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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog Young elites.
by by Marie Lu

School Library Journal Gr 8 Up-A rollicking series opener from the author of the "Legend" series (Putnam). Imagine surviving a plague of fever, only to be marked as an abomination by your countrymen. Most survivors of the sickness that vanquished thousands in this alternative medieval world possess a strange and unique marking, whether it be a facial coloring, oddly tinged hair, or, in Adelina's case, a missing eye. Called malfettos, some are endowed with magical gifts that enable them to control wind, fire, earth, and even humans. All Adelina has ever wanted is to feel accepted and loved, but she's ignored by her father, and her sister doesn't have the power to save her. When the teen escapes an unwanted proposal, she unwittingly becomes a member of the Dagger Society, an Elite group of malfettos bent on using their supernatural abilities to escape the Inquisition's genocide and place their leader, Enzo, on the throne of Kenettra. Adelina struggles with an increasing distrust of Enzo, her fellow Elites, and herself, all while learning how to control her powers of illusion and disillusion. Lu seamlessly melds an unforgettable and intoxicating historical fantasy narrative with a strong female protagonist that grapples with an issue experienced by all young adults-acceptance of one's self. Well written, fast paced without being confusing, and enjoyable enough for teens, reluctant readers, and even adults. Brimming with engaging battles-physical and emotional-and meticulous backdrops, Lu's new series will be a surefire hit with old and new fans alike.- Amanda C. Buschmann, Atascocita Middle School, Humble, TX (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.

Book list *Starred Review* Adelina Amouteru is a walking wound. A deadly fever has ravaged her country, killing many and leaving others marked in strange and dangerous ways. Adelina is a survivor who carries two marks: once-black hair has turned silver, and her left eye is gone. Known as malfettos, those scarred by the disease are considered bad luck, even dangerous. There are rumors that some survivors have magical abilities, and after a dark confrontation with her power-hungry father, Adelina discovers that the fever may have left her with more than scars after all. Thrust into a group of rebel malfettos, the Young Elites, Adelina realizes the extent of her latent powers. Those familiar with Lu's wildly popular Legend series will recognize the author's propensity to include multiple perspectives, and here those viewpoints include other members of the Young Elites and their rebel leader, as well as the queen's Inquisitor, who is hunting them all. Still, this is Adelina's tale. Part bildungsroman, part origin story, this explores the idea that what damages you gives you strength, but often with a price. Lu's careful world building does slow the plot, but the result is that Adelina's Italianesque culture is believable, and the story leads to a whopper of a finale and an even more intriguing epilogue. Fans of Legend or not, readers should prepare to be captivated and to look forward to a continuation of the Young Elites series. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: A national author tour and promotions at BEA and Comic-Con will help start the buzz for this author, who has already proven she can draw a crowd.--Reagan, Maggie Copyright 2014 Booklist

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

Publishers Weekly Starred Review. In this series opener, Lu (the Legend trilogy) pivots from the "coming of age via romance" formula to pry apart the many emotions that pass under the rubric of love. Adelina Amouteru, once-privileged daughter of a merchant, is irrevocably changed by the blood fever, an epidemic that wiped out infected adults and left most child survivors permanently scarred malfettos. A handful also underwent mutations that conferred strange, often lethal powers. All malfettos are persecuted, but these mutant Young Elites are special targets. Harrowingly, Adelina discovers that she is one. Rescued by a masked firebrand from certain death under the government's Inquisition, she awakens in the custody of Raffaele, a male prostitute, and Enzo, malfetto aspirant to the throne. A beautiful woman surrounded by beautiful men, Adelina nevertheless is not defined by romance. Warped family bonds shape her consciousness and yearning for acceptance, and the men are out to get what they want from her. There's nothing easy here, for Adelina or readers-there are no safe places where the pressures of betrayal, death threats, and rejection aren't felt. Ages 12-up. Agent: Kristin Nelson, Nelson Literary Agency. (Oct.) (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 A Greyhound, a Groundhog
by Emily Jenkins

