Laure has been working in the Kids' Department for the past two years, and she is excited to be taking on this new position of Kids Department Coordinator. Laure has many years of experience in the book store setting, as before joining us, she worked at the Curious George Bookstore in Cambridge, MA. Laure was born in New York but grew up in France. She came back to the U.S to attend Skidmore College where she majored in art. As an artist, Laure often looks at picture book illustrations for research and inspiration. Before having her two children, Laure also had a small craft business making cross-stitch gifts for babies and toddlers. Laure looks forward to meeting you and working with you in the future.
If you want to read a story that is heartfelt and genuine and has a character who you will love and root for from the very first page, pick up Fat Chance, Charlie Vega! Charlie's insecurities are very relatable and she speaks to anyone who lives with self-doubt and is looking to find their voice.
Charlie struggles to love herself and her body, and this, coupled with her jealousy towards her best friend, her difficult relationship with her mother, and her venture into her first relationship, are all balanced by her incredible sense of humor and kindness. Maldonado wrote this book with the kind of sensitivity and truthfulness that captures your heart.
This may be the first book written for middle grade about a gay Black boy, but this story is also about so much more. It is about loss, friendship, identity, both within yourself and in the eyes of others, and most importantly, forgiveness.
Everything in this book, from King's emotional journey to the unbearable Louisiana heat, is written with such raw delicacy that you are enveloped by every word. This book deserves every accolade and award it has received so far, and should be read by those struggling with self-acceptance, as well as those who know someone who is.
I wish I had had this book as a kid! Not only is it a great story about a reconstructed family and the impact that it can have on an anxiety-prone young 12-year-old, but I also loved how Rebecca Stead did not shy away from addressing mental health issues, homophobia, divorce, and therapy.
This story is wholesome, while also being honest and refreshing. A wonderful read that I cannot recommend enough!
Efrén Divided is a very timely book in which Efrén, an American-born teenage boy, is suddenly thrown into adulthood after his undocumented mother is deported back to Mexico. As his father, who is also undocumented, works overtime to make the money he needs to get his wife back, Efrén becomes the primary caretaker of his two younger siblings while trying to maintain a facade of normalcy in front of his best friend and teachers at school. As his struggle to live this double life intensifies, Efrén also realizes that he is the only one who can truly save his mother and bring her back home.
This is such a powerful and important story with a protagonist who you cannot help but admire for his courage and strength. This is a wonderful middle-grade book that is sure to inspire thought and discussion.
Why does everybody LOVE unicorns and why don’t we have Goblin-themed birthday parties?
In this very funny (and very sparkly) book, a studious Goblin is tired of his unicorn neighbors who spend their days frolicking, dancing, and having tea parties. He believes that there is serious work that needs to be done, and he is ready to argue all the reasons why unicorns really aren't that special. In fact, they are the worst. But a terrifying encounter makes him realize that maybe unicorns aren't so bad after all.
This is a cute picture book about the importance of getting to know someone before casting judgment and embracing each other's differences.
William, a.k.a Scoobe, drops everything when his G-ma asks him to come on a cross-country trip with her. But very soon, Scoobe realizes that this trip is a lot more than just a fun adventure. As the pair drive farther and farther South, Scoobe begins to learn more about his G-ma and G-Pop's story, and that what he thought he knew about his family history might not be the whole truth.
Part family road trip, part look into our social history, and part coming-of-age, Clean Getaway seamlessly weaves these things into a story that evokes thought, but is also fun.
By the time you finish reading the first sentence of this book, you will have been transported into the complicated world of Genesis Anderson, a 13-year-old black girl whose alcoholic father cannot hold a job, whose family gets evicted from their home on a regular basis, and who has an ongoing list of things that she does not like about herself, most notably, the darkness of her skin. Society, including her own family, has made her believe that if her skin were lighter, like her mother's, her life would be perfect. Genesis is ready to go to any extreme to make that happen.
This was an honest and, at times, difficult story to read, but I could not put it down. Genesis is a beautiful and complex middle grader who has not been dealt an easy card. This book is eye-opening for those who have never experienced colorism, and gives a voice to those who live with it every day. Genesis Anderson is a character that everyone should meet.
