E-Books Available on Libby

Did you know you can still check out books even while the library is closed?

Moline Library patrons using Android, Apple and Windows devices can use Libby to check out and download material from Online Media of Northern Illinois Libraries (or OMNI Libraries for short). OMNI offers access to a large catalog of electronic books and audiobooks, as well as a growing list of films and TV shows. If you need instructions on how to download it or want to see what other e-materials we have available, you can find them here. Mega-popular titles like Percy Jackson, Dog Man, Goosebumps, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Pete the Cat, Dr. Seuss, and Captain Underpants as well as many others are all available on Libby. Check out the lists below for some other recommendations of books on the app! All were available for checkout at the time of publishing this post.



Last Stop on Market Street – Matt De La Pena

The Paper Bag Princess – Robert Munsch

Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site – Sherri Duskey Rinker

The Berenstain Bears and the Homework Hassle – Stan and Jan Berenstain

Thank You, Omu! – Oge Mora

My Papi Has a Motorcycle – Isabel Quintero



Mercy Watson – Kate DiCamillo

Ivy and Bean – Annie Barrows

Zoey and Sassafras – Asia Citro

Junie B Jones – Barbara Park

The Bad Guys – Aaron Blabey

Princess in Black – Shannon Hale



El Deafo – Cece Bell

Treaties, Trenches, Mud, and Blood – Nathan Hale

Amulet – Kazu Kibuishi

Baby-Sitters Club – Raina Telgemeier

Phoebe and Her Unicorn – Dana Simpson

Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute – Jarrett Krosoczka



Artemis Fowl – Eoin Colfer

Flora and Ulysses – Kate DiCamillo

Aru Shah and the End of Time – Roshani Chokshi

The Screaming Staircase – Jonathan Stroud

Bud, Not Buddy – Christopher Paul Curtis

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky – Kwame Mbalia


Miss Jessica

Christina’s Top 10 of 2019

Christina’s Top 10 of 2019


by Thomas Taylor

Cheerie-On-Sea is a forgettable, seaside town in the summer. But, when the cold winds of November blow off the C and H on the town sign (as they do every year), things begin to become a bit strange.

Herbert Lemon is the Lost and Founder at the Grand Nautilus Hotel where he lives. He’s perfect for the job since he was found on the beach amongst a crate of lemons.  His job was fairly routine until a girl, in a panic, demands to be hid in his Lost and Foundery. With her comes an adventurous, magical, journey in an effort to locate her parents and the fast realization that they are not safe.

The town is appropriately eerie, you actually feel the mist surround you as you read. The quest is filled with danger and secrets, keeping you guessing until the end. Simply put, I loved this book! It made me think of the Nevermoor series, and Winterhouse, which I also loved. If you’re looking for a story with a mix of adventure, magic, secrets and legends, then Malamander is definitely the book for you.


The Strangers

by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Chess, Emma and Finn thought it was just another school day until they got home and saw their mom staring at the computer. They don’t understand why their mom is so freaked out about 3 kids on the other side of the country that have been kidnapped. It is a bit strange the kids have the same names as they do, the same ages – and even the same birthdates!  Asthings get stranger their mom acts weirder. She runs off on a rare business trip leaving the three siblings in the care of a stranger with more questions than answers.

This book keeps you guessing. With mystery, adventure and fantasy/science all rolled into one. Oddly enough, this book reminded me of A Wrinkle in Time. However, in my humble opinion, this is so much better!


Strange Birds: A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers

by Celia C. Perez

Cat is suppose to be going to the Flora meetings but she is appalled that the organization insists on using a hat made of feathers from extinct birds. Instead of telling her mom she quit, she finds a different way to spend her time when she finds an unusual invitation. A new trip formed by four very different girls, each trying to find a way to fit in and follow their dream. Despite their differences, together they find a cause they can all work on. Full of mishaps mixed in with their efforts to create a better world.

I thought of the graphic novel series Geeky F@b Five as these middle graders take on the challenge to right a wrong in their community. Very inspiring.


