What’s Your Next Great Read? Book Reviews with Ms. Cecily

Are you looking for great adventure in far off lands? Interested in a beginner chapter book? Maybe you are somewhere between? No matter your reading level or interest the library has something waiting for you!

Really Truly by Katherine Vogel Fredrick
This is the third entry in the Pumpkin Fall Mysteries.  It’s much like the old Nancy Drew mysteries sure to capture the attention of anyone who likes a good mystery. Truly Lovejoy is excited for the perfect summer in Pumpkin Falls, New Hampshire: swim practice outside, working at the bookstore, one-on-one time with her mom, and best of all, time with the dreamy RJ Calhoun who may just like Truly back. But the idyllic falls apart when she’s sent off to Mermaid Academy-sparkly tail and all – on Cape Cod.
J FREAges 10+
Grand Canyon Grab by Ron Roy
This A to Z Mysteries Super Edition #11 begins with Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose visiting the Grand Canyon when they spot Parker Stone- a famous TV star. They can’t wait to get his autograph, but before the can Parker is kidnapped! Only a few clues and his pet parrot are left behind. It’s up to the trio to find Parker before it’s too late!
J ROYAges 6+
City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab
A sweeping, spooky, adventure! Cass’s best friend is a ghost and she can pull back the Veil that separates the living from the dead. To make matters worse her parents write about ghosts but don’t believe she can see ghosts. When Cass’s parents start hosting a TV show about the world’s most haunted places, the family heads off to Edinburgh, Scotland. Here, graveyards, castles, and secret passageways teem with restless phantoms. And when Cass meets a girl who shares her “gift,” she realizes how much she still has to learn about the Veil — and herself.
J SCHAges 9+
Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty
A brave and unusual girl named Serafina lives secretly in the basement of the Vanderbilt’s grand Biltmore Estate during the Gilded Age. Serafina’s father is the estate’s maintenance man and warns her to keep herself hidden from the fancy folk who live on the floors above, but when children at the estate start disappearing, Serafina steps into action with one of the young Vanderbilts. A blend of history, mystery, and magic!  
J BEAAges 9+
Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey
One of my favorite Thanksgiving books. On the day before Thanksgiving, a group of children visit a turkey farm and meet Farmer Mack Nugget and his turkeys. The children and turkeys giggle and gobble, and everything is gravy. When the trip comes to an end, the children leave the farm with full hearts — and bulging bellies — reminding people and poultry alike that there is much to be thankful for.
E PILAges 4+
T.Rex National Geographic Kids by Andrea Silen
Giant teeth! Crushing bite! Slicing claws! And … feathers? Travel back in time to meet the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex. Learn about these fascinating giants of the past through the fossil remains of Sue and Scotty.
ER 567.9Ages 4+
Tiny Terrors! The World’s Scariest Small Creatures by Ginjer L. Clarke
Did you know that the blue dragon sea slug is the length of a paperclip but can store deadly jellyfish venom in its body for use against predators? Or that the golden poison dart frog is only an inch long, but its skin holds enough poison to kill ten people? These tiny terrors don’t have to be big to be deadly! Learn how they kill and where they live – good news probably not in your backyard! 
ER 591.65Ages 8+
Out of a Jar by Deborah Marcero
Llewellyn does not like to feel afraid or sad, angry, lonely, or embarrassed. And so he comes up with a brilliant plan: he tucks each of his feelings into jars and hides them away where they won’t bother him anymore. But when he gets in trouble in class, Llewellyn finds he needs to put away excitement too. And when joy is quickly followed by disappointment, he decides to get ride of joy as well. After a while, Llewellyn walks around not feeling much of anything at all. And what happens when his emotions refuse to be bottled up any longer?
E MAR Ages 4+
Perfectly Imperfect Mira by Faith Pray
Mira wants to be perfect at everything she tries. Everyone around her is good at something, but Mira’s not sure if she’ll ever find a thing of her own. One day, Mira decides to try…and because of that one simple act, everything changes. With a stumble, a wobble, and a humongous flop or two, will Mira learn to find the beauty in her imperfections?
