Children's Fiction

150th Anniversary of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Birth!

February 7 is the 150th anniversary of Laura Ingalls Wilder's birth.  To celebrate take a trip back to the Big Woods with Ma, Pa and Half Pint with a hand picked list of items from the library's collection.  Our Laura Ingalls Wilder post is also a sneak preview of the library's new catalog and web site, debuting in early March.  When you click the photo below you will be taken to a new digital list created using the new catalog. 

Connect the Stars by Marisa de los Santos and David Teague

I’m always intrigued when an author whose books I enjoy as an adult reader ventures into the world of children’s fiction.  I like the book Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos, so I was anxious to read her second foray into children’s literature, Connect the Stars, which she co-authored with her husband, David Teague.  The cover art drew me to the book while I was putting some titles out on display!  The story is about two teens, Audrey and Aaron, who meet at Wilderness camp.  They are both struggling with life in general, due to parts of their personalities that don’t quite mesh with other middle schoolers.  Trying to find their way through the adventures of camp and working together to handle the calamities forms the basis for their friendship, even though Audrey has given up on friends and people in general.  I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good story, and also to someone who might need to know that things usually work out OK in the end.

Theodore Boone series by John Grisham

If your child is looking for a new series to read, I recommend giving one of John Grisham’s Theodore Boone novels a try.  They are fast paced and have interesting characters.  Each story is self-contained so you do not need to read them in order!  The stories revolve around Theodore, a lawyer-in-training.  His mother and father are lawyers and he sometimes is asked to use his knowledge of the law to help his classmates when they get involved in situations.  He has his own little office in the law firm his parents own, and a trusty dog!  There are six books in this very popular series.

Saving Lucas Biggs

Saving Lucas Biggs is the first book by the writing partners, husband and wife team of Marisa de los Santos and David Teague.  It is a well-written, captivating book that involves the O’Malley family and their “quirk” – the ability to time travel.  Margaret O’Malley learns that “history resists” when you are going back in time to change the past, but she desperately wants to help her father who has been found guilty of the crimes of arson and murder and sentenced to death.  The chapters alternate between present day 2014 and 1938.  It was a good escape from recent news, and this quote from the book even helped me put things in perspective:

“For every big, bad, attention-getting thing that happens, there are thousands of small good ones, acts that might even seem ordinary but really aren’t, so many that we can forget to notice them or to count them up.  But it’s what has always amazed me:  not how terrible people can be to each other, but how good, in spite of everything.” 

So, I will keep that in mind when the news is full of the big, bad attention-getting things, and I will be thankful that the library is full of books that will help me escape for a little while.

Ida, Always by Caron Levis

In Ida, Always, by Caron Levis and Charles Santoso, we meet Gus and Ida, two polar bears who live together at a zoo in New York City (based loosely on the real life polar bear residents of the Brooklyn Zoo) and spend all their time together. But when Ida suddenly falls terminally ill, they both have to confront the fact that soon she won’t be around anymore, and we see them both grieve in their own ways. Sometimes they play like normal; sometimes they’re angry; sometimes they need to be alone; and sometimes they need to be together. When Ida ultimately passes away, Gus is left to make sense of what her life – and her absence – means.

Ida, Always isn’t the first picture book to address the tough (but necessary) concept of loss and grief in a way that’s accessible and appropriate for children, but this is one of the best versions I’ve come across recently. Both the text and the illustrations hit on the exact right tone; it’s tender without being overly cloying or euphemistic, and it reminds children that it’s okay (and expected) to grieve in a multitude of ways when a loved one dies. And the underlying concept that threads through the story – the idea that just because you can’t see something doesn’t mean it’s not still with you, illustrated by Gus’ ability to hear the sounds of New York City around him without ever being able to see it – brings a poetic and uplifting sensibility to a tough subject in a way that will resonate with children and adults alike.

This is a touching, carefully done book about grief – a topic that we all grapple with eventually, and sometimes at far too young an age – that will stand the test of time.

