Staff Selections Kids


In the Wild
David Elliott, illus. by Holly Meade

Author David Elliott and illustrator Holly Meade move from the familiar territory of their previous book On the Farm to a world tour of animals.  Once again the poems and woodcuts are equally engaging.  This is a read-aloud suitable for home or classroom, aimed at four- to  seven-year-olds.  Some children will be aware that most of these animals are, sadly, endangered.  They may recognize the layers of meaning in the last poem.


Jacqueline Briggs Martin, illus. by Claudia McGehee

Two great local picture book talents have collaborated, with outstanding results.  Caldecott-award winning author Jacqueline Briggs Martin tells the inspiring, true story of the search for, and recovery of, a lost creek.  Buried for years under cornfields in the Driftless Area in northeast Iowa, Brook Creek is brought back to life in the heart of a restored prairie by a man with a vision.  The process is beautifully illuminated with Claudia McGehee's bright scratchboard and watercolor illustrations. Adults will enjoy this one, too.


Magic Marks the Spot
Caroline Carlson

Magic Marks the Spot is the first book in The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates trilogy, and is the funniest pirate adventure you will ever read.  Ever.  Young Hilary Westfield wants nothing more than to be a pirate, even though her father is Lord Admiral of the Navy and wants nothing more than to rid the seas of pirates forever.  When Hilary's application to TVNHLP is turned down because she's a girl (even though she can tie every knot and can tread water for 37 minutes!), she's forced to attend Miss Pimm's Finishing School for Girls instead.  But hope is not lost when Hilary spies a help wanted sign for crew members on a pirate ship!  Mayhem and hilarity ensues as Hilary, her governess, and a talking gargoyle take to the high seas for treasure, adventure and an even bigger mystery of missing gold and magic.  The perfect book for the young adventuress in your life.


Ghosts of Greenglass House
Kate Milford

Looking for a riveting book? Part mystery, part ghost story with a touch of romance and humor, Ghosts of Greenglass House is sure to please. Particularly likeable Milo, adopted Chinese son of isolated Greenglass House innkeepers, is looking forward to winter break, usually a time of few guests. Solitude is shattered when two recognized thieves show up for a second stay along with a suspicious art student. Milo, hoping for the appearance of his long-absent friend Meddy, is drawn into a layered mystery, reflected in chapter heading illustrations, involving a hidden map and quirky, devious characters who are not always as they seem. Ever self-conscious of people’s notions about his Chinese heritage, Milo summons up confidence and wits to boldly investigate puzzling clues. Engaging readers to the very last page with intriguing, unpredictable twists and turns, Ghosts of Geenglass House rivals the first book, Greenglass House, and can be read as a stand-alone. Like any great mystery, readers may finish the last page only to reread the entire adventure.  (Ages 10-14)


West of the Moon
Margi Preus

In this book, you may want to turn to the back material first to see a photograph of the author's great-great-grandparents. When she read her great-great-grandmother's diary from the mid- 1850s, she found inspiration for this book, which combines folklore, fantasy, adventure and the  emigrant experience. Her own family members had "America Fever" at that time as they experienced one challenge after another until they decided to board an immigrant ship and sail away to new opportunity in America.

 Astri, who is a 14-year-old girl who has lived with her little sister on their aunt and uncle's farm in Norway after their mother dies and their father leaves for America, finds that her circumstances change very dramatically.

Her aunt sells her to an evil goat herder to be his servant and her life becomes extremely harsh. Finding a way to reunite with her little sister and make a run for it proves to be an exciting and scaring adventure. With the evil goat herder in pursuit and armed with "troll treasure, a book of spells and curses, and possibly a magic hairbrush, the girls race through forests, over mountains and in and out of folktales and dreams as they make their way east of the sun and west of the moon." You will root for them all the way.


Roller Girl
Victoria Jamieson

Fans of Raina Telgemeier, take note! Roller Girl is the propulsive, fun new addition to a collection of graphic novels with empowered young women as their stars. Twelve-year-old Astrid is an aspiring Roller Derby enthusiast. When she signs up for summer junior Roller Derby camp, however, she has no idea what she’s in for. She’ll have to put in a lot of hard work and bruises if she wants to be like her idol, star Rainbow Brite.  With vivid illustrations and a sense of humor that will delight kids and adults alike, Victoria Jamieson has created a new classic of the genre. This story of growing up and learning how to be yourself and create a community at the same time, offers strong role models for kids 9 and up and adults too.


The Edge of Everything
Jeff Giles


In The Edge of Everything, Zoe is grieving her father and trying to help her mother make ends meet, while wrangling an extremely ADHD younger brother.  Zoe is a smart, super tough, and a really good caver (the caving scenes are gripping and utterly realistic).  She’s partnered with escapee-from-hell X (not his real name).  All of the secondary characters are three-dimensional, and the plot moves along at a fast pace, making the book impossible to put down.  Despite the heavy-seeming subject matter, the book is funny, especially the dialogue.  If you like your books about epic hell-rescues with a big shot of hilarity, this is the book for you.