NEW ARRIVALS – DECEMBER 2015

ADULT FICTION

“God’s Kingdom” by Howard Frank Mosher – “Few writers plumb the cords that link fathers and sons with the hope – and humor – of Howard Frank Mosher. He is wistful and wise, and his moral compass is as precise as his immense skills as a storyteller. I cherish my visits to the mythical Kingdom County that once upon a time was Vermont.” ―Chris Bohjalian, author of The Sandcastle Girls and Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands

“The Immortal Nicholas” by Glenn Beck – “From the snowy mountains of Western Asia, to the deserts of Egypt, to Yemen’s elusive frankincense-bearing boswelia trees, this is an epic tale that gives the legend of Santa a long-overdue Christ-centered mission.” — inside front cover

“In the Shadow of the Banyan” by Vaddey Ratner – “This stunning memorial expresses not just the terrors of the Khmer Rouge but also the beauty of what was lost. A hauntingly powerful novel imbued with the richness of old Cambodian lore, the devastation of monumental loss, and the spirit of survival” — Publishers Weekly

“A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” by George R. R. Martin – “Readers who already love [George R. R.] Martin and his ability to bring visceral human drama out of any story will be thrilled to find this trilogy brought together and injected with extra life.”—Booklist

“Little Beach Street Bakery” by Jenny Colgan – “To keep her mind off her troubles, Polly throws herself into her favorite hobby: making bread. But her relaxing weekend diversion quickly develops into a passion. As she pours her emotions into kneading and pounding the dough, each loaf becomes better than the last. Soon, Polly is working her magic with nuts and seeds, chocolate and sugar, and the local honey—courtesy of a handsome beekeeper. Packed with laughter and emotion, Little Beach Street Bakery is the story of how one woman discovered bright new life where she least expected—a heartwarming, mouthwatering modern-day Chocolat that has already become a massive international bestseller.” — back cover

“The Pillars of the Earth” by Ken Follett – “A radical departure from Follett’s novels of international suspense and intrigue, this chronicles the vicissitudes of a prior, his master builder, and their community as they struggle to build a cathedral and protect themselves during the tumultuous 12th century, when the empress Maud and Stephen are fighting for the crown of England after the death of Henry I. The plot is less tightly controlled than those in Follett’s contemporary works, and despite the wealth of historical detail, especially concerning architecture and construction, much of the language as well as the psychology of the characters and their relationships remains firmly rooted in the 20th century. This will appeal more to lovers of exciting adventure stories than true devotees of historical fiction.” — – Cynthia Johnson Whealler, Library Journal

“The Survivor” by Vince Flynn – “… When Joe “Rick” Rickman, a former golden boy of the CIA, steals a massive amount of the Agency’s most classified documents in an elaborately masterminded betrayal of his country, CIA director Irene Kennedy has no choice but to send her most dangerous weapon after him: elite covert operative Mitch Rapp. Rapp quickly dispatches the traitor, but Rickman proves to be a deadly threat to America even from beyond the grave. Eliminating Rickman didn’t solve all of the CIA’s problems—in fact, mysterious tip-offs are appearing all over the world, linking to the potentially devastating data that Rickman managed to store somewhere only he knew. It’s a deadly race to the finish as both the Pakistanis and the Americans search desperately for Rickman’s accomplices, and for the confidential documents they are slowly leaking to the world. To save his country from being held hostage to a country set on becoming the world’s newest nuclear superpower, Mitch Rapp must outrun, outthink, and outgun his deadliest enemies yet.” — Inside front cover

“The Water Knife: A Novel” by Paolo Bacigalupi – “A fresh cautionary tale classic, depicting an America newly shaped by scarcity of our most vital resource. The pages practically turn themselves in a tense, taut plot of crosses and double-crosses, given added depth by riveting characters. This brutal near-future thriller seems so plausible in the world it depicts that you will want to stock up on bottled water.”—Library Journal

“Welcome to Night Vale” by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor – ““This is the novel of your dreams. . . . A story of misfit family life that unfolds along the side streets, back alleys and spring-loaded trap doors of the small town home you’ll realize you’ve always missed living in. When it says ‘welcome,’ it’s mandatory. You belong here.” — Glen David Gold, author of Carter Beats the Devil and Sunnyside

