Staff Picks

Amanda
Youth Services Librarian
Sunny Side Up
Holm, Jennifer L. and Matthew Holm
J 741.5973 HOLM
Scholastic, 2015

Sunny Lewin is kind of excited when she finds out she will be spending time with her grandfather in Florida over the summer. There is one place she wants to go for sure…Disney World.  When she gets to Florida, she realizes it won’t be as fun as she thought. Her grandfather lives in a retirement community, for adults age 55 and over; her grandfather’s idea of excitement is going to the post office and she has to sleep on a hide-a-bed. 

After a few days, she does meet another kid, Buzz, who is about her age.  Buzz loves comic books and quickly teaches Sunny about all his favorite characters: Swamp Thing, Superman, Spiderman, and the Hulk.  They have other adventures together:  finding golf balls, finding lost cats, and even a lost person.

The mystery builds throughout the book as to why Sunny is in Florida. Told through flashbacks to earlier in the summer, the reader learns what Sunny and the rest of her family have been through. 

This graphic novel is an outstanding read, but does contain mature themes including substance abuse. I would recommend this book for older kids ages 10 and up. 

Amy
Youth Services Librarian
A Beginner’s Guide to Immortality.
Birmingham, Maria
J 612.68 BIR
Owlkids Books. Berkley, CA: 2015

Living forever is something people have desired since the beginning of time. From the story of Gilgamesh (2000 BCE) to the current day, the quest for immortality continues.  In A Beginner’s Guide to Immortality, Maria Birmingham chronicles all the methods people have used to gain eternal life. Alchemists in the Middle Ages tried to develop magical potions to continue life.  One alchemist, Roger Bacon (1241-1294), advocated that people eat vipers, which he believed contained mystical powers. Explorers including Ponce de Leon and Christopher Columbus hoped to find a “fountain of youth,” magical waters that returned a person to youthfulness. Books and literature down through the ages are also filled with immortal characters. Dracula, Peter Pan, Wizards of Middle Earth (Lord of the Rings) and the female Amazons of DC Comics are good examples and discussed in Birmingham’s book. People in the modern world are still looking for the key to everlasting life.  Research is currently being done to upload a human brain to a robot and digital avatars have already been developed to keep people “digitally” alive.  If you want to read about into the world of immortality, this is the book for you. For older elementary and middle school-aged children.

 

Sara
Librarian Assistant
Book
Agard, John
J 002.09 AGA
Henry Holt and Co. 2015

I was surprised to read an autobiography by Book.  And although it is technically in nonfiction it is a fascinating story of something I take for granted. To hold a book in my hands and ask, “how did this come into existence,” is a truly remarkable reflection of human beings. How did it start, what were the first steps in its development, where did it start, how long did it take to make and what is it becoming in the digital age?  These questions and the twist and turns that connect the pieces of the story demonstrate the creative genius of many people that wanted to record and convey ideas of all kinds.  At the beginning of each brief chapter there is a quote and illustrations to keep the reading light and entertaining.  I recommend this autobiography to all book lovers and lovers of history.