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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 Waiting for Normal
Leslie Connor

Twelve year old Addie wants to have a normal family life, but her family is far from being normal. Her mother's irresponsible behavior causes a divorce between her and Addie's beloved stepfather, resulting in Addie having to live with her in a trailer park. Addie yearns to be with her stepfather and two sisters, for he has custody of them. She exhibits tremendous courage, kindness, and self-reliance through all of her struggles. For grades 5-7.

WPL Call Number: Y Connor
Reviewer: Sue K.   (10/13/10)


Book Cover The Cowgirl Way: Hats Off to America's Women of the West
Holly George-Warren

Fun historical facts about the girls and women who worked as cowhands, in rodeos, in wild west shows, and on stage and screen. I especially enjoyed reading about how their experiences helped break down the strict gender roles of the 19th century. Legends are separated from truth for characters like Calamity Jane and Annie Oakley. Illustrated with lots of photos and old advertisements, this is a lively and readable book recommended for 3rd-5th grade boys and girls.

WPL Call Number: J978 GE
Reviewer: Lyn P.   (10/13/10)


Book Cover Tell Us We're Home
Marina Budhos

Three eighth grade girls become friends in suburban New Jersey when they find out how much they have in common. As immigrants from Mexico, Trinidad and Slovakia, they are not as wealthy and are not accepted by the rest of their peers. Their mothers work as nannies and housekeepers for their classmates' families. Lola, Maria and Jaya realize they can belong and participate just like everyone else. Realistic family situations for ages 12 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Budhos
Reviewer: Alice J.   (10/12/10)


Book Cover Big Nate : In a Class by Himself
Lincoln Peirce

While you're waiting for the next Wimpy Kid book to come out, meet Big Nate. Middle schooler Nate knows he's destined for greatness. In fact, a fortune cookie tells him that "today you will surpass all others." Unfortunately, Nate just keeps getting detention after detention. How will Nate live up to his promise when he keeps getting in trouble? With its cartoon-like illustrations and slapstick humor, Big Nate will appeal to Wimpy Kid fans in about third grade and up.

WPL Call Number: J Peirce
Reviewer: Janet P.   (10/8/10)


Book Cover Positively
Courtney Sheinmel

After Emmy's mother dies of AIDS, Emmy goes to live with her father and his new wife, Meg. Emmy, who's infected with HIV, is miserable. She misses her mother terribly, and she's feeling pessimistic about living with her own disease. To make matters worse, her friends and what's left of her family truly don't understand this. Then Emmy's father and Meg send her to Camp Positive, a camp for girls with HIV. As Emmy slowly starts to find others who can grasp what she's going through, she starts to see a brighter future for herself. This sad but ultimately hopeful novel will appeal to readers in about fifth through seventh grade.

WPL Call Number: Y Sheinmel
Reviewer: Janet P.   (10/4/10)


Magic book Shiloh
Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

A dog follows Marty home from the woods one day. Marty can tell that the friendly beagle, whom he names Shiloh, has been mistreated, and he wishes he didn't have to return him to his cruel owner, Judd Travers. When Shiloh runs back to Marty's house, Marty hides him. But the situation just can't last. Can Marty save Shiloh from Judd Travers? This Newbery winner appeals to animal lovers in about third grade and up.

WPL Call Number: J Naylor
Reviewer: Janet P.   (10/4/10)


Book Cover Super Chicken Nugget Boy and the Furious Fry
Josh Lewis

Fern is new to Bert Lahr Elementary and is being bullied by the principal’s son. His plan to stop it involves creating a fake superhero friend to protect him and staging a spectacular ninja battle involving all of the other kids at school. What Fern doesn’t know is that he will fall into a gross pool of green gooey liquid. After the disgusting liquid incident, Fern touches ketchup and becomes a superhero himself-Super Chicken Nugget Boy! This hilarious book about an accidental superhero will especially appeal to fans of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey, Oggie Cooder by Sarah Weeks, and Jarrett J. Krosoczka’s Lunch Lady series. For grades 2 and up.

WPL Call Number: J Lewis
Reviewer: Elisa G.   (9/25/10)


Book Cover 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
Reviewer: Lisa B.   (9/23/10)


Book Cover Lost for Words
Alice Kuipers

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
Reviewer: Alice J.   (9/16/10)


Book Cover Queen of Secrets
Jenny Meyerhoff

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
Reviewer: Lisa B.   (9/13/10)


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