“The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine” by Alexander McCall Smith – “”In his character of Precious Ramotswe, McCall Smith created a stunningly moral and intelligent woman detective whose views of life in Botswana–and, in fact, the world–are simple yet profound. Mma Ramotswe solves crimes and, in the same breath, she solves the questions of love, life, happiness and human kindness.” The Globe and Mail

ADULT MYSTERY

“A Banquet of Consequences: A Lynley Novel” by Elizabeth George – “George’s . . . ability to continually enhance the portraits of Lynley, Havers, and other recurring characters while generating fully fleshed new ones for each novel is nothing less than superlative, and her atmospheric prose, complete with lovely and detailed descriptions of her setting, combines to add literary gravitas to her work . . . A worthy addition to her portfolio and one that simultaneously disturbs and satisfies.” —Richmond Times-Dispatch

“Career of Evil” by Robert Galbraith – “Satisfying . . . Strike and Robin are as powerful a fictional pairing as any in recent memory. . . . Galbraith demonstrates a breezy command of the intricacies of both the central mystery and of the form itself.”―Robert Wiersema, Toronto Star

“The Crossing” by Michael Connelly – “A classic whodunit…an extra treat for the reader is being able to follow the case from the dual perspectives of the prosecution and the defense… Brothers Bosch and Haller may be, but at times they seem a lot like an ego and its id.”
―Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review

“The Murder House” by James Patterson – “Full of the twist and turns that have made James Patterson the world’s #1 bestselling writer, The Murder House is a chilling, page-turning story of murder, money and revenge.” — inside front cover

“Once Shadows Fall” by Robert Daniels – ““Darkly intriguing and full of unexpected twists, ONCE SHADOWS FALL is a psychological cat-and-mouse game that’s both intense and emotionally resonant.” –Meg Gardiner, Edgar Award winning author

“Slade House” by David Mitchell — “What can’t David Mitchell do? Slade House is a page-burning, read-in-one-sitting, at times terrifying novel that does for the haunted-house story what Henry James did for the ghost story in The Turn of the Screw. It has all the intelligence and linguistic dazzle one expects from a David Mitchell novel, but it will also creep the pants off you. Just as Slade House won’t let go of its unsuspecting guests, you won’t be able to put this book down. Welcome to Slade House: Step inside.”—Adam Johnson, author of Fortune Smiles and The Orphan Master’s Son, winner of the Pulitzer Prize

“Someone is Watching” by Joy Fielding – “Someone Is Watching is a gripping, fast-paced psychological thriller reminiscent of Rear Window and the works of Lisa Gardner. Fielding has crafted a flawed yet likable heroine in Bailey by allowing her to experience the varied emotions of recovery instead of pigeonholing her as a helpless victim or bloodthirsty vigilante. Not geared to the faint of heart, Fielding’s story of one woman’s search for justice, understanding, and internal peace is nothing short of arresting.”—Booklist

“X” by Sue Grafton – “Just beneath the extroverted mask she presents at bookstore appearances is the deeply contemplative writer still determined to stretch her chops and chart territory that removes any semblance of a comfort zone.” —Sarah Weinman, Los Angeles Times

BIOGRAPHY

“Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush” by Jon Meacham – “This astonishing book is both timely and timeless. Based on candid interviews and intimate letters and diaries, it provides a deep insight into the character of George H. W. Bush, flavored with colorful anecdotes depicting his relationships with people ranging from Gorbachev and Reagan to his sons George and Jeb. The result is a fascinating and insightful portrayal of the life of an exemplary American citizen.”—Walter Isaacson

“Peggy Guggenheim: The Shock of the Modern” by Francine Prose – “With fresh insights and illuminating details, Prose vividly tells the poignant and remarkable story of this complex, combative, and passionate art champion and innovator, who weathered misogyny, anti-Semitism, betrayal, and her own demons to help build an audience for modern art.” — Donna Seaman, Booklist

ADULT NON-FICTION

“Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates – “The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future . . . Coates offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. . . . This moving, potent testament might have been titled Black Lives Matter.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning” by Timothy Snyder – “Timothy Snyder is now our most distinguished historian of evil. Black Earth casts new light on old darkness. It demonstrates once and for all that the destruction of the Jews was premised on the destruction of states and the institutions of politics. I know of no other historical work on the Holocaust that is so deeply alarmed by its repercussions for the human future. This is a haunted and haunting book—erudite, provocative, and unforgettable.” —Leon Wieseltier

