Saturday, May 28, 2016

Book Review: Girl in the Blue Coat

GIRL IN THE BLUE COAT by Monica Hesse is a compelling historical fiction mystery set in Amsterdam during WWII.
In 1943, Hanneke works in the black market trading goods. When one of her clients asks Hanneke to find a Jewish teen she’s been hiding, Hanneke isn’t sure whether to help or not. However, she soon becomes immersed in the world of the resistance as she tries to solve the mystery of the missing girl.
Librarians will find this historical mystery to be an excellent addition to the growing number of books exploring black market workers and the resistance during WWII. The fascinating characters and fast-paced mystery will keep readers on the edge of their seats from beginning to end.
One of the best books of 2016 so far. Don’t miss it.
To learn more about the author, go to
Published by Little Brown, an imprint of Hachette on April 5, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Website Review: Mo Willems

The MO WILLEMS website celebrates the books of popular children’s author Mo Willems.
The author’s website is divided into sections that explore the author’s book characters, books, and writing activities.
Visit the Go Mo! to explore a website specifically designed for children that contains book information, fun games, an art gallery, videos, and an adult page. Featuring Willems’ beloved characters, the audio-enhanced games are age-appropriate and engaging for young children.
Visit the Pigeon Presents! website to enjoy information and activities focusing on Willems’ popular pigeon characters. Users can play games, read about books, learn about book characters, and explore teaching materials. This website also links to the new Elephant and Piggie Thank-o-Rama website that provides an introductory video, thank-you spinner, drawing video, and worksheets for printing.
Visit Mo’s Blog for up-to-date information about the author’s recent activities and upcoming books.
Visit Mo’s FAQs! for fascinating insights into the author and his works. These FAQs provide a wealth of ideas for teaching with Willems’ books.
Visit Get Mo’ Stuff! for links to cool books, videos, toys, posters, and other materials that would be useful in creating an author display in the library.
Visit The Pigeon “Tweets” to follow the author’s tweets. Youth will enjoy following the many adventures of this fascinating author.
Librarians will find this website to be an outstanding resource for introducing primary grade children to the idea of author websites. The easy-to-use format and abundant videos and activities will help youth connect the author to his works. It’s also a nice way to provide relevant examples of social media including Twitter and blogs to children.
To visit the website, go to

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Book Review: My Kind of Crazy

MY KIND OF CRAZY by Robin Reul is a contemporary fiction, young adult novel exploring the friendship among teens.
When Hank accidentally lights Amanda’s lawn on fire, Peyton is the only witness. This event sets up a story of teen friendship and evolving relationships. The combination of dark humor and interesting characters will keep readers interested.
Librarians will find that the author’s balance of humor and authentic, timely issues such as mental illness and abuse will be of interest to many young adults. Teens who enjoy stories about friendship and teen romance will enjoy the ride.
To learn more about the author, go to
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on April 5, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Book Review: The Haters

THE HATERS by Jesse Andrews tells the story of a group of teens who escape jazz camp and go on tour with disastrous results.
In this coming-of-age work of contemporary fiction, Wes and his friends hate jazz band camp along with many other things. The three musicians jump at the chance to play an amazing show despite the trouble it will cause.
Librarians will find that Andrews’ snarky characters and unusual brand of humor will appeal to today’s youth. Young adults will enjoy the many music references and a band road trip theme. The combination of witty lists, chunks of dialog, and other non-traditional literary approaches will engage reluctant readers.
To learn more about the author, go to
Published by Abrams-Amulet on April 5, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Website Review: Drive It Home

DRIVE IT HOME from the National Safety Council is a website intended to help keep teen drivers safe.
The Teen Driver Risks section provides ideas to encourage safe driving. The Get Involved section focuses on ways to help new drivers reduce their risk. The Digital Driving Coach section provides an online library of safe driving tips. Each one-page handout explores a different topic. The Media section provides access to over a dozen short, informative videos along with fascinating infographics. The Resources section includes research, presentations, quizzes, and other information. The Blog focuses on short informational items related to safe teen driving. Social media resources including Twitter and Facebook connections.
Librarian will find this resource useful in planning safety activities for teens and their families.
To visit the website, go to

Monday, May 23, 2016

Book Review: The Inn Between

THE INN BETWEEN by Marina Cohen is a spooky middle school mystery set in an eerie Victorian hotel in the Nevada desert.
When Quinn and her best friend’s family stop for the night at a creepy hotel, strange things begin to happen. An unpredictable elevator, mysterious hotel guests, and disappearances are just the beginning. When Quinn and her best friend try to escape from the hotel, they realize that the hotel is much more than just an overnight destination.
Librarians will find the book popular among middle grade students who enjoy mysteries filled with twists and turns. Although scary enough to keep readers on the edge of their seats, the plot uses suspense rather than horror to keep the adventure interesting.
To learn more about the author, go to
Published Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan on March 22, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Book Review: Scrapkins: Re-Thunk

SCRAPKINS: RE-THUNK by Brian Yanish provides engaging activities and easy to follow directions for creating fun projects from common household materials.
This visually appealing book contains dozens of activities that involve using materials that people often throw away such as empty milk cartons, cereal boxes, and bottle caps. In addition to providing detailed instructions for creating instruments, puppets, and toys, the book also contains lots of other activities to maintain interest and spark creativity.
Librarians will find this nonfiction book to be popular with children who enjoy arts and crafts. Place the book in a maker space containing the raw materials necessary to create some of the projects. Display the results in the library to highlight the arts and crafts section of the library.
Go to the Scrapkins website at for lots more ideas.
Published by Henry Holt, an imprint of Macmillan on March 29, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.