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"A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted. You   should live several lives while reading it." 
--William Styron
 
 
 
 
 
Featured Book Lists
Book JacketThe Other Child
by Charlotte Link
Book list From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781605984308 *Starred Review* Most readers would never guess that this gripping psychological thriller, set in a small English village, is the work of a best-selling German novelist. Link's English-language debut is a dark, disturbing novel of suspense on par with those of Minette Walters. Wallflower Gwen Beckett's engagement party should have been as quiet as the bride-to-be. But her father's old friend Fiona Barnes can't hold her tongue and accuses Gwen's fiancee of using Gwen to escape his own lackluster life and inherit the Becketts' land. Later that night, Fiona is murdered. The crime bears similarities to the recent murder of a young college student. Could the two women have anything in common? Or could the murder be related to e-mails Fiona had recently written to Gwen's father, breaking the silence about what happened between them during the war? The passages describing Gwen's time at the Becketts' farm during the Blitz introduce us to the other child referenced in the title a damaged orphan who attaches himself to Fiona on the train ride to Yorkshire and accompanies her to the Becketts. Link builds a sense of menace in these chapters that makes readers dread turning the page but keeps them up all night doing just that.--Keefe, Karen Copyright 2010 Booklist
Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781605984308 After reading only a few pages of Link's U.S debut, a best seller in Germany, it is easy to see why she is the most successful female crime author in her home country. When two murders occur in the small English village of Scarborough, the second one a copycat killing that takes place months after the first, Det. Valerie Almond is at a loss. Then she learns that the murders may be connected to the evacuation of children from the area during World War II. Fiona Barnes was a young teen during that time and writes letters to a close friend detailing the tragic story of "the other child." Exactly who is the "other child" and what does this child from the past have to do with the present-day murders? VERDICT This phenomenal, multilayered mystery offers plenty of psychological intrigue and suspense. Skillfully juggling the two stories, Link sets a fast pace and weaves in characters who are both tragic and ones readers can relate to. Fans of psychological thrillers and dark mysteries will love this engrossing novel.-Amy M. Davis, Parmley Billings Lib., MT (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781605984308 Link, a bestseller in her native Germany, makes her U.S. debut with a sophisticated and thoughtful mystery set in England. After an ominous prologue, in which a woman stumbles across an unnamed secret on a remote farm in Yorkshire in 1970, the action shifts to 2008 in the same area. College student Amy Mills leaves a babysitting gig late at night to travel home, only to find her regular, relatively safe route blocked off, which proves to be a prelude to her brutal killing. Both incidents recede into the background as Link presents a large cast of characters drawn together by the engagement of Gwen Beckett, a wallflower whose fiance is viewed as only being after the farm she's due to inherit. More death follows, with the motive possibly linked to Gwen's father's disturbing past and the tragic fallout from the evacuation of children from London during the Blitz. Fans of Ruth Rendell and Minette Walters will be enthralled. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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Book JacketOpenly Straight
by Bill Konigsberg
Book JacketDream Something Big: The Story of the Watts Towers
by Dianna Hutts Aston

