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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog Midwinterblood
by Marcus Sedgwick

Book list *Starred Review* In the year 2073, a reporter named Eric is sent to Blessed Island to research a rare flower called the Dragon Orchid. There he finds an insular community of mysterious villagers, a delicious tea that has him losing days at a time, and a beguiling girl named Merle. In just 50 pages, we reach a shattering conclusion and then start anew in 2011. An archaeologist is digging on Blessed Island, where he meets a quiet boy named Eric and his mother, Merle. So begins this graceful, confounding, and stirring seven-part suite about two characters whose identities shift as they are reborn throughout the ages. Sedgwick tells the story in reverse, introducing us to a stranded WWII pilot, a painter trying to resurrect his career in 1901, two children being told a ghost story in 1848, and more, all the way back to a king and queen in a Time Unknown. It is a wildly chancy gambit with little in the way of a solid throughline, but Sedgwick handles each story with such stylistic control that interest is not just renewed each time but intensified. Part love story, part mystery, part horror, this is as much about the twisting hand of fate as it is about the mutability of folktales. Its strange spell will capture you.--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-Beginning in July 2073, Sedgwick's new novel makes its way backward through time, drawing readers into seven stories from different eras. Whether it is a 21st-century archaeologist, a World War II pilot, or a Viking king, there are subtle but tell-tale signs of the threads that bind them together over the centuries-the echoes of particular names and phrases, the persistence of a mysterious dragon orchid, and other seemingly innocuous moments that all hint at the dark mystery at the center of this lyrical yet horrifying tale. The plot is reminiscent of David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas (Sceptre, 2004), with its themes of love and reincarnation, as well as of the cult-movie-turned-book Robin Hardy's Wicker Man (Crown, 1978), with its setting of remote and sinister island inhabitants. The many characters are vividly real and distinct from one another, despite making only brief appearances. Each of these vignettes seem rich enough to be worthy of a novel of its own, and readers might almost wish they could pause in each fascinating, detailed moment rather than be swept through time-and the novel-on the current of a cursed love. Although fans of the author's Revolver (Roaring Brook, 2010) will likely flock to this book to relish more of Sedgwick's stark, suspenseful writing, new readers might find that there are more questions left unanswered than are resolved.-Evelyn Khoo Schwartz, Georgetown Day School, Washington, DC (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly "I always prefer a walk that goes in a circle.... Don't you?" a woman named Bridget says to her daughter, Merle, at one point in this heady mystery that joins the remote northern setting of Sedgwick's Revolver with the multigenerational scope of his White Crow. Sedgwick appears to share Bridget's sentiment: as he moves backward through time in seven interconnected stories-from the late 21st century to an unspecified ancient era-character names, spoken phrases, and references to hares, dragons, and sacrifice reverberate, mutate, and reappear. Set on a mysterious and isolated Nordic island, the stories all include characters with variations on the names of Eric and Merle. In a present-day story about an archeological dig, Eric is a oddly strong, brain-damaged teenager and Merle his mother; in the 10th century, when the island was inhabited by Vikings, Eirek and Melle are young twins, whose story answers questions raised by what the archeologists discover. Teenage characters are few and far between, but a story that's simultaneously romantic, tragic, horrifying, and transcendental is more than enough to hold readers' attention, no matter their age. Ages 12-up. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog Coyote Moon
by Maria Gianferrari

