Kids & Parents

Youth Services Staff Picks for 2018

It's that time of the year when everyone is sharing their top choices for 2018.

The Youth Services staff is always reading and this year we've read some phenomenal books.

Read on to see what we recommend!

You can click on each title to place a hold in the catalog or stop by the Youth Services desk for additional recommendations.

Happy reading!

Cover of Hi-Five Animals by Ross Burach

Hi-Five Animals by Ross Burach

Board Book

This is my favorite board book for the year--my son loves to give hi-fives to all the animals. 

Greet animals, including a crocodile, a lion, a skunk (hold your nose), and an octopus with a hi-five.

Cover of Stegothesaurus

Stegothesaurus by Bridget Heos

Picture Book

Erin says "I have always loved to learn and use new words and this book, with all of the synonyms,  offers is a great way to teach kids to expand their vocabulary."

In this book, Stegothesaurus has little in common with his fellow dinosaurs until he meets an allosaurus that seems as hungry for synonyms as he is.

Cover of Grandma's Tiny House: A Counting Story

Grandma's Tiny House: A Counting Story by JaNay Brown-Wood

Picture Book

Steph loves how this is a counting book that goes beyond 10.

In rhyming text, when the whole family and guests show up for the big dinner at Grandma's house, it becomes clear that the house is much too small to hold them all.

Cover of A Big Mooncake for Little Star

A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin

Picture Book

Steph said this is a quiet, sweet original story about the moon cycle.

This picture book reimagines the phases of the moon as a mother bakes a Big Mooncake and, despite Mama's request to wait, Little Star begins nibbling at it every night.

Cover of I'm Sad

I'm Sad by Michael Ian Black

Picture Book 

Sally loved this story, a sequel to I'm Bored. The author addresses these not-so-fun universal feelings in fun, creative and sweet ways. 

Flamingo learns that it is okay to be sad sometimes and that her friends, the little girl and Potato, will stand by her no matter how she feels.

Cover of Love

Love by Matt de la Peña 

Picture Book

Jane says "This beautiful, honest book shows different ways we can experience love throughout every stage of life, in words, smells, sounds, and more."

The author and illustrator depict the many ways we experience this universal bond, which carries us from the day we are born throughout the years of our childhood and beyond. 

Cover of Dreamers

Dreamers / Soñadores by Yuyi Morales 

Picture Book

Mrs. Murphy said this is a beautifully illustrated book on a timely topic.

An illustrated picture book autobiography in which award-winning author Yuyi Morales tells her own immigration story. Available in both English and Spanish.

Cover of The Rabbit Listened

The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld

Picture Book

Multiple staff members love this book! The cutest-drawn animals help teach children (or adults) in simple terms what to do when a friend is sad. Megs says that "one of my favorite parts of reading it at storytimes is getting to ask the kids if they know what noise an ostrich makes (none have...yet)."

When Taylor's block castle is destroyed, all the animals think they know just what to do, but only the rabbit quietly listens to how Taylor is feeling.

Cover of Julian is a Mermaid

Julián is a Mermaid by Jessica Love

Picture Book

Another favorite among staff! Meg says it best: this sweet book with gorgeous illustrations hit me right in the heart as it explores themes of identity, imagination, and acceptance. 

While riding the subway home from the pool with his abuela one day, Julián notices three women spectacularly dressed up. Their hair billows in brilliant hues, their dresses end in fishtails, and their joy fills the train car. When Julián gets home, daydreaming of the magic he's seen, all he can think about is dressing up just like the ladies in his own fabulous mermaid costume: a butter-yellow curtain for his tail, the fronds of a potted fern for his headdress. But what will Abuela think about the mess he makes--and even more importantly, what will she think about how Julián sees himself?

Cover of Meet Yasmin!

Meet Yasmin! by Saadia Faruqi

Early Reader

Steph says Yasmin is a cute series that everyone should read.