Book list Simon Rodia, Sam to his neighbors, spent more than 34 years building and decorating elaborate sculptural towers on a triangular lot in the Watts neighborhood of L.A. Affixing collected bits of throwaway glass and pottery to a hand-wrought, curvilinear structure of rebar, mesh, and cement, Sam erected an enduring homage to the extraordinary, everyday beauty of community. Aston tells the story from the point of view of a young neighborhood girl, who grows up watching the towers evolve and then shares their construction with her own children. Her winding, poetic language evokes the strange beauty of the sculptures themselves, occasionally bending across the page in broken arcs. Roth's jumbled mixed-media collages echo Rodia's ebullient ingenuity while evoking a creative exuberance all their own. An author's note offering more information about the towers' construction and directions for building miniature towers of pipe cleaners, magazine clippings, and foam round out this impressionistic look at an iconic American landmark. Children will find inspiration in Rodia's personal, quiet call to creation.--Barthelmess, Thom Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 2-5-This stunningly illustrated picture book succeeds on every level. Chronicling the story of Italian immigrant Simon Rodia, the creative genius who built the famed Watts Towers in Los Angeles, the simple yet elegant text brings the man's process to light through the narration of a fictional girl who measures her own life against the construction of the towers. Uncle Sam, as he was known in the neighborhood, worked in a tile factory by day and scavenged for treasure in trash heaps and along the nearby railroad tracks in his spare time. Using scrap tile, broken pottery, bits of glass, seashells, rebar, wire mesh, and cement, Rodia realized his dream through slow but steady work, raising his towers nearly 100 feet high without nails, bolts, or even a ladder. Adding dimension and richness to the story, Roth's splendid multimedia collages both honor and illuminate his work. Combining paper, ceramics, fabric, and photography, the artwork not only reinforces the look of the towers but also the technique of bringing together disparate bits to create a cohesive and beautiful whole. One particularly moving page uses black-and-white photographs of similarly shaped Italian towers as a backdrop, exploring the idea that immigrants bring their culture with them. This is a book that is filled with possibilities; it is an artistic work that could easily serve as a springboard for a multitude of discussions/projects about creativity, artistry, imagination, conservation, repurposing, perseverance, and the influence and importance of immigrants. A worthwhile author's note and instructions to craft a small Watts Tower are appended.-Teri Markson, Los Angeles Public Library (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Aston pays tribute to the creative genius of an Italian immigrant and tile worker who, in the 1920s, begins a unique project on his Watts, Calif., property that takes 34 years to complete. Simon Rodia uses only rebar, cement, broken tiles, shells, and other found items to build towering spires, some almost a hundred feet tall, decorated with mosaic designs. A fictional neighbor girl, Marguerite, provides lyrical first-person narration as she watches the towers take shape throughout her childhood. The subject lends itself perfectly to the collage illustrations. Employing mostly paper, but also bits of pottery, cloth, clay and string, Roth stunningly recreates bold, stylized versions of the towers. This book beautifully illuminates a little-known story of imagination and perseverance that resulted in a national landmark. Ages 5-8. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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Book JacketSo You Want to be President
by David Small

