Category Archives: Staff Picks

Staff Pick: From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

Staff Pick: From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basel E. Frankweiler

Having run away with her younger brother to live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, twelve-year-old Claudia strives to keep things in order in their new home and to become a changed person and a heroine to herself. Newbery Medal winner, 1968.

“Growing up, I loved FROM THE MIXED-UP FILES OF MRS BASIL E FRANKWEILER. I could relate to twelve year old Claudia, who feels like nothing is her very own, so, she decides to do something about it. With her younger brother Jamie, Claudia runs away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. There, they establish a routine: hiding from the museum guards by standing on the restroom toilets, bathing in the fountain, and sleeping in famous people’s beds. Claudia discovers a mystery that she gets to solve, finally finding something that is hers alone. This book is a Newbery Award winner for its exceptional writing.”

Recommended by: Karen Perry – Franklin Road Library

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Staff Pick: Goldilocks & the Three Bears – a You Choose Adventure

Staff Pick: Goldilocks & the Three Bears – a You Choose Adventure

Goldilocks and the Three Bears

A fractured fairy tale You Choose adventure about Goldilocks and the Three Bears, featuring three different story lines and three different points of view.

Do you remember the Choose Your Own Adventure books of your youth? Introduce them to the fun with Eric Braun’s Goldilocks and the Three Bears in the You Choose Books. You can dive into the world as Goldilocks, an explorer of the last forest in a world that has been turned into one big city, be a modern kid navigating your way with a smart phone or even be the Wee Little Bear that lives in the house. No matter what you choose, the story is filled with fun, adventure and danger. Not all endings leave everyone living Happily Ever after. With 40 choices and 23 endings, do you dare to adventure in the woods?

Recommended by: Jayne Walters – Brightwood Library

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Staff Pick: Wonder

Staff Pick: Wonder

Wonder

“August Pullman, 10 year old boy with a genetic facial deformity, starts school for the first time in his life at Beecher Prep Middle School.   Auggie must learn to cope with how others see him, even though he feels like an ordinary boy.  He is a bright, witty child, and after he has a chance to be himself; others eventually grow to love him.  Auggie and his new friends discover that there will always be bad people in the world, but hopefully, the good will always outweigh the bad.  This is a wonderful read for everyone!

Recommeneded by: Kimberly Anderson, West Indianapolis Branch Library

Auggie is ten and has never been to school. His Mom teaches him at home. For fifth grade Auggie’s Mom and Dad decide it would be a good idea for him to try school.  He’s never been to school AT ALL so he’s going to start in Middle School. What do you think? Would you want to do that?

Auggie isn’t sure what he thinks about school because he’s never been there. He knows he wants one thing though, friends…and school is where the other kids are. Auggie just wants to be a regular kid.

I think the only person in the world who realizes how ordinary I am is me.

My name is August, by the way. I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse. (page 1)

The reason Auggie hasn’t been to school yet is because he has had 27 surgeries since he was born. He has an extreme facial abnormality. He did survive, and now he’s strong enough to not just survive; he’s strong enough to live, to grow, to learn and to go to school. But he still doesn’t look like other kids. In Middle School, kids worry if their shoes aren’t like the other kids’ shoes. Auggie’s got something different that is a lot different, and he can’t do a thing to change it.

Wonder is a “so truthful it hurts” story about an ordinary kid in an ordinary family in an ordinary school…living an extraordinary life. Life can be difficult and confusing and messy and make you cry, even while it is being wonderful. I loved getting to know Auggie and his family, especially his sister Via. I really liked that the point of view of the chapters change so that you hear from Auggie, as well as his sister and some of the kids at his new school. This is important because this isn’t just Auggie’s story, it is their story too. It takes them all to get the story right. Author: R.J. Palacio

Don’t miss these two GREAT articles about Wonder:

  • Slate: Wonder is the Best Kids’ Book of the Year. Slate talks to R.J. Palacio about bullying and empathy. (Empathy is when you are aware of and sensitive to the feelings of other people.) It is a great article for kids and parents both.
  • Happy Birthday Auggie Blog Post from the author of Wonder, R.J. Palacio
  • Every Kid Needs a Hero Blog Post by Peter’s Mother. Peter has a craniofacial syndrome like Auggie’s. Here is a message for readers of Wonder from Peter himself:

If you liked reading Auggie’s story and understand what it feels like to want to be just another kid in the crowd but feel stuck being known for something about yourself you didn’t choose and can’t change, try one of these. And if you identify more with Via, Auggie’s sister, try Rules.
Out of My Mind Anything But Typical Emma Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree Rules
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Staff Pick: Road Trip

Staff Pick: Road Trip

Road Trip

A father and son embark on a road trip to a distant animal shelter to save a homeless border collie puppy.

“Ben is in the truck with his dad, on the way to rescue an abandoned border collie, when his dad tells him that he has quit his job and for that reason, Ben may not be able to attend hockey camp this summer.  It is not even 6:00 AM on the first day of summer vacation, and not just the road trip, but the summer may already be ruined.  Ben plans to treat his father to the silent treatment (and his mother, as well, by not responding to her phone messages) but unexpected things begin to happen almost immediately.  For example, 20 miles into the trip, the truck breaks down, and the mechanic tells them it will take days to fix.  So they trade the truck for the mechanic’s yellow school bus, and the mechanic goes along to make sure that they treat the bus right.  On the next stop, they pick up a waitress who is tired of the mean customers at the diner where she works.  And Ben’s friend Theo, who is tough enough to give even Ben some street cred, goes along for the ride, but keeps looking more and more worried as he sends and receives texts on his phone.  Ben doesn’t know quite what is happening, but Atticus, the old border collie who is accompanying them, offers insights at the end of each chapter.  The only thing Atticus is really worried about is the hard work he faces by training this new puppy.  By the end, each person on the bus (and that includes Atticus, who does not consider himself a dog), have learned to look at life very differently.  This is the first book that Gary Paulsen and his son Jim have worked on together.  It is a fast read, funny, and exciting!”

Recommended by: Doriene Smither – East Washington Library

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Staff Pick: The Kingdom of Wrenly

Staff Pick: The Kingdom of Wrenly

Let the Games Begin

As diverse subjects of Wrenly gather from far and wide to participate in the kingdom’s Grand Tournament, a rude squire declares that girls cannot be knights, which makes Clara determined to prove that she can be anything she wants as long as she works hard enough for it.

“If you like stories with Knights, dragons, mermaids, and horses this may be a book for you.  The kingdom of Wrenly is preparing for their Grand Tournament.  Prince Lucas and his friend Clara are excitedly preparing for the games.  Clara wants to enter the horse race at the grand Tournament and Prince Lucas encourages her to try.  Squire Gilbert tells Clara that girls can’t be knights because knights are boys.  This makes Clara very upset and she is more determined than ever to enter the horse race.  You will need to read the book to find out if Clara wins the race and if she really wants to be a knight.

The Kingdom of Wrenly is a series of eight books.  This book is number seven.  This is a great beginning chapter book for ages 5-8.  The graphic cartoon illustrations make the book fun and engaging.”

Recommended by: Tamera Coolman – Fountain Square Library

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