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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The Other Half of My Heart|
Sundee T. Frazier
Eleven-year-old Minerva (Minni) and her twin Keira are spending the summer with their grandmother, who is grooming them for the Miss Black Pearl Preteen of America contest. Minni and Keira are biracial, and for the first time light-skinned Minni begins to see how her darker-skinned sister is treated differently from her -- even by their own grandmother! Will the twins' special bond survive the summer? What do words like "black" or "white" mean, anyway? This thoughtful novel is warm and funny as well as a great discussion-starter. Minni and Keira's distinctive personalities give them great chemistry. Their pranks on their crotchety grandmother are especially entertaining. Highly recommended for grades 4 and up.
WPL Call Number: Y Frazier
Lost for Words|
Unable to talk about last summer's tragedy, Sophie has trouble with school, with her friends, and even with her mother. She cannot forget yet she refuses to verbalize her feelings. Even her sessions with a therapist will not help because Sophie will not talk. She does write in the therapist's journal and each dated entry shows how Sophie is trying to function normally while struggling through panic attacks. A new friend and a new therapist finally help Sophie accept her sister's death without feelings of guilt. A realistic view of a troubled family for ages 12 and up.
WPL Call Number: Y Kuipers
Queen of Secrets|
Essie Green -- newly minted cheerleader and latest love interest of football captain Austin King -- is in danger of losing her social standing. Essie's cousin Micah, an observant Jew, has just moved to town, and Essie's new friends think he's really weird. Moreover, they seem to think he's responsible for the football team's cruddy season and set out to retaliate. If they find out Essie is Micah's cousin, will Essie lose Austin and her other friends? Inspired by the biblical story of Queen Esther, this thoughtful novel realistically portrays high school relationships and touches on anti-Semitism and a general intolerance of difference that still exists in America. Highly recommended for grades 7 and up.
WPL Call Number: Y Meyerhoff
The Summer Before |
Ann M. Martin
Are you a kid who's enjoyed the Baby-Sitters Club graphic novels? Are you an adult who enjoyed the original Baby-Sitters Club books? Then this book is for you. As the Baby-Sitters Club books get re-released, Ann M. Martin has written a prequel. The summer before the club starts, Stacey is getting ready to move away from New York City, while Mary Anne, Kristy, and Claudia are having growing pains in Stoneybrook. All of them, of course, are babysitting. Find out how the four girls come together in this sweet story that kids in about third grade and up (and older fans) will enjoy.
WPL Call Number: J Martin
When a fuel shortage leaves Dewey's parents stranded hundreds of miles away, he and his siblings have to "be the parents" themselves! For Dewey, this means running the family's bike repair business -- which, thanks to nobody driving cars, is busier than ever. It's exciting, but the lines are getting longer and longer, and then bike parts start disappearing from the shop. How can Dewey keep pretending he's got everything under control? This gently humorous family story touches on issues of conservation without being overly political. Recommended for grades 5 and up.
WPL Call Number: Y Connor
The Julian Game|
Raye has been socially invisible ever since she arrived at her rich, all-girls prep school. Then queen bee Ella Parker takes Raye under her wing. Ella's mean even to her friends, but if you've made her angry -- WATCH OUT. Raye, eager to make it onto the social scene, agrees to use Facebook to help Ella get revenge on Julian, a boy who dissed her. But things get complicated when Raye falls for Julian and Julian falls right back. Now Ella is out for revenge on Raye! Will Raye turn the game back around on Ella? This well-written novel presents a familiar "mean girl" scenario in the age of cyberbullying. Suggested for grades 7 and up.
WPL Call Number: Y Griffin
Stanley Nudelman doesn't realize what he's in for when he buys a strange stuffed animal at a yard sale. Before long, it's obvious that the toy is a zombie who's bent on taking over Stanley's school. This mix of humor and horror has lots of funny pictures, and will appeal to second and third graders. Adults will get a kick out of it, too, especially the description of Ms. Mellow's kindergarten classroom, where the kids' non-gender-specific role-playing is hilarious.
WPL Call Number: J Bolger
Cloud Tea Monkeys|
In a small village near the Himalayas, a girl and her mother work at a tea plantation run by a cruel overseer. When the girl's mother falls ill, she can no longer work, and there's no money for a doctor. Help comes in a magical and surprising way in this modern fairy tale based on an ancient legend. Beautifully illustrated by Juan Wijngaard, this would be great as a family or classroom read aloud. For grades 2-4.
WPL Call Number: J Peet
House of Dolls|
Francesca Lia Block
3 distinctive, old-fashioned dolls (Wildflower, Rock Star, and Miss Selene) find their lives deliberately upset by the lonely little girl who owns them. Block, author of many prize-winning YA books, has written an original and wistful story. The charming illustrations are by Barbara McClintock. Recommended for thoughtful 2d and 3d grade girls.
WPL Call Number: J Block
Hamster and Cheese |
Colleen A. F. Venable
Because of his bad eyesight, Mr. Venezi has labeled the cages in his pet shop wrong--hamsters are called koalas, the snake is called a llama, and the chinchilla is called a moose. Also, Mr. Venezi doesn't see who keeps taking his sandwich. Sasspants the Guinea Pig does some fancy detective work to catch the sandwich thief. Readers in about second and third grade will like this funny graphic novel that requires keen observation skills.
WPL Call Number: J Comic VE
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