Dear Sweet Pea

by Julie Murphy

Life is turned upside down for Sweet Pea. Her parents are recently divorced and now she lives between their two houses. Houses that are almost identical, on the same street, with a crazy newspaper columnist living in-between. At school, she has to sit next to her ex best friend. On top of the divorce and her new job, this seventh grader is dealing with all sorts of other issues such as weight, friendship, cliques and school issues that can be a bit overwhelming for her at times. Life is okay only because she has a new best friend and her cat Cheese. Sweet Pea is hanging in there, but then, the crazy neighbor Flora leaves town asking Sweet Pea to secretly forward her letters for the newspaper’s advice column. This starts a chain of events and misunderstandings that quickly get out of control. Written with humor, understanding, and a bit of Sweet Pea’s good advice. Maybe she should write her own column!


Sal and Gabi Break the Universe

by Carlos Hernandez

Sal has been in his new school for 3 days and he has already been to the principal’s office three times! They weren’t his fault – well maybe the last one was when he conjured up a dead chicken in the locker of a bully.  Sal’s great at magic but now the school is thinking he’s evil.

Gabi is a force to be reckoned with. She is the student council president and the editor of the school paper. These two adversaries meet (in the principal’s office) while Gabi is trying to defend her friend, the bully who caused Sal problems. Gabi isn’t going to let a few changes in the fabric of the universe to scare her and she convinces Sal they make a great team. This is good, because they need each other to resolve a very difficult situation.

This book was fun and crazy. Reviewers said, unputdownable and a must read – I totally agree.


Roll With It

by Jamie Sumner

Ellie has big dreams. She wants to become the best baker ever. She also has some very big challenges. Most people see her as a girl in a wheelchair. They expect her to be easy going. They don’t expect her to cause trouble. Which she seems to get herself into frequently. Mostly, she is like any other girl who wants to have friends and fit in. Not easy to do when you’re in a wheelchair, live on the wrong side of town and have a grandfather struggling with dementia.

This story has heart and gentle humor, showing that one’s disability does not define who you are.

Readers of Lightning Girl (another book I liked) will enjoy.


Bone Hollow

by Kim Ventrella

Gabe is a good kid. How else would he find himself on the roof trying to rescue Miss Cleo’s prized chicken during a tornado? Unfortunately, this act of kindness has a life altering result – one where he dies. Or, did he? He feels great! The problem is that everyone is so frightened of him. What’s going on?

This is an intriguing story. One where Gabe grapples with his life – and his death –  and discovers the special job he has yet to do.

The beginning pulled me into the story and never let me go. It was a unique, emotional and magical look at the afterlife.


Pay Attention Carter Jones

by Gary Schmidt

How would you feel, if a butler – yes, a butler! – arrived at your doorstep to help out? Pretty weird. And yet, it’s perfect timing. 6th grade Carter’s family could use some assistance with his dad in Germany and the recent funeral and all. The only problem is, this guy is just so… English.
A gentleman’s gentleman might be helpful to mom, but he is only going to get Carter into big trouble at school. This story is equally funny as it is difficult to see Carter works his way through a maze of school incidents, family problems and accepting a secret that is deep down inside of him.


Elizabeth Webster and the Court of Uncommon Pleas

by William Lashner

Did you know that if a ghost haunts you you can sue them to make them leave?

Elizabeth didn’t know either. She didn’t even believe in ghosts until one shows up when she is tutoring swim star Henry Harrison in math and one popped up in a nightmarish way repeating “Save me, save him!”

Elizabeth has no clue why the ghost knows her but after her first visit where she runs away screaming she begins a bizarre, quest to save Henry and finds more than she bargained for along the way.

An unusual mix of scary story, mystery and courtroom drama that’s quirky, and full of twists.


Infinite Lives of Maisie Day

by Christopher Edge

When Maisie wakes up on her 10th birthday, she’s eager to open up her gifts. But when she goes downstairs to the kitchen, no one is there. No one is in the living room, or in her hateful sister’s bedroom. Not only that, when the front door is opened there is no one outside. Worse than that, there’s nothing there. Just blackness that is creeping towards her. This is definitely not your normal birthday!