Book list This striking book celebrates the life of coyotes without dismissing their predatory nature. The coyote on the front cover is on the hunt, while the back cover shows an attentive young pup. Inside, Gianferrari's well-balanced text describes both the coyote's search for prey and her vulnerability: targets escape, angry geese retaliate, pups are easy prey for hawks. Although endnotes provide more information, the text and illustrations subtly provide many facts as well, showing coyotes' opportunism regarding diet and their amazing athletic abilities (in one close-up spread, the coyote almost leaps from the page in a giant pounce). Because this hunt begins at night, Ibatoulline's palette is dark. He adds mystery by including spreads full of bushes and shadows, but the coyote's eyes are always bright, popping from the dim background. Though many pages show her fierceness, there is a quiet satisfaction when the hunt is done. With sunlight and success comes a celebratory song and a child witness, warmth in text and illustrations.--Ching, Edie Copyright 2016 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal K-Gr 2-A captivating and atmospheric title about a mother coyote on the hunt through a suburban landscape. Readers join the coyote as she leaves her pups in the den and travels through a neighborhood, a golf course, and a lakeside-all in pursuit of a mouse, a flock of geese, a rabbit, and, finally, one unfortunate turkey. The text is spare, with a focus on the coyote's movement and use of her senses: she listens to the scratching of the mouse, sniffs the air and smells the geese, lunges, slinks, pounces, and much more. With the arrival of the sun and the success of her hunt, the coyote lets out a celebratory "Yeeeep-yip-yip-yoooo" before heading back to feed and snuggle with her young. Readers looking for straightforward facts won't find them within the text; the dynamic and richly detailed illustrations are what tell the story here. Ibatoulline uses color, shadow, and dramatic angles to portray the coyote's athleticism, her hunting style, the flight response of her prey, and the passage of time (the narrative begins at night and ends with dawn). Back matter expands on the coyote's origin in the United States and its habitat, territory, diet, physical abilities, communication, and family structure. VERDICT Simple text and remarkable artwork make this a great selection for read-alouds and parent-child bonding.-Kelly Topita, Anne Arundel County Public Library, MD Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Caldecott Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog Kittens First Full Moon
by Kevin Henkes

Book list PreS. Henkes creates another winner in this simple, charming story about a naive little kitten who mistakes a round, shining moon for a bowl of milk.itten laps at the sky's creamy circle, but she is surprised when she tastes bugs instead of milk. Then she chases the milk-bowl moon through the garden and field to the pond, where she climbs a tree, discovers another milk bowl shining in the water, and dives in after it. Finally, wet and sad and tired and hungry, she returns home to find, at last, a true bowl of milk, out of the sky and on the porch, waiting for her. Henkes' text, reminiscent of Margaret Wise Brown's work in the elemental words, rhythms, and appealing sounds, tells a warm, humorous story that's beautifully extended in his shimmering, gray-toned artwork. Working in bold black lines and the silvery palette of moonlight, he creates a lovable, expressive character in the determined kitten, and his dramatic contrasts of light and dark capture the excitement of a nighttime adventure. Wise preschoolers may chuckle at the kitten's folly, but they'll also recognize the mysterious power of moonlight to transform the familiar world of daytime into something altogether new. --Gillian Engberg Copyright 2004 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal PreS-K-An irresistible offering from the multifaceted Henkes. The spare and suspense-filled story concerns a kitten that mistakes the moon for a bowl of milk. When she opens her mouth to lick the treat, she ends up with a bug on her tongue. Next, she launches herself into the air, paws reaching out for the object of her desire, only to tumble down the stairs, "bumping her nose and banging her ear and pinching her tail. Poor Kitten." Again and again, the feline's persistent attempts to reach her goal lead to pain, frustration, and exhaustion. Repetitive phrases introduce each sequence of desire, action, and consequence, until the animal's instincts lead her home to a satisfying resolution. Done in a charcoal and cream-colored palette, the understated illustrations feature thick black outlines, pleasing curves, and swiftly changing expressions that are full of nuance. The rhythmic text and delightful artwork ensure storytime success. Kids will surely applaud this cat's irrepressible spirit. Pair this tale with Frank Asch's classic Moongame (S & S, 1987) and Nancy Elizabeth Wallace's The Sun, the Moon and the Stars (Houghton, 2003) for nocturnal celebrations.-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Horn Book Picture Book Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog John Henry
by Julius Lester

