Clementine’s Letter by Sara Pennypacker

Reviewed by Stephanie Ramirez (Library Staff)

The third installment in the popular Clementine series for kids, Clementine’s Letter is a funny and touching addition to the series. Clementine panics when she hears her teacher might leave for a research trip. When the principal asks the kids to write letters on behalf of their teacher, Clementine can’t help herself to tell how downright horrible he is…..or is he? While a bit wordy and in need of some editing scissors, Clementine’s Letter is a fun read for kids.

Available through the Bridges Library System

Playing the Cards You’re Dealt by Varian Johnson

Reviewed by Andrea Bisordi (Library Staff)

Secrets can be tricky things. They can make you feel powerful, like you are on the inside of something special, or they can make you feel powerless, because sometimes you can’t do anything to help someone who has sworn you to secrecy. Ant (short for Anthony) is so focused on winning the spades tournament that he’s willing to take on some secrets, including the fact that his new card partner is a girl. I love how Ant wrestles with himself as he tries to figure out what to do about his best friend, his brother, this new girl, and his dad. Another fun thing about this story is the all-knowing narrator – just who is telling this story, anyway?

Kids (and grown-ups!) who like well-developed characters, stories about friendships, humor, or who have ever felt conflicted about a secret will enjoy this book.

Located in Children’s Fiction (J FIC JOHNSON)

Daughter of the Deep by Rick Riordan

Reviewed by Taylor (Library Patron)

Daughter of the Deep by Rick Riordan is an intriguing, fast-paced, and discovery-filled middle grade novel. It uses the events of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne as a foundation, reimagining them and then exploring their implications over a century later. After an unspeakable tragedy, Ana and the rest of her freshman class are forced to make a run for it across the ocean, all while being stalked by their enemies. Their enemies are after something, and Ana isn’t sure what they want. I really enjoyed the discoveries Ana and her classmates make along the way and found the discussions of alt-tech to be interesting. Some may not enjoy the more technical descriptions, but I didn’t feel like they bogged the story down at all. It only took me a few days to read because I wanted to know what happened.

My only complaint is that it’s hard to imagine a group of high school freshman being capable of such feats. For example, they build two fully functional submarine torpedoes from parts they scavenged off other torpedoes. The students are essentially geniuses who attend a specialized school, but everything in the book still seemed like a lot for them to accomplish, especially since they only had a year or so of training at this point. However, I liked the story enough to suspend my disbelief. It was actually the first novel I’ve managed to finish reading in months. If you like ocean adventure, suspense, and sci-fi, this definitely one to pick up!

Located in Children’s Fiction (J FIC RIORDAN)

Crispin: The Cross of Lead by Avi

Reviewed by Lisabeth Heather B. (Library Patron)

Crispin, a medieval peasant boy, discovers his identity after his mother’s death. On the run from vicious guards, he finds a friend in juggler Bear. Together, they travel to Great Wexly to find more about Crispin’s past, when the friends are almost torn apart.

Located in Children’s Fiction (J FIC AVI)

Nooks & Crannies by Jessica Lawson

Reviewed by Lisabet Heather B. (Library Patron)

Nooks and Crannies is a Charlie-and-the-Chocolate-Factory-ish book where six children are invited to a party by a mysterious countess trying to find her heir. Things take a grim turn when children start disappearing. Will Tabitha, a budding detective, be able to solve the mystery before she too disappears?

Located in Children’s Fiction (J FIC LAWSON)

The Raconteur’s Commonplace Book by Kate Milford

Reviewed by Lisabet Heather B (Library Patron)

The Raconteur’s Commonplace Book is a gripping collection of folktales framed within a mystery. The combination of folktales and a spooky mystery is very interesting, but can be hard to understand. If you want to truly enjoy this book, read to discuss it with a friend.

Located in Children’s Fiction (J FIC MILFORD)

The Beatryce Prophecy by Kate DiCamillo, illustrations by Sophie Blackall

Reviewed by Andrea Bisordi (Library Staff)

We shall all, in the end, be led to where we belong.

We shall all, in the end, find our way home.

These words are the first words that Beatryce writes in the presence of the brothers of the Chronicles of Sorrowing, but they bring only questions rather than sweet answers. Who is this Beatryce, who came to them sick and alone? Why did she make such easy friends with the goat Answelica, who seems to despise all of the brothers? How did a girl learn to write? (It is, after all, forbidden by the law.) And, what should happen to her next?

Kate DiCamillo has once again given us a beautiful story with surprising twists and turns, wonderful characters, and sparse text that sparks our imagination. If you have enjoyed her other stories, such as The Tale of Despereaux or The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, you are sure to be delighted by this one.

Located in Children’s Fiction (J FIC DICAMILLO)

StrangeWorlds Travel Agency by L.D. Lapinski

Reviewed by Andrea Bisordi (Library Staff)

We usually use suitcases when we travel to other places. But what if we could use them to travel to other worlds? 12 year-old Flick doesn’t think there is anything special about her until she meets Jonathan. He shows her how to jump inside his special suitcases and explore amazing new societies. Slowly she comes to realize that there are more places to explore than she ever knew or imagined, and some of them are endangered. Can she prevent a tragedy that she didn’t know existed?

If you liked The Land of Stories, The Mysterious Benedict Society, or the Story Thieves books, you will likely enjoy this story as well.

Located in Children’s Fiction (J FIC LAPINSKI)

A Wish in the Dark by Christina Soontornvat

Reviewed by Andrea Bisordi (Library Staff)

In Chattana, all of the light is held and created by one man – the Governor. Pong, who was born in prison, believes that light is the key to freedom and hope. As the story progresses, he comes to realize that first impressions can be deceiving. Similarly, the prison warden’s daughter, Nok, must come face to face with what she believes about the world, and about herself. The setting feels both familiar and otherworldly, and draws the reader in gently.

This book has something for many different kinds of readers. If you like adventure, fantasy, mystery or books about friendship, this might be your next read. There are also themes of justice, hope, self-discovery, and bravery. I highly recommend this 2021 Newbery Honor book!

Located in Children’s Fiction (J FIC SOONTORNVAT)