Sara

As Children's and Young Adult Specialist, Sara reads upwards of 400 books for young readers each year. A lifelong bookworm, she's been a blogger, librarian, and bookseller. Her favorites could never been listed in their entirety, but include old favorites like Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta, My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George, and The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson. When she's not reading, Sara loves binging BBC dramas, exploring nature, and listening to true crime podcasts. Need the perfect book for a young reader or the young at heart? Just ask!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hope and Other Punch Lines Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781524766771
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Delacorte Press - May 7th, 2019

At nearly sixteen, Abbi Hope Goldstein is eager for her summer as an anonymous camp counselor. For most of her life, Abbi has carried the weight of being “Baby Hope,” the one-year old baby photographed on 9/11 being carried to safety as the first tower falls. Though her younger self is a symbol of hope for many, Abbi plans to fly under the radar and enjoy a carefree summer before telling her parents about her increasingly worrying cough, which she fears might be 9/11 Syndrome. Immediately recognized by fellow counselor Noah Stern and subsequently blackmailed into helping him interview other survivors captured in the Baby Hope photograph for a school newspaper story, Abbi and Noah grow increasingly close as they talk to survivors whose lives were deeply changed by the events of 9/11. Abbi, of course, is unaware that Noah has a hidden motivation for locating the photographed survivors.

Buxbaum handles the traumatic subject of 9/11 with care, sensitively depicting the personal devastation and poignantly illustrating how definitively one day can split a world – and countless lives - into before and after. Buxbaum’s novel continues her tradition of emotionally resonant and wryly humorous portrayals of young adults navigating trauma, acceptance, and connection.


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A Piglet Named Mercy Cover Image
By Kate DiCamillo, Chris Van Dusen (Illustrator)
$18.99
ISBN: 9780763677534
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Candlewick - April 2nd, 2019

In this picture book prequel, DiCamillo and Van Dusen create an origin story for their popular series star, the “porcine wonder” Mercy Watson! The Watsons are content with their staid lives as “ordinary people who did ordinary things in ordinary ways,” until “something different” happens. A piglet, comically sprung from the back of a Molson’s Pig Transport truck, arrives on Deckawoo Drive. Mercy’s arrival causes unease – unpredictability, including the arrival of an undeniably “darling” piglet, simply does not happen on Deckawoo Drive – but apprehension quickly gives way to wonder and joy. Van Dusen’s bright colors and bold characterization joyfully bring to life DiCamillo’s story of new and evolving familial love. Established fans of Deckawoo Drive will recognize memorable personalities from other stories, including curmudgeonly Eugenia Lincoln and her younger sister, Baby Lincoln.  Readers who have already enjoyed Mercy’s escapades will find more to love here, while newcomers will be thoroughly charmed, making this a natural stepping stone to the original chapter book series!


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Stand on the Sky Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781328557469
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HMH Books for Young Readers - March 5th, 2019

In Mongolia, 12-year old Aisulu chafes at the expectations of her Kazakh community, which confines her to girls’ work, despite her skill in math, science, and horseback riding: “In a land where girls are supposed to have hearts made of milk, Aisulu had a heart made of sky.” When Aisulu, worried, betrays her older brother Serik’s confidence about his persistent limp, a weakness in their nomadic community, he is sent for medical treatment outside their aul. Her brother and parents away, Aisulu’s guilt and sense of abandonment churns, spurring her rescue of an orphaned eaglet. It soon becomes clear that the eagle, Toktar, has chosen Aisulu: she is ‘burkitshi;’ an eagle hunter. Defying convention (women are not burkitshi in her small village), Aisulu and her eagle prepare to compete in the Eagle Festival, the monetary prize crucial to funding Serik’s necessary treatment. Aisulu’s shifting role within her community, her burgeoning relationship with Toktar, and her maturing sense of self are triumphant as she faces very real obstacles, both physical and mental. As she grows into being burkitshi, Aisulu also develops a deep and striking relationship with her uncle’s wife, a strange foreigner called the Fox Wife, who encourages Aisulu to be her true self. Bow gifts readers with a superlative celebration of sisterhood, femininity, and family


