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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
by Becky Albertalli

School Library Journal Gr 8 Up-Simon Speir, high school junior, walks away from his computer at school for just a moment, and that is when his biggest secret is discovered. He has been emailing a boy in his grade anonymously ever since a poetic waxing on his high school's gossip Tumblr caught his eye, and now Martin Addison has taken a screenshot and has a powerful way to blackmail Simon into getting his friend, Abby, to date him. Although it is filled with trendy pop-culture and digital-age references (Tumblr, Justin Beiber, The Bachelor, etc.) that may not stand the test of time, the message will resonate. Rife with realistic, high school relationships and drama, with a laugh or two at every turn, this is a coming-of-age, coming-out, and defying-the-odds story with which many teens will identify. With a very tidy, feel-good ending, the book will appeal to readers who enjoyed Tim Federle's Better Nate Than Ever (2013) and Five, Six, Seve, Nate! (2014, both S. & S.) and will find a familiar, slightly more mature home with Simon.-Brittany Staszak, St. Charles Public Library, IL (c) Copyright 2015. 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.

Book list *Starred Review* Simon's pretty sure no one will be upset when he comes out as gay. Though he lives in Georgia and kids at his high school can be cruel, his friends and family are all very accepting. But announcing that he likes guys is still a huge transformation. That's why he is so spooked when classmate Martin stumbles on secret, flirty e-mails Simon has been sending to Blue, a mysterious boy at his school, and gently threatens to reveal his secret. As the e-mail correspondence heats up, however, Simon is less concerned with keeping his sexuality a secret than he is with meeting the enchanting Blue. In Simon's affecting and authentic voice, debut author Albertalli supplies an exceptionally nuanced account of his coming-of-age. For Simon, coming out is less about negative repercussions as it is about what such a statement will change. After telling everyone he is gay, will he still be the same Simon? Though Martin's blackmail threats and Simon's dreamy romance with Blue are pivotal, compelling plot points, Albertalli shrewdly gives much more weight to Simon's emotional journey. Though they are certainly tied to his sexual orientation, Simon's worries will resonate with many readers coming to terms with something new about themselves. Albertalli's sensitive, incisive novel expertly gets at the complexity of identity, the difficulty of change, and the importance of growth.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2015 Booklist

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

Publishers Weekly After a "goobery nerd" named Martin discovers Georgia teen Simon Spier's secret email relationship with a boy who calls himself "Blue," Martin blackmails Simon into helping him romance Abby, a new girl who has been welcomed into Simon's lunchroom clique. The threat of being outed by Martin forces Simon to come to terms with his sexuality, and his wise insights-Why do only gay people have to come out? Why is that the default?-add heft to a plot that is both hilarious and heartbreaking. Debut novelist Albertalli writes believably in the voice of a confused, openhearted 16-year-old. The large cast of companionable and well-developed characters contains a heroic drama teacher and Simon's embarrassing but well-meaning parents. Page-turning tension comes from the anonymous quality of Simon's emails with Blue, which are interspersed with chapters written in Simon's first-person voice that chronicle Simon's increasing frustration with Blue's reluctance to divulge his identity, as well as the deepening nature of the boys' relationship. Blue may hesitate, but readers will fall madly in love with Simon. Ages 14-up. Agent: Brooks Sherman, Bent Agency. (Apr.) 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 The Book of Mistakes
by Corinna Luyken

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 3-It starts with a mistake, but page by page, one slightly too large eye, a wonky elbow, and feet a little too far off the ground transform and combine into a larger picture-one that not only is functional but also works perfectly. Illustrations rendered in ink, colored pencil, and watercolor are the focal point. They start small-just a circle, a few lines, a dot on the page, a subtle bit of color here and there-but they slowly grow, flowing across one page and onto the next before reverting back to a smaller image that begins to slowly grow again. Each page shows one small glimpse of the final picture, inviting readers to turn the page to see the rest. The simple text draws readers' attention to the illustrations, and thorough examination is rewarded with playful little details. This is a story about how mistakes can change us all for the better if we are brave enough to face them and march ahead. Readers will love following along as the small spots and smudges on each page change the work in fun and unexpected ways, and even younger readers will finish with fresh optimism and a new idea of what mistakes may become. VERDICT Children, especially fledgling artists, will want to pore over this volume one-on-one. A must-have for every library.-Maggie Mason Smith, Clemson University, SC Copyright 2017. 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.

