Reading Resources

April-May 2020 Reading Recommendations

Stuck inside and can’t get to the library? We’ve still got you covered! Check out these new recommendations all available on Hoopla (available by creating a free account with your library card). Don’t have a library card? Chelmsford residents may sign up for a library card here!

Picture Book Recommendations

Such a Good Boy
Such a Good Boy, by Marianna Coppo

Meet Buzz the dog. He’s such a good boy. Buzz seems to have a perfect life… and a lot of very well-behaved friends. Buzz would never dream of being anything other than good. Right, Buzz? Buzz . . . ?

The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors
The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors, by Drew Daywalt

From acclaimed, bestselling creators Drew Daywalt, author of The Day the Crayons Quit and The Day the Crayons Came Home, and Adam Rex, author-illustrator of Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich, comes a laugh-out-loud hilarious picture book about the epic tale of the classic game Rock, Paper, Scissors.

Stick and Stone
Stick and Stone, by Beth Ferry

When Stick rescues Stone from a prickly situation with a Pinecone, the pair becomes fast friends. But when Stick gets stuck, can Stone return the favor?

A Girl Like Me
A Girl Like Me, by Angela Johnson

Empower young readers to embrace their individuality, reject societal limitations, and follow their dreams. This inspiring picture book brings together a poem by acclaimed author Angela Johnson and Nina Crews’s distinctive photocollage illustrations to celebrate girls of color.

My Ocean Is Blue
My Ocean is Blue, by Darren Labeuf

“This is my ocean,” the young girl begins as she heads over the dunes with her mother. Then, passing the day at the seaside, she lyrically describes her ocean in simple, sensory detail. It is both “slimy” and “sandy,” “sparkly” and “dull.” It has wonderful sounds, as it “splashes and crashes and echoes and squawks.” And there are so many colors, from “rusted orange” to “polished green.” Though “mostly it’s blue.” Nothing escapes the girl’s careful observations. And at day’s end, she can’t wait to for her next trip to the beach.

A Trapezoid Is Not a Dinosaur!
A Trapezoid is Not a Dinosaur, by Suzanne Morris

Shape up, shapes! Triangle is hosting auditions for all the best shapes to be in his play. Circle, Square, and Star each get a part. But Trapezoid just doesn’t “fit in.” Is he even a shape? The others think he sounds like a type of dinosaur. Determined to show off his usefulness, Trapezoid tries to act like the other shapes, to no avail. Eventually, though, Trapezoid celebrates his own distinct shape properties in order to become part of the performance.

¡Vamos! Let's Go Eat
Vamos, Lets go Eat, by Raul the Third

Little Lobo is excited to take in a show with wrestling star El Toro in his bustling border town. After getting lunch orders from The Bull and his friends to help prepare for the event, Little Lobo takes readers on a tour of food trucks that sell his favorite foods, like quesadillas with red peppers and Mexican-Korean tacos. Peppered with easy-to-remember Latin-American Spanish vocabulary, this glorious celebration of food is sure to leave every reader hungry for lunch!

Tiny T. Rex and the Impossible Hug
Tiny T-Rex and the Impossible Hug, by Jonathan Stutzman

Tiny T. Rex has a HUGE problem. His friend Pointy needs cheering up and only a hug will do. But with his short stature and teeny T. Rex arms, is a hug impossible? Not if Tiny has anything to say about it! Join this plucky little dinosaur in his very first adventure-a warm and funny tale that proves the best hugs come from the biggest hearts.

Mabel
Mabel, a Mermaid Fable, by Rowboat Watkins

A silly read-aloud tale for kids about being yourself! Mabel isn’t like the other mermaids. Lucky isn’t like the other octopuses. But when they find each other, they discover that true friendship isn’t about how you look, and that sometimes what we are searching for is right under our noses.

A Map into the World
A Map Into the World, by Kao Kalia Yang

As the seasons change, so too does a young Hmong girl’s world. She moves into a new home with her family and encounters both birth and death. As this curious girl explores life inside her house and beyond, she collects bits of the natural world. But who are her treasures for?

