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Youth Services Picks
Furry Logic is a fascinating look at the behavior of animals through two scientific lenses - biology and physics. Each chapter focuses on a different aspect of physics, such as heat, light, or electricity and contains several stories that show how animals use those forces to survive and reproduce. My favorite was the story of Japanese honeybees, who use the body heat from hundreds of workers to prevent an attack from giant hornets.
The book is great for anyone who is interested in animals or physics but might be intimidated by the thought of lots of scientific terminology. The authors' humorous tone and obvious love of nature keep this from reading at all like a textbook. It's a very fun way to learn about why and how animals do what they do.
Following the rise of Emperor Palpatine and the devastation of the Jedi Order, Ahsoka Tano is on the run. The Empire is hunting down any potential Force users and, while she is assumed dead, the former Padawan of Anakin Skywalker soon finds that no place in the galaxy is truly safe for her- or the friends she makes.
While there are still plenty of exciting events, the book features a little less straight-forward action than fans of Ahsoka and her signature twin lightsabers might expect. Instead, readers get to see her use all the other skills shes accumulated over the years. Tension builds as Ahsoka weighs her need to stay hidden against using her powers to help people, learns of the growing rebellion against the Empire, and contemplates her role in that rebellion.
Cassie Sullivan survived the first four waves by being luckier, smarter, and better equipped to deal with the harshness of post-civilization Earth than many around her, but can she outrun the fifth wave that promises to break across the land? Her only choice is to try, because if she falters it might be the end for her younger brother, Sam. Each wave of the attack requires a new skill, renewed vigilance, and pushes the limits of humanity among survivors. Cassie's only chance to save her brother and herself is to trust in a boy who won't share his secrets and may not be who he claims. The 5th Wave sets the stage for a prolonged look at humanity and its' struggle to remain civilized in unconventional times as we follow Cassie and companions through the Midwest and beyond.
Who was the greatest athlete to wear the number 23? How about number 7? This book attempts to answer that question for every number, from double zero to 99. For some numbers, the choice is easy; not many people can challenge Michael Jordan. It's much tougher for other numbers. How do you compare players like Mickey Mantle and John Elway, who played different sports in different decades? More than just a list, for each number the book details all the contenders and explains why the winner was selected. You'll also learn why some players chose their number and other interesting trivia. Like any sports debate, you're sure to agree with some picks and disagree with others, and it's sure to spark some conversation among you and your friends. You might even learn about some lesser known athletes; would you have guessed the best at 61 was Curley Culp?
Young friends Thane and Ciena witness their mutual affection grow, even while Imperial might and Rebel resistance pull them in opposite directions. From their early days learning to pilot together on Jelucan to training at the Imperial Academy on Coruscant, Lost Stars explores how personal connections are strained when political lines draw down around these characters, sending them on adventures that will change alliances and hearts. Gray maneuvers within George Lucas' established timeline to link events from original trilogy series with Lost Stars' expansive plot. Doing so, she creates a powerful Star Wars story that connects the first six films with the newest addition, The Force Awakens, with new characters and perspectives showing a side of galactic conflict readers will find surprisingly fresh.
Steves parents just had a new baby named Theo. Steve loves his new brother, but hes worried; Theo is very sick and the doctors cant seem to figure out what is wrong. After he is stung by a wasp, Steve begins having strange dreams. The beings in his dreams promise to fix Theo, but Steve soon begins to suspect their motives are not so friendly. This book has some spine-tingling moments for anyone with a fear of bugs, but it may also change your perspective on family and what it means to be broken.
Rodeo Red only needed her faithful companion Rusty the hound dog. When Sideswiping Slim comes into the picture there is a disturbance at the ranch because Slim becomes attached to Rusty. Rodeo Red soon has to figure out a plan that will reunite her with her hound dog without upsetting the Sheriff and her Deputy. This book is great to read out loud and shows some of the struggle that can occur when there are other kids to share with.
When the city of Ember was first built, it sat atop overflowing vaults filled with provisions that would see the citizens through many years. Now, 200 years later, supplies are running out: light bulbs are hoarded against the darkness, colored pencils cost several dollars a piece, and even certain canned foods are growing scarce. Lina and Doon are classmates who come to see the dire situation Ember's inhabitants face once they're forced into adulthood and work. Are there answers hidden in Doon's soggy sewers or whispers for Lina to hear as she runs messages between the city's elite? DuPrau's story moves swiftly and sweeps readers into this mysterious adventure like the river rushing beneath Ember.
