Janet likes historical fiction, humor, realistic stories, and adventures for young readers through adults.
SEPTEMBER 6, 2023: Janet's pick this week is "Nothing Else But Miracles" by Kate Albus. This historical fiction book for middle graders is set during World War II. Three children whose mom has died and whose father has gone to war must fend for themselves until dad hopefully returns. The oldest, Fish, who is 17 is in charge. Dory who is 12 is the adventurous middle child who takes chances, more than Fish can handle. Pike, the youngest, is 7 and relies on his siblings. The neighbors are aware of their situation and help in unique ways. But what happens when the new landlord suspects their secret and reports them to the child service authorities? Why has correspondence with their dad stopped? Can they have fun and a little romance when their future is so unpredictable? A hidden in plain site hotel? This is a fun and slightly predictable read.
SEPTEMBER 1, 2023: Janet's pick this week is "Dash & the Fibonacci Fungus" by Seth Daugherty and illustrated by Adam Maguire. This middle grade mystery finds Dash and Ruby, fifth graders at Euclid Elementary and new neighbors, helping the Euclid Police solve crimes with math! If you love math there is a chapter titled, Dash's Math Notes. If you like friendship stories and solving problems, emotional too, then you will enjoy this book and be able to answer the question, "What is fibonacci fungus?!
AUGUST 9, 2023: Janet's pick this week is the middle grade novel, "Abeni's Song" by P. Deli Clark. Imagine one day you are enjoying the Harvest Festival celebrated every year on your birthday. Today you are 12 years old. Suddenly warrior women come and with swords and magical ropes they capture all of the adults. Then a man dressed as a goat plays a song and all of the children follow him as in a trance. Only because you have been "promised" to the "witch" who uses her magic to save you are you still free. You are stubborn and you are strong and you are determined to find your friends and family. You are Albeni and you will survive many hardships with "Auntie Asha" following this tragic day. Learn Abeni's Song, her adventures and her story.
AUGUST 2, 2023: Janet's pick this week is "The Blonde Identity" by Ally Carter. This teen mystery writer has stepped up the romance and written a book for adults. This is a fun mystery spy thriller with a twin, Zoe, who has amnesia and her sister the spy twin, Alex, who is in hiding and may have changed allegiances. Agent Sawyer appears and when he realizes that Zoe is not Alex offers to protect her and possibly save his mission. Can Sawyer be trusted? Where is the drive that the "bad guys" are looking for that Alex supposedly has? Is the romance real? Staying alive is going to be hard to do
JULY 28, 2023: Janet's pick this week is the ghost story, "The International House of Dereliction" by Jacqueline Davies, a local author of the Lemonade War series. Ten year old homeschooled Alice, whose Mom is a great college lecturer and whose father is a major fix-it man of old houses, finds that she enjoys and is very good at fixing things like her dad. She decides to work on a condemned house that is next door by repairing the fireplace and thus the "heart" of the house. She senses and becomes friends with 3 "spirits" who need help to transition from the state of Past Due to being a Settled One. Then the house has a demolition date. Can she help her new friends in time or will their spirits be shattered into particles to be "Forever Forgotten"? Can she deal with the Captive Fury in the attic whose spirit can never be forgiven? This book is a great ghost/mystery story for 9 to 12 year olds.
JULY 21, 2023: Janet's pick this week is "The Lost Year", an upper middle grade early teen novel, by Katherine Marsh. 13 year old Matthew is confined to his home during COVID especially because he lives with his 100 year old great grandmother, Nadiya, or GG as he likes to call her. Forced to help GG go through and organize her"boxes" from the nursing home, which she clearly doesn't want to do, he slowly learns about her life in the Soviet Ukraine in the 1930s. Matthew begins to realize what survival and hardship is really like, what one understands is not always the whole truth, and what people will do to protect their family. If you like historical fiction and you have survived a COVID lockdown, you will have empathy for Matthew and look at the world today with a little more insight and compassion.
JULY 14, 2023: Janet's pick this week is "Errol: The Cat Who Wasn't a Cat" written by Ross Grifkin and illustrated by Tonya Grifkin. This 72 page color illustrated beginner chapter book is about Errol the Cat whose typical business day at the bank was interrupted by bandits! His extreme anger caused a transformation -- he becomes a dragon for just about a minute, just enough to save the day. Not knowing what is happening to himself he seeks answers from mom and dad and learns their secret. Feeling betrayed and confused his day continues not uneventfully! The ending suggests a sequel with hopefully new adventures.
JULY 7, 2023: Janet's pick this week is the middle grade fantasy novel, "Greenwild" by Pari Thomson. Daisy loves traveling with her celebrity journalist mother, Leila Thistledown, but on this trip to Peru she leaves Daisy behind at a boarding school with a very special dandelion paperweight. Her mom goes missing in a plane crash. Daisy hears of a plot and realizes that she is in danger. Returning to Kew Gardens she is suddenly in the Magical Land of Mallowmarsh in the Greenwild. She discovers that she is a "Botanist", a person who is capable of doing "green magic". With her new friends she discovers her abilities and inabilities and helps her new community deal with the disappearance of other Botanists including her mother. There is a spy in their midst and are Grim Reapers real? You will enjoy this mystery, fantasy, and adventure story.