E PRAAges 4+
The Blackbird Girls by Anne Blankman
One of the best books of 2020! A poignant and timeless story of friendship that twines together moments in underexplored history.
On a spring morning, neighbors Valentina Kaplan and Oksana Savchenko wake up to an angry red sky. A reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant where their fathers work has exploded. The two girls, who’ve always been enemies, find themselves on a train bound for Leningrad to stay with Valentina’s estranged grandmother, Rita. In their new lives in Leningrad, they begin to learn what it means to trust another person. Oksana must face the lies her parents told her all her life. Valentina must keep her grandmother’s secret, one that could put all their lives in danger. And both of them discover something they’ve wished for: a best friend. But how far world you go to save your best friend’s life? Would you risk your own?
J BLAAges 9+
Glitch by Laura Martin
Regan and Elliot are training to become Glitchers- people who travel in time to stop others from altering history to change the future. The two have always been enemies and it’s worse since Elliot passed his practice simulation and Regan. Then they find a letter from Regan’s future warning them that they will have to work together to prevent something terrible from happening.
J MAR Ages 9+
How to Catch a Turkey by Adam Wallace
A turkey is running loose in a school right before a Thanksgiving play. Can YOU help catch it so the show can go on? Follow along as students turn their school upside down trying to catch the turkey, ending with a twist that ensures no turkeys are harmed (or eaten!). This hilariously zany children’s picture book combines STEAM concepts and traps with a silly story and fun illustrations,
E WAL Ages 4+
Thanksgiving on Thursday by Mary Pope Osborne
It’s a time for giving thanks when the Magic Tree House whisks Jack and Annie back to 1621 on the first Thanksgiving Day. The Pilgrims ask them to help get things ready. But whether it’s cooking or clamming, Jack and Annie don’t know how to do anything the Pilgrim way. Will they ruin the holiday forever? Or will the feast go on?
J OSBAges 6+
A History of Underwear by Hannah Holt
From Paleolithic lion cloths to Henry VII’s wives wearing underwear on their heads to Mary Walker, a civil war surgeon who was arrested for wearing men’s underwear and clothing to better work on patients, this book surveys the vast and fascinating history or our most private clothing, on a paleolithic to more up to date undergarments.
J 391.4 HOLAges 4+
Good Night to Your Fantastic Elastic Brain by JoAnn Deak
So…how does your brain work and how can you make it work better? During the day, your brain helps you do things- eat, walk, play, and learn new things. Using your brain helps it stretch and grow. But you have the power to grow and train your brain just by going to sleep? While you’re resting, your brain is doing some of its most important work! Your brain gets cleaned at night while you are sleeping. It is also while you are sleeping that you lock in what you learned during the day.
J 612.8 DEAAges 4+
The Gardener of Alcatraz: A True Crime Story by Emma Bland Smith
This early biography about Elliot Michener, a counterfeiter and all around bad guy, is interesting and uplifting. When Elliot Michener was locked away, he was determined to defy the odds and bust out. But when he got a job tending the prison garden, a funny thing happened, he found new interest and skills- and a sense of dignity and fulfillment. Elliot transformed Alcatraz Island and the island transformed him.
J B MICAges 7+
Zachary Ying and the Dragon Emperor by Xiran Jay Zhao
Zachary Ying doesn’t know much about his Chinese heritage. His single mom was busy making sure they go they and his schools taught Western history and myths. Zack is woefully unprepared when he discovers he was born to host the spirit of the First Emperor of China for a vital mission. But the Emperor binds to Zack’s AR gaming headset instead of his body, Zack’s mom’s soul gets taken by demons! Sack now has this infamous tyrant yapping in his headset and he has to journey across China heisting magical artifacts and defeating historical and mythical creatures while learning to wield the emperor’s incredible water dragon powers. If Zach can’t complete the mission he could lose his mom forever. You don’t want to miss the nonstop adventure across China!
J ZHOAges 8+

