• Front Desk

    by Kelly Yang Year Published: 2018


    Though I’ve probably done this before, Kelly Yang’s Front Desk series is worth a revisit. Set in the 1980’s, Mia and her family are struggling after moving to America from China. As they are presented with an opportunity to run a motel, they discover that middle management is much more than they bargained for.  This five-book series follows the Tang family through their ups and downs. It is a great set of books that does not shy away from the real problems of racism, learning a new language, and all the other challenges of growing up.  I’d recommend it for fourth and fifth grade classes.  Check it out today!


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  • Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds

    by Paula Yoo Year Published: 2005


    The Summer Olympics are coming up, and May is Asian-American and Pacific Islander month! What better way to celebrate both that with a great story. This is one we used to do with small moments and making connections…several ELA adoptions ago, but I think it really resonates with a lot of our students who are always working to be better. From the publisher - “On a summer day in 1932, twelve-year-old Sammy Lee watched enviously as divers catapulted into the public swimming pool. Sammy desperately wanted to try diving himself, but the Korean American boy-like any person of color-was only allowed to use the pool one day a week. This discrimination did not weaken Sammy's newfound passion for diving, and soon he began a struggle between his dream of becoming an Olympic champion and his father's wish for him to become a doctor. Over sixteen years Sammy faced numerous challenges, but he overcame them all and fulfilled both his dream and his father's. In 1948 Dr. Sammy Lee dove into Olympic history. A matter of seconds after his final platform dive, the scores appeared and Sammy Lee became the first Asian American to win an Olympic gold medal.”  


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  • The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez

    by Adrianna Cuevas Year Published: 2020


    The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopezby Adrianna Cuevas took me by surprise.  I thought it was going to be a light-hearted book about being able to talk to animals and dealing with moving so much because the dad is in the Army.  It is NOT about that at all.  For those upper grade students who love fantasy and are looking for more fun (not in the sun) about eclipses, this one might be for them!  From the inside jacket- 


    "All Nestor Lopez wants is to live in one place for more than a few months and have dinner with his dad. After his dad's latest deployment, Nestor and his mother move to a new town to live with his grandmother. Nestor plans to lie low, and he definitely doesn't want anyone to find out his deepest secret: that he can talk to animals. But when animals in his town start disappearing, Nestor's grandmother becomes the prime suspect after she is spotted in the woods where they were last seen. As Nestor investigates the source of the disappearances, he learns that they are being seized by a mysterious creature whose power grows during the solar eclipse. And the next eclipse is jut around the corner...It's up to Nestor and his extraordinary ability, along with his new friends, to catch the culprit--and save a place he just might call home."  

    For those looking for a  fantasy/mystery with a little more maturity, we have two copies in the library.  Check them out today! 


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  • Malala Yousafzai

    by various Year Published:

    March is Women’s History Month, and Ramadan begins late this weekend.  Let’s learn a little more about both by studying a contemporary figure, Malala Yousafzai. We have several Malala biographies in our library! (BTW, our biography section is getting renovated! It’s going to be much easier for students to find them…coming soon!)

    For our younger students, I am Malala by Brad Meltzer and Malala’s Magic Pencil by Malala Yousafzai both give a gentle version of her life with a strong message about standing up for what’s right, even in when it’s really hard (obvious understatement is obvious). For our older students, we have a junior version of I Am Malala that gives more insight into this changemaker’s life, as well as a straightforward biography called Malala Yousafzai. Come see us in the library if you’d like to learn more about this inspirational woman! 


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  • I’m Trying to Love Germs

    by Bethany Barton Year Published: 2023


    This week’s book pick continues a fun series that students have had access to over the years! I’m Trying to Love Germs comes from Bethany Barton, who also wrote I’m Trying to Love Spiders, Give Bees a Chance, and I’m Trying to Love Math. In this latest edition, the narrator and a microbe are discussing the finer points of the hidden world of pathogens, viruses, bacteria, and the differences among all of them! This book is a great companion for any student that loves to learn about the world all around us, with a funny lens. Pick up this one, and then go read Do Not Lick This Book! to complete a hilarious (and slightly gross) set of books to read. Learn to accept they outnumber us and what we can do to help (we need some of them!) and hinder them (we don’t need some of them!) Check it out today!


