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Books for Kids (Ages 9-12)


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)




Hold Fast

By Blue Balliett

(Juvenile Fiction; ages 9-12 years)

When her father disappears on his way home from his job at the Chicago Public Library, Early Pearl and her mom and brother find themselves plunged into a world of danger and despair.  Forced to live in a city shelter after their apartment is broken into and destroyed, Early is determined to find out what happened to her dad AND to find a home for her family.  A satisfying blend of puzzle, poetry, and word play, this is a smart mystery with heart.  Recommended for readers in grades 4 through 6 who like mysteries and realistic fiction. (Formats: Print; Book-on-CD)




Flora & Ulysses: the Illuminated Adventures

By Kate DiCamillo; illus. K.G. Campbell

(Juvenile Fiction; ages 10 and up)

(Winner of the 2014 Newbery Medal.) Holy unanticipated occurrences! It begins, as the best superhero stories do, with a tragic accident that has unexpected consequences. The squirrel never saw the vacuum cleaner coming, but self-described cynic Flora Belle Buckman, who has read every issue of the comic book Terrible Things Can Happen to You!, is the just the right person to step in and save him. What neither can predict is that Ulysses (the squirrel) has been born anew, with powers of strength, flight, and misspelled poetry -- and that Flora will be changed too, as she discovers the possibility of hope and the promise of a capacious heart. A laugh-out-loud story filled with eccentric, endearing characters. (Formats: Print; eBook; Book-on-CD)




Reaching for Sun

By Tracie Vaughn Zimmer

(Juvenile Fiction; ages 8-12 years)

Seventh-grader Josie has cerebral palsy and understands that this will always set her apart from other children.  But that doesn’t dampen her longing for acceptance.  Her grandmother offers unconditional love and so does Josie’s busy mother who isn’t around much.  But finally, Josie finds a friend!  Someone who is like herself – different in his own way.  As the book’s narrator, Josie makes many references to the outdoors, gardening, and growing plants as she draws parallels between her life and nature.  The book is written in free verse poems.  Reluctant readers will be drawn to the sparse text, but older readers will be captivated by the beautiful imagery.  (Format: Print)



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