Youth Services Picks
What do you do when you are a plain vanilla cupcake in a world of wildly colorful confections? Cupcake and his candle friend both feel plain and boring compared to their fancy friends. They try topping Cupcake with spaghetti, stinky cheese, and even a squirrel before they realize that when they get together, they make a pretty special team. Check out this touching and funny book that shows us that we're all unique in our own way.
As an added bonus, Cupcake includes a recipe for vanilla cupcakes and vanilla buttercream in the back of the book. You too can make your own special cupcakes!
Cornelia Greene, daughter of Revolutionary War hero Nathaniel Greene, grows up with her four brothers and sisters in luxury in the 1780s and 90's. However, rumors swirl around her mother's habit of flirting with other powerful men. When a certain rumor hits far too close to home for Cornelia, how will she find out what is true and what is false? The bigger question is, does she really want to know the truth?
Ann Rinaldi is a master of historical fiction, and she certainly lives up to her reputation in this novel. The first part of the book is from Cornelia's mother's perspective as she grows up before the Revolution. The second is in Cornelia's own voice, allowing us to see the growth of an intelligent, headstrong, and loving young woman.
How many things do you need to take on a car trip? It seems like Elephant and Piggie will never be ready to go... and when they are finally packed they are still missing one very important item...a CAR! Another great adventure from Mo Willems!
Travis, a young Marine, is home on leave following a tour in Afghanistan. He is overwhelmed with emotions, struggling to adjust to civilian life and mourning the loss of a close friend in combat. More than anything, he just wants his life to return to normal. The people he is closest to, though, are not making that possible!
Ling is a girl living in China with her beloved parents. She always remembers her life being a happy one, getting English lessons from her father, and lessons in ladyship from her mother. This all changes when Mao Zedong's ruthless Red Guards turn their lives upside down. Anyone who is thought to be different is persecuted. Her parents are declared enemies of the state, her father is sent to a labor camp, and her friends abandon her. How will Ling face these hardships? Will she ever see her father again?
Ying Chang Compestine weaves a tale of the Cultural Revolution and the people who lived through it. Her own childhood inspired the novel, and it, in turn, will inspire you.
Mo Willems is back, and he has created another fantastic read! This book is loosely based on Goldilocks and the Three Bears, but with several unique twists, including a Norwegian dinosaur! The moral of the story, " If you ever find yourself in the wrong story, leave." pretty much sums it up. Fun read aloud for children old enough to appreciate irony!
This is a fantastic debut novel from Nancy Grossman! It tells the story of Eliza Miller, a Amish teenager who is sent to work as a nanny for a family outside her community. While she is there, she must decide if she wants to wholly embrace the more modern lifestyle or return to her conservative roots. It is a big decision, and the answer can not be reached without experiencing typical teenage drama.
How can you possibly paint the sky if you don't have any blue paint? This is Marisol's dilemma as she helps her class paint a mural for their library. She shows us all that with a little observation and a lot of imagination, the sky can be everything but blue.
A fantastic picture book for all of your dreamers, young or just young at heart.
- The Dot-Peter H. Reynolds,
- Ish-Peter H. Reynolds
What can your peas do? Are they astronauts? Bakers? Construction workers? If they just sit on your plate, then they are not as talented as these peas. These peas even know their alphabet!
A Young Hoosier Book Award nominee for 2012-2013, LMNO Peas is not one you will want to miss!
- 123 Peas-Keith Baker,
- Shiver Me Letters: A Pirate ABC-June Sobel
Humans and dragons have maintained a peace for 40 years, but as the anniversary of the treaty approaches, tensions are rising. Seraphina is a uniquely talented musician and is quite unique herself. She has to hide the fact that she is half-human, half-dragon. If anyone found out, the consequences would be dire, but Seraphina may be the only person that can prevent war between the two worlds. Is she the only one of her kind?
Hartman has created a captivating story against one of the richest and most detailed worlds in fiction. Seraphina is a must-read for fans of fantasy, intrigue, and adventure.
Great source for snake themed science activities!
Great story about worrying! Peanut the dog is concerned that his neighbor, Milo the dog, will get the best apple, and once he starts to worry, he just can't stop!
This title is a 2012-13 Young Hoosier Nominee for grades 4-6. Readers are introduced to Aubrey, a young girl in a strange situation, without any back story. It takes a bit of reading to finally understand the dynamics of the plot. Aubrey's family has suffered an enormous loss, and her mother is not handling the loss appropriately. As a result, Aubrey goes to live with her grandmother, where she begins to heal and look forward to the future.