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  • Love

    by Matt de la Peña and Loren Long Year Published: 2018


    Today’s book pick of the week is Love by Matt de la Peña and Loren Long.  Almost melancholic, the prose is spare and finds different ways to define love that sometimes go well beyond the constraints of a picture book. If you have students who need to see that love comes in different ways (spending time together, sharing memories, supporting each other), this book for K-5 (and grown ups too!)  demonstrates that love leaks its way into all the corners of your life, if you let it. It’s simple,and beautiful,  and perfect for all those seeking the comfort of love and support in a month filled with it. We have two copies in our library- check one out today! 💗


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  • Ben Yokoyama and the Cookie of Doom

    by Matthew A Swanson Year Published: 2021


    Surprise, surprise!  The book pick of the week is our ninth annual One Book, One School selection.  In Ben Yokoyama and the Cookie of Doom, eight year-old Ben loves all sorts of things, including noodles, architecture, comic books, and more!  When he reads his first fortune cookie (“Live each day like it’s your last”) Ben takes it seriously and makes a list as if it is his last day!  It’s a great blend of humor, friendship, and thinking about all that’s important. The illustrations are great as well! 🙂 All families and staff members will receive a copy on Friday!


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  • Invisible Things

    by Andy J. Pizza and Sophie Miller Year Published: 2023


    The book pick of the week for this week is Invisible Things by Andy J. Pizza and Sophie Miller.  This book is great for all readers as it talks about all the things we can’t see, from smells, to feelings, to ideas!  The illustrations are very clever and invite the reader to create their own as well.  Reminiscent of the Little Miss books from the early 1980s, but with a more sophisticated discussion of all around us that we cannot see, this is a fun AND thought-provoking book!  We have one copy in the LC– check it out today! 🙂


    Did I mention that it’s great for ALL ages?  Read it!


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  • The Lightening Theif

    by Rick Riordan Year Published: 2010


    2009’s Rebecca Caudill Young Reader’s Book Award Winner is back in the news because Disney+ has just released the first season of the EPIC journey of 12-year old Percy Jackson. In The Lightning Thief, Percy must clear his name as both forbidden child and would-be stealer of Zeus’s bolt of power? Sounds like too much fantasy? Set it in the modern day, and add a cross country romp, and you have a complex book about growing up and finding your true family.  Is it a perfect book?  Absolutely not.  Will your Harry Potter fans love it? You bet.  This is the first book in the first of several sets about the world of mythology Riordan has created. Read the book, watch the show (it’s beautiful, and true to the book) and enjoy! 🙂


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  • Avocado Asks: What Am I?

    by Momoko Abe Year Published: 2020


    This week’s book pick is a good one that works on so many levels! In Avocado Asks: What Am I? by Momoko Abe,  Avocado is feeling just fine in the fruit and veg aisle at the supermarket - until a young customer asks a difficult question: "Is an avocado a fruit or a vegetable?" Avocado doesn't know the answer either - and the question won't seem to go away!A brilliantly funny book about identity and being confident in your own skin - featuring the world's most popular superfood!”  (Publisher’s summary)

    This book doesn’t give anything away until the end and is a great book for thinking about identity with students at all levels.  We’re not just one thing– we have lots of different identities. This book is a Monarch-nominee, so we have three copies in the library– check one out today!