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One-Third Nerd Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781524718886
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Wendy Lamb Books - January 29th, 2019

Fifth grader Liam lives in a basement apartment with his mom, his two younger sisters (promising third grade scientist Dakota and second grade expert hugger, Izzy), and their accident-prone dog, Cupcake, a German shepherd. Cupcake’s bathroom issues push their cranky upstairs neighbor and landlord, Mr. Torpse, to an ultimatum: either cupcake or the family must go. Though their mother and father, who live separately, implore the siblings to accept reality, they refuse, each embarking on schemes (from diapers, monopoly money, to science competitions) to save Cupcake. Black and white spot illustrations by Ceulmans faithfully depict the unique personalities of each sibling and Liam’s friends, including shy Dodge and new kid, Moses, who Liam desperately wants to impress. Choldenko subtly emphasizes Liam's stress about being the oldest sibling, his parent’s divorce, and his insecurity about his family’s modest lifestyle. Liam’s quiet thoughtfulness, sense of responsibility, and relationship with his sisters, especially his patience and interest in their passions, from Izzy’s Down Syndrome social group, The Forty-Sevens, to Dakota’s impulsive experiments, let him shine just as brightly as his two extrovert sisters.


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The Forever Tree Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780553523928
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Crown Books for Young Readers - January 23rd, 2018

Inspired by a real tree at Camp Wandawega in Elkhorn, Wisconsin (click to view), debut picture book authors Surratt and Lukas share a story of a special tree so beloved by the animals and people that, when it's in danger of being cut down, they band together to give it a second life. The tree grows strong, and tall, and proud from a steady diet of animal laughter, singing, and dancing. A grandfather, noticing the magic of the tree, hangs a swing for his granddaughter, and soon more children and their families come to pump their legs and voices up to the sky. Years pass, until one spring after a long hard winter, the Tree does not wake up with budding leaves. Declared unsafe, those who love the tree work together to find a unique way to save it. Slater's expansive, colorful illustrations center the tree, depicting happy animals and a diverse cast of human visitors. A celebration of the wonder of nature and love, this uplifting story is sure to charm. 


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Through with the Zoo Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781250108142
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Feiwel & Friends - November 14th, 2017

Goat lives in a petting zoo, surrounded by wild children; understandably terrible when you're a goat who doesn't want hugs or anyone near. Dreaming of the big zoo and its shelter from grabby hands, Goat sets out to find privacy. Instead, he finds a clingy koala, a nosy elephant, monkeys that treat him like a jungle gym, and bears that cuddle him close. Stumbling upon a lone tree, Goat has more space than he'd ever dreamed of but wonders, is it too much space? Realizing that balance is key, Goat heads home with the awareness that solitude is in reach and that everyone needs a hug now and then. Grant's use of muted colors creates a softness that conveys a sense of safety for young readers (and parents!) who may be struggling to find balance between growing independence and the less frequent embraces of babyhood, then cuts the sweetness with Goat's big feelings of frustration, shock, and longing. Readers will quickly fall in love with this curmudgeonly goat!


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And The Ocean Was Our Sky Cover Image
By Patrick Ness, Rovina Cai (Illustrator)
$19.99
ISBN: 9780062860729
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperTeen - September 4th, 2018

“Whales and their precious prophecies. ‘We must do this. It has been prophesied.’ You relieve yourself of choice. Relieve yourself of consequences. Torture me, harm me, kill me. Do all these things, but do not pretend here is a must. That is how evil is rationalized.” In this beautifully illustrated retelling of Moby Dick, Patrick Ness tells the well-known tale from the point-of-view of Bathsheba, a whale whose entire existence is hunting the vicious humans that have murdered whales for millennia. Recounting her pod’s ill-fated hunt for the mythical killer of whales, Toby Wick, readers are treated to an exploration of the prejudices and assumptions we inherit, the stories we tell ourselves to justify othering and violence, and the far-reaching consequences of war. Timely and resonant, Bathsheba’s bloody tale will stay with readers long after the final pages: “For there are devils in the deep, but the worst are the ones we make.”