Rosemary Goode is a 15 year old high school student who has always been chubby. She has a lot of issues in her life, and she deals with those issues by overeating. The more she eats, the more weight she gains. The more weight she gains, the more depressed she becomes. Finally, when even her sweatpants are too tight, Rosemary decides she must take control of her eating. But that is easier said than done.
I absolutely loved this book! I was rooting for Rosemary from the very beginning. I was drawn to her sense of humor, her frequent use of sarcasm, and her general disdain for the Bluebirds, the most popular girls in school. Anyone who has ever struggled with their weight or tried to avoid high school cliques will appreciate this book! Because, eventually, high school is over...
Ten year old Ha flees Saigon with her family, and finds herself living with a refugee sponsor in Alabama! Everything is different in Alabama! She must learn to eat new foods, speak a new language, and embrace a new culture.
This story is written in free verse, making it a fairly quick read with a good message for young and old alike!
Reading this book was like taking a breath of fresh air! The main character, Gigi, is super smart and so are her friends! But high school is not always the best environment for smart kids, and Gigi and her friends find themselves in the usual conflicts with their prettier, more popular classmates. The difference is, in this book, nice girls do finish first!
It was nice to read a book about teens who study hard, get good grades, and consistently strive to do the right things.
This is a favorite story of mine because I can dream along with Sylvester about what I might wish for if I had a magic pebble. As the story moves along I can again identify with the feeling of being lost and unable to return home. I once was lost in a department store that in my five year old mind, “I knew so well”! I wondered how, would I find my family. I wanted to find my mother whom I had wandered away from but, would I be in trouble? When I read about how Sylvester’s parents searched for him when he did not come home as expected I can only imagine the pain of a parent looking for a lost child.
The outcome is the best. Readers are reminded what is most important in life. Read this book so you too can be reminded about what is most valuable to you.
This title is a 12-13 Young Hoosier Book Award Nominee for grades 6-8.
Set in 1962, the book introduces us to Samantha, a fourteen year old former military brat, who is forced to start a new life at a new school after her father is killed in Vietnam. Because of her upbringing, Samantha is more open minded than her new Jackson, Mississippi classmates. As she struggles to find her place in the community, she experiences the turmoil that controls the South during this era. Samantha's quest for acceptance is further complicated by her new-age, artsy mother, who marches to the beat of her own drummer... and encourages her daughter to do the same. Eventually, Samantha comes to realize that doing what is right isn't always popular, and doing what is popular isn't always right.
Anyone who has ever been embarrassed of their mother or wished their mother was more like the "other mothers" will appreciate this story, as will anyone who enjoyed "The Help".
After a devastating hurricane turns her life upside down, Laurel Daneau is forced to start over. On the surface, Laurel seems to be doing well in her new school. She is a cheerleader and she has a popular boyfriend nicknamed T-Boom. Privately, though, she is struggling with the loss of her mother and her grandmother and she is hurting. When T-Boom introduces Laurel to meth, she believes that she has finally found a way to numb her pain. But a meth addiction proves to be more than she bargained for.
- Ellen Hopkins
This is a new J Fiction title with a unique format. The story is presented like a video game, with the main character introduced in a brief biographical sketch."Heart of the Enemy" tells the story of LT. Commander Lester Donovan, a US Navy SEAL in serving in Iraq. At the end of each chapter, readers are given a debriefing of the events that have just unfolded.
I have to admit, the thought of "Blood and Guts" makes me a little squeamish! But maybe, just maybe, this book will appeal to those brave souls who are interested in Mixed Martial Arts! The rules and regulations of the sport are defined, and key moves are explained in detail. There is also a biography section that provides a glimpse into the lives of different professional fighters. Exposure to actual blood and guts throughout the story is limited, and the content is not nearly as graphic as the title might imply. If you're looking for the basics of MMA, or just trying to engage a reluctant reader, this book may be the ticket!
Entertainer Jim Gill is responsible for this funny little tale about a man who CAN NOT eat his soup! A great conversation starter about the fundamentals of oprea, but not too serious as to bore the audience. The preschool crowd will appreciate the simplicity of the storyline and enjoy the musical presentation, while the K-5 set will appreciate the subtle humor, such as the "Fat Lady" delivering the last lines of the production. Don't miss this title!
Joy is a typical suburban teen who finds herself in an abusive relationship with her "boyfriend" Asher. In order to escape the relationship, she runs away from home and starts a new life with a group of homeless teens. Joy is rather unprepared for the realities of life on the streets, and she begins a journey of self discovery in an attempt to overcome the obstacles she is facing. Along the way, she makes some unlikely friends, and learns more from them than anyone could have imagined.