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  • The Skull

    by Jon Klassen Year Published: 2023


    It’s spooky season!  We are always trying to add to our spooky collection as our students want to have a lit shiver as they go through the fall transition! This week, we are looking at The Skull by Jon Klassen. In it, an young girl finds a skull

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  • Pizza! A Slice of History

    by Greg Pizzoli Year Published: 2022


    Book Pick of the Week: 

    Each week I will highlight a great book available in the LC. Feel free to come check them out as a read aloud!  

    In the United States, we eat 350 slices of pizza…every SECOND.  We’re obsessed with the combination of cheese, bread, and sauce. And why not? It’s delicious! This week’s book pick is Pizza! A Slice of History by Greg Pizzoli. This Monarch nominee is brightly illustrated and filled with great pizza trivia and knowledge that everyone can enjoy! So order your favorite (I just had one with fried eggs on it!) and enjoy this book. We have three copies– check one out today! :)

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  • Wild Robot Protects

    by Peter Brown Year Published: 2016


    Normally, I don’t do two chapter books in a row for the book of the week, but there were so many book birthdays recently that I had to! The third installment of the Wild Robot series is here! From the book jacket: 

    Life for Roz and the animals on their island is perfect. But when mysterious, dangerous waters surround the island, the animals are forced inland to fight over dwindling resources. 

    Roz calms and organizes the animals, but the poison tide takes a terrible toll on the island. So the wild robot sets out across the ocean, determined to stop the poison tide. During her journey, Roz encounters amazing ecological formations and incredible creatures, and she sees the devastation caused by the toxic waters. Can the wild robot save the ocean and her island and everything she loves? This thrilling third installment of the Wild Robot series takes readers on a new adventure through the ocean and to the frigid northern waters where Roz may have to make the ultimate sacrifice. “  For those of you that are new, The Wild Robot was our One Book, One School from two years ago!  We have three copies in the LC – check them out today! 

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  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians

    by Rick Riordan Year Published: 2005-present


    Percy Jackson is having a rough go of it.  At 12, he’s been kicked out of multiple schools, and faces a lot of challenges. Those all seem small when he’s attacked by Gorgons, Furies, and Minotaurs.  Turns out Percy is a demigod, the son of Poseidon and a mortal woman (his mom).  The first book in the series, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief is having a resurgence because the newest book is coming out on Tuesday, September 26th, and Disney+ is releasing season one of Percy Jackson and the Olympians on December 20th (Here’s the trailer.) Need some hilarious, sarcastic Greek tragedy in your life? Check out this series today!

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  • Our Friend Hedgehog: The Story of Us

    by Lauren Castillo Year Published: 2020


    Our Friend Hedgehog: The Story of Us by Lauren Castillo is a timeless tale of friendship and what it means to help each other out. My friends, if your heart has been missing the easy camaraderie of Frog and Toad, Bink and Gollie, or the 100-acre Wood,  this story will fill that niche. Set in the woods after a big storm, Hedgehog has been separated from her stuffy Mutty.  She decides to set out to find it and along the way meets a lovely cast of characters who are memorable in their own way.  It’s an easy chapter book that can easily be read in a primary classroom in a week. It’s also a Monarch Award nominee!  We have three copies of Our Friend Hedgehog– check one out today! 🙂

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  • Capybara is Friends with Everyone

    by Maddie Frost Year Published: 2022


    Our first book pick of the year is a Monarch Award nominee. Selected by librarians and teachers from across Illinois, the Monarch nominees target readers in kindergarten through third grade. And at the beginning of the year, whether students have been at Highlands since kindergarten or they’ve just arrived, friendship is on everyone’s mind. In Capybara is Friends with Everyone by Maddie Frost, we discover Capybara’s life is dedicated to his friends- all 4,382 of them. But when a new creature throws off his idea of friendship, will Capybara be able to make adjustments? Bright colorful pictures, a good sense of humor, and a fantastic message for ALL ages (you WILL recognize yourself or a friend in Capybara) make this a great beginning of the year read aloud for all classes. Since it’s a Monarch book, we have three copies! Come check one out today!

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