Audio Review: Falling In

Magic, adventure, and alternate realities.  What could be better?

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Falling In
By Frances O’Roark Dowell, narrated by Jessica Almasy
5CDs, 5 Hours

falling-inIsabelle Bean has always been an unusual girl.  She doesn’t have many friends…other kids seem to know that she’s different.  Isabelle is the girl who sits in the back of the room, almost invisible to the rest of the class. She rarely speaks first, and has bangs hanging over her face so you can’t look at her eyes.  She wears clothes that come from wherever she finds them…right now, her favorite shoes are a pair of red lace-up boots she found stuffed into the corner of a chair on the sidewalk.

falling-in-pbkIsabelle is rather otherworldly, if another kid concentrates hard enough, he or she can almost see the silver sliver of light that connects  the top of her head to the bottom bump of her spine.  Kids don’t want to sit too close, because something about that silver thread tells them that if they get touched by it, Isabelle might just tangle them up in it and take them into a dark space where they will never be found.

But Isabelle is used to it.  She just makes her own way in the world, picking out words and ideas and rearranging them into stories.  Other kids aren’t going to keep her down, no sir!  Isabelle Bean keeps hope in her pocket, and listens to the buzzing that always seems to be just on the edge of her hearing.

And then…one day…she opens a closet door where the buzzing is loud, and falls through to another world.

Because of her red boots, the people in the world think she’s a witch!  Still, Isabelle feels like this world suits her just a little better than her own.  Can Isabelle Bean figure out how to prove that she’s not a witch, rescue the REAL witch, and find her way back home?

falling-in-audioFalling In was a fun audiobook, full of references to everything from fairy tales to Alice in Wonderland to The Wizard of Oz.  The chatty narration was fun to listen to; it felt like the narrator was talking directly to me. Isabelle’s adventures were both fun and a little scary, and her practicality and imagination both helped her survive. Isabelle Bean is a girl I would want in my corner if I fell through to another world.

Falling In would be a fun book to listen to on your own, or for a light-hearted car ride.  The books is for kids ages nine and up, but the audio book could be accessible to kids in first or second grade who enjoy fantasy.  Grown ups will enjoy picking up the references to older fantasy books.

Read-alikes: A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz, A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket, and The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place by Maryrose Wood.

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Give this book a try!  And, as always, if you would like an audiobook or book recommendation, ask one of our librarians.  We’re always happy to share some of the books we enjoyed.  If you would like to see some of BellaOnBooks previous audio reviews, click here.

::Kelly::

 

 

Audio Review: The War That Saved My Life

Whoo-hoo!  Another audio book review!  One to go on our “top ten” list, too.

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The War That Saved My Life
By Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, read by Jayne Entwistle
6 CDs, 7 1/2 Hours

war-that-saved-my-lifeAda and her little brother Jamie live in a one-room flat in London with their Mam.  It’s 1939, and a war with Germany is looming.  Ada doesn’t know much about the war; because she has a ‘bad foot’, Mam doesn’t allow her to ever leave their room, even for school.  She has grown up staying in the flat all day, sitting for hours in the chair by the window, watching Jamie play with his friends and waving at neighbors she’s never met.  Unless it’s a day that Mam is angry with her, then she’s stuffed into the cupboard under the sink or not given any food.

One day, Jamie comes home with the news that the children from their neighborhood are being evacuated to the country because the government is expecting London to be bombed.  Mam scoffs, but decides that one less mouth to feed might be a good thing.  She’s not letting Ada go though. No, Mam says Ada has to stay and get bombed, if it comes to that. Both children protest, but Mam locks them in and leaves for the pub.

No one at school knows Ada even exists, but she’s determined to go away with Jamie. Her practice standing on her bad foot comes in handy for their escape. When the morning comes to evacuate on the train, she steals her mother’s shoes and limps, then crawls, then gets a lift from one of Jamie’s friends.  Ada and Jamie make it to the country…only to be left out when everyone else is chosen.  Not one villager seems to want two dirty children with no belongings.

Then Lady Thornton, the woman in charge of the evacuated children, takes them in hand and leaves them to stay with Susan Smith, in a big old empty house.  Even though Miss Smith claims she is unkind and unfit to care for children, living with her is better than living with Mam.  As Ada and Jamie start exploring the world around them, fall in love with horses (Ada) and planes (Jamie), they start to trust Susan.  But will Susan want to keep them?  Will the war reach them, even in the country?  Will their Mam come to take them away, as the other refuge children are taken back?  And what about spies?

A little bit adventure, a little bit coming-of age, a little bit historical fiction, this is an amazing story about strength and courage and family.  The War That Saved My Life was a 2016 Newbery Award Honor Book Winner.

war-that-saved-my-life-audioThe sound recording of The War That Saved My Life is simply wonderful.  I loved the narrator, Jayne Entwistle.  She did a terrific job finding each character’s voice, and I was truly impressed at how she could infuse her voice with emotions.  You could hear the laughter and the tears in her voice as Ada spoke.  This audio book is right up there in my top ten recordings of children’s books.  It also won the 2016 Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audio Production, so I’m not the only one to think that way!

The War That Saved My Life is for kids in grades 5 – 8, although I think adults would enjoy it just as much as their kids do.  The sound recording would be great to share on a family car trip, although it might be difficult for a child younger than nine or ten, because of some tough subject matter.  (In addition to the consequences of being at war and the loss of loved ones, Ada and Jamie’s Mam is a thoroughly horrible person, and her treatment of the children might be difficult to hear.)  Listening to it as a family though, would provide some great groundwork for discussion about war, and families, and strength of spirit.

