8 Picture books run the range of emotions: from grouchy to happy (with some jealousy and rainbows in between)

Wondering how to discuss emotions with your toddler? Need a way to open up a discussion about feelings with an older child? Here are eight superb choices to use at home, in the classroom, in a clinical setting, or anywhere in between to help jump-start a talk about how we feel and what we can … Continue reading 8 Picture books run the range of emotions: from grouchy to happy (with some jealousy and rainbows in between)

Two Wonderful Historical Fiction Books for Middle Grade and Young Adult Readers

Two books that should be a part of any middle school or high school nonfiction collection are "The Life of Frederick Douglass" by David F. Walker and "1919: The Year that Changed America" by Martin W. Sandler. The books are very different; one is a graphic narrative with few photographs while the other is a … Continue reading Two Wonderful Historical Fiction Books for Middle Grade and Young Adult Readers

A student review of ‘Spy Toys: Out of Control’ by Mark Powers

This review was written by a junior reviewer, Jamie L., who is a fourth grader who loves to read. "Spy Toys Out of Control" by Mark Powers is a great sequel that includes action, humor, and a little bit of mystery. Powers hooks the reader into his writing, forming a picture in the reader's head. … Continue reading A student review of ‘Spy Toys: Out of Control’ by Mark Powers

‘The Secretary’ by Renée Knight is suspenseful story of servitude and sordid secrets

"The Secretary" by Renée Knight portrays the perfect British secretary. Christine is circumspect, loyal, devoted, and willing to give up marriage and her child to comply with Mina Appleton's every whim and need. And Mina is a generous and caring employer --  until she isn't. For almost two decades, Christine has taken care of Mina's … Continue reading ‘The Secretary’ by Renée Knight is suspenseful story of servitude and sordid secrets

‘Killer Thriller’ by Lee Goldberg is an entertaining maze of laughter and suspense

Story within a story, play within a play, movie within a movie. Authors, playwrights, and screenwriters -- usually clever ones -- do it often. But Lee Goldberg takes the concept several crazy steps beyond that relatively simple technique in his latest novel, "Killer Thriller." Here, the stories wind around and through the main narrative like … Continue reading ‘Killer Thriller’ by Lee Goldberg is an entertaining maze of laughter and suspense

‘Secret in Stone: The Unicorn Quest’ by Kamilla Benko is the second book in a wonderful middle grade fantasy adventure

"Secret in Stone" is the second book in "The Unicorn Quest" series by Kamilla Benko, and it truly is a fantasy adventure. The sisters, Claire and Sophie, are in an alternate world accessed by a chimney in their great-aunt's house which leads to a well in the land of Arden, where magic lives. But the … Continue reading ‘Secret in Stone: The Unicorn Quest’ by Kamilla Benko is the second book in a wonderful middle grade fantasy adventure

Seven fabulous picture books to celebrate Black History Month

Picture books are fabulous ways to start discussions about serious topics like friendship, discrimination, kindness, and prejudice. These three picture books are wonderful examples of books that express a wide range of messages and showcase a variety of styles of illustrations. All are excellent choices for school libraries and classrooms, as well as for any … Continue reading Seven fabulous picture books to celebrate Black History Month

‘Song for a Whale’ by Lynne Kelly is a beautiful story of a girl and a whale and the reason their lives touch

"Song for a Whale" by Lynne Kelly follows her first book, the award-winning novel "Chained." Kelly's writing is as beautiful as ever, and the story just as touching -- and perhaps more accessible to young readers as the setting is in the United States instead of India. It's a story about Iris, who is deaf, … Continue reading ‘Song for a Whale’ by Lynne Kelly is a beautiful story of a girl and a whale and the reason their lives touch

‘The Simple Art of Flying’ by Cory Leonardo is a sweet, poetry-filled middle grade story of two African parrots and love

"The Simple Art of Flying" by Cory Leonardo isn't a simple book at all. It's filled with an erudite African grey parrot, a feisty octogenarian, an adolescent wanna-be medical doctor, and a pet store owner who shouldn't be allowed to own even a goldfish. This middle grade tale is filled with quirky characters -- both … Continue reading ‘The Simple Art of Flying’ by Cory Leonardo is a sweet, poetry-filled middle grade story of two African parrots and love

‘Cicada’ is yet another brilliant allegory by Shaun Tan

Shaun Tan creates another thoughtful, insightful, simple-yet-oh-so-complex picture book with "Cicada." The plot, on one hand, is simple. As Tan writes on the inside cover of the book, "Cicada tell story. Story good. Story simple. Story even human can understand. Tok Tok Tok!" It's about a nameless city filled with grey skyscrapers. And cicada, who … Continue reading ‘Cicada’ is yet another brilliant allegory by Shaun Tan

‘Undying’ is the spectacular sequel to ‘Unearthed’ by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner, authors of "Undying," have done a spectacular job writing a two-book sci-fi series in which both books are completely filled with action, two very likable and admirable characters, great settings, and over-the-top suspense. In the first book "Unearthed,"  Mia and Jules meet on a harsh planet in a faraway galaxy. … Continue reading ‘Undying’ is the spectacular sequel to ‘Unearthed’ by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

‘The Curiosities’ by Susan Gloss is a tale of coming to terms with life and loss and art

In "The Curiosities," author Susan Gloss creates a cast of characters who all come together in the home of Betsy Barrett, a deceased philanthropist, who left instructions to create a residency program, or artist colony, in her Madison, Wisconsin mansion. The main character, Nell Parker, has a PhD in art and the outstanding bills from … Continue reading ‘The Curiosities’ by Susan Gloss is a tale of coming to terms with life and loss and art