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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog The Boy in the Black Suit
by Jason Reynolds

School Library Journal Gr 7 Up-Matt's mother just died, and his dad isn't coping well, hanging out with the local drunk and downing whiskey, which results in his getting hit by a car and landing in the hospital. Matt is also grieving his mom's death and now he's on his own, until he lands a job at the local funeral home: $15 an hour and Mr. Ray as his boss. Attending other people's funerals helps the teen come to grips with his own grief. Hearing mourners express their real thoughts of suffering at each funeral allows Matt to figure out his own feelings. Mr. Ray is wise and shows up at all the right times to help out the struggling young man, and when Mr. Ray's secrets come to light, he appears even cooler in Matt's eyes. Amid all this, Matt meets Lovey, the girl of his dreams, who is smart, funny, gorgeous, and tough. A mystery intersecting Lovey's life and that ofMatt's best friend, Chris, deepens the plot. Written in a breezy style with complex characters who have real lives, this is another hit for Reynolds, fresh off the success of his When I Was the Greatest (S. & S., 2014). The author's seemingly effortless writing shines in this slice-of-life story, which covers a lot of the protagonist's emotional ground. The realistic setting and character-driven tale keeps readers turning the pages of this winner.-Amy Cheney, Alameda County Library, San Leandro, CA (c) Copyright 2014. 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.

ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog The Night Gardener.
by Terry Fan

Publishers Weekly Brothers Terry and Eric Fan set their first story in a dreary town and imagine what happens when it is transformed by a gardener's skill. William, an orphan, sits glumly in front of his orphanage scratching an owl in the dirt as a stranger walks by. After dark, readers see the stranger at work with his shears in a tree in front of the building. In the morning, the man's artistry is revealed: the tree has been shaped into an owl like the one William has drawn. The town, initially rendered in gray pencil, shows a blush of color as people gather to marvel: "Something was happening on Grimloch Lane. Something good." A topiary parrot appears, an elephant, a magnificent dragon; townspeople of varying ages and ethnicities rejoice, and the spreads take on livelier hues. One night, William spots the gardener, follows him, and gets a topiary lesson. Though the gardener leaves soon after and the trees revert to normal as the seasons change, the town thrives, as will William, it seems clear. A treat, with artwork worth lingering over. Ages 4-8. Agent: Kirsten Hall, Catbird Productions. (Feb.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list Life on Grimloch Lane is, well, pretty grim until the morning William awakens in his home at the Grimloch Orphanage to discover that something marvelous has happened overnight: through topiary art, the tree on the street has been transformed into a giant owl! And that's just the beginning. Each morning thereafter, a new topiary work appears: first, a cat, then a rabbit, then a parakeet, and finally the most magnificent masterpiece yet appears: a majestic griffin. Who is responsible for these marvels? That night, as William is about to head home, he spots a stranger and follows him. Could it be? Yes, it is the Night Gardener, and he asks William to help him. The next morning, the gardener is gone, but he has left William a life-changing gift. Though not quite life-changing itself, the Fan brothers' quiet story is nevertheless invested with an element of agreeable magic which is underscored by their use of muted colors to evoke the mysteries of the night. It is a pleasing collaboration with art bound to both haunt and delight.--Cart, Michael Copyright 2016 Booklist

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

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 2-With spare text and a simple palette, The Night Gardener tells the story of a depressed town's transformation with the help of a nocturnal gardener. The book begins on Grimloch Lane, a street where every head hangs down and an orphan boy, William, is down in the dumps. A dapper elderly man with a green leaf shining in his pocket passes him, and the magic begins. Every night, a new fantastical topiary appears in a tree on Grimloch Lane, to the neighborhood's delight. People begin playing outside, drawing, playing the tuba, and looking up in wonder: it's an urban planner's delight. William gets to tag along one night, and as the season changes, the work of creating community-revitalizing topiaries is passed to him. The illustrations look like a more cheerful Edward Gorey, done with a blend of fine-tip ink and pencil work and watercolor, with the night portrayed in pearly monochromatic blues. While most of the characters are white, a few background characters wandering through the trees are people of color. VERDICT An elegant picture book that celebrates creativity and community; for first purchase.-Lisa Nowlain, Darien Library, CT 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 Freedom in Congo Square
by Carole Boston

Book list *Starred Review* Coretta Scott King Honorees Weatherford and Christie have created a gorgeously artistic and poetic homage to the birthplace of jazz and a people whose legacy is too often ignored. For one day a week, the slaves of New Orleans were allowed by law to gather on one public space: Congo Square. Through sparse, deliberate language, Weatherford tangibly captures the anticipation of those Sundays, listing the physical and emotional work that slaves endured without respite. They tend to animals and crops, cater to their masters, endure losses and lashings, all the while counting the hours until they can revel in the freedom of Congo Square. Holding on to that joyful experience feels like a form of silent resistance as the slaves bear the harshness of the week. The blunt words are richly supplemented by illustrations reminiscent of Jacob Lawrence's work. Christie elegantly renders people's gestures in chalk, capturing their energy or lack of, depending on the context. Blocks of color stamped with texture bring to life the landscape and movement in a place where they rejoiced as if they had no cares; / half day, half free in Congo Square. Subtle and layered, this is an important story, beautifully told.--Chaudhri, Amina Copyright 2015 Booklist

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

School Library Journal Gr 1-3-This vibrant picture book examines Congo Square in New Orleans. A foreword and author's note explain how, historically, slaves in Louisiana were allowed Sunday afternoons off. This custom continued after the territory joined the United States, although in time, New Orleans established one location for all slaves to gather: an area that became known as Congo Square. This unique practice helped enslaved and free Africans maintain cultural traditions. The impact was felt far beyond New Orleans as musicians, dancers, and singers developed, explored, and shared rhythms that eventually grew into jazz music. The text is realistic but child appropriate. Couplets count down the days to Sunday in a conversational tone ("Slavery was no ways fair./Six more days to Congo Square."). The writing is accompanied by folk art-style illustrations, with paint applied in thick layers. Some images, such as faces, are more detailed, while others are presented as silhouettes. Collage with painted elements is incorporated on occasion. The architecture portrayed evokes the New Orleans setting. Bright colors suggest the exuberance displayed at Congo Square. Spreads where the slaves are finally able to sing, dance, and express emotion contrast effectively with the forced restraint of those depicting the work week. VERDICT Unique in its subject and artistic expression, this beautiful book belongs in most collections.-Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA 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.