“The Conversation: A Revolutionary Plan for End-of-Life Care” by Angelo E. Volandes, M.D. – “Through seven stories of seven patients, Angelo Volandes movingly and evocatively tells the tale of how American healthcare does death wrong, often with tragic consequences, and how we can do it right. This is a book about how to live life as well as possible right up until the end, and it should be required reading for anyone who is mortal.” ―Shannon Brownlee, author of OVERTREATED

“The End of the Cold War: 1985-1991” by Robert Service – “In this authoritative and deeply informed political and diplomatic history, Service (Trotsky), a seasoned British historian specializing in studies of Soviet Russia, delivers a masterful account of the final years of the Cold War, when a small, remarkable group of statesmen sought an end to the dangerous standoff between superpowers. … scholarly yet accessible: detailed, expansive, and engaging.” —Publishers Weekly

“Future Crimes: Everything is Connected, Everyone is Vulnerable and What We Can Do About It” by Marc Goodman – “In Future Crimes, Goodman spills out story after story about how technology has been used for illegal ends…The author ends with a series of recommendations that, while ambitious, appear sensible and constructive…Goodman’s most promising idea is the creation of a “Manhattan Project” for cyber security…[Future Crimes is] a ride well worth taking if we are to prevent the worst of his predictions from taking shape.” —  Financial Times

“Killing Reagan: The Violent Assault That Changed a Presidency” by Bill O’Reilly & Martin Dugard – “Killing Reagan reaches back to the golden days of Hollywood, where Reagan found both fame and heartbreak, up through the years in the California governor’s mansion, and finally to the White House, where he presided over boom years and the fall of the Iron Curtain. But it was John Hinckley Jr.’s attack on him that precipitated President Reagan’s most heroic actions. In Killing Reagan, O’Reilly and Dugard take readers behind the scenes, creating an unforgettable portrait of a great man operating in violent times.” — Amazon

“Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath” by Ted Koppel – “In Lights Out, Ted Koppel uses his profound journalistic talents to raise pressing questions about our nation’s aging electrical grid. Through interview after interview with leading experts, Koppel paints a compelling picture of the impact cyberattacks may have on the grid. The book reveals the vulnerability of perhaps the most critical of all the infrastructures of our modern society: the electricity that keeps our modern society humming along.” — MARC GOODMAN, author of Future Crimes

ADULT AUDIO BOOK

“Ever After: A Nantucket Bride’s Novel” by Jude Deveraux – “Jude Deveraux takes us to a place where dreams are made. . . . For All Time is a page-turning time-travel romance that captures your imagination from the start and keeps hold till the very last page.”—Fresh Fiction

MUSIC

“The S’Wonderful Ray Conniff: The Big Band Years 1939-1947”

BLUE/DVD

“Jurassic World”
“Mad Men: The FInal Season Part 2”
“Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries Series 2”
“Mr. Holmes”
“Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2”
“Poldark: The Complete First Season”
“Scooby-Doo! and Kiss: Rock and Roll Mystery”
“The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”
“Ted”
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Return to NYC”

BOARD BOOK

PICTURE BOOK

“Buddy and Earl” by Maureen Fergus
“Counting Lions: Portraits from the Wild” by Katie Cotton
“A Dog Wearing Shoes” by Sangmi Ko
“Dory Fantasmagory”
by Abby Hanlon
“Five Little Pumpkins” by James Dean
“Flashlight”
 by Lizi Boyd
“Goodnight Already” by Jory John & Benji Davies
“I Really Like Slop!’ by Mo Willems
“I Will Take a Nap!” by Mo Willems
“Ketzel the Cat Who Composed” by Leslea Newman
“Last Stop on Market Street” by Matt De La Pena
“Little Melba and Her Big Trombone” by Katheryn Russell-Brown
“Mr. Putter & Tabby Smell the Roses” by Cynthia Rylant & Arthur Howard
“Mr. Putter & Tabby Turn the Page” by Cynthia Rylant & Arthur Howard
“The New Small Person” by Lauren Child
“The Night Before Christmas” by Clement Moore
“Oskar and the Eight Blessings” by Richard Simon & Tanya Simon
“Queen Victoria’s Bathing Machine” by Gloria Whelan
“The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep” by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin
“This is Sadie” by Sara O’Leary
“Toys Meet Snow” by Emily Jenkins and Paul O. Zelinsky
“Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt” by Kate Messner
“What Pet Should I Get?” by Dr. Seuss
“Where’s Walrus? and Where’s Penguin?” by Stephen Savage
“Whispers of the Wolf” by Pauline Ts’o
“Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh” by Sally Walker
“The Wonderful Things You Will Be” by Emily Winfield Martin
“You Are (Not) Small” by Anna Kang

