New children’s and YA books coming in June



I Will Take a Nap! (An Elephant and Piggie Book) by Mo Willems

Dork Diaries 9: Tales From a Not-So-Dorky Drama Queen by Rachel Renee Russell

Billy’s Booger: A Memoir  by William Joyce

Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley

Proof of Forever by Lexa Hillyer

Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan

Proof of Forever by Lexa Hillyer

Crown of Three by J.D. Rinehart.


Picture books that help teach respect and empathy

Ryan Respects    Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun: Having the Courage to Be Who You Are    What If Everybody Did That?   Oddrey    The Sandwich Swap

A teacher in my school asked for help finding books for her 4 year-old son that would help him understand empathy, learn respect and being sensitive to other people’s feelings. I gave her these 5 titles along with some others. She said they were great and helped a lot.

1. Ryan Respects  2. Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun  3. What if Everybody Did That?  4. Oddrey  5. The Sandwich Swap

I read these with my 6 year-old daughter as well and thought they helped promote conversation around empathy as well.

“Grow: A Novel in Verse”

Growby Juanita Havill is a quick read about a community garden in an urban setting suitable for upper elementary/lower middle school-age students. 12 year-old Kate, who has a low self-image, teams up with adult Berneetha, a large, loud woman who decides to start a garden in an ugly vacant lot. People in the neighborhood seem suspicious of their good intentions and frown upon the ‘do-gooders’ as they start to clean up the land to prepare it.  Harlan, a “gangster-like” young teen pitches in and reveals more to his personality than meets the eye. Slowly, other residents of the neighborhood notice the positive changes and begin to offer help and contributions. A good book to be paired with Paul Fleischman’s ‘Seedfolk.” With only 159 pages, Havill manages to create an incongruous collection of characters who join together and plant hope in an unlikely plot.

“The Job”

One night while riding home in the car, I caught the middle of an NPR broadcast in which the author, Steve Osborne, was sharing a story from his time as an NYPD police officer. I thought Osborne entertaining enough with his “unmistakably authentic New York accent” (as stated on the book jacket), that I continued to sit in the car in my driveway long enough to finish out the segment. This printed collection of stories spans much of Osborne’s career, from his time in the Anti-Crime Unit during the 1990s, to his role as a first responder during 9/11, to his retirement from the Manhattan Gang Squad in 2003. While I found certain parts of his stories to be repetitive, and some may find themselves at odds with his politics and point of view, Obsorne proves himself a storyteller. The book as a whole provides an approachable, amusing, and at times moving account of a fascinating career. I would recommend it for any reader looking to learn a bit of police jargon, more about crime in New York City in the ‘80s and ‘90s, or with an interest in the professional and personal lives of those in law enforcement.

Murder on the Champs de Mars by Cara Black

black2As the latest novel in the Aimee Leduc mystery series opens, the reader finds Aimee with her baby, Chloe, hurrying to be ready for the baby’s christening. We meet the godparents: Martine, Aimee’s best friend, and Rene, Aimee’s partner at Leduc Detective Agency are godmother and godfather, respectively. However, she is thrown off guard when the baby’s father shows up (whom Aimee has not seen for 6 months), along with his current wife and threatens to sue for custody of Chloe.

Aimee’s latest case involves a gypsy informant for her now deceased father, whose son begs Aimee for help locating his mother, who was kidnapped from her hospital bed. He is soon killed in front of Aimee and the bodies begin to pile up. Aimee’s beliefs become threatened and her life endangered when she comes too close to the real truth of the case, while baby Chloe is happily minded by her sitter, unaware that her mother is in danger.

I think this novel is Ms. Black’s most ambitious to date, as she weaves the threads of Aimee’s father’s unsolved murder throughout Aimee’s investigation as she attempts to solve the case and discover who was responsible for her father’s death.