly gripping tour de-force about loyalty, trust, and the lengths to which we’ll go for the ones we love.

Keys to the City by Lisa Schroeder

Melinda Jia Mackay was adopted from China as a baby, and she has always preferred to stay out of the limelight, reading and writing for her own pleasure–but now she has a summer assignment. Summer homework!?! Not really…it’s just that all of Lindy’s friends in New York City are super talented, so this summer she’s determined to figure out what her talent might be. With the help of a new friend, Tyler, and a therapy dog named Odie, she reluctantly hits the streets of New York City in search of her “true passion,” one which she can share with others. Lindy takes to the city to discover its secrets and unlock her true potential!

No Ordinary Thing by G. Z. Schmidt

Adam doesn’t mind living at his uncle’s bakery, the Biscuit Basket, on the Lower East Side in New York City. The warm, delicious smells of freshly baked breads and chocolate croissants make every day feel cozy, even if Adam doesn’t have many friends and he misses his long dead parents very much. When a mysterious but cheerful customer tells Adam that adventures await him, it’s too strange to be true. But days later, an unbelievable, incredible thing happens. Adam travels back in time, first to Times Square in 1935, then a candle factory fire in 1967. But how are these moments related? What do they have to do with his parents’ death? And why is a tall man with long eyebrows and a thin mustache following Adam’s every move?

Mystery in Manhattan by Maia and Alex Shibutani

Andy and Mika are about to take a bite out of the Big Apple! When they travel to New York City for the first time, they’re ready to hit the ground running and see the sights. But the siblings quickly realize that they’re excited for very different reasons–Mika wants to take photos of iconic landmarks and visit a famous camera store, while Andy can’t wait to try out an escape room that one of his friends told him about. Both of their plans get shaken up when they learn that Aunt Kei is in desperate need of assistance as she prepares for an important fashion presentation. Not wanting to pass up an opportunity to explore, Andy and Mika enthusiastically volunteer to help run errands with their cousin, Jenny. When a very special dress, the centerpiece of Aunt Kei’s collection, goes missing, they find themselves on a chase around the city to find it in another unforgettable mystery that will leave readers guessing until the very end.

Secret Agent by Robyn Freedman Spizman & Mark Johnstone

Kyle Parker used to be a cool guy. Okay, not the smartest kid at school or the best looking, but he could always hold his own. Until recently. Until he failed to notice that his classmate Lucinda has been following him around for weeks. Or that a volleyball was coming straight for his face during gym. But can you blame him at a time like this? In case you haven’t heard, Kyle’s mom kicked his dad out of the house. Why? Because of a book. Kyle’s dad’s book. The one he’s been writing and can’t get published. Which means he can’t make any money. Which means he can’t support his family. So it’s divorce. Unless Kyle can pull a fast one and fake out the most famous editor in New York City. How? By going undercover. Top Secret. That’s right. Kyle Parker is about to become his dad’s secret agent. So pay attention because he’s going to need all the help he can get.

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

Miranda and her best friend, Sal, know how to navigate their New York City neighborhood. They know where it’s safe to go, like the local grocery store, and they know whom to avoid, like the crazy guy on the corner. But things start to unravel. Sal gets punched by a new kid for what seems like no reason, and he shuts Miranda out of his life. The apartment key that Miranda’s mom keeps hidden for emergencies is stolen. And then Miranda finds a mysterious note scrawled on a tiny slip of paper:
I am coming to save your friend’s life, and my own.
I must ask two favors. First, you must write me a letter.

The notes keep coming, and Miranda slowly realizes that whoever is leaving them knows all about her, including things that have not even happened yet. Each message brings her closer to believing that only she can prevent a tragic death. Until the final note makes her think she might be too late.
..

The Guggenheim Mystery by Robin Stevens

When Ted and his big sister, Kat, take a trip to New York to visit their cousin Salim and their aunt Gloria, they think they’re prepared for big-city adventures. But when a famous painting is stolen from the Guggenheim Museum, where Aunt Gloria works, the surprises begin to mount faster than they could have anticipated. With the police looking at Aunt Gloria as the prime suspect, Ted, Kat, and Salim become sleuthing partners, following a trail of clues across NYC to prove her innocence–and to pinpoint the real thief. Ultimately, it comes down to Ted, whose brain works in its own very unique way, to find the key to the mystery. A sequel to The London Eye Mystery.