Cookie and Broccoli are best friends and complete opposites. Cookie is very loud and outgoing, Broccoli is shy and nervous. They meet in the hallway on their first day of school and not only discover that they are able to learn from each other's differences, but they also learn that they have more in common than they thought.
This sweet early reader graphic novel is full of charm and wit, but most importantly it portrays an essential life lesson: you should always be yourself and embrace those around you for who they are too.
This is a story about friendship, overcoming your fears, the power of sports as an outlet, all in the context of bullying. Paul, Big and Small become an unlikely trio when they are grouped together for a school project. Paul has spent his life trying to hide in order to avoid being picked on by the bullies at school. He is paired with Lily Small, who is anything but small, and who Paul has been terrified of since their childhood, and Big, the always happy new kid from Polynesia. As they work together on their project, they discover that they have a lot more in common than they thought. This includes rock climbing, which has always helped Paul clear his mind after school. As Paul comes into his own over the course of the book, he realizes that even the most unexpected people can be victim of bullying, and this motivates him even more to overcome his own fears.
This is the first book that I have read that has truly delved into the truth and the sometimes heartbreaking ramifications of bullying. It has parts that are sweet and funny and others that are shocking and sad. It is a book whose story and characters are not easily forgotten.
Winnie Friedman is a 10th grader who knows that she is funny. What she wants is for everyone else to know it too. She has grown up telling jokes with her father, a former stand-up comedian, and she aspires to follow in his footsteps. Unfortunately, her first opportunity to show her talent did not go well, and now she is too embarrassed to ever try again. That is until the funniest and cutest boy in her grade laughs at one of her jokes and invites her to join the school Improv Troupe. Winnie knows that improv and stand-up are very different, but she ultimately decides to give it a try. As Winnie finds herself navigating her friendships, her first boyfriend, and the this new form of comedy, her dad reveals that he has ALS and it is progressing quickly. All of a sudden Winnie’s life begins to crumble, as she tries to figure out how to deal with her father’s disease, and still keep making people laugh. In the process she learns a lot about herself, her parents, her friends, and what it takes to succeed in comedy and it is only through these that she is able to grow and learn how to keep on laughing, even when she is crying. It seems risky to write a book about comedy and improv, but this story is anything but cheesy.
Tucked away in a small town on the southern coast of England, Petra and her family’s quiet life manning a lighthouse is suddenly shaken with the start of World War II. Secrets and rumors of treason start to surround her German-born mother, but Petra refuses to believe that they are true. As the members of her family get more involved in the war, Petra is forced to take care of herself and the beloved lighthouse while trying to uncover the truth and get her family back together.
Family, mythology, treason, mystery, and even young love come together seamlessly in this book that was hard to put down. If you are a fan of historical fiction such as The War That Saved My Life, this is a book you will enjoy.
This is the touching story about Nova, an autistic and non-verbal 12-year old girl in 1987. Nova has just been placed into a new foster family, a helpful one for a change, but for the first time she is without her older sister Bridget. Bridget always stood up for Nova and had always promised that they would watch the launch of the Challenger Space Shuttle together. As Nova counts down the days until the launch, she is hopeful that she will see her sister soon, even as she starts to create her own life in this new home without Bridget. Through her own letters, we are given a glimpse into Nova’s mind full of space facts, sadness over how people treat her, and questions about the future.
The launch of the Challenger not only provides a time frame to the story, but also helps build suspense. Will Bridget keep her promise? How will Nova react to the Challenger’s ultimate fate? These questions and so much more are answered in this hopeful story that pulls at your heartstrings. Nova is a wonderful character that you want to protect. Thanks to Libro.fm, I can highly recommend the audio version of this book which does a great job bringing Nova’s internal thoughts and story to life.
