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Books for Kids (Ages 9-12)


At Home in Her Tomb: Lady Dai and the Ancient Chinese Treasures of Mawangdui 

By Christine Liu-Perkins

(Juvenile Non-fiction; ages 10 and up)

In the early 1970’s, a tomb was discovered in southern China. Inside was found a well-reserved body of a woman, remains of other family members, and extraordinary amounts of artifacts and historical treasures.  Unlike the dry, dusty mummies of Egypt, this mummy was soft, moist, and most importantly, completely intact.  Although this woman’s body had lain in the tomb for over 2000 years, scientists were able to perform an autopsy on the body. (They were even able to determine what she had eaten before she died!)  At Home in Her Tomb is filled with photographs, artwork, and details of the artifacts found in the tomb. (There are also photographs of the mummy and some of her entrails, which are both fascinating and gross.) This book would be an excellent choice for those with an interest in China, archaeology, mummies, and ancient cultures. (Format: Print)



Fighting Fire!  Ten of the Deadliest Fires in American History and How We Fought Them

By Michael L. Cooper

 (Juvenile Non-Fiction; ages 10 - 14)

This book has it all: history, dramatic pictures, first-hand accounts, and a truly gripping topic. Each fire is placed squarely in historical context and explained in gripping, vivid detail. The author realistically describes the effect each fire has on human life, without crossing the line into goriness. Cooper seamlessly integrates the history of American firefighting into a page-turning series of disasters, from colonial fires in Boston and New York City, to the 2007 fires in California. Excellent for disaster enthusiasts, history buffs, heroes, and daredevils. (Format: Print)




The Great Greene Heist

By Varian Johnson

 (Juvenile Fiction; ages 10 - 14)

After getting caught in one of his schemes and alienating one of his best friends, Jackson Greene has sworn off rule-breaking.  Until, that is, he discovers that his old school nemesis is running for class president opposite Jackson’s upset friend – the athletic and intelligent Gabriela de la Cruz. To make matters worse, said nemesis has bribed a school official into helping him win, and if he does win, he plans to cut the budget to almost every club in the school. Clearly desperate times call for desperate measures, and it’s up to Jackson to assemble a crack team to pull of the ultimate middle-school con. (Format: Print)




The Night Gardener: a Scary Story

By Jonathan Auxier

 (Juvenile Fiction; ages 10 years and up)

Victorian England is not a kind place for young Irish immigrants, siblings Molly and Kip.  They’ve been separated from their parents and are so desperate to work that, when they arrive at the mysterious home of their new employers, they decide to stay even though every instinct is telling them to leave.  The creepiness starts building from the first page: the inhabitants of their new home seem stricken with a strange illness that bleaches out their color and kindness; there is a humongous tree growing right into the house’s foundation; and worst of all, there is a mysterious figure the children see late at night, prowling the grounds and hallways.  This deliciously suspenseful story asks two pertinent questions: what is the difference between a story and a lie?  And which are better: the gifts that you want, or the ones that you need? (Format: Print)




The Luck Uglies

By Paul Durham

 (Juvenile Fiction; ages 8-12 years)

It’s not always easy being Rye O’Chanter, and it’s about to become even trickier.  The dreaded monsters, the Bog Noblins, have returned from their supposed extinction to terrorize the fantasy town of Drowning, and there’s no one to turn to for help.  The Luck Uglies, a secret society that once protected the town from the Bog Noblins, were exiled more than ten years ago for nefarious crimes of their own.  But were they really all that bad?  This book tells a fairly complicated story in a page-turning, thrilling way.  The characters and setting are complex and compelling, full of portrayals of people who cannot be branded as wholly “good” or “bad” and the plot is fast-paced and well-thought out.  Budding fantasy fans will get sucked in until the very last page. (Format: Print)


The Screaming Staircase

By Jonathan Stroud

(Juvenile Fiction; ages 8 - 12)

Follows there young operatives of a Psychic Detective Agency as they battle an epidemic of ghosts in London.  Book 1 of the series, Lockwood & Company. (Formats: Print; Book-on-CD)


Phineas Gage: a Gruesome but True Story about Brain Science

By John Fleischman

(Juvenile Non-fiction; ages 9 and up)

Phineas Gage got a railroad spike driven clean through his skull and brain.  He did not die.  Instead his (horrific) accident gave scientists some wonderful insights into the human brain.  This book, with a photo of Gage’s actual skull on the cover, never fails to pique kids’ (especially boys’) interest. (Formats: Print; e-book; e-audiobook)

Handbook for Dragon Slayers

By Merrie Haskell

(Juvenile Fiction; ages 8-12 years)

Princess Matilda – Tilda – is the heir to a self-sufficient principality, though recently, things don’t seem to be going well. Because of her twisted and pigeon-toed foot, many believe that Tilda’s family is cursed. Tilda does her best to ignore her people’s negative reactions and carry on with her duties, but what she really wants to do is leave her current situation for a life of copying books, or even writing her own! When her cousin Ivo kidnaps her with the intent of taking over her land, Tilda sees a win-win opportunity: her people can get an intact prince they can love, and she can devote her life to books. Dragons, magic horses, and evil villains are all part of the ensuing adventure.  (Format: Print)


Paper Artist: Creations Kids Can Fold, Tear, Wear, Or Share

By Gail D. Green, Kara L. Laughlin, and Jennifer Phillips

(Juvenile Non-fiction)

Step-by-sep instructions teach readers how to create decorations, presents, keepsakes, and accessories with paper. (Format: Print)




Bluffton: My Summers With Buster

By Matt Phelan

(Juvenile Graphic Novel; ages 9 and up)

Bluffton is the story of Henry, a quiet boy living a quiet life in Muskegon, Michigan in 1908. Quiet, that is, until vaudeville comes to town.  It all starts when Henry watches an elephant unload from a train. Quickly, Henry makes friends with Buster, the youngest member of the famous “Three Keatons.” That’s right; its Buster Keaton (famed star of the silent movie era).  The vaudevillians are summering in Bluffton, a small community on the shores of Muskegon Lake. Henry and Buster play baseball, swim, and laze about.  And of course, Henry wants what Buster has and vice versa. The graphic novel follows through several the summers of the boys’ friendship.  Matt Phelan is genius at crating atmosphere, ambiance, and story via illustration. Much is going on that isn’t overtly discussed, such as Buster’s father and his drinking, and Buster’s mixed feelings about performing. Younger readers may not catch-on to these subtleties, which is not a problem at all. There is enough story here for young and old. (Format: Print)


Primates: the Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Galdikas

By Jim Ottaviani & Maris Wicks

(Juvenile Graphic Novel; ages 10 years and up)

This book gives a brief glimpse into the interwoven scientific lives of three amazing female primatologists. It shows how they each got started in the field, and how that field never really let them go. These women were forerunners in primatology, a fact the book displays clearly: Illustrations abound of primitive campsites and their rugged conditions, and the text frankly describes how the scientists had to make up methodology on the fly.  In addition, these women were scientists in an age when women were just starting to spread their wings in that arena.  They didn’t just pave the way for primatologists, but also for women in the sciences in general. Talk about awesome role models! (Format: Print)


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Monday, January 22, 2018

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