With Cinders & Sparrows, Stefan Bachmann has written a gothic novel for middle grade readers. Given the genre, his book incorporates ghosts, spirits, hauntings, misty woods, gloomy environs, enchanted chambers and staircases, talking trees and a marble bust who claims to be a prince. The novel’s plot revolves around twelve-year-old Zita Brydgeborn and her discovery that she is not an orphan after all but a member of the Brydgeborn family of witches and the heiress to Blackbird Castle. With Mrs. Cantanker as her teacher, Zita receives all sorts of training—some of it oddly questionable. Still, according to Mrs. Cantanker, “A true Blackbird is graced withRead More →

Bear has lost his hat, and no one seems to know where it is (or maybe they just aren’t telling). Will he ever find his beloved hat? This deviously charming picture book is a must read. Kids will laugh and adults will smile when they read this adorably illustrated tale of a bear who learns that he must rely on his own observational skills and not just the words (sometimes truthful and sometimes not) of others. Klassen’s book delightfully depicts the creatures the bear comes across, from possums to rabbits, and the color palette of the book is beautifully done.  Everything enhances the simple dialogue and bringsRead More →

Cloudette, by the New York Times bestselling illustrator of Duck! Rabbit! Tom Lichtenheld, is a cute story of how even the littlest cloud can make a difference. Cloudette,  “a cute little cumulus” likes being little and the advantages her small size can bring. But sometimes she wants to go with the bigger clouds on their adventures! Then she finds out that little clouds can make a big difference, its all about finding where you can be of the most use. Easily relate-able to small children, especially younger siblings, this cute little story is full of surprising and fun details. Everything from the usually boring copyright page (with a specialRead More →

Substitute Creacher– the latest book from Chris Gall– doesn’t disappoint. Substitute teacher days mean goofing off and wreaking havoc, right? Well the students in Mrs. Jenkins class are about to be schooled. Meet the Substitute Creacher! His lesson plan isn’t one the students are bound to forget soon. He tells tales of kids with unfortunate habits (glue-eating, desk-stuffing, and the like) who have met with sad (and funny) tales of woe. But is anyone prepared for the creacher’s story?? Beautifully illustrated in rich jewel tones, every page of this fun new picture book pops. The rhyming speech and lots of action make this book idealRead More →

18-year-old Alexandra Adornetto’s novel Halo follows three angels as they descend from heaven to a small coastal town to combat the Dark Forces that are rapidly spreading across Earth. There’s the archangel Gabriel, the healer Ivy, and Bethany, the youngest and most human. But when Bethany falls in love with a human boy…well, that is just the beginning of these angels’ escapades. This novel delivers everything you would expect a teenage supernatural romance story to have — there is the kind-hearted supernatural being who falls in love with the honorable human (even though she knows it is forbidden),  the inevitable reveal of the supernatural being’s trueRead More →

The Sky is Everywhere is Jandy Nelson’s wonderfully sad (and at times hilariously funny) debut novel. In it, you meet Lennie, a 17 year old girl who has lived her life in the shadow of her vivacious older sister Bailey. Then one day, Bailey dies unexpectedly, and Lennie is forced to figure out who she is apart from her sister. As Lennie wades through her grief- life completely throws her for a loop when she falls for not one, but two completely different guys. One who connects with her grief over losing her sister (because he lost her sister too) and one who pulls herRead More →