The Story Seeker by Kristen O’Donnell Tubb

Viviani Fedeler, proud resident of the New York Public Library, has her sights set on becoming a star reporter. She’s thrilled when Miss Hutch announces a story contest where the winner gets their essay printed in the New York Times! But when it’s time to write, Viviani is out of stories. As she struggles to find inspiration, the library is struck with a string of mysterious disappearances But when it’s time to write, Viviani is out of stories. As she struggles to find inspiration, the library is struck with a string of mysterious disappearances involving overdue books, secret messages, and perhaps a spy lurking among the shelves… Will Viviani be able to crack the code, return the books to their rightful shelves and find the perfect story to impress the Times?

Some Places More Than Others by Renée Watson

All Amara wants for her birthday is to visit her father’s family in New York City Harlem. 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 a new way. But New York City is not exactly what Amara thought it would be. It’s noisy, crowded, confusing, and her cousins can be mean. Plus her father is too busy working to spend time with her and too angry to fix his relationship with Grandpa Earl. Amara can’t help wondering, even if she does discover more about where she came from, will it help her know where she belongs?

Doom at Grant’s Tomb by Marcia Wells

Edmund Xavier Lonnrot, codename “Eddie Red,” has a photographic memory and talent for drawing anything he sees. When the NYPD is stumped by a mastermind art thief, Eddie becomes their secret weapon to solve their cases. But his third case starts off when Eddie smells trouble. Could he be the target of the elusive art thief Lars Heinrich, whose last robbery he ruined? If so, why won’t the police let Eddie help on the case? What are they hiding from him? In the thrilling installment of the Eddie Red Undercover series, Eddie will need some luck of the Irish as he races against the clock (and bombs and runaway subway cars) to stop what could be one of the greatest heists in history.

The Secret Garden on 81st Street by Ivy Noelle Weir, Art by Amber Padilla

The Secret Garden with a twist! Mary Lennox is a loner living in Silicon Valley. With her parents always working, video game and tech become her main source of entertainment and “friends.” When her parents pass away in a tragic accident, she moves to New York City to live with her uncle who she barely knows, and to her surprise, keeps a gadget free home. Looking for comfort in this strange, new reality, Mary discovers an abandoned rooftop garden and an even bigger secret…her cousin who suffers from anxiety. With the help of her new friends, Colin and Dickon, Mary works to restore the garden to its former glory while also learning to grieve, build real friendships, and grow.

P.S. Be Eleven by Rita Williams-Garcia

After spending the summer in Oakland, California, with their mother and the Black Panthers, Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern arrive home with a newfound streak of independence. That doesn’t sit well with Big Ma, who doesn’t like the way things are changing. Neither does Delphine. Pa has a new girlfriend. Uncle Darnell comes home from Vietnam, but he’s not the same. And her new sixth-grade teacher isn’t the fun, stylish Miss Honeywell–it’s Mr. Mwila, a stern exchange teacher from Zambia. But the one thing that doesn’t change during this turbulent year is the advice that Delphine receives from her mother, who reminds her not to grow up too fast. To be eleven while she can.

A Girl, a Raccoon, and the Midnight Moon by Karen Romano Young

Pearl Moran cannot imagine life without the historic but under-utilized branch of the New York Public Library where she was born (in the Memorial Room!) and where her single mother works as the circulation librarian. The other librarians, the neighborhood people, the raccoons, and most of the 41,000 plus books all form the structure and essence of her life. But this New York City library branch has been designated for possible closure! When the head of their Edna St. Vincent Millay statue goes missing, closure is closer than ever. But Pearl is determined to save the library. And with a ragtag neighborhood library crew–including a constantly tap-dancing girl, an older boy she has a crush on, and a pack of literate raccoons–she just might be able to do it. Pearl realizes that the library is under attack, and it is up to her to save it!

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So on your vacation this week, are you visiting The Big Apple, the City That Never Sleeps, Gotham, the Empire State, NYC…New York City? If so, bring along one of these books! See if you think the place you visit matches up with the place you read about!

As always, if you need help finding these or any other books, please ask one of our librarians. We love matching readers up with their next favorite book!

Happy Reading!
::Kelly::