In this compilation of four separately published books, Pakistani American second grader Yasmin learns to cope with the small problems of school and home, while gaining confidence in her own skills and creative abilities.

Also available as individual early readers. 

Cover of Front Desk

Front Desk by Kelly Yang

J Fiction

Ami and Steph both loved this book. Steph says: "I cheered, I cried . . . a lot; an important book that speaks to struggles immigrants are facing in America today."

Recent immigrants from China and desperate for work and money, ten-year-old Mia Tang's parents take a job managing a rundown motel in Southern California, even though the owner, Mr. Yao is a nasty skinflint who exploits them; while her mother (who was an engineer in China) does the cleaning, Mia works the front desk and tries to cope with demanding customers and other recent immigrants--not to mention being only one of two Chinese in her fifth grade class, the other being Mr. Yao's son, Jason.

Cover of Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World

Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake 

J Fiction

Meg says "I finished reading and cried at how beautiful it is. One of my favorite parts is how the artist protagonist describes having a crush as 'softly flowing waves the color of a delicate pink ballet slipper.' What a gem."

When a tornado rips through town, twelve-year-old Ivy Aberdeen's house is destroyed and her family of five is displaced. Ivy feels invisible and ignored in the aftermath of the storm—and what's worse, her notebook filled with secret drawings of girls holding hands has gone missing. Mysteriously, Ivy's drawings begin to reappear in her locker with notes from someone telling herto open up about her identity. Ivy thinks—and hopes—that this someone might be her classmate, another girl for whom Ivy has begun to develop a crush. Will Ivy find the strength and courage tofollow her true feelings? 

Cover of Spirit Hunters

Spirit Hunters by Ellen Oh

J Fiction

Erin says "This books has the perfect amount of creepy  to keep you guessing if if Harper will ever survive her new house." 

Harper doesn't trust her new home from the moment she steps inside, and the rumors are that the Raine family's new house is haunted. Harper isn't sure she believes those rumors, until her younger brother, Michael, starts acting strangely. The whole atmosphere gives Harper a sense of déjà vu, but she can't remember why. She knows that the memories she's blocking will help make sense of her brother's behavior and the strange and threatening sensations she feels in this house, but will she be able to put the pieces together in time?

Cover of Property of the Rebel Librarian

Property of the Rebel Librarian by Allison Varnes

J Fiction

Head of Youth Services Stephanie loved this one!

Twelve-year-old June Harper, shocked when her parents go on a campaign to clear the Dogwood Middle School library of objectionable books, starts a secret banned books library in an empty locker.

Cover of The Parker Inheritance

The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson

J Fiction

Mrs. Murphy says "The Westing Game was my favorite mystery, but there are many reasons to love this book even more."

Twelve-year-old Candice Miller is spending the summer in Lambert, South Carolina, in the old house that belonged to her grandmother, who died after being dismissed as city manager for having the city tennis courts dug up looking for buried treasure--but when she finds the letter that sent her grandmother on the treasure hunt, she finds herself caught up in the mystery and, with the help of her new friend and fellow book-worm, Brandon, she sets out to find the inheritance, exonerate her grandmother, and expose an injustice once committed against an African American family in Lambert.

Cover of The Cardboard Kingdom

The Cardboard Kingdom by Chad Sell

J Graphic Novel

Meg said "When I finished this book, my cheeks physically hurt from smiling so much and I immediately reopened it and read it a second time in the same sitting. A perfect ode to the power of imagination and FUN."

Follows the adventures of a group of neighborhood children who create costumes fromcardboard and use their imagination in adventures with knights, robots, and monsters.

Cover of The Prince and the Dressmaker

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang

YA Graphic Novel

Meg said "I loved the art style of this book and the world building of the historical fantasy world that somehow still seems modern."

Prince Sebastian is looking for a bride or rather, his parents are looking for one for him. Sebastian is too busy hiding his secret life from everyone. At night he puts on daring dresses and takes Paris by storm as the fabulous Lady Crystallia the hottest fashion icon in the world capital of fashion!

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