New Book Reviews for Kids

Below are staff reviews of select new books in the Youth Services Department.
For a list of all the new and forthcoming Youth books, click here.

New Book Reviews

Secret Agent Splat!

by Rob Scotton

Reading Level: Ages 3 - 5

Splat gets his spy gear together in order to figure out who keeps taking birds from his collection and returning them, beakless, the next day.

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More books by Rob Scotton

Reading Level: Preschoolers,Kindergarteners Subjects: Animals--Talking, Friends, Humor, Mysteries, Spies Location: Picture Books

Alfie Is Not Afraid

by Patricia Carlin

Reading Level: Ages 3 - 5

Alfie's boy is planning a backyard camping trip and it is a good thing he has such a brave dog to bring along with him; although Alfie would beg to differ.

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More books by Patricia Carlin

Reading Level: Preschoolers,Kindergarteners Subjects: Adventure, Animals--Real, Humor Location: Picture Books

Olivia and the Fairy Princesses

by Ian Falconer

Reading Level: Ages 2 - 6

Olivia has a crisis. She doesn't know what she should be since all the girls, and some of the boys, always choose to be pink princesses, and she is NOT the pink princess type. Besides, if EVERYONE is a princess, then princesses aren't special.

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More books by Ian Falconer

Reading Level: Preschoolers,Kindergarteners,1st Grade Subjects: Animals--Talking, Books for Girls, Humor, Self Image Location: Picture Books

On the Day I Died: Stories from the Grave

by Candace Fleming

Reading Level: Grades 5 - 8

Driving at break-neck speed past a Cook County Forest Preserve after midnight, late for curfew again, Mike nearly hits a girl who is standing in the middle of the road. His decision to give the hapless hitchhiker a ride home turns into a night spent sitting in a graveyard listening to the ghosts of Chicago area teenagers as tell him the stories of their lives, and deaths.

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More books by Candace Fleming

Reading Level: 5th Grade,6th Grade,7th Grade,8th Grade Subjects: Fantasy, Horror, Short Stories, Supernatural Location: JY Fiction

A World Away

by Nancy Grossman

Reading Level:  Ages 12 and up

Sixteen-year-old Eliza Miller has reached the age for Amish teenagers to experience "rumspringa", their wild time, when they must decide whether or not to committ to the Amish way of life.  Eliza yearns to spend the summer with  the "English" and learn about the modern world.  When she is offered the opportunity to be a nanny in the Chicago area it's everything she could wish for, including a romance with a Yankee boy.  This is a wonderful look at a unique culture, and yet in many ways, Eliza is just like anyone else trying to find their path in life.

Nancy Grossman is a Highland Park author. 


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Reading Level: 6th Grade,7th Grade,8th Grade,High Schoolers Subjects: Books for Girls, Chick Lit Location: JY Fiction


by Bryce Moore

Reading Level: Grades 5 - 8

After Tomas' house burns down, his family moves back to Slovakia where they had lived until Tomas was five and where he had nearly died. Soon after his arrival in his mother's home town he begins to have strange encounters with Slovakian legendary characters. Everyone, from Death herself to a crazy water vampire, known as a vodnik, seems to remember him and want something from him.

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More books by Bryce Moore

Reading Level: 5th Grade,6th Grade,7th Grade,8th Grade Subjects: Adventure, Books for Boys, Family, Fantasy, Folktales, Horror, In Other Lands, Misfits, Supernatural Location: JY Fiction

The Pregnancy Project: A Memoir

by Gaby Rodriguez with Jenna Glatzer

Reading Level: Grades 7 and up

Gaby's mother became pregnant with her first child at 14. All of Gaby's seven older brothers and sisters became teen parents as well, but Gaby, who was an unplanned, post-divorce child, is determined to not follow in her family's footsteps. When she needed to design her senior year research project she wondered, how would people react if a hardworking, determined student with a planned out future DID become a teen mother? Thus begins a six month long faked teen pregnancy and social experiment.

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More books by Gaby Rodriguez

More books by Jenna Glatzer

Reading Level: 7th Grade,8th Grade,High Schoolers,Adults Subjects: Biographies, Books for Girls, Family, Friends, Misfits, Non-Fiction, Relationships, School, Self Image, Social Issues Location: JY Non-Fiction

Last Airlift: A Vietnamese Orphan's Rescue from War

by Marsha Forechuk Skrypuch

Reading Level:  Grades  3-6

This is the true story of Tuyet,  an eight -year- old orphan who didn't remember her life before the Saigon orphanage.  There were the scars that she thought might have been from the war that still raged on, but she couldn't remember  When Saigon fell, she was one of 57 babies and children evacuated to Canada during "Operation Babylift." 

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Books by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch

Novels about war orphans:

Betti on the Highwire by Lisa Railsback

Dogtag Summer by Elizabeth Partridge

Reading Level: 3rd Grade,4th Grade,5th Grade,6th Grade Subjects: Biographies, Books for Girls, Non-Fiction Location: J Non-Fiction

Anna Dressed in Blood

by Kendare Blake

Grades 7+

Cas, teenage ghost killer, moves to a new town to pursue a tip he's gotten on a murdurous ghost known as Anna Dressed in Blood. Cute, personable guy that he is, he quickly gets in with the popular crowd - his plan is to learn as much as he can about Anna - and who tells urban legends better than high schoolers?

Cas doesn't really expect Anna to be any more formidable of a ghost than anything else he's thought. But, of course, Anna is different.

Creepy, spooky, gory... you won't soon forget Anna or her dress of blood.

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More books by Kendare Blake.

Similar titles you may enjoy:

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong

Skeleton Creek by Patrick Carman

For older readers:
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Reading Level: 7th Grade,8th Grade,High Schoolers Subjects: Adventure, Horror, Read-Alikes, Supernatural Location: JY Fiction

The One and Only Ivan

by Katherine Applegate

Grades 4+

Ivan (The Ape at Exit 8) is a downtrodden, has-been silverback gorilla living in a small, unkept domain within a shopping mall, occasionally accompanied by Bob, a stray dog who sneaks into Ivan's domain through a hole in the glass.

Stella, an aging elephant with a bad foot, dies from lack of treatment after Ruby, a baby elephant purchased from a defunct circus, arrives at the mall. The owner hopes Ruby will jumpstart visitor attendance again. Before Stella dies, she asks Ivan to promise that he will bring Ruby somewhere safe, knowing his devotion to protection of his friends is paramount.

Ivan's poetic narration is honest, painful, and heartbreaking; Applegate's insight into captive animal life is powerful. Don't miss this book, no matter how old you are.

Find this book on our shelves.

More books by Katherine Applegate.


Illustrator: Patricia Castelao Reading Level: 4th Grade,5th Grade,6th Grade,7th Grade,8th Grade,High Schoolers,Adults Subjects: Animals--Talking, Don't Miss These, Family, Fantasy, Friends, Non-Prose, Read-Alouds Location: J Fiction