Staff Picks Youth Fiction

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September 2023

First grade, here I come!

by Nancy Carlson

For kids leaving kindergarten and going to first grade this year, I really recommend this cute picture book which can remove the anxiety of new students on the first day of school and the fear of meeting new friends and teachers like what happened with first grader Henry the Mouse on his first day At school.

Recommended by: Ghada Rafati, Patron Services Clerk

Posted in: Youth Fiction

Where Echoes Die

by Courtney Gould

Flashbacks create an atmosphere of suspense as in episodes of the Twilight Zone or in A Wrinkle in Time, in which Beck travels from Washington to Arizona with her sister Riley to uncover the reason for the hold on their dead mother that the town of Backravel exerted. Once they arrive there, they find themselves caught up in the strangeness of the town, the people who seem to be “slipping”, and the odd treatment center that overlooks the town. Despite the misgivings of Riley, Beck convinces her to stay the full two weeks as they had planned as Beck tries to unravel the notes and drawings that their mother left behind about this town. As Beck explores the town she keeps wondering how the people can seem like robots, the town is so neat, and all seems to be staged.

Recommended by: Joan Stoiber, Youth Services Reference Librarian

Posted in: Youth Fiction

August 2023

April & Mae and the Tea Party

by Megan Dowd Lambert

April and Mae are best friends, and so are their pets. On Sundays they have a tea party where Mae prepares the table and April puts on a show. Unfortunately, on this particular Sunday things go awry when April tries out a new act and accidently upsets Mae. April & Mae and the Tea Party by Megan Dowd Lambert tells the story of how these best friends work through their argument and save their friendship. There is a book in the series for each day of the week where the two best friends experience different activities, emotions, and challenges together. Beginner readers who enjoy Cynthia Rylant’s Annie and Snowball series or Eve Bunting’s Frog and Friends series will be sure to love this friendship too!

Recommended by: Erin Cady, Youth Services Reference Librarian I

Posted in: Youth Fiction

Something Wild

by Molly Ruttan

As school starts, children can relate to this book and all the emotions they go through whether they face performance jitters or another new challenge.
The illustrations are beautiful, magical and engaging.  It has also been chosen as our fall storywalk book which is located just down the street from the
Orland Park Public Library.  A must-read for any child to take that first step!
Recommended by: Lenore Garoufalis, Youth Services Assistant

Posted in: Youth Fiction

One last shot : the story of wartime photographer Gerda Taro

by Kip Wilson

This novel told in verse covers the short life of Gerda Taro, a German photojournalist and the first woman photojournalist killed in combat. Told in the first person point of view, Taro’s activism to expose fascism is connected with her relationship with photographer André Friedmann (later known as Robert Capa).Their photographs were in great demand and they found themselves covering the Spanish Civil War up close at the front of the fighting. Taro was forgotten until 2007 when a “Mexican Suitcase” (3 boxes) collection of 4500 Spanish Civil War negatives was discovered. The boxes had been in storage in Mexico City for decades. A Doodle commemorating her birthday led the author to write this book.

Recommended by: Joan Stoiber, Youth Services Reference Librarian 1

Posted in: Youth Fiction

Small Spaces

by Katherine Arden

Lately, Ollie’s only comfort is in books. After a fiasco at school that involves a thrown rock and her classmate’s injured head, Ollie just wants to get to her favorite spot by the creek and read. What she finds when she arrives at the creek both shocks and unnerves her. A woman, crying uncontrollably, is trying to throw a little black book into the creek. Ollie just can’t let that happen. She steals the woman’s book and runs away, with just one warning from this mysterious woman: “Keep to small spaces at night.” After staying up late reading this new find, she discovers the story tells of a someone known as the Smiling Man. But morning soon arrives, and Ollie has a field trip to attend. When the bus breaks down on the ride home, suddenly Ollie’s watch reads just one word: “Run.” Ollie listens, and only two of her friends join her. They run into the woods, unable to shake the feeling that all the scarecrows they pass are watching them. As the three of them run, keeping to small spaces at night, Ollie realizes that this little black book might be able to explain whatever evil is taking place in her town, and how to stop it. If you are looking for something creepy and hair-raising, Small Spaces should be your next read.

This book is available in the library and on OverDrive/Libby as an ebook and e sudiobook.

Recommended by: Stephanie Visser, Youth Services Reference Librarian I

Posted in: Youth Fiction

Monsters in the Mist

by Juliana Brandt

A creepy ghost story that takes place at a lighthouse overlooking Lake Superior, “the lake, it is said, never gives up her dead when the skies of November turn gloomy”. Glennon McCue finds himself with his Mom and sister on an island that seemingly doesn’t exist on any map yet there are inhabitants who may or may not be real. To try to save his mother and sister before the Waning, the family must confront the emotional and physical abuse the father exerted on the family for years and haunts them. Monsters can be living and dead.

Recommended by: Joan Stoiber, Youth Services Reference Librarian I

Posted in: Youth Fiction

Violets are Blue

by Barbara Dee

Renata, called Ren, is having a hard time dealing with a bully at school at the same time that her parents seem to be arguing a lot. When her parents announce their divorce, Ren is not surprised but is having difficulty adjusting to her dad living in New York while she remains with her mom in Chicago. When her mom decides to move to a neighboring town to give both Ren and herself a new start, Ren is initially hesitant, but ends up fitting in and finding her niche. When her mom installs a lock on her bedroom door and begins to keep odd work hours, Ren excuses it as normal since her mom is a nurse. As things begin to spiral downwards Ren is forced to confront the truth. 

Recommended by: Becky McCormack, Youth Services Assistant Manager

Posted in: Youth Fiction

The Red Tin Box

by Matthew Burgess

A picture book, which in beautiful words and illustrations, tells the story of a special box and the special relationship between a grandmother and her granddaughter. The special treasures in the box leads to stories to share between the two from memories of which they remind the grandmother. A book to share with generations and maybe be inspired to do something similar.

Recommended by: Joan Stoiber, Youth Services Reference Librarian I

Posted in: Youth Fiction

Sarah Rising

by Ty Chapman

Sarah, the little girl who loves the nature and enjoys her morning everyday before going to school,  one morning her dad decided to teach Sarah how to stand up for her rights by taking her to a protest. I love this book because it teaches kids how to explore justice and how to react peacefully when they experience it in their community to get their rights.

Recommended by: Ghada Rafati, Patron Service Clerk

Posted in: Youth Fiction

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