Shelf Life

Our Shelf Life Blog features the latest recommendations chosen by library staff and volunteers.
Wed, 07/22/2015 - 5:17pm
The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud

Lucy Carlyle and Anthony Lockwood have been offered a chance to solve the mystery of The Screaming Staircase. If they complete their task, it will get their ghost detecting agency out of serious debt. If they fail, they will lose everything ... including their lives.

Wed, 07/22/2015 - 5:16pm
11 Experiments That Failed by Jenny Offill and Nancy Carpenter

11 Experiments That Failed is as hilarious as it is messy. Author Jenny Offill and artist Nancy Carpenter combine their talents as one young scientist stretches the limits of curiousity—and her mother's patience!

Offill tells her story through questions, hypotheses, and results, allowing the reader to fill in the narrative blanks. 

Question: Can a kid make it through the winter eating only snow and ketchup?

Hypothesis: Ketchup and snow are the only food groups a kid needs.

What Happened: Stomachache. Brain freeze. Love of ketchup wavering.

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 3:00am
NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

Joe Hill’s NOS4A2 follows the story of Vic McQueen, or "The Brat" as her father affectionately calls her, who happens to be a special little girl. While some children are fast readers, and others are good at a sport from a young age, Vic has the talent for finding lost things. Whether it’s a bracelet, a doll, or a missing photo, she can just hop on her bike, and her magic “covered bridge” takes her wherever it is that she needs to go. At first she takes her little trips to escape her volatile home life. However, over the course of her adventures, Vic soon discovers that she isn't the only person with such a talent—and not everyone with these abilities is nice.

Wed, 07/22/2015 - 1:27pm
Help for the Haunted by John Searles

Sylvie and her sister live far away from everybody else in an abandoned subdivision. Sylvie kind of likes it that way because of the gossip. There was even gossip before their parents were murdered, especially after the book came out about their ghost-busting ways. The stuff they kept in the basement. The exorcisms. The tell-all Help for the Haunted was full of way-too-personal details.

Mon, 07/14/2014 - 3:00am
Curses and Smoke: A Novel of Pompeii by Vicky Alvear Shecter

Lucia is furious with her father. As paterfamilias, head of his Roman household, gladiator-trainer Lucius has chosen her rich husband for her. Lucia fumes to herself that aged, grumpy Vitulus would do very well as a grandfather--but not as her bridegroom! Their loathsome, formal dinner together is cut short by the sounds of a cracking whip and the rumblings of the Earth. Somewhere nearby a slave is being punished, Mount Vesuvius is gathering strength to explode. Vicky Alvear Shecter’s romantic novel, Curses and Smoke, is set in Pompeii's dangerous last days when anything, even forbidden love, might be possible.

Wed, 07/22/2015 - 5:16pm
When the Beat Was Born by Laban Carrick Hill and Illustrated by Theodore Taylor

When the Beat Was Born, by Laban Carrick Hill, is a stunning example of just how wonderfully diverse the world of children's biographies is getting. This picture book offers a look into the life of DJ Kool Herc, one of the founders and innovators of hip-hop music.

Hill's words, when combined with Theodore Taylor III's crisp, colorful illustrations, depict how a boy named Clive left Kingston, Jamaica, for the Bronx. Clive wanted to be a DJ, slinging an arsenal of records and getting crowds amped up at parties.

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