What’s Your Next Great Read? Book Reviews with Ms. Cecily

Are you looking for great adventure in far off lands? Interested in a beginner chapter book? Maybe you are somewhere between? No matter your reading level or interest the library has something waiting for you!

Eerie Elementary: The School is Alive! by Jack Chambert
Sam Graves finds out on his first day as hall monitor that his school is ALIVE! He must defend himself and his fellow students against the evil school. Will he be able to save himself, his friends, and the school play before the school eats them all? If you enjoy this spooky tale, try the rest of the series.
J CHAAges 6+
The Visitors by Greg Howard
Hollow Pines doesn’t like visitors. A lonely twelve-year-old boy is “stuck” at the deserted plantation with no recollection of his name, no memory of how long he’s been there, and no idea how to leave. Things don’t change much for the lost souls at Hollow Pines and time is strange when you’re dead. When visitors from the living world arrive for the first time in a long while, the boy feels a spark of hope. They seem to understand more than others that the plantation is not just spooky or eerie, it’s a sad place. Maybe they could help him uncover the dark secrets of his past and help him find a way to move on.
J HOWAges 11+
Healer and Witch by Nancy Werlin
Travel back to the 1530’s. Can Sylvie learn to manage her magic powers? Can she claim her gift without being declared a witch in the time of inquisition? Sylvie and her mother and grandmother are beloved, trusted healers in their medieval French village. There were some whispers that fifteen-year-old Sylvie and her grand-mere might be a bit…witchy! After her grandmother dies she tries to heal her mother’s grief, but her newly acquired gifts need training. Sylvie leaves her village with her friend Marti in search of a teacher. The journey subjects her to strange alliances, powerful temptations, danger, and deceit. Who can Sylvie trust? Beautifully crafted, powerful story for young readers.
J WERAges 10+
Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson
The witch and her cat are happily flying through the sky on a broomstick when the wind picks up and blows away the witch’s hat, bow, and wand! Luckily, three helpful animals find the missing items. The animals all hitch a ride on the broom…but is there room on the broom for so many friends? And when disaster strikes….
E DONAges 3+
The Mary Celeste Ghost Ship by Anita Amin
The story of Mary Celeste from 150 years ago and the disappearance of the captain, his family and crew of eight who have never been seen or heard of again. But, the ship was found abandoned six weeks after it should have arrived in Italy! Fun non-fiction!
J 910.916 AMIAges 8+
Desmond Cole Ghost Patrol: The Haunted House Next Door by Andres Miedoso
Fun, easy to read ghost story. Meet Desmond Cole, a fearless ghost buster who looks for ghosts everywhere. His new neighbor Andres has moved into a haunted house! There’s no job too spooky for Desmond and Andres. Seems cool, right? There’s only one problem…Andres is afraid of everything. Perfect book for emerging readers who are ready to move onto a chapter book.
J MIEAges 5+
The Bones of Fred McFee by Eve Bunting
In this rhythmic story, an unsuspecting brother and sister bring a toy skeleton home from the harvest fair. They name it Fred McFee and hang it from a sycamore tree. Soon, eerie things begin to happen. Then, on Halloween night, Fred vanishes! A Halloween favorite good for the whole family.
E BUNAges 4+
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Scratch, scratch, scratch, click, click, click. Caroline gets sucked into the other world. There are others who have been sucked in. Her parents are suddenly missing. Her fake parents with button eyes offer her delicious food and a lovely room, but for how long? Will Coraline find her parents and her way back home? Enjoy the thrills and chills. You will be on the edge of your seat or hiding under your covers from the first turn of the page!
J GN GAIAges 8+
The Haunted Library: The Ghost in the Attic by Dori Hillestad Butler
Perfectly scary story for young chapter book readers! Learn how to carry your pet ghost outside so he can help you solve ghostly mysteries all over town.
J BUTAges 6+
Witchlings by Claribel A. Ortega
Twelve-year-old Seven Salazar is waiting to be placed in a powerful coven (think Harry Potter houses) but then she isn’t placed in any coven. She’s a spare! She tries to form a new coven and it doesn’t work! She’s stuck as a witchling and will lose her magic. How will Seven and the other spares survive? Maybe friendship can be the most powerful magic of all. Girl power vibes on every page.
J ORTAges 8+
The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street by Lindsay Currie
A Chicago ghost story centered around Graceland Cemetery. Tessa has just started seventh grade when her parents yank her out of school in Florida and move to Chicago in October. They bought their Near North Brownstone cheap. It needs a lot of updates and there is a not so friendly ghost haunting Tessa’s room and bathroom. When it starts bothering her four year old brother and mother, Tessa’s new friends help her solve the mystery and how her around the city.
J CURAges 9+
Small Spaces by Katherine Arden
After suffering a tragic loss, eleven-year-old Ollie only finds solace in books. She then happens upon a crazed woman at the river threatening to throw a book in the water. Ollie doesn’t think, she steals the book and runs away. In the slender book, Ollie discovers a chilling story about a girl named Beth, the two brothers who loved her, and a strange deal made with “the smiling man”. The next day the field trip bus breaks down….and with that a deliciously creepy adventure begins!
J ARDAges 10+
Scritch Scratch by Lindsay Currie
Claire has no interest in the Paranormal. She is a scientist! She can’t think of anything worse than having to help her dad on one of his ghost themed Chicago bus tours. She thinks she’s made it through when she sees a boy with a sad face and dark eyes at the back of the bus. There’s something off about his presence, especially because when she checks at the end of the tour…he’s gone. Claire tries to brush it off, but then the scratching starts. Claire tries to find out why she is being haunted before it’s too late!
J CURAges 10+
Eva Evergreen Semi Magical Witch by Julie Abe
Sometimes all you need is a pinch of magic…Eva Evergreen is determined to earn the rank of Novice Witch before her thirteenth birthday. If she doesn’t, she’ll lose her magic forever. For most young witches and wizards, it’s a simple enough test. The only problem? Eva only has a pinch of magic. She summons heads of cabbage instead of flowers and gets sunburn instead of calling down rain. Find out what happens when she lands in a tranquil coastal town and sets up a magical repair shop to prove she’s worthy.
J ABEAges 8+
Calendar Mysteries: October Ogre by Ron Roy
It’s Halloween and there’s a haunted house in Green Lawn! The Shangri-la Hotel has been transformed into a haunted house. The kids are ready for some scary fun, but they notice that none of the kinds who have gone to the hotel have come back out. What’s happening to them? Ogres, ghosts, and witches aren’t real….right?
J ROYAges 6+
Camp Creepy Lake: A Campout in the Haunted Woods by Laurie Friedman
A creepy lake and a haunted wood! When your skeleton counselor gives you a tent and pushes you into the haunted woods, how will you and your fellow campers survive?
J FRIAges 6+