School Library Journal Gr 4-8-Curious tidbits of personal information and national history combine with humorously drawn caricatures to give this tongue-in-cheek picture book a quirky appeal. "There are good things about being President and there are bad things about being President." So begins a walk through a brief history of facts, successes, oddities, and mishaps. For example, most readers won't know that William Howard Taft weighed over 300 pounds and ordered a specially made bathtub. Small's drawing of a naked Taft being lowered into a water-filled tub by means of a crane should help them remember. Another spread depicts a men's shop where Andrew Johnson (a tailor) fits Ronald Reagan (an actor) for a suit while Harry Truman (a haberdasher) stands behind the counter. While the text exposes the human side of the individuals, the office of the presidency is ultimately treated with respect and dignity. A list of presidents with terms of office, birthplace, date of birth and death, and a one-sentence summary of their accomplishments is provided. This title will add spark to any study of this popular subject.-Alicia Eames, New York City Public Schools (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly HThis lighthearted, often humorous roundup of anecdotes and trivia is cast as a handbook of helpful hints to aspiring presidential candidates. St. George (Sacagawea; Crazy Horse) points out that it might boost your odds of being elected if your name is James (the moniker of six former presidents) or if your place of birth was a humble dwelling ("You probably weren't born in a log cabin. That's too bad. People are crazy about log-cabin Presidents. They elected eight"). She serves up diverse, occasionally tongue-in-cheek tidbits and spices the narrative with colorful quotes from her subjects. For instance, she notes that "Warren Harding was a handsome man, but he was one of our worst Presidents" due to his corrupt administration, and backs it up with one of his own quotes, "I am not fit for this office and never should have been here." Meanwhile, Small (The Gardener) shows Harding crowned king of a "Presidential Beauty Contest"; all the other presidents applaud him (except for a grimacing Nixon). The comical, caricatured artwork emphasizes some of the presidents' best known qualities and amplifies the playful tone of the text. For an illustration of family histories, Small depicts eight diminutive siblings crawling over a patient young George Washington; for another featuring pre-presidential occupations, Harry Truman stands at the cash register of his men's shop while Andrew Johnson (a former tailor) makes alterations on movie star Ronald Reagan's suit. The many clever, quirky asides may well send readers off on a presidential fact-finding missionDand spark many a discussion of additional anecdotes. A clever and engrossing approach to the men who have led America. Ages 7-up. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list Gr. 3^-5, younger for reading aloud. Portraits of the presidents can be generally described as staid, stodgy, and dull. Throw these adjectives out the window when describing this book's group portrayal of American presidents. St. George leads her audience, ostensibly young presidential hopefuls, through the good points of the presidency (big house with its own bowling alley and movie theater) and bad points (lots of homework). Then she offers a spiffy presidential history with comparisions and contrasts: most popular names, log cabin origins, ages, looks, backgrounds, pets, musical abilities, favorite sports, and personalities ("William McKinley was so nice that he tried to stop a mob from attacking the man who had just shot him"). The book holds out the possibility that someday a woman, a person of color, or a person who is neither Protestant nor Roman Catholic might be elected president. The discussion ends with the oath of office and the thought that most presidents have tried to do their best to fulfill it. David Small's delightful illustrations, usually droll and sometimes hilarious, will draw children to the book and entertain them from page to page. Memorable images include the comical sight of the obese President Taft being lowered into a bathtub by a crane and a powerful scene showing two figures, Nixon (looking disgruntled) and Clinton (looking dejected), descending the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, under the shadow of impeachment. Thoughtful composition and layout both contribute to the lively visual presentation of this most original look at the presidency. The light tone of the book makes it possible for readers to absorb a great deal of information, some of it silly, but underlying the treatment is a sense of the significance and dignity of the office and the faith that children still aspire to be president. --Carolyn Phelan

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

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Book JacketThe Man Who Walked between the Towers
by Mordicai Gerstein