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Bridge of Clay (Signed Edition) Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780375845598
Availability: Special Order
Published: Knopf Books for Young Readers - October 9th, 2018

 

More than a decade after the publication of The Book Thief, Markus Zusak has returned with a new novel, this time an intergenerational tale of family, love, and loss. Defying categorization, Bridge of Clay is ostensibly about Clay Dunbar, one of five brothers, orphaned after the loss of their mother and abandonment by their father, but Clay’s story is part of something much bigger, spanning continents and decades. Told by Matthew, the eldest brother, the story introduces readers to the spirited brothers, tracing not only their lives and experiences, but that of their parents, whose own lives have shaped the boys: “Let me tell you about our brother. The fourth Dunbar boy named Clay. Everything happened to him. We were all of us changed through him.” Readers may need to adjust to Zusak’s shifts between past and present but will be rewarded when the seemingly disparate threads come together. Memorable and moving, Zusak’s Bridge of Clay will lodge itself firmly within readers’ hearts.


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Cheerful Chick Cover Image
By Martha Brockenbrough, Brian Won (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781338134186
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Arthur A. Levine Books - January 1st, 2019

Brockenbrough and Won introduce “a sunny chicken that loved to cheer,” whose persistence and self-awareness ultimately allow her to achieve her goals and find her squad. Chicken faces insecurity and disappointment as she receives a series of disappointing responses to “her lifelong dream / to build a barnyard cheering team.” One by one, the busy animals, including grumpy Mr. Pig, apathetic Ms. Cow, and tired Mr. Sheep, all meant to represent adults, rebuff Chicken, prompting her to ask: “Who am I if I cannot cheer?” Chicken’s realization that “She didn’t need those other folk - / Just wings and legs and lots of yolk,” is the key to her happy ending (and that of the entire barnyard). Brockenbrough’s use of rhyme creates an exceptional tempo for reading aloud and perfectly mimics the rhythm and pacing of a cheer. Won’s depiction of Chicken’s world is full of color, emotion, and nuance; through color and perspective, he skillfully shows that, even at Chicken’s lowest, she to find light, often within herself. Uplifting and encouraging in all the right ways!


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99 Percent Mine: A Novel Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780062439611
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - January 29th, 2019

In this sophomore novel from Sally Thorne, author of the wildly popular The Hating Game, tough as nails photographer Darcy Bennett and her twin brother inherit their grandmother's cottage with strict instructions to renovate the property and sell it. Worried her brother will ruin the cottage's charm, she stays in town to help with the renovation - and to reconnect with her brother's best friend and Darcy's childhood crush, Tom Valeska. Thorne is quickly becoming one of my favorite contemporary romance authors; she is excellent at writing witty dialogue and knows how to provide just the right about of tension between her romantic leads. I'm looking forward to a third book from Thorne and am excited about the characters she'll introduce readers to next!


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Tom's Midnight Garden Graphic Novel Cover Image
By Philippa Pearce, Edith (Illustrator)
$10.99
ISBN: 9780062696564
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Greenwillow Books - April 3rd, 2018