Ava is so excited. It is finally Saturday! Not only does she get to spend the whole day with her mom, but they also have tickets for a special one-night puppet show! Together they set out for a full day of fun, but as the day goes on, nothing seems to be going quite right. Ava is getting more and more frustrated, but her mom keeps reassuring her that the day is not ruined and reminds her that they still have the puppet show in the evening. But when it is finally time to go to the show, Ava’s mom realizes that she forgot the tickets at home! How will Ava and her mom manage to salvage their special day?
Every parent and child can relate to the frustration and sadness of anticipating something special and not having it go as planned. But if we remember that the important thing is spending time together, then nothing is ever ruined. Author Oge Mora who also wrote and beautifully illustrated , Thank You, Omu! has written another wonderful story about the importance of family and how special it is.
Kitty's mom has superpowers and every night she goes out dressed in her black catsuit to save those in need. Kitty would love to do the same thing one day, but first she must overcome her fear of the shadows that lie outside in the dark.
But one night, after her mom has already left, a black and white cat named Figaro taps at her window. He needs help and there is no time to lose. With no one else to turn to, Kitty must forget about her fears and follow Figaro into the night.
This is the first book in a series that is great for early readers who like adventure, super heroes, and of course, cats. If you have read and enjoyed the Princess in Black series or Mia Mayhem, this is a good pick for you.
After breaking up with her long-term boyfriend, Queenie Jenkins, a 26-year old Jamaican British woman, begins to make questionable choices that effect her friendships, her job and her self-worth. After finally hitting rock bottom, Queenie, with the help of her friends, family and therapy, decides to change her way of life.
Easily comparable to Bridget Jones, Queenie examines more complex issues such as mental illness, racism, and relationships in a raw and honest way. Queenie, as a character, is certainly flawed, but she is also a strong woman and it is her journey finding that strength that makes her relatable and real.
As an audiobook, there is no question that Shvorne Marks’ voice was meant to be Queenie Jenkins’. She was also able to make the other characters’ voices distinct and unique which gave depth to the listening experience.
What would you do if you were face-to-face with the Big Bad Wolf? You would probably scream and run for your life, right? Well, the Big Bad Wolf is tired of that and he is on a mission to change his and his friends’, Mr. Shark, Mr. Snake and Mr. Piranha’s reputations as the “Bad Guys.” From now on he wants them to be known as the “Good Guys,” but in order to do that he must convince them that they must perform good deeds. First up: freeing 200 dogs from the Maximum Security City Dog Pound.
Written with hilarity and wit that will have even adults laughing, this is a great introduction to chapter books for beginner readers.
30 allegorical stories, each about a different unnamed woman who, at the heart of every story, reveals experiences women struggle with every day. Issues such as guilt, aging, discrimination, and motherhood are brought to light in the most literal way. While some of the stories were more abstract and it wasn't until the end that I could figure out what they were alluding to, I really enjoyed the cleverness of each tale. This is a book that can be read all at once or a few stories at a time. Thanks to Libro.fm, I listened to the audio book version which I also recommend.
Told in a series of essays, Mary Laurap Philpott’s memoir recounts feeling lost and stuck in her “perfect” life after having accomplished all the things, she believed, would make her a well-rounded and happy adult. As she questions everything from her marriage to her parenting, her job to her art, we join her on her journey of identity crisis and re-adjustment. Told with wit, humor, thoughtfulness, and truth, Philpott welcomes us into her life, and makes you feel like you are sitting down with a good friend.
This is the story of a couple and their love story that spans nearly half a century. It is also the story of their four adult daughters, each with their own set of struggles, secrets and complicated interpersonal relationships. Each yearns to have the same perfect love story as their parents, but have mostly fallen short. With the surprising arrival of one teenage boy, many old and new secrets are brought to light and everyone is forced to rethink who they are and their role within the family unit.
Claire Lombardo has written a wonderful portrait of the Sorenson family. Each character is written with complexity and honesty thus creating a relatable family with relatable issues that you want to see succeed. This was a fantastic book.
If you are in a reading slump and need a page turner with an unexpected twist, this is the book for you.
Alicia Berenson is accused of killing her husband, but she has not spoken a word since the murder. Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who is determined to get her to talk again while also dealing with personal problems of his own. Everyone seems guilty in some way, but the truth is truly unexpected. Alex Michaelides keeps you guessing until the very end in his suspenseful debut novel.
