Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

By Robin Sloan

A gleeful and exhilarating tale of global conspiracy, complex code-breaking, high-tech data visualization, young love, rollicking adventure, and the secret to eternal life – mostly set in a hole-in-the-wall San Francisco bookstore

The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon out of his life as a San Francisco Web-design drone – and serendipity, sheer curiosity, and the ability to climb a ladder like a monkey has landed him a new gig working the night shift at Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after just a few days on the job, Clay begins to realize that this store is even more curious than the name suggests. There are only a few customers, but they come in repeatedly and never seem to actually buy anything, instead “checking out” impossibly obscure volumes from strange corners of the store, all according to some elaborate, long-standing arrangement with the gnomic Mr. Penumbra. The store must be a front for something larger, Clay concludes, and soon he’s embarked on a complex analysis of the customers’ behavior and roped his friends into helping to figure out just what’s going on. But once they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, it turns out the secrets extend far outside the walls of the bookstore.

With irresistible brio and dazzling intelligence, Robin Sloan has crafted a literary adventure story for the twenty-first century, evoking both the fairy-tale charm of Haruki Murakami and the enthusiastic novel-of-ideas wizardry of Neal Stephenson or a young Umberto Eco, but with a unique and feisty sensibility that’s rare to the world of literary fiction. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is exactly what it sounds like: an establishment you have to enter and will never want to leave, a modern-day cabinet of wonders ready to give a jolt of energy to every curious reader, no matter the time of day.

Recently named a 2013 recipient of the Alex Award, for fiction written with adults with special appeal to a teen audience!

Three Times Lucky

By Sheila Turnage

A hilarious Southern debut with the kind of characters you meet once in a lifetime.

Rising sixth grader Miss Moses LoBeau lives in the small town of Tupelo Landing, NC, where everyone’s business is fair game and no secret is sacred. She washed ashore in a hurricane eleven years ago, and she’s been making waves ever since. Although Mo hopes someday to find her “upstream mother,” she’s found a home with the Colonel – a cafe owner with a forgotten past of his own – and Miss Lana, the fabulous cafe hostess. She will protect those she loves with every bit of her strong will and tough attitude. So when a lawman comes to town asking about a murder, Mo and her best friend, Dale Earnhardt Johnson III, set out to uncover the truth in hopes of saving the only family Mo has ever known.

Full of wisdom, humor, and grit, this timeless yarn will melt the heart of even the sternest Yankee.

Recently named a 2013 recipient of the Newbery Honor award!

Mentors in the Garden of Life

By Colleen Plimpton

Plants and People and Lessons Learned in the Dirt
Popular garden columnist, lecturer and coach Colleen Plimpton has written a unique gardening memoir filled with funny, sad, touching and memorable stories of her years of digging in the dirt, the many people who nurtured her interest from childhood, and the unexpected life lessons she learned from morning glories, lilacs, potatoes, and even dandelions. Each chapter concludes with a detailed profile of the plant or woodland creature around which the story revolved.

For those of you who love gardening, Colleen Plimpton’s memoir Mentors in the Garden of Life is a book you don’t want to miss. It is a beautifully written story that traces her development as a person into one of America’s foremost gardening experts. Readers will meet stern grandparents, a loving great aunt, and a young uncle, whose death made a deep impression upon his niece. Today, Colleen is a highly-acclaimed author, gardner, columnist, lecturer, and instructor. Her award-winning one-acre ornamental garden has been on numerous tours, and serves as a living classroom laboratory where she teaches composting, composition, color and many other how-to’s of gardening. She volunteers her time and expertise to the local garden club and other non-profit groups. Her articles have appeared in numerous gardening publications.

Mentors in the Garden of Life has received numerous awards, among them:
* 2011 Connecticut Book Award Finalist in the Memoir category
* The 2011 International Book Awards winner, Home: Gardening category
* Best Books 2010 Awards Finalist, Home: Gardening, from USABookNews.com

Extra Yarn

Extra Yarn

Written by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen

This looks like an ordinary box full of ordinary yarn.

But it turns out it isn’t.

A monochrome town gets a change of color and attitude with the help of a box of yarn and a girl named Annabelle. From the seemingly endless box of Extra Yarn Annabelle knits clothing for everyone around her, tempering the ill-tempered, and creating beautifully patterned warmth for people, animals, and objects, alike. When a greedy clothes-loving archduke tries to buy–then steal–the box for himself, he discovers that ill-gotten gains bear no fruit–or in this case, yarn.

Recently named a 2013 Caldecott Honor winner!

A Ball for Daisy

A Ball for Daisy coverWritten and illustrated by Chris Raschka

Here’s a story about love and loss as only Chris Rashcka can tell it.  Any child who has ever had a beloved toy break will relate to Daisy’s anguish when her favorite ball is destroyed by a bigger dog. In the tradition of his nearly wordless picture book Yo! Yes?, Caldecott Medalist Chris Raschka explores in pictures the joy and sadness that having a special toy can bring.  Raschka’s signature swirling, impressionistic illustrations and his affectionate story will particularly appeal to young dog lovers and teachers and parents who have children dealing with the loss of something special.

A Ball for Daisy is a 2012 Caldecott Medal Winner for Picture Book.

Grandpa Green

Grandpa Green coverBy Lane Smith

Grandpa Green wasn’t always a gardener. He was a farmboy and a kid with chickenpox and a soldier and, most of all, an artist. In this captivating new picture book, readers follow Grandpa Green’s great-grandson into a garden he created, a fantastic world where memories are handed down in the fanciful shapes of topiary trees and imagination recreates things forgotten.

Grandpa Green is a Publishers Weekly Best Children’s Picture Books title for 2011 and one of School Library Journals Best Picture Books of 2011.

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