In this graphic novel adaptation of Pearce’s Carnegie Medal-winning novel, Tom's Midnight Garden, artist Edith evokes the same sense of wonder and discovery in a fresh format. Tom is disappointed to be sent to his Uncle Alan and Aunt Gwen’s gardenless, drab home for summer holiday while his younger brother Peter recovers from measles. His days are filled with eating and boredom, but his sleepless nights take an unexpected turn when Tom hears the curious grandfather clock, belonging to the peculiar landlady upstairs, strike for a thirteenth time. Creeping downstairs to investigate, Tom discovers an enchanted garden unbound by time that appears to him alone. Returning night after night, Tom develops a friendship with high-spirited Hatty, the only young garden inhabitant that can see him. Edith’s illustrations are atmospheric, drawing the reader ever deeper into both the magic and mystery of Tom’s nighttime time-traveling escapades. Tom’s letters to his brother Peter, in which he describes his unlikely adventures, and his discussions with his Uncle Alan about time travel and other fringe science, combine beautifully with Edith’s detailed depictions of Tom’s experiences, from Hatty’s age shifting each visit to the changing garden landscape. Charming and absolutely engrossing, Edith’s adaptation will allow a whole new generation of readers to discover Pearce’s timeless tale.


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The Poet X Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062662804
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperTeen - March 6th, 2018

Xiomara isn’t saintly like her virtuous, smart twin brother, Xavier. By 10th grade, she’s thick skinned, always ready to fend off unwelcome advances and unkind words, but her tough exterior hides a riot of questions and insecurities. As her confirmation nears, Xiomara begins to voice her uncertainties about the Catholic faith and patriarchal piety pressed upon her by her mother and the church. Both intrigued and disgusted by the advances of her peers and older men, she enters a secret relationship with her lab partner, a boy who seems interested in her for more than her curves. As her secrets build, she longs to share the truest parts of herself. She pours her innermost self into poems (and dreams of competing in poetry slams), a passion she’s certain her conservative, older Dominican parents will never accept. Acevedo use of verse gives Xiomara’s coming of age story an undeniable pull; her poetic style is characterized by a forcefully rhythmic, emotionally charged bluntness that fills faithful to Xiomara’s determination and strength. At its heart, Xiomara’s story is a complicated, sometimes painful exploration of love in its many forms, with Xiomara’s growing love for her true self reigning supreme.


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The Unlikely Story of a Pig in the City Cover Image
By Jodi Kendall, Pascal Campion (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062484536
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperCollins - October 3rd, 2017

Josie Schilling falls immediately in love with the tiny piglet her brother Tom rescues and brings home during Thanksgiving break. She recruits her friends to meet a New Year's Day deadline of convincing her family  that the pig, dubbed Hamlet, should stay permanently at the Schillings’ cramped, city home. It’s not long before Josie realizes that, while Hamlet is loved, the city isn’t where he truly belongs.The large and riotous Schilling family is full of quirks and idiosyncrasies, but it’s the growing understanding between the sisters that steals the show. Kendall’s treatment of the more mature concerns within Josie’s life, like her family’s financial worries, are done with a light and attentive hand. With nods to Charlotte’s Web, Kendall’s sweet story of family, friendship, and growing pains is sure to charm.


Staff Pick Badge
Baabwaa and Wooliam: A Tale of Literacy, Dental Hygiene, and Friendship Cover Image
By David Elliott, Melissa Sweet (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9780763660741
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Candlewick - September 12th, 2017

Baabwaa and Wooliam are two sedate sheep who enjoy knitting and reading, “which sounds kind of boring. But they like it.” When Wooliam suggests they venture out for a bit of the adventure he’s always reading about, neither expects to come face to face with what Wooliam announces is a “Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing.” His interest piqued by Wooliam’s comment, the wolf (whose poor dental hygiene does not go unnoted by the sheep) stops his shenanigans. Quickly determining that the wolf cannot read, an unlikely friendship is born, in which Wooliam teaches the wolf to read and Baabwaa knits him a new coat, as his current one is a disgrace. Elliott’s carefully placed details and asides, “When [the wolf] grinned, Baabwaa’s heart broke. His mother had never taught him to brush his teeth,” provide a dry humor that will delight readers. Coupled with Melissa Sweet’s colorful illustrations, also full of amusing details, this story of literacy and friendship will charm, as will the “rambunctious” wolf who is more than he first appears.


 

Signed Editions

 
 
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