Childrens book reviews by StorySnoops, judge a book by more than its cover, serving fresh scoops of new books for you every day
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Archive for the ‘Library Lover’s Month’ Category

Top Ten Most Popular Books in the Library (part 3) for Elementary Schoolers

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

We’ve been sharing with you the Top 10 Most Popular Books in libraries across the country for teens and middle schoolers. It’s time to find out what the elementary school kids are digging right now.

From John Schumacher, K-5 Librarian in Naperville, Illinois:

Here is John’s list of what the kids in his elementary school students are checking out.

1. Lunch Lady and the Mutant Mathletes by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

2. Sidekicks by Dan Santat

3. Skeleton Creek Book #1 by Patrick Carman

4. The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger

5. Big Nate Strikes Again by Lincoln Peirce

6. The Name of This Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch

7. Lunch Lady and the Picture Day Peril by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

8. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

9. Smile by Raina Telgemeier

10. Love That Dog by Sharon Creech

I love that the Lunch Lady series made this list, and in the number one spot no less! Thanks for sharing with us, John.  For more from John and his passion about finding great books for kids, visit his blog at

That wraps up our three-part post about what kids are checking out at the library. Were you surprised by any of the books on these lists? Librarians, how do these lists compare to what is being checked out in your libraries? We’d love to hear about it in our comments section!

Top Ten Most Popular Books in the Library (part 2) for Middle Schoolers

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

We ran Top Ten Most Popular Books in the Library last Thursday, telling you about the most popularly checked out books at teen librarian Jennifer Laredo’s library. Now that you know about the teens, let’s move on to the middle school kids :-) Without further ado, here are the Top Ten Most Popular Books in the Library for Middle Schoolers (Grades 6-8).

From Tamara Cox, Librarian for Palmetto Middle School, South Carolina:

Here is Tamara’s list of what the kids in her middle school like to read. I have kept her comments, as I thought they might be of interest to all.

1. The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins. I can’t buy enough to satisfy their requests.

2. The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney 4 copies of the series isn’t enough

3. Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer. The 6th graders are still excited to start the series because they finally have access to it.

4. Divergent series by Veronica Roth

5. I Am Number Four series by Pittacus Lore. Huge hit with my boys (and girls).

6. Shiver series by Maggie Stiefvater

7. Guinness World Record books

8. Matched series by Ally Condie

9. Tsubasa manga series

10. Fairy Tale series by Jackson Pearce (Sisters Red, Sweetly, Fathomless coming soon)

*Tamara also included a few titles that have the most holds this year. She feels that they would have made the list if more copies were available:

The Kill Order by James Dashner, Small Medium at Large by Joanne Levy, One For the Murphy’s by Lynda Mullaly Hunt, and Summer of the Wolves by Polly Carlson-Voiles.

Thanks for sharing with us, Tamara! For more from Tamara and her experiences as a wannabe edtech geek and middle school librarian, visit her blog.

From Tiffany Whitehead, Librarian for Central Middle School, Baton Rouge, Louisiana:

Here is what’s flying off the shelves in Tiffany’s library:

1. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

3. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw by Jeff Kinney

4. Deep and Dark and Dangerous by Mary Downing Hahn

5. Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life by Rachel Russell

6. Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix

7. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

8. Secrets of My Hollywood Life by Jen Calonita

9. The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

10. Cracker by Cynthia Kadohata

Thanks Tiffany! For more on Tiffany and her middle school musings on books and technology (she is quite the tech-savvy librarian) visit her blog.

The Hunger Games remains a huge hit with the middle-school crowd, but it is nice to see a mix of some new books too. Hopefully, it gives our readers some new interesting titles to check out at their local library!

Come back Thursday to see what the elementary school kids are loving in libraries across the country!

-Shannon, StorySnoop

Top Ten Most Popular Books in the Library (part 1) for Teens

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

When we ran our blog about the Top Ten Most Popular Books in the Library for Middle School and Teens a few years back, it was one of our most popular blogs of all time. We’ve recently checked back in with some of our favorite children’s and teen’s librarians to see what it is flying off the bookshelves across America. Today, let’s start with the the Top Ten Most Popular Books in the Library for Teens, shall we?

Jennifer Laredo, Young Adult Librarian

To see what the teens are reading these days, we love checking in with our own beloved local teen librarian, Jennifer Laredo. Jennifer works in the newly remodeled big and beautiful Los Gatos Public Library, a place we Snoops frequent quite a bit. Here is what Jennifer says are the top teen books from the last six months:

1.       The Hunger Games –  Suzanne Collins

2.       Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins

3.       Mockingjay – Suzane Collins

4.       Matched – Ally Condie

5.       Divergent – Veronica Roth

6.       The Maze Runner – James Dashner

7.       The Fault in Our Stars – John Green

8.       Crossed – Ally Condie

9.       The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky

10.     I Am Number Four – Pittacus Lore

Jennifer and I are delighted to see The Fault in our Stars on this list. In our opinion, it was the best book from 2012. I also am thrilled to see The Perks of Being a Wallflower on there, too. I wonder if the movie trailers are getting people interested in reading it? Whatever the reason, I am very happy that this book is getting some of the attention it has long deserved.