Book list *Starred Review* An inkblot and a face with an eye that's too big are those mistakes? The juxtaposition of mistakes and opportunity is the through line of this original offering that gives children a new way to think about the creative process. Each turn of the oversize, snow-white pages adds a fresh detail to the ink painting slowly being constructed. As the minimal text notes, some are good ideas the glasses on the character's face, for instance. Others, like the extra-long neck, not so much. But as the artwork becomes more detailed, and bits of color, then more, are added here and there, it becomes clear that even the unintentional or the unappealing can be turned into embellishments that enhance the whole. Sometimes the mistakes fundamentally change the whole, but if children are open to getting off the beaten path, they can find themselves immersed in magical new endeavors. Luyken, a debut author, delves into her own creative process, providing images to ponder. The final few spreads, especially, can be the springboard for an interesting discussion of imagination. One thing's for sure: this will lead kids to see their own so-called mistakes in a new, more positive light.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2017 Booklist

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

Caldecott Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog The Invention of Hugo Cabret
by Brian Selznick

Publishers Weekly Selznick's unique, visually arresting illustrated novel is transformed into an equally unique audiobook-plus-DVD presentation here. The story of 12-year-old Hugo Cabret-orphan, clockmaker's apprentice, petty thief and aspiring magician-and how a curious machine connects him with his departed father and pioneering French filmmaker Georges Melies is full-bodied material for Woodman. The narrator dives in, reading with both a bright energy and an air of mystery-befitting the adventurous plot. Listeners will likely cotton to Woodman's affable tone and be fascinated by all the unusual elements here, including the sound-effects sequences (footsteps, train station noises) that stand in for Selznick's black-and-white illustrations, which appear like mini-silent movies in the book. Selznick himself takes over as host on the making-of style DVD, in which he divulges his love of film and his inspiration for the book, discusses (and demonstrates) his drawing technique and even performs a magic trick. The "chapters" of his interview are interspersed with excerpts from the audiobook, as he explains how the recording was a translation of both his words and pictures to sound. This inventive audio-visual hybrid will be a welcome addition to both home and classroom libraries. Ages 9-12. (Mar.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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

School Library Journal Gr 3-6-Brian Selznick's atmospheric story (Scholastic, 2007) is set in Paris in 1931. Hugo Cabret is an orphan; his father, a clockmaker, has recently died in a fire and the boy lives with his alcoholic Uncle Claude, working as his apprentice clock keeper in a bustling train station. When Hugo's uncle fails to return after a three-day absence, the boy decides it's his chance to escape the man's harsh treatment. But Hugo has nowhere to go and, after wandering the city, returns to his uncle's rooms determined to fix a mechanical figure-an automaton-that his father was restoring when he died. Hugo is convinced it will "save his life"-the figure holds a pen, and the boy believes that if he can get it working again, it will deliver a message from his father. This is just the bare outline of this multilayered story, inspired by and with references to early (French) cinema and filmmaker George Melies, magic and magicians, and mechanical objects. Jeff Woodman's reading of the descriptive passages effectively sets the story's suspenseful tone. The book's many pages of pictorial narrative translate in the audio version into sound sequences that successfully employ the techniques of old radio plays (train whistles, footsteps reverberating through station passages, etc.). The accompanying DVD, hosted by Selznick and packed with information and images from the book, will enrich the listening experience.-Daryl Grabarek, School Library Journal Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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

New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog Astrophysics For People In A Hurry
by Neil deGrasse Tyson

Book list With several best-selling books under his belt, along with multiple service awards and honorary doctorates, Tyson has become one of the most popular science spokesmen since Carl Sagan, whose famous Cosmos miniseries Tyson rebooted for 13 episodes in 2014. In his latest work, Tyson offers a breezy but scientifically grounded overview of his primary field of expertise, astrophysics, skillfully tailored to increase lay readers' understanding of topics such as the big bang and relativity in time to better appreciate the next astronomical discovery or blockbuster science-fiction movie. Twelve bite-size, lucidly written chapters cover the fundamentals of inflation theory, gravity, dark matter, black holes, and the surprising reasons planets and suns are round. Tyson also gives star billing to some of science's most famous innovators, such as Newton and Einstein, dissecting how they developed their signature theories. A final, elegiac chapter extols the virtues of having a cosmic perspective to lighten the burdens of living. Even readers normally averse to anything to do with physics or chemistry will find Tyson's wittily delivered explanations compelling and disarmingly entertaining.--Hays, Carl Copyright 2017 Booklist

