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Staff Reviews

WHEN YOU REACH ME by Rebecca Stead

Winner of the 2010 Newbery Award. The first and most important thing for me to tell you about this book is that you MUST read it.  Do not miss this book, especially if you are 9-14 years old.  It is spellbinding. It’s kind of a mystery, and it’s kind of a time travel book.
When You Reach Me (Yearling Newbery) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780375850868
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Published: Yearling Books - December 28th, 2010

"Like A Wrinkle in Time (Miranda's favorite book), When You Reach Me far surpasses the usual whodunit or sci-fi adventure to become an incandescent exploration of 'life, death, and the beauty of it all.'" --The Washington Post


LITTLE HEATHENS: HARD TIMES AND HIGH SPIRITS ON AN IOWA FARM DURING THE GREAT DEPRESSION by Mildred Armstrong Kalish is a wonderful memoir of her childhood in the 1930’s. Times were hard, but she experienced much love and kindness and also learned the importance of frugality and ingenuity.
Little Heathens: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression Cover Image
ISBN: 9780553384246
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Published: Bantam - April 29th, 2008

I tell of a time, a place, and a way of life long gone. For many years I have had the urge to describe that treasure trove, lest it vanish forever. So, partly in response to the basic human instinct to share feelings and experiences, and partly for the sheer joy and excitement of it all, I report on my early life. It was quite a romp.

WOLF HALL by Hilary Mantel

Winner of the 2009 Man Booker Prize, WOLF HALL is a complex, multi-layered novel about the time of religious tumult of the 1530s and a story of the life of a moderate, brilliant counselor and financier, Thomas Cromwell.
Wolf Hall Cover Image
ISBN: 9780312429980
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Published: Picador USA - August 31st, 2010



DeLillo chronicles life in the United States during the Cold War. The story weaves through forty-plus years of lives private and public (including J.

Underworld Cover Image
ISBN: 9780684848150
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Published: Scribner Book Company - July 9th, 1998

A finalist for the National Book Award, Don DeLillo's most powerful and riveting novel--"a great American novel, a masterpiece, a thrilling page-turner" (San Francisco Chronicle)--Underworld is about the second half of the twentieth century in America and about two people, an artist and an executive, whose lives intertwine in New York in the fifties and again in the nineties.

THE GOD DELUSION by Richard Dawkins

For those of you currently or formerly religious gals and blokes who’ve been frightened by its reflective cover and less-than-subtle title, THE GOD DELUSION by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins is a brave, compelling, and only occasionally arrogant deconstruction of centuries of religious belief. Your eyes won’t bleed; your fingertips won’t be singed. If you’re a thinker, delve in.
The God Delusion Cover Image
ISBN: 9780618918249
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Published: Mariner Books - January 1st, 2008

A preeminent scientist -- and the world's most prominent atheist -- asserts the irrationality of belief in God and the grievous harm religion has inflicted on society, from the Crusades to 9/11.

General Teen Recommends

CHASING VERMEER by Blue Balliet. $7.99.  This is the first of three in a series.  The book mixes mystery, puzzles, possibilities, and art as outsiders Petra and Calder become friends while trying to find a missing Vermeer painting.  Lots of excitement and challenge -- really entices the reader to think about the Big Questions.  Ages 9 - 14.  Female and male protagonists.  Heidi recommends.    
Chasing Vermeer Cover Image
By Brett Helquist (Illustrator), Blue Balliett
ISBN: 9780439372978
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Published: Scholastic Paperbacks - May 1st, 2005

This bewitching first novel is a puzzle, wrapped in a mystery, disguised as an adventure, and delivered as a work of art.

Teen Boys Recommends

THE EAR, THE EYE, AND THE ARM by Nancy Farmer. $6.99. This Newberry Honor Book is set in Zimbabwe in the year 2194. The military ruler’s 13-year-old son and his younger brother and sister leave their technologically over-controlled home and find themselves on a series of perilous adventures.                                                                                                                                                                           
The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm Cover Image
ISBN: 9780545356619
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Scholastic Paperbacks - January 1st, 2012

This Newbery Honor book by award-winning, bestselling author Nancy Farmer is being reissued in paperback

Teen Girls Recommends

WHERE THE LILIES BLOOM by Vera and Bill Cleaver. $5.99 Strong and wise beyond her years, fourteen-year-old Mary Call Luther must prevent her recently fatherless family from being shipped off to the country orphanage, all while going to school and keeping the family’s wild crafting operation afloat.
Where the Lilies Bloom Cover Image
Email or call for price
ISBN: 9780064470056
Availability: Backordered
Published: Harper Teen - September 18th, 2001

Mary Call has promised her dying father to keep her brother and sisters together forever on the mountain, and never to take any help from strangers. She is determined to keep her word. No matter what. At first she is sure she can manage. Romey, Ima Dean, and Devola help gather herbs to sell in town; the riches of the mountains will surely keep the family clothed and fed.