What happens when bullies repeatedly knock down a sand castle? Find out when Karen and her extremely cute and extremely supportive friends take matter into their own hands…with the help of HEAVY MACHINERY! This book is a good story of standing up for yourself but not holding a grudge. EXTREMELY well done!
What are a lion, a shark, and a wolf to do? Can they change their carnivorous ways? This Young Hoosier book starts with the disclaimer “No herbivores were injured, physically or emotionally in the making of this product…” Three misunderstood friends of the animal kingdom band together to try share their feelings and try to reform from their hungry ways. Can they get the other animals to like them and not be afraid of them? Read this clever and humorous book to see if they succeed in changing or simply come to accept themselves.
Have you ever tried to sell someone the Eifel Tower? Have you ever tried to convince people that you gave birth to a bunch of rabbits? Have you ever told people that your house was haunted? If not, you might just be shocked by some of the tall tales documented in this book. You’ll find four major types of liars here: people who made up impossible stories, tried to cheat people out of money, pretended to be someone they weren’t, and people who made claims about supernatural events. Each lie is described in just a few pages and is accompanied by interesting related facts and humorous illustrations so it’s a fast, fun read.
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library introduced us to a group of 12 year old competitors ready to answer Mr. Lemoncello’s challenge: escape from the library and win epic prizes. Now, the rest of the nation wants in on the competition! Teams from around the United States have descended on Alexandriaville for Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Olympics. Will Kyle Keeley and his team take the gold once again? Read to find out!
A little boy and his family are taking a trip to visit relatives. This is the first time he has flown. He is a little nervous but her family assures her that he will be fine. This book explains the process from arriving at the airport to waiting to board the plane at the gate. It explains the safety measures that must be taken when the little boy has boarded the air craft, the landing, and what happens when the family exits the plane.
This book is a good read. The author does a great job in explaining the procedures in going to the airport and getting on a plane. This book will make the process of flying less scary for children who have never been on a plane. The illustrations are excellent and the book is written with simple text that young children will be able to understand. I highly recommend this book to all children but especially to children that will be flying for the first time.
Port Chicago is a Naval base near San Francisco, used during World War II to load bombs onto ships. This book tells the story of a group of African-American soldiers assigned to Port Chicago amdid the racism that existed in the Navy. While the young men were initially excited at the chance to serve their country, they come to find that African-American soldiers are often given boring, dangerous assignments like Port Chicago. After unsafe conditions lead to a deadly explosion, the men refuse to return to the base and are eventually charged with mutiny.
The book does a great job helping the reader get to know the men personally, especially Joe Small, who became the de facto leader at Port Chicago despite the discrimination that prevented him from being officially recognized. Although the themes of racism and discrimination are all too familiar, this is a fascinating story that deserves a wide audience.
Alwyn Hamilton has crafted a fast-paced and rich narrative out of the storytelling traditions of 14th century Persia and 20th century westerns.
Amani is an orphan, living in the broken down desert town of Dustwalk. She, like all the other women in the town, have two options: marry someone or die penniless and alone. Amani doesn’t like either of these choices. She gambles, leaving the relative safety of her town and disguising herself as a boy to enter a shooting competition at a nearby saloon. There she meets a green-eyed ruffian, Jin, who has a smile as sharp as Amani’s shooting skills. Soon, the two are taming desert spirits, meeting the descendants of Djinnis, fighting a rebellion, and trying to save the world.
Finn O’Sullivan has always had a hard time in his hometown of Bone Gap, Illinois. Bone Gap may be a weird place, with old men who keep chickens in their houses, corn that whispers secrets, and a host of mysterious disappearances, but Finn feels even weirder.
It was strange when Roza stumbled into Finn and his brother Sean’s lives, but it was even stranger when she slipped out again, stepping into a sinister man’s SUV and disappearing. Though he was the last to see her, no one believes Finn’s account of the kidnapper who moved like a scarecrow. Finn wants to concentrate on helping to heal his brother’s broken heart and his budding relationship with the beekeeper’s prickly daughter, but the corn keeps telling him that Roza is still out there fighting to survive.
Callum Hunt's wish growing up, unlike many other children with a predisposition toward magic, was to fail the entrance examination for the Magisterium. Instead, he is chosen as an apprentice and learns to harness his magical abilities through training. This, however, doesn't sit well with Call's father Alastair, who believes the Magisterium is a problematic organization after losing his wife (and Callum's mom) during a mission. Will Aaron, Call, and Tamara uncover the mage school's secrets and begin to understand why Alastair Hunt begged Call not to attend? Or can these students embrace the Magisterium's influence, opening themselves to the magical arts without care or worry? Grab this 2016-2017 Young Hoosier to find out!
