Monday, December 29, 2014


A review by Theresa from the Central Library: 

Before the war started Hannah, the youngest daughter in the family, was well on her way to become a famous concert pianist. She was also living the life of an average fifteen-year-old girl and about to experience her first date and dance. But for her and her family everything changed abruptly when the Second World War started in Europe because they were not only living in a country at war, they were Jews. Moved from the only home she had ever known into a small apartment in an area just for Jews and forced to wear a yellow star on her clothing, all the familiar things from her life started disappearing. 

Suzy Zail tells this story of a young girl caught in a terrible moment in history in her book Playing for the Commandant. The story though is not just one of many holocaust stories, it has a bit of a twist as Hannah ends being sent to play for the camp commandant every day and while in his home becomes friends with his son Karl. While the harsher elements of this brutal period are less prominent than in other holocaust tales, this story is a good place to start.

For grades 5-8

Friday, December 26, 2014


Fifth-grader Rose Howard loves homonyms, prime numbers, and cannot help speaking her mind if she sees someone break a rule. Despite doing well in her classes, Rose has a difficult time in school, and is not treated with much sensitivity by her classmates or teachers, and even got banned from taking the school bus after a particularly passionate outburst over the bus driver breaking a rule.

Through it all, Rose's single father refuses to acknowledge that Rose is anything but normal, or that she has no control over her anxiety or obsession with homonyms. But Rose gets along well with her uncle Weldon and her dog Rain, whose name is a homonym and adds up to a prime number. It even seems like Rain is helping Rose make friends in school. But then, Rain goes missing during a storm, and Rose has to devise a plan to find her.

Rain Reign is a candidly told story from the point of view of a girl with Asperger's Syndrome. Rose is a brave girl who tries hard to carve a place for herself in a world that does not always understand her. In the end, Rose has to make difficult choices, but they are ones that bring her closer to people around her. 

This book will appeal to readers in grades 4-6.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014



Monday, December 22, 2014


A book review by Theresa of the Children's Room: 

Soon to be an official eighth grader with visions of time spent honing her acting skills, Anna McConnell’s summer plans have changed a bit. Instead of hanging out with her friends, she is being sent off to stay with her grandmother Mim while her parents sort out some very serious issues in their marriage. While she enjoys spending time with Mim, Anna worries that spending the summer in a place with a reputation as a sleepy little town will be less than exciting. Fortunately for the budding actress the town’s famous Flower Festival is about to happen and she lands the part of a petunia whose job is to promote the event. Stationed at the Library our girl soon meets kids her age and the summer suddenly perks up and seems to have some very interesting prospects. 

But one day while on Petunia duty at the Library she notices something troubling, what appears to be a young girl being kept against her will by a couple in a van. This brief encounter totally changes everything as Anna becomes very focused on finding the truth out about what she has seen. Convincing the adults to not only believe her but help becomes her passion. The difficulty lies in that there is not much to go on in Joan Bauer’s Tell Me, a very suspenseful, sometimes funny and at all times hopeful story. 

For grades 5-8.

Friday, December 19, 2014


When in a jam call the Chicken Squad. Dirt, Sweetie, Poppy, and Sugar are cute, short, and fluffy chickens. And these are not their real names. Well here is a story of their first misadventure. So, Dirt, Sweetie, Poppy, and Sugar live in Barbara’s backyard with their mother, Moosh, and J.J. Tully, a retired search and rescue dog. Given there are other animals that come around; for example; Tail the squirrel.  

Well their first misadventure happens when Tail frantically runs into the chicken coop. From here on, Dirt and Sugar try to help by doing detective work in hopes of figuring out what Tail is afraid of.  Unfortunately, Tail’s limited vocabulary slows down their detective work.  Dirt and Sugar start with sketching basic shapes; however, Tail uses words such as “big, scary, enormous, and frightening” to describe what he is afraid of.  It takes hard work to help the terrified Tail.

Read The Chicken Squad: The First Misadventure by Doreen Cronin to find out what Tail was afraid of.  This is a light, humorous chapter book that introduces shapes.

For 2nd – 4th grade.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Who doesn't love a good witch story? Well this is a good story about a bad witch. Not an evil witch, just a girl named Salem Hyde who isn't very good at being a witch. Enter Whammy, a talkative cat (who doesn't like flying) who serves as Salem's trainer and friend, and helps her become a better "speller." 

THE MISADVENTURES OF SALEM HYDE: SPELLING TROUBLE by Frank Cammuso is the first book in what might be a very amusing Graphic Novel series for 3rd - 6th grades.


Monday, December 15, 2014


Twelve year old Tomi Itano sees herself as a proud Japanese-American even though she has never been to Japan nor speaks Japanese. In 1941, the year the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor and it is this very event that changes Tomi’s perspective on life.  Tomi and her family must endure unimaginable racist attitudes from their fellow non-Japanese Americans who now view them as the enemy. Tomi starts to see the hurtful store front signs that read “No Japs Allowed.”  She is even no longer welcomed as part of her beloved Girls Scouts.  To make matters even more unbearable, Tomi’s father is suspected of being a spy and is arrested and sent to an internment camp in New Mexico.  It did not take long for Tomi, her mother, and her brothers to be evacuated from their home and sent to the internment camp in Tallgrass, Colorado.

As the family is forced to relocate Tomi’s mother becomes worried about their strawberry fields. She also becomes bitter as the family is close to losing everything they own. Selling their belongings for very cheap is too painful; she even breaks her washing machine because the thought of selling it for a quarter proves unbearable.  As the family transitions from their home-life to camp-life, they try to establish a “normal” life by going to school and making friends. As time passes, life at the camp gives Tomi a chance to reflect on how she really feels about the way others treated her because of her nationality.