Some read-alike suggestions:  Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer Holm, Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage, Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt.

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Remember, if you would like recommendations for book or books on CD, ask one of our librarians.  Or check out some of our earlier recommendations here at BellaOnBooks!

::Kelly::

 

 

Booklist: Fiction with Cooking!

It’s the holidays, and what’s one thing everyone seems to enjoy when it gets cold and dark too soon?  Baking!  Here are some fiction and chapter books to enjoy adventures, mysteries and fantasy titles featuring kids who cook!

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Cooking and Baking Fiction & Chapter Books

recipe-for-troubleBerk, Sheryl.  Recipe for Trouble
Sophie and Katherine, stars of TLC’s DC Cupcakes meet Lexi Poole. To Lexi, a new school year means back to baking with her BFFs in the cupcake club. But the club president, Kylie, is mixing things up by inviting new members. Lexi is cast in the school’s production of Romeo and Juliet. If only she could be as confident onstage as she is in the kitchen. The icing on the cake: her secret crush is playing Romeo. Sounds like a recipe for trouble. Can the girls’ friendship stand the heat, or will the cupcake club go up in smoke? This book Includes recipes and tips to try at home!  Try all of the Cupcake Club series!

Dahl, Roald.  Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
charlie-and-the-chocolate
Willy Wonka’s famous chocolate factory is opening at last! But only five lucky children will be allowed inside. And the winners are: Augustus Gloop, an enormously fat boy whose hobby is eating; Veruca lt, a spoiled-rotten brat whose parents are wrapped around her little finger; Violet Beauregarde, a dim-witted gum-chewer with the fastest jaws around; Mike Teavee, a toy pistol-toting gangster-in-training who is obsessed with television; and Charlie Bucket, Our Hero, a boy who is honest and kind, brave and true, and good and ready for the wildest time of his life!

De Laurentiis, Giada.   Naples!
naplesWhen Zia Donatella comes to live with the Bertolizzi family, little do Alfie and his older sister Emilia know what’s in store for them. Zia Dontella is determined to show the kids how a home-cooked meal is better than even the best take-out pizza or burrito. Zia’s plan transports Alfie and Emilia to famous food cities around the world. Alfie and Emilia find themselves transported to Naples, where they meet Marco, a young Italian boy on a very important mission to shop for the essential ingredients for his family’s entry in the city’s annual pizzafest contest. In their whirlwind search for the perfect items, Alfie and Emilia not only get a taste of Italy, but also find themselves refereeing a family feud between Marco’s family and his uncle’s family. Try all the Recipe for Adventure series

Dunbar, Fiona. The Truth Cookie
truth-cookieIn a sparkling debut reminiscent of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, comes the story of Lulu Baker, an ordinary twelve-year-old who discovers a magical secret. Lulu Baker’s dad is getting ready to marry his new girlfriend, world-famous model Varaminta le Bone. Everyone thinks Varaminta is fabulous. Everyone, that is, except Lulu. She knows that her stepmother-to-be, not to mention her awful son Torquil, is cruel, deceitful, and just using her father. But how can she make her dad see Varaminta and Torquil for who they really are? When a magical recipe book called THE APPLE STAR finds its way into Lulu’s hands, she finds that some very unusual ingredients and some help from her friends just might do the trick. Try the whole Lulu Baker Trilogy

Elish, Dan. The Worldwide Dessert Contest
worldwide-dessert
For eleven years in a row, John Applefeller has entered his highly original apple desserts in The Worldwide Dessert Contest. And every year he’s watched his delectable treats turn into disasters while the evil Sylvester Sweet wins first prize. But this year, when John’s greatest creation, the world’s largest pancake, flops, he and his sidekicks decide to seek help from the king of dessert chefs, the magical Captain B. Rollie Ragoon!

Graff, Lisa. A Tangle of Knots
tangle-of-knots
Told in multiple viewpoints, A Tangle of Knots is a magnificent puzzle. In a slightly magical world where everyone has a Talent, eleven-year-old Cady is an orphan with a phenomenal Talent for cake baking. But little does she know that fate has set her on a journey from the moment she was born. And her destiny leads her to a mysterious address that houses a lost luggage emporium, an old recipe, a family of children searching for their own Talents, and a Talent Thief who will alter her life forever. However, these encounters hold the key to Cady’s past and how she became an orphan. If she’s lucky, fate may reunite her with her long-lost parent.

Hannigan, Kate.  Cupcake Cousins
cupcake-cousinsCousins Willow and Delia can’t wait to spend a week vacationing together with their families. Their aunt is getting married, and Willow and Delia are hoping their tasty baked goods will be enough to get them out of being flower girls in the wedding. But with a mischievous little brother, a bacon-loving dog, and a misbehaving blender in the mix, their treats don’t exactly turn out as planned. When a real emergency threatens to ruin the wedding, will their baking skills be enough to save the day?  Try the other Cupcake Cousins books!

Harper, Charise.   Just Grace and the Trouble with Cupcakes
just-grace-and-the-power-of-cupcakesIt’s time for the school fair, and Just Grace’s class has chosen a cupcake theme. But the fair’s highlight, a cupcake competition, causes quite a stir when Grace gets paired with dreadful Owen and not with her best pal, Mimi. Grace is devastated. And just when she thinks things can’t get worse, her team votes down her idea to build a cupcake Eiffel Tower in favor of building Spiderman. It’s a challenging time for Grace. Will she be able to overcome her disappointment and lead her team onward? Will Grace’s team ever figure out how to make a Spiderman out of cupcakes?  Try the other Just Grace books

Horvath, Polly.  Everything on a Waffle
everything-on-a-waffle
Primrose’s parents have been lost at sea, but she believes without an iota of doubt that they are still alive, somewhere. She moves in with her Uncle Jack, but feels generally friendless. Her only real refuge is a local restaurant called The Girl on the Red Swing, where the owner, Miss Bowzer, serves everything on waffles – except advice and good sense which come free of charge and are always reliable. Food in general plays an important role in Primrose’s journey toward peace and understanding.

