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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“Anna Hibiscus lives in Africa. Amazing Africa.” So begins each of the four stories in this easy chapter book. Anna lives in a compound with her extended family. There’s always someone around to play with, to take care of the little cousins, and to cook. Spunky, curious Anna has adventures at the beach, welcoming her Auntie Comfort from the United States, and selling oranges. She loves her home in Africa, but she longs to see snow, something only her Canadian mother has experienced. These sweet, engaging stories will appeal to kids interested in learning about the lives of kids on other continents.
WPL Call Number: J p AT
Mother Number Zero|
Fejzo (or Fay) knows both he and his sister were adopted. He was told that his mother escaped from Bosnia during the war so he would have a better life while his sister was abandoned as a baby in China. A new girl he meets asks him questions and causes him to wonder why his mother would not want him. The decision to find his mother causes Fay and his family to think about their relationships. Translated from the Dutch, this book is suitable for ages 10 and up.
WPL Call Number: Y Hof
Alice in Time|
Alice is not happy with her life. Her divorced mother expects her to help with her younger brother. Alice's father is about to remarry and has explained how her mother made him leave. The mean girl at school makes Alice's life so unbearable that she feels like she only has one friend. All of this changes when Alice falls off the merry-go-round in the local park one night when she runs out of the house after a fight with her mother. She awakes as her seven year old self and realizes that this is her chance to change her life. The story tells how she is able to change her life. A good read for ages 12 and up.
WPL Call Number: Y Bush
The Girl is Murder|
Kathryn Miller Haines
After her mother commits suicide and her father comes home from Pearl Harbor missing a leg, New York teenager Iris must leave her private school, move downtown, and start public school. Iris feels uneasy in the chaos of public school. To make matters worse, she senses that her father's private-eye business is failing. After Iris's father starts investigating the disappearance of one of her classmates, Iris tries to help solve the mystery, even though her father warns her not to. This page-turner will appeal most to mystery-lovers in 6th grade and up.
WPL Call Number: Y Haines
Aliens on Vacation|
Clete Barrett Smith
David (a.k.a. Scrub) isn't looking forward to spending summer vacation at his kooky grandmother's Intergalactic Bed & Breakfast with a bunch of sci-fi nerds. Then he learns it's actually a secret hotel for space aliens! It turns out Scrub has a knack for working with the "Tourists," but things get complicated when his new (human) friend Amy starts getting curious about the B&B -- not to mention the town sheriff wants to shut the place down! When Scrub's camping trip with baby aliens goes awry, everyone ends up in hot water. This humorous science fiction novel is a fun page-turner for grades 4 and up.
WPL Call Number: J Smith
The Golden Ghost|
Marion Dane Bauer
Delsie and her friend Todd visit an abandoned house near an old mill and find evidence that someone has been living there. In this gently supernatural novel, a dog-loving girl gets her wish in a most unusual way. Recommended for second and third graders.
WPL Call Number: J Bauer
Inside Out & Back Again|
It's 1975 and the war in Vietnam is ending. Ten year-old Ha and her family have to decide if they should leave the country and where they should go. Soon they leave the only life they know for the unknown, first traveling on a crowded boat to Guam, then to a refugee camp in Florida until they get a sponsor in Alabama. Life is difficult there, adjusting to the language, the customs and the food of their new home. Ha prefers wartime in Saigon to peace in Alabama. This novel in verse is based on the author's childhood experiences. For ages 8 and up.
WPL Call Number: J Lai
Small as an Elephant|
Jack heads off on a camping trip in Maine with his mother, but, on his first morning there, he wakes up in the tent to find himself alone. He's afraid to call the police to report her missing, since her past erratic behavior means that he may be taken away from her. This story of a brave and caring boy's struggle to safely find his way home makes for a novel that is both exciting and thoughtful. For grades 6 and older.
WPL Call Number: Y Jacobson
Guys Read: Funny Business|
Funny guy Jon Scieszka has collected another group of stories aimed at guys, this one with a humorous bent. Stories by Jeff Kinney and Eoin Colfer will satisfy fans waiting for the next Wimpy Kid or Artemis Fowl book. Readers may discover new authors, too. After reading "A Fistful of Feathers," about a kid whose family's pet turkey gets just a little too much attention, I can't wait to read books by David Yoo. I squirmed at the gross "Bloody Souvenir" by Jack Gantos and laughed out loud at the grandfather in "What? You Think YOU Got it Rough?" by Christopher Paul Curtis. This collection is a hoot and will be appreciated by readers from about 4-7th grade, male or female.
WPL Call Number: J Guys
Inside Out and Back Again|
When the Vietnam War reaches Saigon in 1975, ten-year-old Hà and her family flee on a ship and are rescued by American soldiers. After spending time in tent cities in Guam and Florida, a sponsor helps the family relocate to Alabama. The community does not welcome the immigrants with open arms, and Hà discovers a lot about herself as she learns English from a tutor, deals with attacks from bullies, struggles with her father being missing in action, and adjusts to her new life in America. This novel is told in verse, and each poem is an entry from Hà’s diary. Recommended for grades 4-8.
WPL Call Number: J Lai
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