Category Archives: Articles

Freedom to Read

BBW-logo122hSince 1982, Banned Books Week has been an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Held at the end of each September, it brings together people from all corners of the literary world and gives them a chance to talk about the harm that censorship causes, the reasons books get banned, and why it’s important to read and talk about them despite objection. Where some people challenge books they see as problematic and in need of removal, often those very same books can be used as lessons and talking points for things that happen in everyday life that aren’t always easy to talk about. It is vital that we all protect the freedom to read.

Throughout the week, libraries and schools across the United States have programs focused on highlighting books that have been challenged, and doing their best to make them more available to everyone. What’s important to know about Banned Books Week that it’s about giving the reader the choice, to choose to read or not read.

golden-compass-cover-imageOver the years many titles that are considered foundations of children’s literature have been challenged for a myriad of reasons. Often times well-meaning adults will call attention to an issue they have with a book, with the goal in mind of surrounding their children with literature that only features actions and morals they support. But no one parent, set of parents, school board, or library can dictate what is and isn’t appropriate for all young readers. It is important for us as individuals to enforce the right to decide for ourselves what we get to read. Don’t take the freedom to read for granted!

The_LoraxMany children’s books have been challenged or banned over the years, and here are a few of them, and the reasons behind the controversies:

The Lorax (seen as a negative perspective of the logging industry)

His Dark Materials series (features violent and anti-religious elements)

webCharlotte’s Web (talking animals were deemed blasphemous and unnatural)

Where the Wild Things Are (glorified disturbing behavior and too dark and frightening)

Lord of the Flies (too frightening for children, excessive violence, and demoralizing behavior)


Charm School and Bad Class Trips: New Books for Older Readers

Nooks and Crannies by Jessica Lawson
nooks-crannies-9781481419215_hrWhen Tabitha Crum receives a mysterious invitation to spend the weekend with the reclusive Countess DeMoss she is sure that it is a mistake since not even her own parents want her around. With her only friend hidden in her pocket, Tabitha and five other children journey to Hollingsworth Hall where it is revealed that one of the children is the long lost grandchild of the Countess. Tabitha’s love of mysteries comes in handy when she notices strange things starting to happen. This is a darkly humorous historical mystery similar to the other new titles Murder is Bad Manners and The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place. (ages 8-12)

The Worst Class Trip Ever by Dave Barry
worst classBefore his class trip to Washington D.C. begins, Wyatt knows something is bound to go wrong. The plane hasn’t even landed when Wyatt and his friends Matt and Cameron find themselves involved in a possible terrorist plot. With the help of Suzana, the love of Wyatt’s life and “basically a Navy SEAL disguised as a hot eighth-grade girl,” they must stay out of the terrorist’s hands and save the white house from being blown up. The short length, humorous content, and illustrations make this title a great choice for an older reluctant reader. (ages 8-12)

School of Charm by Lisa Ann Scott
school of charmTomboy and daddy’s girl, Chip, loves nature, animals, and her father more then anything, but after his death she must go live with a grandmother she has never met. Life with her grandmother, mom, and sisters is full of makeup, dresses, and beauty pageants. Chip spends her time exploring the woods around her new home until she discovers Mrs. Vernie’s charm school. With help from Mrs. Vernie and her charm school friends, can Chip learn to like beauty pageants and fit in with the rest of her family? A sweet simple story about a girl discovering the importance of self acceptance. (ages 8-12)

Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer by Kelly Jones
Unusual-Chickens-jacketTold through a series of letters, lists, and lessons, Sophie shares the difficulties of her new life on a run down farm in the country. Living far away from a bustling city like Los Angeles is extremely boring until the day Sophie discovers a cranky chicken in the barnyard. Trips to the library for books about chickens do not prepare Sophie for a chicken with an extremely surprising ability, but through a correspondence course and some new friends Sophie learns all about regular and unusual chickens. As if taking care of her ever growing flock wasn’t enough trouble, someone is after her birds. For other light fantasies with cute illustrations and magical animals check out Flora & Ulysses and Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures. (ages 8-12)

-Sarah Beth

Ponies and Chickens and More: New Books for Younger Readers

The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton

princessandpony_hires.jpeg.CROP.original-originalIt’s Princess Pinecone’s birthday, and this year she doesn’t want yet another cozy sweater. She wants a real warhorse! Instead, her parents give her an adorable, cuddly, cross-eyed pony, who “ate things it shouldn’t have, and farted too much.” She tries to train it, but it’s hopeless. She and the pony watch the great battle from the sidelines, and when Otto the Awful – the biggest brute of all – comes crashing toward them, Pinecone prepares her spitball in defense. Instead, it turns out cute isn’t so useless after all! With a brown-skinned princess and warriors who are happy to show their sensitive sides (and love cozy sweaters!), this book is a real winner, knocking conventions on their head about how true princesses – and warriors – should act.