A science filled adventure/mystery sprinkled with scientific facts.



by Rodman Philbrick

Sam is at camp when the fire breaks out. They are going to bus everyone back home. But Sam forgot his cellphone and has to call his mom to let her know he’s okay. It’s only a quick run. He’ll be back before they even notice he’s gone. But then there’s a flash of heat and a waterfall of fire. There’s only one thing for Sam to do and that is to run in the opposite direction – run for his life.

This is a fast-paced book If you are a fan of survival stories you will enjoy this one.

Miss Christina

Marta’s Top 10 of 2019

Marta’s Top 10 of 2019


10. Dandy

by Ame Dyckeman


This book came out relatively early in the year and became a go-to for me with my Pre-K friends.   It has that perfect blend of sweet and silly.  The humor is also layered in a way that even gets the adults in the room to chuckle.  Sweetie has become completely enamored with the lone dandelion on Daddy’s otherwise perfect lawn.  She has even given it a name!  Daddy and his friends keep looking for opportunities to get rid of Charlotte the dandelion, but each time Daddy is thwarted.  This book has plenty of laughs to share but a sweet ending that will make anyone smile.


9.  The Important Thing About Margaret Wise Brown

by Mac Barnett

A good picture book biography will win me over every time, but this one stood out above the rest.  Through Barnett’s word choice and delivery, it feels like reading a book by the famous author herself.  Of course, he adds his own subtle humor but the heartfelt narrative and deep respect for the struggles the children’s author went through come through beautifully.  Coupled with the beautiful illustrations by Sarah Jacoby, this book gave me a whole new appreciation for Margaret Wise Brown.


8.   Stargazing 

by Jen Wang

Christine and Moon are unlikely best friends.  Christine is very studious and somewhat reserved.  Moon is an artistic free-spirit… who sometimes beats people up.  Despite their differences, these two neighbors soon become best friends and serve as the Yin to the others Yang.  So when jealousy, pressure from parents and friends, celestial beings, and illness try to come between them, can their friendship stand strong?

Not only does this book have an awesome story line that makes me think of books like Smile and Sunny Side Up, but the art is fantastic.


7.  Where Are You From?

by Yamile Saied Méndez

The sweet pictures in this story drew me in but Méndez’ words captured me.  This story is about a little girl who is asked by classmates and peers where she is from.  She says from here but that isn’t enough for them and they continue to push asking where she is really from.  The child turns to her abuelo who answers her question with an answer that is unexpected but absolutely perfect.  A sweet story that is great for one on one reads or a group read aloud.


6. Share This Book!

by John Hutton

Board books are sometimes an overlooked category on the Top 10 but this one was a stand out this year!  Not only are the illustrations charming, they are also wonderfully inclusive and diverse.  The simple story speaks to the grown-ups of the very young who struggle to share books with their babies the “right” way.  This book reinforces the fact that there is NO right way.  The important thing is to sit down together and spend time not just with each other but with the book.  Whether it is looking at the pictures and pointing out things you see, reading a page here and there as your little one will sit for it, or graduating to reading the whole book (and then reading it again!) this book encourages kids and parents to keep opening the books together and making those memories.


5. The Bridge Home

by Padma Venkatraman

Dealing with heavy hitting subjects like abuse, neglect and homelessness, this book is heartbreaking but also incredibly uplifting.  Through tragic circumstances Viji, Rukku, Muthi and Arul find themselves homeless on the streets on Chennai in India.  The sisters Viji and Rukku are new to life on the streets, but quickly find a home with Muthi and Arul, who are able to show them how to survive.  With a stray dog in the mix too, these four quickly form a familial bond.  Though there is tension and heartbreak in this story there is also humor and so much hope.  The author has created a vivid world for these characters and doesn’t shy away from tough topics while also not being too graphic for the age it is intended.  The chapters are short but pack a punch so this book would be an awesome read aloud.


