Fall has been a busy season here in the Children’s department. Kids got to make some spooky crafts during Let’s Get Goosebumps! There were pumpkin crafts galore for Pumpkin-Palooza. Our youngest patrons explored different mediums of art and preschoolers had a chance to make a sweet treat for Halloween. December started with our annual Winter Craft Night with different crafts, ornaments, cookie decorating, and cocoa cone making. Check out the photo gallery below!
I received this ARC at BookExpo 2019. It was a pleasure to meet Rebecca Roanhorse. All opinions are my own.
The latest Rick Riordan Presents title takes on Native American mythology, specifically Navajo. Seventh grader Nizhoni is trying to find something that she is good at (definitely not basketball!). She only has one friend, Davery, and an annoying younger brother (by 10 months) Mac. Nizhoni can see monsters and one of them has offered her father a job at his fracking company. Mr. Charles, the monster, sees her for what she is – a monsterslayer. Mr. Charles has kidnapped Nizhoni’s father, wants to kidnap Mac and kill Nizhoni. Her brother has the ability to control water, very helpful in the fracking business. It turns out that the siblings are descended from the Hero Twins. The three kids escape from Mr. Charles and embark on a quest for a weapon to stop the monsters and learn about themselves along the way.
I was very excited to be able to get an autographed copy of this book. Prior to reading, I knew very little about Navajo gods and traditions. I truly enjoyed every minute of this book, watching Nizhoni go from being insecure about herself to facing danger and death along her journey. I hope we will see more of Nizhoni in the future. I would recommend this book for readers in grade 4 and up.
This title will be available January 14, 2020.
I received an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
McKenna, age 14, has been a dog musher since she was 6 years old. Her younger sister, Emma, has lost her sight to Stargardt’s disease. Emma begs McKenna to compete in a dog sled race that honors dog sled mail delivery across Lake Superior and through the Canadian wilderness. The competitors will be carrying mail that received a special stamp. Emma wants to bring attention to Stargardt’s disease. McKenna’s competitors also have reasons for winning the race. It is a difficult race with unforgiving terrain and weather. But for McKenna, there is an added challenge – she is losing her eyesight to Stargardt’s. She is keeping it a secret from her family because she sees what Emma is going through. But McKenna has a special relationship with her dogs that gives her an advantage in mushing.
There is a fair amount of dog sledding terminology presented in this middle grade book. It is told from McKenna’s point of view and you really feel her triumphs and defeats. This fast-paced book is full of action and adventure that will have you rooting for McKenna till the end! I would recommend this book for grade 5 and up.
Audra lives in Lithuania during the Russian occupation during the late 1800’s. The Lithuanian people were prohibited from speaking their own language and reading books in their language. Her father, a traveling magician, and her mother have a secret they do not want Audra to know about. One day, Cossacks (Russian soldiers) show up at their home. Audra’s mother thrusts a satchel into her hands and tells her to run and deliver it to a person Audra has never met in a town she has never visited. Her parents are arrested and their house burned to the ground. She does as she is told and learns that her parents were book smugglers, bringing into the country Lithuanian language books and hiding from the Cossacks. At first, Audra doesn’t understand why people would risk their lives over books, she herself not really being able to read. She soon learns how and realizes that the books are not simply pages with words but the hearts and spirits of her people. Audra joins the resistance as a book smuggler and becomes quite adept at it, drawing upon the magic tricks she learned from her father. But it is a dangerous job and if she is caught, she could be sent to Siberia or worse!
Words on Fire takes place during a part of history not many people know about. I certainly didn’t. I enjoyed seeing how Audra grew from a shy, illiterate girl to speaking her mind and taking on risk. Fans of Jennifer Nielsen will definitely enjoy this one and I would encourage those who are not familiar with this author read it as well. I would recommend this middle grade book for grade 5 and up.
Danny, a young rodeo star in Oregon, lives on a ranch with his father, older brother Tyrell, and border collie Banjo. One night, Danny hears gunshots and Banjo is nowhere to be found. Their neighbor claims that Banjo was going after their sheep and they are within their rights to shoot him. Danny finds Banjo hiding in a cave, the bullet having grazed his leg. The neighbor calls the police and Banjo is to be quarantined and euthanized. Danny insists that Banjo would never chase livestock, having not done so in the 7 years that he has owned him. Danny and Tyrell try in vain to find a new home for Banjo, leaving Danny to contemplate the unthinkable. He tells his father that he will put down Banjo himself, bringing him to the state forest 20 miles away where he and Tyrell scare him off to give him a chance to survive. Meanwhile, Meg who lives near that forest finds Banjo, wounded and scared. She brings him home determined to find his owner, furious that he was abandoned.
Banjo is told in alternating points of view between Danny and Meg. I really wanted to like this book, having enjoyed Night of the Howling Dog several years ago. It is appropriate for grade 3 and up. I found the father’s lack of support for Danny and Banjo disturbing and the ending unsatisfying, making it difficult to recommend.
The Tyrant’s Tomb picks up right where The Burning Maze left off. Apollo, still in teenage Lester form, and Meg have made their way to Camp Jupiter with the tragic events weighing heavily on their minds. The evil emperors are also making their way to San Francisco to destroy Camp Jupiter. We are reunited with some of the previously introduced Roman demigods (Frank, Hazel, Reyna) and we meet a few more. Apollo, while preparing with the Roman legionnaires for war against the Triumvirate, must reconcile who he was as a god with who he is now. He faces pain, humiliation, danger, and death for pretty much the entire book.
I did not enjoy this book as much as the others in this series, thus my 4 star rating. Yes, I know Apollo is trying to redeem himself. But, still, a lot of his encounters with his past enemies seemed to drag. You must have read the previous books in this series to understand what happens here and it does set up for the finale, which will be available in Fall 2020.
I received this e-ARC from NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
Faryn and younger brother Alex are being raised by Ye Ye, their grandfather, since their father left to go on a quest. They live within the Jade Society, an elite organization within the San Francisco Chinatown dedicated to honoring the Chinese gods and fighting demons. Lately the Jade Society hasn’t been fully training their warriors to fight demons and especially not training girls. The leader of the Jade Society has ostracized Faryn’s family because their father left on his quest several years ago and still has not returned. Therefore, Ye Ye has trained both Faryn and Alex to be warriors. On the eve of the Lunar New Year, a demon is running rampant in Chinatown. Faryn, with the aid of a god, helps take it down. She is later declared the Heaven Breaker, much to the chagrin of the Society leaders, who will lead the Jade Emperor’s army against the army of demons. Faryn, Alex, ex-BFF Moli, and new friend Ren embark on a journey to the island of the gods. The four children will be tested like never before with the outcome of their quest uncertain.
More and more books are coming out with girls as heroes. There haven’t been many focusing on Chinese mythology. The Dragon Warrior does a good job introducing the major Chinese gods while keeping the action fast paced as the quartet travel across America, visiting different Chinatowns. Questions are not all answered in the end, setting up for a sequel. I would definitely recommend this book for fans of Rick Riordan and those wanting to learn about Chinese-American culture. This would be appropriate for fourth grade and up.
This book will be available October 15, 2019.