JUNE 30, 2023: Janet's pick is the adult novel, "Immigrant's Wife" by JB Harris, a local author. Anna falls head over heels in love with Constantine, who goes by the name, Charles, who is a kind-hearted Greek immigrant in 1913 Boston. He is rejected by her Scottish well-to-do parents immediately. Anna and Charles elope and Anna realizes how difficult life is for immigrants and poor women. Cut off from her parents, Anna still has the secret support of her younger sister, Jessie. When she is 3 months pregnant, Charles disappears. Anna makes some choices that estrange her from her parents even more and even from the friends she has made. Alternate chapters let the reader know where Charles is, why he left without saying good-bye, and what challenges he faces in their time apart. Can their love survive? This is an historical fiction book that shows the strength of a courageous and free-thinking woman of the early twentieth century.
JUNE 23: Janet's pick this week is the middle grade novel, "Firefly Summer" by Morgan Watson. Imagine living with your dad and not knowing your deceased mother's parents. You get invited to spend the summer with these estranged grandparents at a camp on the lake that you didn't remember existed and when you get there you find out that you have all of these cousins, aunts, and uncles that you were unaware of and didn't think you had ever met. You could be angry and ask to leave or you could enjoy this new experience. Well 11 year old Ryanna Stuart decides to take a chance to learn about her family and this boldness allows her to discover a treasure map that effects the whole family and allows her to learn about her mother who had died when she was 3 years old. If you like a good mystery with some really great characters, you will love this family and this book.
JUNE 16: Janet's pick this week is the middle grade novel, "Leeva at Last" by Sara Pennypacker. You can tell how much Leeva's parents loved her (NOT) when they named her "Leave a space" Thornblossom but the nurse at least spelled it Leeva Spayce Thornblossom! Stuck in her house and only allowed outside to get the mail, Leeva discovers in the weekly paper a notice that school is starting in 5 weeks and 3 days. Unaware that there was a school, she asks her mom, the mayor of Nutsmore who is only interested in being famous, and her dad, the town treasurer who is only interested in getting money and hoarding it; if she can go to school. They refuse and she slips through the hedges and finds the public library and her life changes dramatically. This is a crazy fun adventure story with a very special self-taught child between the ages of 8 and 9 (she really doesn't know!). Signed copies are available.
JUNE 9: Janet's pick this week is the teen novel, "Where You See Yourself" by Claire Forrest. Effie, a wheelchair bound senior in high school, must fight for herself to get special accommodations to enjoy the senior privileges that other seniors enjoy. She has been looking into colleges that are disabled friendly but really wants to go to a college in New York City for their media program. She is getting the courage to tell a fellow student council representative, Wilder, how she feels about him. This book makes the reader take on a new perspective for the challenges of wheelchair users.
June 2, 2023: Janet's pick this week is the teen novel, "My Mechanical Romance" by Alexene Farol Follmuth. Bel, a senior transfer from a school that didn't make her think of her future to a school where the students have been preparing for their future for the last 3 years, finds herself in advanced physics and a robotics club, with a push from a teacher, and excelling in it. She must learn to work in a group, make new friends, and deal with a romance. Who says that girls cannot rock the science world!
May 19, 2023: Janet's pick this week is the historical adult novel, "Daughters of Nantucket" by Julie Gerstenblatt. Three women including Maria Mitchell who is famous for discovering a comet and is the island librarian; Meg, a Black woman who owns a shoe business with her husband; and Eliza, the wife of a whaling captain who is gone months at a time; all have interactions with one another and tell their stories through alternating chapters of the week before, during, and after the Great Fire of 1846 on the island of Nantucket. Different racial prejudices, misconceptions, and hidden love affairs are all revealed in this historical novel showing the resilience and bravery of women. Julie Gerstenblatt will be discussing and signing her book at the Tufts Library in Weymouth on June 1st at 7 pm. Register at the library's website.
May 12, 2023: Janet's pick this week in honor of Mother's Day is the poetry book, "Mom, Can I Do My Laundry at Your House?: Poems from Your Adult Child" by Olivia Roberts. This poetry book is funny and thoughtful and I am sure that we all can relate to many of them. P.10.
"Thank you for visiting my apartment
And not saying a word about the mess
Even though you really wanted to
That must have taken a lot of strength"
or on p.37
All I want to do
Is hang out with you".
May 5, 2023: Janet's pick this week is the middle grade fantasy novel, "Nic Blake and the Remarkables: The Manifestor Prophecy" by Angie Thomas, author of the teen bestseller, "The Hate You Give". Meet Angie, a Remarkable, a 12 year old child with magical abilities that she has yet to learn from her own Remarkable dad. Imagine finding out that your favorite author, TJ Retro, was actually your dad's best friend as a child, and your godfather. The adventures you have loved to read are the adventures of your father, his friend, and a brave girl. Once all the secrets get out, then Angie must try to save her father and find a magical tool her dad is accused of stealing. Black folklore and black history are interwoven in this great suspenseful fantasy! Oh, there is even a magical "hellhound" and a dragon!
APRIL 22, 2023: Janet's picks today are books that give suggestions on how one can help the earth, especially appropriate for today, Earth Day. "Count on Us! Climate Activists from One to a Billion". written by Gabi Snyder and illustrated by Sarah Walsh and "We're Going Green!" part of the "If Not You, Then Who?" Series written by David and Emberli Pridham and illustrated by Anyu Rouaux, are 2 such books that present ideas from gardening to collecting and filtering rain water. Little by little people can make a difference.
APRIL 15, 2023: Janet's pick this week in honor of Poetry Month is the poetry book, "Hard-Boiled Bugs for Breakfast and Other Tasty Poems" by Jack Prelutsky. If you are in need of a laugh you can always depend on Jack Prelutsky to give you a chuckle, for example, going bowling with a ping-pong ball! Can you picture Skigulls? "A Kitchen Sink" is a little scary as well as " I found a Giant Apple". Have fun with poetry!