What’s Your Next Great Read? Book Reviews with Ms. Cecily

Are you looking for great adventure in far off lands or just looking for your first great chapter book?  Or somewhere in between. The library has something waiting for you!

Breaking Through the Clouds by Sandra Nickel Ages 6-9 Grades 1-3
(J B SIM)

Every wonder about who predicts the weather?  Joanne Simpson (1923-2010) was fascinated by clouds and studied them constantly.  When World War II started the Air Force asked her to teach their pilots about the clouds and the weather changing winds. After the war she stayed at the University of Chicago to study Meteorology even though the professors said a woman could not earn a Doctorate in Meteorology!  Read about this amazing pioneering woman scientist! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Luna Howls at the Moon by Kristin Tubbs Ages 8-12 Grades 3-7 (J TUB, Audio Libby)

This is the dogs story and a cat to tell. Luna is a Labrador therapy puppy and she  helps children with the holes in their lives. She’s a whisker away from reaching her fifty-visit pin that will make her an official therapy dog. But when her “clients”—the children who visit her—are put into a therapy group, Luna’s routine is upended. There are so many feelings to deal with! Like the moon, Luna shows different faces at different times. And her clients each have different needs—Beatrice is tangled in knots of anger, Caleb rushes like a waterfall, Amelia carries fear heavy like a shadow, and Hector is quiet as a rock. To comfort the kids, Luna can be what they need her to be, but can she be everything to them all at once? When Hector doesn’t show up to a session the kids set off to find him. Luna joins to keep them safe and learn the truth. Five wagging tails!

Daughter of the Deep by Rick Riordan Libby Audio Ages 10-13 Grades 4-7 (J RIO)

This is a Girl Power book! Our protagonist, Ana Dakkar, takes control of the Nautilus that has been lying on the bottom of the  Pacific Ocean under a volcano for 150 years.  She is the last living relative of Captain Nemo (you might want to read  Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea)! She is the only one who can unlock  the Nautilus and all it’s power! The first AI machine with many scientific marvels that is keyed to her DNA.  Fun, fast paced and a true girls adventure book.  Take charge you will love this book.  ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate
Ages 8-12
Grades 3-7
(J APP)

Do you have an imaginary friend? They can be helpful  to get you through hard times. A dog, a frog, a cat… they can be there for you when you feel alone like Jackson.  His family has fallen on hard times. The rent isn’t paid. There’s never enough to eat and his family may have to live in their minivan – AGAIN! It is a magical story about family, friendship, resilience and a very large cat named Crenshaw. ❤️❤️❤️

Absolutely Truly by Heather Vogel Frederick Ages 8-12 Grades 3-7 (J FRE)

Absolutely Truly has just moved from Texas to a small town in New Hampshire. With two older brothers and two younger sisters clamoring for attention, her mother back in school, and everyone up to their eyebrows trying to keep Lovejoy’s Books afloat, Truly feels more overlooked than usual. With her best friend in Texas and having to make new friends in January at a new school in record COLD New Hampshire winter and having to be tutored in PreAlgebra by her father what else could go wrong?  

So she pours herself into uncovering the mystery of an undelivered letter she finds stuck in a valuable autographed first edition of Charlotte’s Web she found at the bookstore that lead Truly and her new Pumpkin Falls friends on a madcap treasure hunt around town, chasing clues that could spell danger.  A good set up for the follow-up books in the series. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Cress Watercress by Gregory Maguire Ages 8-12 Grades 2-6 (Libby Audio)

The Author of  Wicked turns his attention to Junior Fiction written in the vein of E.B. White or Thorton Burgess’ Old Mother West Wind.  In this animal adventure about growing up, moving on, and finding community. When Papa bunny doesn’t return Cress holds out hope, but her mother assumes the worst. Mama moves what’s left of the Watercress family to the basement unit of the Broken Arms, a run-down apartment oak with a suspect owl landlord, a nosy mouse super, a rowdy family of squirrels, and a pair of songbirds who broadcast everyone’s business. In the timeless spirit of E. B. White this read-aloud and read-alone for animal lovers of all ages features an unforgettable cast that leaps off the page in glowing illustrations by David Litchfield. It invites us to flourish wherever we find ourselves. A delightful tale with well developed characters! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Boris on the Move by Andrew Joyner
Ages 5-7 Grades K-2 (J JOY)

