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Youth Services Staff Picks

September 2015 Staff Picks 


Need a break from homework? Pick up a staff pick book to enjoy!


Bellatrix, Tonks and Professor Umbridge visiting the library on
Harry Potter's Birthday.

Anna's Pick:

My Brother Charlie

My Brother Charlie by Holly Robinson Peete – J 618.928 PEE 

For grades Pre-K – 2; Published 2010 

Synopsis:  A girl tells what it is like living with her twin brother who has autism and sometimes finds it hard to communicate with words, but who, in most ways, is just like any other boy. Includes authors' note about autism.
Anna says: With school starting, many children will encounter other kids who are different than anyone they have ever met before. One difference that they may see is Autism. This book highlights differences and similarities and also points out that people with Autism are just like the rest of us with families that love them very much. 

Anna also suggests:
My Sister, Alicia May by Nancy Tupper Ling -  J 616.928 TUP
Explaining Cerebral Palsy by SarahLevete - J 616.836 LEV






Audrey's Pick:


Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great by Bob Shea – E SHE 

For grades 3 – 7; Published 2009 

Synopsis: Ever since Unicorn moved into the neighborhood, Goat has been feeling out of sorts. Goat thought his bike was cool-until he saw that Unicorn could fly to school! Goat made marshmallow squares that almost came out right, but Unicorn made it rain cupcakes! Unicorn is such a show-off, how can Goat compete? When Goat and Unicorn share a piece of pizza, Goat learns that being a unicorn might not be all it's cracked up to be. And when Unicorn shows his admiration for Goat, it looks like the beginning of a beautiful friendship 

Audrey says: Goat’s down on his luck when Unicorn enters the picture… with his rainbows, and smiling cupcakes, psht. Goat is not impressed! However, when Unicorn discovers goat cheese he is blown away. Sometimes things aren’t always better on the other side of the fence.  

Audrey also suggests:
Always lots of heinies at the zoo by Ayun Halliday - E HAL
New socks by Bob Shea - E SHE



Debbie's Pick:

Ballywhinney Girl

Ballywhinney Girl by Eve Bunting – E BUN 

For grades 1 – 4; Published 2010 

Synopsis:  A young girl finds the 1,000 year old mummified remains of another young girl in a peat bog in Ireland and wonders what the girl’s life had been like.  

Debbie says: A lovely story of a young girl’s close encounter with death and how it affects her.

Debbie also suggests:
The Banshee by Eve Bunting – E BUN
Fiona’s Lace by Patricia Polacco – E POL





Jenn's Pick: 

Ganesha s Sweet Tooth

Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth by Sanjay Patel– E PAT 

For grades K – 3; Published 2012 

  • Synopsis:  An original story based on Hindu mythology, this book tells the story about how Ganesha's love of sweets led to a broken tusk and the writing of the epic poem, the Mahābhārata. Includes author's note about the myth.  

Jenn says:The illustrations are what really make this book for me.  They are so bright and colorful, they are just really awesome.  It is also a fun and easy way to start teaching young children about other cultures, in this case, Hinduism. 

Jenn also suggests:
Once a Mouse by Marcia Brown – J CALD BRO
Monkey: A Trickster Tale from India by Gerald McDermott – E MCD




Kellie's Pick:    


Balarama: A Royal Elephant by Ted Lewin – J 636.967 LEW 

For grades 3 – 6; Published 2009 

Synopsis:  Elephants, the largest land animals on Earth, have long been part of life throughout India. Some of them are trained to do work, while others perform at public festivals. When Ted and Betsy Lewin arrive in India to see the elephants, they meet Balarama - a lead Royal Elephant about to make his debut in the traditional parade that concludes the celebration of Dasara in the city of Mysore. 


Kellie says: I’ve always been fascinated with the beautiful Indian Royal elephants. Balarama tells the story of the life of one of these special creatures as he is prepared to take his place in a traditional Indian parade. An additional section in the book includes information and facts about different kinds of elephants. I also loved the illustrations throughout this book; they are beautifully detailed and look like photographs! 

