Category Archives: Staff Picks

Staff Pick: The Real Boy

Staff Pick: The Real Boy

The Real Boy

Spending his days working in the dark cellar of a powerful magician’s shop, young misfit Oscar worries that the magic that has long protected his city is failing when children begin falling dangerously ill.

Mocked and bullied, Callum Hunt reacted to others with sarcasm and a withering scowl turning away even those who tried to be nice to him.  Yet, he  never stopped hoping that he could belong somewhere and have friends.

Looking for that next read for your fantasy fan?

Asteri is a city kept perfect by magic in the ancient trees of the Barrow forestland. Orphan Oscar is an awkward shop boy for the most powerful magician in the Barrow. He is content in his small, regimented world, surrounded by his cat friends and grinding herbs for potions.

However, city children become sick. The land’s magic no longer seems to protect them and, with a menacing creature in the woods, Oscar must move beyond his comfortable world and struggle to help.

Oscar is an atypical hero with traits that could be placed on the Asperger’s Scale, and author Ursu examines the stigmas both internal and external of what it means to be different in a realistic and heart-felt manner.

Recommended for: readers of the Harry Potter series and Wonder by R.J. Palacio.

Recommended by: Nicole Porter, Lawrence Branch Library

 

 

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Staff Pick: The Iron Trial

Staff Pick: The Iron Trial

Magisterium The Iron Trial

Warned away from magic all of his life, Callum endeavors to fail the trials that would admit him to the Magisterium only to be drawn into its ranks against his will and forced to confront dark elements from his past.

Mocked and bullied , Callum Hunt reacted to others with sarcasm and a withering scowl turning away even those who tried to be nice to him.  Yet, he  never stopped hoping that he could belong somewhere and have friends.

Lately, excitement is about invitations to take an exam for entrance into the Magisterium, a prestigious school where only the best students are chosen to attend. To his surprise, Call receives an invitation. His dad’s reaction is even more stunning, a warning that he must not go there. The Magisterium is about magic and would put Call in terrible danger and he must fail the exam. Together they practice how Call can bomb the test, but he succeeds..in spite of receiving the worst scores. Call is still chosen and that very day is forcibly torn from his father’s arms to begin classes at the Magisterium.

Surprisingly, Cal finds the Magisterium isn’t as scary as expected and in spite of long and grueling classes, it is sort of fun to learn that he can actually levitate things. Although some classmates are as mean as those at home, he learns to trust a few. 

Then the dangers begin. Students return from outside with terrible injuries and another student runs away and is in grave danger. Cal begins to see that things are not as they seem….  Would he survive the Iron Trials?

Recommended By: Bev Elrod, Haughville Library

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Staff Pick – El Deafo

Staff Pick – El Deafo

El Deafo

A poignant graphic tale based on the creator’s own experiences with hearing loss follows the adventures of young Cece, who develops “superpowers” to manage the challenges of making friends while wearing a bulky hearing aid that sometimes lets her hear things she shouldn’t. 2015 Newbery Medal Honor Book

Imagine suddenly no longer being able to hear the sounds of anything around you. And then, through the magic of the Phonic Ear (hearing aid), sound reappears, but nothing sounds the same. In her graphic memoir, Cece Bell shares the story of her childhood through El Deafo – a superhero with super hearing powers! She captures both the humorous and difficult parts of growing up with a hearing loss – the challenges of lipreading, the unexpected private conversations heard when the teacher forgets to turn off the microphone outside of the classroom, the complexities of making friends, and so much more – as well as the trials and tribulations that every child goes through.
Deaf or not, every child will find some part of Bell’s experience that they can relate to. This book is a must-read.

Recommended By: Janet Spaulding – Selection Services

 

Smile Drama Sisters Dumbest Idea Ever
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Staff Pick: One Came Home

Staff Pick: One Came Home

Once Came Home

In 1871 Wisconsin, thirteen-year-old Georgia sets out to find her sister Agatha, presumed dead when remains are found wearing the dress she was last seen in, and before the end of the year gains fame as a sharpshooter and foiler of counterfeiters.

Georgie Burkhardt, of 1871 Lake Placid, Wisconsin is a 13-year old girl of epic proportions. The story begins with Georgie learning that a body of a young woman has been found. Everyone believes that it is Agatha Burkhardt, Georgie’s older sister. Georgie refuses to believe the facts that are presented and goes off on an adventure, taking her trusty rifle and a copy of The Prairie Traveler.  On her trip she meets up with a stubborn mule, her sister’s pesky ex-boyfriend, nesting pigeons, a cougar, and counterfeiters. Tracking every clue and piece of evidence along the way, Georgie is determined to bring her sister home.

Recommended By: Kimberly Andersen – West Indianapolis Branch

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Staff Pick: Zane and the Hurricane

Staff Pick: Zane and the Hurricane

Zane and the Hurricane

A twelve-year-old boy and his dog become trapped in New Orleans during the horrors of Hurricane Katrina.

Zane Dupree has travelled with his dog Bandit from his home in New Hampshire to New Orleans to meet a great-grandmother he never knew he had. He arrives just days before Hurricane Katrina hits. As he and his great-grandmother try to evacuate the city, they get separated, and Zane finds himself alone in a city he knows nothing about, with no one but his dog to help him. As the hurricane rages, he and Bandit shelter in Zane’s great-grandmother’s house. After the winds die down, the levees break and they must climb into the attic of the house to escape the flooding and hope that the water stops rising before they become trapped up there. Bandit’s barking attracts the attention of a man and girl in a canoe, and Zane is rescued from the roof of the house. But as they float through the water of the city in unbearable heat, with very little food or water, and “stuff so awful it made a dog hide his nose,” Zane begins to understand that the danger is far from over. The water is full of snakes, raw sewage and worse, and the devastation in the city is so immense that there is no help to be had from the police, the fire department or any other organization. The three people and Bandit must find their own way, carefully and cautiously, to safe high ground, food and water, and a telephone to call for help. During their journey, Zane experiences the best and the worst in people. He discovers that people who could and should be good do not always choose to be, and that bad people can do good things. He learns to trust when he can, run or hide when he must, and carry on even when he is afraid.

Recommended By: Doriene Smither – East Washington Library

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