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Juvenile Fiction Selection: The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Alison Levy

The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher is a sweet, year-in-the life tale of the four fletcher boys and their two dads, Dad and Papa.  Sam, Jax, Eli, and Frog are looking forward to a new school year with sports, plays, a new school, and friends but not everything goes as planned.  Then they meet their new neighbor who turns out to be cranky and not thrilled to live next door to a bunch of boys, but can the Fletchers win him over?  This family is smart, funny, and loving and you will love getting to know them.  

True Tales to be Told: I Will Always Write Back

It started as an assignment. Everyone in Caitlin's class wrote to an unknown student somewhere in a distant place. All the other kids picked countries like France or Germany, but when Caitlin saw Zimbabwe written on the board, it sounded like the most exotic place she had ever heard of, so she chose it. Martin was lucky to even receive a pen pal letter. There were only ten letters, and forty kids in his class. But he was the top student, so he got the first one. That letter was the beginning of a correspondence that spanned six years and changed two lives.

Yaks Yak: Animal Word Pairs

Animals act out the verbs made from their names, including hogs hogging and slugs slugging, demonstrating homographs, words with different meanings that are spelled and pronounced the same.  Includes a chart in the back with all of the animal words and their meanings.  Recommended for Grades 1-4

Juvenile Book Selection: The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher

The Fletchers have their hands full – 2 dads, 4 boys, a cat, a dog, (eventually) a kitten and a turtle, imaginary friends, and a very grumpy neighbor! But, not to fear: this loveable family faces everything together and works through all their growing pains, friendships, and hectic schedules with humor, patience, love, support, and, when necessary, notes! Makes a great read-a-loud or Audiobook to listen to for the whole family. And don't miss the continuing adventures in The Family Fletcher Takes Rock Island. (Ages: 3rd - 6th)

Parent Recommendation: Cook me a story

This clever cookbook incorporates simple recipes and classic fairy tales with a culinary twist. In each recipe, the ingredients are listed and then a fairytale story begins. Interspersed between paragraphs are simple and clear cooking instructions. By the end of each story, children will have made a tasty treat.  Jack and the Green Beanstalk and Three Chili Goats Puff are just two of the fairytale story/recipes. This book combines storytelling and cooking and will be a fun activity for parent and child!  Recommended for PreS-Gr 4

"The Forgotten Garden: A Novel" by Kate Morton

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The Forgotten Garden shifts back and forth through time to solve a mystery about a four year old girl Nell; abandoned and waiting alone on a dock in Australia for parents who never come. The only link to her past is a little white suitcase the child carried when she was found.

Nell embarks on an adventure and attempts to piece together the mystery surrounding her past. Her travels lead her to Blackhurst Manor, delving deep into a family's secrets and purchasing a cottage in Cornwall near the Manor. Before she can solve the mystery of her past, Nell dies but her grandaughter Cassandra takes up the quest. This is a fairytale-like novel with old houses and hidden gardens all containing secrets and surprises.

The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood

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If Tara French and Gillian Flynn went on vacation in England together to an amusement park (think English Jersey Shore) this would surely be the outcome. Two women who haven't seen each other since they committed a heinous crime together as children cross paths as adults when one, now a reporter, visits the other, an amusement park employee, to investigate the brutal murders that take place in the vacation town. If you're anything like me, you'll most likely peg the killer within the first third of the book, but be warned that things are definitely not what they seem.  A perfect beach read for those in denial about the recent wintry weather or an equally creepy Halloween appropriate thriller. 

Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time, by Brigid Schulte

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Americans spend more time working, more time parenting their children, and less time on vacation than the citizens of any other country on the planet—leading to widespread experience of “the overwhelm,” journalist Brigid Schulte’s term for the feeling of being constantly busy and dissatisfied with life. Her search for the underlying causes of America’s great stress-out takes her from the labs of time researchers scrutinizing time diaries in search of “time confetti” to the trapezes of the “Mice at Play,” a group of women who’ve deliberately made time for play in their lives. Her insights into why we’re feeling busier—and lousier—than ever, and how we can reclaim time for meaningful work, closer families, and greater joy, will provoke discussion and laughs of commiseration.

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