Amy's Picks

Amy is our resident children’s buyer (and proud Ravenclaw). We can’t stress this enough: she reads A LOT of fiction and non-fiction for young people of all ages and interests. Who wouldn’t sign up for this duty? On any given day she could be participating in a scavenger hunt through a magical library or acing Snape’s potions class. But this job is not for the faint of heart. She selflessly volunteers for literary return trips to high school, reading gritty young adult novels that grapple with identity, gender, growing up, and falling in love. She has a master’s degree in children’s literature from Simmons College and her first non-fiction book for young readers, Eye of the Storm: NASA, Drones, and the Race to Crack the Hurricane Code, will be published by Houghton Mifflin in April, 2017. Reluctant readers are her specialty. Just ask. She's dying to tell you how to help kids become lifelong bookworms.

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The Secret Project Cover Image
By Jonah Winter, Jeanette Winter (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781481469135
Availability: Not Currently On Our Shelves. Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Beach Lane Books - February 7th, 2017

With simple prose and illstrations that create a distinctly cloak and dagger tone, The Secret Project sets up one of the most important moments in modern history: the building of the nuclear bomb at Los Alamos. Here's a spare but powerfully moving text with artwork that makes brillant use of color to engage readers. Startling and beautiful, this timely book creates an ideal entry point for coversations about the inersections of war, tyranny, and scientific advancement. 


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History Is All You Left Me Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781616956929
Availability: Not Currently On Our Shelves. Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Soho Teen - January 17th, 2017

In his second novel, after More Happy Than Not, Adam Silvera once again asks readers to consider the future, and their relative position to it.

Griffin is grieving over the death of his ex-boyfriend and first love, Theo, while also grappling with severe OCD. Making matters worse, he meets Theo’s bereaved boyfriend, Jackson, at the funeral. As Griffin struggles to make sense of life without Theo by reaching out to Jackson, his symptoms intensify. When the carefully controlled world he has constructed unravels in a series of violent outbursts, questionable choices, and awkward confrontations, Griffin is stripped of his best defense: the ability to lie to himself. All that’s left is history and the surprising truth that he must tell in the present. (Confession: I never saw it coming.)

Silvera’s alternating chapters take place in “history” or “today.” The result is a deft smash cut between then and now that so accurately reflects the agonizing slowness of grief that I was lost in this novel—with its complex narrative, range of emotions, and well-crafted characters—from page one. Despite the overwhelming sadness in this story, as Griffin tries to find his way out of the darkness, hope and joy suffuse every page. Here Silvera truly shines, as he depicts the unapologetic love between two boys and the superhuman ability of hurt people to survive in spite of themselves.

Read it because you loved More Happy Than Not. Read it because you crave young adult novels that are as tough as they are tender. Most of all, handsell it like crazy, because this is what fresh, diverse YA looks like. Pair with other great works of YA realism by Becky Albertalli, Matt de la Peña, John Corey Whaley, David Levithan, and Sara Zarr.


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I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark Cover Image
By Debbie Levy, Elizabeth Baddeley (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781481465595
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - September 20th, 2016

Required reading for growing feminists and future women's rights advocates!

Here's the true story of the Notorious RBG, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, for the picture book set. This charmingly illustrated and illuminating non-fiction picture book explores the life of one of the most influential United States Supreme Court Justices of our time. "Disagreeing does not make a person disagreeable," Ruth learns from a young age. As she advocates for her clients as an attorney, and later for the rights of American citizens on the Supreme Court, young readers understand how the power of using your voice to stand up for what's right can shape a remarkable life. 


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The Inquisitor's Tale: Or, the Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog Cover Image
By Adam Gidwitz, Hatem Aly (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780525426165
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dutton Books for Young Readers - September 27th, 2016

The Canterbury Tales meets Harry Potter.

Adam Gidwitz has crafted a magical mash-up of the Joan of Arc story filled with plenty of swashbuckling action and a diverse cast of supporting characters. Medieval France has never been this cool, guys. Did I mention there is a life-saving holy dog with superpowers? The book was also recieved a Newbery Honor in 2017.


