Back to top


Book reviews by library staff and guest contributors

Finding your place

Cover of The Very Secret Society of
A review of The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna

Mika Moon pretends to be a witch in her social media videos and enjoys the sense of community she has with her followers. But unbeknownst to those she's met online, Mika really is a witch. And no one can know. Primrose, the woman who “raised” Mika is very firm on the rules for witches. And rule number one is tell and show no one. That rule has led to a peripatetic life and no long-term connections for Mika. Until now.

Feb 21, 2023

Celebrating love

Cover of Love, Violet
A review of Love, Violet written by Charlotte Sullivan Wild and illustrated by Charlene Chua

As far as Violet was concerned,
only one person in her class raced like the wind.
Only one had a leaping laugh.
Only one made Violet's heart skip.

Feb 20, 2023

A mostly good fourth-grader

Cover of The Best of Iggy
A review of The Best of Iggy by Annie Barrows

“All of us do things we wish we hadn’t done,” reads the first line of The Best of Iggy. Especially when we are 9 years old. Some things really aren’t so bad… we just wish we hadn’t gotten caught. Some things aren’t so bad… buuuuut we probably shouldn’t have taken things quite so far. But some things. Some things we just really really wish we hadn’t done. Iggy does all of these things, with all the hilarity you might expect. (This is a snort-laugh out loud while reading in public sort of book - be warned!)  But also with the humility and remorse that comes after.

Feb 17, 2023

Can't keep this to myself

Cover of I Keep My Exoskeltons to M
A review of I Keep My Exoskeltons to Myself by Marisa Crane

"The kid is born with two shadows"

In spare, poetic language Marisa Crane draws you in from the first sentence and then holds your heart in their hands until the last page. They explore what it means to parent under the figurative shadows of loss and grief and the literal shadows imposed on their characters by a totalitarian government in this dystopian debut.

Feb 16, 2023

Learning from those who came before

Cover of The Year We Learned to Fly
A review of The Year We Learned to Fly by Jacqueline Woodson Illustrated by Rafael López

From the Jacqueline Woodson and Rafael López, creators of The Day You Begin, comes a new story about using your imagination to soar. Stuck inside on a rainy day, two siblings are told by their grandmother to use their minds, to "close your eyes and take a deep breath, and believe in a thing." No longer stuck in their apartment, they soar over the city, each season escaping from their boredom, their arguments, and their loneliness, just as their ancestors who also flew with their beautiful and brilliant minds. 

Feb 15, 2023

The Poet X's most famous spoken-word poem

Cover of Inheritance: A Visual Poem
A review of Inheritance: A Visual Poem by Elizabeth Acevedo

Inheritance, from Pura Belpré-winning Elizabeth Acevedo's most famous spoken-word poem, was named a 2023 Odyssey Honor Audiobook by the American Library Association on January 30. The Odyssey Award is given for the best audiobooks produced for children and young adults, available in English in the United States.  

Feb 13, 2023

It's always time for cake

Cover of Sometimes Cake
A review of Sometimes Cake by Edwina Wyatt

I get some of the best book suggestions from the people who come into the library. I was helping a lady the other day who had a charge on her account for a lost book. Don't worry - she had just put it in the book return. She knew it was overdue, but her little one loved the book so much that they just couldn't stop reading it. With a recommendation like that - I just had to read it myself.

After reading Sometime Cake I understand why they had trouble returning it!

Feb 10, 2023

Caldecott Honor Book: Berry Song

Cover of Berry Song
A review of Berry Song by Michaela Goade

Caldecott medalist Michaela Goade's new picture book is a gorgeously illustrated tale of family and land that warmed my heart and felt so cozy. 

On an island at the edge of the sea, a young girl learns from her grandmother how to live on the land, picking berries of all kinds from the forest:

Feb 8, 2023

2023 Plutarch Award Longlist announced

Cover of New Biographies
New Biographies

Are you a reader of biographies? Then check out the longlist for the 2023 Plutarch Award. This is the 10th annual award given by the Biographers International Organization (BIO).  "Named after the famous ancient Greek biographer, the Plutarch is awarded to the best biography of the year by a committee of five distinguished biographers from nominations received by BIO members and publishers."

Feb 7, 2023

Most distinguished American picture book for children

Cover of Hot Dog
A review of Hot Dog by Doug Salati

It is summer and it is HOT in the city. In this incredibly illustrated new picture book by Doug Salati, you can feel the summer heat, sweltering pavement, and oppressive crowds. Past the fire engines, construction crews, and chaotic skateboarders mom and her little dog walk until her hot dog has had ENOUGH. “THAT’S IT!” And lays down in the middle of the crosswalk. Throughout the illustrations, readers will notice little dog’s mom growing grumpier and grumpier as errands progress and doggy drags his feet. 

Feb 6, 2023


Subscribe to MADreads