Publishers Weekly This effectively spare, lyrical account chronicles Philippe Petit's tightrope walk between Manhattan's World Trade Center towers in 1974. Gerstein (What Charlie Heard) begins the book like a fairy tale, "Once there were two towers side by side. They were each a quarter of a mile high... The tallest buildings in New York City." The author casts the French aerialist and street performer as the hero: "A young man saw them rise into the sky.... He loved to walk and dance on a rope he tied between two trees." As the man makes his way across the rope from one tree to the other, the towers loom in the background. When Philippe gazes at the twin buildings, he looks "not at the towers but at the space between them.... What a wonderful place to stretch a rope; a wire on which to walk." Disguised as construction workers, he and a friend haul a 440-pound reel of cable and other materials onto the roof of the south tower. How Philippe and his pals hang the cable over the 140-feet distance is in itself a fascinating-and harrowing-story, charted in a series of vertical and horizontal ink and oil panels. An inventive foldout tracking Philippe's progress across the wire offers dizzying views of the city below; a turn of the page transforms readers' vantage point into a vertical view of the feat from street level. When police race to the top of one tower's roof, threatening arrest, Philippe moves back and forth between the towers ("As long as he stayed on the wire he was free"). Gerstein's dramatic paintings include some perspectives bound to take any reader's breath away. Truly affecting is the book's final painting of the imagined imprint of the towers, now existing "in memory"-linked by Philippe and his high wire. Ages 5-8. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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Book JacketThe Girl of Fire and Thorns
by Carson, Rae
Book JacketMissing May
by Cynthia Rylant
Book JacketSlime, Mold and Fungi
by Elaine Pascoe
School Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781567111828 Gr 3-6-Two introductions distinguished by excellent, full-color photos and succinct texts. Both books briefly describe their respective topics and include a chapter on the ways people are affected by them. The bulk of the texts discusses how to collect and house the creatures and offers step-by-step instructions for conducting experiments and related activities. About a dozen species are depicted in each title. Appendixes offer the names and addresses of biological supply companies and short lists for further reading. The texts are clearly written and well organized, and the photographs are outstanding in their clarity and composition. One or two sharp images, many of which are close-ups, appear on almost every page. With its excellent visuals and simple experiments, Ants will be a useful supplement to other material about the topic. While the Silversteins' Fungi (21st Century, 1995) provides basic facts about fungi and their various methods of reproduction, it does not give as much detail on slime molds as Pascoe's book; also, it offers only a few close-up color photographs, and they are not of the same caliber as Kuhn's photos.-Karey Wehner, San Francisco Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781567111828 Gr 3-6-Two introductions distinguished by excellent, full-color photos and succinct texts. Both books briefly describe their respective topics and include a chapter on the ways people are affected by them. The bulk of the texts discusses how to collect and house the creatures and offers step-by-step instructions for conducting experiments and related activities. About a dozen species are depicted in each title. Appendixes offer the names and addresses of biological supply companies and short lists for further reading. The texts are clearly written and well organized, and the photographs are outstanding in their clarity and composition. One or two sharp images, many of which are close-ups, appear on almost every page. With its excellent visuals and simple experiments, Ants will be a useful supplement to other material about the topic. While the Silversteins' Fungi (21st Century, 1995) provides basic facts about fungi and their various methods of reproduction, it does not give as much detail on slime molds as Pascoe's book; also, it offers only a few close-up color photographs, and they are not of the same caliber as Kuhn's photos.-Karey Wehner, San Francisco Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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Book JacketDavid And Goliath
by Malcolm Gladwell
Book JacketThe Stone Diaries
by Carol Shields