4. My Papí Has a Motorcycle

by Isabel Quintero

Daisy loves getting to zoom through her neighborhood on the back of her father’s motorcycle.  As they ride, she is excited to see people and places that make this her home.  She can’t help but noticing that some things in her neighborhood are changing though.  Despite these changes, he knows she can count on the love of her dad and family and the memories of her neighborhood as she knew it.  The illustrations in this book


3.  Some Places More than Others

by Renée Watson

Amara is excited for the opportunity to travel to New York to meet her father’s family and see where he grew up.  Sadly, New York isn’t quite what she imagined.  Her father and grandfather don’t speak to each other.  Amara is trying to figure out this new found family and how she fits in and why things are the way they are.  Filled with heart, this  story is about a young girl trying to connect to her roots and find out who she really is.


2.  Strange Birds: A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers

by Celia C. Pérez

I knew the second I saw this book’s epigraph was from the novella The Body, which the movie Stand By Me was based on, that it was going to be amazing, and it didn’t disappoint!  The four protagonists all come together after a mysterious invitiation to join a new secret group, bringing their own secrets with them.  Though they seem almost too different, they soon form friendships and find a cause: fighting an out-dated and unethical tradition held by another group in their town.  This book combines mystery, humor, adventure, and the ups and downs that come with new friendships.  It reads pretty fast with short chapters that often rotate through the perspectives of the different characters.


And tied for first…

Dear Sweet Pea

by Julie Murphy

If you have read any of Murphy’s previous YA titles (Dumplin’, Puddin), you know her writing is warm, with a lot of heart and the right dose of humor.  Dear Sweet Pea is her middle grade debut that offers all of those same qualities I’ve come to love about this author’s voice.  Sweet Pea is dealing with a lot.  On the home front, her parents are divorcing.  At school, there are social issues with her ex best friend and the fact that, well, Sweet Pea isn’t exactly the smallest person in her class.  Things take an interesting turn for Sweet Pea when the reclusive advise columnist who lives next door asks Sweet Pea to forward her mail to her, but instead she starts responding to the letters herself!  This sweet, spunky, warm protagonist had me rooting for her from the get go.



With the Fire On High

by Elizabeth Acevedo

Talk about outside my comfort zone!  When I dive into YA fiction I usually gravitate towards fantasy.  This book created such a buzz in the book world though, I had to read it even though it is realistic fiction.  Emoni is not your typical Senior.  Emoni has a a two-year old daughter at home to think about and an abuela who needs her.  She works, gets good grades, is an excellent mom and granddaughter, and is also an AMAZING cook.  It’s almost like magic.  She knows just what to add to make a recipe pop, creating a one-of-a-kind experience for whoever is eating it. When she is given the opportunity to take a culinary arts class that includes a chance to study abroad, she is eager but also weary.  Money on a trip means less money at home and time away from her baby girl, but it also means the chance to be a “normal” teenager, even if only for two weeks.  Emoni is always having to make decisions and take on responsibilities well beyond her years based on the needs of the ones she loves.  She takes her responsibilities seriously and this trip breaks all the rules she has set for herself, but breaking free could be exactly what she needs to find herself where she is meant to be. This book is beautifully written, authentic, and includes recipes.

Miss Marta

Jessica’s Best Books of 2019

Jessica’s Top 10 of 2019

10. Field Trip

by Molly Brooks

The sequel to one of my favorite middle grade graphic novels, Sanity and Tallulah. This time, Sanity and Tallulah are on a class field trip from their spaceship to an actual planet that goes horrendously wrong. Field Trip has everything you could want: exploding planets, space bees, pirates, and plucky kids working together to save the day. The world-building is expanded on from the previous book and we get to meet Sanity’s awesome older sister, Prudence. I love the energy, humor, and curiosity of this series and can’t wait to see more of it in the future.


9. Give Me Back My Bones!

by Kim Norman

A pirate buried at the bottom of the ocean needs help gathering back up his bones! This fun, rhyming picture book uses the correct terms for bones (scapula, clavicle, humerus, etc.) but explains what the bones are used for in silly pirate speak, so it informs while it entertains. A great STEM-themed picture book that would be a hit with any young pirate lover.


