Books for Kids
The Duel: The Parallel Lives of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr by Judith St. George
True Life: Alexander Hamilton (Time for Kids Nonfiction Readers) by Monika Davies
Alexander Hamilton: From Orphan to Founding Father by Monica Kulling
Aaron and Alexander: The Most Famous Duel in American History by Don Brown
Alexander Hamilton: the Outsider by Jean Fritz
Alexander Hamilton: Young Statesman by Helen Boyd Higgins
Democracy's Big Day: The Inauguration of Our President, 1789-2013 by Jim Bendat
First Light by Rebecca Stead
With the impending threat of global warning as an ominous backdrop, teens from very different worlds find they have much in common. Twelve-year-old Peter and his parents leave Manhattan on a scientific expedition to Greenland where Peter's father and his assistant will study the effects of global warming. After settling into the frozen world, Peter senses his parents share a secret, while he experiences migraines with strange visual effects. Meanwhile, below Greenland's surface, 14-year-old Thea lives in Gracehope, an amazing underground colony settled generations before by a persecuted group of people from England. Descended from Gracehope's original founder, Thea is convinced the future of her people lies above the ground. While Peter's visions draw him toward Gracehope, Thea's convictions draw her toward the light. As Peter struggles to figure out his parents' secret, Thea grapples with secrets in her own family. Alternating between Peter and Thea's stories, this compelling contemporary ice-age mystery introduces two engaging characters whose personal courage is tested as they discover one another's worlds as well as the truth about themselves. Thoroughly enjoyable arctic adventure. (Fiction 9-12)
furl by Strobe Witherspoon
"In a dumbed-down, dystopic near-future America, high-tech tycoon Manny Kahn fights to save the nation from political pathologies brought about by his own creation, a ubiquitous online search engine...Witherspoon keeps the narrative as lean as an iPad and resists the gimmick of writing the thing in text-message shorthand. Though characterizations are often tweet-deep, the nonstop invention and wit spare neither the left nor the right. Sharp-toothed and Bluetoothed--gigabyte-size political and social satire for the wired generation." KIRKUS REVIEWS BEST INDIE BOOKS OF 2014 SELECTION
The Schoolchildren's Blizzard by Marty Rhodes Figley
March may harbor spring but it still might hold a snowflake or two. Local author Marty Rhodes Figley tells of a devastating day in 1888 when a sudden snowstorm caused a prairie schoolhouse to collapse. The 19-year-old teacher, quick-thinking Minnie Freeman, tied a rope to the children and lead them through the blinding snow to the safety of her own little sod house half a mile away. The Schoolchildren's Blizzard adds an important true story to the national annals of brave children and teens. The early-reader format and lovely watercolors by Shelly Haas help make the tale accessible to beginning readers and show how important it is to keep a cool head in emergencies. Part of the "On My Own History Series." [Review by Mary Quattlebaum of Children's Literature. From childrenslit.com]
Our client's comments about the book:
I recommend this book because the pictures are so lifelike. Also, I really liked the way it was written. Plus, there is a lot of action in the story. - A. S.
Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett
This irresistible picture book invites readers on an adventure with two boys and a dog. Armed with shovels, Sam and Dave are digging for “something spectacular.” As in the best picture books, readers needs the illustrations to understand the story. Humor is embedded in what the pictures convey that the text does not and the plot depends on pictures. The muted tones, varied page layout, and subtle details within the pictures are all key elements in this clever story. The book is meant to be read and re-read which will provide lots of practice for reluctant readers. In addition, young people will likely notice the ending twist before their teachers or parents. [Review by Lesley Colabucci from reading.org]
Leroy Ninker Saddles Up: Tales from Deckawoo Drive, Volume One by Kate DiCamillo
“Yippee-i-oh!” This transitional reader offers witty wordplay, a creative storyline, and endearing characters. Leroy Ninker has aspirations of becoming a cowboy. Even though he has a hat and nifty boots, he is missing one of the most essential items needed to be considered a “true” and “bona fide” cowboy—his very own horse. His search for a horse comes to fruition when he meets Maybelline, an oversized and friendly animal (with four large teeth). Leroy is instructed to follow some unusual rules. First, he must shower Maybelline with compliments or she won’t gallop or respond to any other commands. Second, Maybelline loves to eat, so he must feed her “plenty of grub” and finally, he should never leave Maybelline unattended. Unfortunately, Leroy leaves Maybelline alone and she runs away. Through a series of adventures and missed opportunities, Maybelline and Leroy finally reunite on Deckawoo Drive at the home of familiar characters (Mrs. Watson, Mercy, Stella and Frank). DiCamillo’s brilliant use of descriptive language and character development coupled with a heartfelt message about friendship make this a must-have for the classroom. The illustrations and the ‘horseshoe marker’ page numbers add to the light-hearted mood of the text. Teachers might be interested in viewing more information about the book, including a teacher’s guide at the publisher’s web site. [Review by Mary Napoli, Penn State Harrisburg. From reading.org]
A Thirst For Home: A Story of Water across the World by Christine Leronimo
Tears, rain, puddles: water keeps Eva Alemitu connected to Emaye, the mother she left behind in Ethiopia, as Eva adjusts to her new life in the U.S. In this hauntingly bittersweet tale, inspired partly by the author’s own life, Ieronimo imagines the heartbreak of a mother and daughter forced apart by hunger and poverty. The result is bleakly realistic, and readers will be drawn to Eva’s conflicting feelings of longing for her biological mother, and security with her adoptive family in America. Velasquez’s light-infused illustrations capture the quiet dignity of Emaye’s grief and Eva’s tentative acceptance, and perfectly complement the tender tone of the text. Perceptive readers will be too moved to be satisfied with the happy conclusion and will appreciate the story for its complexity rather than its plot. This book can be read as one of a growing number of immigration stories. An author’s note provides context and prompts for kids to take action. Grades 4-6. [Review by Amina Chaudhri of Booklist]
"This slim, sweet story will resonate particularly with children missing a previous home." —Kirkus Reviews
"Velasquez’s light-infused illustrations capture the quiet dignity of Emaye’s grief and Eva’s tentative acceptance, and perfectly complement the tender tone of the text . . . This book can be read as one of a growing number of immigration stories." —Booklist
"Beautifully illustrated oil paintings bring the words to life . . . This would be a good resource to use while doing cultural studies, especially with younger students." —Library Media Connection
"Provides an opportunity for addressing themes of poverty and resource inequity with a very young audience. The perspective is spot-on, and the presentation of Alemitu’s culture shock is realistically detailed. Velasquez’s lush full-bleed oil compositions offer photorealistic portraits of the story’s characters . . . Raises some important talking points for young listeners as well as some thoughtful reminders to appreciate easy access to food and water." —BCCB
A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story by Linda Sue Park
From Amazon: The New York Times bestseller A Long Walk to Water begins as two stories, told in alternating sections, about two eleven-year-olds in Sudan, a girl in 2008 and a boy in 1985. The girl, Nya, is fetching water from a pond that is two hours’ walk from her home: she makes two trips to the pond every day. The boy, Salva, becomes one of the "lost boys" of Sudan, refugees who cover the African continent on foot as they search for their families and for a safe place to stay. Enduring every hardship from loneliness to attack by armed rebels to contact with killer lions and crocodiles, Salva is a survivor, and his story goes on to intersect with Nya’s in an astonishing and moving.
