Young Reader

If you think you know this story, and you haven’t read the book, think again. Peter, Wendy, Captain Hook and Tinkerbell are all here, but probably not the way you remember them. In a tale much deeper and darker than most people know J.M. Barry explores both the wonder and savagery of innocence.

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Peter Pan (Signet Classics) Cover Image
By James Matthew Barrie, Alison Lurie (Afterword by)
ISBN: 9780451520883
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Signet Book - July 5th, 2011

Mike Lupica is one of the premiere sports writers for youth. His books—covering baseball, football and basketball—are the perfect books to give any kid who wants to continue the passion and fun found on the field. In Game Changers, Lupica pits upcoming star Ben McBain against the football prodigy Shawn O’Brien to become the starting quarterback and leader of the team. Game Changers hits the sports notes just right while also addressing ideas of ambition, confidence, friendship, and team play along the way. Grades 4–8
Game Changers (Game Changers #1) (Game Changers (Scholastic)) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780545381826
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Scholastic Press - May 8th, 2012

“Say tells the story of his decidedly nontraditional Japanese upbringing, supplying watercolors, photographs, and humorous sketches to create a vivid record of life in postwar Tokyo.…As the story of a young artist’s coming of age, Say’s account is complex, poignant, and unfailingly honest. Say’s fans—and those who also feel the pull of the artist’s life—will be captivated.” (Publishers Weekly). Part photo album, part sketchbook, part graphic novel, part picture book, and entirely moving. Grades 4 and up.

Drawing from Memory Cover Image
By Allen Say, Allen Say (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780545176866
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scholastic Press - September 1st, 2011

In this autobiographical picture book, Claire A. Nivola (Planting the Trees of Kenya) recalls her childhood memories of her father’s birthplace on the Mediterranean island of Sardinia. Nivola’s lucid prose and paintings (reminiscent of Carmen Lomas Garza’s Family Pictures and Barbara Cooney’s Island Boy) immerse the reader in a sensory experience—the intensity of sunlight, the sweetness of fruit, the annoyance of flies, the “unspeakable strangeness of death.” Although an author’s note gives context to the era in which the narrative takes place, the story recalls a time of life before that context is necessarily important, in which events—birth, death, the eating of a fig, the baking of bread—simply happen, moment to moment. In this way, Nivola nearly slips into romanticism, but only just enough to make us fall in love with the beautiful Orani. Grades 1–4.

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Orani: My Father's Village Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374356576
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar Straus Giroux - July 19th, 2011

This conceptually original picture book in English and Arabic contains two stories to be read simultaneously, one from left to right about a day in the life of a boy in Sydney, Australia, and the other from right to left about a similar day for a boy in rural Morocco. Each page shows, side by side, an activity(breakfast, a trip to the metropolis, going to the store) illustrated in Baker’s meticulous collage. More than an impressive picture-puzzle book (though it is certainly that), her ingenious tableaus compel us to slow down and notice the delightful, surprising similarities and differences in the lives of these two individuals. Beautiful and thought-provoking. Ages 4–10.

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Mirror Cover Image
By Jeannie Baker, Jeannie Baker (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780763648480
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - November 9th, 2010

I’ve always been drawn to nature journaling—the sort of doodling/sketching you do that allows you to see an object more clearly than you would if you weren’t drawing it. This picture book biography is a nature journal of sorts. Certainly its clarity is almost sublime. Jane, a small girl in England, studies nature and records her increasingly complex impressions in sepia ink on cream-colored paper. By contrast, McDonnell’s ink and watercolor drawings are sweet and a little goofy. In a sly reference to Burroughs’ Tarzan, we see the small child swinging through her jungle of yard in a cardigan and plaid skirt. “One day,” McDonnell writes, “curious Jane wondered where eggs came from. So she… snuck into Grandma Nutt’s chicken coop…hid beneath some straw, stayed very still…and observed the miracle.” Both hen and child have expressions of surprise. Jane dreams of traveling to Africa, and in a wonderful sequence, goes to sleep in her bed with her toy chimpanzee (page turn), wakes as an adult in her tent in Africa (page turn), and realizes her dream, illustrated by a stunning use of the iconic photograph of young primatologist Jane Goodall and a very young primate reaching across species to take one another’s hand. I’ve never seen better use of mixed media in a picture book. Only Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are, Keats’ Snowy Day, and Margaret Wise Brown’s Goodnight Moon come this close to perfection. Ages 5 and up.

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Me... Jane Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316045469
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - April 5th, 2011

Willems has made a new generation of genuinely easy-to-read Easy Readers. Writing a great book using a very limited, repetitive vocabulary, of mostly one-syllable, consonant-vowel-consonant words, is very hard to do. Unfortunately, this does not keep a lot of writers from trying. Mo Willems succeeds. His Cat the Cat, Who Is That? is lovely, but my utter favorite is We Are in a Book!. Here two friends, a pig and an elephant, discuss several existential dilemmas in simple, clean, easy, and very funny (meta)text. Ages 5 through adult.

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We Are in a Book! (Elephant & Piggie Books) Cover Image
By Mo Willems, Mo Willems (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781423133087
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Hyperion Books - September 14th, 2010

“Things get complicated for impulsive, prone-to-enthusiasms middle-child Sophie when her whole 4th-grade class finds out she’s getting a baby gorilla for her birthday—which she definitely isn’t. A lively chapter book exemplary for its humor, believable family dynamics, and characters who talk and act like real people.” —The Horn Book. Grades 2–4.

Happy Birthday, Sophie Hartley Cover Image
ISBN: 9780547550251
Availability: Backordered
Published: Houghton Mifflin - August 1st, 2011

Beginning with The Penderwicks (winner of the National Book Award), and continuing with the Penderwicks on Gardam Street and now The Penderwicks at Point Mouette (a book on many 2012 Newbery shortlists), Jeanne Birdsall has created a series so well written that it easily deserves classic status. “Suffused with affectionate humor, this charming, old-fashioned story feels familiar in the way the best books seem like old friends. Nostalgic but never stale, this fresh, satisfying novel is like a cool breeze on a summer’s day.” —The Horn Book

The Penderwicks at Point Mouette Cover Image
ISBN: 9780375851353
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Yearling Books - May 8th, 2012

Although readers have waited 11 years for this sequel to the 2000 Newbery Honor book Our Only May Amelia, no time has passed for our protagonist, still 12-years-old and living in rural Washington at the beginning of the 20th century. Although perceived as “trouble” by her father simply because she’s not a boy, May Amelia’s resolve and “sisu” (Finnish for chutzpah) never wavers. Her striking narrative voice is edgy and accessible, and Holm’s choice to forgo quotations marks in favor of the creative use of capital letters adds a modern quality to this unique historical novel. An engaging and original look at turn-of-the-century misogyny and feminism, skillfully told.

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The Trouble with May Amelia Cover Image
By Jennifer L. Holm, Adam Gustavson (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781416913740
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atheneum Books for Young Readers - May 1st, 2012



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