Publishers Weekly : A great American hero comes fully to life in this epic retelling filled with glorious, detailed watercolors. From his momentous birth, when all the animals come to see him and the sun won't go to bed, John Henry works wonders. As a child he helps his father by adding ``a wing onto the house with an indoor swimming pool and one of them jacutzis''-and that's just before lunch. Other episodes trace the growth of his generous spirit. His greatest feat is, of course, in his battle against the steam drill, as he races the machine to cut through ``a mountain as big as hurt feelings.'' He dies (``he had hammered so hard and so fast and so long that his big heart had burst''), but the onlookers understand that ``dying ain't important.... What matters is how well you do your living.'' This carefully crafted updating begs to be read aloud for its rich, rhythmic storytelling flow, and the suitably oversize illustrations amplify the text. As only one example, the animal witnesses of his birth reappear throughout, most notably to watch John Henry's funeral train pass by. This may not supplant more traditional retellings, such as Terry Small's The Legend of John Henry, but it is a triumph of collaboration from the creators of the noted Uncle Remus retellings. All ages.

Copyright 1994 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

School Library Journal : K-Gr 5-Another winning collaboration from the master storyteller and gifted artist of Tales of Uncle Remus (Dial, 1987) fame. Based on several well-known versions of an African American folk ballad, Lester's tale is true to the essence of the steel-driving man; yet, it allows room for touches of whimsy and even includes some contemporary references that tie the hero to our own times. Told with just a trace of dialect, the story moves along briskly toward the climax. Its moral message of the importance of a well-lived life is clearly stated, and the ending is uplifting. Pinkney's marvelous watercolors, abundantly rich in detail, convey both the superior strength and the warm sense of humanity that make John Henry perhaps a more down-to-earth character than some other tall-tale figures. The paintings' muted earth tones add a realistic touch to the text, bringing this John Henry alive. When viewed from a distance, however, figures and details sometimes blend together, making the book better suited to independent reading that group sharing. It will appeal to an older audience than Ezra Jack Keats's John Henry (Knopf, 1987) and is a fine addition to any folklore collection.-Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, Wheeler School, Providence, RI

Copyright 1994 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

Independent Booksellers List
Click to search this book in our catalog David and Goliath
by Malcolm Gladwell

Book list *Starred Review* Gladwell's best-sellers, such as The Tipping Point (2000) and Outliers (2008), have changed the way we think about sociological changes and the factors that contribute to high levels of success. Here he examines and challenges our concepts of advantage and disadvantage in a way that may seem intuitive to some and surprising to others. Beginning with the classic tale of David and Goliath and moving through history with figures such as Lawrence of Arabia and Martin Luther King Jr., Gladwell shows how, time and again, players labeled underdog use that status to their advantage and prevail through the elements of cunning and surprise. He also shows how certain academic advantages, such as getting into an Ivy League school, have downsides, in that being a big fish in a small pond at a less prestigious school can lead to greater confidence and a better chance of success in later life. Gladwell even promotes the idea of a desirable difficulty, such as dyslexia, a learning disability that causes much frustration for reading students but, at the same time, may force them to develop better listening and creative problem-solving skills. As usual, Gladwell presents his research in a fresh and easy-to-understand context, and he may have coined the catchphrase of the decade, Use what you got. --Siegfried, David Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Library Journal New Yorker staff writer Gladwell (Tipping Point; What the Dog Saw) argues that what may appear to be the obvious answer to questions may not be so obvious. For instance: Do smaller classroom sizes mean students will have higher grades and test scores? Has California's Three Strikes law lowered crime in that state? He compares the biblical story of David and Goliath (the battle between the underdog and the giant) to events from everyday life that question how people think about disadvantages and obstacles. Through extensive research and interviews, he analyzes the pluses and minuses of classroom size and university selection. He discusses the theory of "desirable difficulty" from the perspective of civil rights leaders, cancer researchers, and dyslexics, as well as the limits of power after losing a loved one to a tragic event. -VERDICT A thought-provoking book that makes readers consider what's below the surface and investigate deeper into what goes on in our day-to-day lives and in the world at large. Recommended for anyone who wants to learn how to examine facts in an alternative manner, as well as undergraduate and graduate students, scholars, and researchers studying psychology, sociology, and history.-Tina Chan, SUNY Oswego (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog Natural Causes
by Barbara Ehrenreich

