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The Real McCoys by Matthew Swanson

Grades 3-5

real mccoys

Fourth grader Moxie McCoy is a confident detective who is determined to catch whoever stole her school mascot, Eddie the Owl. Usually, she works together with her best friend who has recently moved away. She calls on her little brother Milton instead, and together the two of them interview Moxie’s classmates, who are all potential suspects. Can the two rival siblings come together and solve the case?

Thanks to School Library Journal for a review copy of this book.

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Sugar and Spice by Debbie Macomber

Ages 18+

sugar and spice

Jayne is a 27-year-old virgin children’s librarian who’s looking for a date for her upcoming high school reunion. She is shy and reads all kinds of books including one called How to Get A Man Interested In You.  She’s still single and needs a date for the reunion so she isn’t made fun of just like she was in high school. 

She met a guy at an art gallery recently but isn’t quite sure she’ll recognize him the next time she sees him because she wasn’t wearing her glasses the first time they met. 

Now, being a glasses-wearing children’s librarian myself I can relate quite a bit to Jayne. However, this character makes me mad because she is ashamed of who she is! I love my job and I love the fact that I always have my nose in a book. Should I socialize more? Sure. But curling up with a book is just about my favorite thing to do. 

Sugar and Spice is so cliche it’s crazy and it just bothers me to no end. I love Debbie Macomber’s books but this one just infuriated me. I loved the story, it’s just that this character needs to get her stuff together and read a book on confidence. 

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The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio G. Iturbe

Grades 9-12

librarian of auschwitzThis novel is based on the real story of Dita Kraus, who was a prisoner at Auschwitz during the Holocaust. Her Jewish leader, Freddy Hirsh, asks her to take charge of eight books that prisoners manage to sneak in with them.She became known as the “librarian of Auschwitz” because she made books available to the other prisoners no matter what the cost. Dita’s story is one of courage and hopefulness at one of the darkest periods in history.

Thanks to School Library Journal for a review copy of this book.

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One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

Grades 3-6

one crazy summer

Delphine and her two younger sisters are sent to visit their birth mother, Cecile, during the summer of 1968. They travel all the way from Brooklyn to Oakland, California and they’re not sure what to expect. When they arrive, they find that Cecile isn’t happy to have them visit, and wants them to attend the Black Panther summer camp. They came with one thing to accomplish: to get to know their mother better. However, Delphine fears this might be an impossible task, given how outlandish their mother is.

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Ms. Bixby’s Last Day by John David Anderson

Grades 3-6

ms bixby

Ms. Bixby announces to her sixth grade class that she has cancer and will be leaving before the end of the school year. Heartbroken, three of her students embark on a mission to visit her in the hospital and bring her all her favorite things. Their plan goes awry when they end up going on a school day instead of a Saturday like they’d planned. What’s more, bringing Ms. Bixby her favorite alcoholic drink is proving harder than they’d thought. This funny, heartwarming book is a true testament to the effect that great teachers have on their students.

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Blooming at the Texas Sunrise Motel by Kimberly Willis Holt

Grades 3-6

blooming

Twelve-year-old Stevie is forced to live with her distant grandfather after her parents are tragically killed. Her grandfather owns a dilapidated motel, and makes it clear he wants nothing to do with his granddaughter. Hurt and confused, Stevie befriends the motel’s guests and neighbors. They all come together and plant a flower garden to brighten the place up, even though her grandfather is dead set against it. Will Stevie ever win her grandfather over?