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Aug 15

Graphic Novels for Kids

Posted on August 15, 2016 at 2:55 PM by Craig Jacobson

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More and more children’s graphic novels are being published every year (that are age-appropriate) and they can also be a great choice for reluctant readers since it combines texts with pictures!? Here is a round-up of some really good titles and series to check out that we have at the Frank L. Weyenberg Library!

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For Grades 2-4
Squish, Super Amoeba by Jennifer L. Holm
“Squish, a meek amoeba who loves the comic book exploits of his favorite hero, "Super Amoeba," tries to emulate him when his best friend is threatened by a bully.”

Lunch Lady by Jarrett Krosoczka
“The school lunch lady, a secret crime fighter, sets out to stop a group of librarians bent on destroying a shipment of video games, while a group of students known as the Breakfast Bunch provides back-up.”

Binky the Space Cat by Ashley Spires
“Binky's blast-off into outer space (outside) to battle aliens (bugs) is delayed when he realizes he's left something behind--and it's not the anti-gravity kitty litter.”

Guinea PIG: Pet Shop Private Eye by Colleen Venable
“Sasspants, a guinea pig, reluctantly agrees to act as a private investigator when Hamisher the hamster begs for her help in discovering who is stealing sandwiches from the pet shop's befuddled owner.”

Other series/titles to try:
Star Wars Jedi Academy by Jeffrey Brown
Babymouse by Jennifer L. Holm
The Great Pet Escape by Victoria Jamieson

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For Grades 4-6
Secret Hero Society by Derek Fridolfs
“This inventive novel follows young Bruce Wayne and his friends Clark (Superman) and Diana (Wonder Woman) as they start a Junior Detective Agency to investigate their teachers and find out what's going on behind closed doors at Doomvale Academy, all before recess.”

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
“For most of her twelve years, Astrid has done everything with her best friend Nicole. But after Astrid falls in love with roller derby and signs up for derby camp, Nicole decides to go to dance camp instead. And so begins the most difficult summer of Astrid's life as she struggles to keep up with the older girls at camp, hang on to the friend she feels slipping away, and cautiously embark on a new friendship. As the end of summer nears and her first roller derby bout (and junior high!) draws closer, Astrid realizes that maybe she is strong enough to handle the bout, a lost friendship, and middle school- in short, strong enough to be a roller girl.”

Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi
"After the death of their father, Emily and Navin move with their mother to the home of her deceased great-grandfather, but the strange house proves to be dangerous. Before long, a sinister creature lures the kids' mom through a door in the basement. Em and Navin, desperate not to lose her, follow her into an underground world inhabited by demons, robots, and talking animals. Eventually, they enlist the help of a small mechanical rabbit named Miskit. Together with Miskit, they face the most terrifying monster of all, and Em finally has the chance to save someone she loves."

Smile by Raina Telgemeier
“Raina just wants to be a normal sixth grader, but one night after Girl Scouts she trips and falls, severely injuring her two front teeth, and what follows is a long and frustrating journey with on-again, off-again braces, surgery, embarrassing headgear and even a retainer with fake teeth attached--on top of all that, there's a major earthquake, boy confusion and friends who turn out to be not so friendly.”

Other series/titles to try:
Babysitters Club by Ann M. Martin
Bone by Jeff Smith
Doppel Ganger Chronicles by G.P. Taylor

Aug 02

Audio All-Stars, Volume 1

Posted on August 2, 2016 at 11:50 AM by Craig Jacobson

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Let’s be honest: a great narrator can make or break an audiobook listening experience. An accomplished narrator is able to create a rich listening environment through voice characterizations, pacing, and creating a natural narrative flow. If you find a narrator you enjoy, choosing your next audiobook selection by the narrator often reveals a book choice you may have never made on your own. I have chosen to highlight four accomplished narrators who are some of the best in their field and vary their work in genre and reads for all ages.