CHILDREN’S MUSIC

“American Folk, Game & Activity Songs for Children” by Pete Seeger

JUVENILE AUDIO BOOK

“Lost in the Sun” by Lisa Graff –  “Graff writes with stunning insight into boyhood and humanity, allowing Trent to speak for himself in a pained, honest narration. Investing Trent with all the tragic frailty of Holden Caulfield, Graff tackles issues of loss, isolation, and rage without apology. Graff consistently demonstrates why character-driven novels can live from generation to generation, and here she offers a story that can survive for many school years to come.”–Kirkus Reviews 

JUVENILE BIOGRAPHY

“A Boy and A Jaguar” by Alan Rabinowitz – “In this poignant autobiography, Rabinowitz recalls the alienation he felt as a child who thought he was “broken” because he could not get his words out fluently. But there are other, more powerful ways of communicating, which Alan knows from the ease with which he talks to animals. As he grows up, he learns to both conquer and embrace the fact that he will always be a stutterer, and he soon becomes an advocate for animals. When, in the forest, he looks into the eyes of a jaguar and sees “strength and power and sureness of purpose,” readers will feel privileged to be part of this magical experience. Chien’s impressionistic illustrations lend a gentle playfulness to the overall solemnity, with muted colors, expressive faces, and arrangements that draw attention to scale and size—all of which remind us that there are many ways to tell a story, whether you are one with words, like Rabinowitz, or one without any, like the jaguar. A mature look at how some observant children understand the world better than some adults.” — Grades 1-4. –Amina Chaudhri

“The Boy Who Fell Off the Mayflower or John Howland’s Good Fortune” by P. J. Lynch – “The clearly written, first- person account, told from John’s point of view, combines history with adventure and a hint of romance. Based on historical sources, the narrative is laced with well-imagined characterizations and conversations. The book’s wide format showcases Lynch’s dramatic and richly atmospheric watercolor and gouache paintings, which include strong individual character portrayals as well as beautifully composed scenes on land and at sea. This handsome volume offers a dramatic personal story of the Pilgrim’s voyage on the Mayflower and their early experiences in America.” — Booklist 

“Hello, I, Johnny Cash” by G. Neri – “Even those who aren’t fans of musician Johnny Cash will appreciate the beauty of this biographical picture book. Written in free verse, with colorful, realistic illustrations done in oil, this title poignantly portrays the powerful influences of poverty, religion, family, and music on Cash’s life. … This is a real tribute to the Man in Black, written in an easily accessible, engaging manner that demonstrates the qualities he possessed that make him a hero to so many.” — School Library Journal

“The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton: Poet” by Don Tate – “Born a slave, George Moses Horton taught himself to read, memorizing the poems he composed until he later learned to write. Hand-lettered excerpts of Horton’s writing amplify his successes and setbacks as he gains a reputation as a poet among students at the University of North Carolina, to whom he sold produce. Horton’s poems drew additional attention and were published (“Needless to say, it was a dangerous time for Horton, whose poems often protested slavery,” Tate writes in an afterword), but freedom remained elusive until the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, when Horton was 66 years old. Tate’s mixed-media illustrations glow with bright greens and yellows, radiating a warmth, hope, and promise that echo this stirring biography’s closing message: “Words loosened the chains of bondage long before his last day as a slave.” Agent: Caryn Wiseman, Andrea Brown Literary Agency.  PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, c2015.
JUVENILE FICTION

“The Art of Secrets” by James Klise – After her family’s apartment goes up in flames, Saba Khan’s Chicago high school organizes a benefit auction for her family. When a book by the famous outsider artist Henry Darger turns up among the items that have been gathered for sale, it raises a number of perplexing questions: How did such a unique piece go missing for so long? Shouldn’t the financially floundering school get a cut of the profits? Instead of bringing everyone together, the discovery further marginalizes the school’s outsiders. The story is told through documents, interviews, journal entries, and text messages from Saba, her father, teachers at her school, and her classmates as their suspicions about the art and the origin of the fire grow, and fingers are pointed in every direction. Klise lets loose a chorus of genuine voices as the disturbing truth emerges, and people’s secrets grow too large to hide. This art mystery is that rare book that will be passed around by teens as well as teachers in the faculty lounge, discussed and dissected and immediately reread to scour for hidden clues and motivations. The incidents at Highsmith School will stay on readers’ minds long after the last page. ” — Erin Downey Howerton

