Tupelo Landing Books by Sheila Turnage

ThreeTimesAnother series — just two books so far — I heartily recommend Sheila Turnage’s Tupelo Landing series (grades 4-6). In Three Times Lucky, a murder comes to tiny Tupelo Landing, N.C., and prompts our protagonist Moses LoBeau (aka Mo) to set up the Desperado Detective Agency with her best friend Dale Earnhardt Johnson III. The crime hits very close to home for our young detectives, but not so close that one of the main characters is the villain.

GhostsTupeloIn The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing, the newest book, the murder took places years ago, so our town of quirky characters is somewhat safe, though each person is not without his or her secrets. You’ll love all of people in Tupelo Landing and the adventures Mo and Dale have in their tiny town.

–Marie Drucker, Children’s Librarian

“Jinx” and “Jinx’s Magic” by Sage Blackwood

Kids who like fantasy series will love reading these books by Sage Blackwood — and will certainly look forward to the next book in the series.jinx

In the first book, we meet Jinx — an orphan who is about to be left in the Urwald (a large primeval forest) to die but instead is rescued by the wizard Simon. He gradually becomes the Simon’s apprentice and learns that the power he draws on to work his magic is different than that Simon – and other wizards — use. In the course of the story, Jinx meets two young people (Reven, a would-be king, and Elfwyn, a would-be witch) who are making their way (separately at first) through the Urwald to rid themselves of curses. They end up at the house of an evil wizard who attempts to use them to capture Simon. Simon saves Jinx while Jinx in his way saves Simon.jinxmagic

Jinx’s Magic picks up where we left off – with the Jinx, Reven, Elfwyn, and Simon traveling again. The group separates midway and we follow Jinx on his quest to find out more about knowledge and power. Jinx is so very brave and determined. And he’s often a bit confused and overwhelmed too. I think that’s why I like him so much. By the end of Jinx’s Magic, all of the players are in place for what promises to be a climactic battle between fire and ice, life and death, in the next book.

2014 Award Winners in Children’s Books

The American Library Association has selected its annual award winners for the best of the best children’s books. Here’s a sample of some of the books they selected. Come to the library to check them out! The complete list of winners can be found here.

Newbery Award: Outstanding Contribution to Children’s LiteratureFloraUlysses

Winner: Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo
Honor Books: Doll Bones by Holly Black; The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes; One Came Home by Amy Timberlake; and Paperboy by Vince Vawter.

LocomotiveCaldecott Award: Most Distinguished American Picture Book for Children

Winner: Locomotive by Brian Floca
Honor Books: Journey by Aaron Becker; Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle; and Mr. Wuffles by David Eisner.

Geisel Award: Outstanding Book for Beginning ReadersWatermelon

Winner: The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli
Honor Books: Ball by Mary Sullivan; A Big Guy Took My Ball! by Mo Willems; and Penny and Her Marble by Kevin Henkes.

 Sibert Award: Most Distinguished Informational Book for ChildrenParrots

Winner: Parrots Over Puerto Rico by Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trumbore
Honor Books: A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin written by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet; Look Up! Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard written and illustrated by Annette LeBlanc Cate; Locomotive written and illustrated by Brian Floca; and The Mad Potter: George E. Ohr, Eccentric Genius written by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan.

Reviewers Pick the Best Books of 2013

It’s hard to believe a whole year has passed since we last posted “Best of” lists, but 2014 is here. Book reviewers are making their lists and we’ve gathered a few. Compare your lists to theirs and come to the library to find what you’ve missed.


Adult Book Lists

Children’s and YA Book Lists



“Fortunately, the Milk” by Neil Gaiman

TheMilkKids, be prepared. You will have to read Neil Gaiman’s Fortunately, the Milk a few times — just for the sheer fun of it and to figure out all the time travel. Fortunately, the Milk tells the story of a dad who goes out for a carton of milk and returns “ages and ages” later with quite a story regarding his delay. I am now an immense fan of time-traveling stegosauri and hope to encounter one some day. Yes, the dad’s the story is ridiculous; that’s why it’s so much fun. Best yet, there are vampires, but no “handsome, misunderstood” ones. And that’s probably how it should be. (Grades 3-6 and adults who like to smile.)

“Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great,” by Bob Shea

Unicorn Poor Goat. Ever since Unicorn moved into his neighborhood, he’s been ignored. After all, Unicorn can make it rain cupcakes! But even Unicorn can’t do some things that only Goats can do (like make cheese). And the two learn that their differences make them unique and that together they make quite an amazing pair. Great picture book with a message that doesn’t preach, but instead celebrates each individual.

Septimus Heap Series by Angie Sage


Angie Sage’s Septimus Heap is easily one of my favorite fantasy series. And now that the seventh and last book is out, you can read all the books one right after another and not have to wait for the next adventure to come out.

I probably can’t do the series justice in a small post like this, but here are the basics: Septimus is the 7th son of a 7th son of a 7th son and, therefore, highly  magical. In Magyk, he discovers who he his and who his family is, including the heir to the kingdom, Princess Jenna. In Flyte, he finds his wonderful dragon, Spit Fyre. In Physik, he travels back in time and learns the secrets of alchemy. In Queste, he undergoes one of the most difficult trials of any young magician. In Syren, he and his companions are stranded on a strange island and must find a way to rescue themselves and a mysterious young woman. In Darke, he must help save the wizard tower from destructive forces. And, finally, in Fyre, all the threads of these marvelous stories come together and Septimus realizes his fate.

I plan to read all seven books again soon. That’s how much I like them.


“Henry and the Cannons” by Don Brown

HenryCannonsDo you know the story of Henry Knox? In 1775, he took on the nearly impossible task of bringing 59 cannons from Fort Ticonderoga in upstate New York all the way to Boston — traveling over 300 miles across lakes, forests, and mountains during a bitter winter! — to help General George Washington chase the British army out to Boston. In Don Brown’s thrilling Henry and the Cannons, you’ll see how difficult the trip was and all the obstacles Henry overcame. (Illustrated non-fiction, grades 1-4.)

“Navigating Early” by Clare Vanderpool

NavigatingTwo young boys set out on a quest in this beautifully crafted book by Clare Vanderpool. Early Auden is a little strange, but he knows certain things: like, his brother didn’t die in the war, the numbers of Pi tell a story, and a trek through the Maine woods will prove both. Jack Baker, meanwhile, is alone and adrift, having recently been uprooted from his native Kansas to an all-boys school on the Maine coast. He is mourning the loss of his mother, missing his naval captain father, and trying to find his way. Early and Jack experience an adventure to last a lifetime, as they outwit pirates, get chased by a bear, and solve some mysteries on their own. Navigating Early is destined to be a classic. Clare Vanderpool is also the author of the Newbery Medal-winning book Moon Over Manifest. For kids 10 years old and up.

2013 Award Winners in Children’s Books

Today, the American Library Association named the annual award winners for best children’s books. Here’s a sample of some of the books they selected. Come to the library to check them out!

Newbery Award: Outstanding Contribution to Children’s LiteratureIvanBig

Winner: The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
Honor books: Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz; Bomb: The Race to Build — and Steal — the Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin; and Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage.

NotHatCaldecott Award: Most Distinguished American Picture Book for Children

Winner: This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen
Honor books: Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Peter Brown; Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen;
Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger; One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo, illustrated by David Small; and Sleep Like a Tiger by Mary Logue, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski.

Geisel Award: Outstanding Book for Beginning ReadersUpTallBig

Winner: Up, Tall, and High by Ethan Long
Honor Books: Let’s Go for a Drive by Mo Willems; Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin, created and illustrated by James Dean; and Rabbit and Robot: The Sleepover by Cece Bell.

Bomb2Sibert Award: Most Distinguished Informational Book for Children

Winner: Bomb: The Race to Build — and Steal — the Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin
Honor Books: Electric Ben: The Amazing Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin by Robert Byrd; Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95 by Phillip M. Hoose; and Titanic: Voices from the Disaster by Deborah Hopkinson.

The complete list of winners can be found here.