Youth Services Fall Staff Picks 2022

Calling all Fall Readers! Youth Services has collected their favorite reads for Fall 2022 and we are ready to share them with you! Come check out our Staff Picks display located near the Youth Services Main desk anytime now through the end of November and take home a great read! If you prefer to chose your books digitally, just click on one of the covers below and use our catalog to put the title on hold. Happy Fall Reading, Y’all!

Picture Books & Easy Readers

Chapter Books & Graphic Novels



What’s Your Next Great Read?

Are you a tween looking for great adventure in far off lands or looking for your first great chapter book?  Maybe you’re somewhere in-between. No matter your age or interest, the library has something new waiting for you!

Notorious by Gordon Korman  Age Interest: 8-12 Grades 3-7 Rating: 5/5 ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Tweens looking for a great adventure on an island that’s half in the United States and half in Canada ( a place so well described I had to look up whether it was real or not!)  Meet Keenan who has arrived to live with his father on the U.S. side of the island and Zarabeth(ZeeBee) who lives on the Canadian side of the island in a house once occupied by gangsters. She also once had a dog who was the terror of the island and the new Barny II is the exact opposite of her old dog. 

I really liked how the character and the setting were developed through the making of new friends and the consistent theme of the old Barney being compared to the new Barney and the mystery of the gangsters gold. Join the adventure while Keenan and ZeeBee unravel the clues and a conspiracy that dates back to Centerlight’s gangster past in the 1920’s. The bad news is that someone is after them. . .

Northwind by Gary Paulsen Age Interest: 9-12 Grades 3-7 Rating: 4/5 ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Survival story in the Arctic! Leif is an 11 year old orphan in the wilds of the Arctic who is forced to take to the water in a cedar canoe when a deadly plague reaches the small fishing camp where he lives. He flees northward and learns to survive the plague, bears attacks, Orcas and hunger along a wild shore laced with high fjords, all on his own. Leif learns to connect with the ocean and live on his own.  Another great survival book by Gary Paulsen. If you like this one, read Hatchet too!

Dragons and Marshmallows by Asia Citro Age Interest: 5-8 Grades 1-3 Rating: 4/5 ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Do dragons like marshmallows or will they make them sick? From the Zoey and Sassafras series, Meet Zoey who can see magical animals and what’s even better they come to her barn to be taken care of. Fun read for the emerging reader who is ready for chapter books.  What’s not to like about fixing magical animals?!

The Ember Stone by Katrina Charman Age Interest: 6-8 Grades 1-3 Rating: 4/5 ❤️❤️❤️❤️

From The Last Firehawk series, Magical animals abound in Perodia, but a dark magic used by a powerful vulture named Thorn is trying to destroy it. Can a young owl named Tag and Skyla, a perky squirrel, help save the island when they find the last Firehawk? 

Anybody Here Seen Frenchie? by Leslie Connor Age Interest:8-11 Grades 3-6 Rating:5/5❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

This is the story of two 6th graders Aurora and Frenchie.  Aurora is loud and boisterous and Frenchie does not talk.  But… they understand each other. They both love nature and they are both a little bit different! They live in a small town in Maine where many of the people march to their own tune.  When Frenchie goes missing all of these odd ball characters come together to search for him.  This story “Honors the sweet mysteries of how to communicate with each other and the world.” (Kirkus Review Feb 2022)  

Alien in My Pocket – Blast Off  by Nate Ball  Age Interest: 6-9 Grades 1-4 Rating: 5/5 ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Catch this one on Libby! The first in a series, this is a perfect chapter book for a young readers.  There’s a boy – Zach, a girl – Olivia, and a 4 inch tall blue alien – Amp. Will Zach have to protect the world from an alien invasion while trying to navigate 4th Grade? Or will he have to protect Amp from the world?  Highly recommend this book with a DYI science experiment ! Have fun!

Fall Favorites… Staff Picks & Award Books

As summer winds down and you head back to school, we have a few options to help you get into the reading groove again. We’re heading into the next season, which calls for a new Staff Picks List and the Illinois State Award Booklists. Stop in and explore the two displays next to the Youth Services desk. These lists are full of good choices when you don’t know where to start!

It’s always fun to think about the books we have enjoyed and recommend them to you.

The start of school brings the challenge of seeing how many of the State Award Nominees you can read in order to vote to help choose a winner in the Spring. You can pick up a list of books or grab a Bingo sheet as a different way to keep track!

