Children & Young Adult Staff Picks - February 2024

Welcome to our Children's Librarian Picks, where our passionate children's librarians handpick the most delightful, heartwarming, and engaging books for young readers. Happy reading, little bookworms!

Children's Collections

The Big Red Book of Beginner Books by P. D. Eastman

Six stories for beginning readers.

Children's Non-Fiction

Wow!: the visual encyclopedia of everything by Kim Bryan

Children's Fiction

The Midnighters by Hana Tooke

Ema Vaskova is the twelfth child in her family, born on the twelfth day, of the twelfth month, at the very moment Prague's Astronomical Clock strikes twelve. Right from the start, it is clear that Ema is not quite . . . normal. But when her behaviour gets altogether too odd, Ema's parents decide enough is enough, and she is packed off to live with her eccentric bicycle-making Uncle Josef. It is here that Ema meets her very first friend. Seffi is a girl who befriends colonies of bats, trawls treasures from the river, cartwheels down the Hunger Wall, and has but one firm rule: adventures are best served with a drizzle of moonlight and a sprinkling of stars, at midnight. So when Seffi goes missing, Ema is determined to find her. Even if that means facing her fear of ghosts, wearing an ancient eyeball around her neck, and infiltrating an alluringly peculiar secret society known as The Midnight Guild.

Fablehouse by E. L. Norry

Fablehouse, a mysterious mansion surrounded by ancient woodland, is Heather's new home. Roaming the countryside with some of the other mixed-race kids who are in care there, she finds a stone tower that feels strangely magical. There they meet Palamedes, the Black knight from King Arthur's court. He warns them that danger lurks in a world beneath their feet. Heather, Pal and friends set off to rescue children who have been taken to this threatening underworld. No child will be forgotten on their watch. Heather and friends realise they have been specially chosen for this quest. They must use the talents they've been given in the battle to save Fablehouse and all the children who have found shelter there.

Hedgewitch by Skye McKenna

When Cassie runs away from her dreary boarding school, in search of her missing mother, she ends up in the magical village of Hedgely and discovers she comes from a family of witches - women who protect Britain from the denizens of Faerie, who are all too real and far more frightening than the story books suggest.

Woodwitch by Skye McKenna

Cassie has settled into life in Hedgely when, out of the blue, her troubled cousin, Sebastian, comes to stay for Halloween. Sneering and scornful, Sebastian trails after Cassie and her friends, interfering with their coven projects and belittling the dangers of the faery world. But Cassie, Rue and Tabitha have bigger problems - as the nights grow longer, a dark shadow creeps out of the Hedge and villagers start behaving strangely, possessed with the desire to find a mysterious object. When the Hedgewitch is called away, the girls decide to investigate and discover that whoever is controlling the villagers is seeking a faery relic: an ancient and dangerous weapon, hidden somewhere in the village. Their magical training will be put to the test as they venture deeper into the Hedge and race to find the faery treasure before it falls into the hands of the Erl King.

The Unforgettable Logan Foster by Shawn Peters

Logan, an undersized twelve-year-old orphan with a photographic memory and no filter, discovers that his foster parents are superheroes in grave danger and only Logan's highly logical mind can save them.

Children's Graphic Novels

Primer by Jennifer Muro

While living with her latest set of foster parents, Ashley Rayburn mistakenly applies some found body paints which give her a wide range of special powers, but soon the military discovers what happened to their secret weapon and this puts Ashley and her newfound family and friends in danger.

Wombats! Go Camping by Maddie Frost

Best friends, Albert and Pickles, are going camping for the first time and Albert must find a way to help Pickles enjoy the wilderness while they reunite a lost baby koala with its mother.

Young Adult Fiction

The Honeys by Ryan La Sala

Mars has always been the lesser twin, the shadow to his sister Caroline's radiance. But when Caroline dies under horrific circumstances, Mars is propelled to learn all he can about his once-inseparable sister who'd grown tragically distant. Mars's genderfluidity means he's often excluded from the traditions -- and expectations -- of his politically-connected family. This includes attendance at the prestigious Aspen Conservancy Summer Academy where his sister poured so much of her time. But with his grief still fresh, he insists on attending in her place. What Mars finds is a bucolic fairytale not meant for him. Folksy charm and sun-drenched festivities camouflage old-fashioned gender roles and a toxic preparatory rigor. Mars seeks out his sister's old friends: a group of girls dubbed the Honeys, named for the beehives they maintain behind their cabin. They are beautiful and terrifying -- and Mars is certain they're connected to Caroline's death. But the longer he stays at Aspen, the more the sweet mountain breezes give way to hints of decay. Mars's memories begin to falter, bleached beneath the relentless summer sun. Something is hunting him in broad daylight, toying with his mind. If Mars can't find it soon, it will eat him alive.

The Girl in the Castle by James Patterson

My Name is Hannah Dory and I need you to believe me. NOW: Hannah is brought to Belman Psych, told she is suffering from hallucinations and delusions. Hannah knows the truth: she must return to the past and save her sister. 1347: Hannah and her village are starving to death in a brutal winter. Hannah seeks out food and salvation in the baron's castle. If she is caught stealing, she will surely hang. But if she and her friends succeed, she'll save everyone she holds dear. NOW: Psych student Jordan is the only person who seems to care, but he isn't sure what to believe. And Hannah has even bigger problems: if she doesn't make it back, her sister will die, but if she keeps going back, she might never escape.