Children Recommendations

Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty

Eleven-year old Roger is trying to make sense of his classmate Robert "Yummy" Sandifer's death, but first he has to make sense of Yummy's life. Yummy could be as tough as a pit bull sometimes. Other times he was as sweet as the sugary treats he loved to eat. Was Yummy some sort of monster, or just another kid? As Roger searches for the truth, he finds more and more questions. How did Yummy end up in so much trouble?



Junkyard Wonders

This touching story is based on true events from the author, Patricia Polacco’s childhood. Trish has moved from California to a new school in Michigan so she would no longer be in a special education classroom. On the first day of school, she is disappointed when she discovers that her new classroom is known as “The Junkyard” since all her classmates are different with unique talents. Fortunately, Mrs. Peterson, her teacher, makes her students all feel that they are not misfits but geniuses. One day, Mrs.

Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11

This beautifully illustrated nonfiction picture book by Brian Floca discusses the first moon landing. It tells about the three men, Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin, blasting into space aboard their spacecraft and their weeklong journey. Information is provided about the Columbia and Eagle, details about what the astronauts experienced on the spaceship, the different stages of the flight, the landing on the moon, the walk on the surface of the moon, and the splash down in the Pacific Ocean.

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda

There’s always one kid at every school that is weirder than anyone else and they have no clue that they are weird. And furthermore, they just don’t care. McQuarrie Middle School’s resident dweeb is Dwight, a kid who carries around an origami Yoda finger puppet that he made. This is not your average finger puppet. It seems that Yoda can dispense all sorts of wisdom and maybe even predict the future. Is the force with him or is it all a hoax perpetrated by Dwight? How can Origami Yoda be so wise and Dwight be so clueless?

Potty Animals: What To Know When You've Gotta Go

This cheerful picture book helps teach toddlers and preschoolers all the different rules of potty training. Children will meet Wilbur who doesn’t wash his hands after going to the potty; Wilma who often waits too long and is then too late; Arnold who isn’t always accurate; Freddie who is afraid to flush; and Benji who forgets to knock and learns his lesson when someone barges in on him.

The Wolves Are Back

This beautifully illustrated children’s book shows how nature is interconnected. In 1955, the wolves were returned to Yellowstone Park which led once again to an ecological balance. The author, Jean Craighead George, discusses how the wolves helped animals such as the sparrow, beaver, ground squirrel, badger, dragonfly, and flycatcher return to the valley. Once the wolves frightened the elk who were eating the grass back into the mountains, the sparrows returned because they had grass for food and nests.

Gods and Heroes

Do you think pop-up books are meant for babies? Not this one! Intended for older readers, don't let this intricate book get in the hands of babies. Hidden in the nonfiction section, this book is great for students interested in gods and heroes from Egyptian, Greek, Norse, Native American and Eastern cultures. I think my favorite full page pop-up is the dragon-like Quetzalcoatl, who springs from the pages in a swirl of color.

Science Rock

Through the use of songs, this upbeat and entertaining DVD helps children develop a better understanding of science concepts. Included are descriptions about how the body digests food; the circulatory, nervous, and skeletal systems; where electricity comes from; different energy sources; the solar system; and gravity. Each animated song contains humorous cartoons with catchy, entertaining, and easy-to-remember lyrics. The bonus materials contain a pop quiz which helps reinforce concepts, a sing-along song, and an educator’s guide that can be downloaded from a computer.

Brown Paper Teddy Bear

This beautifully illustrated picture book would be great for fans of Winnie the Pooh, The Nutcracker or The Velveteen Rabbit. Jessica wakes up to find a strange chest of toys in her room. The teddy bear she finds inside comes alive and flies her to a playroom filled with toys that likewise come alive. After playing with the monkey, being kissed by the pull-string puppy, marching with the toy soldiers, riding the train, and dancing with a doll, the bear accompanies her back home. The next morning the toy chest has vanished, but the bear is left behind.

Cicely Mary Barker's A Flower Fairy Alphabet

This lovely and sweet CD is based on Cicely Mary Barker’s Flower Fairy Alphabet book. Included are 24 fairy melodies for each letter of the alphabet except for “u” and “x”.  All songs are sung by children and adults and are reflective of the Renaissance. As you listen to this gentle CD, you can hear a Celtic harp, recorder, guitar, violin, flute, penny whistle, and other acoustic instruments. The accompanying booklet contains the poems and some of Cicely Mary Baker’s beautiful illustrations.

Secret Subway

I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a huge reader of nonfiction, but this book is perfect for people like me who normally don't care for the recitation of facts, figures, and dates. This book tells the fascinating story of the very first subway system in the United States, which was built in the 1860s before there was even electricity. With thousands of people, horses, and vehicles on the streets every day, the streets were clogged, crowded, and dangerous.

A Ball For Daisy

This wordless picture book written and illustrated by Chris Raschka is the 2012 Caldecott Award winner. It tells the story of Daisy, a puppy, who loves to play with her red ball. One day Daisy and her owner take the red ball to the park where Daisy meets another dog who accidently breaks the ball. Heartbroken and unhappy Daisy goes home without her red ball. The next day when Daisy returns to the park, she meets the same dog and her owner who have brought a new blue ball for Daisy to play with and take home.