8. The Scarecrow

by Beth Ferry

Ferry’s story of a lonesome scarecrow rescuing and befriending a baby crow is fine on its own, but it’s the Fan brothers’ illustrations that make this book truly outstanding. They make the scarecrow’s simple burlap face seem expressive and full of life and are equally skilled at capturing the changing seasons. A beautiful, moving story of friendship.


7. The Night Flower

by Lara Hawthorne

This nonfiction picture book depicts the flora and fauna of the Sonoran desert, particularly the titular flower of the saguaro cactus which blooms only one night a year. The rhyming prose paired with the lovely, simple illustrations show a softer, thriving side of the desert. It also includes the life cycle and parts of the saguaro, desert creatures, and glossary.


6. Skulls!

by Blair Thornburgh

An adorable picture book about – you guessed it – skulls! Thornburgh’s cheery, light-hearted picture book looks at an often scary subject and shows how useful skulls can be. The cool skull facts included at the end was pretty informative as well.



5. The Happy Book

by Andy Rash

This picture book about feelings stands out to me from the crowd of similar books because it not only identifies feelings and what may cause them, but that it is okay to not be happy all of the time. Even some pretty complex emotions (“I’m angry that I can’t make you happy and scared we won’t be friends anymore!” “I’m scared you won’t like me if I’m not happy.”) are presented but in a way that’s understandable to young children. And best of all, Rash has managed to create a book that is not only fun for kids, but adults will get a laugh out of reading as well.


4. The Absence of Sparrows

by Kurt Kirchmeier

This book is an odd duck, which I mean in the best way. The premise – spooky clouds roll in and cause people to randomly turn into glass statues – was strange and unique enough to capture my interest, but I was surprised by the sensitive portrayal of the main character’s grief, confusion, and struggle to keep his family together in the midst of a bizarre apocalypse.



3. Scary Stories for Young Foxes

by Christian McKay Heidicker

One of the best scary stories for kids that manages to be genuinely spooky but is still age-appropriate. Though some sensitive readers bothered by animal death/harm may want to pass on this one, any young middle grade horror fan eager for something truly spooky will fly through this like I did. You can read my full review here.



2. Pick a Pumpkin

by Patricia Toht

Anyone who has spent more than five minutes in my presence knows that Halloween is my favorite holiday, so it’s probably no surprise that a Halloween picture book would make it to my top ten. However, Toht’s lovely book, beautifully illustrated by Jarvis, would win me over even if I wasn’t already Halloween’s biggest fan. It captures the feeling of picking out a pumpkin and carving it into a jack o’lantern. Gorgeous, charming, and atmospheric.



1. Sal and Gabi Break the Universe

by Carlos Hernandez

Hands down, not only my favorite book of this year, but probably one of my favorites ever. Part of the excellent Rick Riordan Presents publishing imprint, the science fiction aspect of the story isn’t as significant to the plot as the summary makes it sound, but Sal is a wonderful protagonist and I could happily have spent an entire book of him narrating going grocery shopping or something equally mundane. I’ve got the release date of the sequel marked on my calendar, and you should too. You can check out my full review here.


Miss Jessica

Tess’ Best Books of 2019


Tess’ Top 10 of 2019

10. The Frog Book

by Steven Jenkins and Robin Page

Everything you’d want to know about frogs with full-color, gorgeous illustrations.  According to the book, there are 6,000 species of frogs.  Several are represented here, along with snippets on how they protect their eggs, their diet, and their defense mechanisms.  Kids who enjoy learning facts and dropping knowledge will love this book.  Even adults can amaze friends with obscure frog facts.  Like, did you know a group of frogs is called an army? Or that the desert rain frog lives in sand dunes and gets all its water from fog? There is also a table in the back listing all the frogs in the book, their diet, size, and range, which is handy for fact-loving readers.


