Staff Reviews

Children’s Book Week is not only a celebration of books, but of connection. It’s a great way to unite kids and adults with books, authors, and illustrators in order to foster a love of reading.

This week HPL’s children’s librarians share some of their favorite books, all available with a library card at

New Kid by Jerry Craft

New Kid by Jerry Craft

Jordan Banks is a seventh grader dreams of going to an art school. Instead, his parents enroll him in a highly prestigious private school that is predominantly white. Author Jerry Craft brilliantly portrays Jordan’s adjustments to his new school as he finds himself in quite a conflicting predicament. He is not only the new kid but also among the very few students of color in the entire school. He struggles to adapt and fit-in, in an environment where the teachers only know the names of their white students. Salient issues like racism and microaggression are raised throughout this well-rounded graphic novel.

By Miss Lina, Downtown Library


My Papi has a Motorcycle

My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero and Illustrated by Zeke Peña

This picture book takes you on a journey with the narrator and her father as they go on a motorcycle ride together. The love between father and daughter blooms on each page with the beautiful descriptions and illustrations.

Steam Train Dream Train

Steam Train, Dream Train by Sharri Duskey Rinker and Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld

A wonderful bedtime story with animals and a train going from bustling to slowly calming down for the night.

By Miss Katryna from the Albany Library


Flora and the Flamingo

Flora and the Flamingo (A wordless Picture Book) by Molly Idle- Author & illustrator

Age Range:3-6 years

Molly Idle’s talent shines in this 2014 Caldecott winner. The story of a girl in pink bathing suit and her pink Flamingo friend is told through their harmonized and graceful movements. The lift-flaps feature allows transformation of pictures. The ups and downs of the friendship theme are captured effectively in shades of pink with the tiniest hints of brown and yellow with eye-catching illustrations. The absence of text is well compensated by the vibrancy and fluidity of the illustrated narrative. Great visual literacy format to prompt children’s own story interpretations.

By Miss Rubina, Dwight Library



Marsupial Sue and the Runaway Pancake written and read by John Lithgow

Anyone who has been to my story times know I LOVE silly stories! Very much like the classic story of the Gingerbread Man, The Runaway Pancake pops out of an oven and boastfully runs through the town yelling at anyone who tries to eat him, “I’m too fast, you’re too slow. Pan, pan, patty-cake pan, I can get away from you, I can!” Even better, in this Tumble books version, the actor John Lithgow brilliantly narrates his story, character voices and all!

By Miss Sara, Rawson Branch



Aster and the Accidental Magic   By: Thom Pico

Aster’s mother’s job requires her family move to a new home which Aster finds odd and very boring right from the beginning.  Instead of having her spend all her time moping and playing video games her father encourages her out to go out and explore the great outdoors.  Aster soon discovers her new mountainous home contains unexpected surprises such as a Trickster named Rapscallion, who eagerly grants her three wishes, an old lady with mysterious powers, and the fierce warriors the Chestnut Knights.  This book has two stories in one and was a playful read with fun illustrations.  What added to the fun was also discovering some hidden easter eggs from popular shows such as Gravity Falls and Adventure Time.  

By Miss Johana from Downtown Library 

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The Library Book
by Susan Orlean
Published 2018
Review by Kaitlin


Available at Downtown Library


Spring 1986 alarms sounded at the Los Angeles Public Library and a heavy smoke billowed out of the great building.  Hundreds of thousands of books were lost and even more damaged.  To this day, the mystery of who started the legendary fire, remains unsolved.

The Library Book combines a mix of many different subjects to create an exquisitely woven, page-turning novel.  Starting with the fire itself, running through the history of the Los Angeles Public Library and its many librarians and finishing up with the future of the library in the years to come, The Library Book has a little bit for everyone, as do modern libraries today.

Deadly Class- Reagan Youth
by Rick Remender; Illustrator: Wesley Craig  &  Lee Loughridge
Published 2014
Review by Johana

Held at the Dwight Library.


The premise feels familiar, young teen orphan having a hard time growing up and fitting in at school, but then you mix in the fact that the school Marcus has been recruited to is a school for assassins.  Normally the cliques consist of jocks, preps, nerds, and so on but in this high school you attend classes with children of Yakuza members, KBG agents, white nationalists, South American Drug Lords, CIA/FBI agents, and so on. Though the writing’s is fun and fast-paced it’s really the illustrations that shine in this book. This novel takes place in the 80s and the illustrators do an amazing job getting you to feel the underbelly of that timeline from the grittiness and color palette choices.  This author uses memories from his own youth such as drug usage, isolation, violence, depression, poverty and just amps it up to an even darker level.  I look forward to continuing the series.

The Opposite of Fate: A Book of Musings 
by Amy Tan
Published 2004
Review by Johana

Available at the Downtown Library



Though I’m a huge fan of Amy Tan, I’m not the biggest fan of memoirs so I skeptically picked up this book and boy was I blown away.  Being able to see things through the mind of Tan and seeing what inspires, motivates, and challenges her was phenomenal.  If you’ve read her previous works this book provides insight into what went into the creation of them and if you haven’t read then it provides the reader with a view into the the mind of a writer.  How for Tan a word isn’t chosen solely based on it’s meaning but also the way it feels on the tongue when saying it, the sound of it, the nostalgia even.  

Tan delves into her relationship with her mother, her cultural identity, history of family mental diseases, along with other difficult times in her life but it doesn’t come off as critical of others.  In her sharing of this we see her also trying to analyze herself and her life.




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