Publishers Weekly Dedicated to picture book icon Ruth Krauss, this elegant pas de deux between two unlikely creatures recalls the sense of uninhibited play that Krauss brought to her own work. "A hound./ A round hound./ A greyhound," Jenkins (Toys Meet Snow) starts, accompanied by Appelhans's watercolor of a curled-up dog, its abstract form captured in a few graceful strokes. "A hog./ A round hog./ A groundhog," she continues, as Appelhans (Sparky!) paints a fat, furry fellow with tiny ears and a shy smile poking its head up aboveground. For "a greyhound, a groundhog,/ a found little/ roundhog," the artist shows the dog approaching the startled rodent, and the two soon make friends: "Around, round hound./ Around, groundhog!" The animals play, the words play, and the faster the creatures circle, scamper, and bound, the more mixed up the words get ("A greyhog,/ a ground dog,/ a hog little hound dog"). Appelhans paints the dog and hog cavorting through an idyllic world ("Astound!" Jenkins exclaims, as they surprise a group of butterflies), and their adventure celebrates the sounds of words, the lure of rhythm, and the joy of movement. Ages 3-7. Illustrator's agent: Judith Hansen, Hansen Literary. (Jan.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list *Starred Review* With impressive economy of language, Jenkins (Toys Meet Snow, 2015) crafts an energetic, guileless story about the camaraderie between a greyhound and a groundhog. Much as Emily Gravett did in Orange Pear Apple Bear (2007), Jenkins uses a handful of words (round, ground, hog, dog) that she combines, splices, and rearranges on each page. On one spread, the groundhog watches as the greyhound chases its tail in a circle: A groundhog, a greyhound, / a grey little / round hound. This repetition is ideal for young readers and listeners, who will also be swept up by the abundant wordplay. As the two start to run in gleeful, dizzying circles, the text becomes jumbled into nonsensical phrases that pleasurably trip off the tongue. Words arc and swoop over the pages, mimicking the animals' antics, until an awe-inspiring moment stops them in their tracks. This simple story is elevated by Appelhans' watercolor-and-pencil illustrations, which capture the dog and hog's joie de vivre with dynamic streaks and swooshes. In moments of stillness, readers can appreciate the greyhound's graceful lines and dappled, opaline coat, or the coconut-shaped groundhog's cheery grin. This unusual duo will make a heartwarming addition to any read-aloud collection.--Smith, Julia Copyright 2016 Booklist

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

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 2-In a picture book that demands to be read aloud, a greyhound and a groundhog spin in visual and verbal circles. A limited gray and brown watercolor palette-and an equally limited selection of consonant and vowel sounds-characterize this phonologically clever, fundamentally joyful, and subtly unified picture book. Words, text, and creatures begin in simple lines (the words "A hound. A round hound" are printed in a straight line above a sleeping greyhound on the first page), but all three increasingly start to rotate (the sentence, "The ground and a hog and some grey and a dog" later curves around the page, accompanied by a whirling, tongue-lolling canine). Just as readers grow accustomed to the muted colors and tongue twisters ("Around, round hound/Around, groundhog!"), both begin to change: "around and around" becomes "and astound" as the greyhound-fully facing readers for the first time-notices one butterfly, and then more, come into the visual field, bringing with them the latent pinks, blues, and purples that an observant viewer will have seen hiding in the grays all along. The butterflies soon fly off the edge of the page, but the amazement lingers as the eponymous animals, finally worn out, settle in for a nap. Accompanied by newly restraightened, resimplified text. VERDICT A lovely, lyrical paean to the natural order, with an element of wonder and grace. Perfect for one-on-one and group sharing.-Jill Ratzan, Congregation Kol Emet, Yardley, PA 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 A Sick Day for Amos McGee
by Philip C. Stead