Kingfisher, Rupert.  Madame Pamplemousse and her Incredible Edibles
madame-pamplemousseMadame Pamplemousse is the story of Madeleine, forced to work in her unpleasant uncle’s horrible restaurant, The Squealing Pig . By chance she comes across the most marvelous shop, run by Madame Pamplemousse, which is quiet, discreet, yet full of delicious and otherworldly ‘edibles’ – Pterodactyl Bacon, Scorpion Tails in Smoked Garlic Oil, and Great Squid Tentacle in Jasmine-Scented Jelly. A quiet comradeship develops between Madeleine, Madame Pamplemousse, and Madame’s cat, Camembert. And together they create some wonderful culinary magic. Try the sequel too!

Lin, Grace.  Dumpling Days
dumpling days.jpgThis summer, Pacy’s family is going to Taiwan for an entire month to visit family and prepare for their grandmother’s 60th birthday celebration. Pacy’s parents have signed her up for a Chinese painting class, and at first she’s excited. This is a new way to explore her art talent! But everything about the trip is harder than she thought it would be–she looks like everyone else but can’t speak the language, she has trouble following the art teacher’s instructions, and it’s difficult to make friends in her class. At least the dumplings are delicious…As the month passes by, Pacy eats chicken feet (by accident!), gets blessed by a fortune teller, searches for her true identity, and grows closer to those who matter most.

Magnin, Joyce.  Cake
cakeMore than frosting filled those cakes. Wilma Sue seems destined to go from one foster home to the next–until she is sent to live with sisters and missionaries, Ruth and Naomi. Do they really care about Wilma Sue, or are they just looking for a Cinderella-style farmhand to help raise chickens and bake cakes? As Wilma Sue adjusts to her new surroundings and helps deliver “special” cakes, Wilma Sue realizes there’s something strange going on. She starts looking for secret ingredients, and along the way she makes a new friend, Penny. When Penny and her mother hit a rough patch, Naomi decides to make her own version of cake–with disastrous results. Then tragedy strikes the chickens, and all fingers point to Wilma Sue–just when she was starting to believe she could at last find a permanent home with Ruth and Naomi. Will the sisters turn her out, or will she discover what it feels like to be truly loved?

Mass, Wendy.   Pi in the Sky
pi-in-the-skyJoss is the seventh son of the Supreme Overlord of the Universe. His older brothers help his dad rule the cosmos, but all Joss gets to do is deliver pies. That’s right: pies. Of course, these pies actually hold the secrets of the universe between their buttery crusts, but they’re still pies. Joss is happy to let his older brothers shine. He has plenty to keep his hands full: attempting to improve his bowling score; listening to his best friend, Kal, try (and fail) to play the drums; and exploring his ever-changing home, The Realms. But when Earth suddenly disappears, Joss is tasked with the seemingly impossible job of bringing it back. With the help of Annika, an outspoken girl from Earth, he embarks on the adventure of a lifetime…and learns that the universe is an even stranger place than he’d imagined.

great-cake-mysteryMcCall-Smith, Alexander.  The Great Cake Mystery
Have you ever said to yourself; wouldn’t it be nice to be a detective? This is the story of an African girl who says just that. Her name is Precious. When a piece of cake goes missing from her classroom, a traditionally built young boy is tagged as the culprit. Precious, however, is not convinced. She sets out to find the real thief. Along the way she learns that your first guess isn’t always right. She also learns how to be a detective.

McCall-Smith, Alexander.  The Perfect Hamburger and Other Delicious Stories
perfect-hamburgerWhen a snazzy fast-food chain moves into town, business at Joe’s favorite hamburger restaurant begins to suffer. He gets an idea that’s sure to bring back the diners, but there’s just one problem. The secret recipe for the burgers is missing! Can Joe figure out the ingredients to recreate the perfect hamburger before it’s too late?  Enjoy two other delicious stories featuring three  young chefs with some enterprising ideas!

Michaels,  Anna.  The Adventures of Miss Petitfour
adventures-of-miss-petitfourMiss Petitfour enjoys having adventures that are “just the right size – fitting into a single, magical day.” She is an expert at baking and eating fancy iced cakes, and her favorite mode of travel is par avion. On windy days, she takes her sixteen cats out for an airing with the aid of her favorite tea party tablecloth as a makeshift balloon, Miss Petitfour and her charges fly over her village, having many little adventures along the way. Join Miss Petitfour and her equally eccentric felines on five magical outings — a search for marmalade, to a spring jumble sale, on a quest for “birthday cheddar”, the retrieval of a lost rare stamp and as they compete in the village’s annual Festooning Festival. A whimsical, beautifully illustrated collection of tales that celebrates language, storytelling and small pleasures, especially the edible kind!

Pankhurst, Kate.  Mariella Mystery Investigates a Cupcake Conundrum
mariella-mystery-investigates-a-cupcake-conundrumShe’s smart as a whip, super sleuth-y, and able to solve most mysterious mysteries and perplexing problems in no time flat. Mariella Mystery (age nine and a bit) knows that all good detectives write down important information about their investigations. In this top-secret journal she tackles the case of who is trying to sabotage the Puddleford baking contest with important clues and observations, helpful drawings, and handy tips for new detectives.

