Staff Picks

Youth Services Librarian
Bayou Magic
Rhodes, Jewell Parker
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers 2015

Maddy's older sisters have each spent a summer in the bayou with their grandmother. Now it's her turn. Her sisters lead her to expect a summer full of boredom and drudgery, but Maddy quickly finds something in the bayou that the city lacks: magic. Maddy's grandmother is a wealth of wisdom and folk magic. Maddy makes new friends and gains a new appreciation for the world around her. When an oil spill threatens that bayou that Maddy has come to love, she knows that she will need to find the strength to step up and do what she can for her new home.
Jewell Parker Rhodes knows just how to pull you into the story and transport you into the heart of the bayou. With mermaids, magic, and fireflies, the characters come to rich, vibrant life. I highly recommend checking out this tale, and plan to read everything else from Jewell Parker Rhodes.

Librarian Assistant - Youth Services
Going where it's Dark
Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds
J Naylor P.
Delacorte Press, 2016

Buck Anderson has a couple of goals for the summer; one is to find a cave that no one has ever found before, and two is to work on his stuttering. 
Buck used to explore caves with his best friend, David.  But David moved away and Buck’s stuttering has made it hard to meet new people.  Not to mention that his stuttering has made him the target of some of the bigger eighth grade boys.  Though he knows he shouldn’t explore caves by himself, he does it anyway.

Buck’s Uncle Me, a truck driver, asks him to help out with a neighbor man who is older.  At first Buck is excited about the prospect because he can earn money to buy some of the caving equipment he needs for his adventures.  But as he spends time at the old man’s house, Buck starts to feel like the old man is the nastiest, meanest person alive.

Buck finds out some surprises about the old man and himself as he learns to maneuver through the relationships with his family, making a new friend, and putting up with bullies that have made it their mission to harass him.
This book combines heart pounding action with great characters and reveal to the readers that courage and friendship sometimes comes from the most unusual places.

Youth Services Librarian
Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story
Baskin, Nora Raleigh
Atheneum Books for Young Reader 2016

Almost everyone over the age of 15 remembers where they were on September 11, 2001. For children born after that date, the events of the day are a historical event. 

Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story tackles this heavy subject matter from the perspective of four middle school students from different parts of the United States who all cross paths at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport two days before the attacks.  The story follows their normal lives on September 10; all of them encountering problems at home and school.  September 11 starts out as a normal day for each of them.  But soon the day takes a horrifying turn when at 8:46 AM Eastern Time, when the first plane crashes into the World Trade Center in New York City.

Like everyone that day, no one is exactly sure what to think.  But as the events of the day come into focus; the lives of these four students, along with everyone else’s in the United States is changed forever.  The story ends exactly one year later, on September 11, 2002.  All four of the main characters in this story once again cross paths, this time in New York City on the first anniversary of the attacks. 

For adults reading this story, it will take you right back to the events of September 11.  For young people without memories of that day, this book will help open a dialogue about how the world was forever changed that perfect September Tuesday.

Youth Services Librarian
The Family Book
Parr, Todd
New York: Little, Brown, 2003

Monday, September 25th begins Banned Books Week 2016. This week celebrates the freedom to read and highlights materials that have been challenged, censored, or restricted by schools and libraries. Books such as To Kill a Mockingbird, The Color Purple, The Lord of the Rings and Fahrenheit 451 are all important titles that have been banned at one time or another. But did you know many children’s picture books have been challenged and censored too? One such title is The Family Book by Todd Parr. The Family Book is classic Todd Parr: brightly illustrated, humorous, and inclusive.  Parr shows that families come in many sizes, colors, and compositions. Some families have one mom, some have two.  Some families have members of different colors, some do not. I love The Family Book for its message of acceptance and for the fact that it reflects reality: families are diverse, and that is okay.  So, read Todd Parr’s The Family Book or any of the other books on the Banned Books list (see your local library for a list or display), and celebrate the freedom to read!  For preschool and elementary school-aged children.