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Chris's Picks

The Girl Who Drank the Moon (Winner of the 2017 Newbery Medal) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781616205676
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Algonquin Young Readers - August 9th, 2016

Awarded the 2017 Newbery Medal!

Kelly Barnhill wrote a perfect book.  I love her The Witch's Boy (as have many others) for so many reasons.  And now, lightning has struck twice! THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON is an achingly beautiful tale. Luna, rescued as an infant by a gentle old witch, has lived for years protected by kind Xan's fierce love.  As Luna turns thirteen years old, the powerful magic within her (fueled by the moon itself) is revealed.  She will be unknowingly drawn into a dangerous conflict as familiar forces of fearsome evil and pure goodness inexorably meet.  Barnhill herself must have drunk of the moon's light to have created such a remarkable story. It is perfection.

Substitute: Going to School with a Thousand Kids Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399160981
Availability: Special Order
Published: Penguin Press - September 6th, 2016

Nicholson Baker spent twenty-eight days as a substitute teacher for a public school district in Maine.  SUBSTITUTE: GOING TO SCHOOL WITH a THOUSAND KIDS, is his engaging account of the experience.  Mr. Baker relates each day's teaching assignment (in a variety of schools and grades) with detail and humor. Taken together, these smaller stories offer a clear-eyed, revealing, and poignant look inside very real schools. Baker's affection for the students he meets is genuine. His willingness to poke fun at himself is equally endearing.  His observations are honest and important. He reveals the messiness, frustration, hope, and the utter joy that are part of each day in any classroom. Baker is talented and passionate. His book is triumph.

Panda Pants Cover Image
By Jacqueline Davies, Sydney Hanson (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780553535761
Availability: Special Order
Published: Knopf Books for Young Readers - September 13th, 2016

Perhaps a most persistent panda can persuade his panda parent that a pair of pants (with pockets) would be a positively perfect piece of apparel.  "No" says the parent repeatedly, "Pandas don't wear pants."   Young panda provides more and more proof to perpetuate his plan. Papa panda remains firm - no pants!  Which panda will prevail?  Jacqueline Davies's wry tale is delightful, and Sydney Hanson's expressive illustrations are charming - a productive pairing!  This is a great book!

Staff Pick Badge
Brilliant Beacons: A History of the American Lighthouse Cover Image
ISBN: 9780871406682
Availability: Special Order
Published: Liveright - April 18th, 2016

Eric Jay Dolin's wonderful new book is so much more than "a history of the American lighthouse".  It is a lively, highly readable account of our country's development and growth.  Brilliant Beacons is America's story; lighthouses are its main character.  As in his previous books, Dolin skillfully tackles an expansive subject by focusing on the compelling stories of people.  And so, we read of daring sea rescues, of the continuous efforts to mprove the brightness and clarity of the beacons' beams, and of the heroism of the many keepers who maintained lighthouses under highly trying conditions.  Brilliant Beacons is another terrific book by Eric Dolin.  →We have signed copies!  Call to reserve.

The Immortal Irishman: The Irish Revolutionary Who Became an American Hero Cover Image
ISBN: 9780544272880
Availability: Not Currently Available. Cannot Be Ordered.
Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - March 1st, 2016

The story of the life of Thomas Francis Meagher is simply amazing! He came of age during  Ireland's Great Hunger and spoke out boldly against England's treatment of Ireland. Found guilty of treason, Meagher was sentenced to banishment for life in Tasmania. A daring  escape led him to America where he bravely led a heroic Irish regiment for Union forces during the Civil War. It is a remarkable tale related with cinematic perfection  by Timothy Egan. Egan's gorgeous writing is as wonderful as the tale he tells. This is a great book!

1944: FDR and the Year That Changed History Cover Image
ISBN: 9781439114087
Availability: Not Currently Available. Cannot Be Ordered.
Published: Simon & Schuster - September 22nd, 2015

This is truly one of the best books I have ever read.  Winik's book is informative, highly readable, challenging (in the best way), and completely unforgettable!  He has written a masterpiece.

The Thing About Jellyfish Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316380867
Availability: Backordered
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - September 22nd, 2015

THE THING ABOUT JELLYFISH is a wonder of a book! Its pages are filled with profound wisdom, heartrending sadness, and fortunately, very real hope. Suzy, highly intelligent, sees the world differently than most. She is ruthlessly scorned by her classmates. For years, Suzy could count on her best friend Franny, but now they have drifted apart. With a desperate, misunderstood action, Suzy further widens the gulf between them. Shortly after, she learns that Franny has drowned. Convinced that a jellyfish sting is the cause, Suzy is determined to prove her theory. Her journey, a quest for peace and resolution, is the book's core. Ali Benjamin's incredible debut is affecting and powerful. A unique story and truly gorgeous writing combine for a book that is impossible to forget.

Middle Reader - Grades 4 and up

Miss Emily: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143126751
Availability: Special Order
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - July 14th, 2015

“Conjure an image of Emily Dickinson: brilliant, but dour and odd? No! In O’Connor’s gem of a novel, Miss Emily is spirited and witty, even brave. Emily befriends Ada Concannon, who was hired as the Dickinsons’ kitchen girl almost immediately after she arrived from Ireland. Their unlikely friendship quickly provides each with solace and strength in a world where women are often marginalized. Later, an act of raw violence will ripple outward, resulting in consequences that neither Ada nor Emily could ever have imagined. O’Connor has written a small, hope-filled masterpiece!”

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First Grade Dropout Cover Image
By Audrey Vernick, Matthew Cordell (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780544129856
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Clarion Books - July 7th, 2015

What could be so embarrassing that a young boy decides that he can NEVER go back to school?  This wildly funny (and encouraging) picture book will tell you!

I Will Never Get a Star on Mrs. Benson's Blackboard Cover Image
ISBN: 9780763665142
Availability: Not Currently Available. Cannot Be Ordered.
Published: Candlewick - June 9th, 2015

More than anything, Rose wants to earn a star on her teacher's blackboard. Math, though, is a minus, and reading...well, it just isn't. Spilled snacks and desk disasters make Rose even more sure that her name will remain forever "unstarred". Mrs. Benson sees her classmates' talents so easily. What about Rose? Well, sometimes, the best person you can be is simply YOURSELF. (And that goes for teachers too!). Like Rose, this gem of a picture book is one-of-a kind!

The Good Thief: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385337465
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Dial Press Trade Paperback - August 11th, 2009

It is impossible to read Hannah Tinti’s new book without being reminded of Charles Dickens, which is high praise, for sure! Ren, a one-handed orphan, is easily as heart-breaking and memorable as Oliver Twist. Tinti’s novel is set in a grimy New England coastal town in the early 19th century. The appearance of Ren’s long-lost “brother” plunges readers (and Ren) into a harrowing adventure. Though her characters engage in all kinds of crime and despicable behavior (including grave robbing), Tinti ends her wild tale with both hope and love. Great cover; great book!

The Heretic's Daughter: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316024495
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Back Bay Books - October 12th, 2009

Well over 300 years have passed since the Witch Hysteria of the 1690’s gripped the Massachusetts Colony, and today we remain both fascinated and horrified by the events of that time. Kathleen Kent’s amazing debut novel reminds me why!

Set largely in Andover, the sad tale of Martha Carrier is told by her young daughter Sarah. Kent’s writing is deft and compelling. Her prose somehow captures the cadences of 17th century English without being burden-some. Kent’s tale provides plausible background to a familiar episode by describing the varied tensions of the time. This is a haunting, wonderful book.