The perfect early chapter book with an unexpected adventure.  Boris lives with his mom and dad in a van that once traveled all over the world. Now it never moves… BUT when it does move, Boris is in for an adventure! Bright lively pictures help move the story along for the emerging reader who wants to move up to chapter books. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Back to School, Mallory by Laurie Friedman Ages 7-10 Grades 2-4 (J FRI & Audio Libby)

Mallory has to go back to school but it’s a new school and the new music teacher is HER MOM! And then there is a play for music class and she is an eggplant! This is the second of the series and a fun read that is full of 3rd grade angst! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Lilly and Finn: A Mermaids Tale by Cornelia Funke
Ages 8-11 Grades 2-4th (J FUN)

When Mr. and Mrs. Snorkel decide to add a mermaid to their private zoo it spells trouble for Lilly and Fin, two merkids. In this story they learn that the 2 leggeds are mean and that the giant Kraken is actually a loveable sea monster. This beautifully illustrated adventure is sure to capture all two-legged chapter-book readers!  ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Masterminds by Gordon Korman
Ages 8-12 Grades 4-8 (Libby, Hoopla Audio, J KOR)

Another great page turner from Gordon Korman. You live in the perfect town, in a perfect house, with perfect parents, but you have never left  the town. One day you discover that you can’t… Perfect may not be so perfect any more! When you realize that your crime-free community is connected  to some of  the greatest criminal masterminds of all time! What if you found out that you were the clone of a master criminal?  ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Masterminds: Criminal Destiny by Gordon Korman Ages 8-12 Grades 4-8 (J KOR, Libby Audio)

The second book in the action-packed series from author Gordon Korman. The clones of Project Osiris are free—but are being hunted. After their narrow escape from their “perfect” hometown, Eli, Tori, Amber, and Malik are finally in the real world and determined to expose the leaders of Serenity. And Project  Osiris. They evade capture by breaking laws and sneaking into houses, hotels, buses, and cars—are they becoming the criminals they were destined to be?

What they discover will change everything. What they are looking for is any evidence that will convince the outside world to believe the truth. Eli, Tori, Amber, and Malik will stop at nothing to take down Project Osiris! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Caterpillar Summer by Gilliam McDunn Grade 3-5 Ages 10-12
(J MCD (Bluestem) Libby Audio)

Wonderfully written flawed characters who when things don’t go as planned might fall apart but instead find family and friendship and start to fix some of their flaws. Heart warming story of Family, forgiveness, and growing up. This book started a little slow but  I was sorry when the book ended.

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Becoming Muhammad Ali by James Patterson and Kwane Alexander
Age 9-12 Grades 3-7 (J PAT (2023 BLUESTEM ))

In this biographical novel we learn about Casscius Clay a young fighter from Louisville Kentucky. Then we learn why he decided to become become Muhammad Ali. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

What’s Your Next Great Read? Book Reviews with Ms. Cecily

Are you looking for great adventure in far off lands or just looking for your first great chapter book?  Or someone in between. The library has something waiting for you!

The Floating Forest by Linda Chapman

Age Interest: 6-9 Grades 1-4 Rating:4/5 ❤️❤️❤️❤️

This is the second book in the Mermaids Rock series. Mermaids and Mermen romp with their undersea friends. Join Coralie, Marina, and their mermaid friends in the beautiful coral reef at Mermaids Rock! Whether they’re working together to help sea animals in danger or solving a mystery of the deep, the friends at Mermaids Rock will do anything to protect their ocean home and if there is a ripple of adventure they will find it! This is the perfect series for those looking to transition to chapter books from easy readers.  Lots of pictures to go with the text. J CHA

A Girl, A Boy and A Monster Cat by Gail Gauthier 

Age Interest: 7-10 Grades 2-4 Rating: 4/5❤️❤️❤️❤️

This is the tale of Hannah, a know it all, bossy little girl and her classmate Brandon, who goes to her house in the afternoon until his mother comes home from work. She has an amazing imagination and Brandon is pretty good to put up with all of her antics.  Add in a difficult neighbor, her ferocious chihuahua, Bucky, and one big fat monster cat, Buttercup and they have plenty of adventures.  The chapters loosely flow together and each chapter is often a story in itself. Add a cute ending this is definitely a book a 2-4th grade girl would enjoy! J GAU