Papademetriou, Lisa. Save the Cupcake
save-the-cupcakeHayley has a knack for baking cupcakes with all sorts of ingredients, from cocoa to peanuts to even Thai curry! She and her little sister, Chloe, have just moved into their grandmother’s house with their mom, who divorced their dad a year ago and has just been laid off from her job. Hayley often helps out at her grandmother’s tea shop, where she gets to practice her cupcake-baking skills. She makes a batch for her new class only to learn that the PTA president’s daughter is allergic to gluten. Before she even gets a chance to share her gluten-free cupcake recipe, Hayley finds out that the PTA may instate a school-wide cupcake ban. Now it’s up to Hayley and her new friends to “Save the Cupcake!”  Try the other books in the Confectionately Yours series.

Pearce, Jackson. Sweetly
sweetlyAs a child, Gretchen’s twin sister was taken by a witch in the woods. Ever since, Gretchen and her brother, Ansel, have felt the long branches of the witch’s forest threatening to make them disappear, too. Years later, when their stepmother casts Gretchen and Ansel out, they find themselves in sleepy Live Oak, South Carolina. They’re invited to stay with Sophia Kelly, a beautiful candy maker who molds sugary magic: coveted treats that create confidence, bravery, and passion. Life seems idyllic and Gretchen and Ansel gradually forget their haunted past — until Gretchen meets handsome local outcast Samuel. He tells her the witch isn’t gone — it’s lurking in the forest, preying on girls every year after Live Oak’s infamous chocolate festival, and looking to make Gretchen its next victim. Gretchen is determined to stop running and start fighting back. Yet the further she investigates the mystery of what the witch is and how it chooses its victims, the more she wonders who the real monster is. Gretchen is certain of only one thing: a monster is coming, and it will never go away hungry.

Schaefer, Laura.  The Teashop Girls
teashop-girlsAnnie, Genna, and Zoe have been hanging out at the Steeping Leaf since elementary school. The Teashop Girls do everything together — at least they used to. With the end of eighth grade approaching, Genna’s too busy with theater, Zoe’s always at tennis, and Annie feels totally left out. What happened to tea every week, no matter what? When Annie convinces her grandmother to give her a job as a barista at the Leaf, things begin to look up. In between whipping up chai lattes for customers, and attempting to catch the attention of her Barista Boy crush, Annie is finally beginning to feel as grown-up as her best friends. But an eviction notice spells trouble for the Leaf and unless they can turn the business around, the teashop will have to close its doors forever.

Smith, Robert Kimmel.   Chocolate Fever
chocolate-fever
Henry Green is a boy who loves chocolate. He likes it bitter, sweet, dark, light, and daily; for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks; in cakes, candy bars, milk, and every other form you can possibly imagine. Henry probably loves chocolate more than any boy in the history of the world. One day-it starts off like any other day-Henry finds that strange things are happening to him. First he makes medical history with the only case of Chocolate Fever ever. Then he finds himself caught up in a wild and hilarious chase, climaxed by a very unusual hijacking!

Spinelli Eileen The Dancing Pancake
dancing-pancakes
The grand opening of the Dancing Pancake isn’t the only new thing in Bindi’s life: new friends, a new apartment, maybe even a cute new crush? But there are other changes, like her dad’s move to a new city that have left Bindi confused and wondering: What will happen to my family? Will this new life ever feel normal? Among the unlikely bunch of regulars who form a makeshift community at the diner, Bindi will try to figure out how to be a new version of herself, one pancake and one silly elephant joke (her uncle’s specialty) at a time.

Staniszewski, Anna. The Prank List
prank-listRachel Lee never thought she’d fight for the right to clean toilets. But when a rival cleaning business starts stealing her mom’s clients, Rachel will do whatever it takes to save herself the horror of moving to Connecticut―even giving up her fantastic new pastry classes, and her best friend Marisol. Operation Save Mom’s Cleaning Business is a go!  But when the series of pranks Rachel and her BFF cook up to take down the competition totally backfires, Rachel worries that her recipe for success is a dud. You know what they say―if you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen…  Try other books in The Dirt Diary  trilogy!

Thorpe, Kiki.   In a Blink
Kate craves adventure and excitement. Mia loves dresses, roses, and anything beautiful. Lainey dreams of talking to animals. Gabby believes in fairies more than anyone. In a blink of an eye, these four best friends all get their biggest wish–they’re whisked off to Never Land, home to Tinker Bell and her fairy friends.The Never Girls is a fun series based on Disney characters.

Weeks, Sarah.  Pie
pieWhen Alice’s Aunt Polly, the Pie Queen of Ipswitch, passes away, she takes with her the secret to her world-famous pie-crust recipe. Or does she? In her will, Polly leaves the recipe to her extraordinarily fat, remarkably disagreeable cat, Lardo . . . and then leaves Lardo in the care of Alice. Suddenly, the whole town is wondering how you leave a recipe to a cat. Everyone wants to be the next big pie-contest winner, and it’s making them pie-crazy. It’s up to Alice and her friend Charlie to put the pieces together and discover the not-so-secret recipe for happiness: Friendship, family and the pleasure of doing something for the right reason. With Pie, acclaimed author Sarah Weeks has baked up a sweet and satisfying delight, as inviting as warm pie on a cold day. You’ll enjoy every last bite.