Newbery Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog The Year of Billy Miller
by Kevin Henkes

Book list Billy Miller is starting second grade, and though his teacher, Mrs. Silver, tells the class it is the Year of the Rabbit, Billy's father tells him it will be the Year of Billy Miller. Billy isn't sure. He's even more worried when he gets off on the wrong foot his first day, but as the months go on, Billy begins to shine. There are some wonderful moments here: when Billy brings his teacher silver items coins, a paper clip, a little rabbit to show her he's a nice boy; when he agonizes over how to tell his father that Papa is a babyish name; and a triumphant ending when poetry and self-confidence intertwine. But the school year also seems rushed, and some intriguing characters, like the annoying Emma, are barely touched. Harkening back to writers of an earlier era, like Eleanor Estes, Henkes never compromises his language. Words like replicated, diligently, and frustrated appear and that's on just one page. Since this is so age specific, older readers might pass it by. That would be too bad, because this is a story with a lot of heart and sweet insights into growing up. Illustrations unseen. High-Demand Backstory: There's no more versatile producer of children's books working today than Henkes. Libraries, with great justification, are always interested in what he's up to now.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 1-3-The beginning of a new school year brings anxious moments for Billy Miller, a typical second grader at Georgia O'Keeffe Elementary School in a small Wisconsin town. His new teacher, Ms. Silver, uses chopsticks to hold her hair in place and know-it-all Emma Sparks is unfortunately one of his desk mates. Just as a school year is divided into quarters, the book is divided into four parts-"Teacher," "Father," "Sister," and "Mother"-each offering a new perspective on Billy's personality and development through his interactions with these well-developed characters. He begins the school year with a lump on his head from a family-vacation incident and navigates glitter homework fiascos, canceled sleepover plans, and sibling annoyances as readers see the year unfold through funny and often poignant situations. Billy himself might have been daunted by a book with more than 200 pages, but eager young readers will find this a great first chapter book to share or read solo.-Cheryl Ashton, Amherst Public Library, OH (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly It's the Year of the Rabbit, according to Billy Miller's new second-grade teacher. It's also the year of several dilemmas for the boy, including the fear he might "start forgetting things" due to bumping his head while on vacation over the summer. Then there's the habitat diorama that Billy is assigned-the bat cave he creates doesn't turn out quite like he'd hoped. Henkes's (Junonia) gentle slice-of-life novel, divided into four sections, humorously examines these and other plights while capturing the essence of Billy's relationships with four significant figures in his life: his teacher (who he accidentally insults on the first day of school); his stay-at-home, struggling-artist father; his sometimes annoying, sometimes endearing three-year-old sister; and his mother, about whom Billy must compose a poem to be presented at the end of the school year. Each segment introduces a new conflict that Billy manages to resolve without too much fuss or torment. The book's clear structure, concrete images, and just-challenging-enough vocabulary are smartly attuned to emerging readers, and its warmth, relatable situations, and sympathetic hero give it broad appeal. Ages 8-12. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Oprah's Book Club
Click to search this book in our catalog House of Sand and Fog
by Andre Dubus

Library Journal: In his second novel (after Bluesman, LJ 5/15/93), the son of noted writer Andre Dubus manages to get deep inside the heads of two very different characters who clash over a modest house in the San Francisco suburbs. Kathy is a recovering alcoholic and cokehead who loses her inherited bungalow for alleged nonpayment of taxes. Behmini, an Iranian who was an officer in the Shah's air force before fleeing the revolution, is now struggling to succeed in the United States. He buys the house at auction, planning to make a profit on the resale. Kathy skulks around the neighborhood and eventually confronts the family. When she becomes sexually involved with the policeman she met at her eviction, a married man with bad judgment and a drinking problem of his own, he takes up her cause with explosive results. Dubus's attention to detail and realistic prose style give the narrative a hard-edged, cinematic quality, but unlike many movies, its outcome is unexpected. Recommended for all fiction collections.