28 Days: Moments in Black History that Changed the World by Charles R. Smith Jr., illustrated by Shane W. Evans

28 daysThis stunning picture book is both history lesson and art, both poetry and prose. The authors present 28 days in history that impacted the whole world, each taking just one to two pages for maximum impact. There are famous events like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s March on Washington and Jesse Owen’s gold medals in Hitler’s Europe. And then there are many lesser-known moments, as when Daniel Hale Williams performed the first successful heart operation in 1893, or in 1921 when Bessie Coleman received her pilot’s license in France because no U.S. school accepted women or blacks. Both heartwarming events and tragic ones fill the pages here, supported by beautiful collage art and poetry. History told through these bite-sized stories introduces readers to events they may never have known, in an accessible and beautiful format. (ages 5-10).

Baby Love by Angela DiTerlizzi, illustrated by Brooke Boynton Hughes

baby-love-9781442433922_hr“Sweet kiss. / Warm Hug. / Yes, it must be baby love.” This refrain repeats as a young couple pulls baby out of the garden and gets ready for bed. A bath, a little play time, a doggy kiss, and then snuggle in the rocking chair as they sing little one to sleep. Hughes’s watercolor illustrations are soft and lovely in this precious bedtime story. (ages 1-5)

A Chicken Followed Me Home! by Robin Page

chickenThis introduction to chickens is great if you are thinking of getting one of your own, or if you just want to know a lilttle about them. Different breeds, what they eat, their predators, coops, and more are each given two-pages spreads. One one page, a grid of 20 columns by 13 rows shows just how many eggs a hen lays in a year: 260! Simple and bright digital illustrations make this an enticing book for even the youngest enthusiast. It shows straightforward information presented beautifully. (ages 5-8)

If You Like… Wings of Fire

Wings_of_Fire_books_1-4The Wings of Fire series, by Tui T. Sutherland, follows the perilous fate of five young dragons who are prophesied to end a bloody, long-running civil war and unite the dragon kingdoms. The series has earned a well-deserved place in the hearts of many middle-grade readers for its action-packed pacing and compelling characters. For fans of the series who are looking for something else to read, we offer this list of books that are similar. Enjoy!

For other books by the same author…menagerie
For other epic animal quests… sharkwars
For action and contemporary fantasy…
For more action and fantasy worlds…
For more dragons, dragons, dragons…


Summer Highlights

As another summer reading program comes to a close, I am reminded how fortunate we are in Mill Valley to have so many children who love reading and the library. This year, we had more than 600 kids ages 2 to 10 participate in the Everything Under the Sun reading program, promising to read three hours a week. We also had 163 middle school participants in the From the Ground Up reading program, and they logged over 500 books.

Here are some of my favorite moments of summer:

BryceGarrettJonas_trumpetsThe Middle School Mash-up Concert: To kick-off summer reading for the middle schoolers this year, we put together a concert with middle school and high school kids as the performers. We packed the Main Reading Room on June 20th with middle schoolers, teens, friends and parents of the performers. Tommy Toy was the Master of Ceremony, and introduced each act and reminded kids often to register for summer reading. The kids performed classical, jazz, pop, and traditional music on the piano, trumpet, drums, and guitar. Everyone was blown away by the talent in the room! And, we also registered 55 kids for the middle school summer reading program that night alone.

wolfThe Wolf Who Ate the Sky: I love bringing authors and illustrators to the library, especially in the summer. In early July, Mary Daniel Hobson, her daughter Anna, and Anna’s grandfather Charles Hobson came to share the book they wrote and illustrated called The Wolf Who Ate the Sky. When she was three years old, Anna and her mom imagined the story and told it to each other on the way to preschool each day. Anna’s grandpa has worked as an illustrator/book maker his entire career, so he not only created the beautiful illustrations, but also new the publishing industry well. The audience loved hearing about the process of creating this book, and it may have even sparked interest turning one of their stories into a book.

