Staff Picks

The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick

In this brilliant new novel from Printz-award winner Marcus Sedgwick, four short stories center on the theme of spirals. The spiral shape is fascinating for its repetition in history and nature, and for its perfect mathematical ratios. In the prehistoric era, a young girl draws the spiral shape in the dirt and on the wall of a cave to create magic, recognizing the form as one found in snail shells and fern fronds. The same form proves ominous for an 18th century young woman who is accused of witchcraft.

Redeployment by Phil Klay

An award-winning, powerful collection of stories that tackle the many difficult struggles (moral, psychological and physical) our American soldiers faced during deployment and upon their return home post-war. An affecting, strong addition to the unique body of literature centering around the military experience in Iraq and  Afghanistan. 

Fiction KLAY, P.

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson

While we know the story—a German submarine sunk the large cruise ship Lusitania on May 7, 1915 leaving 1,198 people dead—there are still many questions being asked about it one hundred years later. Did the British Navy know about the submarine and still allow the ship to sail near it unescorted? Were there munitions on board the Lusitania? Why did it take only 18 minutes to sink?

Tesla's Attic by Neal Shusterman

Nick’s family moves to Colorado Springs, into a new home.  The attic is full of clutter and Nick decides to have a garage sale to make space for a bedroom.  After he sells all the items, Nick learns they have strange powers and a sinister group of scientists wants them back.  It’s up to Nick and his friends to get the stuff out of the wrong hands so they can figure out exactly what power this mismatched pile of junk holds.

Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong by Prudence Shen

Charlie’s girlfriend, the head of the cheerleading squad, just broke up with him. His best friend, Nate, is angry that the funding for the robotics teams’ competition might instead go to new cheerleading uniforms. Caught between the two warring sides, Charlie finds himself unwillingly running for class president, getting into fights, and sneaking out of his house on Thanksgiving in an attempt to make peace. 

Graphic Novel SHEN

Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor by Jon Scieszka

Frank and his friend Watson are working in Frank’s grandfather’s workshop, trying to build a robot for their science experiment.  They create two robots they name Klink and Klank. Klink can think, but Klank, not so much.  Frank’s archenemy, T. Edison comes to the workshop to try to steal Frank’s ideas and plants a robotic bug to spy on Frank.  

Dreamwood by Heather Mackey

Lucy’s father is a ghostologist, but there’s not much call for that anymore.  With the advent of electric lights (which ghosts hate,) the ghosts have died out or gone away.  So he parked her at a prim boarding school and set off for the Pacific Northwest on a new venture.  And soon, Lucy runs off to follow him.  It turns out that the logging business is in a tailspin due to an epidemic called “rust” that is destroying the trees.  When Lucy arrives in the town where her father should be, she finds that he’s missing.

Yes, And: How Improvisation Reverses "No, But" Thinking and Improves Creativity and Collaboration by Kelly Leonard and Tom Yorton

Chicago’s Second City is known for its amazing improv, quirky takes on current events and for launching the careers of such luminaries as Tina Fey and Stephen Colbert.  But a lesser known aspect of its mission has been its work with teaching creativity and emotional intelligence to corporate clients over the past two decades via improv techniques.  By embracing authenticity and the freedom to fail, they teach how to become a more compelling leader and a more collaborative follower.  But aside from all that serious stuff, this is a fun read, full of interesting anecdotes, artful insights and humor.

Lost & Found by Brooke Davis

Seven-year-old Millie has a slight obsession with death and keeps a list of dead things in her life, one of the recent entries being “my dad.” Unable to deal with Millie, her mother tells her to wait for a moment in the underwear section of a department store and never returns. Millie, desperate to find her mother (she leaves notes saying “IN HERE MUM” everywhere she goes), tugs on the heartstrings of 80-somethings Karl the Touch Typist, a recent nursing home escapee, and Agatha Panthea, her grumpy, recluse neighbor.

Galaxy's Most Wanted by John Kloepfer

Kevin, Warner, Tara, and TJ are at the best STEM summer camp in America, where they invent the Galactascope.   As a team known as the Extraordinary Terrestrials, they point the Galactascope towards outer space hoping to make contact with aliens.  It works!! Alien Mim arrives on planet Earth all cute with his purple fur, four eyes, four arms and two legs.  He doesn’t stay cute for very long.  

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