(Maybe don’t read this one at your desk if you tend to cry easily like I do, though).

Find Ida, Always at ELPL.

Spring Reads for Kids

Spring has finally sprung! Ready for a great read about all things spring? Check out the following titles available here at ELPL!

Babies and Toddlers
Baby Loves Spring! by Karen Katz

Preschool and Kindergarten
Springtime In Bugland by David A. Carter
Spring Surprises by Anna Jane Hays
When Spring Comes by Kevin Henkes
Groundhog Weather School by Joan Holub
999 Frogs Wake Up by Ken Kimura
The Thing About Spring by Daniel Kirk
Fletcher and the Springtime Blossoms by Julia Rawlinson
Poppleton In Spring by Cynthia Rylant
Carrot Soup by John Segal
 

1st – 3rd grade
Melody and the Sea Dragon by Katy Kit
Clementine and the Spring Trip by Sara Pennypacker
Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa: Spring Babies by Erica Silverman
Almond Blossom’s Mystery by Kay Woodward
 

4th - 6th grade
The Penderwicks in Spring by Jeanne Birdsall (ebook)
Persephone by Sally Pomme Clayton
Tales From A Not So Dorky Drama Queen by Rachel Renee Russel
The Ice Castle: An Adventure in Music by Pendred Noyce

 

Little House Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder Now Available in the Cloud!

The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder is one of the more popular print titles at ELPL.  Both with new, younger readers as well as adults re-reading this beloved series.  Now, all the stories of Ma, Pa and Half Pint are available in the Cloud!  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finding Your Next Great Tween Read

Within the world of youth literature, we all know that there is a robust selection of beginning books out there for new readers, and young adult titles for teenagers are receiving more and more attention every day. But what about books for the kids who are in between those categories? Those who are too old for picture books, but not yet ready for the world of YA? Sometimes it seems like those titles – books for tweens – don’t receive as much attention as those for other age ranges.

Luckily, ELPL features a wide range of books for readers in grades 3 through 8, and more and more publications are making booklists and recommendations for tweens, making it easier than ever to find a new middle-grade title to read. School Library Journal just published a new list, Hitting Shelves Now: 40 New Middle Grade Titles Out in March, featuring lots of titles you can find here at ELPL, including two of their selections with starred reviews, indicating a stand-out read.

All Rise For the Honorable Perry T. Cook by Leslie Connor
"Eleven-year-old Perry was born and raised by his mom at the Blue River Co-ed Correctional Facility in tiny Surprise, Nebraska. His mom is a resident on Cell Block C, and so far Warden Daugherty has made it possible for them to be together. That is, until a new district attorney discovers the truth—and Perry is removed from the facility and forced into a foster home.

When Perry moves to the “outside” world, he feels trapped. Desperate to be reunited with his mom, Perry goes on a quest for answers about her past crime. As he gets closer to the truth, he will discover that love makes people resilient no matter where they come from . . . but can he find a way to tell everyone what home truly means?"

Maybe a Fox by Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee
"Jules adores her older-by-one-year sister, Sylvie.

Sylvie: beautiful like their mother.
Sylvie: supreme maker of tiny snow families.
Sylvie: faster than fast.

Sylvie: gone.

Into thin air, Sylvie goes missing, and as Jules stumbles in grief, a fox cub is born. A shadow fox, spirit and animal in one. From the minute the cub opens her eyes, she senses something very wrong. Someone—Jules.

Jules: steadfast like their father.
Jules: supreme maker of tiny snow foxes.
Jules: collector of rocks.

Jules: heartbroken.

Who is this Jules? Who is this Sylvie she cries out for? And why does the air still prickle with something unsettled? As that dark unknown grows, the fates of the girl Jules and the fox cub, laced together with wishes and shadowy ties, are about to collide."

Check out the School Library Journal’s full list of new tween titles available this spring, and find your next favorite tween read here at ELPL

(Book summaries from GoodReads.com)

Pages