If you love language and collect wacky words to flabbergast friends with your prodigious vocabulary, skedaddle right over to the Otto Bookstore and check out HORNSWOGGLED! by word master Josh Crute, with illustrations by the clever Jenn Harney. Someone is swapping out the animals' important assets with ridiculous, useless replacements! Will they find the culprit and retrieve their valuables, or be outfoxed by the clever trickster? Check it out and spice up your conversations with these wacky words.,
The 1985 Christmas season in a small Irish village finds Bill Furlong facing his past, and questioning his faith when a coal delivery to the local convent leads to a disturbing discovery. With a deft hand and lyrical language, Keegan brings us a hopeful Christmas story with a very human, empathic hero.
Lim’s debut novel is powerful, timely, and uplifting. Angelo and his Filipino immigrant parents have recently moved from San Diego to ‘Nowhere’ to reopen a local diner. He’s far from the ocean, his girlfriend, and his skateboarding world; an outcast as the only Asian in his all white school. When he connects with other kids on the fringe, they find their voice and the power to facedown the bullies.
This beautifully innovative picture book takes us to six very different landscapes, from our own familiar seasons, to the Arctic, Alaska, Australia, China, and Kenya where we see how beautifully varied nature is. The vibrant illustrations have flaps of varying widths that present text to enhance the pictures. Come check out the book and be inspired by the beauty and diversity of Mother Nature.
I, for one, am eggstatic that former children’s book editor Eric Geron decided to go to the other side of the desk and write a book. If, like me, you like the playfulness of language and can’t resist a ‘bad’ pun, you will love this book that eggsplains what happened when the chicken crossed the road. Pete Oswald’s illustrations ‘shell’ leave you chuckling as he brings the spirit of the tale to life.
Anne Sebba brings Ethel, a victim of prefudice, unscrupulous people of powes, and myth, to life as a real, complex human being. This is essential reading for anyone interested in trying to separate fact from fiction, reality from myth to understand and own up to our own history.
I'm always excited to find a good book by a new author. For YA readers interested in how climate change is changing their world, THE LAST BEAR by Hannah Gold is a true gift. Nine-year-old April and her dad will be spending the summer at a weather station on the remote Bear Island, between Norway and the North Pole. When she stumbles across a half-starved polar bear, she decides to rescue him. She builds a relationship with him, sharing food, exploring the island, and finding her "roar!" Before the summer is over, she will find a way to get him back to his home on Svalbard, reconnect with her distant dad, and find a new purpose for her life. Gold has done her research and shares those resources with readers who may be inspired to make their own difference in the world.
HOLD BACK THE TIDE by Melinda Salisbury is an engrossing YA tale full of the dark atmosphere of a Scottish folktale. Alva lives an isolated life with her father, guardian of the loch that powers the paper mill that provides employment for the village of Ormscala. As the lake loses water and Alva's father refuses to warn the town, strange creatures are seen, animal carcusses are found, and people disappear. You'll be on the edge of your seat as Alva confronts the demons of the loch that hold the secrets of her past.
This clever book goes way beyond the alphabet to tell a story of how the smallest among us can change the world and how one act of friendship can bring down walls and build a community. Pair it with Mixed by Arree Chung, which used color to start a conversation about diversity to facilitate some interesting conversations
I’m a big fan of alphabet books, and have always been amazed at how unique, clever, and diverse this genre is. This one takes humorously gives stories and pictures to invisible words.
Katya was eight years old in Leningrad when her neighbor died and left her his Bluthner piano, igniting a passion and gift for music. Her closest companion until she marries, it is left behind when her husband decides they will have a better future in America. Clare was approaching her twelfth birthday in Bakersfield when her father gave her an early birthday gift, a Bluthner piano. She lost both parents in a house fire two days later and now 26, she begins to question why she can't let this piano she can't play go and get on with her life. The story of how the piano impacted and connected these lives makes a riveting read.
The sister team of Kate & M Sarah Klise (rhymes with mice), who brought has the fun series 43 Old Cemetery Road, have a new book out to tickle your funny bone while slyly showing the power of books and civic responsibility. Written through letters and memos in what we call an epistolary novel, it's a fast fun read. When a new librarian, Rita B. Danjerious, shows up at Appleton Elementary School, students are awakened to the exciting world of books and their own power, armed with knowledge, to fight corrupt power.
On the Horizon by Lois Lowry (ISBN 0358129400) is a slim, but powerful story in verse. Lowry was born in Hawaii in 1937, and after the war, spent part of her childhood in Japan. While watching old home movies of playing on the beach with her Nonny in 1940, a friend noticed the distinctive shape of the USS Arizona gliding in the background. The seed was planted. Focusing on stories of the victims of these devastating events that bookended our involvement in the war, she uses research into the lives of real victims of both man-made disasters and her incredible gift for finding the humanity, encouraging empathy, and exposing the threads that connect us to remind us that we are all in this together and every soul counts.