  • An accomplished and respected British actor for decades, Jim Dale is a multiple-award winning audiobook narrator and a great choice for family road trips. In addition to the entire Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, Dale has narrated Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, and Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne. For an older teen and adult audience, fantasy selection The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is another excellent choice.
  • For many years, the reliable thrillers and mysteries of popular authors such as Alex Berenson, Lilian Jackson Braun, Robin Cook, Vince Flynn, Daniel Silva, and Randy Wayne White have been narrated by the excellent George Guidall. He has also tackled classics such as My Antonia by Willa Cather or The Iliad by Homer.
  • Jayne Entwistle is the narrator of all nine delightful Flavia de Luce mysteries by Alan Bradley; begin with The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. She is also responsible for the excellent narration of the 2016 Newbery Honor title, The War That Saved My Life by Kathleen Brubaker Bradley.
  • Julia Whelan is a great narrator choice if you enjoy contemporary women’s fiction, or a variety of young adult and children’s literature. The 2015 Printz Award winner I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson is alternately narrated by Julia Whelan and Jesse Bernstein. Whelan also narrates Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff, a great book club selection published last year. And lastly, The Princes in Black: Books 1-3 by Shannon Hale are a great introduction to a funny and adventurous children’s series.


If you do find a narrator you like, the online card catalog, www.easicat.net, allows you to search by the narrator name, just as you would for an author. In coming months, we’ll be highlighting more accomplished narrators with suggestions for great audiobooks from our collection!

Jul 19


Posted on July 19, 2016 at 3:34 PM by Craig Jacobson

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Who wouldn’t like to take the whole summer off and spend it on Nantucket Island?  In The Island House, Courtney was able to do just that.  It all started when she was in college and her roommate, Robin, invited her to stay with her family while she worked on the island.  That was eleven years ago and she returned to the island every summer.  She is now a university professor in Kansas and she is still drawn to the island.  Her life in Kansas is as different as it can be from that on Nantucket.  Two different lifestyles and two different men.  Summer is back and she’s drawn once again to the island not just out of habit, but also to figure out just what she wants out of life.

Jacket.jpgIf anyone can write about Nantucket, it’s Elin Hilderbrand.  This comes across once again in her newest book, Here’s to Us.  In this story you get to meet the whole family of the recently deceased, Chef Deacon Thorpe.  His three wives have two things in common.  They all loved and married him and they all detest one another.  While Deacon was married to his first wife he purchased a ramshackle cottage on Nantucket.  This place was very special to him so it would only seem logical that when he died he left it to all three wives.  You can only imagine what it would be like to have all three of them gathered together in a very small cottage with one bathroom as they sort through their life with Deacon and decide what to do with the cottage.

Jacket (1).jpgLittle Beach Street Bakery takes us to a little island off the Cornish coast.  Polly Waterford has gone there to escape from a bad relationship.  She needs a diversion to stop thinking about the past so she takes up her hobby of making bread.  The more she kneads the bread to get her frustrations out the better her breads turn out.  Soon the whole island can smell the bread as it is baking.  A hobby turns into a passion and a passion turns into her own bakery.  You get to meet all the people of this quaint little resort town including the handsome beekeeper who may be interested in more than just selling honey.  Should you like this book you may also want to read Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery.

Jacket (2).jpgOur next island is Fire Island in The Last Summer of You and Me.  Every summer Alice and Riley return to their family beach home on Fire Island.  For as long as they can remember, summers have been shared with their friend Paul.  Paul returns this summer having missed the last three summers. It should be the same as always but some things have changed, including their feelings for Paul.  As the summer unfolds with changes and secrets, how will their relationship with each other hold up?

{9917E253-A937-4B5A-8506-E831FD33B202}Img200.jpgIn We Were Liars, Cady vacations on a private island that her grandfather owns on Cape Cod.  She is joined by her mother, two aunts, two cousins, and a friend of her aunt’s.  Cady is experiencing crippling headaches from an accident that happened two years ago.  She’s trying to remember, trying to put the pieces of that summer together, but she can’t and everyone around her refuses to help her with the puzzle.  What possibly could have happened that no one will talk about it?

Jacket (3).jpgThe Miracle on Monhegan Island is told through the eyes of the family dog, Ned.  Well sort of the family dog.  Ned was stolen by one of the Monahan family members and given as a gift to someone else in the family.  Ned’s new family is about as dysfunctional as a family can get.  Their story is about obsession, religious fervor, and mental illness.  While thought-provoking, the story unfolds in a touching and humorous way.

So if an island isn’t in your immediate future, happy reading.

Book covers courtesy of Easicat.