APRIL 8, 2023: Janet's pick this week is the young adult spy novel, "Stars and Smoke", by Marie Lu. Being a fan of her dystopian novels, I totally enjoyed this spy novel with a touch of sexual tension. Can Winter Young, a gorgeous, charismatic musical entertainer be an asset in a scheme by the Panacea Group, a secret agency that works with the CIA, to bring down an evil businessman? By being the birthday act for this man's daughter's birthday, Winter will assist his new "bodyguard", Sydney Cosette, a young Panacea agent. Winter and Sydney must find evidence of a shipment of a new chemical substance that can kill millions of people upon exposure. The reader, besides learning the thoughts and feelings of these 2 characters also discovers the motives and the drive of these 2 young people to be loved and accepted.
MARCH 31, 2023: Janet's pick this week is the middle grade novel, "When Sea Becomes Sky" by Gillian McDunn. 12 year old Bex tells the reader how she and her 9 year old brother Davey spend the summer at The Thumb, a far off corner of Pelican Island, where they live all year long. They love to explore nature rowing their boat to all parts of the island. This summer there is a drought which reveals a statue buried in their marsh. This begins an adventure to discover the origin of the statue and to find a way to stop a bridge that will bring development to their special quiet island. This book has a surprising twist that will leave you teary! -- a book of love and connection.
MARCH 17, 2023: Janet's pick this week is "The Girl from Earth's End", a middle grade novel by Tara Dairman. Henna, an orphan baby that arrived by mail boat to a remote island, Earth's End, which is part of the fictional Gardenia Isles, learns to love her island, her 2 fathers, and her gardens. The islands, once home to extensive groves of Orange Trees, now extinct, are rumored to have once had a miraculous healing plant that bloomed only with orange trees. When 1 of Henna's fathers becomes sick with a returning cancer, Henna needs to find the seed to cultivate this miraculous plant, Nightwalker, and allow it to grow on the last Orange Tree hidden on Earth's End in order to save her father's life. Thus begins an adventure with "P", a child of the mail boat captain and Lora, a "rich" daughter in the hated Windover family. You will admire Henna's tenacity and the closeness of her family, as she discovers what friendship is and what it can be.
MARCH 9, 2023: Janet's pick this week is the series for young readers aged 8 to 10, "Agents of H.E.A.R.T." by Sam Hay. The Happily Ever Rescue Team is a trio of fairy tale princess fairies who attempt to help kids, in this case, Evie, have their wishes granted, but they bumble and misinterpret her desires. The books are humorous and filled with recipes, craft ideas, experiments, and there is even a cute puppy named Fudge. The 3 books are "Happily Ever After Rescue Team", "Camp Out Quest", and " The Princess and the Pup". All 3 will keep you laughing and hoping for the best as Evie, Iris, and Zack become friends and work with the team very cleverly.
MARCH 2, 2023: Janet's pick this week is "The Pearl Hunter" by Miya T. Beck. This fantasy for middle grade readers involves Japanese legends and two identical twin sisters. One, Kishi, gets caught by the legendary ghost whale and her sister, Kai, must get a pearl from Dakini the Fox Queen, who can inhabit human bodies by spirit possession, to give to Benzaiten, the goddess protector of pearl divers, in order to bring her sister, Kishi, back to life. This adventure story involves a very brave and determined young woman, feathered coats for flying and other magical items, and even a little romance. A great book for fans of the "Rick Riordan Presents" series.
FEBRUARY 24, 2023: In honor of "National Tell a Fairy Tale Day" Janet's pick is "Troll Forest: A Norwegian Fairy Tale" written by Donna Marie Seim and illustrated by Susan Spellman. Peter, on his way home after earning money to help his mom make the money needed to save their farm since his father's death, must spend the night in the woods. Remembering stories of Trolls who are only out at night makes him afraid. Playing his fiddle helps him to relax but upon dosing off he wakes to find a Troll family nearby in the forest. Are they friendly or threatening or does it depend on him? A great tale that shows that kindness will be rewarded.
Janet's pick this week is "Treasure Map" written by Brandon Todd and illustrated by Gloria Felix. This first book in the "Adventure Friend" series is an "Acorn book" geared for the new chapter book reader at about the first grade level. Miguel meets a new neighbor, Clarke, and they become instant friends ready to have adventures. Miguel gives Clarke a walkie-talkie and Clarke gives Miguel a compass and together they map out their neighborhood. If you like books with maps, learning how to use a compass, the possibility of finding treasure, and learning how to draw, then this new series will be for you!
FEBRUARY 9, 2023: Janet's pick this week, keeping with the Valentine mood, is "This Time It's Real" by Ann Liang. Eliza Lin's fake essay about a dating relationship somehow goes viral and although she is now accepted in her new school in Beijing China, she must find a fake dating partner. Having been a student in many countries since her mother's job keeps them moving on a yearly basis, she always feels that she can't hold a friendship, let alone a date! A handsome actor in her high school classes needs a little writing help and a fake dating relationship begins. Can Eliza keep her friendship with Zoe in the U.S. alive, keep her writing internship on course, and deal with this dating lie? ( Is it a lie?) This sweet book explores communication and friendship with some uninvolved parents. Signed book plates by Ann Jiang are available while they last.