I love I Spy books, because they really make you use your brain! Each page has a riddle that encourages readers to hunt for certain objects within the illustrations. They are lots of fun for readers of all ages and a great way to increase vocabulary skills.
I attended college in Texas, where "Texas State Government" was a required course, so I am all too familiar with Sam Houston and his famous "Remember the Alamo!" quote. However, if you need a history refresher, or you are just looking for an entertaining biography, "A Picture Book of Sam Houston" just might do.
Houston was a teacher, a soldier, a lawyer, a governor, and even president of the Republic of Texas. Information about his diverse career choices coupled with vivid illustrations make this biography an interesting read.
This is a new Historical Fiction title, and part of the Boys of Wartime series. The main character is twelve-year-old Michael, who lives with his family in Paris during World War II. Michael wants to help with the war efforts, but he has to decide how much he is willing to risk to defend his country's freedom.
Elephant and Piggie are back in a fantastic new tale of friendship and honesty! Piggie has a new trumpet, and she is very eager to share her musical talents with Gerald, but ...her talent is..nonexistent. When Piggie starts fishing for compliments, poor Gerald has to decide if he should tell the truth, even if it means hurting his friends feelings.
This book is considered an easy reader, and would be a great springboard for discussions about honesty and friendship.
Maisy mouse is back, and she is more active than ever before! Young readers will enjoy following Maisy as she skips, jumps and somersaults through a typical day. With colorful illustrations and text that encourages active participation, this book is sure to be a hit with toddlers!
This is a new take on the classic tale "The Gingerbread Man" with a unique Tex-mex twist! A smattering of Spanish vocabulary and a yummy recipe for gorditas make this a great interactive read for families.
Chopsticks provides a funny look at what happens when an always together couple is suddenly forced apart. Readers learn the joy of sticking together as well as the power of individual skills. This is a must read for parents who have experience with clingy children as well as anyone who has ever been separated from the person that they love most.
I have always been fascinated by forensic studies so when I saw the title "Toe Tagged" in a stack of books that had been returned, I knew I had to read it. The cover has a "CSI" feel, complete with yellow tape and white sheets. Inside is a fascinating look at the work of forensic pathologists. The author does an excellent job of combining fast facts and case studies to highlight several different aspects of mortuary science without subjecting young readers to unnecessary information or graphic details.
Tweens and teens who have an interest in science, detective work, or crime shows like CSI will appreciate this book. A simple dictionary is included to help readers understand specific terms. At 60 pages, this is a short but informative read on an unusual subject.
Do you ever feel overwhelmed by connectivity? Have gadgets taken over your household? Do you ever wish for just five minutes of unplugged time? Then you have to read this book! Goodnight, iPad is a parody of Goodnight Moon, and it is quite entertaining for children and adults alike. The family elder decides that she is fed up with the electronic gadgetry that is keeping her children and grandchildren occupied. So, she starts eliminating devices, beginning with the iPad. Of course, her actions are met with protests, and readers can't help but smile as they try to imagine life without cell phones, computers, and handheld games. Rapper Eminem gets a brief mention, making this a thoroughly modern parody.
There are some strange people in this world, and sixteen year old Jacob is one of them. So is his grandfather. The two men have always been close. When a tragedy strikes the family, Jacob decides it is his responsibility to seek answers to some long buried family mysteries and restore honor to the family name. He wants to learn more about his grandfather, and who he was as a child. Unfortunately, his visit to Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children leaves him with more questions than answers. What kind of a man was Jacob's grandfather, and how did he become involved with children whose behaviors seem extremely odd?
This book features several vintage photographs that add an extra dimension to the story and leave readers scrambling to turn the pages!
Have you ever wished that you could relive a moment in your life? What if you had the chance to say the right words, wear the right shoes, and kiss the right boy? What if you knew today was your last day on Earth? Would you rewrite your personal history to make yourself cooler, cuter or more popular?
Samantha is a typical teenage girl who is killed in a tragic accident. Following her death, she is given a chance to relive the last day of her life, from her breakfast, to cutting class, to attending a party with her boyfriend. Each time the day starts, readers are given slightly different information about Samantha, her choices, and her relationships with her friends, parents and boyfriend. Readers soon become aware that there is way more to the story of Samantha’s life and her death than anyone could have imagined.
I loved this book! I rooted for Samantha from the very beginning. She is a character that most high school girls can relate to, because she is experiencing the typical longings for love, popularity and acceptance. This book gives readers a reason to reflect on the things that teens think are so important, and the realities of these experiences.