Below are each of the lists with an online link:

Monarch Award Grades K-3

Bluestem Award Grades 3-5

Caudill Award Grades 4-8:

Back to school + back to books = back to the library… See you soon!

New Staff Picks…and more!

It’s been good seeing you back in the library! We have been keeping busy by wrapping up the Summer Learning Challenge and handing out books, prizes, and certificates. The books nominated for the 2021 Monarch, Bluestem, and Caudill awards are also on their designated shelves ready to be checked out.

(or click on a page below for the link to the list:)

And next to that bookshelf are the newly updated Staff Picks-books, audiobooks, and e-books…also listed on a handy bookmark!

Several times throughout the year, each of your Youth Department friends choose a few books that we like or that we think you might like to read. This time again, we have included titles that can be found online, as well as books you can come in and check out. Here is our summer list for you to enjoy:

Remember to find us online here with storytimes and activities:

The NLPL website also has links to Summer Programs and past videos for you to access for your viewing pleasure!

Click on this link

to open this link….

Are you enjoying your summer? Let us know how it’s going when you stop in. We’re eager to see you and hear what you’ve been up to!

Here they are…Staff Picks and Summer Reading Challenge Links!

Reading at home has looked a little different the past few months. We have depended on technology and our devices more than ever! This installment of Staff Picks features our online resources: Libby, Overdrive, Axis 360, Tumblebooks, RBdigital, BiblioBoard, and Audio Book Cloud.

In case you missed it, the Summer Learning Challenge is ready to go! Get started by going to the NLPL website to find the information you need:

Register here:

And here’s a peek at the youth activity tracking log:

Have fun, stay safe, and check back soon for some creative ways to complete your challenges!

When in doubt…check this out!

One of the more enjoyable parts of working in the Youth Department is helping our young patrons find the right book. Whether it’s a specific title or a broader topic area, we try our best to send you out the door as a satisfied customer. There may be times when you don’t have any idea what you’re looking to read next, so that’s where our “Staff Picks” area comes to the rescue. It’s located right near our Youth Services desk for your convenience. Throughout the year, we put together a list of books that we like or would recommend to you. A bookmark format is available, so you can keep track of what you might want to read from our list.

Right next to the Staff Picks are the State Award Book Nominees for the Monarch, Bluestem, and Rebecca Caudill lists. The Association of Illinois School Library Educators (AISLE) sponsors these awards for children’s literature. Children in the state of Illinois read and vote for their favorite books from the lists, usually at their school. We have multiple copies of these books available along with a fun bingo activity and a list of each award’s nominees.

The following descriptions are from the AISLE website: The Monarch Award is a state-wide program in which children in grades K through 3 choose their favorite book from a list of 20 nominated books. The list contains at least three of each of the following types of children’s books: picture books, easy readers, and chapter books. The name Monarch was chosen because of its familiarity to K-3 children and to symbolize the growth, change and freedom that becoming a reader brings. The Monarch is designed to encourage children to read critically and become familiar with children’s books, authors and illustrators. The program is open to all K-3 age children in Illinois.

The Bluestem Award is an annual award given to the author of the book voted most outstanding by students in grades 3-5 in participating Illinois schools. It is designed for students who are ready for longer titles than found on the Monarch list, but not quite ready for the sophistication of some of the Rebecca Caudill titles.  Named in honor of Big Bluestem which is the state prairie grass, the award may include both timeless classics and current titles, as well as books that have appeared on Monarch and Rebecca Caudill lists. 

Several options available!

The Rebecca Caudill Young Readers’ Book Award is an annual award given to the author of the book voted most outstanding by students in grades four through eight in participating Illinois schools. The award is named in honor of Rebecca Caudill who lived and wrote in Urbana, Illinois, for nearly 50 years. The award is given in recognition for her literary talent and the universal appeal of her books which have touched the hearts of many children and young adults. 

Multiple copies!

As always, feel free to ask any of us for help choosing or finding a book that fits you. We are also available to introduce you to Overdrive or talk to you about eBooks and Audiobooks.

Youth Services Staff Picks- Summer 2018: Part Three: The Finale

Alissa’s Picks:

Volcanoes by Martha Rustad E 551.21 RUS

With so much in the news lately about volcanoes, curious readers might be interested in this great book from the Smithsonian Institute. With big, color photos and easy-to-read info boxes, this title is a wonderful choice for budding geologists!

Butterflies and Moths by Nic Bishop J 595.789 BIS

Summertime means butterflies! Author/Photographer Nic Bishop gets up close and personal with some beautiful butterflies, as well as moths, caterpillars, and cocoons. Perfect for helping to identify butterflies in your garden!

