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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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Book Cover Grounded
Kate Klise

Daralynne tells what her life was like B.C., before the plane crash that killed her father, brother and sister. Because she was grounded by her parents for going fishing without permission, Daralynne wasn't on the plane with them but feels she should have been. She also describes life in her small Ozark town A.D., after the deaths. Neither Daralynne nor her mother have dealt with their grief and this first year progresses with many changes. It takes an outsider to prove what this family still can do. A sincere family story for ages 10 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Klise
Reviewer: Alice J.   (6/22/11)


Book Cover Tall Story
Candy Gourlay

Bernardo has been waiting years to leave his village in the Philippines to join the rest of his family in London. When his papers finally come through, it's hard for Bernardo to leave. He's a giant, eight feet tall, and everyone in his village thinks he's the second coming of a mythical character who's preventing earthquakes from destroying their town. Once he's in London, he has a hard time fitting in--physically and socially. Slowly, he bonds with his half-sister, Andi, over their love of basketball. But what about Bernardo's village? Will it be safe from earthquakes without him? Narrated by Andi and Bernardo in alternating chapters, this is an unusual story about superstition and family bonds. Kids in about fifth through eighth grade will enjoy this book.

WPL Call Number: Y Gourlay
Reviewer: Janet P.   (6/16/11)


Book Cover Akata Witch
Nnedi Okorafor

Being albino has always made Sunny an oddball, especially in Nigeria where she lives. But it turns out there's something even more extraordinary about Sunny: she's one of the Leopard People and therefore has magical abilities. In this fantastical adventure, Sunny and her new friends are called upon to stop Black Hat Otokoto, a serial killer who only goes after children... and seems to have very dark magic of his own. Reminiscent of Harry Potter (there's even a magical marketplace that brings Diagon Alley to mind), Sunny's story brims with humor and West African folklore. Recommended for grades 5 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Okorafor
Reviewer: Lisa B.   (6/15/11)


Book Cover Calvin Coconut: Hero of Hawaii
Graham Salisbury

When a tropical storm strikes his island, Calvin gets more adventure than he bargained for in this exciting, fast moving, easy to read novel with a sophisticated young hero. There are several more books about Calvin, too. Highly recommended especially for boys 3rd grade and up.

WPL Call Number: J Salisbury
Reviewer: Joanna N.   (6/13/11)


Book Cover Riding the Black Cockatoo
John Danalis

Growing up, John never wondered where the Aboriginal skull on his white family's mantelpiece came from -- the skull his family called "Mary." He didn't think about the racism that had taken Mary and countless other Aboriginal remains from their resting places. Years later, John begins to learn the truth. In this moving true story, John goes through the complex process of sending Mary home, confronting his own racial prejudice in the process. Highly recommended nonfiction for grades 7 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y p DA
Reviewer: Lisa B.   (6/10/11)


Book Cover Happily Ever Emma
Sally Warner

In this 6th book about Emma, her contented life is disrupted when her divorced mother goes out on a date. Her problems deepen when she accidentally-on-purpose forgets to deliver an important phone message. This well-written and quietly funny book will be enjoyed by fans of Ramona and Junie B. Recommended for 2d and 3d graders.

WPL Call Number: J Warner
Reviewer: Lyn P.   (6/9/11)


Book Cover Charles Darwin
Kathleen Krull

This is another great biography in the Giants of Science series. Krull has written about Darwin's life from his privileged childhood to his final days defending his remarkable theories. Fortunate to be able to study nature and not have to work, Darwin enjoyed keeping his meticulous notes on his research. His supportive wife, Emma read everything he wrote and edited his work so it could easily be understood. His five year voyage on The Beagle set the stage for his years of work studying animals and plants. Even his children were part of his research as he noted their development from birth. This well written work will be enjoyed by those 10 and up.

WPL Call Number: J921 Darwin
Reviewer: Alice J.   (6/2/11)


Book Cover The Darlings Are Forever
Melissa Kantor

Hoping their friendships will stay the same, three best friends begin at different high schools in New York City. Drama queen Jane will be enjoying the school for the performing arts. Brainy Natalya has a full scholarship to a fancy private girls' school, and quiet Victoria will be attending the same high school her sister just graduated from. New experiences and interesting boys enter the picture, as well as Victoria's father's campaign for the U.S. Senate. Their lives may change but they will remain the best of friends. Predictable realistic fiction for ages 12 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Kantor
Reviewer: Alice J.   (5/31/11)


Book Cover How Lamar's Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy
Crystal Allen

Thirteen-year-old ace bowler Lamar's big plan for the summer is to hit the lanes every day and meet his bowling idol, Bubba Sanders... and maybe catch the interest of his crush Makeda, if he can stop putting his foot in his mouth. But things get complicated when bad boy Billy lures Lamar into a hustling scheme and then a prank that lands Lamar in hot water with everyone he knows. Lamar is a terrifically interesting character who tells his story with tons of energy. If you're looking for a laugh-out-loud story about real kids, give this one a try. Recommended for grades 5 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Allen
Reviewer: Lisa B.   (5/24/11)


Book Cover The Hard Kind of Promise
Gina Willner-Pardo

A promise Sarah made with Marjorie in kindergarten is hard to keep now that they are in seventh grade. Sarah appreciated how different Marjorie was, her interest in old movies, the way she dressed, even the way she ate with chips in her sandwiches. Now it means that she is weird and a loser for hanging out with Marjorie. It is impossible to remain best friends so Sarah decides to make new ones in choir but tries to include Marjorie, too. This realistic view of social life in junior high will be appreciated by those ages 10 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Willner-Pardo
Reviewer: Alice J.   (5/18/11)


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