Archive for category The Reading Room

With their father en route to Africa for Doctors Without Borders, city-kids Nicholas and younger twin sisters Haley and Hetty are off to spend the summer with their Great-Uncle Nick at his house on Forsaken Lake. Despite some initial doubts, Nicholas is right at home in the country: he learns to sail, learns about his father as a boy, and makes fast friends with a local-girl, the tomboy Charlie.

The summer takes a turn toward the mysterious, though, when Nicholas discovers an old movie that his father made as a boy: it tells the story of the local legend, The Seaweed Strangler, but was never finished. Before long Nicholas wants answers both about the legend, and about the movie. Together, he and Charlie work to uncover the truth and discover some long-buried family secrets along the way. For ages 10 & up.

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Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier is the utterly beguiling tale of a blind 10-year-old orphan who has been schooled in a life of thievery. One fateful afternoon, he steals a box from a mysterious traveling haberdasher—a box that contains three pairs of magical eyes. When he tries the first pair, he is instantly transported to a hidden island, where he is presented with a special quest: to travel to the dangerous Vanished Kingdom and rescue a people in need. Along with his loyal sidekick—a knight who has been turned into an unfortunate combination of horse and cat—and the magic eyes, he embarks on an unforgettable, swashbuckling adventure to discover his true destiny. For ages 10 & up.

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Is there anything Pete won’t eat? Poppy Wise’s sweet but unruly dog starts with Nico’s accordion and works his way through the alphabet, making a nuisance of himself by leaving nothing untouched, not even glue sticks or Uncle Norman’s underpants. Despite Pete’s ravenous ways, a frazzled Poppy Wise can’t help loving him. Kids will laugh at Pete’s impossible cuisine, adults will appreciate the offbeat sense of humor, and both will love the artwork that perfectly captures the fun of the text in this unique alphabet book only author-illustrator Maira Kalman could create. For ages 2-9.

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This month’s pick has been hand-selected by Jo as her book pick for adults who have children or work with children with Autism.

There have been huge advances in our ability to diagnose autism and in the development of effective interventions that can change children’s lives. In this extraordinary book, Dr. Lynn Kern Koegel, PhD, a leading clinician, researcher, and cofounder of the renowned Autism Research Center at the University of California at Santa Barbara, combines her cutting-edge expertise with the everyday perspectives of Claire LaZebnik, a writer whose experience with a son with autism provides a rare window into the disorder. Together, they draw on the highly effective “pivotal response” approach developed at the center to provide concrete ways of improving the symptoms of autism and the emotional struggles that surround it, while reminding readers never to lose sight of the humor that lurks in the disability’s quirkiness or the importance of enjoying your child. From the shock of diagnosis to the step-by-step work with verbal communication, social interaction, self-stimulation, meltdowns, fears, and more, the answers are here-in a book that is as warm and nurturing as it is authoritative.

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Poor Duncan just wants to color. But when he opens his box of crayons, he finds only letters, all saying the same thing: His crayons have had enough! They quit! Beige Crayon is tired of playing second fiddle to Brown Crayon. Black wants to be used for more than just outlining. Blue needs a break from coloring all those bodies of water. And Orange and Yellow are no longer speaking—each believes he is the true color of the sun.

What can Duncan possibly do to appease all of the crayons and get them back to doing what they do best? This book, by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers, is great for kids ages 3-7.

 

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In this book by James Dean and illustrated by James and Kimberly Dean, Join Pete as he has a Valentine’s Day adventure—complete with poster, punch-out valentine cards, and stickers!

Pete the Cat thinks Valentine’s Day isn’t cool . . . until he realizes how many special cats there are in his life! Pete works hard to make valentines for everyone, and it turns out to be the grooviest Valentine’s Day ever. But what happens when he realizes he’s forgotten to make a card for a very important cat? Join Pete the Cat as he discovers just how special Valentine’s Day can be! For ages 4-8.

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In author Catherine Gilbert Murdock’s latest book, fourteen-year-old Sarah Zorn intends to spend the Wisconsin summer with her “boyfriend” Curtis, waiting for a dead calf named Boris to decompose in time for the science fair. Her plans upend, however, when her fake-boyfriend strategy goes seriously awry just as her hippie Grandma Z invites her on a last-minute Roman holiday. As Sarah explores Italy’s ancient wonders, she can’t stop “boy-liking” Curtis . . . or puzzling over her grandmother’s odd behavior. Written as Sarah’s journal, this satisfying middle grade novel navigates the murky waters of first love, friendship, and family with heart and good humor. (A good read for those ages 10 & up).

Read a Q&A we did with Catherine Gilbert Murdock here.

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It’s December 24th, and the old farmer settles down for a winter’s nap, wondering how Christmas can come when there is no snow! It is in his dream that he imagines a snowstorm coming and covering him and his animals—named One, Two, Three, Four and Five—in a snowy blanket.

But when the farmer awakens, he finds that it has really snowed outside, and now he remembers something! Putting on his red suit, he goes outside, puts some gifts under the tree for his animals, and presses a button near a Christmas tree, creating a most surprising musical treat for children everywhere. For ages 2 – 6 years.

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Annaka Harris’ book (with illustrations by John Rowe) I Wonder is a picture book for children ages 1 and up. The story is about a little girl who takes a walk with her mother and encounters a range of mysteries – from gravity, to life cycles, to the vastness of the universe. She learns to talk about how it feels to not know something, and she learns that it’s okay to say “I don’t know.” In the process, she discovers that there are some things even adults don’t know – mysteries for everyone in the world to wonder about together!

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Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson

The witch and her cat are happily flying through the sky on a broomstick when the wind picks up and blows away the witch’s hat, then her bow, and then her wand!  Luckily, three helpful animals find the missing items, and all they want in return is a ride on the broom.  But is there room on the broom for so many friends?  And when disaster strikes, will they be able to save the witch from a hungry dragon? For ages 4-8.

 

A Tiger Called Thomas by Charlotte Zolotow

When shy Thomas moves into a new house on a new street, he takes it into his head that the new people might not like him. But when Halloween rolls around and Thomas sets out in a tiger-rific costume, he realizes the real trick to enjoying the treat of new friends is to just be himself. This tender story from veteran children’s author Charlotte Zolotow explores the trials of being the new kid on the block, and the triumphs of showing your true stripes and finding a place among friends. For ages 4-8.

 

Dr. Seuss’ What Was I Scared Of?

What’s a pair of empty green trousers doing standing by itself in the woods? Or riding a bike in Grin-itch?  Or fishing on Roover River?  The narrator certainly doesn’t want to find out but wherever he goes, he’s haunted by the spooky empty pants. Finally, when the two find themselves hiding from each other in a Snide bush the terrified narrator realizes, “I was just as strange to him as he was strange to me.”  This little Seussian gem, plucked from the back of The Sneetches and Other Stories, shines on it own as it delivers a timeless message about fear and tolerance. For age 3 & up.

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