Hello, everyone! We miss seeing all of you and especially discussing books with you.
In the meantime, I wanted to share a few downloadable titles that you can read as ebooks or listen to as e-audiobooks right from home. There are tons of great books to choose from in our catalog, but here are some from the Bluestem Nominee lists. The Bluestem is for readers in third, fourth, and fifth grades. Illinois students get to vote on their favorite!
This spring, the winners were (drum roll please)…
Third Place: The Bad Guys
Second Place: The Last Kids on Earth
First Place: Real Friends
If you haven’t read any of those, you should check them out! If they are already checked out by someone else when you search for them, please place a hold, and you will be notified when titles are available.
The new Bluestem list is now live with more options to choose from. Here are a few suggestions:
The Ambrose Deception by Emily Ecton. This is a super fun mystery set in Chicago about three middle school kids who are offered a chance to win a $10,000 scholarship IF they can solve a set of clues about Chicago history. However, once they start on their way, they realize not everything is as it seems and decide to work together to figure out exactly what the person in charge is up to.
Animals by the Numbers by Steve Jenkins. How much do all the insects in the world weigh, collectively? How far can animals travel? What is the deadliest animal? The answers are here in this fascinating nonfiction book of infographics. You won’t want to stop looking at it!
Chester Nez and the Unbreakable Code: A Navajo Code Talker’s Story by Joseph Bruchac. As a child, Chester Nez was told to forget his Navajo culture and attend boarding school. Then, during World War II, he helped create an unbreakable military code for the U.S. Marines using his Navajo language. This is a very inspiring and interesting historical picture book that all readers will enjoy.
A Dash of Trouble by Anna Meriano. In this first book of the Love, Sugar, Magic series, Leonora finds out that her mother, aunt, and older sisters are brujas (witches of Mexican ancestry), who pour a bit of magic into everything they make at their bakery. Leonora tries to use her own magic to help some friends at school. Only things don’t go as planned and have disastrous results. This book is fun, sweet, and magical!
Finding Langston (e-audiobook) and Finding Langston (ebook) by Lesa Cline-Ransome. After Langston’s mother dies, he and his father move from rural Alabama to Chicago during the Great Migration, when many African Americans moved north for better opportunities. Langston deeply misses his mother and his family back in Alabama, and he doesn’t fit in in Chicago. One day, he finds the public library and stumbles upon the poetry of another Langston: Langston Hughes. Slowly, he opens up to his father and starts to feel more at home in Chicago. This book will tug at your heartstrings.
Lifeboat 12 by Susan Hood (e-audiobook). This is the incredible story, based on real events, about young Ken Sparks who was sent away from his London home during World War II. He is put on a ship bound for Canada. He and his friends enjoy life on a luxury cruiseliner until their ship is torpedoed by the German military. Ken makes it onto a lifeboat, but when the rescue ship fails to arrive, he must figure out how to survive in the middle of the ocean. Heart-pounding historical fiction!
Stef Soto, Taco Queen (e-audiobook) and Stef Soto, Taco Queen by Jennifer Torres (ebook). Stef’s father owns a taco truck, which was cool when she was younger. He could give her friends free drinks and snacks. Now, she is in seventh grade and wishes she had a bit more distance from her father and the taco truck. Unfortunately, her father’s business may be in trouble, and Stef needs to decide how much she is willing to do for her family. This story will make you hungry and leave you craving tacos!
The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander; illustrated by Kadir Nelson. This book recently won many awards, including the Caldecott Award, a Newbery Honor Award, and the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award. It’s an incredibly moving and powerful book that is a testament to black life in America. It also features several prominent figures in U.S. history. A must-read for all kids.
I hope these titles give you some exciting material to keep you busy. We look forward to hearing about your favorites. See you soon!