Publishers Weekly With quiet affection, this husband-and-wife team tells the story of a zookeeper whose devotion is repaid when he falls ill. On most days, the angular, elderly Amos rides the bus to the zoo, plays chess with the elephant ("who thought and thought before making a move"), sits quietly with the penguin, and spends time with his other animal friends. But when Amos catches a cold, the animals ride the bus to pay him a visit, each, in a charming turnabout, doing for Amos whatever he usually does for them. The elephant sets up the chessboard; the shy penguin sits on the bed, "keeping Amos's feet warm." Newcomer Erin Stead's elegant woodblock prints, breathtaking in their delicacy, contribute to the story's tranquility and draw subtle elements to viewers' attention: the grain of the woodblocks themselves, Amos's handsome peacock feather coverlet. Every face-Amos's as well as the animals'-brims with personality. Philip Stead's (Creamed Tuna Fish and Peas on Toast) narrative moves with deliberate speed, dreaming up a joyous life for the sort of man likely to be passed on the street without a thought. Ages 2-6. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal K-Gr 2-Amos McGee, an elderly man who works at the zoo, finds time each day for five special friends. With empathy and understanding he gives the elephant, tortoise, penguin, rhinoceros, and owl the attention they need. One morning, Amos wakes up with a bad cold and stays home in bed. His friends wait patiently and then leave the zoo to visit him. Their trip mirrors his daily bus ride to the zoo and spans three nearly wordless spreads. Amos, sitting up in bed, clasps his hands in delight when his friends arrive. The elephant plays chess with him, and the tortoise plays hide-and-seek. The penguin keeps Amos's feet warm, while the rhinoceros offers a handkerchief when Amos sneezes. They all share a pot of tea. Then the owl, knowing that Amos is afraid of the dark, reads a bedtime story as the other animals listen. They all sleep in Amos's room the rest of the night. The artwork in this quiet tale of good deeds rewarded uses woodblock-printing techniques, soft flat colors, and occasional bits of red. Illustrations are positioned on the white space to move the tale along and underscore the bonds of friendship and loyalty. Whether read individually or shared, this gentle story will resonate with youngsters.-Mary Jean Smith, Southside Elementary School, Lebanon, TN (c) Copyright 2010. 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 Zookeeper Amos McGee always makes time to visit his good friends at work: he plays chess with the elephant, runs races with the tortoise (who always wins), sits quietly with the penguin, lends a handkerchief to the rhinoceros (who has a runny nose), and reads stories to the owl (who is afraid of the dark). Then, after Amos gets a cold, his friends miss him, and they leave the zoo and ride the bus to his place to care for him and cheer him up. Like the story, the quiet pictures, rendered in pencil and woodblock color prints, are both tender and hilarious. Each scene captures the drama of Amos and the creatures caring for each other, whether the elephant is contemplating his chess moves, his huge behind perched on a stool; or the rhinoceros is lending Amos a handkerchief; or the owl is reading them all a bedtime story. The extension of the familiar pet-bonding theme will have great appeal, especially in the final images of the wild creatures snuggled up with Amos in his cozy home.--Rochman, Hazel Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog An Absolutely Remarkable Thing
by Hank Green

Library Journal DEBUT This widely anticipated debut from vlogger Green (Vlogbrothers), the brother of best-selling YA author John Green, lands in our midst much as one of its central characters, the Carls, do. Coming home from work late one evening, April May nearly crashes into a massive robot (is it street art? a statue?) in New York City. Chastising herself for nearly walking away without taking time to appreciate the wonder of artistic expression, she returns, calls her friend Andy, and together they film a video of the object, which they name Carl. The next day the video has gone viral and there are Carls in cities around the world. April is rocketed into social media stardom and has to decide what to do with her newfound fame. Caught between people trying to manage her and those who know her best, April tries to find her way through to fight for the Carls and for humanity. Is it so terrible if she makes some money along the way? VERDICT Led by an earnestly flawed, bisexual heroine with direction and commitment issues, coupled with an abundant generosity of spirit, this read is timely and sorely needed. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 4/9/18.]-Julie Kane, Washington & Lee Lib., Lexington, VA 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.