9. Does It Fart?: A Kid’s Guide to the Gas Animals Pass

by Nick Caruso and Dani Rabaiotti and illustrated by Alex G. Griffiths

This book teaches about the ins and outs of the digestive system.  And it is HILARIOUS.  One of our regular moms here told me her kids were LOL’ing so much at bedtime while reading this book, and she highly recommended it!    Each page features a different animal, and asks the age-old question, “Does it fart?”  Answers are on the back.  My favorite “Does it Fart?” question is a tie between the Spider and the Unicorn, but I won’t spoil the answers!


8. A Boy Like You

by Frank Murphy and illustrated by Kayla Harren

This story encourages boys to celebrate all facets of their personalities and love themselves.  In the author’s note, Murphy wrote that as a youth basketball coach he saw boys struggling with society’s confusing messages on masculinity.  He wanted to show boys that being strong also means being thoughtful, kind, attentive, and helpful.  Some of my favorite lines are, “Fear and bravery are partners.  You can’t be brave without first being afraid.” Great book to share with all the kiddos in your life.


7. When Aidan Became a Brother

by Kyle Lukoff and illustrated by Kaylani Juanita

“When Aidan was born, everyone thought he was a girl…But Aidan didn’t feel like any kind of girl.  He was really another kind of boy.”  Aidan learns he will be a big brother, and he is worried about making his new sibling feel welcome right from the start.  The story follows Aidan and his family while they prepare for the new baby.  Great story about welcoming a new sibling with thoughtful transgender representation.  I really enjoyed the illustrations and Aidan’s loving family!  Lukoff himself is Trans and this book is part of the #OwnVoices movement that recognizes books written by a member of a community represented in the work.  Be sure to read his touching author’s note in the back of the book too!


6. Skulls!

by Blair Thornburgh and illustrated by Scott Campbell

This book is fantastic!  It looks like a graphic novel with the chunky, fun illustrations.  The text is pretty simple, which makes it a fun read-aloud too, but the back matter contains lots of great info for those who want to dig a little deeper into the subject.



5. Our Favorite Day by Joowon Oh and Saturday by Oge Mora

I love both of these picture books so much, and I just could not decide between the two.  Since they both focus of spending time with loved ones, I am including them together but not to diminish the specialness of either in any way.


In Saturday, a child and her mother intend to spend the day together doing their favorite Saturday activities.  Mom only has one day off a week, so Saturdays are their day!  But, as so often happens, things just don’t go according to plan.  I appreciated the parenting realness Mora shows when Mom starts to melt down (because, as a parent, who hasn’t been there?) and also the super-sweet conclusion.


Our Favorite Day is a lovely, gently paced book about a grandfather’s daily routine compared to his routine on Thursday, the day his granddaughter visits.  I love the water-color collage illustrations and the simple, beautiful story.  Great representation of the special relationship between grandparent and grandchild.




4. August Isle

by Ali Standish

This book had me hooked!  It reminded me a lot of Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech.  Miranda has grown up seeing postcards from August Isle, where her mom spent summers as a child.  She soon travels there to and begins to unravel the mysteries surrounding the seemingly perfect town and her mom’s life.   Mysterious and emotional story of loss and friendship.




3. Magic Ramen: The Story of Momofuku Ando

by Andrea Wang and illustrated by Kana Urbanowicz

This book really surprised me!  I thought the story of ramen noodles would be pretty dry (ha ha!), but this book was anything but.  It tells the story of Momofuku Ando and his drive to create a nutritious, affordable, easy-to-prepare meal in post-WWW II Japan.  Lots of lessons in perseverance and helping others.  The illustrations are fantastic and bring the story to life.



2. New Kid

by Jerry Craft

Seventh grade is tough.  It is even tougher to be the new kid.  Jordan Banks, a gifted student and artist, is not only the new kid at his fancy prep school, but one of the few students of color.  This graphic deals with some complex issues on race and socioeconomics while being totally enjoyable, relatable, and funny!  As Jordan’s school year progresses, he tries new activities and makes friends, and we see his unique perspective on the situations in his drawings that are interspersed with the action of the story.