Wilson, Jacqueline. Cookie
cookieBeauty Cookson isn’t beautiful. Her father chose her name because he wants her to be a confident, popular girl. She tries to fit in, but she’s plain and awkward. All the girls at school make fun of her and have nicknamed her Ugly. Her mother thinks she needs a fun, creative nickname, something like . . . Cookie! But kids at school can’t just be told to call her Cookie. And, even worse, her Dad doesn’t approve. His already bad temper reaches frightening new heights. Will Cookie find the strength to stand up to her dad? And will she find a way to be the person she wants to be?

 

Winston, Sherri.  President of the Whole Fifth Grade
president-of-the-whole-fifth-gradeWhen Brianna Justice’s hero, the famous celebrity chef Miss Delicious, speaks at her school and traces her own success back to being president of her fifth grade class, Brianna determines she must do the same. She just knows that becoming president of her class is the first step toward her own cupcake-baking empire! But when new student Jasmine Moon announces she is also running for president, Brianna learns that she may have more competition than she expected. Will Brianna be able to stick to her plan of working with her friends to win the election fairly? Or will she jump at the opportunity to steal votes from Jasmine by revealing an embarrassing secret? This hilarious, heartfelt novel will appeal to any reader with big dreams, and the determination to achieve them.

Wrede, Patricia. Sorcery and Cecelia: or the Enchanted Chocolate Pot
sorcery-and-ceceliaA great deal is happening in London this season. For starters, there’s the witch who tried to poison Kate at Sir Hilary’s induction into the Royal College of Wizards. (Since when does hot chocolate burn a hole straight through one’s dress?!) Then there’s Dorothea. Is it a spell that’s made her the toast of the town–or could it possibly have something to do with the charm-bag under Oliver’s bed? And speaking of Oliver, just how long can Cecelia and Kate make excuses for him? Ever since he was turned into a tree, he hasn’t bothered to tell anyone where he is! The girls might think it all a magical nightmare . . . if only they weren’t having so much fun.

Zahler Diane Baker’s Magic
bakers-magic
Bee is an orphan in the poor kingdom of Aradyn, and when she is caught stealing a bun from a bakery, the lonely baker offers to take her on as an apprentice–but when she meets Princess Anika, and the evil mage Joris who is her “guardian” she embarks on a journey to save Anika, and restore the kingdom its rightful ruler.

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We hope you enjoy these great stories of cooking from all around the library!  If you would like to see if any of them are available for checking out, just look the title up on the Minuteman Library Network Catalog.  If it’s not available in Weston, we can put it on hold for you, and have it sent from one of our other member libraries!

Booklist prepared by Hope

 

 

 

Holiday Books for Teens, 2016 edition!

Gift Books for Teens
Holiday Season 2016

Realistic Fiction

absolutely-true-part-time-indian  memory-book  fault-in-our-stars ill-give-you-the-sun
holding-up-the-universe eleanor-and-park sun-is-also-a-star

The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian  Sherman Alexie

The Memory Book  Lara Avery

The Fault  in Our Stars   John Green

I’ll Give You the Sun Jandi Nelson

Holding Up the Universe  Jennifer Niven

Eleanor and Park  Rainbow Rowell

The Bitter Side of Sweet  Tara Sullivan

The Sun is Also a Star  Nicola Yoon

Fantasy and Science Fiction

forgetting  maze-runner  girl-from-everywhere  i-am-number-four
heartless  tales-of-the-peculiar raven-boys serpent-king

The Forgetting  Sharon Cameron

The Maze Runner  James Dashner

The Girl From Everywhere  Heidi Heilig

I am Number Four  Pittacus Lore

Heartless  Marissa Meyer

Tales of the Peculiar  Ransom Riggs

The Raven Boys  Maggie Stiefvater

The Serpent King  Jeff Zentner

Historical Fiction

fever-1793 passion-of-dolssa revolution black-duck under-the-blood-red-sun
anna-and-the-swallow-man  salt-to-the-sea hired-girl code-name-verity

Fever 1793  Laura Halse Anderson

The Passion of Dolssa  Julie Berry

Revolution  Jennifer Donnelly

Black Duck  Janet Taylor Lisle

Under the Blood Red Sun Grahame Salisbury

Anna and the Swallow Man  Gavriel Savit

Salt to the Sea  Ruth Sepetys

The Hired Girl  Laura Amy Schlitz

Code Name Verity  Elizabeth Wein

Mystery and Adventure

stormbreaker alabama-moon we-were-liars mystery-of-hollow-places
westing-game jackaby peak wolf-hollow

Stormbreaker  Anthony Horowitz

Alabama Moon  Watt Key

We Were Liars  E. Lockhart

The Mystery of Hollow Places  Rebecca Podos

The Westing Game  Ellen Raskin

Jackaby  William Ritter

Peak  Roland Smith

Wolf Hollow  Lauren Wolk

If you would like to read any of these books from our Library, just go to the Minuteman Catalog and enter the title and author to see if a book is available or to request it.

Weston Public Library
December 2016

Ideas for Holiday Giving – 2016 edition


New Children’s Books to share for 2016 Holiday giving:

                 (and maybe some potential winners for the 2017 Caldecott & Newbery Awards)

Picture Books:
thunder boy jr.jpgairport book.jpgsnappsynight-gardener

Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie; illustrated by Yuyi Morales
Thunder Boy Jr. is named after his dad, but he wants a name that’s all his own. Just because people call his dad Big Thunder doesn’t mean he wants to be Little Thunder!  He wants a name for something he’s done, like Touch the Clouds or Drums, Drums, More Drums!  But just when he’s about to give up, his Dad finds the perfect nickname.

