Title Drop! For Kids Who HATE Books

Getting children to enjoy reading has some interesting similarities to having them try a new type of food for the first time: sometimes their first reaction is to lock their faces with parent-proof refusal ("I. DON'T. LIKE. THAT.") and fuse themselves on the molecular level to their favorite distraction (television, mobile device or toy).  Other times they might dive in and read like page-surfing rock stars!

When I was a kid, I didn’t really think about whether or not I liked reading; what first drew me to books were the pictures. I checked out heaps of picture books, graphic novels (or comic books), great big illustrated encyclopedias, as well as books about things that I was super obsessed with at the time, like origami, exotic animals, precious gems, Super Mario, He-Man and She-Ra... My Little Pony.

I like to think those pictures and illustrations helped to build my imagining muscles, like how words and sounds build your talking and story-telling muscles.

Here are some great books to give your child’s imagination a good work-out, while (hopefully) building their interest and love for reading.

Cover image for Bad Kitty for president

Bad Kitty series by Nick Bruel
Both a series of picture books as well as transitional chapter books, Bruel's hilarious misbehaving feline will have kids engrossed and entertained by his cheeky yet endearing antics. Picture books (XFICP) for ages 4 - 8. Chapter books (XFICI) for ages 7 - 10.

Cover image for Lunch Lady

Lunch Lady series by Jarrett Krosoczka
Three kids finally discover what their elementary school lunch lady does when she isn't serving up their daily meal - battling crime armed with an arsenal of secret-weapon kitchen gadgets and awesome martial arts chops! Graphic novel for ages 8 - 12.

Cover image for Geronimo Stilton, secret agent

Geronimo Stilton series by Geronimo Stilton
Everyone's favorite adventuresome journalist mouse narrates his globe-trotting exploits with exciting visuals and text that leaps off of the pages. For ages 7 - 10.

Cover image for Dragonbreath

Dragonbreath series by Ursula Vernon
An innovative blend of graphic novel and chapter book follows the adventures of a young dragon who hasn't quite gotten the hang of the art of fire-breathing but is a master of his fear. For ages 8 - 12.

Cover image for Dork diaries

Dork Diaries series by Rachel Russell
Similar to the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, Dork Diaries follows the laugh-out-loud thoughts and experiences as written, scribbled and illustrated by a girl who has a lot to say about her world and especially the people in it. For ages 9 - 13.

Cover image for Big Nate flips out

Big Nate series by Lincoln Peirce
Both a series of graphic novels, and regular books with additional illustrations, this New York Times best-selling series features the funny and thoughtful misadventures of a budding young cartoonist. For ages 8 - 12.

Cover image for Pokémon adventures

Pokémon series
The manga series inspired by the on-going anime series which is inspired by the mega-hit video game series, starring Ash Ketchum and his little lightning-mouse pal, Pikachu. For ages 9 - 12 years.

Cover image for Josie the jewelry fairy

Rainbow Magic series by Daisy Meadows
The New York Times best-selling series about fairies and their friends, from all walks of life! Ocean fairies, princess fairies, sports fairies and more! Chapter books (with occasional illustrations) for ages 7 and up.

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Stormbreaker (Alex Rider) series by Anthony Horowitz
The graphic novel series provides thrilling manga-like visuals to the action and excitement of the novels about a young teen super spy. For ages 10 and up.

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Star Wars: Jedi Academy series by Jeffrey Brown
A sort of graphic novel, sort of diary, that begins in a middle school far, far away... where a young boy is disappointed when he isn't accepted to Pilot Academy and instead finds himself invited to the mysterious Jedi Academy: life as a young padawan has a lot of surprises in store! For ages 8 - 12.

Cover image for Darth Vader and son

Darth Vader & Son by Jeffrey Brown
Cute and laugh-riot graphic novel that explores what it would've been like had Darth Vader actually been there as his son Luke was growing up. Series includes Vader's Little Princess, Darth Vader and Friends, and Goodnight Darth Vader. For all ages.