A book for vegetable enthusiasts everywhere, Rah Rah Radishes presents a smorgasbord of veggies from carrots to kohlrabi. Accompanied by vibrant photographs of real vegetables, each veggie is given its own chant that will have you cheering along.
Follow Jamie Grimm as he sets out to make it in a stand-up comedy contest called The Planet's Funniest Kid Comic. Jamie has more than just his nerves to worry about though. Even if he does win, will anyone believe that he does it because of his merits and not because the judges feel sorry for him because of his wheelchair?
Fun and silly from beginning to end, this book will tell you exactly what you need when inviting dragons over for a party. Dragons love all sorts of tacos, but it is important to remember you must not have anything spicy within their reach or else there could be dire consequences!
Pirates, dinosaurs, and knights are just a few of the sights on the way to Grandma’s. Follow our main character as he daydreams during a long, boring car ride that turns out to be the adventure of a lifetime. This book is full of imagination and literal twists and turns- you actually have to turn the book all the way around to keep reading. You won’t be disappointed.
This is a beautifully illustrated and well adapted version of Neil Gaiman’s novel, Coraline. When Coraline and her family move into a new home she finds all the things you’d expect a house to have: bedrooms, bathrooms, a kitchen, living areas… and a door to another world. This new world seems better than the one Coraline lives in. It comes with another mother and another father; it comes with fun and adventure. Appearances aren’t always what they are made out to be, though, and Coraline may not realize it until it’s too late!
Worm meets a very special worm and they decide they would like to get married. All of their friends will be attending, but they are confused. Who will wear the dress and who will wear the tux? Cricket says he will marry them, but insists that it isn’t the natural order. What will happen? How will they decide how to conduct this wedding? In the end, it doesn’t matter because worm loves worm. This book is a wonderful read! Austrian does a great job explaining the different types of weddings one might encounter: we see weddings that include a bride and groom, two grooms, and or two brides. Worm loves Worm subtly maneuvers to engage children and help them understand equality and diversity through simple, but effective storytelling.
Lander and Miranda Allerdon are sisters, but they have never been close. Miranda has always been in her older sister’s shadow and their relationship is strained as Lander gets ready to go to medical school. The book begins with the sisters and their family staying at a summer home. When they see a ski-boat accident on the river, Miranda is the only person who thinks it may not have been an accident. She is convinced that Jacob –the driver of the boat- tried to kill his friend, Derry. Lander dismisses the claim and begins to fall for Jacob. When Derry turns up dead later, Lander is the only suspect and Jacob is nowhere to be found. With the evidence stacked against Lander, it’s up to Miranda to find the truth. The book alternates viewpoints between these two sisters. Each chapter begins focused on Lander dealing with her arrest and time in jail before switching to Miranda as she tries to find out what really happened. The book does a great job of making all the characters seem like real people –with both good and bad traits. This can make them hard to like at times but it also means no one is above suspicion. No Such Person is sure to keep you guessing right up to the end!
Mimi is half her mother, half her father, and all herself. It is 1969 and seventh grader Mimi just moved with her parents to a predominately white Vermont neighborhood after living in California her whole life. She misses her cousins and a time when she didn’t feel all alone, but she bravely, and sometimes humorously, faces the challenges head-on.
“This… novel is told in poems from Mimi's perspective over the course of one year in her new town, and shows readers that positive change can start with just one person speaking up.”
From the Hardcover edition.
What do you do when you are a plain vanilla cupcake in a world of wildly colorful confections? Cupcake and his candle friend both feel plain and boring compared to their fancy friends. They try topping Cupcake with spaghetti, stinky cheese, and even a squirrel before they realize that when they get together, they make a pretty special team. Check out this touching and funny book that shows us that we're all unique in our own way.
As an added bonus, Cupcake includes a recipe for vanilla cupcakes and vanilla buttercream in the back of the book. You too can make your own special cupcakes!
Cornelia Greene, daughter of Revolutionary War hero Nathaniel Greene, grows up with her four brothers and sisters in luxury in the 1780s and 90's. However, rumors swirl around her mother's habit of flirting with other powerful men. When a certain rumor hits far too close to home for Cornelia, how will she find out what is true and what is false? The bigger question is, does she really want to know the truth?
