Below is a list of new and recommended children's books, straight for our esteemed children's librarians. Happy reading!
Bully, by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
A little bull has been pushed away by a bigger animal. Feeling hurt and angry, he is mean to all the other animals until realizing he has become a big bully with no friends. The rich color of the illustrations and simple text make this a picture book that can be used to teach the youngest of children about bullying, mean words and how to treat friends.
The Day the Crayons Quit, by Drew Daywalt; pictures by Oliver Jeffers
This is a great picture book to read aloud to grades K-2. When Duncan opens his box of crayons, he finds nothing but letters from the crayons, who are fed up from the art work. The complaints are very funny and include orange and yellow fighting over who is the true color of the sun, and a very exhausted blue crayon who needs a break from coloring the sky and water.
Good Night Sleep Tight, by Mem Fox; illustrated by Judy Horacek
Babysitter Skinny Doug shares nursery rhymes with Bonnie and Ben at bedtime. The children love the rhymes and ask to hear more, and each time Doug replies "I'll tell you another I heard from my mother." A fun story to share and read aloud with toddlers, preschoolers and early elementary school children that includes "It's Raining, It's Pouring", "Star Light, Star Bright" and other classic rhymes.
A Pirate's Guide to Recess, by James Preller; illustrated by Greg Ruth
A crew of "pirates" are ready for adventure on the school playground, but are they ready to face the challenges of another pirate crew? Share this school story with students as they set sail on their adventures of a new school year.
Al Capone Does my Homework, by Gennifer Choldenko
This final installment in the life of Moose Flanagan, a boy who lives on Alcatraz Island during the 1930s, brings Choldenko's trilogy to a satisfying conclusion (The first in the series is Al Capone Does My Shirts). The story opens with good news: Moose's father, Cam, has been promoted to associate warden of the island's infamous prison. But the new job makes Cam a target, and the family feels the backlash immediately when a suspicious fire breaks out at their apartment while Moose and his developmentally disabled sister, Natalie, are home alone. A malicious neighbor suggests Natalie started the blaze, inciting problems with the special boarding school Natalie attends. Meanwhile, money is changing hands in odd ways around the island, and inmate No. 85 (Capone) sends Moose another cryptic note, written on Moose's homework ("Luckily, he wrote in pencil"), which helps Moose and his affable gang sort the good guys from the bad. Choldenko continues to infuse the Alcatraz community with warmth and originality (the kids play "rock, newspapers, shiv"). Despite being "the roughest hard-time prison in America," by the end of this winning series, it's also a place Moose comes to proudly call home. Ages 10-up. Publishers Weekly
Doll Bones, by Holly Black
Zach plays with dolls. Never mind that they're action figures, heroes in a wild, improvisational saga he acts out with friends Poppy and Alice. Never mind that he's a solid student and rising basketball star. Zach is 12, and his father has decided this must stop. While Zach's at school, the dolls go to the dump, and Zach is left with only rage. He quits the game, but Alice and Poppy haul him out for one more quest: a bus trip to lay to rest the Queen, a bone china doll that Poppy swears is made from the bones of a murdered girl. Another crazy quest from Poppy's fertile brain? Or could this ghost story be real? The wonderfully eerie doll, the realism of the kids' improbable logic, and the ache underlying every character's actions create as much a state of existential anxiety as narrative tension. Black captures the adolescent sense that things are about to explode before they get explained. And it's a darn good adventure, too. Ages 10-14.
The Hypnotists, by Gordon Korman
The fast-paced first volume in Korman's Hypnotists series introduces some historical conspiracies worthy of Dan Brown. In Korman's world, famous events from the Hindenburg disaster to the Lewis and Clark expedition were influenced by hypnotists, people with a genetic gift that allows them to control others' minds. Twelve-year-old Jackson "Jax" Opus is starting to notice that people sometimes do what he says without thinking about it, and that he has strange visions when this happens. After a run-in with a stage hypnotist, he is recruited to the Sentia Institute, run by Dr. Elias Mako, friend to politicians and movie stars alike. Jax starts training his natural skills, but an encounter with another hypnotist, former con artist Axel Braintree, persuades him that there's more to both his own family history and to Sentia. Korman (the Swindle series) delivers an entertaining mix of intense action and goofy fun; he isn't afraid to raise the stakes when necessary, and he makes the moral murkiness of mind control apparent to characters and readers alike. The ending wraps up some loose ends, but leaves plenty for future books. Ages 8-12. Publishers Weekly
Breakfast on Mars and 37 other Delectable Essays, edited by Rebecca Stern & Brad Wolfe
Essay writing often poses a challenge for students. This is a collection of "imaginative, rule-breaking, and untraditional essays" by leading writers and favorite authors, including Scott Westerfeld and Wendy Mass. Teachers, parents and middle school students will find a great selection of writing examples of persuasive, narrative, and literary essays.
How to Read Literature like a Professor: for kids, by Thomas C. Foster
Foster provides an amusing explanation of literary devices such as symbols, metaphor, characterization, setting, plot and other key techniques. By using examples from classic and popular children's books, students will gain an understanding of common themes in literature. Grades 5 and up