We love connecting reader's to their next "read."
Please feel free use these links to access our former RA Staff Picks:
Title: Can I Give You a Squish?
Author/Illustrator: Emily Neilson
A story about a young mermaid boy named Kai who loves to give hugs, which he calls squishes. One day he goes to give a puffer fish a squish, only to quickly find not everyone likes to be squished, and that it is important to ask first! After that, Kai comes up with new ways to greet all his friends, from fin bumps to tail claps, to tentacle shakes. Kai learns that "every fish likes their own kind of squish." I just thought the art style in this book was adorable, each of the sea creatures Kai interacts with is so expressive, and Emily did a great job at conveying emotion through each illustration. It also has a good message about being considerate towards our friends' feelings as they may not enjoy the same things we do.
Title: More Than Petticoats: Remarkable Massachusetts Women
Author: Lura Rogers Seavey
As we approach the end of women's history month, I'm happy to say I had the pleasure of "meeting" ten trailblazing women who changed not only Massachusetts, but our society as a whole. One of the women learned enough about slavery laws that she was able to bring a lawsuit against her owners and win. Another was a champion of education and became central in establishing kindergarten as part of American schooling. A third is widely known for her work in astronomy, and was the first woman admitted to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Each of these women's stories are unique and inspirational, but, all share a common thread; they were driven by a desire to learn and make changes to improve life for themselves and others.
Title: That Month in Tuscany
Author: Inglath Cooper
Exploring the streets of Florence and the hills of Tuscany together, two people with almost nothing in common, find the experience changes them both forever. He is a rock star with a secret he can no longer live with, and she is a regular person whose husband stood her up on their long-planned anniversary trip. Despite their differences, there is an undeniable pull between them leading them to remember the people they once were, before letting themselves be changed by the paths each had chosen.
Title: Defy the Night
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
YA Fiction/ Fantasy Romance
When a mysterious sickness strikes the people of Kandala, demand skyrockets for the only known cure – Moonflower elixir. With only the wealthy able to afford the elixir, a daring outlaw and a young apothecary steal the medicine and distribute it to those in need, even at risk of being caught and punished by the vicious King’s Justice, Prince Corrick.
With a kingdom on the brink of rebellion, betrayal and desperation leaves characters in impossible positions with tensions growing as they navigate dangerous situations and decide who they can trust.
Title: Miss Rumphius
Author/Illustrator: Barbara Cooney
This is the story of little Alice, who grows up listening to her grandfather's tales of his travels and adventures. His home is in a seaside town where he lives in contentment painting and wood-working. She wants to be just like her grandfather, but he tells her she must accomplish a third, and most important task, make the world more beautiful. She manages to accomplish the first two tasks, but struggles to find a way to bring beauty to her world. Read the story to see how she finally does it!
This beautifully illustrated story of the “Lupine Lady” is a thirty year old classic that is still relevant today. Parents and grandparents should take the time to read this to the children in their lives because, after all, don't you think that the world today needs to be more beautiful? (And children love to be creative!)
Title: HTML & CSS QuickStart Guide
Author: David DuRocher
Interested in building your own website, web page, need skills to produce HTML documents, or just looking for a new challenge? Check out this super book covering everything from the fundamentals of responsive web design to incorporating animations in your projects.
I began a course in “coding” this semester as part of my MLIS graduate degree program – suffice it to say, I found myself wallowing in a wealth of information. In the process of digging through the stack of recommended reading, I decided to do a search of my own in the WFL stacks for something written for the uninitiated coder. Happy day indeed when I found this AWESOME book. It’s a simplified (beginner’s) guide breaking down the basics of using the coding languages into really clear and engaging segments. I find myself referring to it, again and again, as I work to complete this semester’s final project of a personal website. A very useful tool with great step-by-step instructions and explanations.
I hope that you find it as interesting as I did – HAPPY CODING!
Title: The Art of Sign Language: Phrases
Author: Christopher Brown
I remember learning to sign the alphabet in kindergarten, and when my sister was a baby she learned baby sign language. Since then I've always been fascinated by ASL, it's such a captivating visual language. There's actually a difference between American Sign Language (ASL) and Signed Exact English (SEE), and this book uses a Signed English format. It has a ton of useful phrases organized into various categories like: school; home; leisure; nature; and people. I had a lot of fun going through the book and trying out different signs; hopefully with enough practice, I'll actually remember some!
Title: The Clue of the Left-Handed Envelope (Third-Grade Detectives series, Book 1)
Author: George E. Stanley
Illustrator: Salvatore Murdocca
Noelle is starting third grade and is thrilled to finally have Mrs. Trumble as a teacher; however, upon arriving for her first day, she learns that Mrs. Trumble has been replaced by Mr. Merlin. Her initial disappointment soon gives way to excitement and curiosity when Mr. Merlin reveals that he was previously a spy, and that he's willing to teach them secret codes! One of Noelle's classmates, Amber Lee, informs them that she received an anonymous letter in the mail and wants their help to figure out who sent it. The rest of the class is eager to dive in, but Noelle is only focused on solving the mystery before narcissistic Amber Lee does. Using tips from Mr. Merlin, Noelle and her friend Todd try to wrap up the class's first case. Along the way, they all end up learning some fascinating spy techniques, and some valuable lessons about the importance of teamwork!
Title: I’ll Show Myself Out: Essays on Midlife & Motherhood
Author: Jessi Klein
This collection of essays explores the impossible expectations, joys and frustrations of motherhood. It is very relatable, easy to read and “read out loud” funny. The tales are told with both humor and heart, and are touching and spot on. It is quick read offering a humorous look at motherhood.
Title: Whimsical Stitches: a Modern Makers Book of Amigurumi Crochet Patterns
Author: Lauren Espy
If you enjoy crochet or have ever wanted to try it, please just look at the pages in this book. It is so cute, I looked at every single picture just for fun and was inspired to try making some of the projects. Don’t be overwhelmed if you’re new to crochet! I’m a beginner myself and found a fantastic overview of different stitches and information about starting crochet in the beginning of the book, along with clearly written and illustrated instructions. There are a variety of projects, some easier than others, but each resulting in adorable creations that would make great gifts, toys, or home décor.
Title: Saving the Countryside: The Story of Beatrix Potter and Peter Rabbit
Author: Linda Elovitz Marshall
Illustrator: Illaria Urbinati
Biography Picture book
Most children and parents know the story of Peter Rabbit, but very few know about the life of his extraordinary creator, Beatrix Potter. This picture book biography tells the story of a little girl who loved animals and had many pets.
It follows her life as she grows into a successful artist and children's author of stories based on her beloved menagerie found in wildlife around her. She later became an advocate, conservationist, and entrepreneur who rescued farms, animals, and wildlife to preserve for all to enjoy today.
This is an inspiring tale to read to children who are fans of Peter Rabbit and his friends!
Title: Stuart Little
Author: E. B. White
Illustrator: Garth Williams
Although this story was published nearly 80 years ago, it remains relevant today. It’s definitely one of my all-time favorites, with both author and illustrator bringing back really good memories.
Stuart Little is an extraordinary mouse! He’s unusual in that he was born to a family of humans, and full grown, he’s no bigger than two dimes edge-to-edge. The family lives in New York City, and besides his mum and dad, he shares the house with his older brother George and Snowbell – a cat with ulterior motives.
Stuart is bound and determined to live life to the fullest regardless of his small stature and seeks adventure around every corner. He’s been known to take a city bus to Central park to captain one of the toy sail boats and eventually embarks on a motor trip in his “invisible” car (and later a birch bark canoe) in search of his missing best friend, a bird named Margalo. Feeling lost and unhappy without Margalo, Stuart is determined to find her and leaves home on this grand adventure enjoying (and nervous about) his very first time on his own. Read about his mishaps and meetings - a lovely story about being yourself and the value of friendship, I hope you will also enjoy it.
Title: Cut In Half: The Hidden World Inside Everday Objects
Author: Mike Warren
Photographer: Jonothan Woodward
My book rec for this week is Cut In Half: The Hidden World Inside Everyday Objects by Mike Warren with photography by Jonothan Woodward. This book is a fun one to flip through for anyone who's curious about the inside of everyday objects. Each item is literally cut in half via an industrial waterjet. The photography includes some really amazing shots of the intricate insides of all sorts of odd objects paired with a short blurb about the different parts pictured. I'm a big "take things apart" person, but not so much a "put them back together" person...so for me this book satisfies the curiosity of wanting to know how something is made without having to go through the process of putting it all back together.
Title: In a Blink (Disney: The Never Girls series, Book 1)
Author: Kiki Thorpe
Illustrator: Jana Christy
Kate, Lainey, Mia, and Gabby are four adventurous young girls who suddenly find themselves whisked away to Never Land one day...by a fairy! While trying to figure out how they got there, the girls encounter many other fairies with various talents. Some of the fairies are wary of their unexpected guests, but are still thoughtful and welcoming - a few of them even provide flying lessons! However, when Kate disappears without a trace, the girls discover that not all of the magical creatures can be trusted. With the deadline to return home approaching rapidly, Lainey, Mia, and Gabby set out to find Kate with the help of their new fairy friends. Despite their excitement at getting to visit the island, the girls can't help but wonder if they will find Kate in time and if they’ll ever be able to return to Never Land again?
This is a fantastic, imaginative story that teaches all of us to find our own talents and never lose sight of the magical things that surround us every day.
Title: Love you Forever
Author: Robert Munsch
Illustrator: Sheila McGraw
Juvenile Picture book
This book is really heart-warming. It is about a mother who sings a lullaby to her son at each stage of his life. During his childhood she becomes frustrated with his rebellious nature, yet always sings to him after he falls asleep. The mother and son grow older - the mother becoming ill due to old age - and one day she’s unable to sing the lullaby. Picking up her song, her son sings the rest for her, and after her death, begins the same lullaby tradition with his newborn daughter.
Title: Gone Girl
Author: Gillian Flynn
When Amy Dunne goes missing on the day of her and Nick Dunne’s 5th wedding anniversary, a police investigation and media attention sends the case spiraling into a nation-wide sensation. Nick’s story has strange inconsistencies and his behavior on television causes an uproar of public skepticism. Gillian Flynn writes her story masterfully keeping the reader guessing as to whether Nick is guilty and whether the marriage is really what it seems.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a shorter read full of twists and balanced detail, giving you enough to keep you interested, but constantly surprised. Gillian Flynn’s writing style is phenomenal - she has a way of keeping you feeling perpetually disturbed and full of doubt.
Title: Evergreen (Caldecott Medalist)
Author/Illustrator: Matthew Cordell
Juvenile Picture book
This story is a classically illustrated tale of a very timid, young squirrel named Evergreen who is afraid of just about everything, but loves her family and her mother's magical soup. Evergreen is given a task by her mother to journey across the forest bringing soup to her unwell Granny.
Although she is terrified, her mother convinces her that she can do it! As she travels, she meets many forest creatures. Young children will be surprised and delighted by those that help her. This is a suspenseful and satisfying tale for those who need the encouragement found in the words: "You can do it, I believe in you."
Title: Africa, Amazing Africa: Country by Country
Illustrator: Mouni Feddag
Juvenile Picture book
Celebrate the diversity of Africa’s fifty-five countries in this exuberant, glorious and richly illustrated picture book. The author and artist have captured both traditional and current facts and features of each of the locations in colorful language and depictions.
I absolutely loved the section on West African countries with Cabo Verde’s island archipelago, Gambia’s nearly 600 bird species, Ghana’s vast marketplace, Guinea’s brilliant batik fabrics, and Senegal’s popular music amongst others. From hairstyles to favorite foods to diamonds to royalty, this book has something fascinating for everyone and the maps & illustrations of the continent and the specific regions are engaging and lovingly detailed.
A visual delight sharing the creator’s excitement about Africa in general and the different countries in particular.
Title: Five Nights at Freddy's (Fazbear Frights series)
Author: Scott Cawthon
The Fazbear Frights series is an anthology of short horror mystery stories based on the 'Five Nights at Freddy's' game franchise. They're quick, fun reads and, although the series is based on a horror game, the stories themselves are not overly scary in my opinion. I also like that this series does not have to be read in order, so you can pick up any number in the series and you won't be missing important plot points. I find myself borrowing a copy during my downtime to read a story or two. Fair warning, the majority of the characters in the story come from the game series, so you may have a hard time getting into this series if you haven't played it before!
Title: The Cartographers
Author: Peng Shepherd
After esteemed cartographer Daniel Young is found dead in his office, his daughter, Nell, is thrown into a mystery involving a 1930 map of Upstate New York: the one that also ended her budding career at the New York Public Library seven years earlier.
Nell leaves no stone unturned as she works to find answers and, along the way, she encounters people that were once her father's close friends. They reveal secrets to her about a discovery that eventually tore apart their friendship - a discovery they were led to by the same map that Nell believes her father gave his life to keep hidden.
This is an incredibly well-written novel that kept me intrigued and turning the pages faster than I expected to. I would never have imagined that I'd be so drawn into a book with an old map at the center of the plot, but I was pleasantly surprised by the additional elements of the story, and I'm sure other readers will be too!
Title: Little Fires Everywhere
Author: Celeste Ng
An enigmatic artist and single mother, Mia, moves into an idyllic neighborhood with her teenage daughter Pearl - renting a house from the Richardson family. Soon mother and daughter become recognized as more friends, than tenants with the Richardsons. When an old family friend of the Richardson's attempts to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that divides the town - putting Mia and one of the members of the Richardson family, Elena, on opposing sides. Mia's mysterious past and her disregard for rules cause Elena to be suspicious of Mia and her motives; however, Elena's determination and obsession with the secrets in Mia's past come with unexpected and devastating costs.
Title: These Twisted Bonds (These Hollow Vows, Book #2)
Author: Lexi Ryan
Caught between the fae courts and their princes, Brie finds herself at the center of a prophecy that could change everything for the Court of Darkness. Torn between the love and betrayal she feels for the males, as well as her role in their kingdoms, Brie must navigate what it means to live among the Fae – not only as one of them, but as someone whose fate is intertwined with the crown.
If you enjoy the politics and scheming of warring kingdoms, look no further for your next read! This book has quests, magical powers, brooding and complex characters, and romance.
Title: The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches
Author: Sangu Mandanna
This story revolves around Mika Moon, one of the very few witches left in modern England. She belongs to a coven that encourages their members to hide and not have close relationships. She decides to change her life and in a quirky, magical way she looks for connections, family, and unconditional love. When she finds her family, she encounters all sorts of obstacles and has to fight and get help to save her new life.
This was a warm, feel good read. You'll fall in love with the entire found family!
Title: Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
Author: Dr. Seuss
Juvenile Picture book
A Seuss book for all ages - especially for anyone reaching a milestone or making the momentous decision to find a new path in life. As Seuss advises:
“So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life's a Great Balancing Act...you're off to Great Places. Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So...get on your way!”
Too much fun and just full of simple wisdom in RHYME!"