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

School Library Journal Celebrity scientist Tyson's profound intellect is matched by his charm and wit. In this slim title, he attempts to explain some of the most complex astrophysics concepts in layman's terms. Readers should be prepared for a challenging yet edifying experience from the get-go: "In the beginning.all the space and all the matter and all the energy of the known universe was contained in a volume less than one-trillionth the size of the period that ends this sentence." Tyson riffs on topics such as gravity, the speed and makeup of light, the shape of space, and dark matter, maintaining as chatty a tone as possible as he tries to make these important principles comprehensible to the uninitiated. VERDICT Likely to resonate the most with those with a scientific bent, but Tyson's pop culture appeal expands the audience somewhat.-Jamie Watson, Baltimore County Public Library Copyright 2017. 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.

Library Journal Author and astrophysicist Tyson (director, Hayden Planetarium, New York) has revisited, modified, consolidated, and, in some cases, updated a number of essays from his Universe column from Natural History magazine. Twelve independent chapters address topics such as the origin and development of the universe, dark matter and dark energy, and how both technology and location (spatial and temporal) influence our understanding of the cosmos. The astrophysicist's enthusiasm and sense of humor remain undiminished; few other science popularizers would think of writing, "I don't know about you, but the planet Saturn pops into my mind with every bite of a hamburger I take." Tyson is promoting this book as a quick and convenient introduction to the universe for people with scant free time, although readers will benefit from prior exposure to the physical sciences. Subject coverage overlaps unavoidably with the author's acclaimed Welcome to the Universe: An Astrophysical Tour (cowritten by J. -Richard Gott and Michael A. Strauss), but this newer title is more literary. VERDICT Those seeking pleasure reading--Tyson fans and newcomers alike-will enjoy this caper through the cosmos. [See -Prepub Alert, 11/21/16.]-Nancy R. Curtis, Univ. of Maine Lib., Orono Copyright 2017. 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.

Newbery Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog Doll Bones
by Holly Black

School Library Journal Gr 4-7-At 12 years old, lifelong friends Zach, Poppy, and Alice are ferociously clinging to their childhoods. Using old Barbies, pirate action figures, dolls from Good Will, and their imaginations, they have created an exciting world of characters in an elaborate game. Figuring heavily in their plotline is the Queen, an antique doll of bone china that belongs to Poppy's mother and is strictly off-limits to the kids. She's also incredibly creepy. When Zach's dad throws away his action figures, the boy is so devastated that he ends the game abruptly, leaving the girls hurt and confused. Shortly thereafter, Poppy reveals that the Queen is made of the bones of a dead girl named Eleanor who has been communicating with her at night. The doll appears to be filled with Eleanor's ashes, and she has promised Poppy that she will make their lives miserable if they don't journey to Ohio, find her grave, and bury her properly. After much persuading, Zach and Alice agree to the journey. The Queen gets scarier and scarier as unexplained events begin to occur along the way. Black has created protagonists who readers will care about, and amusing secondary characters, like a pink-haired librarian and a crazy bus passenger who seems to be able to see Eleanor. This novel is a chilling ghost story, a gripping adventure, and a heartwarming look at the often-painful pull of adulthood. Black-and-white illustrations actually tone down the scare factor a little, making this a perfect starter story for budding horror fans.-Mandy Laferriere, Fowler Middle School, Frisco, TX (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.

Book list *Starred Review* A trio of adolescents goes on a quest to satisfy the demands of a ghost. Sounds like standard middle-grade fare, but in Black's absolutely assured hands, it is anything but. Zach, Poppy, and Alice have been playing the same make-believe game for years, one involving pirates and mermaids and, of course, the Great Queen a creepy, bone-china doll at Poppy's house. Then Poppy reveals that she's been haunted by a girl whose ground-up bones lie inside the Great Queen, so the doll must be properly buried. Begrudgingly, the three agree to play one last game and hope against hope for a real adventure, the kind that changed you. With heart-wrenching swiftness, Black paints a picture of friends at the precipice of adulthood; they can sense the tentative peace of youth that is about to be demolished. The tightly focused, realistic tale bladed with a hint of fairy-tale darkness feels cut from the very soul of youth: there is no sentimentality, no cuteness, only the painful, contradictory longing to move forward in one's life without leaving anything behind. Stories about the importance of stories ( Maybe no stories were lies, thinks Zach) don't come much more forthright and affecting than this one. Wheeler's sketches ameliorate some of the tension and dread not a bad thing. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Black's best-selling Spiderwick Chronicles pave the way for this powerful stand-alone, which comes with an author tour, in-theater promos, and more.--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