If you are planning a road trip sometime soon and need something to keep the younger travelers engaged, try the new audiobook of Charlotte's Web by E B White. At 4 hours in length, this classic tale, preformed by Meryl Streep and a full cast of stellar readers will keep even the most restless travel engaged as they spend the seasons Spring through Fall in the Zuckerman barnyard getting to know the animals who live there and seeing (or hearing) real friendship in action.
Fausto is a rich man, but not rich enough. He believed everything belonged to him and began a journey to claim ownership. The flower, the sheep, the mountain....all bowed to his selfish claims of ownership until the quiet, endless sea showed a way calm way to resist. More than a children's book, this modern day fable has a powerful message for all ages to ponder.
Mo Willems' Pigeon books are beloved by the younger set. DON'T LET THE PIGEON DRIVE THE BUS introduced us to Pigeon, who knows his mind and speaks it directly to the reader. His latest book, THE PIGEON HAS TO GO TO SCHOOL is the perfect book to share with kiddos nervous about heading off to that big, scary, place called school. With humor and a wink, he tackles all the big scary things about school and knocks them down to size. "Whazza-Whazza-Whaaa!?!" Pigeon is ready, and your little one will be, too, after sharing this book.
WHEN ALL IS SAID by debut author Anne Griffin is the story of the night 84-year-old Maurice Hannigan bares his soul. Sitting at the bar one evening, he raises five glasses - one to each of the five people most important to his life and we learn his true story with all its highs and lows. The writing is lovely, but to really experience this story, check out the audiobook. Niall Buggy's narration will transport you to the bar stool next to Maurice, making you laugh and cry as you share the evening with this unique character.
Because a young girl gets an unexpected trip to the Symphony, and because the music captures her with its magic, a dream is born and blooms. Mo Willems composed the story of a young girl's journey from dream to reality on center stage. Amber Ren's exquisite art performs magic bringing this true story of contemporary composer Hilary Purrington to vibrant life.
Just when I think there's nothing new in the world of alphabet books, P IS FOR PTERODACTYL shows up! It introduces youngsters, in a fun way, to those idiosyncratic letters that don't follow the rules; letters that become shy when they have to stand at the front of some words and letters that pretend to be something else as they mimic the sounds of other letters. All 26 letters have their quirks, and this clever book, with charming illustrations by Maria Tina Beddia highlighting the clever captions by Raj Halder & Chris Carpenter, shines a light on all their mischievous little quirks...from A to Z. And, as a bonus, the glossary in the back of the book unlocks the mystery of pronunciation and meaning for all the words...from the familiar to the not-so-familiar.
Ketch Secor, a founder of Old Crow Medicine Show, has penned LORRAINE, a charming picture book about a young girl and her Pa Paw who make music with a pennywhistle and harmonica to lift their spirits - "on good days or bad it was JOYFUL to hear it." All of a sudden, a powerful twister sweeps in and their instruments are nowhere to be found! Can they find a way to set free the music in their hearts and get them through the scary storm? The illustrations, by the wonderfully talented Higgins Bond, are warm, cozy, and colorful. Even the lettering becomes a vibrant voice in the story, using color, size, and a variety of fonts to enhance the story. This book is a winner!
Sharon Creech's latest book, SAVING WINSLOW, is sure to steal your heart. Louie loves animals but doesn't have much luck when he tries to nurture small creatures like lightning bugs, worms, and goldfish. When his dad brings home a sickly newborn mini donkey from Uncle Pete's farm, Louie accepts the mission to save the pitiful, sick motherless creature. Winslow, the goat, helps him fill the empty places left behind when big brother Gus, left to serve in the army. If you love animals, if you love stories about the bond between brothers, between friends, and between children and the natural world, SAVING WINSLOW was written for you.
The story opens with 84-year-old Florence Claybourne lying on the floor in her apartment at Cherry Tree Home for the Elderly. She fell, she can’t get up, and her ‘panic button’ is on the other side of the room. As she waits for someone to rescue her, she reflects on her life-long best friend Elsie, some mysteries and secrets from their past, and the appearance of a new resident at Cherry Tree who bears a striking resemblance to a young man who supposedly died sixty years ago and is bound to blow the lid off their secrets. Cannon weaves, with subtle hints that lodge in your subconscious and ultimately, a tapestry where every thread is vital to the whole.
This story is told through the voice of the voice of Livy, who, after five years, returns to her Gran's farm in Austrailia, with an uneasy feeling that she has forgotten something. It is also told through the voice of Bob...the 'thing' Livy forgot. He's been waiting five long years for Livy to return and keep her promise. This magical story tells how they meet again and Livy gradually remembers and keeps her promise. I LOVE this book and am pretty sure you will too!
Mixed: A Colorful Story is timely picture book is for all ages. On the surface, a clever introduction to color theory, but in reality, so much more. The loud Reds, bright Yellows, and cool Blues live in harmony until a Red creates a kerfuffle by proclaiming the superiority of Reds. (You just have to love a book that uses the word kerfuffle!) Segregation ensues as the city divides into Redville, Blue Town, and Yellow Heights. Then, one day, a Yellow spots a Blue and something magical happens. Once again, I'm blown away by the ability of a picture book to remind us our diversity is what adds color and spice to our lives.