New and Noteworthy  

Click on each title to learn more and/or to download a parent/teacher guide


Click on each title to learn more

Fun and Fiction

Click on each title to learn more


Made by Hand Series - Steel Drums

Go behind the scenes and learn how craftsman Glenn Rowsey makes one-of-a-kind steel drums by hand with this nonfiction book that’s full of photographs and illustrations about his process.

Tap-happy Glenn was inspired and taught by the Father of the Modern Steel Drum, Ellie Mannette. This book gives a step-by-step glimpse at Glenn’s creative process for making and tuning pans—from start to finish—with love and care. It also features a timeline and history detailing how the passion of generations of determined people from Trinidad gave birth to this percussion instrument. Charts, infographics, and bold photographs will inspire kids to make their own objects by hand.

Made by Hand Series - SKATEBOARDS

Part minibiography, part DIY guide, this engaging book chronicles the making of handmade skateboards by a lifelong aficionado."If you've got wheels under your feet, you can fly." A skateboard—composed of three main parts: a deck, trucks, and wheels—promises fast movement. That's certainly how Californian surfers thought of skateboards in the 1960s. Though no one can definitively pin the origins of these boards-on-wheels to any one location or time, Lakin notes that California seems like a probable birthplace for them, emphasizing the connection between surfing and skateboarding. After a brief history of the skateboard, readers meet Jake Eshelman, a white craftsman whose skateboarding adventures began during his childhood in Virginia. The book then explores Jake's notion to make handmade skateboards from tossed-out strips of wood like maple, cherry, and walnut and the founding of his company, Side Project Skateboards. The author follows this snapshot with an extensive look at Jake's weeklong process, which features plenty of up-close, bright photographs detailing each step. The tone of the narrative voice remains upbeat and energetic throughout, while the text, photos, and various figures appear on graph-paper backdrops, keeping everything clean and pleasant. Ultimately, it's the boards themselves that appeal: a timeline at the end of the book offers a glimpse at a broader view of the skateboard—and the cool world it inspires. Radical. -- Kirkus


Made by Hand Series - BICYCLES

This engaging graphic-rich manual documents how Aaron Dykstra creates custom-made bicycles. Crisp full-color photos follow his actions, starting with the basic questions he asks his customers so that he can use a computer to generate specifications, and then the step-by-step mechanical processes of measuring, cutting, milling, filing, sanding, blasting, and assembling—all with appropriate safety precautions., of course. The process rolls across the pages, allowing readers to see how the frame develops into the finished product. Accompanying background information fills in details both about the history of the bicycle and about Aaron’s life, telling how he came to be a master bike maker. Aaron’s story mentions his early experimentation and occasional mistakes, which prepare readers for a final two-page spread Making Foundation. This initiative is intended to give kids confidence by teaching them the skills they need to make their own STEM-inspired creations. Recycling old bikes is suggested, but so are a number of craft ideas. This is a solid and attractive addition for maker collections. -- Booklist




The Founding Fathers Were Spies!

Before he was the President of the United States, George Washington was a spy! It’s true…and he wasn’t the only one! During the American Revolution, founding fathers like Alexander Hamilton and Benjamin Franklin sent secret messages rolled up in quill pens, used invisible ink, and wrote in secret codes to keep important information from getting into British hands. In George Washington’s top-secret spy ring, a woman named Anna Strong sent secret messages to other spies by hanging laundry on a clothesline!


Heroes Who Risked Everything for Freedom

Did you know that Harriet Tubman was a spy for Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War? Or that Robert Smalls used secret hand signals to escape slavery on a Confederate ship? Mary Touvestre risked everything to bring plans for the first ironclad warship to the Union. Find out about heroes who spied, fought, and sailed to freedom in this book of amazing true stories!

This series includes a special extend-the-learning section with intriguing activities.


Helen Keller and the Big Storm

"...Lakin reveals many facts about Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan. Helen is caught in a tree during a storm and is rescued by her teacher. It is then that the child learned of 'the power of Nature' and 'the power of friendship' "--School Library Journal



Albert Einstein Genius of the Twentieth Century

"It's hard to believe that a life and work as complicated as Einstein's could be distilled to a Ready-to-Read chapter book, but Lakin does a fine job...with equal focus on Einstein's early life and later successes. His three major discoveries--photons, e=mc2 and the general theory of relativity--are each given a crisp, one-page treatment that will work well for the target age group as well as older readers."---Booklist


Abigail Adams First Lady of the American Revolution

Bank Street Children's Book Committee Best Book

ALA's Amanda Bloomer Project Selection  

"When Abigail Adams was born, women were expected to be just wives and mothers. But Abigail turned out to be so much more."