Publishers Weekly Zach plays with dolls. Never mind that they're action figures, heroes in a wild, improvisational saga he acts out with friends Poppy and Alice. Never mind that he's a solid student and rising basketball star. Zach is 12, and his father has decided this must stop. While Zach's at school, the dolls go to the dump, and Zach is left with only rage. He quits the game, but Alice and Poppy haul him out for one more quest: a bus trip to lay to rest the Queen, a bone china doll that Poppy swears is made from the bones of a murdered girl. Another crazy quest from Poppy's fertile brain? Or could this ghost story be real? The wonderfully eerie doll, the realism of the kids' improbable logic, and the ache underlying every character's actions create as much a state of existential anxiety as narrative tension. Black captures the adolescent sense that things are about to explode before they get explained. And it's a darn good adventure, too. Ages 10-14. Author's agent: Barry Goldblatt, Barry Goldblatt Literary. Illustrator's agent: Jennifer Rofe, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (May) (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 A Map of the World
by Jane Hamilton

Library Journal: This second novel by Hamilton (The Book of Ruth, LJ 11/1/88) is a stunning exploration of how one careless moment can cause irrevocable and devastating change. Alice Goodwin is caring for her best friend's children when two-year-old Lizzy Collins wanders to the pond on the Goodwin farm and drowns. The consequences of this tragedy reverberate through a small Wisconsin community, which never accepted Howard and Alice Goodwin. Theresa Collins, bereft at losing a child and a dear friend, draws on her Catholic religion and finds forgiveness. Alice, immobilized by guilt and grief and unable to function as a wife or mother to her own two daughters, is charged with abusing children in her part-time job as a school nurse. Lizzy's death is ever present-especially in the bond growing between Theresa and Howard while Alice is in jail-and the pain of it is echoed in Alice's primary young accuser and in Alice as a child, drawing her own map of the world after her mother died. Reminiscent of Rosellen Brown's Tender Mercies (1978), this compelling, multilayered fiction belongs in all collections.-Michele Leber, Fairfax Cty. P.L., Va.

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

Publishers Weekly: Booksellers should send up three cheers of greeting for this haunting second novel by the author of The Book of Ruth , a beautifully developed and written story reminiscent of the work of Sue Miller and Jane Smiley. A piercing picture of domestic relationships under the pressure of calamitous circumstances, it poignantly addresses the capricious turns of fate and the unyielding grip of regret. Alice and Howard Goodwin and their two young daughters live on the last remaining dairy farm on the outskirts of Racine, Wisc. The farm is Howard's dream, realized with infusions of money from his disapproving mother; but Alice, who is disorganized, skittery and emotionally volatile, is constitutionally unsuited to be a farmer's wife. Her solace is her best friend Theresa, who also has two little girls for whom they alternate days of babysitting. One hot, dry June morning, in the middle of a soul-parching drought, Alice daydreams for a few, crucial minutes while the four girls play. She has rediscovered the map of the world that she made after her own mother died when she was eight; it was an attempt to imagine a place where she would always feel safe and secure. In that short time, one of Theresa's daughters drowns in the Goodwins' pond. As outsiders from the city, the Goodwins have never been accepted in their small community, which now closes forces against them. Still grieving and filled with remorse, Alice, a school nurse, is accused by an opportunistic mother of sexually molesting her son. She is arrested, and since Howard cannot raise bail, she remains in jail, where she suffers but also learns a great deal about human frailty and solidarity. Meanwhile, Howard and the girls undergo their own crucible of fire. Among Hamilton's gifts is a perfect ear for the interchanges of domestic life. The voices of Alice and Howard, who narrate the tale, have an elegiac, yet compelling tone as they look back on the events that swept them into a horrifying nightmare. In counterpoint to the shocks that transform their existence, the drudgery of the daily routine of farm life has rarely been conveyed with such fidelity. Fittingly, however, the death of their hopes as a family coincides with Howard's realization that the farmer's way of life is disappearing as well. The last third of the book, detailing Alice's incarceration among mainly black inmates, is astonishingly perceptive and credible, opening new dimensions in the narrative. One wants to read this powerful novel at one sitting, mesmerized by a story that has universal implications. BOMC and QPB selection.

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

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