Wondering what to read next?
You tell us what you love. We pick your next read.
Fill out the form below, and a library staff member will hand-select five to ten books catered to your interests. We’ll get them ready for you and library staff will notify you when your items are ready for pickup. They will be on the hold shelves.
Book Recommendations from the Youth Department staff!
If you’re stuck in a reading rut or want to find a new favorite book, check out what our staff recommends!
Anastasia’s Picture Book recommendation of the month is Twinkle Twinkle Little Kid by Drew Daywalt – This delightful story of unexpected friendship is paired with cute dream-like illustrations making it a perfect bedtime read.
Anastasia’s middle-grade book pick of the month is A Soft Place to Land by Janae Marks – This warm and heartfelt story follows Joy, a courageous young girl as she is reshaping her meaning of home. When Joy’s father loses his job, their family is forced to leave their house and move into an apartment. In the apartment complex, Joy discovers a cozy little secret hideaway where she begins writing messages back and forth with another kid in the complex. When the messages stop abruptly, Joy is determined to find out who the mystery writer is and if they’re okay. With its themes of connection, loss, and home, this book is a great winter break read.
Bry’s Picture Book recommendation is Olwen finds her Wings by Nora Surojegin and Pirkko-Liisa Surojegin. Little baby Olwen the owl wants to do something new. All of the new friends she meets can do things like roar and leap, but try as she might, she just can’t do the things the other forest animals can, and she desperately wants to know what things she can do. Cozy up this season and read about Olwen’s journey through the winter forest to find out what makes her special.
Katie’s picture book recommendation for the month is A Home Under the Stars by Andy Chou Musser. Toby is new to city life and he misses his home, especially the stars. Toby makes friends with animals who are also struggling to adjust to city life. Join Toby and his new friends as they try to find the North Star so the animals can make it home. Musser uses light and dark colors to create beautiful imaginative illustrations that bring you along on the journey.
Katie’s middle-grade book recommendation for the month is The Girl with the Glass Bird by Esme Kerr. Edie is sent to a boarding school, but not to be a student. She is sent to be a spy. Who is she spying on? A Russian princess named Anastasia, who keeps claiming people are stealing from her. The stolen items always show up, so none of the other girls believe her. Does Edie believe her? As the two become best friends, they start to unravel the dangerous mystery that could cost them their lives. (Also good in audiobook!)
Anastasia’s picture book pick of the month is Saturday at the Food Pantry by Diane O’Neill. “Heartfelt and affirming, this picture book covers the topic of food insecurity in a way that helps dismantle the stigma and shame surrounding it. It highlights not only the importance of helping those in need, but that it’s okay to need and accept help for yourself too. The illustrator’s simplistically whimsical style and lovely use of color help keep the book from feeling too heavy while also promoting diversity in its character depictions” -Anastasia
Anastasia’s middle-grade book pick of the month is I Can Make this Promise by Christine Day. “Inspired by the author’s own familial history, a young girl uncovers family secrets that lead her on a path to discovering her own Native identity. This insightful and beautifully written story illustrates the emotional impact of being unwillingly distanced from one’s cultural identity and the ripple effects of generational systemic oppression. While this book manages to be both deeply sad and brightly hopeful, the main character’s preteen anxiety and emotional maturity make for a relatable and enjoyable read.” – Anastasia
Bry’s November Picture Book recommendation is Becoming Vanessa by Vanessa Brantley-Newton: It can sometimes be hard to feel confident in who you are, and putting yourself out there can often feel scary. In Becoming Vanessa, Vanessa feels unsure about how easy it will be to make new friends at her school. She dons her fanciest dress and heads to school, but her outfit isn’t getting the reaction she had hoped for. Soon, Vanessa starts to wish she could simply blend in rather than stand out. She even wishes that Vanessa was not her name, but when her mother tells her the meaning behind her name, it gives her the confidence she needs to introduce her classmates to the real Vanessa. A story all about self-love and empathy, this book will help children learn how to go from a timid caterpillar to a beautiful butterfly.
Bry’s November Middle-Grade recommendation is Mighty Inside by Sundee T. Frazier: Melvin Robinson is anxious about starting high school for the same reasons any kid might be, but worsening those anxieties is the stutter which keeps him from saying what’s on his mind. Not to mention that he is one of only two Black students in his class, and the class bully never misses a chance to bring him down. Lenny, Melvin’s saxophone-playing friend who lives above the Black-owned, but segregated, Harlem Club, encourages Melvin to express himself through music. In his story, Melvin discovers just how mighty he truly is, and with a marvelously multicultural lineup of characters, readers will learn more about the impact of racism everywhere and the tight-knit community relationships needed to endure it. Inspired by the family of the author’s real-life experiences integrating into a White neighborhood in Spokane, Washington in the 1950’s, this historical fiction novel tells a heartfelt story about finding your voice and having the courage to use it.
