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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 The Summer of Moonlight Secrets
Danette Haworth

Two lonely kids -- Allie Jo, who lives at the grand old Meriwether Hotel in Florida, and Chase, a guest -- become unlikely friends when they are drawn into an otherworldly mystery. Who is Tara, the strange, beautiful girl who swims with the manatees out in the springs? What has she run away from? Can her unbelievable story be true? Readers who enjoy the magical realism of such books as The Tail of Emily Windsnap will particularly enjoy this book. Suggested for grades 4 and up.

WPL Call Number: J Haworth
Reviewer: Lisa B.   (7/30/10)

 

Book Cover Sources of Light
Margaret McMullan

Sam and her mother move to Jackson, Mississippi after her father dies a hero in the Vietnam War. This is 1962 and the world is changing faster than this small southern town would like. Her mother's photographer friend gives Sam a camera and teaches her how to "see" things. As Sam witnesses racial injustice and violence, she realizes that her photos will tell the truth. An honest portrait of racial hatred for ages 12 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y McMullan
Reviewer: Alice J.   (7/29/10)

 

Book Cover Little Blog on the Prairie
Cathleen Davitt Bell

Gen's family is spending eight weeks at a family camp in Wyoming that reenacts life on the prairie in 1890. Not allowed any electronics, comfortable clothes, or modern conveniences, she struggles like the other teens to embrace this lifestyle. Gen does sneak in her new cell phone and secretly texts her best friends about this strange experience. Her friend publishes the blog which gains a huge following. How her family adjusts and adapts to one room living makes for a humorous story. For ages 12 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Bell
Reviewer: Alice J.   (7/27/10)

 

Book Cover The Grimm Legacy
Polly Shulman

Elizabeth's new after-school job at the library quickly proves to be anything but ordinary. Down in the basement is the mysterious Grimm Collection, which houses all sorts of magical fairy tale items, from the 12 dancing princesses' slippers to a flying carpet. Cool, right? Except that someone has been stealing objects from the Grimm Collection, people are going missing, and a giant bird is terrorizing the library staff! Elizabeth knows she has to help stop the thieves, but who can she trust? This light-hearted fantasy trips along at a merry pace and is full of humor and a bit of romance, too. The scenes with Snow White's stepmother's magic mirror are especially funny. Recommended for grades 6 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Shulman
Reviewer: Lisa B.   (7/23/10)

 

Book Cover Out of My Mind
Sharon M. Draper

Melody was born with cerebral palsy. She's incredibly smart, but most people can't see past her wheelchair or the fact that she can't talk. They act as if she's stupid or doesn't have any feelings. Then Melody gets a computer that allows her to talk. It looks like her whole life is going to change for the better! Melody is ready to make new friends and show the world just how smart she is, but it turns out not to be that easy. Melody is a relatable, gutsy, and funny narrator. As well as being a plain old good story, this sensitive novel invites readers to think good and hard about the way we make assumptions about other people, especially those with obvious differences. Highly recommended for grades 4 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Draper
Reviewer: Lisa B.   (7/14/10)

 

Book Cover The Popularity Papers: Research for the Social Improvement and General Betterment of Lydia Goldblatt & Julie Graham-Chang
Amy Ignatow

Fifth graders Lydia and Julie are determined to unlock the secrets of being popular by the time they start junior high. Taking notes and imitating the popular girls' behavior doesn't seem to translate to instant popularity, however. (In fact, it gives Lydia a bald spot!) Even worse, Lydia and Julie seem to be drifting apart. Will they solve the mystery of popularity and save their friendship before it's too late? This funny book filled with drawings and comics should appeal to fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Ellie McDoodle, grades 3-5 or so.

WPL Call Number: J Ignatow
Reviewer: Lisa B.   (7/12/10)

 

Book Cover The Big Swim
Cary Fagan

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
Reviewer: Lyn P.   (7/9/10)

 

Book Cover Dark's Tale
Grabien Deborah

"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
Reviewer: Joanna N.   (7/5/10)

 

Book Cover Amy & Roger's Epic Detour
Morgan Matson

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
Reviewer: Alice J.   (7/5/10)

 

Book Cover One Crazy Summer
Rita Williams-Garcia

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
Reviewer: Janet P.   (7/2/10)

 

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