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Brandi, when not escaping the pesky paparazzi, enjoys reading and buying books for the Children's and Young Adult sections. When she's not reading picture books and middle grade or YA fantasy, she likes humorous fiction and the occasional memoir. She is an advocate for cats and giraffes, enjoys swing dancing and anything that lets her hone her inner child. She especially loves matching young readers with books they will love.
Spanning the lifetime of one woman, The Toss of a Lemon offers an intimate look into a Brahmin household. This beautiful story brings to life an exotic yet recognizable family in the midst of social and political upheaval. If you love to read about culture and family bonds, this is a must read.
With buzz about the new movie Julie and Julia, I have cooking on the brain right now. So, I was pleasantly surprised when I decided to read this as a potential teen event book to find that the main character, Lainey, is obsessed with Julia Child (a.k.a. “Saint Julia”). Her dream after high school is to visit Saint Julia’s exhibit at the Smithsonian then go on to become the first African-American host of a vegetarian cooking show! I couldn’t think of a better idea. First she must finish her last year of high school, with its social dramas, and discover what true friendship really means. This is a perfect book for the budding chef, and allows practice with Lainey’s own recipes at the tail end of each chapter.
Sweethearts is the bittersweet tale of the childhood friendship between Jennifer (a.k.a. Jenna) and Cameron, torn apart by circumstance and reunited 8 years later. Now they must face memories of their past and the different paths their lives have taken. A great book that will leave you thoughtful and satisfied.
Take a trip in the sea with this book! Caldecott award-winning author David Weisner (of Tuesday) does it again. This time take a glimpse into the ocean world when a little boy discovers an old fashioned camera washed up on the shore filled with wondrous images. But who has taken the pictures? Find out as you turn the beautiful and brightly illustrated pages. Not only will Flotsam please your eyes, it will stimulate your imagination as you create your own story with this wordless picture book.
This prickly cactus just needs the right friend. I love Carter Goodrich's illustrations and his ability to weave humor into a touching story. I've never wanted to hug a cactus before, but now I want to hug them all! (Maybe with some heavy duty gloves and a thick coat on first.)
Fans of the Paper Bag Princess will fall in love with Princess Scallywag. I certainly did. Every moment of Princess Scallywag and the Brave, Brave Knight is a delight. It's filled with great illustrations, a hilarious use of font, and, most of all, it is a wonderfully, fun story for everyone to enjoy.
Such a sweet story with gorgeous illustrations. I'm in love with the dragon and the little boy's quest to save each other from the "night"/"knight". This book is perfect for anyone who needs to conquer their fears or at least look at them from another point of view. You'll want to read it at bedtime so you can snuggle it close as you fall asleep.
From the minds that brought us Triangle and Extra Yarn comes yet another clever picture book that will have kids and adults alike giggling. When Wolf swallows Mouse all seems doomed until Mouse meets the ingenious Duck, who makes the best of a gulping situation. Duck is a mastermind of manipulation as he convinces Wolf to swallow other items to make this new home more enjoyable, if a bit uncomfortable for the wolf. Then Wolf finds out just how useful his “food” can be when a hunter comes around. After all, what’s a little indigestion if it will save your life?
Alternate realities, time travel, wit, what's not to love about this book? Tom Barren comes from a technological utopia. That is until he screws up reality by a time travel mistake and creates the reality we live in now. Thanks a lot Tom. Told in first person narrative directly to the reader, Tom gives a hilarious recap of his many mistakes and his bumbling attempts to make things right. Told in short chapters, you'll find yourself saying,"Just one more chapter," until you find that there are no chapters left. Not since the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy have I laughed so much. So, pick up a copy, read and enjoy!
When I first heard of Caraval and it's constant comparison with The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (of which I'm more than a little obsessed with) I was intrigued and skeptical. I must say though, that Caraval stood up well to expectations. I can see why the comparison, but you have to give props to Stephanie Garber for writing a book that, while reminiscent of The Night Circus, is a captivating tale in it's own right. I found myself swept up in the mystery, trying desperately to hold onto what I "knew" to be true of this fictional reality. Like the players, as much as I tried to stick to the facts, it was often hard to discern what the truth really was until the very end. Bravo Stephanie, bravo.
After years of discarding female babies in favor of boys, men now out populate women 5 to 1. Thus making women the more valuable gender, choosing husbands who will be the most likely to carry on the female gene through a series of tests. Told in alternating voices, Sudasa, in verse, and Kiran, in prose, are forced to participate in these tests, not knowing they have the same agenda. To defy the system and leave this backward society behind. Rife with many great discussion points, 5 to 1 is perfect for book clubs. Of course, you don't have to be in a book club to enjoy this beautiful debut.
Every year on her birthday Lottie receives a letter granting her birthday wish from a magic apple tree in her front yard. So, when her best friend's illness takes a turn for the worse, Lottie asks for one thing, a cure to save his life. Instead of a letter though, Lottie receives two sprites who take her through the apple tree to their world. There she must weigh the importance of her friend's life against the lives of an entire world of sprites. A fun debut perfect for fans of The Chronicles of Narnia.