The Airport Book by Lisa Brown
Follow a family on its way through the complexities of a modern-day airport. From checking bags and watching them disappear on the mysterious conveyor belt, to security clearance and a seemingly endless wait at the gate to finally being airborne. But have they lost something? Where is Sock Monkey?

Snappsy the Alligator by Julie Falatko; pictures by Tim Miller
Snappsy the alligator finds himself in a book he doesn’t want to be in.  He’s minding his own business when a pesky narrator jumps in an ruins everything by dramatically changing Snappsy’s ordinary day.  What’s an alligator to do? An irreverent look at storytelling, friendship, and creative differences, perfect for fans of Mo Willems.

The Night Gardener by Terry Fan and Eric Fan
Life is grim on Grimloch Lane, until a suddenly, someone is transforming trees and shrubs into animal masterpieces after dark.  The Night Gardener is a mystery until William, a lonely boy, spots the artist, follows him, and finds his life transformed with a special gift.

 shyit-is-not-time-for-sleepingchild-of-bookswe-found-a-hat
Shy
by Deborah Freedman
Shy loves birds. He’d love to watch them fly and hear them sing, but he’s only ever read about them in books. . .until a real bird comes along. He’s dying to meet her, but there’s just one problem- Shy is so shy that he’s afraid to leave the gutter of the book. Can Shy overcome his fears and venture out onto the page?

It is Not Time for Sleeping  by Lisa Graff; illustrated by Lauren Castillo
As the day comes to an end, the little boy in this book is quite sure it is NOT time for sleeping. As each piece of his evening routine is completed he becomes a little more certain: it is definitely not time for sleeping. But as he draws out his bedtime routine, the question becomes when WILL it be time for sleeping? A rhythmic, cumulative text and lush twilit scenes come together to create a perfect bedtime book for even the most reluctant sleeper.

A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers; illustrated by Sam Winston
A little girl sails her raft across a sea of words, arriving at the house of a small boy and calling him away on an adventure. Through forests of fairy tales and across mountains of make-believe, the two travel together on a fantastical journey that unlocks the boy’s imagination. Now a lifetime of magic and adventure lies ahead of him . . . but who will be next?

We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen
Two turtles find a hat that looks good on both of them, but, with fairness in mind, they decide to leave it be, until night falls and one of the turtles changes its mind.  A longer picture book with the same quirky humor that will thrill the fans of Klassen’s other hat books.
bear-and-the-pianoare we there yet.jpgstorytellerwhat-do-you-do-with-a-problemThe Bear and the Piano by David Litchfield
A bear cub finds something strange and wonderful in the forest. It makes a horrible noise when touched. He is drawn back again and again, eventually learning to play beautiful sounds. He longs to explore the world, and to play bigger and better than before. But he knows that if he leaves, the other bears will be sad . . .  This gorgeously illustrated tale of following one’s dreams reminds us of the value of friendship, wherever we go.

Are We There Yet? by Dan Santat
Let’s face it: everyone knows that car rides can be boring. And when things get boring, time slows down. In this book, a boy feels time slowing down so much that it starts going backward–into the time of pirates! Of princesses! Of dinosaurs!  After reading this astonishingly inventive new book (that even turns upside down for several pages!), you’ll never look at being bored the same way again.

The Storyteller by Evan Turk
Long, long ago, like a pearl around a grain of sand, the Kingdom of Morocco formed at the edge of the great, dry Sahara. It had fountains to quench the thirst of the desert, and storytellers to bring the people together. But as the kingdom grew, the people forgot the dangers of the desert, and they forgot about the storytellers, too. Until one young boy came for a drink and found more. As he listened to the last storyteller recount the Endless Drought, and the Glorious Blue Water Bird, he discovered the power of a tale well told.

What Do You Do With a Problem? by Kobi Yamada; illustrated by Mae Besom
A nameless boy has a nameless problem. He ignores it, worries about it, avoids it, and wishes it would go away. The longer the problem is avoided, the bigger it seems to get. But when the child finally musters up the courage to face it, the problem turns out to be something quite different than it appeared. An optimistic book about facing up to things that scare you.

If you’re looking for something well-loved to give:

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The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
One small caterpillar, one week of food, an amazing transformation.

Duck & Goose by Tad Hills
After finding a mysterious egg, arguments turn to friendship.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
The original story of the Grinch, and how he was transformed.

Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann
Safety and friendship have never been so much fun.

If I Built a Car by Chris Van Dusen
What kind of  amazing accessories would you add to a car, if you could design it yourself?

 

Chapter Books:

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Lucy
by Randy Cecil
Lucy is a small dog without a home. She had one once, but she remembers it only in her dreams. Eleanor is a little girl who looks forward to feeding the stray dog that appears faithfully beneath her window each day. Eleanor’s father is a juggler with stage fright. The overlapping stories of three delightful characters, offering a slightly different perspective each time, come together in a truly original, beautifully illustrated book for dog (and underdog) lovers of all ages.

Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea by Ben Clanton
Narwhal is a happy-go-lucky narwhal. Jelly is a no-nonsense jellyfish. The two might not have a lot in common, but both love waffles, parties and adventures. Join Narwhal and Jelly as they discover the whole wide ocean together.  A graphic novel about friendship and fun.

Where Are You Going, Baby Lincoln? By Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Chris Van Dusen
Mercy Watson’s friend Baby Lincoln has her own adventure! Baby Lincoln’s older sister, Eugenia, is very fond of telling Baby what to do, and Baby usually responds by saying “Yes, Sister.” But one day Baby has had enough. She decides to depart on a Necessary Journey, even though she has never gone anywhere without Eugenia telling her what to take and where to go. Who might Baby meet as she strikes out on her own, and what could she discover about herself? Will her impulsive adventure take her away from Eugenia for good?