“The Battle for Skandia, Ranger’s Apprentice, Book 4” by John Flanagan – “Following Will and Evanlyn’s escape from slavery in The Icebound Land (2007), Halt determines that the Temujai mean to attack Araluen and decides to help the Skandians defend their land. Rejoining Halt, Will and Evanlyn become warriors in the stronghold where they had recently been captives and use their wits and skills to fight the common enemy. The story plunges forward with irresistible narrative drive toward the climactic battle scene. Even readers drawn to the series for its deftly drawn characters and setting may find themselves caught up in the action. A fine entry in the increasingly popular Ranger’s Apprentice series.”  —  Carolyn Phelan, Booklist

“Circus Mirandus” by Cassie Beasley – “The book is a fantastical circus romp…a delicious confection and much more: it shows that the human heart is delicate, that it matters, and that it must be handled with care.”—Kirkus Reviews

“The Hollow Boy” by Jonathan Stroud – “…the latest escapades of Lockwood and Co., a ghost-hunting agency staffed by the crack team of Anthony Lockwood, George Cubbins, and Lucy Carlyle, start with a hair-raising scene of murder, mayhem, and ghostly apparitions. Narrator Lucy finds herself on shaky ground as her ability to speak to ghosts grows ever more powerful and more dangerous, while changes to the agency in the form of a tidy, Type A assistant named Holly Munroe seem to spell doom for Lucy’s future with the company. Meanwhile, The Problem grows exponentially worse and a fading, famous department store holds more horrors than Lucy has ever seen. A series of disturbing discoveries, building on revelations in the earlier books, make it clear that there is a more malevolent human force than The Problem at work in London, and Lucy, George, and Lockwood are drawing ever closer to its source. As always, the descriptions of the hauntings are genuinely frightening, especially that of a spindly, humanoid creature that crawls on all fours and whispers Lucy’s name.” — Elisabeth Gattullo Marrocolla, Darien Library, CT

“The Icebound Land, Ranger’s Apprentice, Book 3” by John Flanagan – “Laced with humour, credible characters and the poignancy of slavery and drug addiction, The Icebound Land is a gripping tale” — The School Librarian

“NIght on FIre” by Ronald Kidd — “Kidd creates strong-willed, contemplative heroines while capturing period details and the energy of the civil rights movement. As Billie acknowledges the insidiousness of the prejudice within herself and her community and makes steps toward uprooting it, her transformation is painful and profound.” — Publishers Weekly

“Peter and the Starcatchers” by Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson – “Barry and Pearson, no strangers to the literary spotlight, offer humor and thrills for a young audience in this prequel to Peter Pan. At sea, unwittingly heading toward a perilous fate in a cruel king’s court, Peter and a group of fellow orphans become involved in a plot to steal a mysterious star substance that can make people fly. Teenager Molly, also aboard ship, is one of the Starcatchers, those who want to preserve the integrity of the substance and save it from falling into the wrong hands. Alas, there are evil, grabby hands all around, including those of the cruel pirate Black Stache–though by book’s end, Stache will have only one. It’s not so much the story that’s good here, though it’s a rousing tale, and to the authors’ credit, there are explanations for everything found in the classic story–from Peter’s inability to grow up to the name Neverland. The real lure is the richly drawn characters, especially the villains, who exhibit just the right amount of swagger and smirk. The pacing is excellent as well. Although this is a long book, very short chapters make it manageable for younger readers, and the nonstop action will keep the pages turning. This deserves the hype.” —  Ilene Cooper, Booklist

“The One Safe Place” by Tania Unsworth – “The story of Hansel and Gretel gets a dystopian sci-fi revamp in Unsworth’s ominous offering. Devin has just buried his grandfather, which forces him to leave the fertile valley of his farm and venture out into the drought-plagued, food-scarce world. After befriending fellow street urchin Kit, the two are discovered by a young man who invites them to a place where food, water, and diversions are in abundance. Indeed, the Gabriel H. Penn Home for Childhood seems to be just that, crawling with well-fed kids hoping to be adopted by the elderly visitors. But then Devin and Kit learn of the Place, where every few weeks, they receive a shot and disappear into a dream for two days. Something is rotten, and they need to figure it out before their brains become spoiled. Mostly this book acts as a protracted wait for the big reveal, without much in the way of detail or characters. But the wait is delicious, and the reveal is plenty icky, making this a page-turner perfect for fans of Mike A. Lancaster.” —  Grades 6-9. –Daniel Kraus

