Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Read This! Adults

by Jen Lancaster
Inspired to do her own "Happiness Project," Jen Lancaster devotes a year of her life to living a Martha-Stewart lifestyle, having perfect parties, cleaning, homekeeping and hosting holidays a la the guru of all things domestic. Of course, things were bound to get messed up. The author describes her achievements and failures with equal detail, all while adoring her pack of animals and her husband. In the end, she lives, she loves, she learns - and she glitters a lot of things in her house and her life.

While this is an interesting memoir-project by the author of Bitter is the New Black, it's not for everyone. But if you are a Michaels-stalking, tablecloth-ironing, dog loving person who strives to be a little more like Martha and a little less like a mess, this is a great story for you. The audiobook is read by the author.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Read This! Adults

The Art of Asking: or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help
by Amanda Palmer

Amanda Palmer is best known for using Kickstarter to crowdfund her music album - she raised over a million dollars. She asked her fans to front her money for the project, and in return they would get the album and other things (depending on the "level" at which they pledge), and they answered by participating in the largest crowdfunding event that the site had ever seen. Palmer then was asked to do a TED talk about asking, about crowdfunding, about art - and she delivered. She is a solo artist and a collaborator and one half of The Dresden Dolls.
The audio of this book is read by the author, and includes some of her music and music by others. She tells the stories of being a "living statue" on the streets of Boston and busking, of travelling the world sometimes relying on the kindness of strangers, of meeting and marrying author Neil Gaiman, of her friendships and relationships and the artists she meets along the way. It is a book of experiences and may not be for everyone. If you like art and karma and ukuleles and flowers and parties, this is a great choice. If you hate all of those things, maybe it's a pass.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Read This! Grades 5-6

by Francis O'Roarke Dowell

Marylin and Kate have always been best friends. When Marilyn becomes a middle school cheerleader and makes other friends, she begins to think Kate is a little immature. Kate doesn't want to talk about kissing boys or nail polish or clothes, she just wants to go back to the way things were when she and Marylin were interested in doing the same activities. Their friendship is put to the test and nothing seems to work out, but in the end, they learn to navigate the halls of middle school and get through the drama of friendship.
The two main characters narrate this story, and readers will identify with at least one girl, if not parts of both girls. The tricky parts of middle school friendships, mean girls, and going with or against the crowd will bring up some familiar feelings. Both characters make mistakes and both characters redeem themselves - a great middle grade read  - followed by two other books featuring Kate and Marylin: The Kind of Friends We Used to Be and The Sound of Your Voice, Only Really Far Away.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Read This Adults

by Barbara Delinksy
*guest post by Amanda B.

Susan, Kate and Sunny are three best friends, whose daughters, Lily, Mary Kate, and Jess are also best friends. When the girls  make a pact to become pregnant and raise their babies together, their mother's lives are turned upside down, too. It doesn't help that Susan is their high school principal and becomes a main focus of the girls' drama because she, too, was a teen mom. 
This novel deals with some tough issue in a light, yet moving way. Each of the mothers has their own personality and each family has a different dynamic, which prohibits each issue from sounding exactly the same. From the public to the private inner workings of each family, the characters wonder:What does it take to be a good mother?
For fans of the Lifetime Movies such as The Pregnancy Pact, fans of Jodi Picoult or fans of other books by this author.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Read This! Grades 2-3

Written by Callie Barkley
Illustrated by Marsha Riti

Liz and her family go on a weekend beach vacation. Liz enters the local sand castle contest and meets a boy who also enters the contest. He is very rude to her, and though she tried to be friendly, eventually she gives up and focuses on her own work. Liz's Critter Club instincts kick in when she sees a baby octopus not swimming in the water, she rescues it and keeps it in a kiddie pool while it regains it's strength. The octopus is returned to the wild, Liz does not win the sand castle contest, and Tommy, the boy, redeems himself.
This book is just over 100 pages, with giant writing and an illustration on almost every page. Liz is a likable character with a nice family - she certainly likes rescuing animals. Though it's wordy, the vocabulary is certainly at no more than  a second grade level. This is part of a series about girls who rescue animals, and each book is focused on a different girl.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Read this! NonFiction for Kids

by Mark Bergin

Step by step, very detailed,  instructions on how to draw different dinosaurs. Each dinosaur-drawing instruction set also contains scientific information about the dinosaur, such as the era of their existence or the length of their neck. The drawing instructions include information about perspective, vanishing points, negative space, framework and more.
The last page of this book has a glossary, index, and a website where they have updated links to more information about dinosaurs. Anyone interested in drawing dinosaurs would dig this book!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Read This! Sequels for Grades 5 & 6

Here's a few of our newest fiction books, and all listed here are sequels or parts of series that we know you've been looking for!

Saving Mr. Terupt
by Rob Buyea
The kids from Mr. Terupt's class are starting Junior High and things are hard for ALL of them. The group is breaking up and going their separate ways. They return to Mr. Terupt to ask for help to salvage their group, but it turns out that their beloved teacher is the one who needs saving! Other books in the series: Because of Mr. Terupt and Mr. Terupt Falls Again

The School for Good and Evil: A World Without Princes
by Soman Chainani

Sophie and Agatha are at home, living out Ever After. Agatha wishes she picked a different happy ending, and the doors to the School for Good and Evil are opened again. Except you can never really go back - not to the way things were before. Now, witches and princesses and warlocks and princes are not enemies, and there's something strange brewing within the school - a wave of destruction that can destroy everything!
Sounds epic, right? It totally is! First book: The School for Good and Evil

Pieces and Players
by Blue Balliett
Petra, Calder and Tommy are back, and hunting for thirteen missing pieces of valuable art. They have two new friends to help - Zoomy and Early, and there are plenty of clues turning up to point them in the direction of solving the puzzle and finding the stolen paintings!
Other books in the series: Chasing Vermeer, The Calder Game and The Wright Three