Publishers Weekly The younger Vlogbrother (John Green is the other) draws on his passion for science and his experience as a "Tier 3" celebrity ("You'll probably trend on Twitter if you die") for a comic debut that combines science fiction and mystery with philosophical musings about the perils of internet fame. His main character, the unfortunately named April May, is a recent art-school grad who happens upon a 10-foot-tall robotic sculpture in the darkened streets of Lower Manhattan. Entranced, she summons Andy, a classmate with a video camera, and the two introduce the figure they dub Carl to the world via YouTube. April May becomes a celebrity but soon discovers that dozens of Carls have appeared in cities across the globe. As she and her friends search for an explanation, she struggles with her newfound addiction to fame and the damage it causes to her most important relationships. April May's narration, which doesn't fully work, is both self-effacing and contradictory: she bemoans how much she enjoys fame while cynically crafting a message stressing community, which she determines will best resonate with her fans, thus growing her fame. Though the ending is disappointing (it appears to be setting up a sequel), fans of Green's YouTube channel will find his humor and perceptiveness intact in this novel. (Sept.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Newbery Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog Three Times Lucky
by Sheila Turnage

Publishers Weekly Eleven years ago, Mo LoBeau arrived in Tupelo Landing, N.C., a newborn baby girl washed downstream during a hurricane and rescued by "the Colonel," a stranger who can't remember anything about his own past. Both are taken in by Miss Lana, owner of the Tupelo Cafe. Mo (short for Moses) loves the Colonel and Lana, but she can't curb her curiosity: isn't anybody missing a lucky newborn? Mo scratches this itch by sending messages in bottles to her "Upstream Mother." Into this implausible but hilarious premise arrives an out-of-town detective, a dead body (cafe customer Mr. Jesse), a long-forgotten bank robbery, and a kidnapping. This much plot might sink a story, but Turnage makes it work. Here is a writer who has never met a metaphor or simile she couldn't put to good use. Miss Lana's voice is "the color of sunlight in maple syrup," while "[r]umors swirl around the Colonel like ink around an octopus." But it's Mo's wry humor that makes this first novel completely memorable. "Boredom kills," she suggests as Mr. Jesse's cause of death. "I've had close brushes myself, during math." Ages 10-up. Agent: Melissa Jeglinski, the Knight Agency. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list *Starred Review* Mysteries abound in this unusual book set in tiny Tupelo Landing, North Carolina, and narrated by Mo, or as she introduces herself, Miss Moses LoBeau, rising sixth-grader. First there are old mysteries. What was Mo's story before Colonel LoBeau rescued her from the creek as a newborn and took her in? And who was the colonel before amnesia wiped away his memory? But soon the plot thickens and more alarming questions arise. Who has murdered one of Tupelo Landing's most unlikable residents? Who is holding Mo's unofficially adoptive parents for ransom? How can she and her friend Dale rescue them? While the pace of the narrative is initially languid, the storytelling is always enjoyable, from the amusing early scene in which Mo and Dale make breakfast for the regulars at the cafe (peanut butter sandwiches with or without the drink du jour, Mountain Dew) to her continuing attempts to find her birth mother through messages launched in bottles. Later the pace quickens considerably as the mystery gains momentum, climaxing in an epic scene during a hurricane. Turnage's lively novel features a distinctive voice and a community of idiosyncratic characters whose interlocking stories are gradually revealed. A sequel is planned for 2013.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

