Staff Picks

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.  

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande

A prominent surgeon and journalist takes a clear-eyed look at aging and death. Modern medicine can perform miracles, but it is also only concerned with preserving life rather than dealing with end-of-life issues. Drawing on his own experiences observing and helping terminally ill patients, Gawande offers a timely account of how modern Americans cope with decline and mortality. Rather than simply inform patients about their options or tell them what to do, some doctors are choosing to offer guidance that helps patients make their own decisions regarding treatment options and o

Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

Back in 1987, it seems to fourteen-year-old June Elbus that only one person has ever truly understood her -- her uncle, the renowned painter Finn Weiss. Quirky and shy at school, and unwillingly distant from her once close older sister, June only feels like herself in Finn's company; he is her godfather, confidant, and best friend. So when he dies, far too young, of AIDS, the mysterious illness her family will barely talk about, June's world is turned upside down.

Hold Tight, Don't Let Go by Laura Rose Wagner

The 2010 earthquake in Port-au-Prince, Haiti changes Magdalie’s life forever. Her manman is crushed under fallen debris and killed instantly, while her cousin and closest friend Nadine is sent live with her father in Miami. Nadine, really more sister than cousin, promises to send for Magdalie as soon as she can get a Visa arranged. But, over a period of two years, Magdalie hears from Nadine less and less.


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