Tune in next Tuesday when we bring the Top Ten lists of two middle school librarians.

-Shannon, StorySnoop

The library! It’s here! It’s here! It’s here!

Monday, February 13th, 2012

If you are an out-of-town friend of StorySnoops, you may not have had February 11, 2012 on your calendar for months and months, but here in Los Gatos, we have been waiting for this day with baited breath. In this town sadly devoid of book stores (sigh–read about it here), we have all been marking the days until our NEW Los Gatos Library opened. And that day finally came this weekend.

It was a big deal, and I was so proud of the citizens of our town for supporting such a grand celebration of literature.  A half hour before opening, it seemed like half the town was out front waiting for the doors to open, listening to speeches by town leaders and music by the high school band. There were author signings, tours and other events happening all weekend. People were walking around town with the new book bags they got at the library.  It warmed my heart to see it all.

And today, my middle school son was begging me to let him ride his skateboard down, with his library card in his pocket, just to wander on his own and check something out. What? Yes! Of course! Take all the time you need! He and his friends have been talking about meeting there after school to do homework. Be still my heart.

It’s been awhile since there has been happy book news in our town, and if only a fraction of the excitement surrounding this library opening sticks around, it will be enough for me. Congratulations to all involved who have succeeded in building a beautiful and welcoming facility that joins literature and technology in an inviting setting–a place that people will want to gather and surround themselves with books. It gives me hope that young people will continue to treasure the written word, and have a place where they can experience the beauty of holding a paper book in their hand. What a worthwhile investment for our community.

-Eden, StorySnoop

How do I love the library? Let me count the ways!

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

In honor of Library Lover’s Month, we are re-running this post celebrating some of our favorite things about the library.  Let us know what else you’d add to the list–we’d love your thoughts too!

I know – a seemingly simple and boring blog topic, but come on. The library rocks these days.

Yesterday, my kids and I left the library with three bags filled with CD’s, DVD’s, magazines and books. I couldn’t believe the librarians were actually letting me leave with all of this stuff. For free? Really? Didn’t they know about my tendency to lose things? As I was walking out the automatic doors, I found myself looking over my shoulder, feeling as though at any moment The Library Police would sound their whistles, call me over to the desk and say,  ”Ma’am, you have a couple hundred dollars worth of stuff in those bags – you can’t just take it. Hand it over.”

It got me thinking about how cool the library is. I know it sounds nerdy, but in this economy, who doesn’t love to save a buck or two? Everyone knows you can borrow books from the library, but my love affair with the library goes much deeper than that. How do I love the library? Let me count the ways:

1. The Summer Reading program makes my kids compete against each other to see how many books they can read in a summer.

2. Kids get their very own library cards.

3. The library has all the latest issues of “American Girl” and “National Geographic Kids” so I didn’t have to renew our subscriptions.

4. You can do homework with your kids argument-free.  Everyone knows you have to be quiet in the library.

5. They have 15 different books on hammerhead sharks. If you happen to have a fan of hammerhead sharks, that comes in quite handy.

6. You can check out audiobooks, which are fun to listen to in the car with your kids. I find that since they are such a captive audience in the car, I can sneak a classic or two in and they don’t notice.

7. My active seven-year-old will sit for an hour with a stack of comic books he cannot really read yet.

8. That new check out machine! You can stack a ton of books on top of each other and “BING”!–the machine checks out all the books for us and prints a receipt. It’s so easy even my kids can do it.

9.With the computers, periodicals, and encyclopedias, is there a better place to work on a high school report?

10. Reading Hour. Sadly, my kids are too old for this now, but when they were younger, they really enjoyed it.

11. Free Wi-Fi.

12. When a book I want is checked out, I put my name on a list. When it comes in, I get an email letting me know they are holding it for me. Lovely.

13. I get email reminders when my books are about to be due (which has saved me big bucks in late fees).

I could go on and on but what about you? What do you love about your library?

-Shannon, StorySnoop

Need something for your child to read?  Check out what some of our librarian friends have to say about the most popular books in their libraries.  Betsy Bird and John Schu weigh in on the elementary set, while Tiffany Whitehead, Kathy Burnette and Jennifer Laredo fill us in on the middle school and teen crowd.  Enjoy!

Top Ten Most Popular Books in the Library for Middle School and Teens

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

We’re back celebrating Library Lover’s Month!  Without further ado (drumroll, please), here is what our librarian friends say are the most requested books among the middle school and teen crowd:

Tiffany Whitehead

Tiffany is a former elementary school librarian, who now serves the middle schoolers. Tiffany tells us that her students are “series crazy”!  Here are the top ten books that are flying off of Tiffany’s middle school shelf (with her very helpful comments):

10. The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod series by Heather Brewer – This series is in the early stages of catching on. I expect it to rise higher on the list by the end of this school year.

9. Football Genius by Tim Green – This is the only non-series book on the list. As expected, my middle school boys LOVE books about football.

