Recommended books from Johnson County staff members Debbie McLeod, Dennis Ross and Kate Pickett, as heard on KCUR's Up to Date.
Ship Breaker by Paolo BacigalupiAge Range: Older ReadersIn a futuristic world, teenaged Nailer scavenges copper wiring from grounded oil tankers for a living, but when he finds a beached clipper ship with a girl in the wreckage, he has to decide if he should strip the ship for its wealth or rescue the girl.
Hip Hop Dog by Chris Raschka, illustrated by Vladmir RadunskyAge Range: Young ReadersA neglected dog finds his purpose through rapping and rhyming.
Shark vs. Train by Chris Barton, illustrated by Tom LichtenheldAge Range: Young ReadersA shark and a train compete in a series of contests on a seesaw, in hot air balloons, bowling, shooting baskets, playing hide-and-seek, and more.
Mirror Mirror: a Book of Reversible Verse by Marilyn Singer, illustrated by Josee MasseAge Range: Young ReadersA collection of short poems which, when reversed, provide new perspectives on the fairy tale characters they feature.
Hot Diggity Dog: the History of the Hot Dog by Adrienne SylverAge Range: Young ReadersA funny, fascinating look at history and culture through the lens of America's favorite fast food: the hot dog.
Cosmic by Frank Cottrell BoyceAge Range: Middle Readers12 year old Liam looks like he's thirty. Sometimes it's not bad; for example on the first day of school the principal mistakes Liam for a teacher or when he convinces a car dealer to let him test drive a Porsche. So feeling like he's stuck between two worlds, Liam cons his way into being the adult chaperone on the first space ship to take civilians into space.
The Birthday Ball by Lois LowryAge Range: Middle ReadersWhen a bored Princess Patricia Priscilla makes her chambermaid switch identities with her so she can attend the village school, her attitude changes and she plans a new way to celebrate her sixteenth birthday.
The Night Fairy by Laura Amy SchlitzAge Range: Middle ReadersWhen Flory the night fairy's wings are accidentally broken and she cannot fly, she has to learn to do everything differently.
The Mysterious Howling: Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place #1 by Maryrose WoodAge Range: Middle ReadersFound running wild in the forest of Ashton Place, the Incorrigibles are no ordinary children. Luckily, Miss Penelope Lumley is no ordinary governess. Penelope embraces the challenge of her new position. But mysteries abound at Ashton Place.
Big Nate, In a Class by Himself by Lincoln PeirceAge Range: Grades 3-6Big Nate is in a class by himself! But things don't always go your way just because you're awesome.
Woods Runner by Gary PaulsenAge Range: Grades 5-8Paulsen brings readers into the flesh-and-blood reality of one boy’s struggle in the long and savage war that was the American Revolution.
The Monstrumologist by Richard YanceyAge Range: Middle and High SchoolIn 1888, twelve-year-old Will Henry chronicles his apprenticeship with Dr. Warthrop, a scientist who hunts and studies real-life monsters, as they discover and attempt to destroy a pod of Anthropophagi.
Word After Word After Word by Patricia MacLachlanAge Range: Grades 3-5Every school day feels the same for five fourth-grade friends. Then Ms. Mirabel comes to their class, bringing magical words and a whole new way of seeing and understanding.
Found by Margaret Peterson HaddixAge Range: Grades 5-9When thirteen-year-olds Jonah and Chip, who are both adopted, learn they were discovered on a plane that appeared out of nowhere, full of babies with no adults on board, they realize that they have uncovered a mystery involving time travel and two opposing forces, each trying to repair the fabric of time.
The Boy Who Saved Baseball by John RitterAge Range: Grades 5-9The fate of a small California town rests on the outcome of one baseball game, and Tom Gallagher hopes to lead his team to victory with the secrets of the now disgraced player, Dante Del Gato.
Dirty Little Secrets by C.J. OmololuAge Range: Middle and High SchoolWhen her unstable mother dies unexpectedly, sixteen-year-old Lucy must take control and find a way to keep the long-held secret of her mother's compulsive hoarding from being revealed to friends, neighbors, and especially the media.
I Am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to Be Your Class President by Josh LiebAge Range: Middle SchoolIn Omaha, Nebraska, twelve-year-old Oliver Watson has everyone convinced that he's extremely stupid and lazy, but he's actually a very wealthy, evil genius, and when he decides to run for seventh-grade class president, nothing will stand in his way.
Liar by Justine LarbalestierAge Range: High SchoolMicah freely admits that she's a compulsive liar. Over the years she's duped her classmates, her teachers, and her parents. But when her boyfriend dies under brutal circumstances, the shock might be enough to set her straight. Or maybe not.
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David LevithanAge Range: High SchoolWhen two teens, one gay and one straight, meet accidentally and discover that they share the same name, their lives become intertwined as one begins dating the other's best friend, who produces a play revealing his relationship with them both.
Happyface by Stephen EmondAge Range: Middle and High SchoolEnter Happyface's journal and get a peek into the life of a shy, artistic boy who decides to reinvent himself as a happy-go-lucky guy after he moves to a new town. See the world through his hilariously self-deprecating eyes as he learns to shed his comic-book-loving, computer-game playing ways.
Beastly by Alex FlinnAge Range: Middle and High SchoolA modern retelling of "Beauty and the Beast" from the point of view of the Beast, a vain Manhattan private school student who is turned into a monster and must find true love before he can return to his human form. Recent adapted to the big screen (film release date is set for July 30).
Incarceron by Catherine FisherAge Range: Middle and High SchoolTo free herself from an upcoming arranged marriage, Claudia, the daughter of the Warden of Incarceron, a futuristic prison with a mind of its own, decides to help a young prisoner escape.
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