Juvenile Fiction Selection: Courage for Beginners by Karen Harrington

Mysti Murphy is starting seventh grade and so far nothing is turning out as expected.  Her best friend Anibal Gomez has blown her off to become a “hipster” and gain the attention of a pretty girl at school.  Meanwhile, Mysti has plenty of problems at home.  Her family has a secret; her mother is agoraphobic which means she never leaves the house.  Mysti and her sister keep this secret and their father takes care of everything that needs to be done outside of the house.  Things take a bad turn when her father falls and suffers an injury that lands him in the hospital for a long stay.  Now it is up to Mysti to move beyond her mother's projected fears and find the courage to help herself and her family.  With the loss of her best friend Mysti ends up at the “loser island” lunch table and eventually befriends a strong and sassy Rama Khan who helps her find that courage.  Mysti is a character that you'll be rooting for from beginning to end!  (Grades 5-8 School Library Journal)

Juvenile Fiction Selection: The Not-So Itty-Bitty Spiders by Amy Marie Stadelmann

This is the first book of the new Scholastic Branches series Olive and Beatrix.  Olive and Beatrix are twins sisters but while Olive is “normal” her sister just happens to be a witch!  Beatrix loves to use her magic powers to play tricks on her science-loving twin and Olive's best friend Eddie.  When one of Beatrix's pranks ruins Olive and Eddie's science project they decide to play a trick on her and rig up a bucket of spiders to fall on her head.  Unfortunately their plan goes all wrong when the spiders get into one of Beatrix's potions and become giants spiders on the loose. Now Beatrix and Olive need to work together, along with the help of Eddie, to save their town from the giant creatures.  Perfect first chapter book for emerging readers who want a little magic in their stories.

Juvenile Book Selection: All Rise For the Honorable Perry T. Cook

Eleven-year-old Perry's home life is like that of most kids his age: morning ritual, school, dinner with his mom, and games with his extended family. Unlike most kids, Perry lives in a minimum security correctional facility, where he's stayed since birth with his mother, Jessica. Jessica is up for parole, and she and Perry are eager to start a new life on the outside. The county's ambitious district attorney is outraged that a child was raised in a prison and demands that Perry live with a foster family while the case is sorted out. Perry knows he has traded a prison that feels like home for a home that feels like a prison, and resolves to reunite with his mother. 

Nonfiction Selection: Life in the Ocean - The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle

Sylvia Earle has dedicated her life to learning more about what she calls “the blue heart of the planet.” With stunning illustrations this picture book biography tells the story of Earle's growing passion for the wonders of the sea and how her ocean exploration and advocacy have made her known around the world. Includes an author's note that will motivate young environmentalists. (Ages: PreK-4th)

Juvenile Book Selection: Inside Out and Back Again

Written as a novel in verse, this beautifully crafted story tells of how 10-year old Ha and her family are forced to flee Vietnam after the fall of Saigon in 1975. Traveling by boat, then through two refugee camps, Ha and her family end up living in Alabama. Based on the author's personal memories, readers experience Ha's struggle to learn a new language, fit into a new and very different culture, and leave the memories of her homeland and start anew. This is a great book for understanding the struggle to fit into a new culture. Recommended for grades 4-8.

"The Last Chinese Chef" by Nicole Mones

Vita's picture

​Charming book about a food writer who travels to China seeking the truth of a paternity claim against her deceased husband.  In addition she receives an assignment to interview the owner of a new restaurant opening in Beijing.  She soon discovers the restaurant owner is one of ten finalists for the Chinese Cultural Olympics too. These two story lines, the paternity claim and the preparation for the culinary contest, are woven throughout the book.  This will be appealing to lovers of Chinese food, romance, and anyone who enjoys historically accurate cooking.


Subscribe to Book