Staff Picks: Books
Staff-recommended reading from the
Leon Leyson was number 289, the youngest on the list. The list that would eventually mean life for more than a thousand Jews. Leon was Number 289 on Schindler's list. His powerful memoir, The Boy on the Wooden Box tells his story to the young people of today what it was like surviving the Holocaust. The reader sees this horrific time through the eyes of a child. His youthful perspective brings a powerful message of survival and humanity. Leon was only a boy during WWII, spending most of his years from 10-19 in Jewish ghettos, work, concentration and displaced persons camps. The hunger, loss, pain and suffering are real. Separated for months at a time from his family, Leon found the will to survive inside of him. If you are a reader at 40 or a child at 10 reading this book, you will feel the struggle. You will hold your breath as the family is forced to separate. You will wonder how evil can exist. You will wonder if Leon ever sees the faces again of his brothers. Share this book with your children or students.
I think the dedication page is its own recommendation for reading this book: "To my brothers, Tsalig and Hershel, and to all the sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, parents and grandparents who perished in the Holocaust. And to Oskar Schindler, whose noble actions did indeed save a "world entire." - Leon Leyson
The Boy on the Wooden Box
Time. So many clichés about time. Time goes so fast….if I only had more time….time heals….time flies….time is running out. Seriously friends....NOW is the TIME! Read The Fault in Our Stars! The movie comes out this June, and you need to connect with the characters before seeing it on the big screen. As a Teen Services staff member when a book comes out by John Green, it instantly becomes the top slot on my To Read list. TFIOS fills all of my expectations from this author. The story takes us along when Hazel, a teenager with terminal cancer, meets Augustus at a cancer support group for kids. The typical coming-of-age story, but with a terminal twist. You are instantly vested in the characters from the beginning. I read this book quickly, trying to get myself to the happy ending I was sure was coming. I laughed when they laughed and cried when they cried. Take time to read it for yourself.
Are you already a John Green fan? Perhaps you've already read this book. It is not new, it was published in 2012. If you're a teen, tell your parents why they should read it. If you're an adult, find a teenager to recommend it to. Then join us at the Central Library on Tuesday, June 3 at 6:30 to celebrate An Abundance of John Green. You'll have the chance to record your own video about why someone else should read any of John Green's books! Check out the event page for more info, a Nerdfighter video and the TFIOS movie trailer!
The Fault in our Stars
All a book needs is the word pizza, and it will be on my list to read. The author/illustrator duo from Dragons Love Tacos is back with another scrumptious tale; this time involving a funny raccoon that shares my love of pizza. In Secret Pizza Party we follow a raccoon on his quest to eat his favorite food. Raccoon loves pizza so much, he thinks it could be art, I totally agree. I recently had the chance to read this book in a local 2nd grade classroom. They loved it! Broom-bots, secret handshakes, parties, pizza and fun, all wrapped up in a great book. Lots of hands went up after the reading with eager children waiting to tell me that they too love pizza. One insightful reader even said the book had a “Dick Tracy” feel. Check it out, grab a pizza and enjoy!
Secret Pizza Party
This book is the story of Sam Lewis and the events that unfold during the 33 Minutes until Morgan Sturtz kicks his butt at recess (and then around 60 more minutes of aftermath). The author speaks directly to his tween audience, and gets it right. The voice of middle school is heard loud and clear over food fights, fire alarms and friendships. It’s funny, fast paced, heart-warming and breaking all at once. It’s the perfect book to recommend to kids that are starting to outgrow the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. The lessons in 33 Minutes on friendship and staying true to one’s self will stick with the reader long after the worst day of Sam’s life and his middle school years have passed. I think it would be awesome to have a teacher like Ms. Z who can say: “This sucks….Wait. Be patient. You’re not going to be here forever. And in the meantime, even though you and this place don’t fit together so great all the time, be you.” Now, a sigh of relief from me that middle school has passed and that authors like Todd Hasak-Lowy are writing realistic books for tweens to read during the transition of middle school. Meet Todd at Bookbug in Kalamazoo on May 5 at 4 pm!