Stink and the Attack of the Slime Mold by Megan McDonald; illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
Stink may be a super science geek, but even Dr. Stinkelstein is feeling freaked out about having a slime mold living and growing in his very own room. At Saturday Science Club, Stink learns that these one-celled organisms are smart enough to find their way out of mazes and gang up on food sources — so who says they aren’t smart enough to take over Stink’s pets, Stink’s room, Stink himself, and . . . the world? Vintage horror flicks meet classic Star Trek episodes as a wary Stink comes to know and love an unusual new pet in a hilarious adventure that sneaks in factoids and comics at each chapter’s end.

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Skunked!
by Jacqueline Kelly; illustrations by Jennifer L. Meyer
When Travis discovers an abandoned baby skunk, he brings him home to take care of him. Stinky settles in pretty well. But when Travis discovers Stinky’s litter-mate, Winky, who is in need of some help, things get complicated. One skunk is a piece of cake; two is just asking for trouble. Will Travis and Callie be able to keep the critters away from Mother’s careful eyes—and nose? A family story full of character.

Life According to Dani by Rose Lagercrantz, illustrated by Eva Eriksson
It’s Dani’s first summer vacation-and the best ever! She is staying on an island with Ella, her best friend in the world. Dad is still in hospital but he calls every day, and Ella and Dani stay busy building huts, fishing, exploring and swimming. Then Dad turns up, but with his nurse too! This is not the visit anyone had imagined.

Juana and Lucas by Juana Medina
Juana loves many things — drawing, eating Brussels sprouts, living in Colombia, and especially her dog, Lucas, the best amigo ever. She does not love wearing her itchy school uniform, solving math problems, or learning the English. But when Juana’s abuelos tell her about a special trip they are planning—one that Juana will need to speak English to go on—Juana begins to wonder whether learning the English might be a good use of her time after all.  Fans of Ivy + Bean will enjoy this book.

Great Cookie Fiasco by Dan Santat
Four friends. Three cookies. One problem.  Hippo, Croc, and the Squirrels are determined to have equal cookies for all! But how? There are only three cookies . . . and four of them! They need to act fast before nervous Hippo breaks all the cookies into crumbs!  With a fun introduction by Elephant and Piggie!

 

Early Chapter Books not to miss at any age:

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My Father’s Dragon
, by Ruth Stiles Gannett; illustrations by Ruth Chrisman Gannett
A boy is determined to rescue a baby dragon from the lazy animals mistreating him on Wild Island.

Dory Fantasmagory by Abby Hanlon
The youngest in her family, Dory has a vivid imagination which she uses playing with her imaginary friend, pretending to be a dog, battling monsters, and generally driving her family nuts.

The Holly Joliday by Megan MacDonald
Judy Moody and her brother Stink celebrate in their own unique way!

 

Fiction:

girl-who-drank-the-moon wild-robot inquisitors-tale when-friendship-followed-me-home
The Girl Who Drank the Moon
by Kelly Barnhill
Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch. But Xan (the witch) actually rescues them and delivers them to new families, nourishing the babies with starlight on the journey. When Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight, filling her with magic, she decides she must raise this girl, Luna, as her own. As Luna’s thirteenth birthday approaches, her magic begins to emerge–with dangerous consequences. Meanwhile, a young man from the Protectorate is determined to free his people by killing the witch. Deadly birds with uncertain intentions gather, a volcano, quiet for centuries, rumbles, and the woman with the Tiger’s heart is on the prowl . . .   A epic coming of age adventure.

Wild Robot by Peter Brown
Robot Roz has no idea why she is on a remote island or what her purpose is–but she knows she needs to survive. After battling a fierce storm and escaping a vicious bear attack, she realizes that her only hope for survival is to adapt to her surroundings and learn from the island’s unwelcoming animals. As Roz slowly befriends them, the island starts to feel like home–until, one day, Roz’s mysterious past comes back to haunt her. A heartwarming adventure!

The Inquisitor’s Tale by Adam Gidwitz
On a dark night, travelers cross paths at an inn and begin to tell stories of three children and a dog:  William, an oblate on a mission; Jacob, a Jewish boy who has fled his burning villa; Jeanne, a peasant girl who hides her prophetic visions; and Jeanne’s loyal greyhound, Gwenforte, recently brought back from the dead.  On the run to escape prejudice and persecution and save precious holy texts from being burned, their adventures take them on a chase through France. They are taken captive by knights, sit alongside a king, and save the land from a farting dragon.  Their quest drives them to a final showdown, where all will come to question if these children can perform miracles.  With style and humor, this story is richly researched and full of adventure.

When Friendship Followed Me Home by Paul Griffin
Ben Coffin has never been one for making friends. As a former foster kid, he knows people can up and leave without so much as a goodbye. Ben prefers to spend his time with the characters in his favorite books…until he rescues an abandoned mutt. Scruffy little Flip leads Ben to befriend a fellow book-lover named Halley; who Ben nicknames “Rainbow Girl” because of her crazy-colored clothes and her magic laugh, which makes you smile away the stormiest day. Rainbow Girl convinces Ben to write a novel with her.  But as their story unfolds Ben’s life begins to unravel, and Ben must discover for himself the truth about friendship and the meaning of home.  A story that will warm your heart as much as it breaks it.