February 3, 2023: Janet's pick this week is not her normal children's pick. She has picked "Things We Never Got Over" by Lucy Stone, an adult romance, in honor of Valentine's Day. It is pleasure reading and does include adult sexual situations. Naomi Witt runs out on her own wedding to "rescue" her evil identical twin who ends up stealing her car and her money and leaves her with an eleven year old niece she didn't know she had! Knox Morgan is not a man who deals with drama or commitment. He decides to help Naomi find a place to stay when he realizes she isn't her sister, Tina, but that is all. Can both people leave behind their baggage and expectations? Will the sister return? Predictable with consistent characterization of the people and the town; but who doesn't like a good ending!?
JANUARY 27, 2023: Janet's pick this week is "Thousand Heartbeats" by Kiera Cass. Fans of her Selection Series will not be disappointed in this historical romance. Princess Annika must marry a man for political security of their throne. Her father, the king, has not been himself since his wife, the Queen and Annika's mother has gone missing. Annika's first goal is to take care of her people so if this marriage is necessary, she will oblige. At the same time, Lennox knows that his people lost that throne and he wants it back. His father died trying to regain the throne for his people and his stepfather whom he feels is the rightful king. Annika and Lennox's paths cross unexpectedly and their attraction and hate is evident. Will there be a peaceful ending or a war?
JANUARY 20, 2023: Janet's pick this week is the picture book, "Little Owl's Love" by Divya Srinivasan. You may recall her other books, "Little Owl's Night", "Little Owl's Day", and Little Owl's Snow", and like them this new story is simple, environmentally thoughtful, and lovely. Little Owl flies through the night forest reflecting on and finding the things he loves in nature and also discovering his love for his friends.
JANUARY 13, 2023: Janet's pick this week is "What Happened to Rachel Riley?" by Claire Swinarski. This middle grade novel finds Anna Hunt, a new transfer eighth grader at East Middle School, very intrigued by the fact that Rachel Riley is totally ostracized and apparently hated by her classmates but according to facebook etc. she was definitely popular in 7th grade. What went wrong? No one will tell her, not even Rachel. She needs to do an un-essay for her social issues class or an entry podcast for a future summer program she would like to be a part of. Can she take on this project/mystery? What she uncovers is a very common occurrence in middle school and something every middle schooler should be aware of and take seriously. Spoiler Alert: Ask Janet if you want more details.
JANUARY 5, 2023: Janet's pick this week is the young adult novel, "Two Degrees" by Alan Gratz. This book follows the familiar format of 3 scenarios connecting at the end of the book. The common theme is climate change. Learn with Natalie in a devastating hurricane in Miami, Florida; learn with Anita and Sue in a wildfire in California; and learn with Chris and Owen in the arctic town of Churchill, Manitoba Canada as they experience a polar bear attack. The major message of the book is "Nobody has to do everything, but everybody has to do something". This book will keep you reading to the end to see who will survive. There are some very scary scenes which are all based on real stories.
NOVEMBER 11, 2022: Janet's pick in honor of Children's Book Week are 3 books written by JaNay Brown-Wood and illustrated by Samara Hardy which are in the "Where in the Garden"series: "Amara's Farm", "Miguel's Community Garden" and "Logan's Greenhouse". Each book has the child state which plant they are looking for, pumpkin, sunflower, or carrot, and after describing it they proceed through the garden examining fruits and vegetables that have some of the same attributes until she/he finds the plant he/she is looking for. A great way to teach discovery and attention to detail. The pictures are amazing and you learn about many plants.
OCTOBER 28, 2022: Janet's pick this week is "Ten Little Squirrels" by Bill Martin Jr. and Michael Sampson with illustrations by Nathalie Beauvois. What happens to 10 little squirrels when they see a dog? Should they be still, run home, be unafraid, or hide? This rhyming simple counting book with bright collage pictures will be a joy to share. Questions about squirrels are at the end of the book and will lead to further research as well as discussion.
OCTOBER 21, 2022: Janet's pick this week is "A Rover's Story" by Jasmine Warga. A Mars rover named Res, short for Resilience, is blasting off to Mars with a drone he names Fly. Res tells us his story as he is prepared by his 2 scientists, Raina and Xander. Res seems to be able to understand feelings through his interactions with Raina who writes clear and concise code and Xander who talks to him like a human. We, the reader, also get Sophie's, the 12 year old daughter of Raina, reactions to this launching and how it affects her life by letters she writes to Res. You will run the gamut of emotion's reading this story about a very determined and observant robot.
OCTOBER 14, 2022: Janet's pick this week is the middle grade paperback novel, "A Place to Hang the Moon" by Kate Albus. Three orphan siblings who have been raised by a noncaring newly deceased grandmother are evacuated from London to the countryside during WWII. William who is twelve has been holding them together and being the "parent" for years. Anna is a sweet bookloving optimist, and Edward is an eleven year old who without trying gets himself in trouble by his honesty and need for fairness. They can't tell anyone that they are actually orphans looking to find a loving home -- a "place to hang the moon". You will love these children and hope the best for them.
OCTOBER 7, 2022: Janet's pick for Mystery Series Week is the middle grade "Framed" series by James Ponti. Seventh graders, Florian and Margaret, after helping solve an art theft in the 1st book, "Framed", become unofficial consulting detectives in the Bureau's Special Projects Team. Along with FBI Agent Marcus Rivers, they solve mysteries by the TOAST method which is the Theory of All Small Things. By paying attention to the smallest details they are able to solve a missing person case in "Vanished" and help clear false accusations against Marcus in "Trapped". These detective mystery stories are also great adventure stories.
