Title: Eraser

  • Author(s): Anna Kang
  • Illustrator(s): Christopher Weyant
  • Ages: 5-8
  • ©2018 Two Lions
  • Juv PicBk Kang, Anna
What's the Story?

In Eraser by Anna Kang, the school supplies work together as a team to produce amazing work. Pencil, tape, glue, paper, and scissors all contribute creatively to the upcoming Science Fair Project. But there’s one school supply who doesn’t feel included: eraser. Eraser feels despondent that she only works as a part of the cleaning crew and never does any creative work. When she decides to run away, she and her team come to realize just how needed she is! This picture book tells a delightful story about self-acceptance and second chances.

Title: Satellite Space Mission The Magic School Bus Rides Again Series

  • Author: AnnMarie Anderson
  • Ages: 7-10
  • ©2018 Scholastic, Inc.
  • Juv Step-up Anderson, AnnMarie
What's the Story?

The Friz TV broadcast network is off the air due to a satellite problem. Therefore, Professor Frizzle takes her class on yet another field trip via the Magic School Bus. Her class must journey on a mission into space to repair the satellite or else the Frizzle Cup Games will not be seen on TV. In the meantime, space junk knocks out power to their engines and the repairs to the satellite still have to be made. While in space, Keesha tries to take the perfect picture for her astronaut camp application and jeopardizes repairing the satellite. Can they work together as a team, to make the necessary repairs, and return safely back to Earth?

Title: Finding Esme

  • Author(s): Suzanne Crowley
  • Ages: 8 to 11
  • ©2018 Greenwillow Books
  • Juv Crowley, Suzanne
What's the Story?

12-year-old Esme lives in rural Texas on a struggling peach farm with her younger brother, grandmother and mother. Her father has a habit of leaving for months at a time with no word of where he is. Esme’s mother is usually quite removed from her children and her beloved grandfather has recently died, so Esme looks to her grandmother for guidance. The story is set sometime in the past, probably the 1960’s. Esme finds solace on a hill near their farmhouse where her grandfather died. After a rain she discovered a partially uncovered bone. She and her friend work secretly at night to uncover the rest of what they suspect to be a dinosaur. Grandmother Bee has a gift of finding lost objects and Esme is realizing that she may have inherited this gift. According to the author, the story is inspired by ghost stories from 1800s Texas folktales so there is the supernatural element involved with the real life struggles the family experiences in trying to hold on to the farm and keep the family together. I enjoyed the book but I feel the explanation of why the father continues to leave home is a bit weak and doesn’t really fit with the rest of the storyline. Aside from that, I think children who like a not-too-scary story will enjoy reading Finding Esme.

Title: Estranged

  • Author(s): Ethan M. Aldridge
  • Illustrator(s): Ethan M. Aldridge
  • Ages: 9-11
  • ©2018 Harper
  • Juv Graphic Estranged
What's the Story?

Edmund is a changeling, a magical being made to look exactly like the human child he was swapped with at birth. Edmund lives in the human world, while the real human, known only as the Human Childe, lives among the fae (the magical creatures) in the world below. When the evil sorceress Hawthorne comes back for revenge, the Human Childe and his trusty sidekick Whick barely escape with their lives and end up on Edmund’s doorstep. The two must team up or face the destruction of both their worlds! Read this exciting graphic novel to learn what happens. Illustrated with beautiful watercolor paintings, this epic adventure will delight fantasy novel fans.

Title: Mae Among the Stars

  • Author(s): Roda Ahmed
  • Illustrator(s): Stasia Burrington
  • Ages: 4 - 8
  • ©2018 Harper
  • Juv Step-Up, Elliott, Rebecca
What's the Story?

This book first caught my attention because of its colorful cover. Then, when I saw that it was about space, I immediately wanted to read it. Next summer the Summer Reading Program is “A Universe of Stories” a space theme in conjunction with the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo Moon Landing. I think this book would be an excellent choice to share with children along with a story craft. The book begins with Mae as a small child dreaming of space. In school, she has to complete an assignment about what she wants to be when she grows up. She tells her parents that she wants to see Earth from space. They encourage her to become an astronaut with a refrain that is repeated throughout the book. “If you can dream it, if you believe it and work hard for it, anything is possible.” There is even a beautiful page of Mae and her Mother in a library searching for books on space. However; when she gives her report at school, the kids start laughing. The teacher asks her if she would like to be a nurse instead. Mae feels very disappointed and the illustrator uses only blue to color the next few pages. Of course, Mom and Dad encourage her to pursue her dreams, and many colors return to the pages. Along with the colors is the refrain about dreaming, believing, and working. The story ends with her going into space and waving to her Mom and Dad. The last page of the book gives a more complete biography of her life. Some of the more interesting facts are listed below.  Flew on Endeavor Mission STS-47  First African American woman in space  Acted in Star Trek – The Next Generation  Heads the Jemison Group and the Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence  Speaks fluent Russian, Japanese, and Swahili

Title: The World of Weird Animals: Cute as an Axolotl

  • Author(s): Jess Keating
  • Illustrator(s): David DeGrand
  • Ages: 6-9
  • @2018 Alfred A. Knopf
  • Juv 590 K25c
What's the Story?

Do your kids axolotl questions about cute animals? Well, this book will answer many of those questions! The first animal you see is the cute axolotl (AX-uh-lot-ull). The book tells you more general information about the animal, including: species name, size, diet, habitats, and predators. It does the same with other animals such as the quokka, fairy penguin, pygmy hippopotamus, dwarf flying squirrel, and many more. Every page has bright colors, a large photograph of the animal, and larger words that are easy to read. It has a plethora of fun facts about these cute animals, which can be used in reports as well as for fun casual reading. There is a small section about the “Science of Cute,” where scientists try to define what “cute” is and that it might actually be a survival strategy. In the back, a dictionary is provided to explain some harder vocabulary that was used in the book, as well as some recommendations from the same book series. So, if you love cute animals and want to learn more, you should check out this book! It’s “olotl” fun!

For Parents and Teachers