Library Staff Recommended Reading April 2015

Recommended Reading Archive


At the water's edge : a novel

At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen

Welcome to a delightfully intriguing cast of characters and the engaging style of storytelling that has made Sara Gruen so popular with a wide audience. The setting of her new novel is Loch Ness in Scotland, where a foolish group of rich Americans arrive in search of the famous monster. The narrator, Maddie, must make sense of the circumstances that have brought her, right in the middle of World War II, to this strange and wild locale. Only then can she discover the strength she needs to make her own decisions while standing at the mysterious water's edge.                                                                                 

~Paulette Brooks~


Echo : a novel

Echo:  a novel by Pam Munoz Ryan. (Grades 5+)

We begin with a legend about three musical princesses who have been placed under a spell.  They cannot escape the spell until they save a life, but they are confined to a forest in Germany where nobody goes.  When a boy becomes lost in the forest, they help him and in return, he agrees to help them.  The princesses can’t physically leave the forest, but they can magically inhabit the boy’s musical instrument – a harmonica – and perhaps save a life that way.  The harmonica then passes through the hands of others and we learn their stories as well.  The first boy to receive the harmonica lives in Germany during the rise of the Nazi party.  He is a gifted musician and wants to become a conductor, but is being denied that opportunity because he has a deformity.  His life is endangered when he comes to the attention of the authorities, but we leave his story at that point without knowing whether he lives or dies.   The second story is set in Philadelphia 2 years later and is about the hardships of 2 orphaned brothers.  The third story is a couple of years after that and is about a girl living in California shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor and the US entry into WWII.  In each story there is a talented musician who receives the harmonica, but we don’t find out how the stories are connected or what happens to the princesses until the very end.                                

~Sue Daniels~


The darkest part of the forest

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black (YA)

Holly Black has proven herself a popular mainstay in both middle grade and young adult fiction.  The newest addition to her ever-growing cannon is The Darkest Part of the Forest, an urban fantasy steeped in the faerie tradition.  Hazel and Ben Evans grew up in Fairfold, a typical small town, excluding the fact it is surrounded by an enchanted wood.  Within that wood a horned boy has slept for centuries enclosed in an unbreakable glass casket; a monster of twig, stone, and earth can materialize with the completion of a children’s rhyme; and the vicious Alderking holds a perilous revel on each full moon.  At 11, Hazel was tromping through the forest with Ben, fighting evil fairies, and dreaming of becoming a true night.  At 17, however, her dreams have been replaced with bleak reality:  she made a foolish bargain with the Alderking for the sake of her brother, and the debt must soon be repaid.  Besides her own growing problems, Hazel is alarmed about the future of Fairfold as the long and uneasy truce with the Folk seems to be hurtling toward a disastrous end.  A master of fantasy who improves with each title, Black continues to satisfy.  Recommended for fans of traditional fairy tales, fairy tale retellings, and strong female characters.                                                                                  

~ Abby Landers ~


Holy cow

Holy cow by David Duchovny

Holy cow is a humorous tale about friendship, religion, and human race seen through the eyes of a cow named Elsie Q. Elsie is a happy cow living in a farm who spends her days with her best friend Mallory who is interested in bulls. It will make your heart feeling warm and full, and it will make you to think about life and spirituality and nature. 5 stars!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              ~ Jin Hur ~


A family of poems : my favorite poetry for children

A family of poems compiled by Caroline Kennedy, illustrated by Jon Muth

In honor of Poetry month, savor both the wonderful selection of poems fondly remembered by the Kennedy family while appreciating the beautiful watercolor illustrations by Jon Muth.

From the nostalgic black and white photograph of a young Caroline reading to her teddy bear, one can imagine how books and poetry infused her childhood.  Adults will appreciate her own personal introductions to each section. As Caroline Kennedy reflects, “[poetry] brought the generations together and deepened our knowledge and feelings for one another.” Enjoy this book with your family and make some memories.                                            

~Paulette Brooks~

A dangerous place : a Maisie Dobbs novel

A Dangerous Place: a Maisie Dobbs novel by Jacqueline Winspear

In the spring of 1937, Maisie Dobbs is returning to England from India. Docking in Gibraltar temporarily, she stumbles across a body and can't help but investigate the murder. The story of events in Gibraltar is intertwined with a recap of events in Maisie's own story which gives the tale an important place in the chronology of this eleven book series. Readers who have followed Maisie in previous adventures will definitely need to read this installment to bring themselves up to speed.                                                                                              

~Nancy Arevalo~

The big tiny : a built-it-myself memoir

The Big Tiny by Dee Williams

Dee Williams’ account of downsizing to the extreme, from a typical middle class sized home to a home of 84 square feet allows readers a glimpse into the scaling back, and then slowing down, that many consider undertaking at various transitional points in their lives.

Dee was diagnosed with a heart condition at the age of 41, and so begins a re-evaluative period that allows her to realize that most of her time is spent working to pay the mortgage, and in home repair and home maintenance.  Feeling that time is too precious for these things, she makes the decision to sell her home and build herself a new, smaller one. The amazing financial freedom and the ultimate luxury-time- that results is, to her, well worth the size trade-off.  This hard-to-put-down book allows readers to reflect and examine their own time use priorities. 

                                                                                        

~Lori Kuban~

The Night Flight by Joanne Ryder

Have you ever awakened from a “flying” dream - the memory upon awakening that you have passed the night soaring above your house, your yard, or your city? Well, if you’ve ever struggled to describe this to someone who has never experienced one, The Night Flight by Joanne Ryder illustrates it beautifully.

With a child’s sense of imagination and an adult sense of poetry, The Night Flight follows little Julia as she floats on the night sky out to the local city park where she revisits the stone lion, the woods, the pond and the goldfish of her familiar daytime walk, each newly alive, aware and communicating with her in ways the daytime cannot accommodate, but will later recall.  This is a bedtime story that will delight children as well as adults.  Sweet dreams!                  

~Shannon McKeown~

George Washington's secret six : the spy ring that saved the American Revolution

George Washington's Secret Six:  The Spy Ring That Saved the American Revolution by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger  

This is the story of a little known spy ring that was operational during the American Revolution.  Washington's small, untrained and volunteer army was suffering devastating losses against the British, and he was losing hope that he could defeat the might of the British Army which had a rich and powerful country backing it.  He realized he couldn't rely on military might alone: that he would need secret intelligence and cunning in order to defeat his enemy.  He set up a spy ring, the members of which have just recently become known.  One was a woman, and her identity has never been discovered.  This is a compelling story about a group of unselfish Patriots who willingly risked their lives for their country.  Thanks to their contributions and activities, this group of 6 people changed the course of history.  And until now their story has been unknown and untold.                                               

~Milly Strawn~



“Staff Recommends” Compiled by Paulette Brooks

 

Return to Home Page