DSCN3454The Forge with Tom Lamar: One of our most “out of the box” programs this summer was bringing Tom Lamar’s portable forge to the library to demonstrate the Art of Blacksmithing. Eighteen middle schoolers came to witness Tom turn steel rods into snails, zig zags, and other bended objects. The Forge made from bricks and fueled by a large propane take reached 2800 degrees. Tom definitely conveyed his love of blacksmithing, and inspired the kids to learn more about it.

DSCN3394Sensory Exploration: Children learn through play, and what better way to play at the library than to make a mess you can’t usually do at home? My favorite Little Sprouts program for children age five and under this year was Sensory Exploration. Kids got to play with bubble wrap, decorate giant boxes, sift and pour dyed rice grains, and “swim” in a pool filled with shredded paper. It was unbelievably fun to watch how some kids would spend ages scooping rice from one bowl and pouring it into another, and other children would themselves in shredded paper or hide in cardboard boxes. It also spurred some wonderful new ideas for parents and caregivers to play with their little ones at home!

DSCN3335Wednesdays on Stage: It’s hard to choose a favorite Wednesday on Stage this summer. In every performance, I saw kids and adults laughing and singing along, and enjoying themselves. All the performers were great at getting the audience involved in their performances. We’ll have many of these performers back again for either a Sunday Special or Wednesday on Stage in the future.

261GardenSmart for Kids and Garden Club: For the first time, we offered several programs in our new SmartGarden. Kids in kindergarten through second grade listened to Compost Gal Lori Campbell discuss good and bad garden bugs and examined the huge bucket of compost that was crawling with all kinds of bugs. They also made a portable green house in a bag that they took home to hang in their window to watch it grow. Kier Holmes ran our new Garden Club and chose a different garden-related topic for each meeting. She taught the participants about the redwoods, garden bugs, art in the garden, and native seeds and plants. Garden Club will continue in the fall beginning Monday, September 14 for Grades kindergarten through 3 in four-week cycles.

IMG_1299Elephant & Piggie Party: Our Elephant & Piggie Party was so much fun! More than 50 kids and 30 adults came to hear Sarah Beth (Piggie) and me (Gerald) read a few of our favorite Elephant & Piggie stories, create pig snouts from paper cups, balance a bird’s nest on their heads, throw a ball in a bucket, and make E & P paperbag puppets. Sarah Beth baked and decorated the most adorable Piggie cookies for the kids which they devoured as they left the party. They were delicious!

Summer is always a whirlwind of activity at the Mill Valley Library. We hope the kids enjoy it as much as we do! As school starts, we have our Annual Bookmark Design Contest in September; our after school series Stories & Science for kindergartners and Picture Books & More for first and second graders beginning in October. We’ll offer a new book club for fourth and fifth graders called Books & Bites held on the First Friday of the month beginning October 2. Check our website for more information and our entire line-up of fall programs.


Witches, Nnewts and Wolves: New Books for Older Readers

The Lunch Witch by Deb Lucke
lunchwitchGrunhilda is a menacing and treacherous witch who is currently unemployed. Witch’s brews are just not popular in today’s market. Desperate to feed her bats, Grunhilda takes a job as an elementary school cook. She fits in with these old hags who relish miserable lunch times. But when a bespectacled young girl blackmails Grunhilda for a potion, the ancestors will wake and strike vengeance. It is strictly forbidden for witches to do nice things. Rude and clever, this comic’s dark humor is matched with food-stained illustrations of gawky characters. Kids who love Bone, The Lunch Lady, and Akissi will laugh at loud at this one. (ages 7-11)

Stonewall: Breaking Out in the Fight for Gay Rights by Ann Bausam
stonewallIt had its corruptions with the mafia, but the 1960’s Stonewall Inn was an oasis. LGBTQ persons came here to dance, flirt, gender bend, and be gay. Back when “closet doors were so tight” and same sex orientation was synonymous with criminality, one testimonial regards the Stonewall as “the best place we ever had.” When police raid the oasis in 1969, they trample on a bar that represents freedom, sexuality, love, and identity. The Stonewall Inn becomes the catalyst for one of the greatest civil rights revolutions in American history. Stonewall reads like a Steve Sheinkin or Marc Aronson narrative nonfiction. In a short one hundred pages the text is rich in detail yet feels conversational, allowing for a smooth reading experience. I like how this book has an activist perspective, sharing the LGBTQ community’s struggle without sugarcoating it. (ages 12 and up)

