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Book reviews by library staff and guest contributors

Eerie season is almost upon us

Cover of The Stranger Diaries
A review of The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths

October and the spooky season are just around the corner and I have the book for you. Elly Griffiths' (best known for her Ruth Galloway series of mysteries) Stranger Diaries is suspenseful and even spooky at times (there's even a ghost) and is a gothic book about a gothic story that is being written about for a book. Okay that sounds like nonsense, I know.

Sep 5, 2023

What's in a Name?

Cover of The Boy Who Tried to Shrin
A review of The Boy Who Tried to Shrink His Name by Sandhya Parappukkaran
Michelle Pereira

When Zimdalamashkermishkada starts at a new school, he feels anxious about introducing himself to new people with a long name and decides to shrink his name to "Zim." But between his new friend, Elly, seeing him for who he truly is and not giving up practicing skateboarding, he begins to gain confidence about himself and his full name. 

This uplifting story will inspire young readers to celebrate their authentic selves and learn that it's okay to take up space. 

Sep 1, 2023

American dream or nightmare?

Cover of Parachute Kids
A review of Parachute Kids by Betty C. Tang

Feng-Li Lin and her siblings land in the United States for a dream vacation to visit Disneyland and unexpectedly end up staying forever. They arrive in California with their parents and as soon as they enter customs, there are problems with tourist visas. It starts out with their dad needing to return to Taiwan almost immediately. Then their mother needs to leave with plans to come back shortly. Family friends who immigrated earlier provide support and supervision, but before too long they move away, and the kids are on their own.

Aug 31, 2023

Poetry that gives life

Cover of Not Here
A review of Not Here by Hieu Minh Nguyen

What a time to be alive. What a time for poetry that gives life. Rupi Kaur, Nayyirah Waheed, Danez Smith, Ada Limón, Morgan Parker, Tommy Pico, Chen Chen, Kaveh Akbar, Ocean Vuong, Solman Sharif, Mai Der Vang, Yesika Salgado. There is no shortage of new school poets with distinctive viewpoints and a moving way with words. Add Hieu Minh Nguyen, the Minnesotan son of Vietnamese immigrants, to that list.

Aug 28, 2023

Pintando un arcoíris / Painting a rainbow

Book Cover image
A review of ¿De qué color es un beso? by Rocio Bonilla

Cuando Mónica va en bicicleta, es más rápida que el viento, pero lo que más más más le gusta del mundo es pintar. Pinta muchas cosas con todos los colores, pero nunca ha pintado un beso. Pinta con cada color para ver cual sea mejor para pintar un beso, y descubre algo de color arcoíris. Perfecto para compartir con niños de 3-6 años, y seguir con un proyecto de arte.  


Aug 25, 2023

Like the Real Housewives, set in Nigeria

Cover of The Nigerwife
A review of The Nigerwife by Vanessa Walters

Nicole Oruwari is living in Lagos with her handsome Nigerian-born husband and his wealthy family when she goes missing. Her auntie Claudine flies from the UK to Nigeria to find out more about what's happened to her niece and uncovers a tangled web of wealth and privilege that leaves readers riveted and surprised. At the heart of the mystery are the "nigerwives," a group of foreign-born women married to Nigerian men who regularly meet and look out for each other.  

Aug 23, 2023

Powerful and painful

Cover of My Dark Vanessa
A review of My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

My Dark Vanessa is a debut novel that got a lot of initial buzz when it was first published and is now getting renewed interest from readers on social media. It absolutely deserves every bit of that. It's an incredible, disturbing, and timely story - one that has stuck with me long after I read the last page.

Aug 21, 2023

Menace under the surface

Cover of The Children of the Black
A review of The Children of the Black Glass by Anthony Peckham

Action, adventure, magic, mystery, plot twists, betrayal, redemption. Tell was only expecting to take his precious black glass, mined by his injured father, to the trading town of Halfway to get medicine and get back as quickly as he could. He didn’t count on his younger sister, Wren, sneaking along or the series of events embroiling them in a fierce wizard battle for control of Halfway. Tell and Wren make some strange alliances and some deadly foes. How the story resolves is anyone’s guess. The final page commands us to wait with a large “TO BE CONTINUED”.

Aug 18, 2023

A better understanding of the world and each other through travel

Cover of School Trip
A review of School Trip by Jerry Craft

New Kid Jordan Banks is back with his friends from Riverdale Academy Day School and they are headed to Paris for their eighth grade school trip. All of the students and teachers are divided into groups based on their travel interests and things go bananas when there's a mix-up with teacher itineraries, plane tickets and purchase cards. The teachers and students scramble with international travel requirements and restrictions and the trips veer wildly off course.

Aug 15, 2023


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