Category Archives: Staff Picks

Staff Pick: Dealing With Dragons

Staff Pick: Dealing With Dragons

Dealing With Dragons

Bored with traditional palace life, a princess goes off to live with a group of dragons and soon becomes involved with fighting against some disreputable wizards who want to steal away the dragons’ kingdom.

Cimorene is not your typical princess. In fact, she’s interested in everything a princess is not supposed to be: Magic, Juggling, Economics, Sword fighting, Latin and quite frankly anything that would make life more interesting than the mundane rituals of what is “proper.” And by proper, they mean: being a Princess waiting for some Prince to come and do everything for her. Cimorene is strong-minded, smart, stubborn and bored. She’s so bored that she runs away to live with a dragon – and finds the family and excitement she’s been looking for.

In Dealing with Dragons, Patricia C. Wrede weaves a wonderful tail of action and adventure along with finding and being true to yourself. Readers young and old will enjoy this playful trip through a world full of fairy godmothers, dragons, wizards and witches that reflects on some of silliness of fairytales altogether. Read along as Cimorene discovers that you can decide your own future in a world that is constantly telling her, “It’s simply not done.”

With classes on how loudly it’s permissible to scream when being carried off by a giant to references of characters from other famous fairytales (King Author, Jack and the Beanstalk, etc), Wrede weaves a fantastically fun not your everyday fairytale that will leave you wanting more. Thankfully there is. Dealing with Dragons stands well enough on its own but it’s also the first book in the Enchanted Forest Chronicles.
All of which are available at the Indianapolis Public Library!

Recommended by: Jason Walters – Brightwood Branch Library

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Staff Pick: The Thickety a Path Begins

Staff Pick: The Thickety a Path Begins

The Thickety

When twelve-year-old Kara discovers her mother’s grimoire in the dangerous forest, she must decide if she’ll use it, even though such magic is forbidden.

When Kara is a child, she is accused of being a witch like her mother. Years later, Kara is an outsider in her village and has few friends. When a bird with one eye wants Kara to follow it into the Thickety (a dark foreboding woods that no one ventures into) it steals the necklace Kara’s mother gave her and flies into the terrible woods. In order to get the necklace back, Kara has no choice but to follow the bird into the Thickety. When she is in the Thickety she finds a strange book and later learns that she can communicate with the unusual creatures of the Thickety. Is Kara a witch like her mother after all?

Recommended by: Angi St. Clair – Lawrence Branch Library

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Staff Pick: Ghost Girl a Blue Ridge Mountain Story

Staff Pick: Ghost Girl a Blue Ridge Mountain Story

Ghost Girl

Eleven-year-old April is delighted when President and Mrs. Hoover build a school near her Madison County, Virginia, home but her family’s poverty, grief over the accidental death of her brother, and other problems may mean that April can never learn to read from the wonderful teacher, Miss Vest. Young Hoosier Book Award, 2006-2007, 6-8 Nominee.

Eleven year old April Sloane lives in an isolated area of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia in 1929. Her family has fallen on difficult times. Father lost his job. Mama suffers from depression and blames April for her brother’s death. Life is bleak for April, who can neither read nor write, until President Hoover builds a school on the mountain. The new teacher makes April feel special and introduces her to a whole new world that crashes suddenly when old secrets are revealed.
This work of historical fiction is based on information gleaned from a teacher’s letters and the author’s experiences growing up in the area. The time and setting might change, but the problems April encountered are the same as those faced by children today.

Recommended by: Linda Tegmeyer – Brightwood Branch

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Staff Pick: Heidi Heckelback Goes to Camp!

Staff Pick: Heidi Heckelback Goes to Camp!

Heidi Heckelbeck Goes to Camp

Heidi is excited about spending two weeks with Lucy at CampDakota, but Lucy’s friends from last year ignore Heidi and make her feel unwelcome, leading Heidi to cast a friendship spell on them.

Heidi is so excited about going to summer camp with her friend Lucy, but when she gets to camp things are not going well for Heidi.  Heidi is having difficulty making new friends.  She tries a magic spell and it only works for a short time.  Find out what brave thing Heidi does to win two new friends by reading this book.  This book is a great chapter book for beginning readers and it has fun illustrations on almost every page.  This book is part of a series so you can read more adventures of Heidi Heckelbeck.

Recommended by: Tamera Coolman – Fountain Square Library

 

 

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Staff Pick: Ellie’s Story

Staff Pick: Ellie’s Story

Ellie's Story

Trained as a search-and-rescue dog since puppyhood, Ellie can track and find people who are physically lost, but it is her owners, widower Jakob and lonely Maya, who challenge her to find a way to save people who are lost in other ways.

When Ellie is old enough, she is taken away from her mother and littermates to be trained as a police search and rescue dog.  She must learn her basic commands, like “come” and “stay,” but she must also learn to do things like walk on unstable ground, crawl through tight places, hang from a harness, and find people on command by using her sense of smell.

Ellie tells her own story, so she doesn’t always know the same words we do to explain things, and she doesn’t always think the way people think.  For example, when she experiences grass for the first time, she thinks it is pricklier than her blanket, and she bites it to show it that she is in charge.  Ellie loves to fetch sticks, and that is how her trainer convinces her to go into the water…which she has not liked ever since her littermate shoved her head into the water bowl as a pup.

There are other dogs working with the police, too, but they do things like sniff out drugs, and Ellie doesn’t understand why they get praise when they don’t ever Find people, but she plays with them anyway. Once Ellie is grown, she works with a policeman named Jakob finding people, until the day that Jakob is wounded on the job.  Then Ellie begins to work with another police officer named Maya.  And although Ellie loves her work, she loves her people more, and always tries to make them happy by being a good dog and doing her work properly.  At the end of the story, the author gives factual information explaining some of the things Ellie experiences, including why she was chosen over other dogs to be a police dog, and how she was trained to do her job.

Recommended by: Doriene Smither – East Washington Branch

 

 

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