Kim B.'s blog

Shirley & Jamila Save their Summer

Jamila has to find a way to avoid going to boring old Science Camp and spend more time shooting hoops! So when oddball Shirley Bones offers a deal that will keep Jamila out of camp, Jamila jumps at the offer. There is only one problem - Shirley is weird. But soon, Jamilia realizes that Shirley isn't just weird, she's a detective! The two girls set out to solve the case of the missing gecko and save their summer!

This book is a wonderfully fun mystery with a lovely tale of friendship. If you fall in love with Shirley and Jamila like I did, then be sure to take a look at the sequel Shirley & Jamila's Big Fall.

Fans of books about friendship like Shannon Hale's Real Friends and for fans of mysteries like Kate Petty's The Leak: For the Love of Truth.

Recommended for ages 8-12.

Reviewed by Kim B. Children's Librarian

   
Tween   
Think Library    Kids    Reviews   

My Pet Human

This first-chapter book stars an adorable tuxedo cat who loves living the outdoor life! It can hang out with its friends (other animals in the neighborhood), has lots of great places to eat, and doesn't have to worry about any pesky humans. All of the cat's animal friends have human pets with the weirdest habits and flaws––one human stays in their room all day and another's group of mini-humans jumps all over it. When a new human, a nice one, moves into an abandoned house and gives the cat some yummy tuna mac-and-cheese, the cat tries to train it to make its own "human pet."

This book is so cute and the pictures are really delightful. I love that the story is told from the cat's point of view! It is so funny. If you love cats or stories about animals this would be a good book for you! Recommended for ages 6–10.

Reviewed by Kim B., Children's Librarian

   
Animals    Friendship    Read   
Tween   
Think Library    Kids    Reviews   

Another Kind

Deep in the desert, not too far from infamous Area 51, is a government facility called the Playroom. In this secret facility are a group of six kids, who are not-quite-human. While the Playroom is a refuge for them, it is also an enclosure. A security breach soon propels them into the world––a world dangerous for "irregularities." Before they know it, this group of clever and funny kids is being hunted by employees of the government, UFO conspiracy theorists, and a mysterious and malevolent "Collector."

This graphic novel features a cast of diverse characters searching for a place to call home, as well as incredible art and some snarky, funny dialogue. If you like books with adventure & beautiful art, a high-stakes plot (without any world ending), and cryptids(!), check it out.

   
Tween   
Think Library    Kids    Reviews   

Endling: The Last

The Queen, Katherine Applegate, has done it again.

Endling: The Last is the first book in a fantasy-adventure trilogy. Applegate does a brilliant job of introducing us intimately to a lovable cast of characters, including the series' heroine Byx, believed to be the last dairne (a race of sentient anthropomorphic dog) in the land of Nedarra. Byx is joined by a motley crew of companions in her quest to find the legendary ancient home of the dairnes and survive the pursuit of the land's power-mad ruler.

The characters' plights and small-scale drama are expertly woven into the backdrop of a fully realized fantasy world, with tantalizing hints toward mysteries to be unraveled and secrets to be revealed. In classic Applegate fashion, the book is full of truly heart-pounding action sequences coupled with thought-provoking parallels between this fantasy setting and our own world.

   
Adventure    Family    Fantasy    Read   
Tween   
Think Library    Kids   

Glitter Gets Everywhere

Kitty, her sister Imogen, and her father all have different ways of coping with the loss of their mother and wife. When her father takes a new job opportunity, the family moves to New York. Though you may think that moving to a different city would stop Kitty from constantly being reminded of her mom, the opposite seems to hold true, and Kitty is reminded of her mom everywhere she goes.

Glitter Gets Everywhere is a great book because provides a heartwarming way to approach the very difficult topic of the loss of a parent. The book would also be helpful if you are coping with the loss of any loved one. Additionally, it contains strong themes of family, connections, and holding onto memories. Recommended for readers ages 8–12.

Reviewed by Kim B., Children’s Librarian

   
Family    Read   
Tween   
Think Library    Kids    Reviews   

Everything Sad is Untrue: (a True Story)

Indeed this is a true story of a boy named Khosrou, who became known as "Daniel" when he and his mother and sister immigrated to the United States. Author Daniel Nayeri writes from his perspective as a child who loved his relatives and his ancient house in Iran, but was forced into a long immigration process when his mother, a doctor, converted from Islam to Christianity and was thereafter considered a criminal in her own country. The fictionalized account makes many references to the storytelling of the legendary Persian queen Scheherazade, and Nayeri writes as if his own survival depends on telling the many small stories and captured memories, whether poignant, mundane, or traumatic, that make him the person he is today. Humor and also sadness abound, and there is some blood and violence.

This book won the Michael L. Printz Award for literary excellence in young adult literature, in 2021.

   
Award Winner    Diversity    Family    Read   
Tween   
Think Library    Kids    Reviews   

Black Brother, Black Brother

Donte and his brother Trey go to a private middle school where most of their classmates are white. They are biracial; their mother is black and their father is white. Trey is very light-skinned and can pass as white whereas Donte has darker skin and is known as “Black Brother.” Because of Donte’s skin color, he is bullied at his middle school by a white kid named Alan. Alan sets Donte up and gets him in trouble involving the police.

Donte eventually finds the sport of fencing, which is Alan’s sport too, and this brings him to a place of understanding of where he fits in the world. By the time Donte faces off with Alan in a fencing match, Donte is confident in who he is and where he is going in his life.

This book deals with racism and bullying in middle school in a real and relatable way. Readers will learn a lot about fencing and how sports can give people confidence in who they are.

   
African American    Bullying    Read    Siblings    Sports   
Tween   
Think Library    Kids    Reviews   

While I was Away

When 12 year-old Waka's parents think she needs to brush up on her Japanese, they send her to Japan to live with her Obaasama, her grandmother, who lives in Tokyo. Five long months in a Japanese only school, giving up her summer vacation and her best friends back home in Kansas! In addition to dealing with the pressure of reading and writing in only Japanese, and making friends at school as a gaijin, an "outsider," Waka also learns how to connect with her complicated and distant grandmother.

A memoir of her time in a Japanese school, Waka T. Brown's story of growing up in two worlds and sometimes feeling like an outsider in both, is a compelling glimpse into life in Japan in the 80s. I loved learning right along with Waka, and her insights in how the past can sometimes haunt those we love, and knowing that can help us know them better.

Reviewed by Senior Information Assistant, Claire C.

   
Biography & Memoir    Diversity    Family    Read   
Tween   
Think Library    Kids    Reviews   

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