• 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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  • Last Chance

    by Maizy Chen Year Published: 2022


    As this month we are focusing on Asian-American and Pacific Islanders, there are some wonderful books in our library that reflect our student population and those cultures.  Often we see books where students feel like they are not sure where they belong.  That’s the theme of Maizy Chen’s Last Chance. The book follows Maizy as she spends a summer with her grandparents in Last Chance, Minnesota.  This story has just about everything– family relationships, a great explanation of some history, laugh out loud moments, and tears. If you enjoyed When You Trap a TIger, you will be rooting for Maizy!  It is on the Battle List for next year, so get it now! We have one copy in the LC (for now) – check it out!

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  • The Crossover

    by Kwame Alexander Year Published: 2014


    How do you hype poetry for intermediate students and get them engaged? Make it about sports and create a Disney+ show about it, of course! In The Crossover, twin brothers Josh and Jordan love basketball, and are pretty good at it too. Challenges on and off the court bring the family into sharp focus- what is most important? Can we find ways to get along? This Newbery award winner is a no-look slam dunk of a book that begs to be read. We have three copies in the LC– please add it to your novel-in-verse collection today!

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  • Other Words for Home

    by Jasmine Warga’s Year Published: 2019


    On the other side of National Poetry Month are novels-in-verse.  Beloved by teachers for their turn of phrase, beloved by students for their short pages and chapters, novels-in-verse capture us in unique ways.  Local author (and Newbery Honor Winner) Jasmine Warga’s stunning Other Words for Home  follows a family separated by the Syrian civil war. In the United States, Jude and her mother have arrived in Cincinnati, where America is a surprise and a challenge. Will Jude be able to find her way in this new world while still being connected to her father and brother halfway across the world? We have two copies of this book in the library– check one out today, and happy Poetry Month!

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  • Hello Earth! Poems to Our Planet

    by Joyce Sidman Year Published: 2021


    In an ode to National Poetry Month and to Earth Day,  Hello Earth! Poems to Our Planet is a great combination of both. Focusing on earth science, the poems are a conversation between children and the planet itself as it explains plate tectonics, tides, and more! We have one copy– check it out today!

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  • To celebrate Ramadan

    by various Year Published:


    To celebrate Ramadan, a few Highlands families came together to create a display about Ramadan in the LC-  it looks great!  Our book pick of the week is a Monarch book about a girl who is torn between making it to school for picture day and celebrating Eid. “Amira is excited because tomorrow is Eid with special clothes, treats, gifts, and a morning party at her mosque; but then she realizes that she is going to miss class picture day at school, something she was also looking forward to--so Amira has to figure out a way to be in two places at once.”   We have three copies- check them out today!

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  • Fight of the Century: Alice Paul Battles Woodrow Wilson for the Vote

    by Barb Rosenstock Year Published: 2020


    It’s Women’s History Month! This month, we will feature books that bring amazing stories to life. This week, we are looking at Fight of the Century: Alice Paul Battles Woodrow Wilson for the Vote by Barb Rosenstock. Alice Paul and the suffragist movement worked tirelessly to secure voting rights for women in the early 1900’s.  Told in a pugilistic style, the right to vote for women didn’t happen in a simple way. It took a lot of courage, work, and understanding of all sides to make it happen.  Rosenstock takes the topic and shows how it was a battle!  We have three copies- check on out today!

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  • Maya-Lin

    by Jeanne Walker Harvey Year Published: 2017


    It’s Women’s History Month! This month, we will feature books that bring amazing stories to life. This week, it’s all about the artist and architect who designed the Vietnam War Memorial.  At just 21 years old, Maya Lin’s idea for the project was selected among thousands of entries. Her steadfast nature and resiliency over the challenges of creating a memorial are highlights of Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines by Jeanne Walker Harvey. This is a quiet story for thinking about how we honor those we have lost and how to stick to what you believe in.  We have one copy of this great picture book- check it out today!

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  • Between the Lines

    by Sandra Neil Wallace Year Published: 2018

    Quick! How many people can you name that had an NFL career and also became a famous artist of their time?  If you didn’t come up with Ernie Barnes, then you should read Between the Lines: How Ernie Barnes went from the football field to the Art Gallery by Sandra Neil Wallace. Exquisitely illustrated by Bryan Collier, it follows the path of Ernie Barnes, who grew up in the segregated South of the 1950s, sought art as a refuge, and shared the beauty and tragedy of sports and life through his distinct style of painting.  As a former Bluestem book, I really enjoyed how this book shows that you can love sports and art, which is not something that our society always communicates well. This book is a great read aloud for grades 2-5. Come check it out today!

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  • Little Melba and Her Big Trombone

    by Katheryn Russell-Brown Year Published: 2014


    This month, we will be highlighting books in honor of African-American History month.  

    I love finding stories of people that may be relatively unknown to a larger community, but had a huge impact in their sphere of influence. Such is the case with Melba Liston, jazz trombone player and composer. Her six-decade music career started when she was only seven years old!  A great read-aloud, with pictures by the incomparable Frank Morrison (R-E-S-P-E-C-T, Let the Children March), this book is great for all ages. Check it out today!

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  • Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down

    by Andrea Pinkney Year Published: 2010


    This month, we will be highlighting books in honor of African-American History month.  This week, Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down remembers the Woolworth lunch counter sit-ins in February of 1960. Written by Andrea Pinkney and illustrated by Brian Pinkney, it is a great example of how change can start with a small and determined group. It was a Bluestem book a few years ago and is an excellent read aloud for grades 3-5. We have two copies of the book- check one out today!

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  • The Map Trap

    by Andrew Clements Year Published: 2014


    No surprise- the book pick of the week is The Map Trap by Andrew Clements. It follows the story of Alton, a boy who’s been surrounded by and obsessed with maps his entire life. When some of his more controversial maps fall into the wrong hands, it’s up to Alton to decide how he should deal with it.  A classic Andrew Clements tale, with humor and gentle lessons about growing up. You should have a copy– spend an hour or two with it this weekend!

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  • Boardwalk Babies

    by Marissa Moss Year Published: 2021


    This week’s pick is a Battle of the Books picture book!  I think it’s a great book for students of all ages, but probably would be best for 3rd-5th graders.  Boardwalk Babies, by Marissa Moss, tells one of those stories of history that I never knew about.  I don’t want to spoil too much, but it tells about how a young doctor used the World’s Fair to bring attention to premature babies and how we could better take care of them.  If you are looking for an uplifting story about believing in change and science, then please check out this book.  I think your students would be fascinated by it and it could lead to all sorts of discussions about inventions and getting your voice heard. We have three copies– check one out today!

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