Cover image for The adventures of Tintin

Adventures of Tintin series by Herge
Re-published in a fresh new omnibus mutli-volume series, this illustrated comic books series by the famous Belgian artist Georges Remi (under the pseudonym Herge) follows young reporter Tintin and his white terrier Snowy as they gallivant around the globe on their exciting investigations. For ages 8 and up.

Cover image for Invasion of the overworld : an unofficial minecrafter's adventure

Unofficial Minecrafter's Adventure series, by Mark Cheverton
A young gamer who likes to stir up trouble for other players finds himself transported into the game world he loves, teeming with adventure and *gulp* danger! Discovering secrets of the game that even its creators don't know, his quest to return home will take him on a wild digital adventure. For ages 9 and up.

Cover image for LEGO Ninjago, masters of spinjitzu

LEGO-inspired series
If your child loves LEGO, there are several LEGO-themed series for them to enjoy. Ninjago (ninjas and LEGOs, hai-ya!), Star Wars (these are totally the blocks you are looking for), even Super Heroes (Marvel and DC Comics to the rescue!). Graphic novels and early readers for various ages.

Cover image for Twilight Sparkle and the Crystal Heart Spell

My Little Pony series
Based on the new popular animated series, join Twilight Sparkle, Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, Applejack and Fluttershy, hoofed denizens of Equestria in their exploration of magic, mystery and friendship. Graphic novels, early readers and chapterbooks for various ages.

Click on any of the titles or book covers to visit the OC Public Libraries to reserve copies today!

For more book lists click here.


Read to the Rhythm - Music Themed Upper Level Children's Book List

The Summer Reading Program theme is Read to the Rhythm! Our program began on June 22nd and runs until August 2nd. So far we are loving the music theme! Each branch is incorporating music into their displays, reading program logs, performances, crafts and reading prizes! The fun thing about a music theme is that there are so many music themed books! There are books about musicians, books about instruments and fictional stories that involve music in the plot. In previous posts we have provided a list of music themed picture books and a list of music themed books for intermediate readers. Now we'd like to present to you this list of upper level fiction books for older children. We want to make sure there is a little something for readers of all levels because children who read over the summer will return to school more prepared and advanced than those who didn't read over the summer!

Nothing But the Truth
A ninth-grader's suspension for singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" during homeroom becomes a national news story.

Things Hoped For
Andrew Clements
Seventeen-year-old Gwen, who has been living with her grandfather in Manhattan while she attends music school, joins up with another music student to solve the mystery when her grandfather suddenly goes missing.

The Tears of the Salamander
Peter Dickinson
Alfredo, a twelve-year-old choir boy in eighteenth-century Italy, loses his family in a fire, goes to live with Uncle Giorgio, who he discovers is a sorcerer in control of the fires of Mt. Etna with sinister plans for his nephew.

Gail Carson Levine
In a land where beauty and singing are valued above all else, Aza eventually comes to reconcile her unconventional appearance and her magical voice, and learns to accept herself for who she is.

Gentle’s Holler
Kerry Madden
In the early 1960s, twelve-year-old songwriter Livy Two Weems dreams of seeing the world beyond the Maggie Valley, North Carolina, holler where she lives in poverty with her parents and eight brothers and sisters, but understands that she must put family first.

Aurelie: A Faerie Tale
Heather Tomlinson
Heartsick at losing her two dearest companions, Princess Aurelie finds comfort in the glorious music of the faeries, but the duties of the court call her, as do the needs of her friends.

Is one of your favorite music themed books not on the list? Leave us a comment and share the title!


Read to the Rhythm - Intermediate Level Music Themed Books

The Summer Reading Program started last week and it is off to a great start! All around OC Public Libraries' branches children, teens, and adults are signing up and getting ready to read! In an earlier post we released a list of primary level music themed picture books for our youngest readers. We are excited to offer you a list of music themed books at the intermediate level. Enjoy! 

Play it Again, Mallory
Laurie Friedman
At summer camp, Mallory learns that making music can be lots of fun! 

The Awesomely Awful Melodies of Lydia Goldblatt & Julie Graham-Chang
Amy Ignatow
Lydia and Julie decide to start a rock band; unfortunately, neither of them are very good musicians.