School Library Journal Gr 1-3-Couplets count down the days of the week and detail the daily labor duties of those who were enslaved in New Orleans-all leading up to Sunday, the day of rest and an afternoon in Congo Square. Acknowledging and contrasting the brutal toll of slavery with the exuberance and collective power of their one half-afternoon of free expression, Weatherford has created a masterly and multifaceted work. Christie's illustrations, so loaded with color and movement, are the perfect accompaniment to this must-have book. 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.

Publishers Weekly Located in what is now the Treme neighborhood, Congo Square was the one place where the slaves and free blacks of New Orleans were allowed to gather on Sundays, a legally mandated day of rest. There they could reconnect with the dance and music of their West and Central African heritages and feel, at least for a few hours, that they were in "a world apart," where "freedom's heart" prevailed. Weatherford hits a few flat notes with her rhyming ("Slaves had off one afternoon,/ when the law allowed them to commune"), but she succeeds in evoking a world where prospect of Sunday becomes a way to withstand relentless toil and oppression: "Wednesday, there were beds to make/ silver to shine, and bread to bake./ The dreaded lash, too much to bear./ Four more days to Congo Square." Christie, who worked with Weatherford to illuminate another historic neighborhood in Sugar Hill (2014), takes readers on a visual journey, moving from searing naf scenes of plantation life to exuberantly expressionistic and abstract images filled with joyous, soaring curvilinear figures. An introduction and afterword provide further historic detail. Ages 4-8. (Jan.) 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 President Is Missing
by Bill Clinton and James Patterson

Library Journal Uneasy lies the head of the person who is the President of the United States. This thriller, copenned by former president Clinton ("42") and best-selling author Patterson, opens with President Duncan preparing for an impeachment hearing. He has been accused of preventing the death of known terrorist Suliman Cindoruk, who is still on the loose. But unbeknownst to his congressional accusers, Duncan needs to keep Cindoruk alive because of a cyberterrorism threat known as Dark Ages. This virus, once activated, would wipe out data on all electronic devices and violently disrupt the country in a matter of minutes. Time is running out, and Duncan will personally stop at nothing to prevent this chaos from engulfing the country. Verdict Clinton, offering the inside scoop on life in the White House, and Patterson, spinning a tense plot, are a dynamic duo weaving a suspenseful and gripping technohriller that will leave readers wondering, "Could this really happen?" Highly recommended for thriller and suspense fans. [See Prepub Alert, 12/11/17; Clinton and Patterson will be appearing at BookCon.-Ed.]-Susan Moritz, Silver Spring, MD 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 One Came Home
by Amy Timberlake

Book list To find out what really happened to her purportedly dead sister, sharpshooting 13-year-old Georgie Burkhardt and her sister's one-time suitor Billy McCabe follow the trail of pigeon hunters and discover far worse going on near Placid, Wisconsin, in 1871. Georgie tells her story in a first-person narrative that rings true to the time and place. She is smart, determined, and not a little blind to the machinations of adults around her, including Billy, who has been sent by Georgie's storekeeper grandfather to follow her and keep her safe. She does notice that Billy is well made, but this is no love story; it's a story of acceptance, by Georgie, her family, and her small town. Timberlake weaves in the largest passenger pigeon nesting ever seen in North America, drought and fatal fires along Lake Michigan that year, a currency crisis that spawned counterfeiters, and advice on prairie travel from an actual handbook from the times. Historical fiction and mystery combine to make this a compelling adventure, and an afterword helps disentangle facts from fiction.--Isaacs, Kathleen Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

School Library Journal Gr 5-8-Thirteen-year-old Georgie Burkhardt can shoot better than anyone in Placid, Wisconsin. She can handle accounts and serve customers in her family's general store. What she can't do is accept that the unrecognizable body wearing her older sister's blue-green gown is Agatha. Determined to discover what happened after Agatha abruptly left town with a group of pigeoners, Georgie sets out to follow her route. In return for the loan of a mule, she reluctantly allows Billy McCabe, one of Agatha's suitors, to accompany her. The journey includes a menacing cougar and ruthless counterfeiters, but Georgie's narration offers more than action-packed adventure. She unravels the tangle of events that led to Agatha's sudden departure and acknowledges her own role. By turns humorous and reflective, Georgie's unique and honest voice includes confusion about her feelings for Billy and doubts about her ability to kill even in desperate circumstances. Timberlake seamlessly integrates information about two significant events that occurred in Wisconsin in 1871: the largest recorded nesting of passenger pigeons in spring and devastating firestorms in fall. Georgie's physical and emotional odyssey that occurs between those two events will linger in readers' minds.-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 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 Songs in Ordinary Time
by Mary McGarry Morris

Publishers Weekly Set in Vermont during the summer of 1960, Morris's latest concerns a dysfunctional family that falls prey to a dangerous con man. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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