Big Kids

Picture Book Selection: Each Kindness

In “Each Kindness”, award winning author Jacqueline Woodson and amazing illustrator E.B. Lewis have made a wonderful book about how treating people with kindness can help everyone. Maya is a new student and different from her other classmates with her hand-me-down clothes and old- fashioned toys.  Maya wants to make friends with Chloe and her gang of friends, but they reject her. Their teacher gives a lesson on simple kindness and Chloe realizes the opportunity for friendship that was missed, and how much better it would have been if she had been kind. 

Juvenile Fiction Selection: Dory and the Real True Friend by Abby Hanlon

Dory is back and this time she's ready to start a new school year and make a real friend.  Dory's older siblings, Luke and Violet, have convinced Dory that it's time to leave her imaginary friend, Mary, at home for the new school year and leave her crazy imaginings behind.  On the first day of school she meets Rosabelle, a girl with an imagination as big as Dory's, but they don't hit it off right away. When she and Rosabelle bump into each other at the park their imaginations collide and send them on an adventure.  Now if only Dory could convince her brother and sister that Rosabelle exists and that she has finally made a real true friend!  Adorable illustrations add a lot of charm and will entertain young readers.  Look for Dory Fantasmagory if you want to start at the beginning. (Grades 2-4 School Library Journal)

Harry Potter news!

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Have you heard the big news? Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

No, J.K. Rowling isn't publishing a new Harry Potter book, sadly…but she is involved in writing a screenplay called Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them starring the fictitious author Newt Scamander. The story begins seventy years before Harry Potter arrives on scene, set in a secret wizarding community in New York City. No news yet as to when we can expect to see this on the big screen. Find the press release on J.K. Rowling's blog here. There is also talk that this will be the first film in a series!

Graphic Novel Characters: Best Friend Adventures

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There are some great characters and friendships in graphic novels. From best friends whose differences only bring them closer and add to their adventures, like in Bink and Gollie by Kate DiCamillo, to loveable “pet” monsters who need help finding their home, like in Jellaby by Kean Soo, to sassy but sweet unicorns to help you through your daily ups and downs, like in Phoebe and Her Unicorn by Dana Simpson, graphic novels have it all.

For a sneak peek at Phoebe and Her Unicorn check out the book trailer below.

Book Cover for Phoebe and Her Unicorn by Dana Simpson

For more information about Phoebe and her Unicorn: A Heavenly Nostrils Chronicle, check out the Dana Simpson website at There are links, event info, an author blog, and even some info about the upcoming second book in the Heavenly Nostrils series called Unicorn on a Roll due out in May!


A few other graphic novels to check out whose characters have made great friendships and will surely become fast friends as you share their adventures are The Misadventures of Salem Hyde by Frank Cammuso, Knights of the Lunch Table by Frank Cammuso, and Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke.

Happy Reading!

Caldecott Medal Winners

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The 2014 Caldecott Medal winner will be announced on Monday, January 27th.  In celebration, the staff of the Miller Park Branch has picked some of their favorite past winners:

Photo of Alina holding the book The Little House  Photo of Bree reading the book The Hello, Goodbye Window  Photo of Brian holding the book Where the Wild Things Are  Photo of Julie holding the book Sylvester and the Magic Pebble  Photo of Kate holding the book Kitten's First Full Moon and a cat puppet  Photo of Kris holding the book Owl Moon and an owl puppet  Photo of Sarah holding the book A Sick Day for Amos McGee       

On Saturday, January 25th, the Miller Park Branch will be hosting a Caldecott Crafts program at 11:00 a.m. for ages 3 and up.  Registration is required.  If you would like to attend, please go to UAPL's Events & Programs calendar to check for openings and to sign up.  To learn more about the Caldecott Medal, please visit the Association for Library Service to Children's informational page.  

Feel free to share your favorite Caldecott Medal winner in the comments section below!  

It's a Fact: Summer is Mesmerizing

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Today most of us think hypnotism is a party trick that makes people act like chickens.  But it's creator, Franz Anton Mesmer, thought it could be used to treat many of the illnesses of his day.  In 1774, Mesmer began using his method of staring into a patient's eyes while making “passes” with his hands to free the flow of “the process of life” within the body.  By 1784 enough people were interested in this procedure that the king of France commissioned a study of Mesmer's practices using the scientific method.

Mesmerized: How Ben Franklin Solved a Mystery that Baffled all of France by Mara Rockliffe tells the story of this investigation in a whimsical look at a true moment in history.

Take a look at other hard-to-believe scientific discoveries in Weird Science: Mad Marvels from the Way-Out World by Matthew Lake.  And if you'd like to try using the scientic method yourself, check out True or False? by Andrea Mills.

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.  

Fun Series to Keep You Reading

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The end of Summer Reading Club 2014 is fast approaching, August 2nd to be exact.  Here in the youth department we spend a great deal of our time helping young readers find the next great book.  Because as we all know, finding the right book makes all the difference.  In the summer I like to recommend funny and entertaining series that make you want to keep reading and give you the opportunity to stay with characters you have come to enjoy.  Here are some first books in my favorite series for middle-readers.  Hopefully, with these titles, you can keep the little ones reading strong through the next two weeks and after!

The Adventures of Nanny Piggins by R. A. Spratt

The Popularity Papers: Research for the Social Improvement and General Betterment of Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang by Amy Ignatow

Swindle by Gordon Korman

We Are not Eaten by Yaks (An Accidental Adventure) by C. Alexander London

Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie by Julie Sternberg

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger



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