8. Maximum Ride series by James Patterson

7. Dork Diaries series by Rachel Russell

6. The Clique series by Lisi Harrison

5. Bluford High series by Anne Schraff

4. Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan

3. Amulet series (Graphic Novels) by Kazu Kibuishi

2. Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney

1. The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins

For more on Tiffany and her middle school musings on books and technology (she is quite the tech savvy librarian) visit her blog – The Mighty Little Librarian.

Kathy Burnette

Kathy knows kids – she is a former elementary school teacher and now is a librarian for a middle school. She adores middle grade and young adult books, and dreams of owning her own teen bookstore one day. Here is what Kathy’s middle school students are lining up to check out:

10. Heist Society by Ally Carter

9.  Only the Good Spy Young by Ally Carter

8.  Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

7.  The Kings of Klonmel by John Flanagan

6.  Chasing the Falconers by Gordon Korman

5.  Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

4.  The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

3.  Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

2. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

To see what else Kathy has to say about books for teens and tweens, please visit her blog – The Brain Lair.

Jennifer Laredo

To see what the teens are reading these days, we decided to check in with our own beloved local library. Jennifer Laredo is the teen librarian in the Los Gatos Public Library, a place we Snoops visit frequent quite a bit. Here is what Jennifer says are the top teen books from the last six months:

10. Perfect by Sara Shepard

9.  Wanted by Sara Shepard

8. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

7. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

6. Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

5. Uglies by Scott Westerfield

4. Unbelievable by Sara Shepard

3. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

2. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

1. The Hunger Games Suzanne Collins

There is a pattern here – kids of all ages seem to love a good series. The Hunger Games trilogy is a winner with the teen crowd as are the Pretty Little Liars books. I wonder how much being a T.V. series has helped with that? I love it when a T.V. show or movie prompts a kid to pick up a book (although the book is usually SO much better than the movie, right?)

I am thrilled to see Never Let Me Go on one of the teen lists. I read that book years ago, but had no idea it was a teen book, as it was shelved at the bookstore in the Adult section. Glad to see teens are reading it. Also glad to see kids reading When You Reach Me, which is one of my favorite kid’s books of all time.

Thanks to our “panel of experts” for contributing their very valuable information.  Parents and teachers, if these books are hits in the libraries, then they are sure to be hits with your kids, as well. The next time your teen needs a book for school or just for fun, you might want to consult this teen-approved list of books. Happy Reading!

-Shannon, StorySnoop

p.s. Looking for books for younger kids? Check out the top-ten lists for elementary kids here, supplied by Betsy Bird and John Schu.

Top Ten Most Popluar Books in the Library for Elementary School Kids

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

Did you know that February is Library Lover’s Month?  Well, you know from this post that we love the library and we love our librarians! In honor of this occasion we’ve polled some of our favorite librarians and asked them to give us the top ten most requested books in their libraries.

There is no better way to supplement our own reviews than to hear, direct from the trenches, what books are most popular with young readers.

In this post, we’ll start with what the younger kids are reading (ages 9-12).

Here’s what our librarian friends had to say.

Betsy Bird

Elizabeth Bird is a children’s librarian at the Children’s Center at 42nd Street of the New York Public Library system. She has served on Newbery committee and written for Horn Book. Betsy’s kids in the 9-12 age range are into series, and here is what she says are their favorites.

10. The Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine

9.  Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

8. The Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan

7. The Big Nate series by Lincoln Peirce

6. The Dork Diaries series by Rachel Renee Russell

5. The Warriors series by Erin Hunter

4. When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

3. The Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan

2. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

1. The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney

For more from this librarian-extraordinaire, visit her blog. She always has something interesting going on!

John Schu

As an elementary school librarian (K-5), John knows what books are hot with the younger kids. Here are the books that are most popular with his 3-5th graders:

10. Warriors: Omen of the Stars #3: Night Whispers by Erin Hunter

9. Bink and Gollie by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee

8. Lunch Lady and the Bake Sale Bandit by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

7. The Genius Files by Dan Gutman

6. The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

5. DC Super Heroes: The Ultimate Pop-Up Book by Matthew Reinhart

4. Big Nate: From the Top by Lincoln Peirce

3. Amulet: The Cloud Searchers by Kazu Kibuishi

2. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth by Jeff Kinney

1. Big Nate Strikes Again by Lincoln Peirce

For more from John on book video trailers and some knowledgeable book chat, check out his blog.

Why am I not surprised that Big Nate and Diary of a Wimpy Kid are in first place? They are certainly favorites in my house! I am glad to see the Lunch Lady series on John’s list, as this has been a favorite in my house for a year now, but I haven’t seen many other kids reading it.

Parents and teachers, if these books are hits in their libraries, then they are sure to be hits with your kids, too. Next time you are at the library or bookstore, you might want to bring this list of kid-approved books with you!

Thanks to our Betsy and John for sharing their knowledge from the trenches with us. And check it out – this post is all about what’s hot with the middle school and high school crowd.

-Shannon, StorySnoop