Written as fiction but based on facts, this book is the story of Maud Baum, the wife of L. Frank Baum. the author of The Wizard of Oz. The book begins in Hollywood in the late 1930s as the movie is being made. L. Frank Baum died twenty years earlier and Maud asserts herself onto the set as a consultant, determined to make sure that the movie stays true to her husband's words. In the process, she meets Judy Garland for whom she immediately takes on a protective role as she discovers the disconcerting behind the scenes expectations of this young actress. The story alternates between the 1930s and the late 1800s when Maud is a young girl growing up surrounded by her mother, Mathilda Gage’s feminism. As we further learn about her life as a college student, a young newlywed, a mother, a wife, a sister, a daughter, and as a woman juggling all of it at once, you see certain aspects of the Wizard of Oz slowly take shape. It is not surprising that L. Frank Baum dedicated The Wizard of Oz to his wife.This is great book and a fantastic portrayal of someone who played such an important role in an iconic piece of our culture. Whether you have read the book or seen the movie (or both!), this novel will make you want to curl up and enjoy it all over again.
This is a unique story that plays with time, reality, history and love in a way that I have never experienced before. Ben meets Kate at a party one night and they fall in love. Kate confides in Ben that she has had the same continuous dream since childhood where becomes Amelia and is transported into Elizabethan England. As she and Ben’s relationship grows, her dream becomes more and more real and begins to take over her life. She begins to notice that her actions in the past seem to change her present. She starts to believe that she has these dreams because she is meant to change history in some way. As Kate's dream becomes more and more encompassing, Ben and her friends become more and more concerned for her. Ben is torn between staying with the woman he loves or detaching himself to save his well-being and future. Beautifully written, Sandra Newman creates twists and turns that are unpredictable, and she does an incredible job taking the reader on this time and reality-bending journey.
Kids and parents alike will be laughing at this relatable bedtime story. Rodrick is always procrastinating before going to bed (he even goes so far as to ask for a pony!), but when his parents give him Sleepy, a “goodnight buddy” meant to help him fall asleep, Rodrick is given a little taste of his own medicine.
As a daughter and a parent of young children, this book brings tears to my eyes every time I read it. It is a beautifully illustrated story of a mother and her son, whom she nicknames Lamb, through the passage of time. From Lamb's birth to his adulthood, you see how their relationship changes at different milestones in his life, yet no matter where they are in their lives, whether together or apart, they always have each other's loving hands to come home to. This may be a picture book but it could also be a great gift for any parent.
How do you tell the world you aren't who they think you are? George was born in a boy's body and doesn't know how to tell her family and best friend, that she is a girl. When George's 4th grade teacher tells her class that they will be putting on a production of Charlotte's Web, George is determined to get the part of Charlotte because she thinks it is a first step in revealing her true identity to the world and finally having an opportunity to be herself in public. Despite the odds stacked against her, with the help of her best friend Kelly, to whom George finally tells the truth, there is a chance that George's wish still might come true.
This book is a well-written glimpse into the difficult life of someone wanting to be their true self when the rest of the world sees them differently. From page 1 you can't help but root for George and her happiness. (Ages 8-12)
Do you know what your favorite color is? I bet you won't be so sure after reading Aaron Becker's new book "My Favorite Color", in which he uses simple squares, cutouts, and transparent, light-catching material to show all different shades of each color. Hold the book up to the light, and it creates a visual experience that is truly beautiful and unique. This may be a board book, but it is a gift that older children and adults will appreciate too.
Spork's mother is a spoon and his father is a fork making him... a spork! Unfortunately, the rest of the cutlery world snubs him for being different, despite all of Spork's efforts to fit in. Until one day, a new "thing" refuses to use either a spoon or a fork, and the only one who can save the world from this messy disaster is Spork!
This adorable story about finding your place in the world illustrates the importance of loving yourself and others, regardless of any differences. In addition to being a great read, this book is a nice way to start a conversation about diversity and embracing everyone's uniqueness.