Going Places by Peter and Paul Reynolds E REY

When Maya joins the annual Going Places race, the other contestants are concerned with how different her entry is- but maybe everyone’s go carts don’t have to be the exact same! This great story celebrates creativity and uniqueness.

The Scariest Book Ever by Bob Shea E SHE

Can you handle a trip into the scary woods? Or would you rather eat donuts with a silly ghost who just wants to clean the bathroom and cuddle his kitten? This story takes a look at things we think are scary, but are really harmless…and there’s donuts.

Swing It, Sunny by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm J GN HOL

This wonderful sequel to Sunny Side Up takes readers to middle school with Sunny, an optimistic tween with a slew of problems. Starting a new school can be hard on anyone, and Sunny is worried about making friends, as well as about her brother, who has been sent off to boarding school. Can she handle all these things and stay Sunny Side Up?

Newsprints by Ru Xu J GN XU

Blue is an orphan girl who dresses up like a boy to sell newspapers during wartime. She meets a boy named Crow, who is also hiding something about his identity. Together, they try to figure out how much truth to tell and how important friendship is.

The Thing About Georgie by Lisa Graff J GRA

Georgie is pretty sure everyone has a “thing.” His Mom’s “thing” is that she is having a baby. The thing about his classmate, Jeanie i, is that she hates working with him on a project. Georgie’s thing? He has dwarfism, a medical condition that has limited his growth. But will Georgie find out what makes us more alike than different?

Sheena’s Picks:

The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli E PIZ

This silly book addresses the age-old question, what happens to me if I swallow a watermelon seed? Our friend, the alligator, hilariously finds out.

Blackout by John Rocco E ROC

During one hot, summer night, the lights go out and the city turns dark. Although it’s scary at first, this one particular family quickly discovers that it’s not so bad, it may even turn out to be fun!

Monkey and Elephant Get Better by Carole Lexa Schaefer ER SCH

Monkey and Elephant find that they have many things in common, except for the fact that Monkey is a monkey and Elephant is an elephant. When they both become sick, they each have different ideas of how to take care of one another. Can they help one another feel better even though their ideas are so different?

Summer of Forsaken Lake by Michael D. Beil J BEI

Twelve-year-old Nicholas and his twin sisters spend the summer with their great uncle in Ohio. Snooping through some old boxes, they find an unfinished movie and a love letter written to their father many years ago. this becomes the beginning of a fascinating mystery that is just begging to be solved. Jam-packed with mystery and adventure, this is a great summer read.

Treasure Hunters by James Patterson J PAT

The Kidds siblings have grown up traveling the world hunting for treasure along with their famous treasure hunting parents. However after their parents go missing on the job, their skills are put to the test in a race to find them. Dodging dangerous pirates and sneaky rivals using only cryptic clues and their gut instincts, finding out what happens to their parents is their biggest treasure hunt of all.

Sensory Parenting from Newborns to Toddlers: Everything is Easier When Your Child’s Senses are Happy by Britt Collins  PC 649.1 COL

From the neighbors’ incessantly barking dog to the texture of your mom’s casserole, we all have sensory issues at one time or another. Children are no different. But wouldn’t it make parenting easier if you could make all of your child’s senses happy? This book has all the tips, tricks, and solutions to help make that happen!

Kookaburra by Steven Anderson E READALONG AND

Learn about our friendly Kookaburra through beautiful illustrations and a catchy tune. Get your singing pipes ready as you’ll be singing along in no time.




Youth Services Staff Picks- Summer 2018: Part Two

Sandy’s Picks:

The Adventures of Milo and Otis  J DVD ADV

The story of two animals and their adventures. Milo, the cat, and Otis, the dog, grew up together on the same farm. One day, the two are separated and begin a journey to find each other. The adventurous quest find the friends traveling across the mountains, plains, and snow-covered lands searching for one another.

I’m Trying to Love Spiders by Bethany Barton J 595.44 BAR

This book is full of spider information. If you are afraid of spiders, but want to overcome your fear this maybe just the book for you. In this book, you will learn that you have a greater chance of being struck by lightning than being fatally bitten by a spider.

El Deafo by Cece Bell JP GN BEL

Cece loses her hearing at the age of four as a result of sudden illness. All at once, she has to relearn how to communicate with those around her, including family and friends. School turns out to be a bit tricky, since she can’t read her teacher’s lips at all times. Not to worry, Phonic Ear to the rescue!