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Van Glaser

Age Interest: 8-11 Grades 36 Rating: 4/5 ❤️❤️❤️❤️

What do you do when  your landlord  says  your family has 2 weeks to move the week before Christmas?!  The brownstone, the only place the kids have ever lived.  The book is the story of the kids trying to win over the landlord so that they don’t have to move.  And the lessons they all learn over the two weeks. I really enjoyed this book .  It’s available on Libby as an audio and e-book as well as in print. If you enjoy this try the 2nd book, The Vandebeekers Make a Wish or the Penderwicks (J BIR) J VAN

The Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling

Age Interest: 9-12 Grades: 3-7 Rating: 5/5 ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Aven is a hilarious and inspiring protagonist. She’s not happy when she has to leave the only home she has ever known and all her friends. Now she has to explain her disability to a whole new group of kids! Then in her new school she bonds with Connor, a classmate who also feels isolated because of his own disability. Together they solve a mystery and she finds out moving wasn’t so bad after all. It’s available on Libby as an audiobook and e-book as well as in print. Give this book a try; it’s a great read! J BOW

The Last Map Maker by Christina Soontornvat 

Age Interest: 8-12 Grades: 4-8 Rating: 5/5 ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

This fantasy adventure explores a girl’s struggle to come to terms with her past and chart her own destiny in a world full of secrets. Twelve-year-old Sai is the assistant to a celebrated mapmaker.  Sai plays the part of a well-bred young lady with a glittering future, but her father is a conman and she has no family to be proud of.  In a kingdom where one’s ancestors’ status dictates their social position the truth could ruin her. Sai takes a chance and joins an expedition to chart the southern seas, but she isn’t the only one with secrets. This tale of identity and integrity is as beautiful as the maps of old. Just beware of the DRAGONS! J SOO

Knight Owl by Christopher Denise (Picture Book)

Age Interest: 4-8 Grades:Preschool-3 Rating: 5/5  ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️  

Owl has always dreamed of becoming a knight.  What he lacks in size he makes up for in bravery and cleverness.  He proves that all these things and friendship can rule over brawn. E DEN

A book of Camping and Survival  Projects by Ruth Owen

Age Interest: 8-11 Grades: 2-4 Rating: 4/5❤️❤️❤️❤️

Great book for all the Cub Scouts out there working on badges! J 613.6 OWE

Born Hungry Julia Child becomes “the French Chef”  by Alex Prud’homme

Age Interest:5-9 Grades: K-4 Rating: 4/5 ❤️❤️❤️❤️

This is a short  Biography of Julia Child. If you were born hungry you will want to know how this vivacious woman became a chef.  She started out life and could barely boil water, but any one can learn to cook and cook well. And that is what she did! At the end there is a bonus recipe of one of the first thing she learned to cook at Le Cordon Blue. J B CHI

Dodsworth in New York by Tim Egan  

Age Interest: 6-9  Grades: 1-4 Rating:5/5❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Colorful pictures on every page make this a perfect transition book from Easy Readers to Chapter Book. Dodsworth goes to New York on the train and discovers that his friends duck has stowed away in his suitcase. Once in New York, Dodsworth chases the crazy duck that misbehaves all over the Big Apple and sees the sights as he goes. Then they are supposed to go home but….  If you enjoy this book, Dodsworth also visits Paris, London, Tokyo and other great cities. J EAG

Nellie vs Elizabeth by Kate Hannigan

Age Interest: 7-10 Grades: 2-4 Rating: 4/5 ❤️❤️❤️❤️

This is the real-life adventure story of two ladies who set out to go around the world in fewer than the 80 days that Jules Verne wrote about.  In this real-life adventure, daredevil and groundbreaking journalists Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland race against each other–and the clock–as they circle the globe by ship, train, and foot. Join these two stereotype-shattering reporters as they prove that not only is traveling around the world possible, but that women are just as curious, capable, and courageous as any man. If you enjoyed this story you might like to read Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne. J 910.41 HAN

July Tween Read Scene: 2023 Rebecca Caudill Award Nominees

The Rebecca Caudill Award is given each year to the author of the book voted for most by Illinois 4th-8th grade students. To learn more about the award and Rebecca Caudill herself, visit https://www.rebeccacaudill.org.

Come in to the library to check out one of the outstanding 2023 award nominees below!

Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. AlstonJ ALS (2023 CAUDILL)Ages 8-12
AR: 4.9
A High Five for Glenn Burke by Phil BildnerJ BIL (2023 CAUDILL)Ages 10-13
AR: 4.1
Lexile: 690L
The Blackbird Girls by Anne BlankmanJ BLA (CAUDILL 2023)Ages 9-12
AR: 4.8
The Benefits of Being an Octopus  by Ann BradenJ BRA (2023 CAUDILL)
PLAYAWAY J F BRA (CAUDILL 2023)
Ages 8-12
AR: 4.9
Lexile: 770L
Fighting Words by Kimberly Brubaker BradleyJ BRA (2023 CAUDILL)
AUDIO CD J F BRA
Ages 10-12
AR: 3.6
Marcus Vega Doesn’t Speak Spanish by Pablo CartayaJ CAR (2023 CAUDILL)
AUDIO CD J F CAR
Ages 10+
AR: 3.9
Lexile: 580L
Efrén Divided by Erenesto CisnerosJ CIS (2023 BLUESTEM)
AUDIO CD J F CIS (2023 CAUDILL)
Ages 8-12
AR: 4.5
Lexile: 710L
The Only Back Girls in Town by Brandy ColbertJ COL (2023 CAUDILL)
AUDIO CD J F COL (2023 CAUDILL)
Ages 8-12
AR: 4.4
The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez by Adrianna CuevasJ CUE (2023 CAUDILL)
AUDIO CD J F CUE (2023 CAUDILL)
Ages 8-12
AR: 4.7
Lexile: 740L
Scritch Scratch by Lindsay CurrieJ CUR (2023 CAUDILL)Ages 10-14
AR: 4.3
Lexile: 610L
A Thousand Questions by Saadia FaruqiJ FAR (2023 BLUESTEM)
AUDIO CD J F FAR (2023 CAUDILL)
Ages 8-12
AR: 4.8
Wink: Surviving Middle School with One Eye Open by Rob HarrellJ HAR (2023 CAUDILL)Ages 9-12
AR: 3.9
Lexile: 580L
When Stars are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson and Omar MohamedJ GN JAM (CAUDILL 2023)
PLAYAWAY J F JAM (2023 CAUDILL)
Ages 9-12
AR: 3.7
Lexile: 530L
This is Your Brain on Stereotypes: How Science is Tackling Unconscious Bias by Tanya Lloyd KyiJ 303.385 KYI (CAUDILL 2023)Ages 11-14
AR: 6.8
Lexile: 910L
Chirp by Kate MessnerJ MES (2023 CAUDILL)
PLAYAWAY J F MES (2023 CAUDILL)
Ages 10-14
AR: 4.6
The Best at It by Maulik PancholyJ PAN (2023 CAUDILL)
PLAYAWAY J F PAN (2023 CAUDILL)
Ages 8-12
AR: 4
Lexile: 620L
Black Brother, Black Brother by Jewell Parker RhodesJ RHO (2023 CAUDILL)
PLAYAWAY J F RHO (2023 CAUDILL)
Ages 8-12
AR: 3.4
Lexile: 400L
All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team by Christina SoontornvatJ 796.52 SOO (2023 CAUDILL)Ages 8-12
AR: 7.2
Lexile: 1020L
Katie the Catsitter by Colleen A.F. Venable and Stephanie YueJ GN VEN (2023 CAUDILL)Ages 8-12
AR: 3
Lexile: 340L
Before the Ever After by Jacqueline WoodsonJ WOO (CAUDILL 2023)
AUDIO CD J F WOO (2023 CAUDILL)
Ages 10+
AR: 4.5

UPCOMING TWEEN EVENTS

July 1-30
TinkerCAD Challenge: Create a Derby Car

4th Grade & Up
Registration begins July 1

July 11
Wild Explorers: Rockss + Geology | 10:30-11:15am

Grades 3-6 with a caregiver
Registration begins June 27

July 11
Mad Science: Growing Geodes | Video posted at 4:30pm

Kindergarten-6th Grade
Registration begins June 27

July 15
Chalk the Walk | 11-11:45am

All Ages
No registration required

Happy Reading!

Calling All Collectors…..

We are happy to announce the re-launch of display case collections featuring YOU!

In the Youth Department, there are 4 display cases that are available for kids (up to 8th grade) or organizations focusing on children to display their prized collections, art exhibits, or information on their organizations. The cases may be reserved for one month by calling, emailing, or stopping by the Youth Services desk. We will be happy to give you more details or sign you up!

Here are some photos from previous displays:

Insects or rocks or shells? Buttons or coins or bells? Even if you haven’t started a collection, click on the link in each photo for some inspiration to get started:

A quick search in PrairieCat also brings up a list of books to browse for possible collection ideas:

Start thinking about what you may be able to share with your library friends, or look around to find something to begin a collection… we need your help to fill these display cases!

Hope to see you soon!

Wordless picture books speak for themselves!