Poor Pluto gets a phone call from NASA breaking the news to him that he is no longer a planet. Furious, Pluto sets out on a journey through the solar system to talk to Sun who surely has an explanation for this huge mistake. In true Adam Rex fashion, Pluto's journey is hilarious as you meet the eight other planets and learn a little about each one through their unique personalities. Whether you are interested in the solar system or not, this book is sure to entertain over and over again.
Here is a look into some of the innovative ways animal lovers from around the world have created structures in order to cohabitate with the local wildlife, instead of taking away their homes. From overpass bridges to underground tunnels, these ingenious solutions make you want to travel the world to see them in action. You can check one out right here in North Amherst!
Paired with beautiful illustrations, this book makes you believe that when we put thought and creativity into a problem, anything is possible.
Ignoring all his mother’s warnings, Pea accepts a dare to bring a leaf back from a maple tree just beyond the farm fence. Swept up by rain and wind, Pea gets lost and thus begins his adventure to get back home. Along the way, he meets Bee, a very witty bumblebee, and Jay, an abandoned blue jay who was never taught how to fly. As the three tackle many obstacles together, they also learn the true meaning of friendship.
Full of humor, Pea, Bee, and Jay is a fun read for kids and parents alike. With bright pictures and easy vocabulary, it is also a great introduction to the graphic novel format for early readers.
Bear and Smile are always together, but one day Bear wakes up and Smile is not there. Bear looks all over for him and with the help of his friends, Bear and Smile are finally reunited.
I love books that take a challenging topic such as melancholy and write about it in such a way that children can relate to it, and learn how to deal with it. Both the words and the illustrations in this sweet story do this perfectly.
Think a "U" and an "H" don't have anything in common? Think again!
The Alphabet's Alphabet is a fun and quirky book that looks at each letter and proves that no matter how different we all look, we are all part of one big family. With bright, fun illustrations and a graphic novel-style format, Harris goes letter by letter and shows us how each unique letter actually relates to another.
Aimed for slightly older children, this is also a great way for kids who are learning to write to perhaps see letters in a different way.
Not all the women in this book are household names, but their accomplishments are, nonetheless, worthy of being known. They come from all different parts of the world, and their contributions range from scientific discoveries to artistic pioneering. The illustrations are majestic and beautiful, and the complexity of these women's accomplishments are excellently pared down to one sentence. Whether a gift for a newborn or for an older toddler, this is a fantastic introduction to some inspiring and extraordinary women.
Charming and relatable, this is the first book in the new Phoebe G. Green series that will surely win you over.
In "Lunch Will Never Be the Same," Phoebe becomes fascinated by the new French girl in her class, Camille, who brings the strangest foods to school for lunch. Phoebe desperately wants to be invited over to Camille's house for dinner, but in the process of trying to make that happen, she alienates her best friend, Sage. As Phoebe struggles with trying to juggle her friendships, she learns how to make a new friend without losing her old one.
Phoebe G. Green is a great new character for any fan of Junie B. Jones or Ivy and Bean. She is sweet, vulnerable, and curious, and just like any third grader, she is starting to learn how to navigate those qualities in the real world.
Eye-catching illustrations, interesting facts, and cool interactive features make this a unique and fun first book to learn about dinosaurs. The perfect gift for any budding paleontologist!
Sadiq and his friends want to host an "Iftar," the meal that Muslims eat to break the fast during Ramadan, to earn money for a new school in Somalia. Excited about this project, Sadiq and his friends start planning their event, but for some reason, Zaza is not participating and Sadiq is getting frustrated. What do you do when you start working with one plan in mind, but your friend decides that they want to do something else? Sadiq must learn that it is ok for your friends to want different things, and that plans can sometimes be adapted to make everyone happy.
This short little book is great for beginner readers who are ready for more words on a page, without being overwhelmed. It is a great way to learn about other cultures and traditions with a loveable character who is also learning.