One of our students wrote the following poem after reading A Long Walk to Water:
Splish spalsh the water flows
Boom crash the war goes
Salva as a young boy
Struggles to find some joy
The war is very rough on him
Salva's chances of surviving are very slim
Finally he reaches a refugee camp
It is like a guiding light from a lamp
Six years later they chase him out
He and some other boys take another route
Kenya is where they will stay
Until Salva is carried away
New York is Salva's new home
Until he finds that he is not alone
When Salva goes back home and builds a well
He finds that he has many stories to tell
Emma's Poem: The Voice of the Statue of Liberty by Linda Glaser
Jane Addams Children's Book Award 2011
Junior Library Guild Selection
"Nivola's rectilinear compositions and poses, her generalized figures, and her bright, limited palette recall Barbara Cooney's period scenes, capturing New York City's opulent upper crust and the indigent yet dignified newcomers with equal skill. An excellent introduction to both Lady Liberty and the poem.â —Horn Book, starred review
"The art and words are moving in this picture book, which pairs free verse with detailed, fullpage paintings in watercolor, ink, and gouache to tell the history behind Lazarus' famous inscription on the Statue of Liberty.â —Booklist
"A gentle tribute to Emma Lazarus, very much in the style of Barbara Cooney’s Eleanor (Viking, 1996)...The pictures, with their slight folk-art feel, capture both the time and action of the story, while the text illuminates the woman. An author’s note and the full text of the poem complete the book. A worthwhile addition for most collections." —School Library Journal
"Nivola’s watercolor-and-gouache paintings are rich in color and detail, showing the elegant streets and homes of 19th-century New York City as well as its settlement houses. Line, pattern and a sense of place give young readers a rich vision of the "golden door" by which "your tired, your poor, "your huddled masses yearning to breathe free" came to this country. Nicely done, enabling even young children to see how the poem and the statue came together.—Kirkus
The Dolphins of Shark Bay (Scientists in the Field Series) by Pamela S. Turner
From Booklist The Shark Bay Dolphin Project, under the direction of biologist Janet Mann, is the subject of this latest book in the acclaimed Scientists in the Field series. Dolphins’ uncommonly developed intelligence is undisputed fact, but Mann’s field research is unique in that most other observations occur in captivity. Studying dolphins in their natural habitat off the coast of western Australia, Mann’s team has witnessed them using tools, socializing their young, developing hunting strategies, and forming alliances. Her work goes far beyond proving the fact that dolphins are smart; she seeks to discover the reasons for the development of their higher brain functions. Mann not only provides excellent examples of scientific thinking through the formulation and testing of hypotheses, she also serves as an authentic and engaging role model for girls considering careers in science. Using the team’s intimate knowledge of the wild cetaceans, Turner treats the dolphins as lively characters unto themselves in this affecting and vividly photographed work of nonfiction. Grades 5-8.—Erin Anderson
"An exemplary addition to an always thought-provoking series." —Kirkus, starred review
"Mann not only provides excellent examples of scientific thinking through the formulation and testing of hypotheses, she also serves as an authentic and engaging role model for girls considering careers in science. . . [An] affecting and vividly photographed work of nonfiction." —Booklist
"Readers come away with an amazing, if sometimes blurred vision of a culture different from their own . . . A challenging, attractive eye-opener." —School Library Journal, starred review
"There's no shortage of fascinating science in the breezy and engaging narrative. . . While being deliberately anti-mythical about dolphins, the book conveys the wonder of learning more about the intricacy of another species, and readers will be won over by both the dolphins and the sceince." —Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review
"The detailed descriptions of the day-to-day activities of the dolphins—all of whom are given names and have distinct personalities—provide a window into the practice of animal behavior studies." —The Horn Book Magazine
Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas by Lynne Cox
World-renowned swimmer and bestselling author Lynne Cox and Caldecott Medal-winning illustrator Brian Floca team up to bring us this inspiring story of an elephant seal who knew exactly where she belonged. Here is the incredible story of Elizabeth, a real-life elephant seal who made her home in the Avon River in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand. When Elizabeth decides to stretch out across a two-lane road, the citizens worry she might get hurt or cause traffic accidents, so a group of volunteers tows her out to sea. But Elizabeth swims all the way back to Christchurch. The volunteers catch her again and again—each time towing her farther, even hundreds of miles away—but, still, Elizabeth finds her way back home. Includes back matter with information about elephant seals.