A Mouse Called Wolf
Dick King-Smith
A mouse with an unusual name shares his musical gift with a widowed concert pianist.


Morgy’s Musical Summer
Maggie Lewis
Morgy is sent to a music camp for the summer.

A Crooked Kind of Perfect
Linda Urban
Zoe finds that her musicianship has a positive impact on her family.

The Jazz Man
Mary Hays Weik
Zeke listens to the wonderful music coming from the jazz musician's piano across the court and escapes for a while from his worries.

The Secret Life of Ms. Finkleman
Winters, Ben
Bethesda uncovers the secret identity of her music teacher, which leads to a most unusual concert performance and a tutoring assignment.

Do you have a favorite music themed book that isn't listed here? Let us know so we can add it to our list!



Book Bomb! Teen Novels to Film 2015

More and more stories are making their way from the pages of the most beloved teen novels to the big screen. Here are a few titles that you should definitely read before (or after) the film is released.

Cover image for Me and Earl and the dying girl : a novel
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl 
by Jesse Andrews.

Greg Gaines (Thomas Mann) deals with the suckfest that is high school with his mastery of the art of staying off the radar. Together with his kind-of-maybe friend Earl, his low-key existence is filled with keeping things low-key and making amateur films that are… interesting (to put it politely) versions of old classics. Until his mother forces him to re-friend a girl from his childhood who has been diagnosed with leukemia, pushing Greg into the one place he’s been trying so hard to avoid: the very center of things.
In theatres June 12.
Cover image for Paper towns
by John Green

Quentin (Matt Wolf) has been in love with Margo Roth Spiegelman (Cara Delevigne), the incandescent girl across the street, all his life, secretly (or so he thinks) and from afar. His whole world implodes when the object of his obsession ninjas her way into his room one night and recruits him on a night of vengeance and hilarity... and the next morning, is nowhere to be found. But the girl who loves mysteries has left clues behind for the boy who loves the greatest mystery of his entire life, and he’s not about to let anything stop him from solving it.
In theatres July 24.

Cover image for The Scorch trials
The Scorch Trials 
by James Dashner

Sequel to The Maze Runner.  After solving the mystery of the maze, Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) and the surviving Gladers thought they had won their way to freedom, but instead find themselves emerging from the deadly ever-shifting maze only to be thrown into the even deadlier ever-burning zone called The Scorch. They have but two weeks to traverse this lethal obstacle course, two weeks to live or die in this hellish inferno of a place that very few have survived.
In theatres Sept 18.

Cover image for How I met my monster
by R.L. Stine

Inspired by the series of books filled with thrills and chills for children and teens.  Zach Cooper has just moved to a new town. His new neighbor, Hanna, is the daughter of none other than the world famous R.L. Stine himself (played by Jack Black), author of the Goosebumps books that have both terrified and delighted readers for years. What people don’t know is that Stine’s books keep the world safe by trapping all of the monsters within their pages. That is, until Zach accidentally releases all of these horrors out into the world. Now it’s up to him, Hannah and Stine to put them back before the fictional world of horrors in R.L. Stine’s books becomes, well, the real world.
In theatres October 16.

Cover image for Gris Grimly's Frankenstein, or, The modern Prometheus
Victor Frankenstein 
by Mary Shelley

Based on the classic Victorian horror novel of a young doctor’s misguided attempts at discovering the secrets of life and death, the film follows the story from the perspective of Igor (Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter film fame), a character not in the original novel. Through Igor’s eyes, experience the story of his sinister past, his friendship with the young man who would later on create a monster, and those terrible events that made that young doctor a legend.
In theatres November 15.

Cover image for Mockingjay
by Suzanne Collins

In the last part of the Hunger Games film series, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) will finally accept her role as leader of the resistance, the role she must play to ensure the overthrow of the current regime, the downfall of President Snow, and most importantly the rescue of Peeta, who may or may not be under the influence of the Capitol. Some lives will be lost. Others will be saved.  Secrets, traitors, and betrayers will be revealed.
In theatres November 20.

