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 Big Swim|
Ethan's first experience at sleepover camp is a decidedly mixed experience especially as he gets to know Zach, whose reputation as a bad boy seems to be wildly exaggerated - or is it? Before long, he and Zach are contemplating the annual rite of passage, the big swim across the camp's lake. Thoughtful reading for 4th-6th grades, this presents a distinctive, non-stereotyped cast of characters. For instance, another boy who goes out of his way to befriend Ethan turns out to be not such a nice guy after all.
WPL Call Number: J Fagan
"Dark" fits her name; she's a coal black kitty with yellow eyes. Abandoned by her family in Golden Gate Park, she makes friends with Casablanca, a cat; and Rattail, a raccoon; and Memorie, an owl; and with a homeless person bundled in rags named Streetwise Sal. Dark tells her own story of life among the homeless- the animals and the people. This novel is full of events which are by turns colorful, sad, dangerous, or thought provoking. The author has worked with cat rescue for years. Recommended for grades 4 and up.
WPL Call Number: J Grabien
Amy & Roger's Epic Detour|
Sixteen year old Amy Curry is not driving since she believes she caused the car accident that killed her father three months ago. Her twin brother is in a rehab facility and her mother decides they should re-locate from southern California to Connecticut. Amy stays to finish the school year then needs to bring the car across the country. This driving trip is arranged for her with the son of a family friend. Of course, the two teens decide to alter the plans, make additional stops and have a real road adventure. An interesting story of family dynamics for ages 12 and up.
WPL Call Number: Y Matson
One Crazy Summer |
It's the late 1960s. Delphine and her younger sisters, Vonetta and Fern, fly off to Oakland to spend the summer with their mother, who abandoned them years ago. The sisters find their mother very unlike the kind but firm grandmother and father who raise them. Their mother, Cecile, or Nzilla, as her new friends call her, doesn't cook, hug, or spend time with her kids. Instead she sends them off to a community center run by the Black Panthers. There, Delphine and her sisters learn about the ups and downs of revolution. They also try to crack the mystery of their poet mother. This is a great read for kids in about fourth grade and up who are interested in recent history and social movements.
WPL Call Number: Y Williams-Garcia
The Strange Case of Origami Yoda|
There's no weirder kid in sixth grade than Dwight, down to his habit of going around with an origami Yoda puppet on his finger. The strange thing is, Origami Yoda is totally on the ball! If you go to him with a problem, he's bound to give you great advice. Is Origami Yoda magic, or is there more to Dwight than meets the eye? You decide after reading Dwight's classmates stories of their own encounters with Origami Yoda in this very funny book. Recommended for fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid in grades 3 and up.
WPL Call Number: J Angleberger
After Tara's house burns down, it looks like she and her mom are going to have to move away from their Nova Scotia town for good. If only the local legends of buried treasure were true, Tara wouldn't have to worry! Or are they only legends? In this intriguing graphic novel told in the alternating viewpoints of modern-day Tara and 1859 Josie, readers are drawn into a story of treasure, treachery, and a mysterious pendant with the power to find gold. A great page-turner for grades 5 and up.
WPL Call Number: Y Comic LA
Guardian Angel House|
This is a fictionalized account of the young lives that were spared by nuns in a convent in Budapest that hid Jewish girls during World War II. More than a hundred girls were saved, including the author's mother and aunt. Protected from the Nazi occupation, the girls were well for by these brave nuns. There are many photographs from the small museum which documents the war years. For ages 12 and up.
WPL Call Number: Y Clark
Graphic novel account of a girl's struggles with anorexia, from early adolescence to adulthood. The visual format is especially vivid for this particular topic; you often see, for instance, the difference between her actual image in a mirror and the distorted way she sees herself. Disturbing yet ultimately hopeful reading for junior high through adult readers.
WPL Call Number: Y Comic FA
Dirty Little Secrets|
C. J. Omololu
Lucy is terrified that someone will find out about the horrible conditions inside her house. Her mother is a dangerous hoarder of newspapers, magazines, craft supplies and all kinds of junk. Every room is filled with stacks of junk which makes it difficult to maneuver. No one is allowed into their house. Lucy is afraid she will lose the only friend she has made if anyone knows. A powerful novel for ages 12 and up.
WPL Call Number: Y Omololu
You Don't Even Know Me: Stories and Poems About Boys|
A great collection for older boys, provocative and not difficult reading. My favorite story, "My Hood," was about Eric, who has a stolen day of fun on a hot 4th of July in North Philadelphia. Weary of babysitting his two little sisters, he drops them off with an older cousin. And then he and cousin Elliott "do" the Hood- other people's block parties, pretty girls, getting kicked out of someone else's swimming pool, fireworks. As Eric says, he loves North Philly, where you can see "all kinds of people" and do things, "bad and good." One poem was especially haunting: "In case somebody shoots me...Here's what you should know about me...I'm a loyal friend..." Recommended for 8th grade and up.
WPL Call Number: Y Flake
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