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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog Golden boy
by Tara Sullivan

School Library Journal Gr 8 Up-Habo, 13, knows that his albinism makes him a zeruzeru, less than a person. His skin burns easily, and his poor eyesight makes school almost impossible. People shun or mock him. Unable to accept his son's white skin and yellow hair, his father abandoned the family, and they cannot manage their drought-ravaged farm in a small Tanzanian village. Habo and his mother, sister, and brother travel across the Serengeti to seek refuge with his aunt's family in Mwanza. Along the way, they hitch a ride with an ivory poacher, Alasiri, who kills elephants without remorse for the money the tusks bring. In Mwanza, the family learns that one commodity can fetch even higher prices: a zeruzeru. Rich people will pay handsomely for albino body parts, and Alasiri plans to make his fortune. Habo must flee to Dar es Salaam before he is killed. After a harrowing escape, he reaches the city and miraculously encounters a person to whom his appearance makes no difference: a blind woodcarver named Kweli. Slowly Habo develops a sense of self-worth as well as carving skills. When Alasiri brings ivory for Kweli to carve, the boy and old man work with the police to send the hunter to prison. Habo's gripping account propels readers along. His narrative reveals his despair, anger, and bewilderment, but there are humorous moments, too. Although fortuitous encounters and repeated escapes may seem unlikely, the truth underlying the novel is even more unbelievable. In Tanzania, people with albinism have been maimed and killed for their body parts, thought to bring good luck. Readers will be haunted by Habo's voice as he seeks a place of dignity and respect in society. An important and affecting story.-Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University, Mankato (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 Born albino in a Tanzanian village, Habo suffers virulent prejudice for his pale skin, blue eyes, and yellow hair, even from his own family. At 13, he runs away to the city of Dar-es-Salaam, where he thinks he will find more acceptance: there are even two albino members of the government there. He finds a home as an apprentice to a blind sculptor who knows Habo is a smart boy with a good heart, and he teaches Habo to carve wood. But Habo is being pursued by a poacher who wants to kill him and sell his body parts on the black market to superstitious buyers in search of luck. Readers will be caught by the contemporary story of prejudice, both unspoken and violent, as tension builds to the climax. Just as moving is the bond the boy forges with his mentor, and the gripping daily events: Habo gets glasses for his weak eyes, discovers the library, and goes to school at last. The appended matter includes a Swahili glossary and suggestions for documentary videos.--Rochman, Hazel Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog We Found a Hat
by Jon Klassen

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 3-In this capper to Klassen's delightfully sly "Hat" trilogy," two wide-eyed tortoises covet a 10-gallon hat. The economy of words, simple shapes, and rich textures highlight the stark beauty of the desert landscape and allow readers to appreciate the understated drama and humor. A surprisingly tender ending-with just the barest hint of surrealism-emphasizes the power of sacrifice and the endurance of friendship. © 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.

Book list *Starred Review* In this concluding volume of a thematic trilogy, Klassen employs all his trademark dry wit and deadpan humor to tell the story of a hat-related caper. Unlike its predecessors (I Want My Hat Back, 2011, and This Is Not My Hat, 2012), the hat in question has already been found. Two big-eyed turtles stumble across a white cowboy hat in the middle of the desert and take turns trying it on. It suits them both, they decide: But it would not be right if one of us had a hat and the other did not. There is only one thing to do. We must leave the hat here and forget that we found it. This is easier said than done: as they watch the sunset and go to sleep, one turtle in particular just can't keep his mind off the hat. Most of the story is told through that turtle's expressive eyes, as it glances furtively between its companion and the hat. The three-part narrative has a distinctly western feel, complete with a desert setting drawn in dusty pink and brown tones and then, of course, there's the sense of impending betrayal. The conclusion might surprise even those familiar with Klassen's twist endings, and the growing tensions, simple narrative, and intriguing details will endear this to many. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: An extensive author tour and national publicity campaign are just the tip of the marketing-plan iceberg for this latest from Caldecott-winning Klassen.--Reagan, Maggie Copyright 2016 Booklist