Grandfather Gandhi by Arun Gandhi
Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson tells the story of how his grandfather taught him to turn darkness into light in this uniquely personal and vibrantly illustrated tale that carries a message of peace. How could he—a Gandhi—be so easy to anger? One thick, hot day, Arun Gandhi travels with his family to Grandfather Gandhi’s village. Silence fills the air—but peace feels far away for young Arun. When an older boy pushes him on the soccer field, his anger fills him in a way that surely a true Gandhi could never imagine. Can Arun ever live up to the Mahatma? Will he ever make his grandfather proud? In this remarkable personal story, Arun Gandhi, with Bethany Hegedus, weaves a stunning portrait of the extraordinary man who taught him to live his life as light. Evan Turk brings the text to breathtaking life with his unique three-dimensional collage paintings.
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
2015 Newbery Medal Winner 2015 Coretta Scott King Honor Award Winner "With a bolt of lightning on my kicks . . .The court is SIZZLING. My sweat is DRIZZLING. Stop all that quivering. Cuz tonight I’m delivering," announces dread-locked, 12-year old Josh Bell. He and his twin brother Jordan are awesome on the court. But Josh has more than basketball in his blood, he's got mad beats, too, that tell his family's story in verse, in this fast and furious middle grade novel of family and brotherhood from Kwame Alexander (He Said, She Said 2013). Josh and Jordan must come to grips with growing up on and off the court to realize breaking the rules comes at a terrible price, as their story's heart-stopping climax proves a game-changer for the entire family.
Abe Lincoln: His Wit and Wisdom from A-Z by Alan Schroeder
Filled with witty cartoons by John O'Brien, this colorful book offers an unusual and insightful perspective on Old Abe. In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free.—Abraham Lincoln Abe Lincoln is known for his many memorable adages. As the sixteenth president he needed all the wisdom he could muster to guide the country through the Civil War, preserve the union, and end slavery. This nontraditional tribute to the president who brought the homespun humor of his humble beginnings to the White House uses the alphabet to organize a wealth of information about his life and accomplishments. A companion to Ben Franklin: His Wit and Wisdom from A-Z./p>
The Fantastic Ferris Wheel: The Story of Inventor George Ferris by Betsy Harvey Kraft
The World's Fair in Chicago, 1893, was to be a spectacular event: architects, musicians, artists, and inventors worked on special exhibits to display the glories of their countries. But the Fair's planners wanted something really special, something on the scale of the Eiffel Tower, which had been constructed for France's fair three years earlier. At last, engineer George Ferris had an idea―a crazy, unrealistic, gigantic idea. He would construct a twenty-six-story tall observation wheel. The planners didn't think it could be done. They called it a "monstrosity." It wouldn't be safe. But George fought for his design. Finally, in December 1892, with only four months to go until the fair, George was given permission to build his wheel. He had to fight the tight schedule, bad weather, and general disapproval. Against all odds, the Ferris Wheel turned out to be the talk of the Fair, and proof that dreaming big dreams could pay off. Today, George's Ferris Wheel is an icon of adventure and amusement throughout the world.
Nelson Mandela: South African Revolutionary (A Real-Life Story) by Beatrice Gormley
Get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of what it takes to change the world in this comprehensive biography that tells the complete life story of internationally renowned peacemaker Nelson Mandela. Civil rights activist. World leader. Writer. Throughout his life, Nelson Mandela took on many roles, all in the pursuit of peace. Born in 1918 in South Africa, he grew up in a culture of government-enforced racism and became involved in the anti-apartheid movement at a young age. Deeply committed to nonviolent activism, Mandela directed a peaceful campaign against the racist policies of his South African government, and spent twenty-seven years in prison as a result. In the years following his emergence as a free man, he continued his efforts to dismantle the country’s apartheid system and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize alongside South African President F.W. de Klerk. In 1994 he was inaugurated as South Africa’s first black president and served until his retirement from active politics in 1999 at the age of eighty-one. He continued to promote global peace until his death in 2013, and his legacy lives on.
