‘Lifel1k3’ (Lifelike) by Jay Kristoff is the First Book in a YA Dystopia Series

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With “Lifel1k3,” author Jay Kristoff takes readers on a wild ride in a bleak (so very bleak!) dystopian future where atomic bombs have destroyed much of the Yousay (USA, get it?) and California has become a barren island because of a huge earthquake. The ocean is filled with plastic and other garbage, and animals and trees are nonexistent.

In fact, robots and humans coexist in a depressing world with gray skies and a desperate struggle for survival. In this world lives Evie, with her grandfather, her best friend Lemon, and her robot best friend Cricket. This family group is wonderful, but Grandpa is dying from cancer, so Evie fights robots in an arena to win money to buy him medicine.

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‘Jurassic World: The Evolution of Claire’ by Tess Sharpe: Perfect for Sci-fi and Adventure Fans

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“Jurassic World: The Evolution of Claire” by Tess Sharpe is a prequel to the story of the two most recent “Jurassic World” movies. In this book, seasoned author Sharpe creates the story of how Claire Dearing, who becomes the park’s operations manager, first gets involved in the Jurassic world.

Dearing is in college when she applies for an internship with the brilliant Mr. Masrani, who not only is fabulously wealthy, but whose genius is (re)creating dinosaurs and a theme park where people will be able to see dinosaurs. When she is offered the internship, it’s her dream come true.

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‘Between You & Me’ by Susan Wiggs Explores Love as It Relates to Responsibility and Conflicting Loyalty

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Susan Wiggs takes what seems like a cliche and uses her writing chops to turn out a novel, “Between You & Me,” that is touching, thoughtful and unique. Romance between the Amish and the “English” (as they refer to those of us who are not Amish) is fairly standard fare in romance novels. Wiggs doesn’t sugar-coat anything in terms of the main characters and their cultural backgrounds.

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‘Tempests and Slaughter’ by Tamora Pierce; Fabulous First Book in a New Series, ‘The Numair Chronicles’

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Tamora Pierce’s fans are legion. But if you haven’t read one of this master of fantasy’s many books, this is the perfect time to start and the perfect book to start with: “Tempests and Slaughter.” It’s the first book in a new series, and it’s a prequel to some of the other books about the Tortall universe.

As with all of Pierce’s books, the characters feel quite authentic, and each of the three main characters is unique.  Each one demonstrates very human weaknesses and strengths. Pierce is fabulous at hinting at events to come through characters’ actions and dialogue — just subtle hints at deeper character traits.

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‘Endling: The Last’ by the One and Only Katherine Applegate

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“Endling: The Last” by Katherine Applegate has a title that contains an oxymoron: it’s the first book in a series about the last creature of its species. But the book is so much more than a story about extinction and the last creature of a species. It’s a story that is compelling, brutally honest, touching, and filled with non-stop action. The characters are all beautifully created and likeable, and readers will feel as if they have become a part of the dangerous adventure that these characters have embarked on.

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‘Surface Tension’ by Mike Mullin Is that Book You Won’t Be Able to Put Down

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I’ve realized how to know when I’m reading a book I’m just not that into. When I find myself playing Words With Friends for 30 minutes instead of reading, I know that the book I’m reading has just not enthralled me. That’s how I knew that I was loving “Surface Tension” by Mike Mullin; I couldn’t put it down. I started the book in the morning and had finished it by evening. I read every spare minute because I was dying to know what was going to happen next.

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‘Drawn Together’ by Minh Lê and Dan Santat Is a Picture Book About the Power of Art (and Love) to Break Barriers

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“Drawn Together” by Minh Lê and Dan Santat is a truly touching, beautifully written and brilliantly illustrated picture book about bridging the gap that language and generations can cause. The story is simple; the presentation is not.

The first three pages of the story have no text, but none is needed. A boy visits his grandfather. He does not look happy to be there, but they bow politely to each other. The grandfather smiles widely and invites his grandson in, and the next page shows the meals they are eating.

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6 Picture Books that Will Encourage Thought, Compassion, and Discussion about Diversity

Summer is a time of leisure, and a time when long sun-filled days might just give parents more time to read and reflect on books with their children. Here are many picture books that kids will love, and parents will love to discuss with those kids. They would be great choices for library read aloud time or for classrooms in the fall. All share wonderful messages. Continue reading

‘Write to Me: Letters from Japanese American Children to the Librarian They Left Behind’

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A beautifully written, touching picture book about a shameful period of American history is “Write to Me: Letters from Japanese American Children to the Librarian They Left Behind” by Cynthia Grady and illustrated by Amiko Hirao.

The book includes pictures from that time of children wearing identification tags and families with their belongings (they were only allowed to bring what they could carry). At the heart of the story is Clara Breed, a children’s librarian in San Diego County where many Japanese American families lived. She formed relationships with her patrons, and when they told her that they were going to be imprisoned because they were of Japanese descent, she gave them postcards so they could keep in contact with her.

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