Staff Picks Youth

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August 2019

Gods and Heroes: Mythology around the World

by Korwin Briggs

Disney’s Hercules and Rick Riordan’s works have shown us that gods are not as different as humans and that is one of the best parts of reading Korwin Briggs’s book on mythology. Briggs take us all over the world as we get a quick briefing on some well-known gods such as Zeus and Isis but also get some information on lesser-known gods such as Celtic god Cú Chulainn and Mesoamerican twin gods Hunahpu and Xbalanque. Every profile on the gods is around 5 pages with a quick snippet of relatable stories either displaying some of their characteristic, origins, or major achievements. Additional illustrations supplement stories and provide a consistent tone to the characters even though going from one profile might mean shifting from the wide-open fields of North America to learn about the White Buffalo Calf Woman of the Lakota people and then traveling to the sparkling waters of the Polynesian islands as we learn of Māui’s amusing exploits. Pages are supplemented with additional passages to describe the surrounding culture of the gods to give additional context. These fast-paced high interest profiles are perfect for quick reading and reluctant readers on some fascinating subjects.

Recommended by: Alex Pappas, Reference Librarian

Posted in: Youth Fiction


Dream Big

by Joyce Wan

A wondrous introduction to some of the finest ladies to grace the planet in an introductory board book format perfect for little learners. Using repeated short sentences, Wan invites readers to “Dream Big” or “Dream Fast.” The text is accompanied by Wan’s drawings of known revolutionary women such as Rosa Parks and artist Frida Kahlo among other less known brilliant women such as mountaineer Junko Tabei and architect Zaha Hadid. Wan’s illustrations are beyond cute enough to appeal to the picture book crowd but the message added to it will empower youngsters to dream big themselves. Profiles on each of the women portrayed in the book will inspire further reading.

Recommended by: Alex Pappas, Reference Librarian

Posted in: Youth Fiction


Cucumber Quest

by Gigi D.G.

Got a video game fan in your family? Introduce them to the wonderful world of Cucumber Quest! Drawing inspiration from traditional video game quests: Gigi D.G. takes a lot of traditional video game logic and turns it on its head in what is one of the funniest graphic novel series for any reader. Cucumber just wants to go to school but Cucumber’s greedy Dad forces him to become the hero of legend and save his kingdom from the Nightmare Knight (because money and fame). Cucumber’s sister Almond is jealous because she wants to join him and put her sword skills to work so she tags along. Along their attempts to fulfill their mission, they encounter villains who are either: humorously incompetent, not really that bad, or both. The Nightmare Knight towers above the entire scene watching Cucumber and his ever-expanding crew traverse the world to finish his quest and while the Nightmare Knight seems to be a typical big bad, his heart just doesn’t seem into it? Gigi D.G.’s artwork is energetic and packed with color and life and perfectly supplements the equally colorful cast of characters during hilarious and heartfelt moments. Cucumber Quest is an adventure worth taking over and over again.

Recommended by: Alex Pappas, Reference Librarian 

Posted in: Youth Fiction


Insignificant events in the life of a cactus

by Dusti Bowling

Aven Green is an 8th grader who was born without arms – something that has never stopped her from anything in her life.  She moves to Kansas with her parents who have taken jobs as managers of Stagecoach Pass, a rundown Western theme park out in Arizona. Having to deal with the many stares and questions of new schoolmates, Aven sorely misses her old life back in Kansas. However, her unflinchingly optimistic spirit, accompanied by her infectious and indomitable sense of humor, keeps her looking for the silver linings in her new life in Arizona, such as making friends with the cute but prickly Connor (who has Tourette’s syndrome) or enjoying the ability to wear flats all year-round. But the most fascinating thing is the unusual mystery at the heart of Stagecoach Pass: the disappearing tarantulas, a missing photograph, and a secret necklace. Aven is determined to get to the bottom of the secret.

Recommended by: Emily Meszaros, Reference Librarian

Posted in: Youth Fiction


The Friendship War

by Andrew Clements

What happens when two best friends go to war over the new latest, greatest craze? Can two sixth-grade friends stop the madness before the police get involved? Another funny, heartfelt, and genuinely great tale from Andrew Clements (author of Frindle and The Loser’s Club).

Recommended by: Kara DeCarlo, School Liaison 

Posted in: Youth Fiction


Backyard Bears: Conservation, Habitat Changes, and the Rise of Urban Wildlife

by Amy Cherrix

Bears in your backyard? You bet! Tag along with a team of wildlife biologists as they track the bears in and around Asheville, North Carolina. See how wildlife biologists help keep people safe from bears and bears safe from people. Full of great photos and interesting facts, this book is perfect for anyone who loves animals or science.

Recommended by: Kara DeCarlo, School Liaison 

Posted in: Youth Fiction


Petals

by Gustavo Borges

This wordless graphic novel tells the story of a family of foxes who meet a strange traveler in a harsh winter storm. The beautiful illustrations will pull you into the cozy world of the fox family and fill you with delight at the antics of the traveler. If you love stories that pull at the heartstrings, this one is for you.

Recommended by: Kara DeCarlo, School Liaison 

Posted in: Youth Fiction


Aim for the Skies : Jerrie Mock and Joan Merriam Smith’s race to complete Amelia Earhart’s quest

by Aimee Bissonette

The year is 1963 and two women are planning to complete Amelia Earhart’s journey around the world. Neither woman knows about the other until news reporters broke the story. What began as a dream turned into a race against each other, faulty equipment, and terrible weather conditions. This quick read is full of adventure and bravado—a must read for fans of Amelia Earhart.

Recommended by: Kara DeCarlo, School Liaison 

Posted in: Youth


Halfway Normal

by Barbara Dee

A high school girl goes back to school for the first time in 2 years after battling leukemia. She definitely doesn’t want everything to be all about her past disease.

Unfortunately, most of the other people she’s dealing with seemed focused on just that. She has girlfriend, boyfriend, divorce and parental issues.

Recommended by: Becky McCormack, Youth Services Assistant Manager 

Posted in: Youth Fiction


Home Front

by Kristin Hannah

Hannah creates a very realistic depiction of a family torn apart by war. First there’s the stress of the mother being called to serve. Then there’s the restructuring of the family due to the father having to fulfill an unfamiliar role. Added to this are the father’s workload as a defense attorney and the children’s needs. This is a tear jerker.

Recommended by: Becky McCormack, Youth Services Assistant Manager 

Posted in: Youth Fiction


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