Gemma's Picks

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Gemma is a desert kid that collects umbrellas and loves outerwear, but dislikes cold weather. This makes no sense, not even to her, but that's okay. Other things that make Gemma's heart happy are children's books (particularly picture books and middle grade), swing dancing, live music, creating artwork, dogs, the ocean, learning new things, and a good cup of tea. She loves watching kids fall in love with books, just as she did from an early age. Fun fact, she memorized a cassette recording of Audrey Penn's Sassafras at age 2 and astounded grown-ups with her "reading"!
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The Skull: A Tyrolean Folktale By Jon Klassen, Jon Klassen (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Jon Klassen, Jon Klassen (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781536223361
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Candlewick - July 11th, 2023

Jon Klassen's offbeat sense of humor gets me every time. This is that strangely dark--but not TOO dark--book that you grow up having in your home library. You are drawn to it, even though it's a little bit creepy. It's the kind of story that grows with you over the years because it's a folktale, and your perspective shifts as you grow older. I still cherish my dark, childhood folktale book--whose will this be?

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Paradise Sands: A Story of Enchantment By Levi Pinfold, Levi Pinfold (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Levi Pinfold, Levi Pinfold (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781536212822
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Candlewick Studio - November 8th, 2022

So spooky! This book feels like it's coming off the page and playing an eerie short film in my head. The story reads like a classic, with our main character passing the tests of an otherworldly creature that holds her curious, greedy brothers captive. Can she save them from this ghostly world, or will she be taken too? Read this one when the sun is out, because it will give you the shivers!

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Sal Boat: (A Boat by Sal) By Thyra Heder Cover Image
ISBN: 9781419757501
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Abrams Books for Young Readers - August 30th, 2022

A new Thyra Heder book! *Does happy dance* Every one of her watercolor-filled picture books is a must-have, and Sal Boat (get it?) is no exception. Determination! Creativity! Confidence! I aspire to have the drive and vision of Sal, who knows exactly what he wants to build. lucky we all should be to have a community of support, as Sal does, that shows up with love for us at just the right time.

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Beatrice Likes the Dark By April Genevieve Tucholke, Khoa Le (Illustrator) Cover Image
By April Genevieve Tucholke, Khoa Le (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781643751573
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Algonquin Young Readers - September 13th, 2022

Nothing tugs my heartstrings like a good sister story. Magical, night-loving Beatrice and sunny, sing-song Roo couldn't be more different, but the love they have for each other helps them find a precious middle ground where they are able to share time together. As a big sister who doesn't always totally understand her little sister, but still loves her like crazy every single day, I needed this whimsical, beautiful book in my library.

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Amari and the Great Game (Supernatural Investigations #2) By B. B. Alston Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062975195
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Balzer + Bray - August 30th, 2022

Amari is back, and I couldn't be more excited! B.B. Alston deserves all of the hype that Amari's debut received, and this sequel keeps the energy going. With the supernatural world on the brink of a war, and Amari’s magic at stake, there isn’t a dull moment. If you love all things magic, with a touch of humor and a lot of heart, this is the series for you–but watch out for that cliffhanger at the end!

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Journey By Aaron Becker, Aaron Becker (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Aaron Becker, Aaron Becker (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780763660536
Availability: Not Available In-Store - Usually Ships from Warehouse in 1-5 Days
Published: Candlewick - August 6th, 2013

This book is especially dear to me. Becker lets his pictures tell the story in this imaginative, wordless tale that crosses language and age barriers. The meticulous detail in every watercolor scene is marvelous. Let it inspire conversation about what's happening in the story with young ones. It's great for practicing language! Enjoy it with a grandparent, an aunt, an uncle, a parent, a teacher, a friend.

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Wizard & Co By Mitchell Toy Cover Image
ISBN: 9781922514486
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Five Mile - October 1st, 2022

Every corner of every page of this captivating book is teeming with magic! The details are impeccable, and I pored over every page with utter delight. Find a cozy space to sit, by yourself or with a reading buddy, and get lost in this wondrous store (and maybe learn a valuable lesson along the way). This is one to come back to again and again, because there will always be something new to discover!

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I Am the Messenger By Markus Zusak Cover Image
ISBN: 9780375830990
Availability: Not Available In-Store - Usually Ships from Warehouse in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf Books for Young Readers - February 8th, 2005

Have you ever been asked the question, "If you could have everyone in the world read one book, what would it be?" Well, buckle up, because this is mine. Whether you're looking for humor, mystery, substance, heart, or just a darn good book to pick up, you've found it. Why have everyone read it, you ask? In short, because it's about how anyone, even an ordinary, underachiever, cab-driving kid, can make a difference in this world, one person at a time. I've read this four times and counting, and I discover something new to love about it every time. Go on, read the first page. If you're as intrigued as I was years ago, take it home with you.

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Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow: A novel By Gabrielle Zevin Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593321201
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - July 5th, 2022

When two souls are bound to one another, there is little to be done in the way of separating one person from the other for very long. In spite of creative differences, fights, deaths, and even utter betrayals, the two paths will inevitably cross again. The depth of love rooted in the friendship Sam and Sadie have was deeply moving to follow, as they fall apart and come back together, time after time, over the course of thirty years. Please don't let the video game premise give you pause, if you are not tech-savvy! The relationship is the heart of this story, the games a vehicle, and I came away with an appreciation for both.