“Rules for Stealing Stars” by Corey Ann Haydu — ““[A] lyrical story of love and loss… The way the sisters fight and love in equal measure, as well as their basic need for one another, rings poignantly true in this touching and heartwarming story, which contains a ‘tiny bit of magic, right here in the real world.’” — Booklist

“The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place” by Julie Berry – “Berry’s prose is reminiscent of the dark comedy and melodrama of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “Sherlock Holmes” mysteries . . . This is a well-researched, clever, and deliciously dark comedy with an emphasis on female empowerment.” ―School Library Journal

“The Sword of Summer” by Rick Riordan – “Rick Riordan’s new series is simply brilliant-maybe his best yet! I thought I knew Norse mythology, but now that I’ve read the gripping and hilarious Sword of Summer, I’ll never see Thor the same way again. Get ready to stay up all night reading!”―New York Times #1 best-selling author Harlan Coben

“The Tale of Rescue” by Michael J. Rosen – “Rosen portrays the dog’s attempts to save the family so astutely that readers will feel the dog’s determination and exhaustion, and his somber, parsed descriptions of the blizzard and the family’s subsequent disorientation in the whiteout bring their cold and fear close. The writing is matched by Fellows’ superb watercolor illustrations—expertly rendered scenes that are, thankfully, liberally sprinkled throughout…A fine, superbly illustrated tale of adventure, bravery, and loyalty.” —Kirkus Reviews

“The Trouble with Ants” by Claudia Mills – ““In drily funny writing and b&w illustrations, Mills (the Franklin School Friends series) and Kath capture Nora’s delightful enterprising and willingness to push the boundaries—sometimes (she knows the limit when it comes to sitting with the boys at lunch). Nora’s genuine love for ants will resonate with children who have a passion for something out of the ordinary.” — Publishers Weekly

“Unfriended” by Rachel Vail – “With keen insight, Vail reveals the internal struggles with uncertainty and self-doubt that can plague young teens regardless of popularity status. . . With a resolution that is both realistic and hopeful, Vail captures the complexity of middle school social challenges, insightfully addressing the issues of friendships and integrity.” —Publishers Weekly

JUVENILE NON-FICTION

“Amazing Places” by Lee Bennett Hopkins – “… 14 poems celebrate landmarks and attractions across the United States, such as the Grand Canyon, Fenway Park, and San Francisco’s Chinatown. In the tender opening poem from Janet S. Wong, a girl treasures a night camping with her mother in Alaska’s Denali National Park: “When the fire is spitting ready,/ she reaches/ in the bag, rustling,/ and hands me/ one big, fat, luscious/ marshmallow.” Joan Bransfield Graham’s concrete poem, “Sandy Hook Lighthouse,” is both written from the lighthouse’s perspective and shaped like one: “Wild/ storms rage,/ lightning crackles,/ nothing/ deters me./ I have/ stood on/ duty in this/ place for/ more than two/ centuries.” The far-ranging locations and multicultural, multigenerational cast help create a broadly appealing testament to the American landscape and people.” — PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, c2015.

“Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California’s Farallon Islands” by Katherine Roy – “Look closely at the cover of this impressive account of great white sharks off the Northern California coast: that bright red in the illustration is blood trailing from a chunk of freshly killed immature elephant seal–and a signal that Roy’s book will fully examine the sometimes chilling, always fascinating details of what makes this animal a predator.” ―The Horn Book

“Out of the Woods: A True Story of an Unforgettable Event” by Rebecca Bond – “In 1914, four-year-old Antonio lives with his mother in the hotel she runs next to Gowganda Lake in Ontario, Canada. The large hotel is inhabited by short-term visitors as well as long-term renters, including lumberjacks and trappers. Because there aren’t many children to play with, the boy spends his time with the hotel’s employees and residents. He also enjoys the surrounding forest but seldom sees animals as they stay away, due to the lodgers’ activities. One summer day, fire is spotted in the distance and quickly spreads through the forest toward the building. The only safe place is the nearby lake, and people rush toward that refuge. Watching in wonder, they’re soon joined by the forest animals fleeing the fire, including moose, porcupines, wolves, and deer. For the next several hours, humans and animals have one common goal–to survive. Sepia-tone backgrounds and scratchy pen-and-ink drawings add life to the remembrance and give it the appropriate, old-fashioned feel. Children will be fascinated with the story experienced by the author’s grandfather and passed down for generations.” — Owen, Maryann. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2015.

