In the second part of Wednesday's Up to Date, three librarians join us to offer their recommendations for the best children's, young adult and teen reads.
The "Best of 2013"
From Kate McNair, young adult librarian, Johnson County Library:
- Far Far Away by Tom McNeal (Middle school and up):
When Jeremy Johnson Johnson's strange ability to speak to the ghost of Jacob Grimm draws the interest of his classmate, Ginger Boltinghouse, the two find themselves at the center of a series of disappearances in their hometown.
- The 5th Wave by Richard Yancey (High school):
High school Cassie Sullivan, the survivor of an alien invasion, must rescue her young brother from the enemy with help from a boy who may be one of them.
- The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black (High school):
When seventeen-year-old Tana wakes up following a party in the aftermath of a violent vampire attack, she travels to Coldtown, a quarantined Massachusetts city full of vampires, with her ex-boyfriend and a mysterious vampire boy in tow.
- Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (High school):
Feeling cast off when her best friend outgrows their shared love for a favorite celebrity, Cath, a dedicated fan-fiction writer, struggles to survive on her own in her first year of college while avoiding a surly roommate, bonding with a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words and worrying about her fragile father.
- Reality Boy by A.S. King (High school):
An emotionally damaged seventeen-year-old boy in Pennsylvania who was once an infamous reality television show star, meets a girl from another dysfunctional family, and she helps him out of his angry shell.
From Dennis Ross, youth services librarian, Johnson County Library:
- Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman (Grades 3 - 6):
While picking up milk for his children's cereal, a father is abducted by aliens and finds himself on a wild adventure through time and space.
- Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo (Grades 4- 6):
Rescuing a squirrel after an accident involving a vacuum cleaner, comic-reading cynic Flora Belle Buckman is astonished when the squirrel, Ulysses, demonstrates astonishing powers of strength and flight after being revived.
- The Key & the Flame by Claire Caterer (Grades 4 - 8):
While visiting Hawkesbury, England, eleven-year-old Holly Shepard, her younger brother, Ben, and new friend Everett, travel to a parallel universe where she learns that the adventures she has always dreamed of can be messy and dangerous.
- Zombie Baseball Beatdown by Paolo Bacigalupi (Grades 4-6): While practicing for their next baseball games, thirteen-year-old friends Rabi, Miguel and Joe discover that the nefarious activities of the Delbe, Iowa, meatpacking plant have caused cows to turn into zombies.
- Doll Bones by Holly Black (Grades 4 - 8):
Zach, Alice, and Poppy, friends from a Pennsylvania middle school who have long enjoyed acting out imaginary adventures with dolls and action figures, embark on a real-life quest to Ohio to bury a doll made from the ashes of a dead girl.
- Mister Max: The Book of Lost Things by Cynthia Voigt (Grades 5 - 8):
When Max's parents leave the country without him, he must rely on his wits to get by, and before long he is running his own--rather unusual—business.
- Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley (Grade 6 and up):
The daughter of a chef and a gourmet, the talented cartoonist Lucy Knisley loves food. In her forthright, thoughtful, and funny memoir, Lucy traces key episodes in her life thus far, framed by what she was eating at the time and lessons learned about food, cooking, and life. (Also recommended by Kate McNair)
- The Prisoner of Cell 25 (Michael Vey #1) by Richard Paul Evans (Grades 6 - 12):
To everyone at Meridian High School, fourteen-year-old Michael Vey is nothing special, just the kid who has Tourette's syndrome. But in truth, Michael is extremely special--he has electric powers.
From Debbie McLeod, adjunct assistant professor of children's literature at Johnson County Community College:
- The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathi Appelt (Grades 4-6, read aloud to kindergarten and up):
12-year-old Clay and raccoon brothers Bingo and J'miah, scouts for the ancient Sugar Man, try to save the swamp from feral pigs and a greedy developer.
- Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown (Preschool and kindergarten):
Tired of wearing clothes and walking upright, Mr. Tiger decides to try something different - and WILD!
- Will in Scarlet by Matthew Cody (Grades 4-6):
13-year-old Will, the future Lord of Shackley, is exiled to Sherwood Forest where he meets the Merry Men and bands with them to retake his home castle.
- Hoop Genius: How A Desperate Teacher and A Rowdy Gym Class Invented Basketball by John Coy (Kindergarten and up):
The true story of how James Naismith invented the game of basketball in 1891.
- Locomotive by Brian Floca (Kindergarten and up):
In the summer of 1869, trains, crews and families are riding America's first transcontinental railroad.
- The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes (Grades 2-4):
Seven-year-old Billy has a lot of worries, but has pleasant surprises as his second grade year progresses.
- The Animal Book by Steve Jenkins (Kindergarten and up):
Wonderfully illustrated compendium of the animal kingdom.
- Heaven is Paved With Oreos by Catherine Gilbert Murdock (Grades 4-8):
Fourteen-year-old Sarah's journal describes her travels with her grandmother as they tour Rome, and also describes her changing feelings for her friend, Curtis.
- The Mouse With the Question Mark Tail by Richard Peck (Grades 4-6):
A very small mouse of unknown origins has adventures in Buckingham Palace on the eve of Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee.
- The Real Boy by Anne Ursu (Grades 5-8):
Something sinister is lurking in the forest surrounding the Barrow, and young Oscar, apprentice to the great magician, Caleb, reluctantly sets out to find out what it is and how to stop it.