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

Publishers Weekly Klassen's I Want My Hat Back and This Is Not My Hat stand alone, but they also form a setup for this tale, in which two turtles stumble upon a big white hat in the desert ("We found a hat. We found it together") and try it on in turn ("It looks good on both of us"). Klassen's artwork, spare and sly, tells a different story. The hat does not look good. It looks silly, as if the turtle's head were stuck in a plastic bucket. "We must leave the hat here and forget that we found it," says the first turtle, with fairness in mind. The other turtle's gaze shifts left. It wants that hat. Readers of the earlier stories will recognize that look; it bodes ill. Klassen divides the book into three distinct acts; in the second, as the turtles watch the sunset, the second turtle's eyes again stray toward the hat. Uh-oh. In the third section, the first turtle settles down to sleep, and the shifty-eyed turtle begins inching toward the hat, talking all the while to the first turtle ("Are you all the way asleep?"). Readers who think they know what's coming will be wrong: the conclusion doesn't involve sharing, peacemaking, or violence. Instead, Klassen considers the instant at which a decision to act can break either way, depending on who's tempted and whether anyone else is watching. In contrast to the first two books, which relied on a certain conspiratorial menace, this one ends with a moment of grace and a sky full of stars. All three stories are about justice. It's just that justice doesn't always mean the same thing. Ages 4-8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal PreS-Gr 3-The conclusion to the "Hat" trilogy offers the sly humor fans have come to expect along with a surprisingly tender ending. When a pair of googly-eyed tortoises find a 10-gallon hat-which they both agree would look good on either of them-they decide to leave it be rather than risk inequity between them. But as should be expected of any Klassen animal in close proximity to headgear, it becomes obvious that one of the tortoises still very much covets the hat. As in his previous works, Klassen takes a minimalist approach, with an economy of words and simple, textured shapes. The repetition of certain phrases and the organization of the title into three parts make this entry flow like an easy reader. Full-page compositions showcase the bare desert landscape, with soft gradients of muted orange as the sole bit of color in the gray and black palette. Fans of the previous "Hat" books who follow the subtle clues and motivations will likely suspect an ironic ending. In a charming turn, the conflict is resolved through empathy and the bonds of friendship-Klassen's animals have clearly evolved in their thinking since the bear in I Want My Hat Back and the fish in This Is Not My Hat. The lightest touch of the surreal adds to the dreamy melancholy of this tale. VERDICT A different but wholly delightful and thought-provoking capper to Klassen's ingenious series.-Kiera Parrott, School Library Journal © 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 They All Saw a Cat
by Brendan Wenzel

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 3-Readers see the world through a different set of eyes thanks to Wenzel's whimsical and eye-catching artwork as a child, a fox, a worm, and others look on as a tabby saunters through a variety of environments. Each distinctive and imaginative spread features a shape-shifting perspective-such as a bee's pointillistic view of the feline-set to a stripped-down, rhythmic text. © 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.

Book list *Starred Review* What does saw mean anyway? If you're Wenzel, the word is an invitation to explore, to think, and to see in new ways. Here, a repeating refrain with more than a hint of nursery rhyme pads through the book, right along with the central character: a cat. The cat walked through the world, with its whiskers, ears, and paws. Yes, they all saw a cat. Each page turn reveals how a series of creatures sees the cat. To the child, it is big-eyed and adorably fluffy; to the fish in the bowl, it's two huge, blurry eyes; and to the bee, it is a series of faceted dots. To create these varied visions, Wenzel uses the spacious width of double-page spreads and a wide range of materials, including oil, pastels, watercolor, and pencils. He plays with perspective in other ways, too. A yellow bird looks down at the cat below, and a flea peers through a forest of fur. The result is fascinating, thought-provoking, and completely absorbing. Rich in discussion possibilities and curriculum applications, this is a treasure for classrooms, story hours, and just plain enjoyment.--Rutan, Lynn Copyright 2016 Booklist

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

Publishers Weekly "The cat walked through the world, with its whiskers, ears, and paws," writes Wenzel (Beastly Babies) at the opening of this perspective-broadening picture book. What those features add up to depends on the eyes of the beholder, not to mention scale relationships, instincts, and history. To a child, the cat looks like a pet: affectionate, big eyed, and adorable. But a flea sees a vast forest of dense hair to conquer. A mouse cowers before the dragonlike creature of horror that bounds out of a blood-red background with blazing yellow eyes. And a bee sees a collection of multicolored dots-a pointillist pussycat. The simple text ("the skunk saw a cat, and the worm saw a cat, and the bat saw a cat. Yes, they all saw the cat") creates a powerful, rhythmic juxtaposition between word and image, and inventively varied renderings showcase a versatile, original talent at work, in media ranging from collage to pencil and watercolor. This is Wenzel's first book as both illustrator and writer, and it's marvelous-no matter how you look at it. Ages 3-5. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog The Outsider
by Stephen King