1. The Undefeated

by Kwame Alexander and illustrated by Kadir Nelson

This ode to African-American resiliency was originally performed as a video poem for ESPN’s The Undefeated website and was made into this superb children’s book.  Nelson’s oil-painted figures are incredible and so life-like.  Alexander’s poem is powerful, and the book’s pacing with the accompanying images are just perfect here.  My favorite picture book of the year.  You can see the original video poem and read more about it here.


Miss Tess

Frozen Books

Frozen 2 is finally here! If your child just can’t get enough of Elsa, Anna, and the gang, check out some of these books to keep the magic going. Click the links to go to the catalog.


Disney Frozen / by Jennifer Keast

Frozen / by Bill Scolen

Frozen / by Victoria Saxon

Do You Want to Build a Snowman? / by Calliope Glass

Welcome, Spring! / by Andrea Posner-Sanchez

Sparkle Magic! / by Kristen L. Depken

Kristoff’s Crystal Adventure / by Apple Jordan

Olaf Loves… Everything! / by Andrea Posner-Sanchez


Frozen : the Junior Novelization / by Sarah Nathan

A Tale of Two Sisters / by Melissa Lagonegro 

All Hail the Queen / by Erica David

Memory and Magic / by Erica David

A Warm Welcome / by Erica David

Anna’s Icy Adventure / by Elise Allen


Frozen Adventures. Flurries of Fun 

Frozen : the Essential Guide / by Barbara Bazaldua

Learn to Draw Disney Frozen / by the Disney Storybook Artists

Miss Jessica


Five on Friday: Halloween Picture Books

Pumpkin Carving Party.png

October is hands down my favorite month of year and it’s all because of my favorite holiday, Halloween. So for this month’s Five on Friday, I chose five of my favorite Halloween picture books (plus one board book) to share with you. Click on the book title to go to the catalog.


Pick a Pumpkin – Patricia Toht

Going to a pumpkin patch to pick out a pumpkin and carve it into a jack o’lantern is one Halloween tradition I always look forward to. This delightful picture book has beautiful, vibrant art and rhythmic text perfect for reading aloud. It’s a fun celebration of every step in creating the perfect jack o’lantern on Halloween night.



The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything – Linda Williams

little old lady who is not afraid of anything must deal with a pumpkin head, a tall black hat, and other spooky objects that follow her through the dark woods trying to scare her. This isn’t very Halloween specific except for the jack o’lantern head, but I like the interactive aspect of this book; kids can nod, wiggle, and clap along with all the creepy disembodied clothes following her through the woods.



I Spy Spooky Night – Walter Wick

Rhyming verses instruct readers to find hidden objects on each page. I remember poring over the wonderfully detailed and spooky photographs in this fun Halloween addition to the classic picture book series.



Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich by Adam Rex

Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich is the funniest book about monsters you’ll ever find. Older kids will probably understand the references better, however, but these illustrated poems are still a delight to read out loud and even the pictures have funny little Easter eggs hidden…or whatever the Halloween version of an Easter egg is. I loved the running joke about the Phantom of the Opera having a song stuck in his head. The follow-up, Frankenstein Takes the Cake, is just as great.



Mother Ghost – Rachel Kolar

As you might be able to guess from the title, this book adapts common nursery rhymes into spooky ones! I think “Twinkle, Twinkle, Lantern Jack” and “Mary, Mary, Tall and Scary” were my favorites.



And as a bonus, I have to mention Dracula: A Counting Primer by Jennifer Adams. It’s not technically about Halloween and it’s a board book besides, but it’s adorably spooky and perfect for Halloween. She has an entire series of these primers with classic literature, so if Frankenstein is your literary monster of choice, she has that as well!

And that’s it for this month! I hope you check out some of these picture books the next time you’re looking for some spooky fun books. Be sure to check back in November, same bat time, same bat channel for the next Five on Friday.

Miss Jessica


International Talk Like a Pirate Day

Ahoy, mateys! Today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. If you landlubbers be lookin’ for some books worthy of the saltiest dog on yer crew, look no further than these lists.


