Staff Picks

Librarian Assistant - Youth Services
Freaky Stories from Beneath the Sea
McAneney, Caitie
Gareth Stevens Publishing, 2016

This is a newer non-fiction series that offers titles on a variety of topics. Some titles include Freaky Stories from Beneath the Sea, Freaky Space Stories, Freaky Stories While You Sleep, and Freaky Stories about the Paranormal.

Some of the interesting facts listed in the “Beneath the Sea” book from the series:  Have you ever heard of the Freaky Frilled Shark?  It is a rarely sighted type of shark that is considered to be a living fossil.  It has not changed much over the last 80 million years.  Scientists know this because they can compare live specimens of this shark to fossils that have been discovered.  These sharks have over 300 needle-like teeth and stay down deep in the ocean.  Another cool fact from the book:  In 1996, archaeologists found a sunken city in a bay near Alexandria, Egypt. They discovered that this was once an ancient part of the city. The find included statues, temples, monuments, and the foundation of what they believe was a palace. I loved the freaky facts section on each page.  These books are filled with great pictures, a glossary in the back and also include a section where you can find more information.

Youth Services Librarian
Words With Wings
Grimes, Nikki
WordSong, 2013

Gabby is a daydreamer who has trouble focusing on school. The right words can take her away to a fantasy world or back in time to a memory. When she tries to ignore her daydreams completely and pay attention to her lessons, she's unhappy. When she's given a chance to explore her dreams, she soars. 

This novel told in verse is the perfect choice for National Poetry Month. I am amazed by Nikki Grimes' ability to tell a story so vividly with so few words. I always used to avoid stories told in verse format because I didn't think they were "my thing." After reading both Words With Wings and Garvey's Choice by Nikki Grimes, I am a firm convert. You should read this one whether you think you like poetry or not.

Youth Services Librarian
TEK: The Modern Cave Boy
McDonnell, Patrick
E McDonnell
Little, Brown and Company, 2016

With the shape, appearance, and weight of an IPAD tablet, TEK is a unique picture book. On the clever cover page, you even have to pretend to type in a password.  But TEK doesn’t laud technology.  In fact, in the book, a young cave boy named Tek becomes so involved with his phone, tablet, and game box, that he doesn’t ever leave the house (actually a cave dwelling).Tek even neglects his best friend Larry the Dinosaur.  One day, the local volcano, Big Poppa, has an idea to get Tek off his gadgets.  He blows up and tumbles Tek right out of his cave.  The boy’s technology crashes.But Tek finds out this is okay.  He smells the fresh air, he feels the sunshine, and becomes aware of the world outside. Tek eventually meets up with his pal Larry and they play outside all day long. This books imparts a good lesson about balancing technology with what kids should be doing – playing, running, and observing the wonderful, outside world.  Because of its subtle humor, this book is best for elementary-age children, grades 1st on up. 

Youth Services Librarian
Strictly No Elephants
Mantchev, Lisa
Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2015

A young boy has a pet that is different than everyone else’s…an elephant.  One day, he gets his elephant ready to go Pet Club Day, along with everyone else and their pets.  His elephant is nervous, but eventually they make it.  When they arrive they see a sign on the door that reads “Strictly No Elephants.”  Both the boy and elephant are sad, when they meet a girl and her skunk who weren’t allowed to go to Pet Club Day either.  The boy and girl decide to start their own pet club with only one rule:  all are welcome.  Soon pets of all types are having fun at the new club house.  

This tale of friendship and acceptance is sure to warm anyone’s heart