SEPTEMBER 30, 2022: Janet's pick this week is the middle grade novel, "Thelma Bee in Toil and Treble" by Erin Petri. Thelma, a member of the Riverfish Valley Paranormal Society was sent to a farm to investigate the voting of a "goat man" who was stealing gasoline from Mrs. Mose' s trucks. This is just the beginning of an adventure/ mystery with witches, dark magic, and with a possible human sacrifice; that Thelma, a secret Disiri in training, must solve to save her classmate and her town. This book is a sequel/companion to "The Peculiar Haunting of Thelma Bee".
SEPTEMBER 23, 2022: Janet's banned book pick this week is "The Giver" by Lois Lowry. It won the 1994 Newbery Medal. This book, set in the future, provides for great discussions on infanticide, suicide, and euthanasia -- all reasons that it has been challenged in schools and libraries. This book praises our differences and disabilities and challenges the idea of a "perfect society".
SEPTEMBER 16, 2022: Janet's pick this week is the novel, "Violet and Jobie in the Wild" by Lynne Rae Perkins. This animal character story for 8 to 10 year-olds is about two house mice siblings, Violet and Jobie, who find themselves in the outdoors - a state park to be exact. Survival in the wild is a lot different than survival in a house. What do they eat? Where do they find shelter? How do they keep safe? They meet, Zolian, an elderly mouse who becomes their mentor and friend. This is a gentle book about change and facing challenges with an ending that might surprise you!
SEPTEMBER 9, 2022: Janet's pick this week is Janet's pick this week is not one book but a group of books commemorating September 11th, 2001, Patriot Day. These books celebrate our heroes and our resilience as a nation.
SEPTEMBER 2, 2022: "Meet Claudie: An American Girl 1922" by Brit Bennett. Claudie Wells is a 9 year old girl growing up in a boarding house in Harlem New York in 1922. The city is alive with art and music and dance! Claudie wants to discover her own talent. She's not a great dancer like her friend Nina, or a singer like Selma, or a musician like Porter, or an artist like Gwen or Winston. She is not a great baker like her dad or a reporter like her mom. Can she find a way to shine? Brit Bennett, author of the adult book, "Vanishing Half", grew up reading the "Addy" American Girl books and is excited to fulfill her dream to write a story that will teach kids about the Harlem Renaissance.
AUGUST 19, 2022: Janet's pick this week in honor of Romance Month is "These Hollow Vows" by Lexi Ryan. This teen romantic fantasy is set in Fae Lands. Abriella makes a deal with the evil King Mordeus, who is from the Seelie Court, to steal 3 magical relics from the Seelie in order to free her sister who was sold to Mordeus. There are 2 princes vying for Brie's attention: one she loves and one she is attracted to. Who does she trust? She needs both to succeed and there are lots of secrets she knows nothing about!
AUGUST 12, 2022: Janet's pick this week is the posthumously published young novel, "My Life Begins!" by Patricia MacLachlan. Nine year old Jacob's life drastically changes when he gets 3 sisters -- triplets! What he wanted was a puppy! This sweet story is from Jacob's point of view as he adjusts and learns to see each baby as a unique sister.
AUGUST 5, 2022: Janet's pick this week is the middle grade novel, "The Tuddleby Trait" by Janine Faith Goodman. This fantasy involves Tommy Tuddleby, a boy who yearns for adventure just like "Jake Jones, Private Investigator". Tommy finds himself in another land and is mistaken as a wizard. He must solve the mystery of the missing pearls which are very magical and control color, sound, and the environment in this fantasy world. Is he up to this important task? Well the Tuddleby Trait, the need to be a part of the action will get him on his way!
JULY 29, 2022: Janet's pick this week is the picture book, "The Pet Potato" written by Josh Lacey and illustrated by Momoke Abe. Albert was so,persistent about wanting a pet that his father gave him a "pet potato". Well this potato was a great companion to Albert but potatoes do get rotten and "die". After being buried (planted) -- surprise!
JULY 22, 2022: Janet's pick this week is the middle school novel, "J.R. Silver Writes Her World" by Melissa Dassori. Josephine Rose (J.R.) is having a hard beginning to her 6th grade school year. Her best friend, Violet, developed a friendship with another girl in their class, Rose, during sleep-over camp that summer which has made her feel left out. Her mom insists on walking her home from school instead of letting her walk alone and with friends. Even the special time she shares with Violet at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is changing and J.R. is slow to change. She does enjoy creative writing and her new teacher gives her class magazine covers for inspiration and for story starters. J.R. starts to realize that what she writes becomes true. Is this good or bad? This book will also make you want to read "From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler" by E. L. Konigsburg.
JULY 15, 2022: Janet's pick this week is "Sadiq and the Community Garden" written by Siman Nuurali and illustrated by Christos Skaltsas. This beginning chapter book is part of a series featuring a Muslim boy named Sadiq whose parents come from Somalia. In this book Sadiq and his classmates and family clean a vacant lot and turn it into a community garden. Each of the books in the series contains facts about Somalia and define Somali terms. The back of the book includes a glossary, discussion questions, and activity ideas.
JULY 8, 2022: Janet's pick this week is "Smeagull the Seagull: A True Story" by Mark Seth Lender and illustrated by Valerie Elaine Pettis. This gorgeous picture book is about a herring gull who "knocks" at the door every morning at 6:10 and every afternoon at 4:15 looking for food -- fish! The whole town learns to love this bird. You will love the ending!
JUNE 30, 2022: Janet's pick this week is the paperback edition of "Hum and Swish" written and illustrated by Matt Myers. This gorgeous picture book set by the seashore is all about creativity - letting the creator create. Jamie can't answer questions about her ongoing creation until her process is completed. This book is a calming inspiration.
JUNE 24, 2022: Janet's pick this week is the intense novel, "The Road to After" by Rebekah Lowell. This novel in verse is told by Lacey, an eleven year old girl, who as the book begins relates her and her nonverbal four year old sister's and their mother's escape from their own home where they have been imprisoned by their oppresive, and abusive father/husband. We see her emotional growth as the family learns to live in freedom.
JUNE 17, 2022: Janet's pick this week is the middle grade novel, "The Last Mapmaker" by Christine Soontornvat. Tricking her con-man father into thinking she has a low paying job in the Harbor Market instead her assistant Mapmaker job, Sai is saving money to escape and begin a new life. She gets the chance to learn mapmaking and help a master Mapmaker on a voyage to chart the southern seas -- the fabled Sunderlands which include dragons and riches. This is an adventure story which has interesting twists and motivations and even a stowaway. Things aren't always as they seem.
JUNE 9, 2022: Janet's pick this week is "Heart Stones by Maryann Cocca-Leffler. This book geared for the 8 to 10 year old reader is set in the small coastal town of Cliff Cove in Maine. After a devastating storm and the loss of 2 fishermen, friends, Gale and Celia, discover that small heart stones keep showing up around town and are spreading some joy and magical energy. Can Gale and Celia discover where the rocks come from and are "they" sending a message? A little bit of science and magic and a lot of love solve this mystery.
JUNE 2, 2022: Janet's pick this week is "The Greatest Cause of Mia Dubois" by Chris Casavant, a middle school teacher in Marshfield who will be at Storybook Cove this Saturday, June 4th, at 2:00 p.m. Mia's greatest cause is the environment and climate change. Did you know that eating beef effects the climate -- too many cows! This is a great middle grade book with realistic and likable characters.
MAY 27, 2022: Janet's pick this week is the Edgar Award Juvenile Winner, "Concealed", by Christina Diaz Gonzalez. This middle grade mystery involves a 12 year old girl who has been with her parents off the grid and moving from place to place changing identities and physical looks for as long as she can remember! She has no memory of life before age 9. She wants some answers especially when her mom gets kidnapped! Can she and her new friend, Parker, figure out whom to trust? Some nice twists and turns make it a winner.
MAY 19, 2022: Janet's pick this week is the middle grade novel, "The Mystwick School of Musicraft" by Jessica Khoury. Imagine that playing music is a form of making magic! Amelia, a flute player, wants more than anything to go to the Mystwick School of Musicraft like her deceased mom had, but only the very best from around the world get in. A mistake gets her in but only she can keep herself in the school. Is there a ghost out to defeat her? This newly out in paperback book is also the first of a series and emphasizes the goal to believe in yourself.
May 12, 2022: Janet's pick this week is the biography, "Who Is Jimmy Carter" by David Stabler. The first presidential election that she could vote in was between Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford. This book gives the reader a great sense of this genuine civil rights supporter and peace minded man from his birth on a peanut farm, to governor of Georgia, to President of the United States, to recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, and to his continued work with Habitat for Humanity. Jimmy Carter is a humble person that identifies with the poor and continues to serve the people of the U.S.
MAY 5, 3022: Janet's pick this week is "My Own Lightning", the sequel to the Newbery Honor Winner "Wolf Hollow" by Lauren Wolk. Learning to cope with Toby's death and the guilt she feels as well as dealing with the anger and hurt she suffered at the hands of the bully, Betty, and her accomplice, Andy;.Annabelle must move forward with her life. She gains a superpower after being hit by lightning or did she have it all along? Enjoy learning how this amazing young lady thinks and more importantly acts -- a feel good story amongst the sadness.
APRIL 29, 2022: Janet's pick this week is the middle grade novel, "Meant to Be", a companion book to "Where the Heart Is" by Jo Knowles. Well Ivy and Rachel's family did lose their house and now live in a very small apartment. While Rachel is unhappy about having to share a bedroom, Ivy is so happy to have made 2 friends that she cooks with every Saturday. She has also become a helper to the building maintenance person, Donnalyn. Ivy is very good at fixing "things" but not so good at saying the right things and may lose her friends! This is an emotional story about fitting in and feeling secure. This story also acknowledges poverty and how people act and respond to people that struggle financially.
APRIL 22, 2022: Janet's pick this week in honor of Earth Day is a Boxcar Children book, "The Big Spill Rescue". In this first book of the new series, Endangered Animals, Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny along with Kayla, a member of the Protectors of Animals Worldwide (PAW) organization help animals caught in an oil spill. The Ardens try to find out why the lighthouse light went off during the night causing a tugboat to go aground which resulted in the oil spill.
APRIL 15, 2022: Janet's pick this week is the middle grade novel, "Healer & Witch" by Nancy WTerlin. Sylvie is just learning that she has what she believes are healing powers when her grandmother who has such powers dies. Sylvie tries her new abilities on her mother and makes a terrible mistake. She must find a "teacher". Will she learn to use her powers as a healer or will she be seen as a witch? Can she find help while avoiding greed and the inquisitor? Whom should she trust? You will fall in love with this brave and resourceful 13 year old girl and her spunky 9 year old companion, Martin. #candlewickpress
APRIL 8, 2022: Janet's pick this week is "A Discovery Disappears" by Pip Murphy, the first book in the series, Christie and Agatha's Detective Agency (think Agatha Christie!). The two twin detectives, Christie, a gadget and science oriented adventurer, and Agatha, the quiet author want-to-be, solve fictional mysteries set in the early 1900s. Meet Alexander Fleming, the inventor of penicillin. Did Agatha eat his scientific evidence? Also meet Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Are the twins better detectives than the great writer of Sherlock Holmes? This book is a fun historical mystery for 7 to 10 year olds that is set in England.
APRIL 1, 2022: Janet's pick this week, in honor of Poetry Month, is the poetry anthology, "How to Eat a Poem: A Smorgasbord of Tasty and Delicious Poems for Young Readers" edited by The American Poetry & Literacy Project and the Academy of American Poets. This book of seventy poems by such famous poets as Robert Louis Stevenson, Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes, Jack Prelutsky, Shel Silverstein, and Nikki Giovanni, will make you laugh, cry, admire, and ponder. Just what good poetry should do!
MARCH 25, 2022: Janet's pick this week is the middle grade/young adult novel, "Rescue", by Jennifer A. Nielsen. Figuring out codes is a pastime Meg shares with her dad who has been called to England from France to be part of the war effort. Meg, who with the help of the resistance, and with the help of a coded note from her dad, will have an adventure she labels the "Rescue", as she must help 3 people posing as a family escape out of German occupied France into safe territory. Her dad's life depends on her success. Who does she trust? This suspenseful adventure with lots of close calls with the Nazis will keep you reading to its conclusion.
MARCH 18, 2022: Janet's pick this week is the middle grade novel, "Those Kids from Fawn Creek", by Newbery Award winning author, Erin Entrada Kelly. Take a small town, Fawn Creek, and add a new seventh grader, Orchid Mason who has been to Paris, to a seventh grade classroom with 12 kids who have known each other their whole lives; and you get a study in social dynamics. So how does this new girl fit into this class which has been grouped into the cliques, "God Squad", "Fawn Creek Royalty"', "The Jocks", and 2 uncharacterized main characters, best friends Dorothy and Greyson? And why is this class still suffering from or under the influence of a bully who moved one town away a year ago? Orchid is the "change" that the kids from Fawn Creek need in order to emotionally grow.
MARCH 11, 2022: Janet's pick this week is a debut novel by a retired professor of developmental biology, Janet Wylie. "Menance in the Mist" is a middle grade novel starring sixth grade cousins, Cally and Giles. On a vacation together in Maine, their adventrues lead to some discovery of things that are putting the environment and people at risk. Their new friendship also helps them each deal with their own personal challenges and decisions. This is a good book for Earth Day and for dealing with grief and change.
MARCH 4, 2022: Janet's pick this week is the middle grade novel "A Comb of Wishes" by Lisa Stringfellow. What would you wish for if you were granted a wish? Kela, while searching for sea glass to make jewelry, is magically drawn to a box with a beautiful comb. This comb belongs to a sea woman/mermaid who has the power to grant a human a wish in order to retrieve her comb. Kela's mother has recently died in an accident. What would be wrong about wishing her to be alive again? This book explores Caribbean folklore, grief, and consequences of actions. "Every rope's got two ends."
FEBRUARY 22, 2022: Janet's pick today is the adult historical fiction novel, "The Girl in His Shadow" by Audrey Blake. Nora Beady, rescued by a doctor during a cholera epidemic in London as an 8 year old, grows up in the 1840's doctor's house complete with surgery in the basement. She learns by watching, reading, and coaching and becomes an excellent artist and physician's assistant. Dr. Croft is always experimenting and learning about new things such as ether. Unfortunately, Nora can't share her talents openly because women cannot be licensed. They must be proper ladies. Learn how she copes with her secret abilities and courtship and her own self worth in this male dominated time.
FEBRUARY 15, 2022: Janet's pick this week is the novel, "Love in English" by Maria E. Andrew. Ana, a new Spanish speaking immigrant from Argentina, is trying to fit in in a new country but also as a junior in high school. If you have ever been in a situation in which everyone is speaking a language you don't know you can understand Ana's frustration. This book also explores friendship and dating. Ana gets her heart torn between the American boy she feels attracted to and helps him with math and the Greek immigrant boy in her ESL class that she is learning English with and can truly be considered a friend. This is a sweet romance - what will Ana do?
FEBRUARY 11, 2022: Janet's pick this week is "Cold" by Marino Tamaki. This mature teen novel is a rather disturbing murder mystery. A high school boy, Todd, is found dead in the park and his ghost tells a part of the story as he follows the detectives assigned to the case. A high school girl, Georgia, is curious about the murder especially after she realizes that she has seen this boy before. Bullying, LGBTQ issues, and peer pressure are all a part of this unnecessary death.
FEBRUARY 4, 2022: Janet's pick this week is the mystery book for young readers aged 6 to 10, "Just Harriet", by Elana K. Arnold. Harriet's mom is pregnant and needs to finish her pregnancy on bed rest. Harriet will be spending her summer vacation on Marble Island with her Nanu, her dad's mother, who owns a B & B on the island. The story is told by Harriet herself who tells you right away that she sometimes lies -- and yes she does! Have fun finding out about Harriet as she learns about her dad as a child and tries to find the treasure in the "Gingerbread House".
JANUARY 28, 2022: Janet's pick this week is the middle grade novel, "Hide and Geek" by T.P. Jagged. Take one drepressed town that was once the home of a famious toymaker and a toy factory; and one group of four children, The Geeks, wo care about their town and each other; and add a secret clue that leads to a scavenger hunt to find treasure that can revitalize the town; and you have an enjoyable mystery story!