Cover image for Fallen
by Lauren Kate

Sent to a remote boarding school for her role leading to the death of a boy, Luce Price (Addison Timlin) isn’t sure what creeps her out more: that her new school forbids the use of phones, or that there are cameras following the students everywhere they go. So it’s not that much stranger that the hostile, enigmatic Daniel, whom she has never met before, is somehow so familiar to her… like they’ve known each other all their lives.  Because they have known each other, and every single time they met in those countless lives before, she died.
In theatres Fall 2015.

Cover image for The 5th Wave
by Rick Yancey

An alien race has invaded Earth and begun to “cleanse” the planet in preparation for colonization. Their invasion began in the form of “waves”: the first wave was an electro-magnetic blast that rendered all electronic-based technology useless. The second wave was a titanic bar dropped into the ocean that destroyed all coastal civilization. The third wave decimated the human population with a viral plague. The fourth wave came in the form of aliens themselves, who revealed they had been living among humans for decades. Cassie (Chloe Moretz) a teen who survives the death of both her parents, promises to keep her little brother safe. She just needs to make it through the fifth wave… which is about to begin.
In theatres January 15, 2016.

Cover image for Pride and prejudice and zombies : the classic Regency romance -- now with ultraviolent zombie mayhem!
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies 
by Seth Grahame-Smith

All of the lovely angst of Jane Austen’s Victorian classis is superimposed with the supernatural (zombification!) so that once-familiar events take on more thrilling and undead connotation. Elizabeth Bennet (Lily Collins) and her sisters have been raised, as any proper English girls should be, in the feminine arts by their mother… and in the deadly martial arts by their father. Just as in the original, Lady Bennet only wishes marital bliss for her daughters, and contrives to arrange suitable matches for them, even while they battle the ravening undead.
In theatres February 5, 2016.

When his grandfather is killed by creatures that could only be described as make-believe, a teen boy (Asa Butterfield) follows the clues left behind, eerie photographs of children who seem to have… peculiar capabilities. His quest leads him to an orphanage his grandfather was once raised in, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. With the discovery of these supernaturally talented kids comes the discovery that the creatures who killed his grandfather may not be so imaginary after all.
In theatres March 4, 2016.

Cover image for Allegiant
by Veronica Roth

The conclusion to Roth’s best-selling Divergent series follows Tris’ (Shailene Woodley) discovery of the truth behind the factions, and the walled-off city they have been confined to. The world is not what they thought it was, and neither are the factions, or the Divergent.
The film will be split up into two parts, the first of which will be 
in theatres March 16, 2016.

Click on any of the book covers or titles to visit the OC Public Libraries’ catalog to reserve a copy of the novel today!


In the Swim

Now that Summer is officially here, children everywhere are delightedly or reluctantly learning how to swim. For a fun activity, it can be fraught with anxiety. Will I sink? How will I breathe? Perhaps some picture books on the subject would be reassuring.

First, it needs to be acknowledged that some children just aren't ready to swim yet. Edward in Deep Water by Rosemary Wells is part of the "Edward the Unready" series. After some boisterous friends at a pool party pop his water wings, his understanding mother and father reassure him that "Not everyone is ready for the same things at the same time."

At the other end of the spectrum, in Maisy Learns to Swim by Lucy Cousins, Maisy and her friends have a non-stressful, fun time at their group swim lesson. From blowing bubbles to wrapping up in a big towel, Maisy can't wait to go swimming again. Choose this one if you want to accentuate the positive.

Sergio loves water in the form of rain, puddles and a cold bath. But he is reluctant to dive into the ocean with his penguin classmates. Once he gets up the nerve to try, he has fun -- but never quite gives up his floaties. (Maybe next time.)  Sergio Makes a Splash by Edel Rodriguez.

In Make the Team, Baby Duck! the titular character starts out on the sidelines at the pool. She is afraid her arms might get tired or she might swallow water. Her patient Grandpa points out that even champions get tired and cough in the water sometimes, giving Baby Duck time to be ready to jump in. Much to her delight, her arms do not get tired and she breathes just fine!