The Inventor's Secret: What Thomas Edison Told Henry Ford by Suzanne Slade
*NSTA 2016 Outstanding Science Trade Book for Students K-12* Thomas Edison and Henry Ford started off as insatiably curious tinkerers. That curiosity led them to become inventors--with very different results. As Edison invented hit after commercial hit, gaining fame and fortune, Henry struggled to make a single invention (an affordable car) work. Witnessing Thomas's glorious career from afar, a frustrated Henry wondered about the secret to his success. This little-known story is a fresh, kid-friendly way to show how Thomas Edison and Henry Ford grew up to be the most famous inventors in the world--and best friends, too.
Shadow Catcher: How Edward S. Curtis Documented American Indian Dignity and Beauty (Captured History)
At the turn of the 20th century, photographer Edward S. Curtis devoted his life to learning all he could about American Indians and sharing it with world. He took his first photo of an American Indian in 1895, and for the next 30 years he traveled the West and north to Alaska to chronicle traditional native culture. The result was a magnificentand controversial20-volume project, The North American Indian. While some scholars and American Indians found fault with the work Curtis published, many others greatly appreciated it. His grand endeavor was nearly forgotten when he died in 1952, but Curtis rediscovered photographs are now recognized as treasures that will live forever.
Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement by Carole Boston Weatherford
Stirring poems and stunning collage illustrations combine to celebrate the life of Fannie Lou Hamer, a champion of equal voting rights.
"I am sick and tired of being sick and tired."
Despite fierce prejudice and abuse, even being beaten to within an inch of her life, Fannie Lou Hamer was a champion of civil rights from the 1950s until her death in 1977. Integral to the Freedom Summer of 1964, Ms. Hamer gave a speech at the Democratic National Convention that, despite President Johnson’s interference, aired on national TV news and spurred the nation to support the Freedom Democrats. Featuring vibrant mixed-media art full of intricate detail, Voice of Freedom celebrates Fannie Lou Hamer’s life and legacy with a message of hope, determination, and strength.
Trombone Shorty by Troy Andrews
A 2016 Caldecott Honor Book and Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Award Winner Hailing from the Tremé neighborhood in New Orleans, Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews got his nickname by wielding a trombone twice as long as he was high. A prodigy, he was leading his own band by age six, and today this Grammy-nominated artist headlines the legendary New Orleans Jazz Fest. Along with esteemed illustrator Bryan Collier, Andrews has created a lively picture book autobiography about how he followed his dream of becoming a musician, despite the odds, until he reached international stardom. Trombone Shorty is a celebration of the rich cultural history of New Orleans and the power of music.
Marvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans by Phil Bildner
In New Orleans, there lived a man who saw the streets as his calling, and he swept them clean. He danced up one avenue and down another and everyone danced along. The old ladies whistled and whirled. The old men hooted and hollered. The barbers, bead twirlers, and beignet bakers bounded behind that one-man parade. But then came the rising Mississippi—and a storm greater than anyone had seen before. In this heartwarming book about a real garbage man, Phil Bildner and John Parra tell the inspiring story of a humble man and the heroic difference he made in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Swing Sisters: The Story of the International Sweethearts of Rhythm by Karen Deans
"In 1909 Dr. Laurence Clifton Jones opened a special home for African American orphans in Mississippi called Piney Woods Country Life School. There, students worked hard on their studies, and no one worked harder than the young musicians who played in the Sweethearts, the school's all-girl swing band. Their music had rhythms and melodies that got people dancing! When the Sweethearts left Piney Woods, they moved to Washington, D.C., to try to make it to the big-time in an era when integrated musical groups were practically unheard of. It wasn't always easy, and it wasn't always safe, but the talented Sweethearts of Rhythm ultimately became an international sensation. The rhythmic text and exuberant illustrations celebrate these courageous musicians who chipped away at racist and sexist barriers, and whose music reminded audiences how great it feels to be alive."