Reba Leiding, James Madison Univ., Harrisonburg, VA Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

Publishers Weekly: This powerfully written but bleak narrative is a mesmerizing tale of the American Dream gone terribly awry. Massoud Amir Behrani, a former colonel in the Iranian Air Force under the Shah, now lives in exile with his wife and teenage son near San Francisco. Working on a road crew as a "garbage soldier" by day and as a deli clerk by night, Behrani is obsessed with restoring his family to the position of glittering wealth and prestige it once enjoyed. At a county auction, he sinks his savings into a bungalow seized for non-payment of taxes, and quickly moves his family into it, planning to resell the house at a sizable profit. But when the house's previous occupant, recovering coke addict Kathy Lazaro, resurfaces with valid claims for repossession, Behrani's plan begins to unravel, and with it his tightly controlled facade of composure. Tensions between Lazaro and Behrani quickly escalate into violence, as Lazaro's lover, a married police officer with a weak spot for lost causes, decides to take matters into his own hands. The book's horrifying denouement offers readers a searing study in the wages of pride. Dubus (Bluesman) writes with an authority regarding the American lower middle class that is reminiscent of Russell Banks and Richard Ford, and his limber imagination is capable of drawing the inner lives of three very different main characters with such compassion that readers will find their sympathies hopelessly divided. If the tragedy that he so skillfully orchestrates cries out to be leavened with a little less desperation and some quiet glimpse of hope, the keenly perceptive and moving narrative is proof that the son and namesake of one of our most talented writers has embarked on a dazzling career in his own right.

Copyright 1998 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

Publishers Weekly
Click to search this book in our catalog Calico Joe
by John Grisham

Library Journal Growing up in Arkansas, Grisham dreamed of being a professional baseball player. Now, in his 28th novel, this superb storyteller takes his turn at bat in this memorable story of forgiveness and redemption. In the 1973 season, Warren Tracey, an over-the-hill pitcher from the New York Mets, tangles with Joe Castle, a hot new Chicago Cubs rookie from Calico Rock, AR-halting both their careers. Before their confrontation, Joe had demonstrated his stunning skills and earned the admiration of fans nationwide, including Warren's young son. As a little leaguer, Paul Tracey had idolized Joe and tolerated his own philandering father. Thirty years later, Paul challenges Warren, now cancer-ridden, to seek Joe's forgiveness. Verdict Incorporating the jargon and depicting the rituals of America's favorite pastime, Grisham has written a classic story filled with human emotion. General readers, together with Grisham fans, will appreciate this touching tale.-Jerry P. Miller., Cambridge, MA (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list A major change of pace from megaseller Grisham. Joe Castle, from Calico Rock, Arkansas, took the baseball world by storm in 1973. He homered in his first three major league at bats for the Chicago Cubs. Two months later, he was still hitting more than .500. Then, in his next at bat after homering off Warren Tracey, a surly journeyman pitcher, Tracey drilled a fastball at Joe's head. The damage was severe. Joe's right eye socket was destroyed, and he never played again, retreating back to Calico Rock, far from the public eye. Tracey soon retired from the Mets and drifted into booze and a succession of ex-wives. Thirty years later, Tracey's estranged son, Paul, on learning of his father's impending death from cancer, tries to bring Warren Tracey and Joe Castle together. His motive? Closure. But perhaps, more than anything, Paul needs to see his father do one decent thing in a life filled with regrets and bad behavior. Grisham, of course, is known for his courtroom thrillers but has long harbored a desire to write a baseball novel. Inspired by the real-life story of Yankee pitcher Carl Mays, whose fastball struck and killed Cleveland shortstop Roy Chapman in 1920, Grisham tells his own version of a hit-batsman tragedy, but Paul, the narrator, is curiously deadpan given the highly charged emotions at play. The end result is a solid baseball story but one that never delivers the emotional payoff readers will expect. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The name Grisham and a 1,000,000-copy first printing say it all.--Lukowsky, Wes Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

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