Illegal by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin

Reviewed by Amanda K (Library Staff)

This is the story of Ebo, a young boy who lives in a poor African country. Ebo and his brother, Kwame, are desperate to find a new home in Europe and reunite with their older sister. This graphic novel is a very realistic and harrowing story about a family looking for safety. It’s beautifully illustrated and based on interviews from real refugees. It’s heartbreaking, but a story that needs to be told.

Located in Teen and Children’s Graphic Novels (TEEN GRAPHIC COLFER and J GRAPHIC COLFER)

Hope in the Holler by Lisa Lewis Tyre

Reviewed by Amanda K (Library Staff)

Waive’s mother has died and she is unsure where she will live and how she will survive. She is sent to live with her Aunt, Samantha Rose, in Conley Hallow in the Appalachian Hills, the same town that her mother was so desperate to leave. Her aunt only takes her because of the social security checks. Waive must find her own way in a world that was setup against her.

This is an amazing story of courage and compassion. Although, the premise of this story is sad, it truly is a wonderful book about love, bravery and kindness and has a wonderful ending. Waive finds some amazing friends and forms her own family based on love. I love the audio version of this book and would recommend this book to any middle school child.

Available through the Bridges Library System

Shaking Things Up by Susan Hood

Reviewed by Amanda K (Library Staff)

Shaking Things Up by Susan Hood is an amazing collection of biographies of inspiring women and girls. The first few pages are list of content and beautiful timeline events that made these women extraordinary. Some of these women are well known figures and some are not. They include: Molly Williams, Mary Anning, Nellie Bly, Annette Kellerman, Pura Belpre, Frida Kahlo, Jacqueline and Eileen Nearne, France Moore Lappe, Ruby Bridges, Mae Jemison, Maya Lin, Angela Zhang and Malala Yousafzai. Each heroine has full page illustration, a poem explaining who they are and more. Each illustration is made by a different female illustrator and is done beautifully. The last few pages are a list of resources which include books sources, websites and more on each woman. Although this book is targeted for children, it is a wonderful book that anyone could enjoy. I love that the stories are told in verse but on the bottom of each page is a short paragraph about each women/girl.

Located in Children’s Nonfiction (J 920.72 HOO)

I Don’t Like Koala by Sean Ferrell

Reviewed by Amanda (Library Staff)

I don’t like Koala by Sean Ferrell is a strange, funny and slightly dark picture book about a boy named Adam and his creepy stuffed Koala bear. Adam gets a stuffed Koala bear for a gift and immediately he dislikes it. “Koala is the most terrible terrible. He has terrible eyes that follow Adam everywhere he goes.” He tries to explain this to his parents but they don’t seem to understand. Adam tries to get rid of Koala but the stuffed bear turns up wherever Adam is. Every night Adam tries to sleep without Koala next to him, but “Koala is always there. In his bed. On his pillow. Closer than close.” One night Adam is trying to sleep and gets scared. He realizes he likes having Koala in his bed with him, keeping him safe. The last page Adam’s parents check in on him and realize how creepy Koala looks.

The illustrations by Charles Santoso are absolutely amazing. They are extremely funny while having creepiness to them. The expressions on Adam’s face are hilarious as he tries to get rid of Koala.

This book is definitely not for toddlers but would make many older elementary children laugh and would be a fun read for adults. I genuinely laughed out loud while reading this book.

Located in Children’s Picture Books (E FERRELL)

Swimming with Sharks: The Daring Discoveries of Eugenie Clark by Heather Lang

Reviewed by Amanda K (Library Staff)

Eugenie was fascinated by sea life and specifically sharks as a child when she first saw them at New York Aquarium. She dreamed of becoming a scientist who studied and explored the ocean and the creatures who lived in them. However, in the 1930’s women were discouraged from working in science. Nevertheless, Eugenie persisted. She got a Master’s degree in zoology and explored the ocean. She opened Cape Haze Marine laboratory and studied sharks. With her research she proved that sharks weren’t mindless killers but beautiful creatures and important to keeping a healthy world.

Swimming with Sharks: The Daring Discoveries of Eugenie Clark by Heather Lang is a beautiful picture book biography. It will fascinate young readers and emphasize the importance of life long learning. The author’s note explains more information about Eugenie life with real-life pictures.