Red Berries, White Clouds, Blue Sky by Sandra Dallas is a touching story about a young girl during the 1940’s. Readers will be introduced to a terrible event that occurred in America and the toll it took on one particular family.   

For readers in 5th grade and up.

Saturday, December 13, 2014


was a lot of fun yesterday.  Thank you all who came despite the rain. We're sorry but the course didn't make it through yesterday's crowd so we hope to set it up again later in the year. We'll post the pictures up on our facebook. 

Friday, December 12, 2014



For ages 3 and up 
Friday - December 12 
Central Library  
(Call us for an update)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


The Midnight Library by Kazuno Kohara is very spare with only two colors in the illustrations.  It's a sweet tale of a few owls, a little librarian and her animal patrons who only come to visit in the evening hours. Puss and Boots by Ayano Imai has brilliant soft illustrations in a simple version easy to read of classic tale. 


A book review by Theresa from the Children's Room: 

The story is set sometime in the future though not too far off. It takes place in England which not all that different than the United States. But in this time and place in a world not very different from ours the rain has turned deadly. All water is now poisoned due to some inert bacteria brought to our universe on the back of an asteroid and now awake and multiplying in the earth’s water supply. 

In the world Virginia Bergin creates in her novel H2O the reader meets 15 year-old Ruby and her friends having a party which for many of them would be the last one of their lives. With radio broadcasts warning the dangers of any contact with water running in the background the awful truth soon is revealed—contact is fatal, it’s contagious and there is no cure. Through luck and some skill Ruby manages to be one of the very few survivors. After the deaths of her mother, brother and step-father she is left on her own and does quite a bit of floundering as the challenges she must face to survive are significant. Does she make it, does the earth survive this calamity? Only the reader knows if it’s time to start carrying an umbrella. 

For grades 5-8.

Monday, December 08, 2014


A review by Theresa from the Children's Room: 

The year is 1962, this entire country is terrified that another world war is about to start. Russia is sending nuclear missiles to Cuba and President Kennedy is threatening to attack their ships and sink them. For 13 days in October the tension is unbearable. This is the backdrop to fifth grader Franny Chapman’s story in Deborah Wiles novel, Countdown. While Franny’s story is not unusual, girl trying to find her place in her family, in school and with friends, the times she lives in are. Air raid drills at school, duck and cover exercises and frightening speeches by the President are her reality along with an older sister who is changing too fast for her liking, a best friend that turns into an enemy and the return to the neighbor of a very cute boy. 

All of Franny’s life crises along with the international ones are melded into a spot-on tale that is interspersed with footage from that year in this part fiction, part documentary work. 

This is the first of a trilogy, the second book is RevolutionA very readable novel for grades 5-8.

Friday, December 05, 2014


Join us for a round of mini golf among the bookshelves.  Have fun swinging a club this afternoon testing your eye-hand coordination.  

Friday - December 12 
Children's Room - Central Library  
(We will keep the course up through Saturday and Sunday if the course stays in good condition. Call us for an update)

Wednesday, December 03, 2014


A review by Theresa of the Children's Room: 

It’s the start of a new school year and shy seventh grader Ellie O’Brien is under attack from her former best friend and now the school’s reigning mean girl and her new sidekick and popular eighth grader Jack Mallory is suffering from extreme overbearing fatheritis in Megan Shull’s The Swap. 

Inadvertently they both end up in the nurse’s office nursing their wounds one Friday afternoon. What happens in the short time they are together ends up being a life changing experience when the two jokingly talk about changing places. A strange rhyme uttered by the school nurse and the next thing they know, Jack has long red hair and Ellie has a shiner. Unable to find her, the two kids realize that they will just have to make it through a weekend of soccer tryouts, hockey practices and sleepovers the best they can until Monday when they hope the nurse will restore everything back to where it should be. 

What results are at times funny situations, Jack's brothers use slang that leaves Ellie clueless and Jack getting a designer haircut and do, and at times challenging when the two excellent athletes have to play unfamiliar sports. Ellie and Jack each tell their own story in alternating chapters leaving no detail untold in this hard to put down story for grades 6 to 8.

Monday, December 01, 2014


Talking cats? Alice knew something strange was going on when she heard a talking cat. Intrigued, twelve-year-old Alice follows the strange feline and is eventually convinced into entering a mysterious library she was forbidden to enter and opens one of its books!  How could an obedient girl who had never been defiant brake such a rule? It was the love for reading that was so strong she could not resist. Upon entering the library, Alice also meets an arrogant boy who brings just as much trouble as the talking cat.  It did not take Alice long to figure out the book she opened was magical.  Accidentally, Alice and the cat are sucked inside the book.  But Alice’s troubles continue as she must now defeat a creature living within the book.  How did Alice get caught up in so much magic?  Well, it all started one night while Alice was sneaking around and she sees her father talking to a bumble bee fairy.  The following day Alice’s father disappears as the ship goes down at sea.  Alice is sent to live with an unheard of uncle named Geryon and it is Geryon who forbade Alice from going into his library. 
As the pages turn Alice becomes less and less trusting of the characters she meets.

The Forbidden Library by Django Wexler is a mix of genres of adventure, mystery and fantasy. The author incorporates magic just enough where it is not overwhelming. Wexler also brings the book to an end as he leads the reader towards the sequel.
Read the book and find out what happens to Alice.

For readers in 5th grade and up.