Recent Staff Reviews
Not sure what to read next? Check out what the staff at WPL have been reading. You might get some ideas! Click the title of each book to check its availability in the WPL catalog.
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P.S. Be Eleven|
In this sequel to "One Crazy Summer", Delphine, age 11 and her younger sisters, Vonetta and Fern, return to their Brooklyn home after visiting their poet mom, Celine, in Oakland, CA. This story is set in 1968, with references to the Jackson Five singing group and the Vietnam War. The girls must readjust to their grandmother's very old fashioned, strict ways, their father's new wife, and their young uncle's return from Vietnam and descent into drug addiction. Delphine tells a lively story that readers in grades 4-7 will enjoy.
WPL Call Number: J Williams-Garcia
The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond |
Violet, the daughter of a white woman and black man, is the only black kid at her school. She loves her mom and white half-sister, but she hates the funny looks her family gets from strangers. Her father died before she was born, and his family isnâ€™t in the picture. Naturally she wants to know about her fatherâ€™s family and figure out how she fits in. When she discovers her grandmother is not only an artist but is having a show in nearby Seattle, she begs her mother to go. After a rocky start, her mom and grandmother reconcile, and Violetâ€™s grandmotherâ€”whom she calls Bibi, Swahili for grandmotherâ€”invites her to L.A. to spend two weeks and meet the rest of the family. The experience leaves Violet with questions (in Moon Lake she was â€œtoo black,â€ but now sheâ€™s â€œtoo whiteâ€), but sheâ€™s happy to discover she doesnâ€™t have to choose sides. This amiable story of one biracial girl beginning to explore her cultural identity is recommended for grades 4â€“6.
WPL Call Number: J Woods
Garden of My Imaan|
Fifth grade Aliya is uniquely Indian-American and Muslim at her public school. She has many concerns that she shares with her large, loving, supportive family and her diary, in which she writes to Allah. Her worries include the following: what will her classmates think about her as she fasts for Ramadan; how can she share her feelings about being a Muslim with her non-Muslim friends; how does she navigate a friendship with a new Muslim girl, Marwa, who is devoutly religious and wears a hijab; how does she cope with prejudice against Muslims related to 9/11; how can she be a more devout Muslim, and what can she do to make cute Josh like her a little? Not only is this story is fun to read, it is an important contribution to our culturally diverse world. Moreover, the story demonstrates that Muslims differ in their observance just like other faiths do. A glossary of Urdu and Arabic expressions complete the novel.
WPL Call Number: J Zia
Seventh-grader Sierra Shepherd is an honors student who has never been in trouble. One day, she accidentally brings her mother’s lunch bag to school instead of her own. Unfortunately, the lunch bag contains a small paring knife for cutting up an apple, and knives are strictly prohibited by the school’s zero tolerance policy against weapons. Though her friends tell her to just hide the knife, Sierra decides to do the right thing and turn it in. She is surprised when her actions land her in an in-school suspension, awaiting an expulsion hearing. Her dad, a high-powered attorney, is determined to fight the school. Her principal is determined to stand his ground – zero tolerance means no exceptions. Sierra just wants to get back to class and extracurriculars, but as her time in suspension drags on, she gets to know some of the school troublemakers and begins to question right and wrong in a way she never has before. This book will really have you thinking about what it means to do the right thing. Recommended for grades 5 to 8.
WPL Call Number: Y Mills
Chews Your Destiny|
This heavily illustrated chapter book stars Gabby Gomez, a young bubblegum addict whose mother has banned her favorite pastime after an unfortunate gum-in-the-hair incident. As luck would have it, chewing a verboten piece of limited-edition Mighty-Mega Ultra-Stretchy Super-Duper Extenda-Bubble Bubble Gum changes Gabby's life: now whenever she pops a bubble, she turns into Gum Girl, with sticky, stretchy superpowers! (To turn back, she dumps peanut butter on herself.) Gabby soon sets about saving the day. This series opener sets the scene for future entries. Suggested for grades 2-3 (and older kids who want/need a fun, easier read).
WPL Call Number: J Montijo
Better Nate Than Ever|
Nate wants nothing more than to leave his small Pennsylvania town, where he fits in with nobody except his best friend Libby, and become a Broadway star in New York City. When auditions are announced for E.T.: The Musical, Nate's got to go. But is he up to lying to his parents (and just about everyone else), navigating the big city on his own, and dealing with a bunch of snotty show biz professionals? This funny, heartfelt read will make you cheer for Nate as his world expands and he discovers a place he can truly fit in. Recommended for readers in grades 5 and up.
WPL Call Number: Y Federle
Sadie knows she'll be a nobody at her new school if she doesn't find a way to stand out. The solution? Fake a peanut allergy! Sadie buys a medical alert bracelet and everything. The plan works: soon Sadie is making friends left and right. But Sadie's little fib becomes complicated as teachers freak out, friends dig for details, and one very special boy gives her a bronzed peanut necklace. How long can Sadie conceal the truth? This slice-of-life tale of teen drama will appeal to readers who like Raina Telgemeier's books Drama and Smile.
WPL Call Number: Y Comic HA
The Bully Book|
Eric Kahn GAle
Sixth grader, Eric Haskins believes there is a book which tells his classmates how to bully and pick on a student. It seems to him that each year one student is selected to be the "Grunt" and everyone else agrees. Since he has been chosen, he keeps a journal as he tries to find out how and why he was chosen and what he can do to change this. Eric seeks older students who have experienced this horrendous bullying to solve his problem. Author Eric Kahn Gale claims that this story is based on his life as a bullied sixth grader. Good for a discussion on bullying for grades 4-7.
WPL Call Number: J Gale
Stella Batts Needs a New Name|
Ever since the unfortunate incident that has rude boy Joshua calling her "Smella," Stella Batts hasn't liked her name. Then one of her friends has a great idea: change it! Soon all of Stella's friends are changing their names, too, causing confusion, arguments, and even hurt feelings. Is changing her name worth it, or is Stella Batts better off as Stella Batts? This chapter book, the first in a series, should appeal to readers who like Judy Moody, Clementine, and Junie B.. Suggested for grades 2-3.
WPL Call Number: J Sheinmel
Think your parents are embarrassing? Imagine having supervillains as parents! Joshua's parents are the Dread Duo, the Botanist and Dr. Dread. Joshua can barely get through the day without them trying to destroy the earth. Usually they're thwarted by Captain Justice. But when mysterious smoke creatures start whisking away supervillains, Joshua starts to worry about his parents. At the same time, he finds out he has his own super power. When the time comes, can Joshua save his parents? And whose side is Captain Justice really on? Fourth through sixth graders will enjoy this lively and humorous fantasy adventure.
WPL Call Number: J Bacon
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