Monday, August 21, 2017


This week, I'm sharing some teen books featuring missing kids.  Here's some of my favorites . . . .

Emily's Dress and Other Missing Things by Kate Burak
A new girl in Amherst, Massachusetts, comes to terms with her mother's suicide and her best friend's disappearance with the help of Emily Dickinson's poetry--and her dress.

Far Far Away by Tom McNeal
When Jeremy Johnson Johnson's strange ability to speak to the ghost of Jacob Grimm draws the interest of his classmate Ginger Boltinghouse, the two find themselves at the center of a series of disappearances in their hometown.

Shift by Jennifer Bradbury
When best friends Chris and Win go on a cross country bicycle trek the summer after graduating and only one returns, the FBI wants to know what happened.

Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig
Flynn's girlfriend is missing, and people are suspecting him of knowing something, so he struggles to uncover her secrets as he must also face the truth about himself.

More Stories of the Missing --
At the Edge of the Universe by Shaun David Hutchinson
The Apple Tart of Hope by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald
The Body of Christopher Creed by Carol Plum-Ucci
Crossing Montana by Laura Torres
The Leaf Reader by Emily Arsenault
The May Queen Murders by Sarah Jude
The Missing Girl by Norma Fox Mazer
The Mystery of Hollow Places by Rebecca Podos
The Night She Disappeared by April Henry
Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr
Panic by Sharon Draper
Period 8 by Chris Crutcher
Pretending to Be Erica by Michelle Painchaud
She Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick
Skink No Surrender by Carl Hiaasen
Wherever Nina Lies by Lynn Weingarten

Check these books out on display at the Arnold Branch through September 1, 2017.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Best Kind of Magic by Crystal Cestari

Amber Sands comes from a long line of hereditary witches.  Unfortunately, she didn't inherit her mother's powers.  Instead she got the power of matchmaking.

Any time she looks into someone's eyes for a few seconds she gets a picture of their true love.

Then the mayor's son Charlie Blitzman asks for her help.  His father's girlfriend has gone missing and Charlie thinks there is something wrong with her.

Charlie is great and Amber finds herself falling for him.  It's the first time she's fallen in love.  The only problem is that she's seen his true love . . . and it isn't her!

This is a fun supernatural romance tied up with a mystery.  The characters quickly draw you into their lives and stories.  The best part is that this is the first book of a planned series so there are more adventures coming for Amber.

Monday, August 14, 2017

School Tales

Summer is nearly over.  Students are starting to head to school - either for the first time or returning to next grade.  This is the perfect time to share some great school stories with your child --

My Teacher Is a Monster! (No I'm Not) by Peter Brown
Bobby thinks his teacher, Ms. Kirby, is horrible, but when he sees her outside of school and they spend a day in the park together, he discovers she might not be so bad after all.

Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
Chrysanthemum loves her name, until she starts going to school and the other children make fun of it.

I'm Smart! by Kate McMullan
Depicts a super-smart school bus that uses its savvy to navigate the roads in super-safe ways while transporting kids to and from school.

Moses Goes to School by Isaac Millman
Moses and his friends enjoy the first day of school at their special school for the deaf and hard of hearing, where they use sign language to talk to each other.

Snow Day! by Lester Laminack
Someone is very, very excited about the possibility of missing school due to snow, and plans a whole day of sledding, building forts, reading, and sipping hot chocolate rather than going to school for that test on chapter ten.

More School Stories --
Ally-Saurus and the First Day of School by Richard Torrey
A Fine, Fine School by Sharon Creech
Hands Off, Harry! by Rosemary Wells
Hooway for Wodnay Wat by Helen Lester
I Am Not Going to School Today by Robie Harris
I'm Not Ready! by Jonathan Allen
If an Elephant Went to School by Ellen Fischer
Jack's Talent by Maryann Cocca-Leffler
Little Rabbit Goes to School by Harry  Horse
The Little School Bus by Margery Cuyler
Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney
Miss Malarkey Leaves No Reader Behind by Judy Finchler
Miss Nelson Is Missing! by Harry Allard
Mr. President Goes to School by Rick Walton
Mrs. Watson Wants Your Teeth by Alison McGhee
My Creature Teacher by Laura Leuck
My First Day at a New School by Charlotte Guillain
Once Upon an Ordinary School Day by Colin McNaughton
Peanut Butter & Homework Sandwiches by Lisa Cook
A Very Full Morning by Eva Montanari
We Share Everything! by Robert Munsch
Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes
When You Go to Kindergarten by James Howe
You Can't Go to School Naked! by Dianne Billstrom

Check these and more school stories out at the Arnold Branch on display through September 8, 2017.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Read Something a Little Strange

I love books that are just a little different -- oddball characters, strange lands, mysterious happenings.  So this week, I'm sharing some children's chapter books that are just a little strange . . . .

Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman
While picking up milk for his children's cereal, a father is abducted by aliens and finds himself on a wild adventure through time and space.

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
When a mysterious old man gives James some magical, tiny green things, he certainly never imagines that they will grow into an enormous peach.

The Hoboken Chicken Emergency by Daniel Pinkwater
Arthur goes to pick up the turkey for Thanksgiving dinner but comes home with a 260 pound chicken.

Fergus Crane by Paul Stewart
Nine-year-old Fergus Crane's life is filled with classes on the school ship Betty Jeanne, interesting neighbors, and helping with his mother's work until a mysterious box flies into his window and leads him toward adventure.

Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers
The wind brings two English children a new nanny who slides up the bannister and introduces them to some delightful people and experiences.

More Strange Stories --
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
Buckle & Squash: The Perilous Princess Plot by Sarah Courtauld
The Elevator Family by Douglas Adams
Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo
Frindle by Andrew Clements
Hello, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald
Mr. and Mrs. Bunny -- Detectives Extraordinaire by Polly Horvath
My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish by Mo O'Hara
Shivers! The Pirate Who Is Afraid of Everything by Annabeth Bondor-Stone
Zoo School by Laurie Miller Hornik

Check these books out on display at the Arnold Branch through August 25, 2017.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

This Would Make a Good Story Someday by Dana Alison Levy

Sarah had big plans for the summer.  She was going to learn to surf and speak Latin.  She was going to rebrand her image with a new look and nickname.  She was going to practice yoga daily for inner peace.

She was not going to take a month-long train trip with her family.
However, that's exactly what she ends up doing when Mimi, one of her mothers, wins a free trip across the country for the whole family as part of a writing program.

Now, Sarah is trapped on the train with her animal-obsessed younger sister Ladybug, her activist older sister Laurel and her boyfriend Root, and her two moms.  To make it worse, there's a second family also in the same program with a Texan dad, too-friendly teen son, and two rambunctious senior citizen aunts.

It's going to be a crazy summer!

This book by Dana Alison Levy follows the family mentioned quite often in her Family Fletcher books.  It's another great book featuring LGBT parents without making it the entire issue of the book.  It's just the way their family is made.  I would recommend this to anyone who enjoyed the Family Fletcher books or  those who like family stories.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Take Flight with a Book

This week, I'm sharing some great picture storybooks featuring birds.  Here a few of my favorites . . .

Mama Built a Little Nest by Jennifer Ward
Illustrations and simple, rhyming text introduce different kinds of birds' nests, from the scrapes falcons build on high, craggy ledges to the underground nests burrowing owls dig. Includes brief facts about each kind of bird.

Penguin by Polly Dunbar
Ben is delighted to receive a penguin for his birthday but Penguin will not answer or respond to him in any way, no matter what Ben does, until, at last, they discover the language of friendship.

Birds by Kevin Henkes
Fascinated by the colors, shapes, sounds, and movements of the many different birds she sees through her window, a little girl is happy to discover that she and they have something in common.

Sitting Duck by Jackie Urbanovic
Max the duck volunteers to babysit for puppy Anabel, unaware of all the mischief a puppy can get into.

Telephone by Mac Barnett
In this picture book a string of birds on a telephone wire plays a game of telephone, with the usual mixed up results.

More Bird Books --
5 Little Ducks by Denise Fleming
Albert by Donna Jo Napoli
The Baby Beebee Bird by Diane Massie
Big Chickens Fly the Coop by Leslie Helakoski
Bird, Bird, Bird: A Chirping Chant by April Pulley Sayre
Chicken Chickens by Valeri Gorbachev
Chicken Chuck by Bill Martin Jr.
Duck & Goose by Tad Hills
Duck for President by Doreen Cronin
Duck on a Bike by David Shannon
Egg by Kevin Henkes
Feathers for Lunch by Lois Ehlert
George Flies South by Simon James
Gobble, Gobble by Cathryn Falwell
Good Night Owl by Greg Pizzoli
Hen Lake by Mary Jane Auch
Hooray for Birds! by Lucy Cousins
I Am Dodo: Not a True Story by Kae Nishimura
I Am Henry Finch by Alexis Deacon
Little Hoot by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Little Penguin Gets the Hiccups by Tadgh Bentley
Nerdy Birdy by Aaron Reynolds
A Nest Is Noisy by Dianna Hutts Aston
The Nightingale by Jerry Pinkney
The Odd Egg by Emily Gravett
On the Wing by David Elliott
A Penguin Story by Antoinette Portis
Pardon Me! by Daniel Miyares
Seven Hungry Babies by Candace Fleming
Shy by Deborah Freedman
Souperchicken by Mary Jane Auch
Surfer Chick by Kristy Dempsey
Tillie Lays an Egg by Terry Golson
Woodpecker Wham by April Pulley Sayre

Check these and more bird books out on display at the Arnold Branch through August 11, 2017.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle

So let's raise our glasses to the accident season,
To the river beneath us where we sink our souls, 
To the bruises and secrets, to the ghosts in the ceiling,
One more drink for the watery road.

Every October, Cara and her family enter the Accident Season.  They get cuts, scrapes, broken bones, and when it is really bad -- someone dies.

This Accident Season is shaping up to be the worst one yet.  Not a day goes by without Cara, her sister Alice, stepbrother Sam, and mother getting injured in multiple ways.

But this Accident Season is going to get even worse.  Because Cara is starting to ask questions.  She searches for Elsie, the childhood friend, who seems to be stalking her everywhere she goes even though Elsie has completely disappeared from school and town.  She questions her feelings for ex-stepbrother Sam.  And they are all starting to question the secrets that make up their lives and seem to be rule the Accident Season.

This book is difficult to describe.  It is a disturbing and creepy read.  The narrator Cara is unreliable enough that you have trouble deciding whether the paranormal aspects of the story are true or just delusions.  Yet, you just can't stop reading.  The characters draw you in and make you care about them and what happens to them.  I would definitely recommend this to readers who like moody reads.