Seventeen-year-old Jill is still grieving for her father when her mother decides to adopt a baby from Mandy, an unwed teen who moves into their home to live until the birth. Mandy knows what it's like to grow up with a mother who never intended to have a child, so she wants a better life for her baby. But she still needs someone to care for her, too. The story is told from each girl’s viewpoint, as they struggle to cope with their pasts, each other, and the future. How to Save a Life has many starred reviews and 4 stars on Goodreads. Sara Zarr is the author of three other award winning Young Adult titles: Sweethearts (Y Fic), Once Was Lost (eAudiobook), and Story of a Girl (available on Kindle from Amazon.com).
Carl Hiaasen is a well known author for adults and kids. His stories are set in Florida and usually involve environmental issues. In this funny mystery for kids, Nick and his friend Marta decide to investigate when a mysterious fire starts while they are on a school field trip to Black Vine Swamp and the mean old biology teacher Mrs. Starch turns up missing after she goes into the fire to get a student’s lost medication. School Library Journal calls Scat! an “edge-of-the-seat eco-thriller.” Scat! is a Young Hoosier nominee for middle grades this year. Other titles kids will enjoy by this author are Flush and Hoot, both J Fiction.
They call it "Progress". I guess it sounds better than "Juvenile Facility" or "Youth Institution". Reece is serving his sentence there, but he doesn't see much real progress. People come and go, but the situations remain the same. Reece is frustrated, because he wants a better life for himself, but he just can't seem to stay out of trouble. When he is placed on work release, Reece makes an unlikely friend who helps him realize that the past is behind him, and the future is what he makes of it.
Sixteen year old Tessa faces vampires, demons, and the truth about her missing brother in the fast paced adventure. Mysterious and intriguing characters such as Will, Jem and Charlotte join Tessa in the war against the Magister.
This book reminded me of traveling in the car with my Mom, Dad and Brother. We had fun and so do the Watsons!
This is a great family read because everyone can participate in solving the riddles presented! Each page gives a riddle that can be answered with the title of a popular children's book! Try to see how many you can solve, and be sure to check out the titles you have not read! Spot the Plot is a 2011-2012 Young Hoosier Book Award Nominee for grades K-3, and promises to be popular with readers of all ages!
Mandy is a pregnant teenager who has to make some tough decisions about her future. She has had a rough life, watching her mother work through an endless string of dead end relationships. She has no idea how to parent a child or how to begin to make better choices for herself. When she meets a family willing to adopt her baby, she is exposed to a lifestyle vastly different from any she has ever experienced. She begins a journey of self-realization, which leads to an interesting, if unusual conclusion.
Adult fans of YA titles will appreciate Zarr's work, as will teens who have experienced their own love or loss.
- After by Amy Efaw
Little Red Bird is a Young Hoosier Book Award Nominee for the 2011-2012 school year. Little Red Bird has spent her entire life in a cage and she is quite content there. But then the day comes that she is given the opportunity to spread her wings, and explore the world around her. Should she stick with what she has always known, in a place where she feels comfortable? Or should she venture out and experience new and different surroundings? The author thoughtfully asks readers, “What would you do?” making this book a great starting point for discussion about trying new things and taking chances.
Poor Alligator! He is best friends with a young girl named Amanda, and more than anything, he wants to make her happy! But Amanda is human, and Alligator is... well, stuffed, and they don't always see eye to eye. Anyone who has ever treasured a stuffed animal will appreciate the friendship between the two main characters and understand the obstacles they face in trying to maintain their relationship as Amanda gets older. Fans of Mo Willems' Elephant and Piggie series will enjoy Amanda and her Alligator.
What do you do when the person you depend on most is killed in a traffic accident? For Gaston Giambanco Jr., the answer is simple… develop an intense hatred for the people who caused the accident. An illegal immigrant was behind the wheel of the car that hit Gaston’s mother head on.
Eager to escape the less than ideal home life that only worsened after the accident, Gaston sets out to make it on his own. His journey leads him to a job at a racetrack stable where he learns that in order to be successful he must rely on the very people he despises most.
At 150 pages, Homestretch is a fairly quick read with short chapters and a straightforward storyline that will engage horse lovers and race fans alike.
12 year old Matt Pin has been living with his adoptive family for two years. He loves his parents and his little brother. He's just made the school baseball team as a star pitcher and he is becoming an accomplished pianist. Life is good; but Matt keeps his nightmares and memories of his war-torn country to himself. He doesn't mention the helicopters, bombs, and flames that were a part of his life. He doesn't mention the mother and little brother he left behind. More importantly, he doesn't mention the cruel remarks he hears from his classmates whose family members fought in the war zone. It takes a wise baseball coach and an injured Vietnam Veteran to help put the broken pieces of Matt's life back together.