Publishers Weekly MWA Grand Master King wraps a wild weird tale inside a police procedural in this nicely executed extension of his Bill Hodges detective trilogy (begun with 2014's Mr. Mercedes). Det. Ralph Anderson of the Flint City, Okla., police force appears to have beloved youth baseball league coach Terry Maitland dead to rights when he publicly arrests him for the grisly murder of an 11-year-old boy, since the crime scene is covered with Terry's fingerprints and DNA. Only one problem: at the time of the murder Terry was attending a teachers' conference in a distant city, where he was caught clearly on videotape. The case's contradictory evidence compels Anderson and officials associated with it to team up with Holly Gibney (the deceased Hodges's former assistant) to solve it. What begins as a manhunt for an unlikely doppelgänger takes an uncanny turn into the supernatural. King's skillful use of criminal forensics helps to ground his tale in a believable clinical reality where the horrors stand out in sharp relief. Agent: Chuck Verrill, Darhansoff & Verrill. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal When a young boy's mutilated corpse is found in a public park, the evidence points to Little League coach and high school English teacher Terry Maitland. Despite his vehement claims of innocence, witnesses put him at the scene of the crime, and his fingerprints and DNA are found all over the murder scene. The police have an airtight case, except that other witnesses and video also confirm Terry's alibi: that he was miles away at a teacher's convention on the night of the murder. For Det. Ralph Anderson, it is simultaneously the most straightforward and frustrating case of his career. How can a man be in two places at once? After the success of his "Bill Hodges" series and Sleeping Beauties, coauthored with his son Owen, King's latest feels somewhat flat and predictable. Followers of the horror master's career will likely guess the outcome early on. Usually a maestro of character development, King casts his novel with tired and one-dimensional figures, including Anderson, whose emotional development is disappointingly nonexistent. An extended cameo from a favorite past King character does little to increase the enjoyment. VERDICT King's fans may be dispirited by this latest disappointing thriller; however, his name alone will ensure it flies off the shelves. [See Prepub Alert, 12/1/17.]-Tyler Hixson, Brooklyn P.L. © Copyright 2018. 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 The One and Only Ivan
by Katherine Applegate

School Library Journal Gr 3-7-This tender tale of friendship and hope is narrated by a silverback gorilla living at The Big Top Mall, a shabby, circus-themed roadside attraction. For years, Ivan was passively content. He had his art, unlimited bananas, and his friends: Stella (an elephant), Bob (a stray dog), and Julia (a human child). Ivan's eyes are finally opened to his deplorable surroundings when he loses a friend due to neglect. The last straw is when he witnesses the attraction's owner abusing Ruby, a newly acquired baby elephant. Thus, Ivan is inspired to take action. With some help from his human friends, his dream of a better life for all the Big Top's animals just might come true. The character of Ivan, as explained in an author's note, is inspired by a real gorilla that lived through similar conditions before being adopted by Zoo Atlanta. Applegate makes a powerful statement about the treatment of animals-especially those living in captivity-and reminds readers that all creatures deserve a safe place to call home. Castelao's delightful illustrations enhance this lovely story, and the characters will capture readers' hearts and never let go. A must-have.-Alissa J. LeMerise, Oxford Public Library, MI (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.

Publishers Weekly Inspired by a true story, Applegate (Home of the Brave) offers a haunting tale told from the perspective of Ivan, a silverback gorilla who has been confined to a small "domain" of concrete, metal, and glass for 27 years. Joining Ivan at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade are Stella, an aging elephant, and Bob, a feisty stray dog. While other animals perform, Ivan makes art, watches TV, and offers melancholy assessments of their situation. When Ruby, an inquisitive baby elephant, arrives and Stella dies from neglect, her dying wish is for Ivan to help Ruby escape. The brief chapters read like free-verse poetry, the extra line breaks between paragraphs driving home the contrast between Ivan and humans, who in his opinion, "waste words. They toss them like banana peels and leave them to rot." As is to be expected, there's significant anthropomorphism, but Applegate is largely successful in creating a protagonist who can understand humans yet feels like a gorilla. Although Ivan's role in the events leading to their rescue reads as too human, readers will be left rethinking our relationship to animals. Final art not seen by PW. Agent: Wernick & Pratt Agency. Illustrator's agent: Kidshannon. Ages 8-12. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list Ivan, a silverback gorilla, has lived in a glass, metal, and concrete enclosure at Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, conveniently located off I-95, for 27 years. Bored, he watches TV, draws pictures, throws me-balls (dried excrement) at visitors, and enjoys the company of a venerable elephant named Stella and a few other friends. After a baby elephant arrives, Ivan makes Stella a solemn promise that seems impossible to fulfill. The text, written in first person from Ivan's point of view, does a good job of vividly conveying his personality, emotions, and intelligence as well as creating a sense of otherness in his point of view. His story is based on the life of a gorilla now living at Zoo Atlanta. The book's wide-spaced lines, plentiful white space, and pleasing black-and-white illustrations make this a quicker read than the page count might suggest. Animals fans will enjoy this one.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