Library Journal Author of the ``most satisfying'' The Republic of Love ( LJ 1/92), Canadian novelist Shields here details the hard life of Daisy Stone Goodwill from her 1905 birth in Manitoba through old age. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Canadian writer Shields's novels and short stories ( Swann ; The Republic of Love , etc.) are intensely imagined, humanely generous, beautifully sustained and impeccably detailed. Despite rave reviews on both sides of the Atlantic, she has yet to achieve an audience here; one hopes this latest effort, shortlisted for the Booker Prize, will be her breakthrough. It is at once a playful sendup of the art of biography and a serious exploration of the essential mystery of human lives; the gist of this many-faceted story is that all biographies are only versions of the facts. Shields follows her heroine, Daisy Goodwill Hoad Flett, from her birth--and her mother's death--on the kitchen floor of a stonemason's cottage in a small quarry town in Manitoba through childhood in Winnipeg, adolescence and young womanhood in Bloomington, Ind. (another quarry town), two marriages, motherhood, widowhood, a brief, exhilarating career in Ottawa--and eventually to old age and death in Florida. Stone is the unifying image here: it affects the geography of Daisy's life, and ultimately her vision of herself. Wittily, ironically, touchingly, Shields gives us Daisy's version of her life and contrasting interpretations of events from her friends, children and extended family. (She even provides ostensible photographs of Daisy's family and friends.) Shields's prose is succint, clear and graceful, and she is wizardly with description, summarizing appearance, disposition and inner lives with elegant imagery. Secondary characters are equally compelling, especially Daisy's obese, phlegmatic mother; her meek, obsessive father, who transforms himself into an overbearing executive; her adoptive mother, her stubborn father-in-law. Readers who discover Shields with this book can also pick up a simultaneously published paperback version of an early first novel, Happenstance . Author tour. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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Book JacketLife and Times of Michael K
by J M Coetzee
Book JacketThe First Part Last
by Angela Johnson
School Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780689849220 Gr 8 Up-In this lyrical novel, 16-year-old Bobby narrates his journey into teenage fatherhood, struggling to balance school, parenting, and friends who simply do not comprehend his new role and his breathtaking love for his daughter. Winner of the 2004 SRT Coretta Scott King Author Award and the 2004 YALSA Michael L. Printz Award for literary excellence. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780689849220 In this companion novel, Johnson's fans learn just how Bobby, the single father for whom Marley baby-sits in Heaven, landed in that small town in Ohio. Beginning his story when his daughter, Feather, is just 11 days old, 16-year-old Bobby tells his story in chapters that alternate between the present and the bittersweet past that has brought him to the point of single parenthood. Each nuanced chapter feels like a poem in its economy and imagery; yet the characters-Bobby and the mother of his child, Nia, particularly, but also their parents and friends, and even newborn Feather-emerge fully formed. Bobby tells his parents about the baby ("Not moving and still quiet, my pops just starts to cry") and contrasts his father's reaction with that of Nia's father ("He looks straight ahead like he's watching a movie outside the loft windows"). The way he describes Nia and stands by her throughout the pregnancy conveys to readers what a loving and trustworthy father he promises to be. The only misstep is a chapter from Nia's point of view, which takes readers out of Bobby's capable hands. But as the past and present threads join in the final chapter, readers will only clamor for more about this memorable father-daughter duo-and an author who so skillfully relates the hope in the midst of pain. Ages 12-up. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
School Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780689849220 Gr 8 Up-Brief, poetic, and absolutely riveting, this gem of a novel tells the story of a young father struggling to raise an infant. Bobby, 16, is a sensitive and intelligent narrator. His parents are supportive but refuse to take over the child-care duties, so he struggles to balance parenting, school, and friends who don't comprehend his new role. Alternate chapters go back to the story of Bobby's relationship with his girlfriend Nia and how parents and friends reacted to the news of her pregnancy. Bobby's parents are well-developed characters, Nia's upper-class family somewhat less so. Flashbacks lead to the revelation in the final chapters that Nia is in an irreversible coma caused by eclampsia. This twist, which explains why Bobby is raising Feather on his own against the advice of both families, seems melodramatic. So does a chapter in which Bobby snaps from the pressure and spends an entire day spray painting a picture on a brick wall, only to be arrested for vandalism. However, any flaws in the plot are overshadowed by the beautiful writing. Scenes in which Bobby expresses his love for his daughter are breathtaking. Teens who enjoyed Margaret Bechard's Hanging on to Max (Millbrook, 2002) will love this book, too, despite very different conclusions. The attractive cover photo of a young black man cradling an infant will attract readers.-Miranda Doyle, San Francisco Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780689849220 Gr. 6-12. Bobby, the teenage artist and single-parent dad inohnson's Coretta Scotting Award winner, Heaven (1998), tells his story here. At 16, he's scared to be raising his baby, Feather, but he's totally devoted to caring for her, even as she keeps him up all night, and he knows that his college plans are on hold. In short chapters alternating between now and then, he talks about the baby that now fills his life, and he remembers the pregnancy of his beloved girlfriend, Nia. Yes, the teens' parents were right. The couple should have used birth control; adoption could have meant freedom. But when Nia suffers irreversible postpartum brain damage, Bobby takes their newborn baby home. There's no romanticizing. The exhaustion is real, and Bobby gets in trouble with the police and nearly messes up everything. But from the first page, readers feel the physical reality of Bobby's new world: what it's like to hold Feather on his stomach, smell her skin, touch her clenched fists, feel her shiver, and kiss the top of her curly head.ohnson makes poetry with the simplest words in short, spare sentences that teens will read again and again. The great cover photo shows the strong African American teen holding his tiny baby in his arms. --Hazel Rochman Copyright 2003 Booklist
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