Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Read This! Adults

The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion and the Fall of Imperial Russia
by Candace Fleming

This is the well-known ending: Nicholas and Alexandria, the last Tsar and Tsarina of Russia, were murdered with their family by members of the Revolution. But why? And what happened before? With photographs, excerpts from family letters, newspaper accounts and revolutionary doctrines, the author succeeds in painting a portrait of the Romanov family, the experiences of the peasants in Russia at the same time, and how the two collide.

While targeted at young adults, this book is perfect for those who like history, but not necessarily super academic texts. Fleming writes this almost as a story, starting with the story of Nicholas and Alexandria and layering in the stories of the children, of the poor, of Lenin, of Rasputin. Anyone interested in royal families, revolution, or interesting pieces of history will certainly enjoy this!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Read This! Nonfiction for Kids

Deadly Invaders: Virus Outbreaks Around the World, from Marburg Fever to Avian Flu
by Denise Grady

With emerging disease outbreaks like Ebola in the news, middle graders may have some interest and look for information about the hows and whys of epidemics. This book discusses pandemics and epidemics from different places during different years, including Hantavirus, West Nile, and more. Each epidemic is told in a narrative way, so middle grade students shouldn't have any trouble following the path of the diseases.

Anyone interested in science and medicine would find this book fascinating! If you read An American Plague by Jim Murphy (about the yellow fever epidemic) or are interested in odd diseases, this is a captivating read.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Read This! Picture Books

Dream Dog
by Lou Berger and David Catrow

Harry wants a dog so badly, but they make his dad sneeze! So he invents a dream dog using his imagination machine! They play and romp and frolic and Harry gets the dog of his dreams! Eventually, his dad gets him a live dog -- can Harry's live dog and his dream dog get along?

The art is so cartoon-y and bright, readers young and old will fall in love with this book! Anyone pining for a furry best friend will adore this story!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Read This! Picture Books

Written by Rodrigo Folgueria and Illustrated by Poly Bernatene

One morning, a family of frogs discover an odd visitor in their pond---a pink pig that says "Ribbit." They are confused by the little pig who says "Ribbit!", and imagine all sorts of odd and terrible reasons that he is there. Eventually, they go to ask the wise old beetle how they should proceed, and he suggests that perhaps the little pig is trying to make friends!

This is a great little story about not jumping to the worst conclusions, and trying to make friends with people that are different.

The illustrations are bright and happy, and appear to be some kind of digital hybrid of techniques. Ribbit! is certain to become a family favorite!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Read This! Nonfiction for Kids

Minecraft: Ultimate Players Guide for PC
by Minecraft books

Cheats, hacks and secrets to playing a better game of Minecraft. The type is large and easy to read. There is no expansion on the reason for or the science behind the game. This book is completely and totally about how to find hidden "easter eggs", shortcuts and maps.

Anyone who plays Minecraft will love this book, and it will take them no time at all to read. This may be an easy way to interest reluctant readers to read something--anything--that may have them looking for more information!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Read This! Nonfiction for Kids

A Kid's Guide to Awesome Duct Tape Projects
Edited by Nicole Smith, Created by members of

Make a baseball mitt, a kite, clothing, footwear, a laptop/iPad sleeve -- anything and everything you'd care to imagine making from duct tape has instructions posted here. Each project has step-by-step pictured how-tos. This is a great rainy-day book with lots of projects using household objects as templates, and of course, lots and lots of duct tape.

Our favorite project? A 3-D duct tape giraffe!

Any kids who like to make things will be excited by the possibilities in this book! There are bags and wallets, bookcovers and games to make, so there is really something for everyone here! The photographs are amateur, so though they are bright enough to see, they aren't spectacular, but they definitely show every step of the project.