My Family Divided is a powerful and emotional memoir by Diane Guerrero about growing up in Boston as the child of undocumented immigrants. Diane’s parents are from Columbia and immigrated to the U.S before Diane was born. Her parents worked multiple low end jobs to make ends meet and moved around to stay under the radar. All her life, Diane lived in fear that her parents and brother would be taken from her and sent back to Columbia. When she was fourteen, that horror came true. Diane came home to an empty house and was ushered away to stay with family friends for the next four years until she graduated high school. She was never approached by a social worker after the government deported her parents and was left to fend for herself without any family to support her. Now, with a college degree and roles on Netflix’s Orange is the New Black and the CW’s Jane the Virgin, Diane fights for immigrant families all over the country. This book is an amazing introduction to immigrant life and how important it is for families to stick together. Recommended for ages 10 and up.
Eleven-year-old Elizabeth Somers doesn’t want to go to Winterhouse hotel over Christmas break, but her aunt and uncle send her there anyway. But she soon falls in love with Winterhouse and the all the activities it offers including visiting the massive library. She even becomes friends with another unaccompanied kid named Freddy. Elizabeth learns that there are secrets and mysteries in the hotel, and even discovers a book in the library that may be the key to the mystery of Winterhouse. Can she and Freddy crack the code and end the curse of Winterhouse forever? Winterhouse is a perfect book for those who enjoy the Mr. Lemoncello series and other puzzle-filled books. There are numerous references to other books and tons of word puzzles and codes throughout. Charming as an audiobook, the narration by Sophie Amoss is perfect for setting the tone and bringing the characters to life. However, illustrations in the print version add to the overall tone of the book. In either format, Winterhouse has the perfect balance of mystery and fantasy and is a wonderful start to a new trilogy.
Sibling relationships are among the most intriguing in the world. At times, siblings can be the biggest rivals and at times the best of friends. And sometimes, relationships can experience both rivalry and friendship at the same time! In Frenemies in the Family, Kathleen Krull tells the true stories of many sets of famous celebrity siblings – including royals, inventors, Hollywood stars, infamous historical figures and even politicians. Readers will find their stories intriguing and very real showing that even famous people are human just like everyone else. Want to know which set of siblings hilariously pranked their grandmother? Interested in which sibling was truly the backbone of one of the most famous empires of all time? Don’t miss Frenemies in the Family, a unique audiobook which reveals the good, the bad and the always interesting world of sibling bonds.
Kimmy is so excited for her class’s field trip to a Natural History Museum. She loves collecting rocks, gems and especially fossils! As soon as they enter the dinosaur exhibit, Kimmy recounts all the facts she knows, and she knows a lot. That is until Jake says the words, “girls aren’t scientists”. Kimmy immediately becomes insecure and starts to believe Jake, especially when she sees a whole wall of only male paleontologists. Mr. Tiffin, her teacher, notices and motions Kimmy over to a special display of a dinosaur recently discovered by a female paleontologist. As Kimmy reads about this amazing female in her favorite science field, she gains her confidence back. This story starts as a lesson about dinosaurs, the differences between them and fun facts about all of the different kinds. However, this story has a much deeper and important lesson: representation matters.
With more than twenty possible endings, The Oregon Trail: The Race to Chimney Rock is a fun-filled choose-your-own-adventure style book. Unlike many similar books, the ending of the book sets the reader up for the next title in this four-book series. But be aware out of all of the possible paths in the book, only one will get you to Chimney Rock alive. After the introduction, the reader is encouraged to read a trail guide which provides background information on survival and what challenges to expect on the trail. If you make smart decisions, you just might make it successfully to Chimney Rock. The Oregon Trail: The Race to Chimney Rock is a fast-paced adventure that will keep the reader re-reading until they can correctly make it up Chimney Rock. The book series is based on the old video game some parents may remember from the 1980’s and 90’s, and yes just like in the game, you may die of dysentery.
Giant Sequoia trees are not only the largest trees on our planet, they are the largest living things on planet Earth! Joanna Cooke’s book The Sequoia Lives On not only takes the reader through the life cycle of this magnificent tree – it gives very relatable examples for comparison and contrast so that its size and lifetime can be more easily understood by the young listener, and does so in an almost lyrical way. With gorgeous illustrations revealing the sequoia’s sheer vastness, Cooke teaches effectively that from seed to decomposition, the sequoia does indeed live on. Also find bonus facts in the back of the book for the non-fiction fan.