“Smart and Spineless: Exploring Invertebrate Intelligence” by Ann Downer – “Gr 6 Up—Invertebrates of all stripes are given fully researched attention here. Downer examines the intelligence of a variety of animals: worms, slime molds, bees, spiders, ants, shrimp, and jellyfish. This slim volume is superficially deceptive: though crowded with full-color photographs, drawings, charts and side boxes,… Readers will discover that bees can learn to associate an abstract symbol with a sweet-tasting reward or a bitter-tasting punishment. Charles Darwin realized that earthworms were expert soil engineers with the ability to navigate their world through trial and error. Animal behaviorists believe that octopuses have personalities. The female tarantula hawk wasp can analyze surroundings and compare size and volume when hunting her prey. Extensive back matter makes this title perfect for research. VERDICT Downer does a fine job revealing the intelligence of the spineless creatures that make up more than 90 percent of animals on Earth.” —Anne Chapman Callaghan, Racine Public Library, WI

YOUNG ADULT

“Carry On: The Rise and Fall of Simon Snow” by Rainbow Rowell – “”With rock-solid worldbuilding, a sweet and believable romance subplot, and satisfying ending, Carry On is a monumentally enjoyable reading experience. Hand this to fans of Rowell, Harry Potter, love stories, and magic.” ―School Library Journal

“The Emperor of Any Place” by Tim Wynne-Jones – “Readers will be swept up quickly in the tense relationship between Evan and Griff, as well as the unlikely friendship between enemy soldiers fighting for survival in a surreal landscape. Without spelling out the metaphoric significance of the story within the story, Wynne-Jones provides enough hints for readers to make connections and examine the lines between war and peace, as well as hate and love.” — Publishers Weekly

“Freedom Summer: The Savage Season That Made Mississippi Burn and Made America a Democracy” by Bruce Watson – “… Set against the backdrop of the puzzling disappearance of three of these young volunteers (known by the FBI case file as “Mississippi Burning”), Rubin’s crackling narrative chronicles the work of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee amid threats by the Ku Klux Klan. It’s no surprise, coming from Rubin, that this reads like suspenseful—and almost unbelievable—fiction, filled with courageous characters, shocking turns of events, and potent emotion. Fascinating and copious details are drawn from the author’s personal interviews with key figures, oral histories, and primary documents, all meticulously sourced in the back matter. Design is the sole weak spot: nonglossy pages and spreads of unadorned text are not especially welcoming. The photographs themselves, though, are well chosen, as are the reproductions of leaflets, reports, and papers, all of which bring vivid life to the events and speak to the human aspects of history. An educator’s guide available on the publisher’s website offers countless more leads for deeper research and lesson-plan inspiration. This well-researched and heartfelt work covers every angle, thereby honoring the brave inroads made by activists a half century ago.” — Erin Anderson

“The Hired Girl” by Laura Amy Schlitz – “Written as a diary, the first-person narrative brings immediacy to Joan’s story and intimacy to her confessions and revelations. The distinctive household setting and the many secondary characters are well developed, while Joan comes alive on the page as a vulnerable, good-hearted, and sometimes painfully self-aware character struggling to find her place in the world. A memorable novel from a captivating storyteller.” —Booklist

“Out of Darkness” by Ashley Hope Perez – “The beauty of Perez’s prose and her surefooted navigation through the dangerous landscape of the East Texas oil field in the 1930s redeem the fact that anyone who dares read this agonizing, star-crossed love story will end up in about six billion numb and tiny pieces. Absolutely stunning.” — Elizabeth Wein, author of Code Name Verity and Michael L. Printz Award Nominee

“What We Saw” by Aaron Hartzler – ““This book is real. Like the protagonist, it’s vulnerable, honest, and incredibly brave. Kate’s story will be a lifeline for kids observing impossible situations and wondering where the right and wrong is in all of it. I could not put it down.” (Maya Van Wagenen, New York Times Bestselling Author of Popular)