School Library Journal Gr 4-7-Quick-thinking and precocious Mo LoBeau is hilarious in this modern-day mystery set in a small North Carolina town. The 11-year-old discovers the true meaning of family as she searches for her "upstream mother." As a baby, Mo was found washed ashore during a hurricane and has led a quiet life with the Colonel, a cafe owner with a hidden past, and Miss Lana, the fun and colorful cafe hostess. Then one day, this idyllic town is turned upside down by a murder investigation. The twists and turns in the plot will keep readers on their toes, and the humorous interactions between Mo and her quirky neighbors will keep them coming back for more. While the story is amusing and mysterious, the author also skillfully touches on tough issues such as alcoholism, spousal and child abuse, and underage drinking. The mood of the book stays light and keeps youngsters rooting for Mo in all of her adventurous endeavors, yet elicits empathy for the secondary characters as they endure and conquer challenging circumstances. While the overall theme is predictable, the solution to the mystery is not, and this book will leave readers hoping for more books about Mo and her gang.-Amy Shepherd, St. Anne's Episcopal School, Middleton, DE (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 A Fine Balance
by Rohinton Mistry

Publishers Weekly The setting of Mistry's quietly magnificent second novel (after the acclaimed Such a Long Journey) is India in 1975-76, when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, defying a court order calling for her resignation, declares a state of emergency and imprisons the parliamentary opposition as well as thousands of students, teachers, trade unionists and journalists. These events, along with the government's forced sterilization campaign, serve as backdrop for an intricate tale of four ordinary people struggling to survive. Nave college student Maneck Kohlah, whose parents' general store is failing, rents a room in the house of Dina Dalal, a 40-ish widowed seamstress. Dina acquires two additional boarders: hapless but enterprising itinerant tailor Ishvar Darji and his nephew Omprakash, whose father, a village untouchable, was murdered as punishment for crossing caste boundaries. With great empathy and wit, the Bombay-born, Toronto-based Mistry evokes the daily heroism of India's working poor, who must cope with corruption, social anarchy and bureaucratic absurdities. Though the sprawling, chatty narrative risks becoming as unwieldy as the lives it so vibrantly depicts, Mistry combines an openness to India's infinite sensory detail with a Dickensian rendering of the effects of poverty, caste, envy, superstition,corruption and bigotry. His vast, wonderfully precise canvas poses, but cannot answer, the riddle of how to transform a corrupt, ailing society into a healthy one. (Apr.)

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

Library Journal In mid-1970s urban India-a chaos of wretchedness on the streets and slogans in the offices-a chain of circumstances tosses four varied individuals together in one small flat. Stubbornly independent Dina, widowed early, takes in Maneck, the college-aged son of a more prosperous childhood friend and, more reluctantly, Ishvar and Om, uncle and nephew tailors fleeing low-caste origins and astonishing hardships. The reader first learns the characters' separate, compelling histories of brief joys and abiding sorrows, then watches as barriers of class, suspicion, and politeness are gradually dissolved. Even more affecting than Mistry's depictions of squalor and grotesque injustice is his study of friendships emerging unexpectedly, naturally. The novel's coda is cruel and heart-wrenching but deeply honest. This unforgettable book from the author of Such a Long Journey (LJ 4/15/91) is highly recommended.-Janet Ingraham, Worthington P.L., Ohio

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

Choice A worthy successor to Mistry's award-winning Such a Long Journey, this wonderful, baggy, Dickensian narrative follows the fortunes of an independent widow, a college student, and two impoverished tailors who share a crowded apartment. The novel includes a large cast of memorable characters, whose stories range from brutal caste struggles in small villages to homelessness in flimsy shacks surrounding the sprawling city teeming with pavement dwellers, beggars, rent collectors, con men, and corrupt police. The novel's world is often cruel and unfeeling, but the characters struggle on, trying to achieve lives of dignity and meaning. Valmik (proofreader and sometime flack for a bogus guru) provides the novel's title: "The secret of life was to balance hope and despair." The Vishram Vegetarian Hotel cook tells the tailors, "You fellows are amazing.... Each time you come here you have a new adventure story." "It's not us; it's this city," replies the tailor, "a story factory, that's what it is, a spinning mill." Mistry's humorous and compassionate tangle of tales and characters is a story factory, too. And we listen spellbound to a master story spinner at work. D. R. Stoddard Anne Arundel Community College

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

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