Little Dog, Lost by Marion Dane Bauer JP BAU

Little Dog, Lost  is a book about three different characters who live in the same town: Buddy, Mark, and Charles Larue. Buddy is a lost dog who loses his previous owner and is now on a quest to find an owner who loves him. Mark is the Mayor’s son who desperately wants a dog and for their town to have a dog park. Charles Larue is an old man who lost his wife and is longing for a dog. The three characters are separated at first, but soon realize that they need one another to make their dreams come true.

The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley J BRA

Nine-year-old Ada has never left her apartment. Her mom is too embarrassed by her disfigured foot to let her go outside. When her little brother, Jamie, is sent to London to escape the war, Ada sneaks out and goes with him. They are given to a woman named Susan Smith, who has some emotional issues of her own to resolve, but she gradually takes responsibility for the two and begins to rebuild her life with them.

Carolyn’s Picks:

Aqualicious by Victoria Kahn E KAH

Pinkalicious goes to the beach and discovers a little mermaid called Aqua. Will Pinkalicious be able to find her way home?

Everybody Needs a Rock by Byrd Baylor E BAY

How can you find the perfect rock? Follow along to discover the joy of having that special rock.

A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee by Chris Van Dusen E VAN

Mr. Magee goes camping with his dog Dee, but what was once peaceful is now exciting and possibly dangerous adventure! Rhyming text makes this a fun read.

Butterfly by Jessica Rudolph J 595.78 RUD

Facts about the life cycle of the butterfly with big, bright pictures and large print. Butterfly enthusiasts will learn a lot about the monarch butterfly.

Hot Dog! by Casper Babypants J CD BABY

Light and lively music sure to make you smile this summer!

The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook by Dinah Bucholz J 641.5942

Cook up a feast fit for Hogwarts. You will need more than magic wands and spells with this book. You can find recipes for Bangers and Mash, Yorkshire Pudding, and Mince Pies among other very British favorites.

Steffanie’s Picks:

History’s Mysteries: Curious Clues, Cold Cases, and Puzzles from the Past by Kitson Jazynka J 904 JAZ

This exciting new series will cover history’s head-scratching mysteries, including the Lost Colony of Roanoke, the dancing plague, and many others. This book is full of cool photos, fun facts, and spine-tingling mysteries.

Bad Princess: True Tales from Behind the Tiara by Kris Waldherr J 940.09 WAL

Bad Princess explores more than 30 true princess stories throughout history. Some princesses didn’t live the life of glitz and glamour that you think they may have.

Sandwiches! by Alison Deering J 641.84 DEE

From a classic PB&J to a triple-decker club, discover everything you’ve ever wanted to know about sandwiches! In this cookbook, kids will learn to assemble delicious breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert sandwiches with accompanying facts about each sandwich.

Restart by Gordon Korman J KOR

Chase does not remember falling off the roof, nor does he remember anything about himself or his life. When he gets back to middle school, he begins to learn about who he was through the reactions of the other kids. It turns out, no one really likes Chase because he was a bully. Can he take this opportunity to restart his life?

From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess by Meg Cabot J CAB

Olivia Grace Clarisse Harrison has always felt out of place. However, she didn’t know just how out of place she really was until the Princess of Genovia pops into her school and announces that Olivia is her long-lost sister! Olivia is a princess and that’s a dream come true…isn’t it?  Do his parents keep telling him that someone is listening to their conversations?

George by Alex Gino J GIN

When people look at George, they think that they see a boy. But the truth is, that George is actually a girl. Her teacher announces that their yearly class play is going to be Charlotte’s Web and George really wants to play Charlotte, but she’s not allowed to try out because she’s a boy. George comes up with a plan to try out for the play, not just so she can be Charlotte, but so everyone will learn who she truly is.




Youth Services Staff Picks- Summer 2018: Part One

School is out and we have so many great books to read. If you love to read but have no idea what to read, we have some amazing staff picks this summer.

Jen’s Picks:

Seaglass Summer by Anjali Banerjee J BAN

Poppy Ray wants to be a veterinarian, but she has never even had a pet. This summer, she is going to spend a month with her Uncle Sanjay, who is a veterinarian, and she’ll discover that she may not be prepared for all of the quirky pet owners, dirty messes, or scary emergencies that go along with working with animals.

Alice in Wonderland retold by Jon Scieszka E SCI

Relive the classic tale of Alice chasing the White Rabbit to the magical world of Wonderland. Hang out with the Cheshire Cat, drink tea with the Mad Hatter, and try not to lose your head when you meet the Queen of Hearts.