Finally, be sure to try Froggy Learns to Swim, by Jonathan London. The interaction between Froggy and his mother, with Froggy repeatedly whining "I don't want to," and his mother cheerfully replying "Oh, come on Froggy, just try it," may ring true for some small readers. They may also enjoy repeating the mother's helpful chants, "Bubble, Bubble, Toot, Toot" and "Chicken... airplane.. . soldier" (to remember the positions of the frog kick).


Read to the Rhythm - Primary Level Music Themed Books

OC Public Libraries' Summer Reading Program starts Monday, June 22nd! This program runs through August 2nd. Visit any of our branches and sign up for this free program. The Summer Reading Program is a great opportunity to read, earn prizes, and attend programs at your local branch!

The Summer Reading Program is a great way to encourage children to read over the summer and prevent the summer slide. The summer slide is the term for the loss in academic skills that children can experience when they are out of school for the summer. Reading over the summer will help children keep up their skills!

This year we are so excited to be offering a music themed reading programs. Many branches are planning programs that focus on music, dance and instruments. To get into the summer reading spirit, here is a list of primary level music themed books. All these books are available at OC Public Libraries branches. While you are visiting the library to pick up some books to read, be sure and sign up for the Summer Reading Program!

Giant Dance Party
Betsy Bird

Lexy Tanz loves dancing so much that she wants to share her skills with others, and when she is becoming discouraged because no one wants lessons from a girl so small, a herd of hairy giants arrives to test her teaching ability.

Katy Duck and the Tip-Top Tap Shoes
Alyssa Satin Capucilli
When the new student in Katy Duck's ballet class makes a tapping sound, the music stops and everyone looks at her feet.

My Family Plays Music
Judy Cox
A musical family enjoys getting together to celebrate.

Rock 'N Roll Mole

Carolyn Crimi
Mole has a "rock-and-roll soul" and the groupies to prove it, but when his friend Pig organizes a talent show, Mole's stage fright may prevent him from performing.

This Jazz Man
Karen Ehrhardt
Presents an introduction to jazz music and nine well-known jazz musicians, set to the rhythm of the traditional song, "This Old Man." Includes brief facts about each musician.

Rupert Can Dance
Jules Feiffer
Although Rupert liked watching his owner Mandy dance during the day, he secretly enjoyed dancing at night while Mandy slept.

Bats in the Band
Brian Lies
When the weather warms up, bats take advantage of an empty theater to stage a concert.

Zin!Zin! Zin! A Violin
Lloyd Moss
Ten instruments take their parts one by one in a musical performance.

The Blues of Flats Brown
Walter Dean Myers
To escape an abusive master, a junkyard dog named Flats runs away and makes a name for himself from Mississippi to New York City playing blues on his guitar.

Splat the Cat with Bang and a Clang

Rob ScottonSplat's friends are having a rehearsal for their cool new band, the Cat Gang. But Splat can't sing and he doesn't play an instrument! What can he do that is perfect for the Cat Gang?

Frances Dean Who Loved to Dance and Dance

Birgitta Sif
Frances Dean loves to dance. She feels the wind and she dances. She hears singing birds and she dances. In her every waking moment, she is inspired to move.

The Happy Hedgehog Band

Martin Waddell
Happy hedgehogs with drums inspire the other animals in Dickon Wood to join them in making lively music.

Jazz Baby

Lisa Wheeler
Baby and his family make some jazzy music.

Elephants Cannot Dance!

Mo Willems
Gerald the elephant is certain that he cannot dance but his friend Piggie convinces him to try.

Hilda Must Be Dancing
Karma Wilson
None of her jungle friends can find Hilda Hippo a quieter, less disruptive replacement for dancing, her favorite hobby, until Water Buffalo suggests an activity that allows Hilda to express her dance creativity in a new way.