Amelia Earhart More Than A Flier

"Simple sentences...and colorful illustrations...make the story of this intriguing woman easy to read. The text is filled with many of Earhart's many exciting adventures, from a near collision between her snow sled and a horse-drawn cart when she was young to a stormy ride as an adult across the Atlantic in an ill-equipped airplane."--School Library Journal


Clara Barton Spirit of the American Red Cross

 Bank Street Children's Book Committee Best Book

"Clara Barton was very shy and sensitive, and not always sure of herself. But her fighting spirit and desire to help others drove her to become one of the world's most famous humanitarians. Learn all about the life of the woman who formed the American Red Cross."


Harry Houdini Escape Artist

"This easy-reader gives an overview of the life of Erich Weiss, known to the world as Harry Houdini.  The early years of poverty, his hard work to help support his family, and his interest in magic at a young age are simply presented."--School Library Journal


Dad and Me in the Morning

 "...the young boy's deafness is unobtrusively woven into this story about a father and child sharing a moment in time...this warm story can be considered for all picture book collections."--Booklist



Bank Street Children's Book Committee Best Book

"...This realistic story is enhanced with finely drawn illustrations of the landscape and people involved before, during and after the storm."--School Library Journal

click here to download the parent/teacher guide (pdf)


Steve Jobs Thinking Differently

 Bank Street Children's Book Committee Best Book--Starred

"Even reluctant middle-grade readers will devour Patricia Lakin's...biography of Steve Jobs—a fascinating portrait of a kid who breaks nearly every rule and yet rises to astronomical heights."--Jennifer M. Brown, children's editor, Shelf Awareness

click here to download the parent/teacher guide (pdf)


Bruno and Lulu's Playground Adventure

"All the playground's a stage for these two pals. The text is delivered almost entirely in color-coded speech-balloon dialogue between the friends (yellow for Lulu to match her hair bow and blue for Bruno to mach his glasses). This supports the cartoonish quality of the humorous, digitally rendered art. A playful comic romp of a book for new readers."--Kirkus

"Speech bubbles of different colors delineate the dialogue, making it useful for those who'd like to put on a mini-play..."--Booklist

click here to download the parent/teacher guide (pdf)


Muddy, Mud, Bud

Bud the car loves to be muddy. It makes him look and feel so good! But when he thinks a car wash will help him get muddier, he's in for a big surprise.

click here to download the parent/teacher guide (pdf)



Vroom, Zoom, Bud

Vroom zoom with Bud as he tries to win the race!  Bud always loves to be muddy. When he enters a race, he gets distracted by a mud puddle! Should he jump in, or finish the race?


The Stellar Story of Space Travel

Blast off into a galaxy full of fun with this fact-tastic nonfiction Level 3 Ready-to-Read, part of a series about the history of fun stuff!

Did you know that ancient people all over the world looked at the stars and saw constellations? Or that a science fiction author named Jules Verne predicted the first moon landing? Or that astronauts from different countries take turns living on board the International Space Station? Houston, you’re cleared for takeoff and ready to become a History of Fun Stuff Expert on space travel!


The Colorful Story of Comics

Do you know how comics, graphic novels, and manga came to be? Or that they have their roots in cave drawings? Did you know that Benjamin Franklin is credited as having the first cartoon in an American newspaper? Ever wonder who put the fun in the Funny Pages? Become a History of Fun Stuff Expert on the funny history of comic strips, graphic novels, manga, and more, and amaze your friends with all you’ve learned in this fun, fact-filled Level 3 Ready-to-Read!


Subway Sonata

Bank Street Children's Book Committee Best Book  

"...During their Monday-morning commute, a writer, a composer, a choreographer, and a painter all converge in a crowded subway car and are inspired by the sights and sounds that fill it. The different works of art that result reflect unique interpretations of the same scene...The book's message--that inspiration is everywhere--is a good one." --School Library Journal

click here to download the parent/teacher guide (pdf)


Max and Mo Series

All named a Bank Street Children's Book Committee Best Book

These four easy-to-read books are all illustrated by Brian Floca and each includes simple-to-complete activity.

Gone, but not forgotten--your local library may have these books

Don't Forget

CBC Outstanding Social Studies Trade Book

"The story is upbeat, even sentimental...This could be a starting point for introducing the Holocaust to young children...What is compelling is the sense of secrets, both joyful and appalling."---Booklist

click here to download the parent/teacher guide (pdf)


Clarence the Copy Cat

Bank Street Children's Book Committee Best Book--Starred

Nebraska's Golden Sower Honor Book

"Clarence is supposed to help catch mice in the deli in which he lives with his parents. However since he can't 'bear to harm another living creature,' he is banished...He finally curls up by the door of the local library...Children will laugh out loud as they follow his adventures."--School Library Journal 

"A well-plotted, action packed, comically illustrated story."—Booklist

"Librarians take note: Young customers—those in branches with or without mice—will find much to smile about here."—Kirkus Review


Follow Sam, Pam, Will and Jill.   Click here for the parent/teacher guide.

All named Bank Street Children's Book Committee Best Book/Junior Library Guild Selections

Beach Day was an IRA/CBC Best Book