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Full of Beans by Jennifer Holm
Grown-ups lie. That’s one truth Beans knows for sure. He and his gang know how to spot a whopper a mile away, because they are the savviest bunch of barefoot conchs (that means “locals”) in all of Key West. But it’s 1934, the middle of the Great Depression, and with no jobs on the island, and no money anywhere, so who can really blame the grown-ups for telling a few tales? Besides, Beans isn’t anyone’s fool. In fact, he has plans. Big plans. And the consequences might surprise even Beans himself.  Filled with humor, heart, and warmth this return to the award winning world of Turtle in Paradise will find more devoted readers.

When the Sea Turned to Silver by Grace Lin
Pinmei’s gentle, loving grandmother always has exciting tales for her granddaughter and the other villagers; until she’s kidnapped by the Emperor, who thinks her tales can help him find something called the Luminous Stone. Determined to have her grandmother returned, Pinmei embarks on a journey to find it first with her mysterious friend Yishan. Together, they face obstacles usually found only in legends to find the Stone and save Pinmei’s grandmother–before it’s too late. A masterpiece companion novel to Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and Starry River of the Sky.

School Ship Tobermory by Alexander McCall Smith
Twins Ben and Fee MacTavish have been homeschooled on a submarine. Now they’re heading to the School Ship Tobermory. This is no ordinary school–it’s a sailing ship where kids from around the world train to be sailors and learn about all things nautical. Ben and Fee make friends as they adjust to life aboard the Tobermory. When a film crew arrives on a nearby ship, Ben is one of the lucky kids chosen as a movie extra. But after a day’s filming, his suspicions are aroused. Are the director and crew really shooting a film? Or are they protecting a secret on the lower decks of the Albatross? Ben, Fee, and their friends set out to investigate. Are they prepared for what they might find?

Ghost by Jason Reynolds
Ghost. Lu. Patina. Sunny. Four kids from wildly different backgrounds with personalities who are explosive when they clash. But they are also four kids chosen for an elite middle school track team—a team that could qualify them for the Junior Olympics if they can get their acts together. They all have a lot to lose, but they also have a lot to prove, not only to each other, but to themselves.  A  gritty coming of age look at a boy overcoming obstacles.

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Evil Wizard Smallbone
by Delia Sherman
When Nick runs away from his uncle’s in the middle of a blizzard, he stumbles onto a very opinionated bookstore and its guardian, the self-proclaimed Evil Wizard Smallbone, who calls Nick his apprentice and won’t let him leave, but won’t teach him magic, either. It’s a good thing the bookstore takes Nick’s magical education in hand, because Smallbone’s nemesis–the Evil Wizard Fidelou–and his pack of shape-shifting bikers are howling at the borders. Smallbone might call himself evil, but compared to Fidelou, he’s practically a puppy. And he can’t handle Fidelou alone.  Wildly funny and cozily heartfelt, this is an eccentric fantasy adventure featuring dueling wizards, enchanted animals, and one stray boy.

Secret Keepers  by Trenton Lee Stewart
When Reuben discovers an extraordinary antique watch, he soon learns it has a secret power and his life takes an intriguing turn. Now he is on a dangerous adventure–full of curious characters, treacherous traps, and hairsbreadth escapes–as he races to solve the mystery before it is too late. From the author of the popular Mysterious Benedict Society.

Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier
Catrina and her family are moving to the coast of Northern California because her little sister, Maya, is sick. Cat isn’t happy about leaving her friends, but Maya has cystic fibrosis and will benefit from the cool, salty air that blows in from the sea. As the girls explore, a neighbor lets them in on a secret: There are ghosts in their new home. Maya is determined to meet one, but Cat wants nothing to do with them. As the time of year when ghosts reunite with their loved ones approaches, Cat must figure out how to put aside her fears for her sister’s sake -and her own.  A moving and insightful graphic novel about the power of family and friendship, and how it gives us the courage to do what we never thought possible.

Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk
Growing up in the shadows cast by two world wars, Annabelle has lived a mostly quiet, steady life in her small Pennsylvania town. Until the day new student Betty Glengarry walks into her class. Betty quickly reveals herself to be cruel and manipulative, and while her bullying seems isolated at first, things quickly escalate, and reclusive World War I veteran Toby becomes a target of her attacks. While others have always seen Toby’s strangeness, Annabelle knows only kindness. She will soon need to find the courage to stand as a lone voice of justice as tensions mount.  A haunting tale of America at a crossroads and a time when one girl’s resilience, strength, and compassion help to illuminate the darkest corners of our history.

 

Classic Fiction Books for Holiday Reading:

penderwickshalf-magic-16turtle-in-paradisehatchetbest-christmas-pageant-everall-of-a-kindfamily
The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
Four sisters go on a summer adventure, where they change the life of one boy.

Half Magic by Edgar Eager
What would you wish for if you found a magic talisman…that grants half a wish?

Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer Holm
Turtle learns about love and belonging after being foisted on an unsuspecting aunt during the Depression.

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
Brian learns survive alone in the wilderness after a plane crash.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
The Horrible Herdmans take over the school’s Christmas Pageant in an hilarious story of friendship, faith and understanding.

All-of-a-Kind Family by Sidney Taylor
Five Jewish sisters experience the ups and downs of life in early 1900’s New York City.

 

If you would like other suggestions for Holiday gift-giving ideas, ask our librarians!  The Library does own all of these books, so if you would like to read one and just want to know if it’s available, check our Library Catalog and enter the title of the book to see if it is available or place a hold.

Happy Holidays!

::Kelly::
Weston Public Library
December 2016