Title Drop! If You STILL Like Percy Jackson...

http://catalog.ocpl.org/client/en_US/default/search/detailnonmodal/ent:$002f$002fSD_ILS$002f0$002fSD_ILS:962140/one  http://catalog.ocpl.org/client/en_US/default/search/detailnonmodal/ent:$002f$002fSD_ILS$002f0$002fSD_ILS:1000080/one

... then this list is for you!  

If you’ve made your book-loving way through Rick Riordan’s The Heroes of Olympus series and are at a loss for what to read next, here are more books with more heart-pounding action, more stirring adventures, more plucky characters, more fantastical settings, and-and-and just MORE!  Huzzah! 

The Kane Chronicles, by Rick Riordan
Just on the very slight chance you haven’t read his other non-Percy series, this one takes its inspiration from Egyptian mythology (as opposed to Greek and Roman mythology).  Two siblings who have been estranged most of their lives are brought together by their archaeologist father who unwittingly frees the Egyptian god Set, sending the two on a quest involving more gods, harrowing danger, and ancient mystery.  (Ages 10 and up)

The Seven Wonders series, by Peter Lerangis
A young teen finds out that he and a group of others like him are descended from an ancient powerful race, leaving them both blessed with special abilities… and cursed with an early expiration date.  Their quest?  To find the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and the treasures hidden inside of them which just might provide the cure for their untimely deaths.  (Ages 8 and up)

The Inheritance Cycle, by Christopher Paolini
Not a recent release, but still a worthy read.  A young farm boy discovers a mysterious stone that hatches, revealing it to be a dragon’s egg.  Through his bond with the dragon, he becomes the first in a long while to hold the title of Dragon Rider, warriors who once rode on the backs of dragons and wielded both blade and magic to defend justice and peace.  Made into a motion picture at one point.  (Ages 12 and up)

The Ascendance Trilogy, by Jennifer A. Nielsen
In a far off kingdom, rumors that the royal family has perished circle like uneasy crows, wavering between truth and lie.  One nobleman who knows the truth takes matters into his own hands and recruits four orphans whom he will train, in war, in grace, and in the deadly intrigues of the royal court.  Three of the four orphans will die.  One… will become the long-lost crown prince.  A false prince.  (Ages 10 and up)

The Maze Runner series, by James Dashner
A teen wakes up with no memories except his name, and finds himself with a group of other lost boys who know nothing of their circumstances except one: they are at the center of a huge, ever-shifting maze.  One that is closed off to them at night and is filled with horrific creatures.  When a girl arrives, the first ever, things will never be the same.  Now a major motion picture.  (Ages 12 and up)

The Unwanteds series, by Lisa McCann
Each year, every thirteen-year-old is judged and labeled, their fate sealed.  Wanteds continue their education and train in combat.  Necessaries provide for the rest, cultivating and growing.  And the Unwanteds, well, their fate is not a pleasant one.  But a young Unwanted discovers instead that his true role is something beyond his imagination, a secret that is both fantastical, and dangerous.  (Ages 8 and up)

The Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling
It’s not as popular as it used to be, but it’s still one of the best!  If you haven’t read it yet, give it a whirl.  Is it still too early to call them classics?  Darn… A young boy with a lightning-shaped scar finds out that he's a wizard, he's famous in the wizarding world, and that an unnamed dark wizard is after him.  Oh, and he gets to go to a school for wizards and witches.  (All ages and up).

The Last Apprentice series, by Joseph Delaney
A teen becomes the very last in a long line of apprentices to a man whose vocation is to fight against the supernatural creatures that haunt and harry the general populace.  Previous apprentices failed their training, some took the coward’s way out, and some paid for their mistakes with their lives.  He is the last.  But will he succeed where so many have failed?  Now a major motion picture. (Ages 12 and up)

The Land of Stories series, by Chris Colfer
On their birthday, two siblings who happen to be twins receive a book of stories that their deceased father once read to them at night.  When they are transported to the wondrous world inside the book, their quest to find a way home will also uncover the truth behind these magical stories and its familiar fairytale characters, as well as their own family origin.  (Ages 8 and up).