Kellie also suggests:
Twenty-one Elephants and still standing by April Jones Prince - E PRI
17 Kings and 42 Elephants by Margaret Mahy - E MAH




Kelsey's Pick:  

Look Up

Look Up! by Annette LeBlanc Cate – J 598.072 CAT 

For grades 3 – 5; Published 2013 

Synopsis:  A conversational, humorous introduction to bird-watching featuring quirky full-color illustrations portray dozens of birds chatting about their distinctive characteristics, including color, shape, plumage, and beak and foot types. 


Kelsey says: My husband really likes birds. Well, he really likes all animals in general, but has a strange, special fondness for birds. So I actually took this book home for him and he can vouch for how great it is. The illustrations are totally engaging. And on top of being super informative, it’s also very hilarious. It’s nonfiction that easily reads like a graphic novel. 

Kelsey also suggests:
In the Belly of an Ox by Rebecca Bond – J F KEA
Parrots Over Puerto Rico by Susan Roth – J 598.71 ROT




Lynn’s Pick: 

Don t Swap Your Sweater

Don’t Swap Your Sweater for a Dog by Katherine Applegate– J SER ROS 

For grades 1 – 2; Published 2008 

Synopsis: Determined to win a trophy of some kind, first-grader Roscoe swaps a hand-knitted sweater from his grandmother for the chance to enter his new neighbor's very clever dog in a trick contest.  

Lynn says: One of the things I liked best about this book is that Roscoe Riley’s dog, Goofy, reminded me so much of my goofy dog.  This story was fun and still had a great lesson.  This series is perfect for readers new to chapter books.     

Lynn also suggests:
Roscoe Riley Rules Series by Katherine Applegate - J SER ROS




Ofilia's Pick:

He has shot the president

He Has Shot the President! by Don Brown – J 973.709 BRO 

For grades 3 – 6; Published 2014 

Synopsis:  Explores the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the manhunt that followed. 

Ofilia saysDon Brown has a way of weaving fact and storytelling so seamlessly that it makes you feel like you are there. His illustrations show so much emotion with such simple strokes the somber palate fits the subject matter perfectly. With so much interesting detail and excellent writing, this really covers the assassination and the aftermath expertly. 

Ofilia also suggests:
Looking at Lincoln by Maira Kalman - J B LIN
Abe's Honest Words: The Life of Abraham Lincoln by Doreen Rappaport - J B LIN




Roben's Pick:

Sandys Circus

Sandy’s Circus by Tanya Lee Stone – J 730.92 STO

For grades 2 – 4; Published 2008

Synopsis:  As a boy, Sandy was always fiddling with odds and ends, making objects for friends. When he got older he started creating wire sculptures. Sandy made a lion. Next came a lion cage. Before he knew it, he had an entire circus and was traveling between Paris and New York performing a brand-new kind of art for amazed audiences. 

Roben saysAlexander Calder has always been one of my favorite artists.  I enjoyed reading this short biography that explains how he turned his quirky ideas into phenomenal art that is recognized around the world.

Roben also suggests:
The Calder Game by Blue Balliett – J SER CHA
Cool Sculpture: The Art of Creativity for Kids by Anders Hanson – J731.4 HAN




Veronica’s Pick:    

One and Only Ivan

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate – J NEWB APP

For grades 3 – 7; Published 2012

Synopsis:  When Ivan, a gorilla who has lived for years in a down-and-out circus-themed mall, meets Ruby, a baby elephant that has been added to the mall, he decides that he must find her a better life. 

Veronica saysThis heartfelt and touching book made me cry, laugh and angry all at the same time. The author does an amazing job of bringing these characters to life you can’t help but love each and every one of them. Ivan, a silver back gorilla, who has been in captivity his whole life, puts forth all his efforts in trying to save a baby elephant named Ruby after making a promise to his good friend Stella. The thing that touched me the most is that this book was based on a real gorilla named Ivan who now lives in the Seattle Zoo.

Veronica also suggests:
Tua and the Elephant by R. P. Harris – J Adventure HAR
Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor – J Adventure NAY            


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