You Wouldn’t Want to be Cleopatra!: An Egyptian Ruler You’d Rather Not Be by Jim Pipe J 932 PIP

You are an Egyptian princess living 2,000 years ago. You are rich and royal, what could be better, right? Discover what it was really like to be Cleopatra. It definitely was not easy living in this palace!

How the Beatles Changed the World by Martin W. Sandler J 782.42166 SAN

Introduce a new generation to the Beatles and see how four guys from Liverpool, England changed rock and roll music and ignited Beatlemania across the globe.

Magic Eye III: Visions: A New Dimension in Art by N.E. Thing Enterprises    J 152.148 MAG

In the 1990’S, 3D illusion books were all the rage. Can you see the magic image that pops out at you? Hold the image on each page up to your nose, slowly pull the book away, and let your eyes relax. What do you see?

Fish Girl by Donna Jo Napoli and David Wiesner  J GN NAP

Fish Girl lives in a tank at a boardwalk aquarium and is “cared for” by a man who calls himself Neptune. She is the main attraction there, though she hides away so no humans can see her for fear that they will harm her. She longs to be free, and with the help of an octopus, a girl named Livia, and a little magic, this mermaid can do anything. Filled with gorgeously illustrated artwork, this graphic novel is a feast for the eyes.

Wishtree by Katharine Applegate J APP & PLAYAWAY J F APP

A wise, old oak tree named Red tells how he and his crow friend, Bongo, help their human neighbors come together after a threat against a Muslim family is carved into Red’s trunk. Red and his animal friends love Samar, the new girl, and will do anything to help their friend. Red is a wish tree and once a year people tie their wishes on his branches. Will Red and the animals grant a special wish and save the day? Told with beauty and humor, and with a message of acceptance and the importance of friendship.

Liz’s Picks:

The Lost Stone by Jordan Quinn JP QUI

The first book in the series The Kingdom of Wrenly. Prince Lucas and his friend Clara, set out to find the Queen’s lost jewel and their quest takes them all over the kingdom.

Ship of Dolls by Shirley Parenteau J PAR

It is 1926 and a class is raising money to send a doll to the children of Japan through a Friendship Exchange Program. This book is not just about dolls, it is about loyalty, friendship, consequences, and more.

Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion E ZIO

Where does Harry the white dog with black spots go when he runs away to avoid a bath? What will happen when he finally comes home?

Beach Feet by Kiyomi Konagaya E KON

What would you be thinking about when you go to the beach? This is a perfect story of a child at the beach.

A Baseball Story by Richard Torrey E TOR

This is a cute story about Jordan’s very first baseball game, from warmups to a fun celebration at the end!

Max’s Castle by Richard Torrey E TOR

Max finds forgotten blocks under his bed and begins to build. The power of imagination is a wonderful thing.

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo Audio CD JF DIC

This tale is the perfect combination of sweet and darkness. A small mouse with oversized ears, falls in love with a princess and sets out to rescue her from the clutches of an evil rat!

Leslie’s Picks:

The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors by Drew Daywalt E Day

Rock is a mighty warrior who wanted to find someone who was worthy of a challenge. At the same time from across the land, Paper and Scissors were also looking for a worthy battle. By the grace of the universe, all 3 fell into a great battle. Read to find out who wins this challenge of a lifetime!

The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken E LUY

This beautifully crafted book shows the reader that not all mistakes are accidental.

Fox in Socks, Horton Hatches the Egg, and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss AUDIO CD JF SEU

Listen along as the classic tales of Dr. Seuss are read aloud in a very entertaining way.

The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat E SAN

Beekle was born on an island far, far away. It is an island where imaginary friends are created but Beekle waited and waited for someone to claim him. He decided to venture out in search of his own friend. Will Beekle find someone or will he have many adventures in the world on his own?

This is Not a Werewolf Story by Sandra Evans J EVA

Deep in the heart of the woods lies a secret that only Raul knows. At the end of a long week at his boarding school, Raul escapes to the woods to live out a secret life. Every character has a secret in this story. Who do you think carries the biggest secret with them? Will the secret mystery be revealed or is it just fantasy?

Off the Wall by Ripley Entertainment  J 031.02 RIP

Did you know that it is illegal to flush the toilet in Switzerland after 10:00 pm if you live in an apartment? Did you know that the :Snake Man” from China can lead a snake through his nostril and out his mouth? If you like bizarre stunts, then this book is for you!