Pre-Teen Girls Recommends

ANNE OF GREEN GABLES series by L.M. Montgomery. This series of novels set in turn-of-the-century Canada follows the joys and misadventures of indomitable orphan Anne Shirley. Kelly recommends.


Anne of Green Gables (Anne of Green Gables Novels #1) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780553213133
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Published: Starfire - April 1st, 1982

Read the timeless classic about the beloved Anne Shirley, a red-haired orphan with a fiery spirit, before the new NETFLIX series premieres and don't miss the forward by Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid's Tale, celebrating the 100th anniversary of this children's favorite

Children’s Book Recommendations

Alice’s Adventures Underground: A Facsimile by Lewis Carroll. $24.95 Handwritten and illustrated version written for Alice Liddell.  It’s slightly different than the published version that came out two years later.  Girls ages 8 – 14. Heidi recommends.




Andrew Henry’s Meadow by Doris Burn.  $12.95 This is the delightful classic story of young Andrew Henry who loves to build things, but his creations get in the way of everyone in his family.  So he goes out to Burdock’s meadow and builds himself a house.  Soon, other “misfit” children come to the meadow, and he builds each of them a house that suits their interests.  Perfect for kids who like to make things and to foster creativity and resourcefulness.  Ages 4 – 9. Pat recommends.



Big Book for Toddlers by Wong and Tabori. $24.95 This book contains activities, nursery rhymes, games, songs and more, with charming old-fashioned illustrations.  Rochelle recommends.




Creep! Crawl!, Flutter! Fly!, and Wiggle! March! By Kaaren Pixton. $4.95. Each page is a simple, colorful image of an animal or bird or insect against a rich, textured background.  Great for making up your own stories.  Indestructible, chew-proof, rip-proof, nontoxic, and 100% washable.  Ages 9 months – 3 years. Heidi recommends.



An Eye for Color: The Story of Joseph Albers by Natasha Wing. $16.99.  A simple, colorful book for young artists.  It’s all about believing in yourself and what you want to create.  Ages 7 – 12. Pat recommends.




Julie Andrew’s Collection of Poems, Songs and Lullabies. $24.95. This is a lovely assortment.  It’s beautifully illustrated and includes a CD of Julie and her daughter reading the poetry. Rochelle recommends.




No Matter What by Debi Gliori. $6.95. A little board book about a baby fox who wants to know if his mother will always love him.  Sweet and reassuring, for children from birth to three years.  Rochelle recommends.




Paper Astronaut by Juliette Cezzar. $27.50.  This has great photos from the NASA archives and other space agencies.  It also has 20 punch-out spacecraft projects for space-loving children and adults.  Rochelle recommends.



Superhero ABC by Bob McLeod.  $7.99. This is a funny alphabet book: “K knows karate, he’s kind of kooky, but can he play the kazoo?” Perfect for children ages 3 – 6, especially boys.




The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. $6.99. This is a beautiful, atmospheric, quiet, cut-paper book that describes what it’s like to be outside in the winter on a snowy day.  John recommends.




Tikki Tikki Tembo retold by Arlene Mosel, illustrated by Blair Kent. $6.95.  This is an absolute classic for kids from 2 – 10 (well, all ages, really).  The protagonist of the story is a little boy named Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo.  He’s the firstborn son, and the favorite, but his ridiculous name, which is frequently repeated in the story, causes a major problem for him.  Funny and unforgettable.  Pat recommends.



A Visitor for Bear by Bonny Becker. $16.99. This is a funny, sweet story about a bear who thinks he doesn’t like visitors coming to his nice home, and the friendly mouse who causes him to change his mind.  It’s perfect for ages 4 – 8. Rochelle recommends.




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