Pocketful of Posies

All households should have at least one collection of nursery rhymes for parents and caregivers to expose their children. This collection of nursery rhymes is a must see for any craft-minded parents. I can't imagine the hours that Salley Mavor must have put in to delicately crafting and detailing scenes for each of the nursery rhymes. Not solely made from material, Ms. Mavor incorporates 3D objects into her creations, from buckles for "One, two, buckle my shoe" to tiny bells and shells for contrary Mary's garden.

Tricia's Michigan

This forty-five minute documentary has you travel to the acclaimed children’s author Patricia Polacco’s hometown in Union City, Michigan. You will learn all about her life, visit her grandfather’s farm that has been her home for over sixty-five years, see the 150 year old inn’s twenty-seven rooms, and meet many of her animals. During the documentary, you will hear the story behind the original multi-generational quilt that inspired her book, “The Keeping Quilt”.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

The town bullies, Ralph, Imogene, Leroy, Claudie, Ollie, and Gladys Herdman, attend Sunday School when they think that they will get to eat cake. Once there, they intimidate the other children so that no one will volunteer for the biggest roles of the Christmas pageant. Instead, to the town’s horror, all the Herdmans land the major parts of the play. Unfortunately Ralph, Imogene, Leroy, Claude, Gladys, and Ollie have never attended church or heard of the Christmas story.

I, Coriander

Coriander has an adventure that takes place in two worlds: our own during the time of Queen Elizabeth I's reign and a fairy-filled one once known only to her mother.  Filled with secrets, this story will spur you on as you begin to know Coriander, whose mother has died, and whose father has kept an important truth secret.  Because she no longer has her mother's protection, Coriander must fend for herself in a house controlled by a bitter, hyper-religious and manipulative woman whom her father has married to take care of his home while he, a merchant, travels far and wide.&

Riding Freedom

As the only girl living in a New Hampshire orphanage in the mid 1800s, Charlotte Parkhurst had few opportunities and no privileges or freedom. She did not like cooking, playing with dolls, or anything girlie. She was good at climbing trees, fighting with boys, training horses, and working in the stables. So what's a girl to do? Well... she dons boys clothing, cuts her hair, calls herself Charley, and sets off in the middle of the night for parts unknown.


In this autobiographical, graphic novel, Raina Telgemeier takes readers on a dental journey. In 6th grade she tripped and fell and knocked out her two front teeth. Over the next few years she experienced several surgeries, braces, implants, and taunts from her so-called friends. This coming of age story thoroughly resonated with my mother/daughter book group (ages 10-12). All of the girls loved it. When I asked them to rate it on a scale of 1-10, two girls gave it 1000, so it is highly recommended! Great storytelling and images.

Miss Spitfire

Miss Spitfire, told from the point of view of Anne Sullivan, is the story of her first month with Helen Keller.  The story covers Anne Sullivan’s train ride to Alabama, the teaching of a child who was deaf and blind, and the breakthrough where she was finally able to teach Helen how to use language. Each chapter begins with the date and excerpts of Ms. Sullivan’s letters and tells of the questions and challenges that she faced.

The Best Halloween Ever

The dreadful Herdman kids return again in this funny and entertaining audiobook. Just as Halloween is approaching, the Mayor announces that he is cancelling it and banning candy from the stores to protect the town from the Herdman children. Without Halloween, the Herdmans will not be able to steal the candy from every child, break windows, move street signs, and start fires. Instead the principal announces that Halloween will take place at the school with donuts and with parents dressed up as monsters, witches, ghosts, and ghouls.

On Board the Titanic

This narrative account of the last six days of the great and unsinkable ocean liner, the Titanic, is told by two survivors, Jack Thayer, a 17 year-old, and Harold Bride, an assistant wireless operator.  The day-by-day experiences of these two passengers provides information about the ship, its workings, its crew, its passengers, the day of the catastrophe, and what happened on the Carpathia, the ship that rescued the survivors. Included in the story are real facts about the Titanic, as well as fictionalized incidents.

Theodore Boone: The Abduction

Theodore Boone is back in a new adventure and the stakes are higher than ever.

Nerd Camp

Gabe, 10, is excited about getting two things he has wanted: a brother and to go to camp. The brother is Zack, the son of his father’s fiancée, who is also 10 and lives across the country in L.A. The camp is the Summer Center for Gifted Enrichment. Gabe wants to appear just as cool to Zack as he thinks Zack is, so he keeps the “nerd” details about camp to himself. At SCGE, the campers have lessons in the morning, then traditional camp activities in the afternoon and evening.

Muzzy Spanish Level II

Spanish Muzzy Level II continues the story of Muzzy and his friends. In this story, the princess is now married and has a baby. Included in this kit are two story DVDs with six lesson parts, a DVD with the English version that can we watched with or without subtitles, an audio CD of the story, a vocabulary builder II DVD with hundreds of new Spanish words, a multilingual script book for parents, a Muzzy at the Disco CD-Rom with language activities, and a parent’s guide.