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Roaming the Mountains with John Parris Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780997506907
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Two Hoots Press - August 16th, 2016

This Western North Carolina classic had been out of print for decades. I loved it so much I re-published it myself! Filled with mountain wisdom, folklore, and natural history, these collected essays by beloved regional newspaper man, John Parris, capture the spirit of our wonderful mountains and the folks who call them home. 


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The Whisper Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780544416864
Availability: Not Currently On Our Shelves. Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Houghton Mifflin - October 6th, 2015

Artist and author Pamela Zagarenski writes and illustrates the story of a magical book and a special little girl. When the book's words escape its pages, only imagination can help tell the story. 

For fans of Aesop's Fables, this wordless and lavishly illustrated picture book is about the magic of storytelling. 


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The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights Cover Image
$12.99
ISBN: 9781250073495
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Square Fish - January 3rd, 2017

The tue story of a segregated Navy ship and a deadly explosion that revealed shocking racism in the military. 

When a masive explosion rocked California's Port Chicago, 320 servicemen died due to unsafe working conditions. Every crewmember was black, and every officer was white. 50 crewmembers (many of them teenagers) refused to return to work and were threatened with charges of treason and punishment by firing squad. 

A harrowing and factual WWII story that was hidden for nearly 50 years, here is rescued and retold by one of the best YA non-fiction writers of our time.


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Yes Please CD Cover Image
By Amy Poehler, Amy Poehler (Read by), Carol Burnett (Read by)
$34.99
ISBN: 9780062350886
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperAudio - October 28th, 2014

A star-studded cast of readers (headlined by Amy Poehler herself) narrates the comedienne's frank and funny memoir. This accidental self-help book will have you laughing, crying, and wishing more than ever that Amy Poehler was your best friend. Trust me when I tell you Yes Please will TRANSFORM any roadtrip or long commute. 


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A Greyhound, a Groundhog Cover Image
By Emily Jenkins, Chris Appelhans (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780553498059
Availability: Not Currently On Our Shelves. Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Schwartz & Wade Books - January 3rd, 2017

Hilarious and adorable wordplay will have storytime collapsing into fits of giggles for all parties involved! Perfect for fans of Jon Klassen and Dr. Seuss. 


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Grand Canyon Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781596439504
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Roaring Brook Press - February 21st, 2017

Chin's Grand Canyon is huge-hearted non-fiction that will capture the imaginations of readers of all ages. Clever and oh-so-subtle die cuts cue stunning page turns. The results of which are sure to elicit more than one audible gasp from the reader. This is not just wonderful non-fiction, Chin takes full advantage of the picture book format, with art and text completely dependent on one another to tell the story. Chin's predictably gorgeous illustrations showcase the wonder and majesty of the "grandest of canyons," all while detailing its flora, fauna, and geological history with a light but informative touch.

As the silent father/daughter duo ascend from the canyon floor to the top of the ridge, they pass through geological time, with the curious child always one step ahead of her dad. Perfect. Tuck this new classic into the hands of fans of Me, Jane by Patrick McDonnell, and into the backpack of anyone who dreams of visiting Grand Canyon National Park.  


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Raymie Nightingale Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780763681173
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - April 12th, 2016

Historical middle grade fiction from the National Book Award finalist and two-time Newbery Award-winner, Kate DiCamillo. 

Three misfit girls make friends over a fateful summer in 1975. As Raymie tries to come to terms with the break-up of her parents, she discovers that hope can be found in some unlikely places. Warmth, humor, love & loss. A classic that young readers will remember and return to. 


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Ready Player One Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780307887443
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Broadway Books - June 5th, 2012

I unabashedly love this book. Kobayashi Maru, Firefly, and more 80s popular culture than you can shake a light saber at. Call it a book or videogame. All I know for sure is that it's a damn time machine. 


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Bull Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780544610606
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Houghton Mifflin - March 28th, 2017

Quick as lightning with pulse that will leave readers breathless, this wildly imaginative re-tooled version of Theseus and the Minotaur flips the classic Greek tragedy on its head. Here’s a heart-wrenching, bawdy, and whip-smart re-telling from the bull’s point-of-view. David Elliott proves himself to be a wizard of a lyricist, on part with Lin Manuel-Miranda. Press this book into the hands of Hamilton fans, young adults who claim they, “just can’t find anything cool to read,” any person who loves dark and twisty Greek myths, and especially fans of edgy, boundary-pushing YA. A stunner of a novel!