Located in Children’s Nonfiction (J 597.3 LAN)

Anything but Ordinary Addie: the True Story of Adelaide Hermann, Queen of Magic by Mara Rockliff

Reviewed by Amanda K (Library Staff)

“Addie never wanted to be ordinary. Addie wanted to astonish, shock and dazzle.” This is the true story of Addie Herrmann, Queen of Magic, who was everything except average. Addie started her career as a ballerina, but that was just too tame for her. She started performing dazzling tricks on an invention called the boneshaker. She traveled all over and found her way to America. On the boat to America she met her future husband, Herrmann the Great. He was a magician and together they performed astounding acts of magic. The only thing that truly scared Addie was the bullet-catching trick. It was a truly dangerous trick and magicians had been killed doing it. When her husband suddenly died, she knew that the show must go on. To make sure there would be an audience, she had to do something outrageous, she had to do the bullet catching trick. How does it turn out? Read the book and be dazzled.

Anything but Ordinary Addie: the True Story of Adelaide Herrmann, Queen of Magic by Mara Rockliff, is an amazing non-fiction picture book for children. This book is wonderfully crafted, with beautiful and unique illustrations. At the end of the book is more information on Addie and a link to find out how the bullet–catching trick is done. Super interesting! I would recommend this book for the ages of 6-9.

Located in Children’s Fiction (J 921 HERRMANN)

Many: The Diversity of Life on Earth by Nicola Daviees

Reviewed by Amanda K (Library Staff)

This beautiful picture book follows a young girl as she explores the different kinds of life on earth. As the book explains, the more we explore the more we discover. On several of the pages, the young girl is uncovering life in remote places like deserts, bottom of oceans, and boiling volcanic lakes. It’s explained that animals rely on other living things for food, shelter and safety. “We have learned that every kind of living thing is a part of a big, beautiful, complicated pattern.”

Many: The Diversity of Life on Earth by Nicola Daviees is a superbly illustrated book about the many different living things on earth and how we are all connected. It is accessible to many different ages groups due to the beautiful pictures and interesting facts included on most of the pages.

Located in Children’s Nonfiction (J 577 DAV)

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

Reviewed by Amanda K (Library Staff)

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows, is a lighthearted and very silly historical romance that will keep you laughing. This is a retelling of story of Jane Grey, often called the nine day queen. However in this version, the kingdom is made of people who are EDians (those that can shift into an animal form) and Verities (those who can’t shift into animal form). Jane is a book-loving, smart and snarky protagonist who is thrust into intrigue when Edward (King of England) is discovered to be dying and she made next in line for the throne. This book is fast paced and filled with funny dialogue. If you are looking for something light and humorous this is the book for you. It’s a quick read, but super enjoyable.

Located in Teen Fiction (TEEN FIC HAND)

Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909 by Michelle Markel

Reviewed by Amanda K (Library Staff)

Brave Girl Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909 by Michelle Markel is a fabulous picture book about young girl name Clara Lemlich. Clara immigrates to the United States 1903. She doesn’t speak English and her family is poor. Like many poor immigrant families, Clara takes job sewing in a factory instead of going to school. She works from dust to dawn sewing. At night, she goes to the library to learn to read. The factory conditions are horrible and factory workers are locked inside. Clara only gets a few hours a night to sleep. She makes friends with the other factory girls and urges them to strike and they do! Clara faces many obstacles, like being arrested and beaten but she persists. She fights until they win right to unionize and improve the condition of the factory workers.
The last page is uplifting and pulls on the heartstrings. Brave Girl Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909 is a beautiful book about hard work, dedication and civil rights. The illustrations are mixed media highlighted with little scrapes of cloth or ribbons.

Located in Children’s Nonfiction (J 331.89 MAR)

Mother Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins

Reviewed by Amanda K (Library Staff)

In this hilarious picture book, Bruce is a very grumpy bear who doesn’t like anything. He does not like sunny days, rain and especially NOT cute little animals. The only thing Bruce does like is eggs. Unlike other bears, he doesn’t eat them raw, but cooks them into fancy recipes that he finds on the internet. One day he gathers some eggs for his next recipe and “is met with an unwelcome surprise”. His delicious eggs become four adorable goslings and Bruce becomes their mom. The ending is surprising, but fits perfectly.

Children and adults will love this picture book. It’s witty dialogue and amazing illustrations will have everyone laughing out loud.

Located in Children’s Picture Books (E HIGGINS)