School Library Journal Gr 3-7-This tender tale of friendship and hope is narrated by a silverback gorilla living at The Big Top Mall, a shabby, circus-themed roadside attraction. For years, Ivan was passively content. He had his art, unlimited bananas, and his friends: Stella (an elephant), Bob (a stray dog), and Julia (a human child). Ivan's eyes are finally opened to his deplorable surroundings when he loses a friend due to neglect. The last straw is when he witnesses the attraction's owner abusing Ruby, a newly acquired baby elephant. Thus, Ivan is inspired to take action. With some help from his human friends, his dream of a better life for all the Big Top's animals just might come true. The character of Ivan, as explained in an author's note, is inspired by a real gorilla that lived through similar conditions before being adopted by Zoo Atlanta. Applegate makes a powerful statement about the treatment of animals-especially those living in captivity-and reminds readers that all creatures deserve a safe place to call home. Castelao's delightful illustrations enhance this lovely story, and the characters will capture readers' hearts and never let go. A must-have.-Alissa J. LeMerise, Oxford Public Library, MI (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.

Oprah's Book Club
Click to search this book in our catalog Back Roads
by Tawni O'Dell

Book list Harley Altmyer, a 19-year-old living in the Pennsylvania backwoods, works two jobs to support himself and three younger sisters, all orphaned when their mother is imprisoned for killing their abusive father. Harley is frustrated by his dreary, duty-filled life, resentful that his best friend is away at college and has escaped the dead-end existence of the small town. He resents his mother, who, albeit in prison, has escaped the relentless demands of a seriously dysfunctional family: oversexed Amber searches for love in every boy she meets; Misty wears as a bracelet the collar of her pet cat who died in mysterious circumstances; and Jody, only recently recovered from total withdrawal, compulsively makes to-do lists. Harley's affair with Callie Mercer, the mother of Jody's friend, marks his sexual and emotional awakening, but it won't permit an escape from family secrets. He regularly visits a state-funded psychologist but responds with sarcasm, indifference, and denial until a family crisis rewakens memories that lead him to a truth more awful than the apparent reality of his miserable life. Harley's first-person account of the deterioration of his family and his own slow-motion meltdown is harrowing. O'Dell, a native of western Pennsylvania, renders finely detailed characters and settings in a desperate and failed mining town. This is a riveting first novel of violence, incest, murder, and madness. --Vanessa Bush

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

Publishers Weekly Nineteen-year-old Harley is left to rear his three younger sisters after their mother is imprisoned for murdering their abusive father in this searing, hardscrabble Party of Five set in Pennsylvania mining country. Doubly resentful because his best friend is off at college, Harley spends his days slogging as a Shop Rite bagger and appliance-shop delivery person, coming home to cold cereal dinners prepared by six-year-old Jody. Harley is bitter about having to take over for his motherÄ"she still had us kids but we didn't have her"Äand he can't shake the feeling that she prefers prison to their home life; a mystery lingers around his father's death. Meanwhile, 16-year-old Amber is sleeping her way through the town's teenage boys and flaunting her body in front of Harley; middle sister Misty, once her father's favorite and his hunting companion, practices shooting. Desperate for relief, Harley finds solace in rough but exhilarating encounters with married Callie Mercer, little Jody's best friend's mother, losing his virginity to her on a muddy creek bank and reveling in her sophisticated, sensitive words. But memories are stirring in his subconscious, and erotic dreams of the Virgin Mary metamorphose into nightmarish sexual visions. In his sessions with a court-appointed therapist, Harley edges closer to understanding his family's twisted dynamic, but it is only when the horrors of the present begin to catch up with those of the past that a series of shattering truths are revealed. By then it is too late for Harley to save everyone he loves, but in sacrificing himself, however hopelessly, he introduces a note of grace. O'Dell's scorching tale touches on all the tropes of dysfunctional families, but her characters fight free of stereotypes, taking on an angry, authentic glow. (Jan.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

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

Library Journal Harley Altmyer might be the only 20-year-old virgin in the small Pennsylvania coal town where he lives, but for sure he is the only one with custody of three younger siblingsÄa responsibility inherited when his mother killed his abusive father and went to prison for life. While he works two dead-end jobs to support his sisters, Harley lusts after a married neighbor, Callie Mercer. When Callie indicates that she's attracted to him, too, the resulting sexual fireworks set off a series of events with tragic consequences. First novelist O'Dell, a trained journalist and a former exotic dancer, knows a lot about raging hormones, and she clearly has a good deal of affection for Harley (which the reader will share). She is less comfortable, however, with the demands of plot and character development. The last third of the novel is unnecessarily convoluted and rests uneasily on characters who are too sketchy to support the pieces of plot that they're carrying. Once O'Dell learns how to harness the runaway energy she brings to fiction, she'll be a writer to read; until then, only large public libraries should consider this for purchase.ÄNancy Pearl, Washington Ctr. for the Book, Seattle Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

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

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