Monster loves Boy. So when Boy’s mom tells him that monsters don’t exist, Monster wants to prove her wrong. But when Monster comes out from under the bed and Boy starts to scream, Monster accidentally eats him. Realizing his mistake, Monster spits Boy out, but Boy has shrunk! How will Monster get Boy back to his normal size before Boy's parents see him?
Thus starts a beautiful new friendship and the first book of a new series sure to promise more heartwarming adventure and fun. This is a great read-aloud or a slightly more challenging beginner chapter book for budding readers.
This heartbreaking story had me hooked by the first page. Val and her family's merciless journey from Vermont to California, the only sanctuary state in the US, is gut-wrenching and sad, but also inspiring. Val's courage, as well as those she travels with and those who help her along the way, is so captivating that I could not put this book down.
This story takes place in 2032, but could easily describe a future world even earlier than that. If you like dystopian stories that are hidden in truth, read this book. If you like stories that will keep your heart racing until the very end, read this book. If you want to be inspired to bring social justice to our world, read this book. Or just take my word for it and read this book.
When Stars Are Scattered is the true story of Omar Mohamed, beautifully told and illustrated by Victoria Jamieson. It is the story of the years Omar and his brother Assad, who suffers from seizures and is non-verbal, spent in a Kenyan refugee camp hoping to one day be reunited with their mother and rehabilitated to America.
That hope is what drives Omar and everyone in the camp every day. Despite the hunger, poverty, and inequalities, there is an optimism and perseverance that drives the community to carry on. Throughout his story, Omar gets more and more frustrated and angry at his situation but never gives up because he must continue to protect his brother and his future, no matter where it takes him.
This is an eye-opening, first-hand account of life in a refugee camp with a wonderful cast of characters who make up Omar's tight-knit community. Omar and Victoria Jamieson's collaboration has created a story that is truly unforgettable and a must-read.
In The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling, Wai Chim walked a fine line of writing a difficult story about difficult issues without creating one that leaves the reader forlorn. On the contrary, she has written a heartfelt one that stays with you even after you've finsihed it. Although Chim does not sugar coat her descriptions of a person suffering from mental illness, its effects on family, or the immigrant experience, she has also created a loveable character in Anna who is coming into her own and who you can't help but root for.
We have all experienced it at least once in our life: being hangry (feeling hungry AND angry). And poor Wolfboy is getting hangrier and hangrier by the page as he desperately tries to find those rabbits! But why is he looking for them and what will he do once he finds them?!?
Author and illustrator Andy Harkman has worked on many animated movies and uses his gift for claymation to create Wolfboy and his quest for food. This is a relatable story, a fun read aloud, and a visual treat that will appeal to hangry kids of all ages.
Even if you have not read The Hate That U Give, you should still pick up this book. Then, after reading it, you should immediately pick up the former (Trust me, you won't want to read anything else anyway). If you have read The Hate That U Give, I can only imagine how curious you are to know the backstory of one of its influential characters.
Concrete Rose is the powerful prequel to Angie Thomas’ equally powerful first book, The Hate That U Give. It is the story of Maverick who finds himself thrown into fatherhood and is forced to reconsider following the path that is expected of him to become the leader of the King Lords, the gang his father was once in charge of. However, Maverick realizes that he wants to be there for his son and not risk spending his life behind bars like his own father. He is torn between the temptation of the easy money gained by selling drugs, the outside pressures to stay in the gang and doing what he knows is right for his and his family's future.
This book evokes the issues of gangs, drugs, poverty, and gun violence, and force you to think about them with an even more profound urgency.
If after this you want more powerful, thought-provoking stories about young Black men trying to branch out of the life that they were born into, I highly recommend reading Dear Martin and Dear Justyce by Nic Stone.
Indian Shoes is a collection of six short stories written by Cynthia Leitich Smith who is an author-curator for Heartdrum Books whose goal is to highlight Native American authors and their stories. And although these stories do give subtle insight into Native American culture, they are ultimately about a boy and his grandfather, Ray and Grandpa Halfmoon, who tackle different situations with both humor and love.
These stories are delightful and should be enjoyed by everyone. This book would make a great read-aloud for younger children and a nice wholesome read for older middle graders to curl up with.