Books for tweens:
Emily McIlvoy, St. Louis County Library
-A non-fiction book that I found enjoyable for young ladies is Popular Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek by Maya Van Wagenen. Before she enters eighth grade, the young teen author finds an old etiquette book from the 1950s and decides to follow a chapter each month as a social experiment.
-The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson is essentially Oceans 11 for the middle-school set. There’s an election at school, and the main character sets up a con to show what’s really going on behind the scenes. He recruits a bunch of kids with their own specialties to help him. It’s gotten a lot of buzz in the library world.
-Told from the perspective of all the princes who have saved princesses, The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy is a funny, twisted fairy tale. It shows the characters like you’ve never seen them. They might not be the greatest guys—they’re good guys, but they’re not what they’ve been made up to be.
Patty Carleton, St. Louis Public Library
-Our themes this year for the reading clubs are ‘Fizz, Boom, Read’ for children, and ‘Spark a Reaction’ for teens, so a lot of the recommendations are about science and technology. A 2010 Sibert Honor book, The Day-Glo Brothers, by Chris Barton is a true story about the two brothers who figured out how to make colors glow in the dark, and invented Day-Glo when they were still practically children.
-How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous by Georgia Bragg is a graphic novel-like book filled with cartoon-style illustrations about how famous people died. It features all sorts of inventors, historians, celebrities and a one- or two-page bio about how they died, in all sorts of gruesome ways.
-Morris Gleitzman’s three books, Once, Now and Then, all are beautifully written Holocaust fiction. Because they’re inspired by true events and can be pretty disturbing, they’re best for older middle-schoolers, but the books are absolutely gripping.
Books for elementary-school readers:
Chelsea Bedley, Kirkwood Public Library
-Fortunately, The Milk by Neil Gaiman is about a dad who goes out to get milk for his kids’ cereal and ends up getting abducted. It’s a crazy adventure story, and is our book club read for July 7.
-Every summer, we pick one book for all the youth in Kirkwood to have a community-wide read. This year we chose Cynthia Voigt’s Mister Max The Book of Lost Things, a mystery-adventure story. A boy’s parents abandon him and he’s left with a cryptic message. He goes on an adventure to figure out what happened to them.
-For beginning readers, Feathers: Not Just for Flying by Melissa Stewart, is great. The art is gorgeous, and the book talks about different ways birds use their feathers—not just for flying, but for attracting mates or cooling off.
-Another great book for early readers is Spark by Kallie George, about a little dragon that’s learning to ‘tame his flame.’ The illustrations are nice and it’s a cute book.
Marilyn Phillips, University City Public Library
-This is like asking the mother of a very large family who her favorite child is, but I’ll try. Good Luck, Anna Hibiscus! by Lauren Atinuke is the third book in a series about a spunky girl who lives in Africa, and is flying across the world to visit her grandma in Canada. This book gives young readers a look at a different culture, as well as universal joys and fears.
-The Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell is set in the Victorian era. Baby Sophie is found floating in a cello case after the Queen Mary sinks. A fellow passenger takes her in, and is an unorthodox father figure. A meddling neighbor causes Sophie and the man to escape to Paris, where they begin searching for her mother.
-Also the third in a series is Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Summer Vacation by Tom Greenwald. Charlie goes to an academic summer camp for the first time, and he feels like a fish out of water. After instigating a strike against the basketball competition, he gets accused of cheating and eventually becomes the hero. It’s fresh and funny.