With a nod to classic fairy tales, Monstrous is a fascinating debut about a young chimera girl. Kym was created with the sole purpose of rescuing girls from an evil wizard who wishes to kill them to cope with the loss of his own daughter. Although Kym is loyal to her father's noble mission, she becomes distracted by a boy called Ren; who seems familiar, though she's sure she's never met him before. Soon her hodgepodge brain begins remembering things that threaten to destroy everything she believes.
Shelby lives a sheltered life of home school, the golf range and the library. Her mother wants to keep her safe, warning her about boys and walking on the safe side of the street. So when a random truck veers off the road and hits her, not only is her leg shattered, but so is life as she knows it. Nick Lake has written a twisting plot that will leave you emotionally stunned and surprised at every chapter. If I had to compare this novel to anything, think Dead to You by Lisa McMann meets Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King.
Prepare yourself to be taken on two journeys. First, you will be captured by the edge-of-your-seat opening chapter in Afterworlds--about a girl who can navigate the thin line between reality and the afterworld. In the alternating chapters, you are taken behind the words and into the mind of the “author”. I've always thought it would be cool to jump into a novel and meet the characters, but I never thought how cool it would be to jump into the mind of an author while she is writing her first, soon to be published, novel! While this is an amazing book to read just for the sake of reading, it's especially fun for readers who want to become authors themselves.Afterworlds is the tangible answer to "What advice would you give to a new author?"
Brilliant! Tim Federle is a genius of wit and Nate is an adorable, clever young man bravely following his passion. I loved revisiting New York City through the innocent eyes of a 13 year-old dreamer. A perfect story for anyone – especially kids who have shining dreams of their own.
After this stunning cover grabs you, prepare yourself for an epic adventure! Soman Chainani thrills us with his new take on a fractured fairy tale. Taking the core of both sides — good and evil — and whipping them into a story you will not put down. Best friends Sophie and Agatha think they know which side they belong to in the fairy tale world. When the school master comes for them and places them in opposite schools, they must face their true selves and they find a way to survive their own stories. Great for readers who like a throwback to fairy tales (which I do!).
I love how this book challenges the reader to go beyond the words of a story (or, in this case, word) and interpret what the author-illustrator is presenting. For me, this is a story of a dog who loves the little girl who plays with him. When she is gone he tries to find various ways to play "Ball". But nothing is quite the same until she returns home again. It's amazing how this one word can, with pictures to guide you, come to have several different meanings.
You can't get much cuter than a sneezing baby panda. Chu is a little panda with a big problem. He can't sneeze — but oh, when he does, you will need to hold onto something stronger than a tissue! In addition to the cute story, the rich illustrations go beyond the words to show you Chu's world and how his sneeze really does affect everyone around him.
Pulse is a thought provoking, chilling look at what our future could become in the aftermath of a global warming catastrophe -- a cross between Cameron Stracher's Water Wars and Marvel's X-Men. With a thrilling plot, fast paced action and strong characters, readers will have a hard time putting this down.
"Once there was a girl, an all-alone girl, who didn't have a dragon for a friend. " Such a sweet, sweet tale of friendship. Have you ever wished for a specific friend so hard and one day your wish came true? That's the friend you should give this book to.
From the award winning author of I Want My Hat Back comes another cautionary tale about taking what is not yours. Some books are clearly made just for kids, while others appeal to a wider audience. While this book is marketed to children, it's one of the handful of great artistic picture books that appeal to adults and children alike. Kids will enjoy the funny tale of a tiny fish who steals a small hat from a giant fish while adults will amuse themselves with the unwritten repercussions of this unfortunate decision.
Butter is an intense look at one teen's struggle with food and depression. J.P. (aka “Butter”) has an over-eating disorder and is dangerously obese. Tired of being the "fat kid" at school, he decides to end it all by binge eating to death on New Year's Eve, an act which will stream live on his website, butterslastmeal.com. When Butter's morbid website sweeps him into the "cool" crowd, he must decide if popularity is worth dying for. It takes courage to write a true to life story, unveiling a world we may not want to acknowledge. I think many teens will connect with Butter's quest for acceptance.
This is a beautiful story of a lost book and the child who eventually gives its life purpose once again. Soft illustrations capture the bitter-sweet mood of this tale. The Lonely Book is a great book for anyone who loves books. Give it as a gift to your favorite teacher, librarian or bookseller.
Have you ever wanted to run away to the circus? How about the carnival? That's just where Portia Remini finds herself when she escapes from Mister and McGreavey's Home for Wayward Girls. She's a "normal" among a menagerie of human oddities, looking for a new life and the father that left her behind. A beautifully crafted tale of loss, hope, curiosity, and a little murder mystery mixed in for good measure. The Wonder Show is a book to get lost in.