Nnewts by Doug TenNapel
nnewtsHerk the nnewt fantasizes about perilous hunting and heroic missions. But his little legs won’t cooperate! When savage lizzarks annihilate his village, Herk tragically flees to start his own adventure. Herk will dodge dangerous beasts, stumble upon recluse wizards, and befriend new nnewts with bleeding hearts. Little does he know that a terrible and morphed hunter is following his every step… As a Doug TenNapel fan, and Nnewts met my big expectations. This graphic novel is full of action and emotion, with a surprising touch of existentialism. The bold colors enhance this strange and fantastic world of monsters and magical creatures. I would not hesitate to recommend this graphic novel to fans of the Amulet and Explorer series. (ages 8-12)

Return to Augie Hobble by Lane Smith
return_to_augie_hobbleWorking at a fairy tale theme park sounds like daily fun, right? Augie Hobble may refute that. He deals with chain-smoking colleagues who mock him, and unsightly matters such as customer vomit. Thankfully his faithful friend Britt is there to lament and build tree houses with. But then, things start getting weird. First, Augie gets chased and slobbered on by a werewolf…? Then his hair gets thicker… How will Augie deal with this and re-do a school project? This book is a lot of fun. It bites with the humor found in a Jack Gantos novel. But it also has great depth, dealing with bullies, the monotony of ridiculous employment, and grief. I loved the paranormal twist, and the detective mystery on the side. (ages 8-12)


Magic Words and Super Trucks: New Books for Younger Readers

Supertruck by Stephen Savage
supertruckThe garbage truck can’t fix a snapped power line. Or squelch a raging fire. Or tow a broken school bus. But when a massive snowstorm freezes the bustling metropolis, and only the mighty and mysterious Supertruck can plow paths of rescue for all the city, no one suspects that it might be the lowly garbage truck in disguise, bringing salvation to one and all. With bright, simple, modernist graphics, this clever picture book from Stephen Savage is charming and fun to read, sure to please enthusiasts for vehicle books, as well as caped wonders. (ages 2-6)

Please, Mr. Panda by Steve Antony
please mr pandaMr. Panda has a box of brightly colored doughnuts. Solemnly, he offers the frosted, swirled, and sprinkled concoctions to a penguin, then a skunk, then an ostrich. However, each animal replies rudely, and each time Mr. Panda changes his mind. It’s not until he encounters a striped-tail lemur who says “please” that Mr. Panda hands over the doughnuts — all of them! With a marvelous stone face reminiscent of the silent film comedian Buster Keaton, Mr. Panda sparks gales of giggles while still reinforcing the message that a little politeness can take a small animal far. (ages 3-5)

When Otis Courted Mama by Kathi Appelt, illustrated by Jill McElmurry
When-Otis-Courted-Mama-coverYoung coyote Cardell lives with his mama in her house part-time, and his daddy in his house part-time, and feels perfectly content and loved all of the time. But when mama starts to show interest in a new neighbor named Otis, Cardell feels a “grr” form in his throat. However, Otis knows that Cardell is a “tough little hombre” and he doesn’t give up. After cooking prickly pear pudding together, and pouncing together, and generally having a good time together with Mama, too, Cardell realizes that he can enjoy Otis without feeling that “grrr.” This colorful, uplifting tale of stepfathers and changes is heartwarming and accessible for all children. (ages 4-8)


Empowering Music in Picture Books

As a musician and librarian, I love books about music. Recently there have been a bunch of wonderful picture books published about music, musicians, and how music can empower and enrich our lives. Here are some of my favorites published in the last year (or so…)

Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music by Margarita Engle, illustrated by Rafael López
DrumDreamGirlThis picture book biography was inspired by the first female drummer in Cuba. The drum dream girl dreams of drumbeats and playing the drums at a time when girls are not supposed to play the drum. The text is alliterative, percussive and rhythmic, yet completely accessible, mirroring drum girl’s music. Sentences extend over page turns, creating long flowing phrases, while some pages are flipped to read vertically as well as horizontally. The artwork is vibrant and saturated with color, suggesting a tropical setting and dreams blurring with reality. Not only is this a story about the power of music, it’s a story about strong Latina women daring to follow her heart. (ages 5-9)

Little Melba and Her Big Trombone by Katheryn Russell-Brown, illustrated by Frank Morrison
LITTLE_MELBA_cover_hi_res_resizeThis is another picture book biography about a female musical pioneer. Melba is a child prodigy and virtuoso trombonist, one of the first women to become a world-class trombone player. The book takes us to depression era Kansas City “where you can reach out and feel the music” and Los Angeles. The story starts when young Melba chooses her first instrument, a trombone that is nearly bigger than she is! Soon she’s playing her trombone on the radio, composing and touring the world. The illustrations are energetic and engage the senses and images are stretched out, long and lanky like a trombone. The text is full of rhythm, suggesting the jazz, blues and gospel music that Melba was famous for. Melba’s struggles as an African American woman are clearly presented; she endures gender-based taunts and racial discrimination and proves her doubters wrong with her talent and determination. The book concludes with an afterword, a biography, selected discography and a bibliography.

