Staff Book Reviews

A Day for Rememberin': Inspired by the True Events of the First Memorial Day Cover Image
Reviewed by: Tildy
Posted: June 12, 2021

A Day For Rememberin' tells the history of the first Memorial Day, which came in the wake of the Civil War. A memorial held in Charleston, SC  was celebrated by ten thousand people, many of them newly freed Black men and women, and led by three thousand Black children. Leah Henderson tells this remarkable story through the eyes of a young freed boy who wants to help his father, who has been busy working for nine days straight. On the tenth day, Eli is asked to come help, as his father and other freed men have been turning the old racetrack, which was turned into a Confederate jail, into a beautiful and peaceful resting place for all the Union soldiers who had died there. The story ends with their procession and the flowers they laid to thank those who “gave the last full measure of devotion.” Filled with Floyd Cooper’s gorgeous paintings, this picture book highlights an important part of American history and is a perfect addition to kids non-fiction shelves.

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Off-Limits Cover Image
Reviewed by: Tildy
Posted: June 12, 2021

Absolutely the cutest. A child sneaks into their Dad's home office, even though it's labelled OFF-LIMITS. Of course a little creativity and imagination spirals outward and into chaos, and surely a chastising, but the tables are delightfully turned at the end. This is one you'll want to enjoy again and again.

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Time for Bed, Old House Cover Image
Reviewed by: Tildy
Posted: June 12, 2021

I loved this sweet story. Isaac is nervous about staying over at Grandpop's, but with a little help from Grandpop, putting the house to bed calms his fears and gets them all to sleep easily. I loved the agency Grandpop encourages in Isaac, and the tenderness in the illustrations rings true. Just the kind of book you want to live at a grandparent's house, or to pull out at bedtime.

One Last Stop Cover Image
Reviewed by: Hanna
Posted: June 8, 2021

A fun *vaguely fantastical* romance with characters that warm your heart and moments of sadness, joy, and hilarity

One to Watch: A Novel Cover Image
Reviewed by: Hanna
Posted: June 5, 2021

Are you looking for a quick and fun romance? Are you a fan of The Bachelor franchise? Do you want to see more diverse body types in the media? This book is for you! Heartwarming and not *totally* predictable, One To Watch is a wonderful read.

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Healer of the Water Monster Cover Image
Reviewed by: Chris
Posted: June 1, 2021

Sometimes you pick up a book you're really not sure you're going to like, and you end up loving it. HEALER OF THE WATER MONSTER is one of those. Such a beautiful story--partly because the character is so sweet and complex (brave and generous sometimes, fearful and selfish others) and partly because the issues he has to deal with cross so many borders, from alcoholism and family dysfunction to trying to navigate the spirit world to save a water monster. Highly, highly recommend this book!

Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls Cover Image
Reviewed by: Chris
Posted: June 1, 2021

This book was such a joy to read! Cece Rios--scared, brave, cursed, blessed, and above all determined to save her sister from the evil El Sombreron--is the kind of hero no one can resist. Even the criaturas fall under her spell, their humanity slowly coaxed out from the layers of rage and bitterness that haunt them. A wonderful reminder that allies can come in all shapes, sizes and colors.

The Leak Cover Image
Reviewed by: Chris
Posted: June 1, 2021

Don't let the bright colors and friendly style fool you: This graphic novel stretches way beyond its boundaries. Full of humor, drama and mystery (and a tiny bit of romance), THE LEAK's story of a young would-be reporter uncovering environmental crimes while also trying to navigate middle-school relationships and family conflicts is sure to captivate just about any middle-grade reader--and probably a lot of older readers as well. A page-turner!

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The Troubled Girls of Dragomir Academy Cover Image
Reviewed by: Chris
Posted: June 1, 2021

Anne Ursu's done it again! A rich, colorful, compelling fantasy where the great evil isn't a fire-breathing monster but monstrous adults breathing streams of lies. As magical plague clouds of Dread threaten the kingdom of Illyria, "troubled" girls are rounded up and kept in the castle of Dragomir Academy. But why?  Some very real, non-magical gaslighting is going on, and Marya, one of Ursu's bravest and most heartwarming heroes yet, is determined to uncover it. A sure hit for middle grade readers!

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Once There Were Wolves Cover Image
Reviewed by: Audrey H.
Posted: May 31, 2021

Haunting and at times heartbreaking, be prepared to enter the Scottish Highlands and the world of wolves. Inti, a wolf expert, and her team, are tasked to introduce wolves back to the wild, despite the resistance of the farmers. With her, is her twin sister, Aggi, who was hurt at Inti's last job. As the story unfolds, one becomes entranced with wolf behavior as well as the natural beauty of Scotland. Human secrets also unfold and wolves and humans are both to blame.

Arsenic and Adobo (A Tita Rosie's Kitchen Mystery #1) Cover Image
Reviewed by: Audrey H.
Posted: May 31, 2021

Such a fun new series filled with food, family and friends. Lila, who works at her family's Filipino restaurant, gets embroiled in the murder of her ex-boyfriend, a nasty food critic, when he drops dead at the restaurant. Lila, with the help of her community, begins to put together what her ex was doing and why he changed so much from high school. Sharp and funny, this new series is one to watch. If you enjoyed Dial A for Aunties or Vivien Chien's Noodle Shop mysteries, you will love this.

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The Donut Trap: A Novel Cover Image
Reviewed by: Audrey H.
Posted: May 27, 2021

Donut miss the debut! If you’re ever felt trapped out of duty, obligation and love, as you try and figure out next steps, you will totally relate to Jasmine. A year out of college, she’s living with her parents and working at their donut shop. What’s done especially well, is how difficult it is to communicate with immigrant parents especially due to language (and cultural) barriers. Knowing her parents fight to survive and to make a better life for her, makes it difficult for her to complain, yet, it’s not as if she doesn’t have her own issues. The romance is also super cute, but it’s Jasmine’s relationship to her family and donut shop that will keep you hooked.

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