Katie’s picture book pick of the month is Have You Ever Seen a Flower? by Shawn Harris . “This book’s colors are so much fun! Bright and happy, perfect as we are looking towards the dullness of winter. With shorter text this book would work with younger kids and conceptually keep older ones interested.”–Katie
Aimee’s picture book of the month is Trick or Treat, Crankenstein by Samantha Berger. “A boy who looks ordinary transforms into grumbling Crankenstein when he receives more tricks than treats on Halloween.
Cinderella Skeleton by Robert San Souci- A rhyming retelling of the story of a young woman who finds her prince at a Halloween ball despite the efforts of her wicked stepmother. The main characters are skeletons. (Beautiful artwork)”–Aimee
Aimee recommends two fiction novels this month:
Here Lies Linc by Delia Ray – “While researching a rumored-to-be-haunted grave for a local history project, twelve-year-old Lincoln Crenshaw unearths some startling truths about his own family.”–Aimee
A Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren DeStefano – “Bright, imaginative, eleven-year-old Pram lives with two aunts who run a retirement home, hiding the fact that she can talk with ghosts–but not the spirit of her mother–and after befriending Clarence, who also lost his mother, she decides to find her father in hopes he can answer her questions.”–Aimee
Anastasia’s picture book pick of the month is The Dark by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Jon Klassen. “What if you talked to the dark and the dark talked back? This beautifully written and illustrated book seems like it could be fairly simple and straightforward at first glance, but it has complexity that will keep readers of all ages entertained (and maybe even a bit creeped out).”-Anastasia
Anastasia’s Early Reader pick of the month is Ghoulia by Barbara Cantini. “A lonely young zombie named Ghoulia lives in a big creepy house with an assortment of strange friends and relatives. This heartwarming tale of friendship and the importance of being yourself is accompanied by ghoulishly witty and detailed illustrations and ideas for fun activities.” –Anastasia
Anastasia’s middle-grade pick of the month is Thirteens (The Secrets of Eden Eld) by Kate Alice Marshall. “Eden Eld is a seemingly “perfect” town with a very dark secret: every thirteen years three thirteen-year-olds disappear. With its eerie atmospheric writing, lovable characters, and enticing mysteries, this book is a perfect October read!”–Anastasia
Bry’s picture book pick of the month is Monsters 101 by Cale Atkinson. “You are cordially invited to join the world’s top monster scientists as they debunk the many myths and misconceptions surrounding the world’s frighteningly misunderstood monsters.”-Bry
Bry’s middle-grade pick of the month is The Dollhouse Murders by Betty Ren Wright – “Everybody knows that toys can’t move by themselves … or can they? That’s what Amy begins to wonder when she uncovers an old dollhouse in her great-grandparents’ attic. Every night, Amy checks on the dollhouse and the dolls inside, but they’re never in the same place that she left them. The dollhouse, replicated to look exactly like the house it’s been found in, used to belong to Amy’s aunt Claire, and its reappearance has brought up painful memories Claire had tried to leave in the past. In a house filled with mysteries and unspoken secrets, the dollhouse and the dolls inside of it begin to unravel unsolved murders and dig up events and emotions that were thought to be buried years ago.”-Bry
Chelsea’s picture book pick of the month is Zombie in Love by Kelly DiPucchio. “A lonely zombie just wants to find love but will he find someone to share his heart?”–Chelsea
Chelsea’s middle-grade pick of the month is Elizabeth and Zenobia by Jessica Miller. “When Elizabeth moves into her father’s family home, a creepy old mansion called Witheringe House, she learns she had an aunt who vanished years ago. Soon Elizabeth realizes that something very menacing is going on within the house’s dark and empty rooms.”–Chelsea
Katie’s picture book pick of the month is Pumpkin Eye by Denise Fleming. “This book’s short rhyming text is perfect for little ones. It’s bold illustrations will keep their attention and put you all in the Halloween spirit.”–Katie
Katie’s middle-grade pick of the month is A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz. “This twisted fairy tale is not for the faint of heart!! Follow Hansel and Gretel through some wild and scary adventures as they come up against many foes, such as witches, dragons, and even the devil himself!”–Katie
Bekah’s picture book pick of the month is The Rice in the Pot Goes Round and Round by Wendy Wan-Long Shang. “I’m a huge fan of books that can be put to song, which automatically makes this one of my favorite new releases. Set during a family dinner, we are shown how food and traditions bring family together.” –Bekah
