Category Archives: Staff Picks

Staff Pick: Last of the Gullivers

Staff Pick: Last of the Gullivers

Last of the Gullivers

After orphaned twelve-year-old Michael Pine, who seems headed for trouble, meets old Lem Gulliver, he finds new purpose as protector of the Lilliputians who live in Lem’s back garden, even if that means saving them from one another. Author: Carter Crocker

“Michael Pine is always in trouble – he’s headed right for the Young Offenders Institution if he messes up again. Then one night he hears strange singing and discovers the Lilliputians, tiny people (the size of your thumb!) with tiny animals, living in a garden surrounded by a tall stone wall.  At first, Michael can’t believe it, but pretty soon he is visiting them every day and helping out in their village.  When weasels and other humans attack the Lilliputians, Michael must turn his life around if he is going to save them.”

Recommended by: Melissa Wooten, Glendale Library

If you like Michael’s adventure with little people, try the original story, Gulliver’s Travels, which will tell you how Gulliver came across the Lilliputians in the first place. Also try The Borrowers, The Minimoys and The Littles – more little people with large adventures living in our regular-sized world:

Gulliver's Travels The Borrowers Arthur and the Minimoys The Littles
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A Mango Shaped Space

A Mango Shaped Space

The Grimm Legacy

Afraid that she is crazy, thirteen-year-old Mia, who sees a special color with every letter, number, and sound, keeps this a secret until she becomes overwhelmed by school, changing relationships, and the loss of something important to her. Author: Wendy Moss

“Mia has a secret.  Because of her secret, she feels different and alone, as do many people at age 13, or 17, or 38.  Mia’s brain works a bit differently in that she sees colors when she hear sounds or reads words or does math.   Mia talked about it for about a minute when she was in 3rd grade.  She thought that everyone was like her. That did not turn out well.  Kids laughed. There was whispering behind her back.  She found herself alone.

Fast forward to eighth grade.  Mia finds a name for “it” online and she finds actual people online that have similar experiences.  Suddenly, she is not the only one.

Now, Mia lives in two worlds: an online world where she can talk about everything and the “real” world which still is not easy on people who seem a little different.  How much can Mia reveal without negative consequences?  Are her abilities a blessing, a curse, or something in between?  Who can you tell who are and not leave anything out?”

Recommended by: Tamara Baumgartner - Lawrence Branch

If you have ever felt like Mia…different…and you liked reading her story you might also like these books about other kids who also have to figure out how much of their “differentness” to share with others.

Blue Like Friday Out of My Mind Anything But Typical Wonder
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Staff Pick: The Wikkeling

Staff Pick: The Wikkeling

The Wikkeling

“Imagine if you will, a world defined by safety.  School busses can’t start until you strap yourself in, you’re not allowed to exercise because you might fall down, you live in molded plastic houses with no interesting corners, and your parents track where you are by cell phone.  This is the Addition.

Henrietta Gad-fly isn’t a particularly remarkable girl (at least according to her class ranking), and she lives in one of the few remaining old houses on the very edge of the Addition.  When she finds a Wild Housecat and a bunch of old books in her attic, things in her predictably safe world start going frighteningly (and excitingly) wrong.  All the strange events point to a mysterious creature called the Wikkeling that only Henrietta and her friends can see.  Will they solve the mystery of the Wikkeling before it’s too late?  Read the book and find out!”  Author: Steven Arntson

Recommended by: Emilie Lynn, East 38th Street Branch

More Staff Picks

If you liked The Wikkeling try The Museum of Thieves – another fantasy/mystery about kids who live in a town where adults go to strange lengths to protect them:

The Museum of Thieves
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Staff Pick: Dragon Slayer’s Academy #1: The New Kid at School

Staff Pick: Dragon Slayer’s Academy #1: The New Kid at School

The New Kid at SchoolWiglaf is off to Dragon Slayers’ Academy and in for a first day of school he will never forget.

Author: Kate McMullan

“In the time of dragons, castles, and wizards a young boy named Wiglaf seems just a bit out of place at home with his rowdy brothers and medieval parents. A strange prophet comes along and lets Wiglaf know he is destined for more than being the family wimp.

With dreams of being a hero Wiglaf heads to the Dragon Slayers Academy to become The New Kid at School. With fun twists and turns Wiglaf discovers he may not have what it takes to be a hero all alone, but with a little bit of team work he may just be able to slay a dragon.”

Recommended by: Kamara McKinney, Spades Park Library

More Staff Picks

If you liked Dragon Slayers Academy try some of these other series about kids that go to very special boarding schools:

Character Series/School Specialty
Harry Potter Series: Harry Potter School: Hogwarts Witches & Wizards
Connwaer Series: The Magic Thief School: Academicos Potential Wizards
Wiglaf Series: Dragon Slayer’s Academy School: Dragon Slayer’s Academy Dragon Slayers
Charlie Bone Series: Charlie Bone School: Bloor’s Academy Gifted Children
Max McDaniels Series: The Tapestry Series: Rowan Academy Secret Mystics
Will Treaty Series: The Ranger’s Apprentice School: Halt’s Apprentice Rangers
Charlie Series: Nightmare Academy School: Nightmare Academy Monster Fighters
Cody Mack Series: Splurch Academy School: Splurch Academy Kids into Monsters
Otto Malpense Series: H.I.V.E. School: Higher Institue of Villainous Education Evil Geniuses
Percy Jackson Series: Percy Jackson & the Olympians School: Camp Halfblood Demigods

 

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Staff Pick: The Lions of Little Rock

Staff Pick: The Lions of Little Rock

The Lions of Little Rock

Krisitin Levine’s sensitive and engaging novel The Lions of Little Rock takes place during the struggle to integrate public schools in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1958. The narrator is 12 year old Marlee , who seldom speaks to anyone except family members. Math whiz Marlee prefers numbers to words, “ In math, you always get the same answer, no matter how you do the problem. But with words, blue can be a thousand different shades!” That changes when she becomes friends with Liz, a new girl at school. Their friendship is disrupted when Liz suddenly disappears from school after it is discovered that she is black and not welcome at the still segregated school. The story that follows is not only about Marlee finding her voice in many ways, but also about the courage it took for individuals in the Little Rock community to find their voices, come together, and stand up for what is right. The author successfully combines themes of friendship, family, and profound issues in our society with a light enough touch that makes the book a pleasure to read, and encourages the reader to reflect on all the issues the story presents.

Recommended by: Amy Friedman, The Learning Curve@Central Library

More Staff Picks

More books about school integration in Little Rock:

The Little Rock Nine Stand Up for Their Rights Little Rock Girl 1957Little Rock Nine
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