Meet Yasmin! – a second grade explorer, painter, builder and fashionista! In this short, beginner’s chapter book, Yasmin tackles her problems with energy and imagination that young readers will easily understand. Whether she’s nervous to create art for an art contest, or loses track of where her mom goes at the market, Yasmin finds creative solutions to troublesome worries. In addition to the short chapters, back matter with book questions, facts about Pakistan, Urdu words, a craft and a recipe provide relevant factual and cultural information on Pakistan. Faruqi’s depiction of the delightful Yasmin and her multi-generational Pakistani family along with Hatem Aly’s colorful illustrations will appeal to many beginning readers who want a story with big heart. Recommended for K-2nd graders.
Two boys, one from the United States and the other from Syria, find themselves in Brussels, Belgium, where they barely speak the language. Thirteen year old Max is the son of a defense consultant to NATO who is spending the year in Brussels with his family. Ahmed is a fourteen year old refugee who has lost everything and is now stranded in the same city. When their lives begin to inexplicably intertwine, they will learn the true meaning of friendship and bravery. In this timely and poignant novel, Katherine Marsh explores the divisive refugee crisis and humanizes the young refugees fleeing towards a better life. Nowhere Boy is a gripping story that seamlessly weaves modern day issues with issues from the past while exploring difficult topics. This novel is a great contemporary read for fans of historical fiction grades 4 and up.
A sweet and simple story about friendship and kindness, The Pink Umbrella is a perfect for any child fond of the color pink! Adele owns a café and is the jewel of her small town, opening her arms to the young and old to share coffees, tea and cakes. But when gray, rainy days come, Adele is sad and withdrawn. When a series of pink items mysteriously show up at the shop—pink rain boots, a pink raincoat and a pink polka-dotted umbrella—all that perfectly fit Adele, she perks up at the idea of spending time outside. Translated from French, The Pink Umbrella provides insight into sadness we can all feel, but also shows the beauty behind a dear friend’s thoughtful gesture. Using colored pencils and pastels, Godbout’s soft, hazy illustrations bring Adele’s world into full color and life. Ultimately, this charming tale teaches children about community, kindness and friendship. Recommended for PreK-Gr 3.
Carlos’s mom runs Las Pistas Detective Agency and is set to start on a new case when she becomes sick. Carlos knows it could be the end of the company if a detective doesn’t show up to interview the rich client, Guinevere LeCavalier. Carlos decides to take on the case ever though he has never solved a mystery. With help from his friend Eliza and his little brother Frank, he knows he can do it. However, there is one other person helping the trio – YOU – the reader. After interviewing the client, hearing about the threats she has received and the treasure her husband left her in his will, you have to decide what questions to ask next. Should you find out more about the threats or the treasure? That’s only the first decision you have to make to see if it can be a CASE CLOSED!
Case Closed: Mystery in the Mansion by Lauren Magaziner is a humorous and engaging read filled with clues, and puzzles. Since the story changes with every decision you make, it may never be the same story twice.
Katie Woo endures a difficult loss – the death of her beloved dog Goldie. This easy reader tells the story of Katie’s grief and how she processes her grief with friends and family. Readers who have experienced similar loss will empathize with Katie’s range of emotions – from raw feelings of missing Goldie terribly to also smiling at the happy memories of her life with Goldie. Manushkin addresses in an honest way the very real sadness of this common human experience while also assuring the reader that happy memories will help ease Katie’s pain. Recommended for ages 5-7.
Ghoulia is just like any other girl. She lives with her aunt and dog near a village, but there is one little difference: Ghoulia is a zombie. But like any other child, she wants friends. Her aunt doesn’t allow her to play with or even meet the children in the village for fear that they would be scared. After spying on the village children from the safety of the her yard, Ghoulia learns about a day that children dress up like monsters and ask for trick or treats. Ghoulia decides this “Halloween” is the perfect day to introduce herself to the village children and make friends. She meets the other children and has fun but when she forgets to act like a “real” child what will her new friends think and do? Ghoulia is an adorable story about acceptance and the true meaning of friendship. The illustrations, which are reminiscent of Tim Burton and Edward Gorey, add to the mood of the book while remaining lighthearted. All together it makes for an enjoyable start to a new series for 1st to 3rd graders.