Kids Books

Kid’s books are so much fun!  I could sit all day and look at the new picture books that are coming into the library – the fun stories, the amazing illustrations, and the feel of those new shiny pages…  Just as rewarding is the selection of wonderful stories out there for the middle-school crowd.  Here’s just a sampling of some of the stuff that has come in that I’ve shared with my own kids!


The crayons have had enough!  They each have their own complaint (Beige is sick of being called tan, Black wants to be used for more than outlining, and Orange and Yellow are fighting about which one is the rightful color of the sun) which is written (in crayon of course!) on pieces of paper that have been placed in Duncan’s crayon box.  Now he has to appease them all so he can get some coloring done!  A funny book with wonderful illustrations.

Title: The Day the Crayons Quit
Author: Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers
Genre: Fiction, Children’s
Pages: 40
Publication: Philomel, June 2013


It’s bedtime in Burrow Down and the rabbit Eliza Brown, along with all of the other woodland creatures, is settling in to read a bedtime story.  But there’s a book thief on the loose and books keep disappearing.  When Eliza decides to stay up late and catch the crook she finds that it is the tiny Snatchabook, just lonely and wanting someone to read her a story.  The wonderful rhyming cadence of the story, combined with the gorgeous illustrations makes this a great book to share with kids of all ages.

Title: Snatchabook
Author: Helen & Thomas Docherty
Genre: Fiction, Children’s
Pages: 32
Publication: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, October 2013

fortunately the milk

The latest from creative genius Neil Gaiman falls somewhere between a picture book and a chapter book.  There are no chapters, and in spite of its page count, it is a quick read, with fantastical illustrations on nearly every page.  Mom is out of town, and Dad is a little scatter-brained.  When the kids go to eat their cereal for breakfast and find they are out of milk, Dad heads to the store.  When he returns with the milk after a long absence his explanation is a wild tale filled with aliens, dinosaurs, pirates, volcano gods, time travel, and more.  Is this just a big made-up excuse?  Or could he be telling the truth??  Completely silly, but laugh-out-loud funny with hilarious illustrations that make the trip all the more enjoyable!

Title: Fortunately, the Milk
Author: Neil Gaiman
Genre: Fiction, Children’s
Pages: 128
Publication: Harper Collins, September 2013

three times

Moses LeBeau is a feisty sixth grader living in a small town in North Carolina.  She was found washed down the river as a baby and she has been on a search for her “upstream mother” for years.  In the meantime, she has made a home with the Colonel, the owner of a café who has forgotten his own past, and Miss Lana, the outrageous café hostess.  When a murderer comes to their small town, followed by a suspicious lawman, Mo will join forces with her best friend, Dale Earnhardt Johnson III, to solve the mystery and save those that she loves.  A quirky tale of a southern small town with a lot of humor and a lot of heart.

Title: Three Times Lucky
Author: Sheila Turnage
Genre: Fiction, Children’s
Pages: 256
Publication: Dial, May 2012


Jackson Opus is just an ordinary kid who seems to get people to do what he wants…  or is he?  The descendant from two of the most powerful families of hypnotists, Jackson is excited when he learns about his power and joins the Sentia Institute to hone his skills.  But when he is forced to use his power in unethical ways, Jackson will have to find a way to do the right thing and save his family at the same time.  The first in a series, with a cliffhanger of an ending, the story was fast-paced and interesting, although not as humorous as some of Korman’s other books.

Title: The Hypnotists
Author: Gordon Korman
Genre: Fiction, Children’s
Pages: 256
Publication:  Scholastic, July 2013


Fun Stories to Share!

I’ve talked a lot about how I like to read to my kids at night.  It started when my son was a toddler.  I used to tell him that he could pick three stories for bedtime and he would hand me The Little Engine that Could.  When I told him he could pick out two more?  “No!  I want you to read this one three times!”  I still hate that book…  Other favorites were There’s a Wocket in my Pocket, Goodnight Moon, and Guess How Much I Love You.  We kept reading every night when my daughter was born, and it is something that I still try to do even now that my son is sixteen and my daughter is eleven.  It’s challenging to find the time now that they’re involved in their various extra-curricular activities, but we find it most days.  Turns out they’re not too old to enjoy story time with mom, I think we all love to hear a good story no matter our age.  While I will still occasionally bring home a great picture book from the library, we mostly read chapter books now.  Below are some of our favorites from the last year, good stories that were enjoyable to share aloud and that were enjoyable for all ages.

homesickBenny’s dad is a hoarder – a seriously out-of-control hoarder.  Benny’s mom can’t take it anymore and leaves the small Missouri town for New Orleans – now Benny needs to deal with the situation all on his own.  When a local teacher enters the town in a contest for “America’s Most Charming Small Town” (maybe exaggerating a little – ok a lot – on the application) the town needs to deal with the junk pile that has become Benny’s home.  There is a great supporting cast of characters – a hippie starting a radio station, a teacher encouraging community service projects, a piano teacher, a classroom crush – that cause you to feel like you know and love the quirky people in this small town.  While reading this book we had a lot of laughs, moments where our hearts were breaking for Benny, times when we were holding our breaths waiting to see what happened next, and times when we were cheering him on.

Title: Homesick
Author: Kate Klise
Genre: Children’s Fiction
Pages: 192
Publication: Feiwel & Friends, September 2012

liarspyWhen Georges dad loses his job his family is uprooted and needs to move to a Brooklyn apartment in an unfamiliar neighborhood.  His mom is working extra shifts at the hospital to make ends meet and Georges is feeling depressed and friendless when he sees a sign for a Spy Club.  Encouraged by his dad, he signs up and meets Safer – a twelve-year old spy – who recruits Georges on his mission to figure out what nefarious deeds their upstairs neighbor, Mr. X, is up to.  Eventually, Georges becomes concerned about the morality of what Safer is asking him to do and frustrated with Safer’s moody demands.  As he begins to question Safer and his stories they begin to unravel as does their friendship.  The relationships in the story were great – Georges and his mom leaving messages for each other with Scrabble tiles, how he tries not to put extra stress on his dad, the way that Safer’s family takes him in, and ultimately, his friendship with Safer as he comes to an understanding of the truth.

Title: Liar & Spy
Author: Rebecca Stead
Genre: Children’s Fiction
Pages: 192
Publication: Wendy Lamb Books, August 2012

ungiftedThis story was hilarious, from start to finish.  Donovan is a decidedly ungifted troublemaker who may have finally taken things too far when an administrative screw-up lands him in the Academy for Scholastic Distinction.  If he can hide out there for awhile, maybe his other problems will blow over… plus, his parents are sooo proud!  As his new teachers and fellow students struggle to figure out where Donovan’s gifts may lie (how DID he get here??), he brings something new to the class – himself – his knowledge of “normal” life, video games, and YouTube.  The relationships between these students, their parents, and their teachers are consistently humorous yet insightful.  There was not an evening of reading this together when we didn’t end up laughing.  Mr. Korman – my kids are hoping for a sequel!


Title: Ungifted
Author: Gordon Korman
Genre: Children’s Fiction
Pages: 288
Publication: Balzer & Bray, August 2012