Ever After High series, by Shannon Hale
At a boarding school in a land far, far away, the sons and daughters of famous fairytale characters are trained to become the next generation of Prince Charmings, Sleeping Beauties, Snow Whites, and, of course, Evil Queens.  Except, what if you don’t want to follow in the footsteps of your evil queen of a mother?  What if you rewrote fairytale history?  (Ages 8 and up)

Every year two children are mysteriously taken, never to be seen again.  Nothing of the why or where is known, but there is a single constant: one child is always beautiful and good, the perfect child any parent would want; the second child is always a loner, strange and far from beautiful.  This year two girls are taken and find themselves at the magical School for Good and Evil.  Things take a wild twist when the beauty is sent to the School for Evil, despite her glass slippers, and the odd homely girl is sent to the School for Good, wicked black cat notwithstanding. (Ages 8 and up)

A pair of siblings (who you may recognize from an old classic Grimm’s fairytale) escape from the events of their familiar tale and find themselves entangled in the grim happenings of many other (also familiar) fairytale goings-on.  Their escapades, both thrilling and frightening (but in a good way), explores what really happened behind, or instead of, the happily-ever-afters everyone thinks is the truth.   (Ages 10 and up)

Wings of Fire series, by Tui T. Sutherland
The seven dragon tribes have been at war for centuries, and the only hope to end it rests with a prophecy that calls for a great sacrifice.  Five young dragonets, brought in secret to be raised for the purpose of fulfilling that greatt (yet mysterious) prophecy, escape their hidden home.  Their separate journeys to discover their origins and their own identities will change the war in ways no one expected.  (Ages 8 and up)

Spirit Animals series, by Brandon Mull
(each successive volume written by a different best-selling author)
In a mystical world, every child who comes of age must go through a rite of passage that reveals to them their spirit animal, a magical connection that grants powerful abilities to both child and animal.  Four youngsters from completely separate countries discover that their spirit animals are special, drawing them together in a sweeping quest to protect the world from a returning evil.  (Ages 8 and up)

Ranger’s Apprentice series, by John Flanagan
A young orphaned teen is disappointed when his dream of becoming chosen to train as a knight is dashed.  He is surprised, and not a little bit apprehensive, when he is recruited to be trained as a Ranger, mysterious, cloaked figures who are rumored to practice bloody arts and dark magic.  What he finds, as a Ranger’s apprentice, is a world filled with more intrigue, excitement, and adventure than the life he originally dreamed.  (Ages 10 and up)

Click on any of the series titles to visit the OC Public Libraries catalog and reserve one of the many titles today.

An older article lists more read-alike titles of the Percy Jackson series, click here.

For more book lists, click here.

And watch out for Rick Riordan’s exciting new series, starring a new cast of characters based on Norse Mythology (Thor! Odin! Loki!), to be released on October 6, 2015 (and available soon after in a library near you):


An Award-Winning (and Unique) Memoir

When a book is not only a National Book Award winner but also a Coretta Scott King award winner and a Newbery Honor Book, perhaps it is worth reading. I'm talking about brown girl dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. Just look at this book cover... the award stickers almost cover up the artwork!

I think what brought this book attention was Woodson's ability to express both specific and universal truths in her series of linked poems.

You might find brown girl dreaming in the poetry section, but it could just as easily have been shelved in the autobiographies. Woodson recollects what it was like to grow up in her particular family in the 1960's and 1970's as they moved from Ohio to South Carolina to Brooklyn. You get to know her sister and brothers, mother and grandparents, and will be able to explore the appended photo album to see what they all looked like.

The Coretta Scott King Book Awards annually recognize outstanding books for young adults and children by African American authors and illustrators that reflect the African American experience. Woodson's particular family encapsulates many aspects of life in America for black people in those decades: from the differences between living up North and down South to the civil rights movement and the Black Muslims.

And finally, Woodson captures her own growth from a girl who struggles with reading to a full-fledged author. Even when she can barely form her letters she has a compulsion to write:
"How can I explain to anyone that stories
are like air to me,
I breath them in and let them out
over and over again."

brown girl dreaming has been recognized as an outstanding book for young people. Such are its strengths that it should be recommended for readers of all ages.