Bekah’s middle-grade pick of the month is Eva Evergreen: Semi-Magical Witch by Julie Abe. “In this novel, the young heroine Eva must set out on a journey to prove herself as a novice witch– reminiscent of Kiki’s Delivery Service. Eva must locate a town without a witch and help them for one moon, but when the town Eva has chosen comes under a dangerous threat, what can a semi-magical witch repair witch do? Eva Evergreen: Semi-Magical Witch will take readers on a heartwarming journey full of laughter, magic, determination, friendship, and love. The sequel Eva Evergreen and the Cursed Witch just recently came out, and it is equally delightful.”-Bekah
Bry’s picture book pick of the month is Love by Corrinne Averiss, illustrated by Kirsti Beautyman. “It can be very difficult to be away from people that you love. In Tess’ house, everyone loves everyone, but everyone can’t come with Tess when she starts school. Tess worries that the love won’t be able to stretch far enough when she is away at school. This emotional and uplifting story addresses the tough topic of separation anxiety in a gentle way that will leave readers feeling reassured and comforted. This story is a beautiful reminder that love is a tie that binds. Love “may stretch and tangle, but it will never truly break.”–Bry
Anastasia’s picture book pick of the month is Meesha Makes Friends by Tom Percival. “This beautifully illustrated and heartwarming story is perfect for children who struggle with making friends and find socializing overwhelming.” -Anastasia
Anastasia’s middle-grade book pick of the month is Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling. “This unique novel empathetically blends difficult and sensitive topics with humor and wit. It’s a great read for the start of a new school year as the main character is adjusting to middle school and life in a new state, where her being born armless presents many challenges.” -Anastasia
Ayoko’s picture book pick of the month is My name is a Song by Jamilah Thompkins Bigelow. “A beautiful story of embracing who you are and how to share your name with the world. Some names are infused with fire, some must be spoken from the heart, and all names should be sung. This is a perfect back-to-school read for everyone learning to take pride in the link between who you are and what you are called.”–Ayoko
Bekah’s middle-grade pick of the month is That Thing About Bollywood by Supriya Kelkar. “Sonali has a hard time remembering a time when her parents didn’t argue, but she does remember their reactions when she presented a PowerPoint Presentation to them (and their extended family) about why parents shouldn’t argue. Since that day, Sonali has pretended that she is fine, her parents are fine, everything is fine, but when she finds out her parents are getting a divorce, she can no longer suppress her emotions. Bollywooditis takes over, and she begins to sing every time she gets emotional. Can Sonali find a way to stop singing? I loved how this book covered hard topics, like changing family and friend dynamics, but made them more approachable through Bollywoodesque song and dance.”–Bekah
Bry’s picture book pick of the month is My First Day by Phung Nguyen Quang. “This is a visually stunning book that takes readers with a young boy on his journey traveling along the Mekong River to get to his first day of school.”–Bry
Katie’s middle-grade audiobook pick of the month is Clean Getaway by Nic Stone. “William, or Scoob as he likes to be called, is excited to get out of lockdown and go on an adventurous road trip with his G’ma, but things are not as they appear. The farther they drive, the more Scoob learns more about the country’s and his family’s past, but perhaps it was a mistake to leave home.”-Katie
Katie’s middle-grade pick of the month is Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan. “Amina is a Pakistani-American Muslim girl who is struggling to stay true to her culture but also wants to fit in with her American classmates. Her mosque gets vandalized and her friend is thinking about changing her name to a more American name. Does Amina need to change who she is to fit in?”-Katie
Bekah’s picture book pick of the month is The Little Blue Bridge by Brenda Maier. “I loved ‘The Three Billy Goats Gruff’ when I was little, and this is a great reimagining of it that blends girl power and STEM”.–Bekah
Bekah’s middle-grade pick of the month is The Moorchild by Eloise Jarvis McGraw. “This is an oldie but a goodie. Steeped in Scottish folklore, The Moorchild explores what happens when a changeling discovers what it is and goes on a journey to the faerie court to steal back her parents’ biological child. This story packs an emotional punch, and I recommend it to those who love tales of the fae and historical fiction.”–Bekah
Bry’s picture book pick of the month is Ruby’s Reunion Day Dinner written by Angela Dalton & illustrated by Jestenia Southerland. “A book bursting with the joys of food and family, readers are invited to Ruby’s family reunion where you can find mouth-watering soul food and loving conversation. Come along with Ruby as she tries to find the perfect, special dish to bring to her family’s table!”–Bry
Wondering what to read to your children? Here are some excellent resources: