Staff Selections Kids


A Long Walk to Water
Linda Sue Park

With her characteristic deftness and sensitivity, Newbery medalist Linda Sue Park recreates the plight of migratory Sudanese children who face the trials of a harsh environment, scarce resources and limited opportunity, and lives marked with social and political turmoil. This novel weaves together the stories of Nya, a girl whose life is transformed by the creation of a freshwater well in her village, and the true-life saga of Salva, one of the “lost boys” of Sudan, and his years-journey from Sudan to Ethiopia and Kenya to Rochester, New York and back. This story will give readers an insight into a world unknown to many, and can inspire social activism.


Rachel Hartman

After years of horrific war, dragons and humans finally negotiated a treaty and have lived in peace, albeit an uneasy one, for decades.  As the anniversary of the treaty approaches, events occur that seem to point the blame at the dragons, and another war could begin.  Seraphina lives at the palace as assistant court musician, and soon finds herself allied with the Prince to help solve the puzzle behind the crimes.  Masterfully written, Seraphina is less a fantasy and more of a medieval story, filled with the intrigues of the court, that just happens to have dragons as part of the population.  Seraphina herself is a wonderful character, and readers will be swept up in her amazing journey of danger, sleuthing and self-discovery.


Splendors and Glooms
Laura Amy Schlitz

In London in 1860 Clara, the only living child in a doctor’s grief-stricken family, convinces her parents to engage Grisini the puppet master and his two orphaned assistants, Lizzie Rose and Parsefall, to entertain for her 12th birthday celebration.  When evil Grisini kidnaps Clara for ransom and disappears, Lizzie Rose and Parsefall are left to survive on their own.   Tempted to the remote home of Grisini’s ancient rival, a witch who seeks to control them all for her own wicked needs, the two orphans summon all their pluck and wits to save themselves and Clara.  Splendors and Glooms is a melodramatic tale of mystery, magic and suspense perfect for 4th – 8th graders.