Often times I get ideas for this space by reading other blog posts. One librarian that I follow wrote about the wordless picture book exhibit at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art which is located in Amherst, Massachusetts. Take a look to explore their website:

After scrolling through her page, I started to look around our library to see what we have to offer in this unique category… and now I am even more in love with these books! Below is a small sampling of books I’ve found on our shelves:

This search in PrairieCat shows what’s available for you:

One of the many great things about the wordless genre is the creativity and imagination it sparks. You can see something new each time you look through it. The story can change each time you pick it up. You learn to relax and “read” the pictures. They can spark great interaction as you share responses together. There is often more emotion involved as you examine the pictures and illustrations…and many other valuable reasons to explore this genre!

Playful Learning has a great article about this genre for more information:

Reading Rocket has more tips for enjoying your time with these books:

Check this list from Reading Rockets:

And this is our link to our GoodReads list of wordless books:

I hope this sparks your curiosity a little to come in and find some wordless picture books to share with your friends and family. I’m sure you’ll enjoy them as much as I do!

Dinos and Spiders and Fish…Oh My!

The library has been a busy place lately! We have had over 1200 of our young friends sign up for the Summer Learning Challenge, and more than 200 completed levels…that is phenomenal! The challenge runs throughout July, so be sure to bring in your colored sheets for your completion certificate, prizes, and bonus logs for raffle entries. Summer programming is back in action too, with photos below. Some of our nature encounters were planned (dinos and fishing) but the spider….not so much!

Recently, the Saturday program at the library featured the T-Rexplorers Dinosaur Discovery program. Kids (and parents) were treated to insider secrets about a dinosaur dig, spent time with an authentic fossil hunter, and had the opportunity to handle actual dinosaur bones!

Look at all those cool fossils!

When you visit us, if you’d like to know more about dinosaurs, information is located in the 560’s of the non-fiction and ER non-fiction section.


Rather unexpectedly one day, this mama wolf spider was enjoying herself in the storytime room. Miss Alissa and Miss Lizzo then corralled her and were startled when babies started hopping off her back!

See those babies exploring their temporary home in the cup?

They quickly called Mr. Phil to come and help wrangle these critters into one of our bug-catching kits.

It has a magnifying glass, so they were able to get some really good photos!

Look closely at the spider’s back…those are all the spiderlings hanging onto her!

Here are a few more close-ups:

For more information about spiders, visit the 595.44 section of the non-fiction collection,

and maybe go on a hunt of your own…but be careful!


Let’s Go Fishing is a popular program hosted by Miss Lizzo. Participants learn how to bait their hooks, cast into the pond, and release their fish safely back into the water.

The June session was a great success with quite a few catches:

Check the program guide for more info, call with any questions, or register online for the July session.

For books about fish in general, visit the 597 area in non-fiction. To learn more about the sport of fishing, try 799.1, or ask us to help you locate any of these books.

Whatever you might have an interest in this summer- whether it’s about science, sports, or summertime fun, you can be sure that we’ll help you find out more about it.

Stop in soon to check something out!

Summer Suggestions…

With the Summer Learning Challenge in full swing, it’s time to update our Staff Picks with the summer edition! Need ideas for summer reading? We have chosen some of our favorite books for you. Grab a book and a bookmark from the shelf near the main desk. Right next to our picks you will find the State Award Nominees display. You can get a head start on reading these books for spring voting or any school reading requirements. There is a fun bingo sheet to help you keep track of what you’ve read, or just a list to check.

Be sure to visit our Reading Colors Your World virtual library:

Now it’s time to….

This year there are “Art on the Go” & “Art on the Spot” activities. Be sure to learn about the artists featured and share your creations!

Look around in the non-fiction area to find out more about art (the 700 section) or artists (in biographies) or let us help you find whatever! We also have our Pinterest page with color themed books for summer reading:

Drop in, create, and hang out for awhile since we’re now in Phase 5 and comfy chairs are back!

See you soon!

Get Ready, Here It Comes…

That’s right…our Summer Learning Challenge sign-up is just around the corner with registration starting on Monday, June 7th. This year’s theme is “Reading Colors Your World” featuring the artwork of Oliver Jeffers and Herve’ Tullet. We’ve been busy adding colorful splashes all around the department to add to the excitement.

Stop in to register, pick up your activity log, and earn prizes. Complete any combination of the 24 activities to get a prize bag, virtual raffle entry, a completion certificate for school, and a free book! Bonus logs earn addition raffle entries!

The program guide is available in the library or online.

Colors are everywhere!

What is a cat’s favorite color?   “Purr”ple

Why did the crayon cry?   He was feeling blue.

If you have access to Pinterest, here are some book lists by age/grade levels for color-themed books on the New Lenox Library board:

Our next blog post will feature Staff Picks to help you get started, so mark your calendars to sign up on June 7th, and stop in any time for more information.

We can’t wait to help you color your world with reading!