Bedford Public Library

Bedford, New Hampshire

Children's Staff Picks

Thu, 04/30/2020 - 4:58pm -- Emily S

Here is another round of staff picks from our Children's Librarians!

You can find these books by visiting our ebooks page here:

MIss Carla's Reviews:

24 Hours In Nowhere by Dusti Bowling

Gus is small. He is thirteen and much smarter than his classmates. Gus lives in Nowhere, AZ in a poor trailer park town. All he wants to do is get good grades so he can get out of this boring town. Because of Gus’ size, he’s an ideal target for bullying. Even though he is smart, that doesn’t seem to help him when it comes to Bo Taylor. Bo offers Gus a challenge of going into Dead Frenchman Mine to find gold. All this for a dirt bike and an upcoming race. As Gus heads to the cave, Bo’s friend accompanies him to make sure he finds real gold. Once they are in the cave, they discover Gus’ friends who are there to talk him out of this challenge. Gus is determined and starts chiseling away and breaks a wall that leads to another chamber. They hear rumbling and the mine collapses around them. No one is hurt, but the entrance is blocked. 

This story will bring you on a death-defying adventure. It will address hope, friendship and personal growth all while addressing poverty, bullying, and abuse. Highly recommended for readers aged 9+.


Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed

A middle grade novel about a 12 year old girl, Amal, living in a Pakistani village. She has dreams, like many kids, to become a teacher. Amal is full of hope and living a content and happy life. Unfortunately, her life is turned upside down when she insults a member of the ruling family of her village. She is sent away from home and forced to work as a servant in this ruler’s house.

This author, Aisha Saeed, very much emphasizes education, resistance and family and writes a happy ending.


Lifeboat 12 by Susan Hood

Lifeboat 12 is based on a true story. Ken Sparks is a 13 year old boy who is one of the evacuees from the London Blitz. He is on board the SS city of Benares when it is hit by the torpedo from a German U-boat on their fourth day at sea. Ken winds up on the wrong lifeboat when he remembers the coat his step-mother gave him when he evacuated England. He rushed back to his cabin to get it and missed his lifeboat – number 8 so he ends up squeezing into Lifeboat 12 with five other boys and 40 adults.

This story is hard to put down. It is written in verse and divided into three sections that gives a day by day account of Ken’s experience – Escape, Afloat, and Rescue. This book is recommended for kids 9+.


Lions and Liars by Kate Beasley

Frederick is a typical 5th grader. He just wants to be popular and important. This novel is funny and serious as Frederick learns about life and who he is. Like most people, when Frederick’s family vacation plans get cancelled due to a predicted hurricane, he feels like the world is ending. He was looking forward to being on a cruise and eating all the food he could get his hands on. Frederick finds himself at a camp for delinquents. He checks in under the name of Dash, a boy who was supposed to show up but doesn’t. Frederick accepts this boy’s identity and he is immediately welcomed with open-arms by other campers.  Dash’s reputation is well-known to the campers, a young boy rumored to be scarier than all the other troubled campers combined. Frederick has no idea and isn’t concerned because now he is popular and is relishing in the other camper’s attention.

As you read this book, you become one of the campers. Rooting for the characters and being excited for “Dash” as he is figuring out who he really is. He is finally finding his way and making friends when his cover is blown and a hurricane blows in. His hopes of returning home are drowning with the rising waters.  This story offers humor and true lessons about finding your people and being a true friend. This book has enough humor, adventure, and suspense for all middle school kids to stay engaged.

Miss Kate's Reviews:

Nightbooks by J.A. White

Like many kids who enjoy creepy things and scary stories, Alex feels weird and alienated by his peers. Finally having enough, he decides one night to destroy his nightbooks of all of the horror stories he has written over the years in an attempt to become “normal”. On his journey to the basement furnace, he is instead lured to a witch’s home and trapped by her magic. Luckily, however, the witch ALSO shares his love of scary stories. The witch decides to spare Alex’s life on one condition- he tells her a scary story every night. Alex has no choice but to agree, but with the help of another prisoner, he plots his escape from the witch’s clutches. This delightfully creepy tale is sure to pique the interest of any child (or adult) that enjoys a bit of darkness in their fairytales, while reminding the audience that our little quirks and oddities can actually become our strength. For ages 9-12


Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins

After following his little sister, Boots, through a small hole in their apartment building’s basement, Gregor finds himself in a strange world filled with giant rats, bugs, and peculiar humans. The Underland is full of dangers and to make matters worse, a war is brewing between the rats and the Underlanders. All Gregor wants is to find a way back home-that is of course until he learns of an ancient prophesy that suggests his missing father may still be alive and held captive by the rats. Foretold as the “overland warrior”, Gregor leads a group of giant creatures and royal Underlanders on a quest to free his father and bring “light back to the Underlanders”. This imaginative, world-building tale tackles some deep issues such as prejudice and fears while never straying far from the warmth of familial love. For ages 9+


Miss Emily's Review:

Winterhouse by Ben Guterson

Elizabeth Somers has been living with her aunt and uncle in less than ideal circumstances. They want nothing to do with her and when the holidays roll around, they ship her off to a hotel for several weeks by herself while they take a vacation. But when Elizabeth gets to Winterhouse, it defies her expectations. The hotel is beautiful, her room is luxurious, and she even makes a friend. But it soon becomes clear that there is a mystery surrounding the house that is a little bit spooky and a little bit dangerous. What Elizabeth doesn’t expect is that she is in the very heart of it.

To me, this book felt like a mash-up of The Greenglass House by Kate Milford and The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart. Perfect for middle schoolers who love puzzles, a touch of ghosts, and a mystery to unravel.

Blog Category: