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Middle School Reviews –

Check Out Salt to the Sea by Ruta SepetysWhat’s your name?: Kylie

What school do you attend?: Saint Michael

What grade are you in school?: 8th Grade

What are you reviewing?: A book

What’s the title of what you are reviewing?: Salt to the Sea

Did you like it?: I LOVED THIS NOVEL! It was the perfect blend of Young Adult and Historical Fiction. I have been a fan of this author, Ruta Sepetys, for a while now, and her newest book did not fail to impress me. Told in four perspectives, Salt to the Sea is a thrilling tale of the virtually unknown ship sinking that occurred during Operation Hannibal. Lovers of history and mystery will be exhilarated while reading this spectacular book!

Who would like this?: Someone who like Holocaust books.

How many stars would you rate this?: Five Stars

Posted in Middle School Reviews

Middle School Reviews – Who Was Clara Barton?

Check Out Who Was Clara Barton? by Stephanie SpinnerWhat’s your name?: Jordan

What school do you attend?: Hadley

What grade are you in school?: 6th grade

What are you reviewing?: A book

What’s the title of what you are reviewing?: Who Was Clara Barton?

Did you like it?: Yes I did like it it was inspirational. Clara Barton was a young girl when she started working everyone was. When she got older she needed to earn money so she got a job as a summer school teacher. She liked being a summer school teacher so she wanted to be a full year teacher, but full year teacher was a boy’s job. But they asked her to do it and she said,”I will only do it if I get the same amount of money a guy would get.”, and she did. A few years later she opened her own school because there were kids on the street at school times and later she had hundreds of kids in her school. And she made her school even bigger and she was the principal’s assistant and the principals was a guy so she decided to get a new job. She did and she got paid a much as a guy would.

Who would like this?: Someone who needs an inspiration.

How many stars would you rate this?: Five Stars

Posted in Middle School Reviews

What I’m Reading Now – Outrun the Moon

By: Hannah Rapp, Young Adult Librarian

Check Out Outrun the Moon by Stacey LeeAs you may recall, last summer I was raving about Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee, a book I adored when I read it and continue to talk about. So I was psyched to get Lee’s next book on audio, and am finding my car rides extra enjoyable while listening to it!

What I Just Read: Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee

What’s It About (Jacket Description): San Francisco, 1906: Fifteen-year-old Mercy Wong is determined to break from the poverty in Chinatown, and an education at St. Clare’s School for Girls is her best hope. Although St. Clare’s is off-limits to all but the wealthiest white girls, Mercy gains admittance through a mix of cunning and a little bribery, only to discover that getting in was the easiest part. Not to be undone by a bunch of spoiled heiresses, Mercy stands strong—until disaster strikes.

On April 18, a historic earthquake rocks San Francisco, destroying Mercy’s home and school. With martial law in effect, she is forced to wait with her classmates for their families in a temporary park encampment. Though fires might rage, and the city may be in shambles, Mercy can’t sit by while they wait for the army to bring help—she still has the “bossy” cheeks that mark her as someone who gets things done. But what can one teenage girl do to heal so many suffering in her broken city?

Do I Like It: As expected, I’m loving it!

Thoughts: Only two books in, and already I am learning to count on Stacey Lee for amazing historical fiction, strong and well-rounded young woman protagonists, and incredible depictions of friendships between girls. Those are all things that Outrun the Moon has in common with Under a Painted Sky, along with fascinating glimpses at Chinese beliefs and culture. But Outrun the Moon is its own distinct story as well, and Mercy is an amazing heroine.

One of my favorite things about Mercy is that she is compassionate, brave and caring, but these qualities exist right alongside her ambition and difficulties abiding by the rules. From the very first pages, we learn that Mercy is impetuous and headstrong (which leads to a very exciting trip in a hot air balloon) and not long after we discover that she is determined to become a successful businesswoman and lift her family out of poverty. While certainly Mercy’s ambition is understandable, particularly given how her family struggles with prejudice and being poor, it’s also lofty. She’s not just striving for better, she’s striving for the best. I love that this is part of her character, and that her ambition is part of what makes her strong and determined and supports her better self.

I’m also loving, as I expected, the friendships that Mercy is developing. While I felt her connection to her friend Tom and to her family right from the start, watching her slowly growing friendships with some of the girls at her school is delightful. Each one of Mercy’s friends clearly has her own life, hopes, dreams and wants, and all seem like real people. I’m closing in on the halfway point, and really looking forward to seeing how the relationships develop in the rest of the book.

On top of incredible character and a rapidly increasing plot pace, Outrun the Moon is a can’t-put-it-down read. Add in the incredible research and wealth of detail that makes 1906 San Francisco come alive, and I have a feeling this won’t be the only time I’m reading this book. Highly recommended for anyone who likes historical fiction, great characters and incredible relationships.

Posted in The Teen Scene: GEPL High School

The Classics

By: Emily Richardson, Youth Programming Associate

Introducing your children to the classics can be difficult; they’re old, boring, have stilted language, etc. What if there were books that made reading about classics fun, even for the littlest readers?


BabyLit: This series might be more fun for the parents than for the kids. Each book is a “primer,” focusing on different learning activities, such as counting, clothing types, emotions and weather, all based loosely on the world of the original classic.

Les Petits Fairytales: This series tells simplified fairy tales quickly and in ways for the smallest children to understand and begin to become familiarized with them.

Picture Books/Early Readers

Graphic Novels and FictionWhile reading the original classic is always fun, sometimes it can help to start off with an adapted or shortened title instead.

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth

Middle School Reviews – Pick and Roll

Check Out Pick and Roll by Kelsey BlairWhat’s your name?: Jordan

What school do you attend?: Hadley Jr. High

What grade are you in school?: 6th grade

What are you reviewing?: A book

What’s the title of what you are reviewing?: Pick and Roll

Did you like it?: It is a good book so I do like the book, and it is a book about a girl that plays basketball and I love basketball because it is a sport that you use your hands in. It’s a short book. It’s an ok book. I would recommend this book to everyone who likes basket ball. It’s a good book.

Who would like this?: Someone who like short books and likes basketball.

How many stars would you rate this?: Four Stars

Posted in Middle School Reviews

Middle School Reviews – Pie

Check Out Pie by Sarah WeeksWhat’s your name?: Emily

What school do you attend?: Hadley Jr. High

What grade are you in school?: 6th grade

What are you reviewing?: A book

What’s the title of what you are reviewing?: Pie

Did you like it?: Yes! I love this book so much! It is about this little girl named Polly who started this book… she had this great passion for baking pies. When she got older and her mom and dad died she made this store for pies. She named it PIE. When she opened the store everyone tried her delicious pies and she got famous for them. It is really just a great book.

Who would like this?: Some of my friends, even some that are curious.

How many stars would you rate this?: Four Stars

Posted in Middle School Reviews

Middle School Reviews – The City of Ember

Check Out The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrauWhat’s your name?: Samantha

What school do you attend?: Glen Crest

What grade are you in school?: 6th Grade

What are you reviewing?: A Book.

What’s the title of what you are reviewing?: The City of Ember

Did you like it?: I love this book because it is full of adventure. Ember is a city that was built by the Builders to try to ensure that the human race wouldn’t die out. About two hundred years later this city’s resources start to dwindle and there soon won’t be enough supplies left for the people. Also, the lights are starting to flicker. When Lina finds an old, ripped up message, she is certain that it holds a secret that could lead to the way out of Ember. So, she and her friend Doon try to figure out the message before the lights go out for good.

Who would like this?: Someone who enjoys science fiction and adventure.

How many stars would you rate this?: Five Stars

Posted in Middle School Reviews

Middle School Reviews – The Maze Runner

ChecK Out The Maze Runner by James Dasner What’s your name?: Alex Orozco

What school do you attend?: Hadley Jr. High

What grade are you in school?: 6th grade

What are you reviewing?: A book

What’s the title of what you are reviewing?: The Maze Runner

Did you like it?: I really liked it because it has lots of action that leads up to the end.

Who would like this?: Someone who likes The 5th Wave.

How many stars would you rate this?: Five Stars. 

Posted in Middle School Reviews

Summer Reads for Summer Reading

By: Hannah Rapp, Young Adult Librarian

A Book Sitting Open, Spine Up, With An Ocean ViewLast week we talked about all the reasons our summer reading program is awesome. Now let’s talk about all the reasons reading in the summer is awesome! Summer in general, and on vacation in particular, is about my favorite time to read. There’s something about being able to sit outside in the sun, or in a cool library or coffee shop on a hot day, and immerse yourself in a book.

While anything is fair game in the summer, I always find myself gravitating towards books set in the summer, or in hot climates, during these months. Reading about a character taking on a summer job, eating ice cream, sunning on the beach or any number of other summery, warm weather activities just helps me really immerse myself in the season. And I find that somehow, reading about hot sticky weather, dirt and mosquitos outdoors, and even drama and heartbreak, make even those things seem more fun – or at least when it comes to mosquitos, more tolerable.

Whether you’re like me and want to read about the season all summer or you just want to sneak in just one or two summer and warm weather themed books, boy have we got the display for you. You can pick up Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe to read a first chapter entitled “The Rules of Summer,” feel the southern California heat in Mexican White Boy, go surfing in Hawaii in Juniors, enjoy the glamor of Hollywood while finding love in Everything Leads to You, or sweat it out while running from demons on New York streets in Shadowshaper. Our “Summer Reads” display features books for everyone that will help you sink into summer and enjoy everything this hot, unique and wonderful season has to offer.

Posted in The Teen Scene: GEPL High School

Because Cats

By: Renee Grassi, Youth Department Director

Cats Sanchez and Gus Lay Together On A Couch

“There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.” – Albert Schweitzer

I happily embrace the cat-loving librarian stereotype. If I happen to see a cat book on display in the adult section of any library, I can’t help myself—I must absolutely check it out. I proudly display my cat calendar and cat mouse pad in my office. You will often find me gravitating to the cat themed cards in any card or stationary shop, as they are one of my favorite things to purchase. And I have spent many hours volunteering at shelters helping socialize and taking care of cats in need.

I am also the proud cat guardian of two adopted cats: Gus and Sanchez. Both of my cats know how to sit on command, as long as a salmon flavored treat is provided. And when an Amazon package arrives, they eagerly size up the box by sniffing and stepping into it to see if it will make for their new favorite bed.

Cat Gus Sits Among A Pile Of Tissue Paper
Gus has beautiful grey and white markings. He’s a quirky gentle giant who loves people. He’s quite a talker and often wakes me up in the morning with a friendly greeting. He has an affinity for sitting in tissue paper and has an aversion to storms. He loves to run around my home chasing his feather toy. And every time I take the ice tray out of the freezer, Gus runs to the kitchen with excitement. One of his favorite things is having fresh ice in his water bowl.
Sanchez Sits In A Box
Sanchez is the quintessential feline diva, and he knows it. He loves to be pet and carried around like a baby, but only on his terms. He has a gorgeous black coat from head to toe like a jaguar. Actually, his namesake is a black crow named Sanchez from an episode of Scrubs. Even at 10 years old, he will still jump and spin around mid-air to chase the laser pointer or his favorite caterpillar toy. And it’s become part of my routine to open the blinds every morning just for Sanchez because he loves to lay next to the windows and sunbathe.

All you cat lovers out there may know that June is Adopt-a-Cat Month. For me, my two adopted cats are part of my family. If you have a young person in your life who shares this sentiment or has an interest in learning more about cats, take a moment to peruse this list. You just might find them the purr-fect book!

Cat Gus Laying On The Couch
Picture Books and Early Readers
Ballet Cat: The Totally Secret Secret by Bob Shea
Captain Cat by Syd Hoff
Mummy Cat by Marcus Ewert
Cat Secrets by Jef Czekaj
Square Cat by Elizabeth Schoonmaker
Cool Cat by Nonny Hogrogian
Space Cat by Doug Cushman
Pete the Cat’s Groovy Guide to Love by Kim Dean
Splat the Cat by Rob Scotton

Juvenile Fiction
Cat Diaries by Betsy Byars
Stick Cat: A Tail of Two Kitties by Tom Watson
Cat Found by Ingrid Lee
Hate that Cat by Sharon Creech
Kaspar the Titanic Cat by Michael Morpurgo
Fat Cat of Underwhere by Bruce Hale
Binky the Space Cat (Bink Adventure Series) by Ashley Spires
The Five Lives of Our Cat Zook by Joanne Rocklin
Into the Wild (Warriors Series) by Erin Hunter
Sanchez Laying On The Couch
Juvenile Non-Fiction
M is for meow: A Cat Alphabet by Helen Wilbur
Cat Crafts by Linda Hendry
Choosing a Cat: How to Choose and Care For a Cat by Laura Jeffrey
Toots the Cat by Karla Kuskin
Dewey the Library Cat: a True Story by Vicki Myron
Is My Cat a Tiger? How Your Pet Compares to Its Wild Cousins by Jenni Bidner
How to Talk to Your Cat by Jean Craighead George

Posted in Where The Child Things Are: GEPL Youth