JANUARY 21, 2022: Janet's pick this week is the first book in the Teeny Houdini series, "The Disappearing Act" by Katrina Moore. This beginning novel stars Bessie Lee, a very active first grader (think June B. Jones) who wants to win "big" in the talent show to show that she is not just "teeny" but a magician who can really make things disappear! Book 2 is also available, "The Super-Secret Valentine".
JANUARY 14, 2022: Janet's pick this week is the 75th anniversary edition of "Goodnight Moon" by Margaret Wise Brown which includes two-sided milestone cards to photograph with your baby at various stages of their first year. What a great addition to a timeless classic.
JANUARY 7, 2022: Janet’s pick this week is the young adult fantasy “The Ivory Key” by Akshaya Raman. Four siblings, all with the desire to find the Ivory Key, a source of lost magic, but with different agendas, must overcome obstacles and figure out clues to find the key that has been hidden for hundreds of years but also protected by the Kamala Society. Viva, the new queen of Ashoka, needs the magic to save her kingdom. Riya wants to gain the magic to help the “Ravens,” a group that steals to help the poor. Ronak wants to sell the key so that he and his brother can escape his castle life. Kaleb needs to clear his name and prove he did not participate in his mother’s murder. Can they look beyond their conflicting interests and work together for the betterment of Ashoka?
DECEMBER 31, 2021: Janet's pick this week is the middle grade novel, "Playing the Cards You're Dealt", by Varian Johnson. This book was also highly rated by Luca C., a Storybook Cove reviewer. Anthony Joplin, known as Ant, learns to deal with family and friendship issues (boy and girl) as he tries to continue the legacy of winning at the card game, spades, by his brother, father, and grandfather before him. He has to navigate the images of "weak" and "strong" and do what is best for his family when his father's addictions are a part of the problem.
DECEMBER 24, 2021: Janet's pick this week is "Across the Desert" by Dusti Bowling. Meet Jolene, a 12 year old budding cartographer who has become friends with a 12 year old aviator of an ultralight plane. Jolene watches Addie livestreaming her flight and sees her disappear and hears her scream. Without the support of the grownups in her life she realizes that she is the only one who can save her new friend who was flying hundreds of miles from Phoenix where Jolene lives. You cannot help rooting for Jolene as she tries to save Addie, make a lasting friendship, and save her mom from her drug dependency. This is a book that will make you cry and cheer.
DECEMBER 17, 2021: Janet's pick this week is "The One Thing You'd Save" by Linda Sue Park. This book is written in the structure of ancient Korean poetry of sijo. The homework assignment given the class is to decide what one thing you would save, knowing that your family and pets are all safe, if your home was on fire. This short book can spark a lot of discussion.Janet's pick this week is "The One Thing You'd Save" by Linda Sue Park. This book is written in the structure of ancient Korean poetry of sijo. The homework assignment given the class is to decide what one thing you would save, knowing that your family and pets are all safe, if your home was on fire. This short book can spark a lot of discussion.
DECEMBER 10, 2021: "Finding Junie Kim" by Ellen Oh is Janet's pick this week. By interviewing her Korean grandparents for a school project and learning of their real-life experiences of courage and hardships during the Korean War, Junie learns about her past and gains the strength to face racism at her school proactively. This book will make you cry and cheer at the same time!
DECEMBER 3, 2021: Janet's pick this week is "Amos McGee Misses the Bus" by Philip C. Stead and illustrated by Erin E. Stead. Do you remember "A Sick Day for Amos McGee"? Well this new book by the Stead's is also about the hardworking zoo caretaker who upon staying up most of the night thinking about an outing with his zoo animal friends ends up oversleeping and thwarting his own plans. However the animals once again come to the rescue. This is a sweet story by a Caldecott winning team.
NOVEMBER 26, 2021: Janet's pick this week is "The Dynasty" by Jeff Benedict. Newly out in paperback, this nonfiction accounting of the New England Patriots and the impact of the relationship of Kraft, Belichick, and Brady is detailed and riveting. Benedict combines extensive research and interviews with his own observations shadowing the 3 men and the team for 2 years to tell the tale of the transformation of the lowly Patriots to a championship dynasty. Signed copies available and make the perfect gift for the fan in your life. #thedynasty #jeffbenedict #shop small #shopindie
NOVEMBER 12, 2021: Janet's pick this week is the picture book, "The Luckiest Snowball" by Elliot Kreloff. Learn about the seasons starting with winter with a snowball named Larry. Once he starts melting, Larry spends most of his time in the home freezer until young Izzy introduces him to spring, summer, and fall and it becomes winter again! #holidayhouse #childrensbookweek #shopindie
NOVEMBER 5, 2021: Janet's pick this week is "Mary Chilton Winslow: Survivor of the Mayflower Voyage" by the author, Joyce A. Prince , a descendant of Mary Chilton, and the illustrator, Tara L. Harvey. This nonfiction book about Mary Chilton Winslow is an account of what life was like on a crowded small ship in 1820. Many people died on the ship, her father, and during that first year in America, her mother, but Mary survived. The book starts with her birth in England, life in Holland, and her voyage at 13 years old on the Mayflower. It ends with her death in Boston after marrying John Winslow and having 10 children, 9 who survived. Joyce A. Prince will be at Storybook Cove to sign copies on Saturday, Nov. 6th at 2:00 p.m.