Ann Rinaldi is a master of historical fiction, and she certainly lives up to her reputation in this novel. The first part of the book is from Cornelia's mother's perspective as she grows up before the Revolution. The second is in Cornelia's own voice, allowing us to see the growth of an intelligent, headstrong, and loving young woman.
How many things do you need to take on a car trip? It seems like Elephant and Piggie will never be ready to go... and when they are finally packed they are still missing one very important item...a CAR! Another great adventure from Mo Willems!
Travis, a young Marine, is home on leave following a tour in Afghanistan. He is overwhelmed with emotions, struggling to adjust to civilian life and mourning the loss of a close friend in combat. More than anything, he just wants his life to return to normal. The people he is closest to, though, are not making that possible!
Ling is a girl living in China with her beloved parents. She always remembers her life being a happy one, getting English lessons from her father, and lessons in ladyship from her mother. This all changes when Mao Zedong's ruthless Red Guards turn their lives upside down. Anyone who is thought to be different is persecuted. Her parents are declared enemies of the state, her father is sent to a labor camp, and her friends abandon her. How will Ling face these hardships? Will she ever see her father again?
Ying Chang Compestine weaves a tale of the Cultural Revolution and the people who lived through it. Her own childhood inspired the novel, and it, in turn, will inspire you.
Mo Willems is back, and he has created another fantastic read! This book is loosely based on Goldilocks and the Three Bears, but with several unique twists, including a Norwegian dinosaur! The moral of the story, " If you ever find yourself in the wrong story, leave." pretty much sums it up. Fun read aloud for children old enough to appreciate irony!
This is a fantastic debut novel from Nancy Grossman! It tells the story of Eliza Miller, a Amish teenager who is sent to work as a nanny for a family outside her community. While she is there, she must decide if she wants to wholly embrace the more modern lifestyle or return to her conservative roots. It is a big decision, and the answer can not be reached without experiencing typical teenage drama.
How can you possibly paint the sky if you don't have any blue paint? This is Marisol's dilemma as she helps her class paint a mural for their library. She shows us all that with a little observation and a lot of imagination, the sky can be everything but blue.
A fantastic picture book for all of your dreamers, young or just young at heart.
- The Dot-Peter H. Reynolds,
- Ish-Peter H. Reynolds
What can your peas do? Are they astronauts? Bakers? Construction workers? If they just sit on your plate, then they are not as talented as these peas. These peas even know their alphabet!
A Young Hoosier Book Award nominee for 2012-2013, LMNO Peas is not one you will want to miss!
- 123 Peas-Keith Baker,
- Shiver Me Letters: A Pirate ABC-June Sobel
Humans and dragons have maintained a peace for 40 years, but as the anniversary of the treaty approaches, tensions are rising. Seraphina is a uniquely talented musician and is quite unique herself. She has to hide the fact that she is half-human, half-dragon. If anyone found out, the consequences would be dire, but Seraphina may be the only person that can prevent war between the two worlds. Is she the only one of her kind?
Hartman has created a captivating story against one of the richest and most detailed worlds in fiction. Seraphina is a must-read for fans of fantasy, intrigue, and adventure.
Great source for snake themed science activities!
Great story about worrying! Peanut the dog is concerned that his neighbor, Milo the dog, will get the best apple, and once he starts to worry, he just can't stop!
This title is a 2012-13 Young Hoosier Nominee for grades 4-6. Readers are introduced to Aubrey, a young girl in a strange situation, without any back story. It takes a bit of reading to finally understand the dynamics of the plot. Aubrey's family has suffered an enormous loss, and her mother is not handling the loss appropriately. As a result, Aubrey goes to live with her grandmother, where she begins to heal and look forward to the future.
Rosemary Goode is a 15 year old high school student who has always been chubby. She has a lot of issues in her life, and she deals with those issues by overeating. The more she eats, the more weight she gains. The more weight she gains, the more depressed she becomes. Finally, when even her sweatpants are too tight, Rosemary decides she must take control of her eating. But that is easier said than done.
I absolutely loved this book! I was rooting for Rosemary from the very beginning. I was drawn to her sense of humor, her frequent use of sarcasm, and her general disdain for the Bluebirds, the most popular girls in school. Anyone who has ever struggled with their weight or tried to avoid high school cliques will appreciate this book! Because, eventually, high school is over...
Ten year old Ha flees Saigon with her family, and finds herself living with a refugee sponsor in Alabama! Everything is different in Alabama! She must learn to eat new foods, speak a new language, and embrace a new culture.
