‘The Skeleton Crew’


“The Skeleton Crew” by Deborah Halber, c.2014, Simon & Schuster, $25, 240 pages

You can’t find your keys. Again.

Kids can explore science in these books


Preschoolers are naturally curious, and what better way to satisfy their curiosity than through science. Here are some great authors to share for learning more about the natural world:

— Lois Ehlert: Ehlert’s books about the natural world stem from some of her own early experiences with nature growing up in Wisconsin. “Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf,” a story of planting a maple tree, is a perfect example of this. In simple language, Ehlert takes the reader through the entire process of planting a tree from seed to sprout to garden center to hole in the ground to watching the leaves change with the seasons, each scene made to feel familiar through the different objects and textures used in her illustrations. More detailed explanations of the parts of the tree and the steps in planting a tree are provided at the end of the book. Ehlert’s other nature titles include “Snowballs,” “Planting a Rainbow” and “Feathers for Lunch.”

‘Sally Ride’ will take readers to the moon


“Sally Ride: America’s First Woman in Space” by Lynn Sherr, c.2014, Simon & Schuster, $28, 376 pages

Summer isn’t over until young adults read these books

You know summertime is going by fast, especially when you see back-to-school ads and merchandise in stores reminding you that summer vacation is almost over. If you haven’t done your summer reading yet, and are looking for some books to read on one of those lazy summer afternoons, let me suggest a few young adult books worth checking out.

“Two Way Street” written by Laren Barnholdt is a predictable teen first romance about two very relatable characters, Jordan and Courtney. In the book, the two have to decide if they can get over their secrets of the past and move on to beginning a new future together. Courtney is not happy about having to drive to college with her ex-boyfriend (Jordan) and decides she will try to ignore him as much as possible on this painful trip. Their relationship is revealed in a storyline that alternates between narrators allowing the reader to see things from both sides and Jordan’s and Courtney’s perspective. This book is hard to put down and has many twists and turns that will keep you captivated to the very end.

Race, culture explored in these library books

Among the many overwhelming changes that swept America in the 1920s, one of the most fruitful and enduring to our culture is the emergence and acceptance of the African American artist, primarily in music and literature.

Focused in a downtown neighborhood of Manhattan, the post-war social climate that cultivated novelty and difference spawned a “Harlem Renaissance” which launched the careers of young writers like Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston and boosted the popularity of such Jazz and Blues greats as Louis Armstrong and Bessie Smith. Enthusiasm and support often came from white patrons, who at best financed and encouraged African American arts, but who raised troubling questions about the essentialism of race and its representation.

Quirky ‘Ellen’ worth finding


“Invisible Ellen” by Shari Shattuck, c.2014, Putnam $26.95, 295 pages


Narrators lead readers through these books


When we first begin reading, we trust the narrator. Why shouldn’t we? We link the narrator with the loved one reading to us—a parent, a grandparent, a teacher, or an older sibling. Sometimes, though, we’re looking for something different. Surprising. Fresh. Reworking the narrative voice can kick a story from “good” to “WHOA!”

One of my favorite ways of narrative play is the unreliable narrator. You may or may not realize it at first, but the person telling the story is not to be trusted. “We Were Liars” by E. Lockhart (easily one of my top 10 books of 2014) features a young woman exploring her past, but she doesn’t remember the disaster of one night. Or does she?

Dog lovers will love inspiring ‘Ricochet’


“Ricochet: Riding a Wave of Hope with the Dog Who Inspires Millions” by Judy Fridono with Kay Pfaltz, c.2014, HCI, $18.95, 271 pages

Meet ‘The Wives of Los Alamos’


“The Wives of Los Alamos: A Novel” by Tarashea Nesbit is written in the unusual first person plural voice. The voice is that of the collective spouses of the scientists drafted to invent the atomic bomb, the weapon that would ultimately end the Second World War.

 Los Alamos was barely a settlement when the families began arriving on the desolate mesa north of Santa Fe, N.M., in 1943. The scientists’ wives made the best of extreme physical hardship, enduring inadequate housing, lack of sufficient water, and poor access to most creature comforts.  Throughout the book, though, the overriding hardship was the secrecy — no one knew what was happening in The Lab. 

Don’t let go of ‘When I First Held You’


“When I First Held You” by various authors, edited by Brian Gresko, c.2014, Berkley $15, 277 pages

You’ve done some scary things in your life.

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