The Pirate Jamboree – Mark Teague
Best Pirate – Kari-Lynn Winters
How I Became a Pirate – Melinda Long
Pirate Jack Gets Dressed – Nancy Raines Day
The Pirate Cruncher – Jonny Duddle


Ghost Pirate Treasure – Geronimo Stilton
Race to the Bottom of the Sea – Lindsay Eagar
Pirate Queen – Marci Peschke
Peter and the Starcatchers – Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
Magic Marks the Spot – Caroline Carlson


Who Was Blackbeard? – James Buckley Jr.
Swashbuckling Scoundrels – Arie Kaplan
How to Live Like a Caribbean Pirate – John Farndon
Pirates – E. T. Fox
Pirateology – Dugald Steer

Review: Scary Stories for Young Foxes by Christian McKay Heidicker



From the publisher:

The haunted season has arrived in the Antler Wood. No fox kit is safe.

When Mia and Uly are separated from their litters, they discover a dangerous world full of monsters. In order to find a den to call home, they must venture through field and forest, facing unspeakable things that dwell in the darkness: a zombie who hungers for their flesh, a witch who tries to steal their skins, a ghost who hunts them through the snow . . . and other things too scary to mention.

Featuring eight interconnected stories and sixteen hauntingly beautiful illustrations, Scary Stories for Young Foxes contains the kinds of adventures and thrills you love to listen to beside a campfire in the dark of night. Fans of Neil Gaiman, Jonathan Auxier, and R. L. Stine have found their next favorite book.


I admit, I was skeptical by the premise of this book. Scary stories…for animals? Young animals? But I like foxes, and I like scary stories, so I was willing to give it a shot. And I’m so glad I did, because this book was a hit for me. Scary stories for kids are tricky; most standard horror fare is not kid-friendly, but young readers will protest at anything that’s not scary enough. So I have to give kudos to Christian McKay Heidicker for coming up with the perfect solution by making all of the characters (save one surprisingly familiar human antagonist) animals. The threats to our adorable fox kit characters are both realistic and scary, including hunters’ traps, badgers, and in my personal favorite of the stories, rabies. I was almost immediately attached to our two main characters, Uly and Mia, and rooted for them to overcome the terrifying trials that threaten them. I also really liked the framing of the story, where seven fox kits are listening to these scary stories that build on one another. After each story, one kit is too frightened to continue and goes home, but the rest beg the elderly storyteller to know what happens next.

I will warn you that Heidicker doesn’t pull any punches and is realistic about the brutality of nature. Some animals do die. Some family members are cruel. Not everyone gets a happy ending. But, as the publisher recommends, if you/your child enjoys Coraline, Goosebumps, The Night Gardener, or The Graveyard Book, then they are sure to enjoy Scary Stories for Young Foxes. Ages 10 and up, highly recommended.

Check it out on the catalog here!

Miss Jessica


Fortnite Books


With its combination of the excitement of shooters and the creativity and construction of sandbox games like Minecraft, Fortnite has taken the video game world by storm and it doesn’t seem like its popularity is letting up anytime soon. These books full of tips and tricks will help readers become the last one standing in the Battle Royale, plus an art book if they want to learn how to draw their favorite characters.



Fortnite Battle Royale Hacks : Advanced Strategies – Jason R. Rich

Fortnite Battle Royale Hacks : Secrets of the Island – Jason R. Rich

Fortnite Battle Royale Hacks : The Unofficial Gamer’s Guide – Jason R. Rich

Fortnite Battle Royale Hacks : Building Strategies – Jason R. Rich

The Fortnite Guide to Staying Alive: Tips and Tricks for Every Kind of Player – Damien Kuhn

Official Fortnite Battle Royale Survival Guide

Unofficial How to Draw Fortnite for Kids : Learn to Draw 40 of Your Favorite Fortnite Heroes by Andrew Howell

An Encyclopedia of Strategy for Fortniters : An Unofficial Guide for Battle Royale – Jason R. Rich

An Unofficial Encyclopedia of Strategy for Fortniters : ATK Driving Techniques, Challenges, and Stunts – Jason R. Rich

Miss Jessica