This story is written in free verse, making it a fairly quick read with a good message for young and old alike!
Reading this book was like taking a breath of fresh air! The main character, Gigi, is super smart and so are her friends! But high school is not always the best environment for smart kids, and Gigi and her friends find themselves in the usual conflicts with their prettier, more popular classmates. The difference is, in this book, nice girls do finish first!
It was nice to read a book about teens who study hard, get good grades, and consistently strive to do the right things.
This is a favorite story of mine because I can dream along with Sylvester about what I might wish for if I had a magic pebble. As the story moves along I can again identify with the feeling of being lost and unable to return home. I once was lost in a department store that in my five year old mind, “I knew so well”! I wondered how, would I find my family. I wanted to find my mother whom I had wandered away from but, would I be in trouble? When I read about how Sylvester’s parents searched for him when he did not come home as expected I can only imagine the pain of a parent looking for a lost child.
The outcome is the best. Readers are reminded what is most important in life. Read this book so you too can be reminded about what is most valuable to you.
This title is a 12-13 Young Hoosier Book Award Nominee for grades 6-8.
Set in 1962, the book introduces us to Samantha, a fourteen year old former military brat, who is forced to start a new life at a new school after her father is killed in Vietnam. Because of her upbringing, Samantha is more open minded than her new Jackson, Mississippi classmates. As she struggles to find her place in the community, she experiences the turmoil that controls the South during this era. Samantha's quest for acceptance is further complicated by her new-age, artsy mother, who marches to the beat of her own drummer... and encourages her daughter to do the same. Eventually, Samantha comes to realize that doing what is right isn't always popular, and doing what is popular isn't always right.
Anyone who has ever been embarrassed of their mother or wished their mother was more like the "other mothers" will appreciate this story, as will anyone who enjoyed "The Help".
After a devastating hurricane turns her life upside down, Laurel Daneau is forced to start over. On the surface, Laurel seems to be doing well in her new school. She is a cheerleader and she has a popular boyfriend nicknamed T-Boom. Privately, though, she is struggling with the loss of her mother and her grandmother and she is hurting. When T-Boom introduces Laurel to meth, she believes that she has finally found a way to numb her pain. But a meth addiction proves to be more than she bargained for.
- Ellen Hopkins
This is a new J Fiction title with a unique format. The story is presented like a video game, with the main character introduced in a brief biographical sketch."Heart of the Enemy" tells the story of LT. Commander Lester Donovan, a US Navy SEAL in serving in Iraq. At the end of each chapter, readers are given a debriefing of the events that have just unfolded.
I have to admit, the thought of "Blood and Guts" makes me a little squeamish! But maybe, just maybe, this book will appeal to those brave souls who are interested in Mixed Martial Arts! The rules and regulations of the sport are defined, and key moves are explained in detail. There is also a biography section that provides a glimpse into the lives of different professional fighters. Exposure to actual blood and guts throughout the story is limited, and the content is not nearly as graphic as the title might imply. If you're looking for the basics of MMA, or just trying to engage a reluctant reader, this book may be the ticket!
Entertainer Jim Gill is responsible for this funny little tale about a man who CAN NOT eat his soup! A great conversation starter about the fundamentals of oprea, but not too serious as to bore the audience. The preschool crowd will appreciate the simplicity of the storyline and enjoy the musical presentation, while the K-5 set will appreciate the subtle humor, such as the "Fat Lady" delivering the last lines of the production. Don't miss this title!
Joy is a typical suburban teen who finds herself in an abusive relationship with her "boyfriend" Asher. In order to escape the relationship, she runs away from home and starts a new life with a group of homeless teens. Joy is rather unprepared for the realities of life on the streets, and she begins a journey of self discovery in an attempt to overcome the obstacles she is facing. Along the way, she makes some unlikely friends, and learns more from them than anyone could have imagined.
I love I Spy books, because they really make you use your brain! Each page has a riddle that encourages readers to hunt for certain objects within the illustrations. They are lots of fun for readers of all ages and a great way to increase vocabulary skills.
I attended college in Texas, where "Texas State Government" was a required course, so I am all too familiar with Sam Houston and his famous "Remember the Alamo!" quote. However, if you need a history refresher, or you are just looking for an entertaining biography, "A Picture Book of Sam Houston" just might do.
Houston was a teacher, a soldier, a lawyer, a governor, and even president of the Republic of Texas. Information about his diverse career choices coupled with vivid illustrations make this biography an interesting read.