Staff Picks

Counting by 7s

Summary: 
12 year old Willow just needs to belong. She is starting the year at a new school and hoping to find a friend. When tragedy strikes, things don’t look good for Willow. But Willow is amazing! Without trying, she becomes the agent to enable all the characters to change their lives as she begins to heal. I enjoyed the way the story was told, the strong characters and the just-right ending. This book will be a compelling contender for the Great Stone Face Award!

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Wonder

Summary: 
I am happy to work in the Children’s Room where I have the opportunity to recommend a favorite book: Wonder. This is a powerful story for middle-schoolers and, well...for all of us. August Pullman, who has severe facial abnormalities, is about to start school for the first time as a public school fifth grader. The story is told from Auggie’s perspective as well as several other points of view. This book is full of great characters, lots of emotion and the impact of kindness. I can’t wait until my grandchildren are older and I can share it with them!

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Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library

Summary: 
This chapter book will bring readers into what James Patterson calls “the coolest library in the world!” Kyle Keeley is not a reader, but he loves games. When he learns that twelve 7th graders will be chosen to spend a night in the library, for fun and games, he wants to win. He soon learns that getting into the library was the easy part! This book will remind you of another story, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and will reference many other wonderful children’s books, including an old favorite of mine From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Enjoy this Great Stone Face nomination!

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The Adventures of a South Pole Pig-A Story of Snow and Courage

Summary: 
May I recommend a family read aloud? Author Chris Kurtz has written a delightful book that will appeal to the whole family. The Adventures of a South Pole Pig-A Story of Snow and Courage introduces Flora, a plucky pig with a lot of heart. You will want to add Flora to your list of favorite story book pigs-Wilbur, Mercy Watson, Babe, Piggie… Check out this Great Stone Face nomination!

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Under the Wide and Starry Sky

Summary: 
Nancy Horan, author of the New York Times bestseller "Loving Frank", has written a new novel, this time about the relationship between the Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson and his wife Fanny.With carefully researched history, Horan is able to bring these two complex characters to life in a way that is both gripping and enthralling.

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Luther The Calling

Summary: 
: A brilliant crime novel and prequel to the acclaimed BBC series by the show’s creator and sole writer Meet Detective Chief Inspector John Luther. He’s a murder detective with an extraordinary case-clearance rate. He’s obsessive, instinctive, and intense. He seethes with a hidden fury that at times he can barely control. Sometimes it sends him to the brink of madness, making him do things any other detective wouldn’t and shouldn’t do. Luther: The Calling, the first in a new series of novels featuring DCI John Luther, takes us into Luther’s past and into his mind. It is the story of the serial killer case that tore his personal and professional relationships apart and propelled him over the precipice—beyond fury, beyond vengeance, all the way to the other side of the law. Luther: The Calling is a compulsively readable and intense. So intense that I had to put it down to gather my feelings. If you enjoyed the BBC series, you must read this book!!

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Dark Fire

Summary: 
This second book in Matthew Shardlake Tudor Mystery series delves again into the dark and superstitious world of Cromwell's England. Shardlake is asked to help a young girl accused of murder. She refuses to speak in her defense even when threatened with torture. But just when the case seems lost, Thomas Cromwell, the Henry VIII's feared vicar general, offers Shardlake two more weeks to prove his client’s innocence. In exchange, Shardlake must find a lost cache of "Dark Fire," a legendary weapon of mass destruction. A great period murder mystery!!

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How to Be Both

Summary: 
A grieving teenaged girl ponders dualisms—her memories of her dead mother more vivid than her own actual life, her ambivalent emerging sexuality, art and reality, death and life. The few surviving works of an little-known renaissance painter link her to his similarly ambiguous life, and forge a conduit to her survival. A remarkable and inventive novel. “ It is subtle and at the same time the most unsubtle thing in the world, so unsubtle it’s subtle. Once you’ve seen it, you can’t not see it.” p. 142

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Murder at the Brightwell

Summary: 
Set in England in the 1930’s among the well-to-do set, this first novel by Ashley Weaver seamlessly intertwines mystery and romance along with witty dialog and memorable characters. If you enjoy not-too-violent mysteries with an intelligent, complicated, and engaging female protagonist, “Murder at the Brightwell” will leave you hoping the author is already busy working on the sequel!

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The Vanishing Neighbor

Summary: 
The author addresses concerns Americans have about our future, including the notion of American exceptionalism, and our country’s future prosperity and place in the world. The author attributes our sense of malaise to the erosion of middle-ring relationships,much of which are community and/or volunteer associations, such as Rotary Clubs and volunteer fire departments. He makes a compelling case that our more peripheral relationships are the cause of the withering away of the sense of local community in America.

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