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
Reading Level: Grades 2-4
When Artie promises his mean cousin that he will give everyone firecrackers on the next Chinese New Year celebration, he immediately regrets it. How will he ever come up with enough money to buy all those firecrackers? Sympathetic to Artie's problem is Uncle Chester - a fun loving everyman who is wildly popular in Chinatown where Artie's family lives. Uncle Chester promises Artie that he will help - but when Uncle Chester's seemingly endless money starts to run out, Artie begins to worry.
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Reading Level: Grades 1-3
King, a golden retriever, is in the p-o-u-n-d and he doesn't know why! His family, Dad and Kayla (Mom is in the National Guard and not at home) went on vacation to Grandma's house and they never came home!
But now that King is in the pound, other families are looking at him and he is ADOPTED!!!! His new family calls him Buddy! How can King be adopted when Kayla and Dad are missing and he needs to find them?
Buddy/King likes his new family - Conor and Mom are great and have lots of liver treats, plus they live near Kayla's house, so Buddy/King can get clues about his first family's disappearance.
Then Conor goes missing, and Buddy/King has TWO missing families to find. Can he do it?
This series is great for beginning readers looking for longer but not too much more advanced chapter books with good but not scary mysteries! This reviewer has read the first four so far and is anxiously awaiting the fifth!
Reading Level: 3rd-6th
New teacher Mr. Terupt has a handful this year in his fifth grade class - but his abnormal teaching methods are a good fit for helping the students grow and work together. The school year is going great, until the accident. Then everything changes.
A heartwarming book about the profound influence of Mr. Terupt, this is a tale for students of all ages.
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When a bear falls asleep in a rowboat and the tide comes in, the boat floats out to sea, landing at a lighthouse.
A boy loses his ball in the same rowboat, and floats out to sea with his little dog, landing at the lighthouse - where the lonely bear is happy to see them.
The three new friends go fishing to catch their diner - but then a storm comes and the little dog, boy, and bear are frightened; they turn on the lighthouse light and stop a ship from crashing into the lighthouse island.
A short adventure of three new friends and the power of a lighthouse, Lamb's story will make a fantastic, day-dreamy read-aloud.
Reading Level: PreK- Grade 2
When a young boy sees a turtle basking at the park one day, he knows it will be the PERFECT pet.
But when he gets Melvin home, the turtle doesn't seem to be enjoying himself at all.
How can Melvin be the perfect pet if he isn't happy?
You probably learned to read in kindergarten or first grade, maybe even sooner. Maybe it's a little hard for you, maybe it got easier as you read more and more, maybe you can't stop reading.
But you did learn to read - good at it or not, loving it or not.
For Travis, that never happened. From kindergarten until seventh grade, he never let anyone see that he couldn't read - and no one knew - not even his teachers. When Travis and his grandpa move to a new town, and he begins at a new school, Travis isn't worried that he'll have trouble hiding his secret - until he gets his schedule.
Fourth period. Reading class. Room 134. Mr. McQueen.
Have you ever read a book that made you cry? Ever read a book that, once you were finished, you just sat with and held for a while, letting the words sink into you, not wanting to have finished it? Ever read a book that you couldn't stop thinking about after you finished? Ever read a book that was so true and real you experienced the whole thing in your mind as you read? This is one of those books.
Hauntingly, chillingly written with formidable illustration, A Monster Calls tells the story of a boy named Conor. Conor has terrible, monstrous nightmares; one day he looks out his bedroom window to see a monster looking back at him - but not the one from his nightmares. This monster wants something of Conor, but before it gets it, it will tell Conor three stories.
When the three stories are finished, it will be Conor's turn. And he will have to tell his story.
If you read one book this year, this reviewer hopes it's this one.
Books by Siobhan Dowd
Siobhan Dowd, children's and young adult author, passed away from breast cancer in 2007. Among the things left behind was the idea for A Monster Calls, which Patrick Ness has written in her memory.
*Title also owned on My Media Mall
Third U.S. President Thomas Jefferson lived at the plantation Monticello and kept slaves to work in his fields, farm and home. One of his slaves was a woman named Sally Hemings, mother to four of Jefferson's children - Beverly, Harriet, Maddy, and Eston. Though slaves, the children and their mother were given special treatment by Jefferson because of his discreet relationship to them - but nevertheless, slaves they remained.
Master Jefferson promises freedom to all four of his slave children upon their twenty-first birthdays, but Beverly, the eldest, cannot imagine leaving his mother, sister, brothers - but especially his father. Light-skinned and longing for a father figure, Beverly struggles with the secrecy of Jefferson's nonpublic identity as his father, especially when Jefferson presents him and his brothers with a kit violin and lessons. He and his siblings imagine a life where his mother, siblings and father could live openly together as a real family; a life that did not involve waiting on Master Jefferson's real children, especially the snippy Miss Martha.
Based on true events at Monticello during the early 1800s, Jefferson's Sons is a slave tale of a different order, exploring slavery and racial issues from the fresh perspective of Jefferson's slave children. The novel is a welcome look into one aspect of post-revolutionary slave life in Virginia that explores the bonds of family and friendship.