The Man with the Violin by Kathy Stinson, illustrated by Dušan Petričić
VIOLINThis one isn’t quite as new but I’m a huge fan of its inspiration, violinist Joshua Bell. This book is based on the true story of when Joshua Bell played his Stradivarius violin in the Washington D.C. subway. Hundreds of commuters walked past without recognizing the world-famous violinist and only seven people stopped to listen. The author creates Dylan, a fictional boy who wants to stop and listen, and his mother, who doesn’t. Eventually the boy convinces his mother to stop and listen too when the music plays on the radio. The graphite and watercolor illustrations compliment the text perfectly, providing contrast between the bland busy world and Dylan’s colorful world as it is transformed by music. This story reminds us to notice what’s around us and to stop and listen. The book concludes with an afterword describing Joshua Bell’s story followed by a short postscript by Maestro Bell himself. (ages 5-8)

How Jelly Roll Morton Invented Jazz by Jonah Winter, illustrated by Keith Mallett
jazzThis book tells the story of the boy who just may have invented jazz. The author employs the second person to tell the story, instantly drawing the reader in to early 20th century New Orleans and Jelly Roll’s childhood. The book considers the circumstances that led Jelly Roll to become one of the most famous ragtime and jazz pianists. The text is presented in rhyming stanzas, and compares jazz to cooking a gumbo recipe, a delicious blend of different traditions and spices. The illustrations are bright and dramatic, and music looks like magic. What would happen if you were in Jelly Roll’s shoes, with a unique recipe of voodoo magic, trouble, sadness and, most important of all, music? The book concludes with an afterword, discography and bibliography for further information. Maybe Jelly Roll didn’t invent jazz, but he sure helped!

“Without music, life would be a mistake.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche


Funny Books Are Good For You

Kids love funny books! From the reluctant to the strong reader and everything in between, my experiences with reader’s advisory has taught me that a wide and various range of children want to read something humorous. Many people are familiar with the dominating authors/books of juvenile funny fiction, such as Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid, James Patterson’s I Funny series, and Lincoln Pierce’s Big Nate. I want to talk about why funny books are beneficial for kids, and what else is out there outside the mainstream.

So, is reading funny stuff good for kids? Absolutely. Summarizing some bullet points from, here’s why. Funny books:

  • Cultivate a love for reading — if kids are laughing, they are enjoying it!
  • Teach spontaneity
  • Expose kids to different perspectives and ways of dealing with issues
  • Alleviate stress and provide a healthy outlet
  • Help kids bond with people and humanity through this social phenomenon
  • Reminds kids to keep an active playfulness towards life.

Here are some tween fiction books that will make you chuckle for a variety of comedic tastes: 

The Abominables by Eva Ibbotson
This is the incredible story of a kid who leads a family of yetis to a safe house across the world, when their presence in the Himalayas is discovered by self-serving people. Of course, this is easier said than done, since this “abominable” snow family must apologize to every plant they eat or step on, save a bunch of animals from a rotten zoo, and insist on bringing their ridiculous sheep with them. This book has a big heart and a strong moral message. The comedy lies within its wildly eccentric yeti characters. Readers who find idiosyncrasies funny will love this book. (ages 8-12)

Odd, Weird, and Little by Patrick Jennings
oddweirdThe new kid from France is wildly smart and wickedly talented, but he also says “Who?” too much, is really small, and does the unthinkable, such as throw up a questionable matter of fur and stuff. Woodrow takes a liking to this weird owly kid, who indirectly teaches him how to stand up to bullies. This book will hit kid’s funny bones and teach them to be assertive. Like The Abominables, the humor centers on the weirdness of the situation. (ages 8-12)

