Staff Picks by Tag

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The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart (The Dragon Heart Series) By Stephanie Burgis Cover Image
$8.99
ISBN: 9781681196954
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Bloomsbury Children's Books - August 28th, 2018

Dragon-turned-human Aventurine sets out to make a name for herself in the competitive world of chocolate.

A delicious read about finding your place in the world.


Review by Sarah B.

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The Last Mapmaker By Christina Soontornvat Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781536204957
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Candlewick - April 12th, 2022

When apprenticed mapmaker Sai sets out to carve a new future for herself, she discovers that her ambition has a cost. What will she be willing to pay if it means she'll get everything she always thought she wanted? A beautiful exploration of ambition, heritage, family, and the costs of colonialism from Newbery Honor-winner Christina Soontornvat. Also dragons.


Review by Sarah B.

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The Sisters of Straygarden Place By Hayley Chewins Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781536212273
Availability: Out of stock, usually available in 3-10 days
Published: Candlewick - October 13th, 2020

Perhaps the most perfect creepy book for middle schoolers that I have ever read. Sisters Winnow, Mayhap, and Pavonine live in the strange, otherworldly Straygarden Place surrounded by tall, interminable, antagonistic grass. When eldest Winnow abruptly leaves the security of the house, she returns with an acute delirium and begins to turn the same sickening silver as the grass itself. Chewins writes Mayhap's increasing paranoia and the growing sentience of Straygarden Place with such easy, vivid poetry that readers will find themselves utterly transported into this twisty, turny, and unpredictable tale. 



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The Accidental Apprentice (Wilderlore #1) By Amanda Foody Cover Image
$8.99
ISBN: 9781534477575
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Margaret K. McElderry Books - February 1st, 2022

Adventure is the last thing Barclay wants, and he's sure he won't find any apprenticed to a mushroom farmer. An accidental trip to the woods flings him into a hidden world of magic, Beasts, Beast collectors, and all the adventure he thought he didn't want.

Barclay's world is quirky and weird, and I'm so jealous I can't wander into the woods, bond with a Beast, and gain magical powers, too! Perfect for fans of Pokemon and How To Train Your Dragon!


Review by Sarah B.

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Amari and the Night Brothers (Supernatural Investigations #1) By B. B. Alston Cover Image
$11.99
ISBN: 9780062975171
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Balzer + Bray - January 4th, 2022

Amari's adventure begins when she receives a package from her missing brother. Before he went missing, he nominated her for an elite summer camp with the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs. She has a lot of catching up to do if she wants to fit in with her supernatural peers and solve her brother's disappearance!


Review by Sarah B.

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From the Desk of Zoe Washington By Janae Marks Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780062875860
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Katherine Tegen Books - January 5th, 2021

This is one of those compulsively readable books that will have you bingeing the whole thing after finishing the first chapter. Not only does this book paint a rich picture of Zoe's life and the classic issues that arise in middle school (friendship fallouts, parent troubles, finding and pursuing interests), but it also clearly and carefully introduces readers to the injustices of modern incarceration and the prison complex's dependence on institutional racism, all without being heavy. A super enjoyable and informative triumph of a book.



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High Rhulain: A Tale from Redwall By Brian Jacques Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9780142409381
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Firebird - March 13th, 2008

I started reading this series when I was 8, I am now 34 and I still re-read it and get new things out of it. Does your kid looove the Warriors series? Their mind will be blown by the world of Redwall. Imagine, if you will, an egalitarian community of woodland creatures who fight tyranny, go on epic quests, and throw the best parties with the most scrumptious and elaborate meals you've ever read about. 

Every creature, big or small, shy or outgoing, regardless of gender, is valued and has an important role to play. Sometimes it's a formerly enslaved squirrel, or maybe a mute badger grandmother, or perhaps a young ottermaid who has perfect aim with a slingstone...


Review by Anje

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Tess of the Road By Rachel Hartman Cover Image
$18.99
Unavailable at this time.
ISBN: 9781101931288
Published: Random House Books for Young Readers - February 27th, 2018

A smoothie of Into the Wild and On the Road, blended with Grade A feminism and fantasy. Though the plot moves at a walking pace, Tess's character drives this book forward. As she follows the eponymous road on her indelible journey, she moves away from a past that shackles her and towards a future that welcomes her audacious spirit. And as Tess learns, sometimes you just have to walk it off and, while doing so, find that you've been moving forward all along. 



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A Wrinkle in Time: (Newbery Medal Winner) (A Wrinkle in Time Quintet #1) By Madeleine L'Engle Cover Image
$8.99
ISBN: 9780312367541
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Square Fish - May 1st, 2007

Though this book is short, it is nothing short of profound. Meg was my first fictional hero, and she taught me something fundamentally important: that you can be flawed and still heroic. You can be angry and amazing, full of fear and love at the same time, and all of those layers stack together to make you strong. A book to combat darkness, in all its forms.



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George (Scholastic Gold) By Alex Gino Cover Image
$7.99
Unavailable at this time.
ISBN: 9780545812573
Published: Scholastic Inc. - April 25th, 2017

The titular character of this book is a transgender 4th grade girl whose unwavering faith in herself provides a model for all readers to aspire to. The supportive relationship that Melissa has with her best friend Kelly assures readers that, with friends who encourage you to be your most authentic self, anything is possible. 

Additionally, the author has encouraged folks to change the title of their own copies of this book (so as not to deadname the protagonist) to "Melissa's Story." I think this is such an inventive way to encourage a book's evolution long after it leaves our bookstore shelves and what kid could resist an author's permission to scribble on a book?



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