Staff Picks


September 2020

Escape Goat

by Ann Patchett

An amusing picture book where the goat is the scapegoat, as every time he escapes from his enclosure, everyone in the family blames him for the things that they did wrong. Ranging from burning the pies to putting gum under the chair, the goat is blamed. Only Nicolette, Mr. Farmer’s daughter, tries to speak up for the goat as the fence for his enclosure goes up and up to try and keep him in.

Recommended by: Joan Stoiber, Youth Services Reference Librarian I

Posted in: Youth Fiction


Marie’s Ocean: Marie Tharp Maps the Mountains Under the Sea

by Josie James

A mixed-format picture book biography about Marie Tharp, who in the 1940s, began paving the way for women to be scientists as well as the first person to map the ocean floors. She discovered many trenches and mountains that then supported the idea of plate tectonics. She felt as if she was putting a jigsaw puzzle together. Being determined and capable, she became the most noted oceanographic cartographer of the 20th century. Since she was a woman, she struggled to get the credit she deserved for her discoveries and efforts. A good book for anyone to learn about the accomplishment of a brilliant woman in the area of STEAM.

Recommended by: Joan Stoiber, Youth Services Reference Librarian I

Posted in: Youth Biographies


Stay Curious!: a Brief History of Stephen Hawking

by Kathleen Krull

A highly readable picture book biography written by Krull, author of other readable biographies such as How They Croaked or The Only Woman in the Photo. The title is a nod to the title of Hawking’s book, A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes, a bestseller that explained the mystery of life in an understandable way. Even after being diagnosed with ALS in his twenties, Hawking stayed curious about the “why” of the universe and continued enjoying life and helping others understand the universe we share.

Recommended by: Joan Stoiber, Youth Services Reference Librarian I

Posted in: Youth Biographies


The Forgotten Girl

by India Hill Brown

Iris and Daniel are best friends. After they discover a neglected grave in an unknown cemetery, weird things begin to happen. As they investigate further, they find out the grave is part of a segregated cemetery from back when White and Black people were buried separately. Make sure it’s not dark out when you read this eerie ghost story. Also available on Hoopla.

Recommended by: Becky McCormack, Youth Services Assistant Manager

Posted in: Youth Fiction


The Glare

by Margot Harrison

Hedda, now 16, is looking forward to spending time with her dad in California after spending the last 10 years living in Arizona with her mom. While in Arizona, her mom did not let her have screen time, so Hedda is also looking forward to having the chance to use screens—phones, laptops, iPads. When she was 6 years old, playing a game on a screen caused her to harm herself and her babysitter damaged her eyes so as not to see the “glare”. Hedda begins to have memories return to her from 10 years ago and rediscovers a survival game on the Dark Web. Soon she and her friends are in a real life struggle to survive. They begin the dangerous task of discovering who is behind the game before it destroys them all. The Glare slowly builds a sense of dread.

Recommended by: Joan Stoiber, Youth Services Reference Librarian I

Posted in: Young Adult Fiction


We Dream of Space

by Erin Entrada Kelly

From the Newbery winner of Hello, Universe comes another pitch-perfect book for middle grades. Cash, Fitch, and Bird are siblings in seventh grade together in 1986. Each are rotating around each other in their own world. Cash may fail seventh grade again. Fitch has anger issues. Bird, his twin, wants to become the first female shuttle commander.

All three siblings have the same science teacher, Ms. Salongan, who assigns them to spacecraft crews that must create and complete a mission. This is being done in connection with the real-life launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger. When launch day arrives, it brings changes for all three siblings and new meaning to the phrase “major malfunction”.

Kelly writes the novel in three alternating points of view and has illustrated the book herself. A Today show pick for “25 children’s books your kids and teens won’t be able to put down this summer!” This title is also available on OverDrive.

Recommended by: Joan Stoiber, Youth Services Reference Librarian I

Posted in: Youth Fiction


Out of the Wild Night

by Blue Balliett

A ghost story full of action and suspense. In November on the island of Nantucket, Mary W. Chase is woken up from her grave to narrate the story as well as be the Crier to wake up the living and the dead to the present danger. Ghostly footprints come on shore from the ocean one night. The ghosts want to prevent the restoration of old houses, which is destroying the memories and possessions of those who lived before. The children, led by Phee and Gabe, form a group of children to work with the ghosts to prevent the evil developer, Eddy Nold, from destroying the houses in the name of improvement. There are many of spooky scenes throughout the story to keep the reader turning pages. As is Baillett’s style, readers have to think and be alert for clues that she weaves into her story. With a surprising twist at the end, readers will be looking back in the book for those clues. A book that blends the worlds between life and death, memories and love.

Recommended by: Joan Stoiber, Youth Services Reference Librarian I

Posted in: Youth Fiction


Agatha and the Truth of Murder

Nothing is really known about what happened the night Agatha Christie went missing in December 1926. This movie puts an imaginative spin on what Agatha could have been up to when she disappeared. Did she just need to get away from her family for a while? Could it be that she was suffering from an extreme case of writer’s block? Or could it be that Agatha needed to solve a real life murder? Enjoyable, witty and cleaver this movie takes you on a one of a kind mystery you don’t want to miss.
Recommended by: April Balasa, Patron Services Clerk

Posted in: Movies/TV


One Time

by Sharon Creech

Who are you?  Who could you be? These are the two questions Gina Filomena ponders the year she is in Miss Lightstone’s class.  Labeled as a child with an overactive imagination, Gina befriends her new neighbor, Antonio, in whom she finds a kindred spirit.  With the encouragement and guidance of Miss Lightstone, Gina, Antonio, and their classmates discover the wonders of writing.  They soon find that writing is not just about telling stories, but also helps them process their world- and there’s a lot going on in Gina’s world.  An enormous amount of pasta, porcupines eating licorice, the shenanigans of Angel Lucia, the suddenness of change, the perfection found in words like mangata and komorebi.  One Time is a thoughtful read that weaves together imagination, expression, and becoming one’s true self.

Recommended by: Stephanie Thomas, Youth Services Preschool Services Coordinator

Posted in: Youth Fiction


Little Bookshop of Murder: Beach Reads Mystery, #1

by Maggie Blackburn

Summer Merriweather’s career as a Shakespeare professor is hanging by a thread. But soon that no longer seems to be a problem when she is called back home to Brigid’s Island when her mom shuffles off the mortal coil from what appears to be a heart attack. But when Summer finds a note in her mother’s bookshop that say “Sell the bookstore or die.” It’s clear that someone helped her mother leave this world and now it’s up to Summer to find out who wanted her mother dead and why. Also available on OverDrive.
Recommended by: April Balasa, Patron Services Clerk

Posted in: Adult Fiction


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