If You Like Fly Guy

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Hi! Fly Guy by Tedd Arnold

Parts by Tedd Arnold

No Jumping on the Bed! by Tedd Arnold

Green Wilma: Frog in Space by Tedd Arnold

Diary of a Fly by Doreen Cronin

There Was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly! by Lucille Colandro

Old Black Fly by Jim Aylesworth

Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa by Erica Silverman

I’m a Frog! by Mo Willems

Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss

Frog and Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel

Miss Jessica



Fractured Fairy Tales

Fairy Tales (1)

(Image source)

Fairy tales have always been some of my favorite stories, but what I love even better is when an author takes a story we know and twists it just a little bit to come up with something fresh and new: what if we heard the story from the villain’s point of view? What if the real world and the fairy tale world collided? What if it was the princess who was turned into a frog, or one person in the castle remained awake during Sleeping Beauty’s curse? These middle grade chapter books are all great fun and a different look at the stories we’ve heard before. I listed the original fairy tale after the title or “various” if the novel uses more than one.

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Women’s History Month

To celebrate International Women’s Day this week – and Women’s History Month all month – I’ve put together a list of some of my favorite picture books, chapter books, graphic novels, and nonfiction books with women and girls as the main character. Damsels in distress need not apply: whether it’s taking on a fire-breathing dragon, acting in a school play, or solving a mystery, these smart, determined girls tackle their own problems. It was too hard to narrow down nonfiction titles about individual women, so I’ve also included some great collective biographies about awesome women throughout history. This is only a drop in the bucket of all the great books about girls out there, so feel free to stop by the Children’s Desk to get some further recommendations!


The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch
The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton
Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman
Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty
Lola at the Library by Anna McQuinn
The Name Jar by Xangsook Choi
I Like Myself by Karen Beaumont
Waiting for the Biblioburro by Monica Brown
My Brave Year of Firsts by Jamie Lee Curtis
The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson


Franny K Stein: Lunch Walks Among Us by Jim Benton
Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin
Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage
Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo
The Case of the Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer
The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
Savvy by Ingrid Law
Princess in Black by Shannon Hale
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
The Serpent’s Secret by Sayantani DasGupta


Sanity and Tallulah by Molly Brooks
Princeless by Jeremy Whitley
Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon Hale
Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke
Sunny Side Up by Jennifer Holm
Real Friends by Shannon Hale
Baby-Sitters Club: Kristy’s Great Idea by Raina Telgemeier
Cleopatra in Space by Mike Maihack
Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute by Jarrett Krosoczka


Girls Think of Everything by  Catherine Thimmish
Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky
Shaking Things Up by Susan Hood
She Persisted and She Persisted Around the World by Chelsea Clinton
Women Who Dared by Linda Skeers

A Mighty Girl
National Women’s History Project
National Women’s History Museum
Women’s History Month

Miss Jessica

If You Loved the Dork Diaries

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Miss Jessica


Five on Friday: Beginner Chapter Books

5 on Friday

Hello and welcome to this month’s 5 on Friday! Today we’re talking beginner chapter books. These illustrated chapter books are all on a 2nd-3rd grade reading level, perfect for those who are just starting to branch out into chapter books. They are Best of all, these books are all the beginning of a series, so if you enjoy them there are even more!



Dory Fantasmagory by Abby Hanlon

Dory, the youngest in her family, is a girl with a very active imagination, and she spends the summer playing with her imaginary friend, pretending to be a dog, battling monsters, and generally driving her family nuts.


Meet Yasmin! by Saadia Faruqi

In these 4 short stories, Pakistani American second grader Yasmin learns to cope with the small problems of school and home, while gaining confidence in her own skills and creative abilities.


Nate the Great by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat

Nate the Great, the world’s greatest kid detective, solves the mystery of the missing picture.


Princess in Black by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale

Who says princesses don’t wear black? When trouble raises its blue monster head, Princess Magnolia ditches her flouncy dresses and becomes the Princess in Black!


Mercy Watson to the Rescue by Kate DiCamillo

After Mercy the pig snuggles to sleep with the Watsons, all three awaken with the bed teetering on the edge of a big hole in the floor.


And that’s all for this month! Be sure to check back in April, same bat time, same bat channel for the next 5 on Friday.

Miss Jessica


How to Get Out of a Reading Slump

Reading slump. Just typing the words is enough to make me shudder. But it happens to the best of us – when nothing we read seems to grab our interest and reading has turned from fun to a chore. Here are a few suggestions on how to get yourself out of the dreaded reading slump.

Pick a different book. I have no problem stopping a book if I’m just not feeling it, but I know some people don’t like to give up on a book. But why force yourself to slog through a book if you don’t have to? If it just isn’t the right time for that book you can always try it again later, but sometimes it just isn’t the book for you. There’s no shame in that! Life is too short to waste on books you don’t like. Sometimes, it’s good to be a quitter.

Read just a page a day. If struggling with making time to read is what’s causing your slump, reading just a page is still progress. It doesn’t seem like much, but it’s a page more than you had read yesterday, and anything is better than nothing! Besides, as I have discovered many, many times, reading “just one page” turns into “just one more page,” “I’ll just finish the chapter,” and finally “I have to finish this!” (usually said with bleary eyes in the wee hours in the morning)

Reread an old fave. Sometimes it’s nice to go back to something familiar that you know you’ll enjoy. Alternatively, try a book you haven’t read by one of your favorite authors.

Read something short. Try a short story collection or anthology, poetry, or novella.

Try something completely new. If you’ve been reading a lot of realistic fiction, try a mystery! If your reading comfort zone is fantasy, check out some historical fiction! Take a chance on an author you haven’t read before or a genre you’ve never tried. Sometimes that will be enough to jumpstart your brain back into enjoying reading again.

Ask for help. Ask a friend, family member, or your friendly neighborhood children’s library staff (hint hint!) for a recommendation. Personally, I LOVE helping people at the library find their next favorite book. Stop in and see if we can help you too!


Miss Jessica


Celebrating Black History Month

February is Black History Month.  Here are a few fantastic books you can check out at MPL to appreciate African-American authors and stories throughout the year.

Mama Africa! : how Miriam Makeba spread hope with her song by Kathryn Erskine; illustrations by Charly Palmer

The big bed  by Bunmi Laditan; pictures by Tom Knight

Dragons in a bag [sound recording] by Zetta Elliott

Young, gifted and black : meet 52 black heroes from past and present words by Jamia Wilson; illustrated by Andrea Pippins

Thank you, Omu! by Oge Mora

The Stars Beneath our Feet by David Barclay Moore

Shaking things up : 14 young women who changed the world by Susan Hood

Radiant child : the story of young artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe

My hair is a garden written and illustrated by Cozbi A. Cabrera

Mommy’s khimar by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow; illustrated by Ebony Glenn

Memphis, Martin, and the mountaintop : the sanitation strike of 1968 by Alice Faye Duncan; illustrated by R. Gregory Christie

Little leaders : bold women in black history by Vashti Harrison

Black Girl Magic by Mahogany L. Browne; art by Jess X. Snow

If you want to learn more, the Brown Bookshelf is a nice resource for selecting works featuring Black voices.  During February, the contributors will highlight a different children’s author every day.

The Coretta Scott King Award is given each year to authors and illustrators whose books celebrate African-American culture and human values.  Check out the CSK award blog to find children’s books by African-American authors and illustrators.

We Need Diverse Books is a great website for learning more about the importance of diversity in children’s literature and finding new authors.

Miss Tess