For what seems to be forever, earthlings have looked up towards the stars and only imagined what travel to another planet might be like. Such a possibility comes to life in author Andy Weir's debut novel, "The Martian". NASA has successfully sent two crews to Mars, and America's space program has the world's attention. However, during the subsequent mission of Ares 3, a series of unfortunate events results in a lone astronaut being left behind. Though presumed dead, it is soon discovered that a very alive Mark Watley is stranded on the u
Niko Pappas, the successful owner of Super-Gyros, has decided to open a second restaurant in Galveston, TX. He leaves his two eldest sons in California to run the original store and moves the rest of his large Greek family to Galveston, TX. The transition from California to Texas is anything but easy for this tight-knit family.
Jonathan Carroll’s work is often described as magic realism, but I think Neil Gaiman said it best by stating that reading Carroll is “as if John Updike were to write a Philip K Dick novel.”
Carroll’s book packs in a lot of different stories and details, often mixed together. The very pages of the book are thin; the smoky images at the head of each chapter visible through the following pages.
This book is third in the chapter book series starring the protagonist of McCall Smith's adult series, the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. In this installment, Precious is invited to visit her Aunty Bee who lives at the top of Botswana and works at a safari camp because something exciting is going to happen there. It would be an expensive trip, and Precious' father is not sure he can afford a bus ticket, but he finds a way for Precious to travel with a cattle buyer he knows. When the fan belt breaks Precious has an idea to help.
Wandering Son is a masterfully handled manga about two fifth grade friends, a boy and a girl, who wish they were a girl and a boy, respectively.Shuichi is naturally quiet and shy, and keeps his desire to be a girl private, restricted to only a few very close friends, including Takatsuki, who wants to be a boy.The two struggle through their difficulties together, like when boys at school point out Takatsuki’s budding femininity.The friends encourage eac
Inspired by 17th century Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer's famous painting, Tracy Chevalier creates a beautiful tale about Girl With a Pearl Earring. As a fan of both historical fiction and art, I fell in love with this book. In Chevalier's imagination, 16 year old Griet comes to live with the Vermeer family in Delft, Holland to serve as a maid in their home.
In “Here Comes Santa Cat”, we meet a cat dressed up in a Santa suit that is having a conversation with an unseen narrator. After viewing Cat’s “current year to date” pie chart showing a ratio of his naughty to nice behavior, we learn why he wants to be Santa—he wants a present. Maybe if Cat does some nice things, Santa will give him a present after all. Cat’s attempts at niceness go terribly awry over and over, until finally he does it right. And Cat meets Santa after all. The ink and colored pencil illustrations show Cat with a multitude of emotions, and the u
Shooting at the Stars is a fictionalized account of the Christmas truce that occurred in the trenches between British and German troops during World War I in 1914. The story is told conveyed through a letter by a British soldier to his mother. He tells of December 24th, when the British soldiers heard singing coming from the opposing trench 30 paces away. Stille Nacht--Silent Night. The next morning, they woke up to calls from the German soldiers. Warily, soldiers from both sides began to step out into “No Man’s Land”. They first buried their d
"The Book of Unknown Americans" by Cristina Henriquez tells the touching stories impacting the lives of a group of immigrant families sharing space in a Newark, Delaware apartment building. The immigrants have come together from various countries around the globe such as Mexico, Puerto Rico, Paraguay, Panama, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. Each of them face common and individual challenges related to assimilation into their adopted American homeland. Central to Henriquez's story are teenagers Maribel Rivera and Mayor Toro w
This innovative and unique alphabet book takes a basic word like "beast", take away the "a" and "the BEAST is the BEST". "Without the B, the BRIDE goes for a RIDE." Reading the book straight through would be fun for preschool and kindergarten, but for older students and their teachers, its a great excuse for wordplay! Highly recommended.
This is the first book in a promising series about a fourth grade boy named Mike whose school year is not off to a good start. Mike struggles to sit still and pay attention, and ends up in the principal's office at least once every week. And this year, he has to spend every afternoon after school with new neighbor gifted Nora. Mike's not looking forward to it, until he and Nora discover an antiques store called "The White Rabbit". This store also is a little magical.
Another of my favorite seasonal picture books is this companion book to Baby Bear Sees Blue. In an autumn landscape, a curious bear cub asks Mama Bear questions about the sounds of animals around them, and then counts the animals as they make their preparations for the winter.
Among my very favorite picture books are those with the theme of changing seasons. This story by Wisconsin author Miller is at the top of the list. At a fall farm market with her mother and father, Sophie picks out a yellow squash. The squash is just the right size for Sophie to hold, and--it turns out—to love. “I’m glad we met,” says Sophie.
VERSUS - The APL Teen book review where two books on a related theme go head to head and only one comes out a winner. The winner will be decided by the author’s subjective and highly biased criteria i.e. her opinion.
November’s VERSUS stars two audio books that focus on the topic of Greek myths - Of Poseidon by Anna Banks and Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods by Rick Riordan. If you can already spot the winner then you’re ahead of the game!
Jenna Metcalf's mother has been gone for 10 years. Alice Metcalf disappeared after an incident at the New England Elephant Sanctuary, where she worked as a naturalist and expert in elephant behavior. Her daughter, now a precocious thirteen year old, feels abandoned and is passionate to learn what happened to her mother. In "Leaving Time", the most recent novel from Jodi Picoult, Jenna enlists the help of a once celebrated psychic and the heavy drinking detective assigned to her mother's unsolved case ten years ago.
You could say the Quinn Family is dysfunctional… A week before Christmas father Kelley , an innkeeper, finds out his second wife Mitzi has been sleeping with the inn’s hired Santa. Eldest son Patrick, a highly successful hedge fund investor, is being investigated for fraud. Son Kevin, who has been secretly sleeping with the inn’s housekeeper, just found out he is going to be a father. Daughter Ava, who has pinned all her hopes on getting a diamond this year for Christmas, finds out her boyfriend has left to spend the holiday with his mother in New York.
A wide-eyed spotted snake from the zoo wanders into “the wrong pit,” and wends its way among the instruments of an orchestra: brass, winds, strings, percussion. It is impressed by all the sights and sounds—and hiding places: charmed by the oboe, cozy in the tuba. The snake’s fascination is not returned by the musicians, however, and the zookeeper is summoned. Time to hide! As the musicians warm up their instruments, the snake likens the sounds to those of other animals in the zoo.
A 15-year-old girl in a red dress flees through the woods pursued by a dark shape. The housewife who sees her and calls the police is later found dead and the girl vanishes. For over 30 years no one knows what happened to Nola.
A tiny pumpkin seed has one goal in its life: to be SCARY! “Boo!” it cries, to leaf and snowflake, grub to grasshopper. They are not in the least frightened, but the wind encourages the seed: “It’s not time for scaring…not yet. Be patient. You’ll soon be scary enough.” As the seasons turn, the seed has some turning of its own to do: to spring sprout, to summer flower, to autumn pumpkin. Little Boo finds that, sometimes, we need to be patient and grow into our dreams in order for them to come true. For Little Boo, that long-awaited time is Halloween!