The Key that Swallowed Joey Pigza by Jack Gantos
Joey Pigza is back in this concluding book of the series that works well as a stand alone novel too. When Joey’s mom checks herself in to a mental hospital, Joey is left alone to take care of his baby brother and watch out for his self-absorbed father. Things go a little haywire when you’re Joey Pigza, a boy with ADHD who now has huge responsibilities, but with the help of his blind and crass friend, he will stay pawzzz-i-tive, do his best, and always keep people in mind. With dark humor, some scenes will make you cringe in this compassionate depiction of a dysfunctional family. No one does a better job at poking fun at complicated and fragile situations, while displaying a huge amount of empathy, than Jack Gantos. (ages 10-13)

The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer Holm
FourteenthGoldfish_CoverWhen Ellie’s Grandpa Melvin comes to visit, she doesn’t expect that he will have transformed into a 13-year old boy. But that’s what happens when your grandpa is obsessed with science and reversing the aging process. Of course, things get tricky when her cranky and arrogant grandpa has to come to school with her, making the awkward tween years even more awkward! This hilarious book is smart, creative, and reflects on good ol’ family dynamics. It is laugh out loud funny and short, so it should suit both reluctant and strong readers. (ages 8-13)

We Are All Made of Molecules by Susin Nielsen-Fernlund
When Stewart and Ashley become step-brother and -sister due to family tragedy and circumstance, they realize they could not be more opposite. Stewart is brainy and socially inept, while Ashley is occupied by fashion and social status. Somehow the new family begins to merge, but not without chaos and awkward blunders. This book deals with sensitive issues, such as divorce, sexuality, bullying, and grieving, while employing a great deal of humor. This is a good fit for fans of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian and Looking for Alaska. (ages 12 and up)

Even more funny books for tweens:

A Whole Nother Story by Cuthbert Soup

The Tapper Twins Go to War by Geoff Rodkey

The Terrible Two by Mac Barnett

How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous by Georgia Bragg

13-Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths

Space Case by Stuart Gibbs


Great New Audiobooks for the Whole Family

Ah, summer. The long and boring car trips I remember from my childhood are no more. Now with audiobooks, they can now be so much more fun for the whole family! Here are some new audiobooks that can help put off the Are We There Yets.

Penderwicks in Spring by Jeanne Birdsall, read by Susan Denaker
Cover-Penderwicks-Spring-450wThe fourth book in The Penderwicks series does not disappoint. Eldest sister Rosalind has gone away to college and the other OPSs (Older Penderwick Sisters) are busy with high school, leaving the stage free to tell the now 10-year-old Batty’s story as she tries to raise money for singing lessons so she can stage a Great Birthday Concert. This modern classic series makes for wonderful family listening. (ages 8-12).

Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures by Jackson Pearce and Maggie Stiefvater, read by Cassandra Morris
pipbartlettBecause Pip Bartlett can speak to magical creatures, even though no one believes her, so she’s excited to spend the summer helping at her aunt’s Magical Veterinary Clinic. With her highly allergic new friend Tomas, Pip encounters snooty unicorns, ballet dancing Hobgrackles, and exploding Fuzzles. Packed with more magical creatures than you thought possible, this is fun for the whole family. (ages 8-12)

Leroy Ninker Saddles Up by Kate DiCamillo, read by Arthur Morey
Younger listeners and their grown-ups will love Kate DiCamillo’s foray back into the world of Mercy Watson with former robber-turned-cowboy Leroy Ninker! He’s got a hat, he’s got a lasso, he even has boots! What he’s missing is a horse. Enter Maybeline. It’s love at first sight, but Leroy doesn’t know how to ride, and Maybeline is afraid of the rain. Even so, Leroy says, “Yippiee-i-o!” (ages 4-8)

The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel, read by Nick Podehl
boundlessAll aboard The Boundless, the longest and most luxurious train ever, as it crosses the Canadian wilderness. As he makes his way forward to the engine, young Will, son of the railroad manager, encounters members of the outstanding Zircus Dante and together they find robbers, mystical paintings, and even Sasquatch. With action, colorful characters, and just a big of magic, this will keep listeners glued to their seats. (ages 8-12)

My favorite way to listen to audiobooks is straight from my phone, through library books from Overdrive and 3M. You can check out downloadable ebooks and eaudiobooks for free! They check out for three weeks, just like physical books and audiobooks. You can listen on headphones or over bluetooth in the car. Some fun ones to try are A Dragon’s Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans by Lawrence Yep, The Sasquatch Escape by Suzanne Selfors, and The Complete Tales of Beatrix Potter.