3rd-4th Grade Recommendations

Hazel's Theory of Evolution
Hazel’s Theory of Evolution, by Lisa Jenn Bigelow

Hazel knows a lot about the world. That’s because when she’s not hanging with her best friend, taking care of her dog, or helping care for the goats on her family’s farm, she loves reading through dusty encyclopedias.
But even Hazel doesn’t have answers for the questions awaiting her as she enters eighth grade. What if no one at her new school gets her, and she doesn’t make any friends? What’s going to happen to one of her moms, who’s pregnant again after having two miscarriages? Why does everything have to change when life was already perfectly fine?
As Hazel struggles to cope, she’ll come to realize that sometimes you have to look within yourself-instead of the pages of a book-to find the answer to life’s most important questions.

Efren Divided
Efrén Divided, by Ernesto Cisneros

Efrén Nava’s Amá is his Superwoman-or Soperwoman, named after the delicious Mexican sopes his mother often prepares. Both Amá and Apá work hard all day to provide for the family, making sure Efrén and his younger siblings Max and Mía feel safe and loved. But Efrén worries about his parents; although he’s American-born, his parents are undocumented. His worst nightmare comes true one day when Amá doesn’t return from work and is deported across the border to Tijuana, México.

title Zoe and Sassafras (Series), by Asia Citro

With magical animals, science, mystery, and adventure–Zoey and Sassafras has something for everyone!

Kitty and the Moonlight Rescue
Kitty (Series), by Paula Harrison

Kitty is special. Her mother is a superhero with catlike powers that Kitty and her little brother Max will someday inherit. But being a superhero involves going on daring adventures at night, and Kitty doesn’t know if she’ll ever be brave enough for that! One night though, Kitty finds a sleek black cat with white paws waiting at her window. When he introduces himself, Kitty is shocked to realize she can understand him-her powers have arrived!

The Best at It
The Best at It, by Maulik Pancholy

Rahul Kapoor is heading into seventh grade in a small town in Indiana. The start of middle school is making him feel increasingly anxious, so his favorite person in the whole world, his grandfather, Bhai, gives him some well-meaning advice: Find one thing you’re really good at and become the BEST at it. Those four little words sear themselves into Rahul’s brain. While he’s not quite sure what that special thing is, he is convinced that once he finds it, bullies like Brent Mason will stop torturing him at school. And he won’t be worried about staring too long at his classmate Justin Emery. With his best friend, Chelsea, by his side, Rahul is ready to crush this challenge…. But what if he discovers he isn’t the best at anything?

Willa and the Whale
Willa and the Whale

When her mother dies, twelve-year-old Willa feels lost and alone except when she connects with things her mom loved about the wonders of the ocean as a marine biologist. While on a whale-watching excursion with her dad, who is trying to cheer her up after Willa is sent to live with him and his new family, Willa is alone on one side of the boat when she sees a humpback whale. Her awe and wonderment about this massive and beautiful creature turns to shock when the whale communicates with her, introducing herself as Meg and exchanging small talk. Willa asks if they can talk again, and Meg tells her that if she goes to the edge of the shore and calls out to her, she’ll reply.

The Dragon Egg Princess
The Dragon Egg Princess, by Ellen Oh

Jiho comes from a long line of forest rangers who protect the Kidahara-an ancient and mysterious wood that is home to powerful supernatural creatures. But Jiho wants nothing to do with the dangerous forest. Five years ago, his father walked into the Kidahara and disappeared. Just like the young Princess Koko, the only daughter of the kingdom’s royal family. Jiho knows better than anyone else the horrors that live deep in the magical forest and how those who go in never come back. Now the forest is in danger from foreign forces that want to destroy it, and a long-forgotten evil that’s been lurking deep in the Kidahara for centuries finally begins to awaken.

Starfell #1: Willow Moss & the Lost Day
Willow Moss and the Lost Day, by Dominique Valente

Willow Moss’s small magic has always seemed unremarkable. But when the most feared witch in the land of Starfell appears on the Moss family’s doorstep looking for help, it’s not Willow’s talented sisters she seeks, it’s Willow. Because Willow is a finder of lost things-and Moreg Vaine says that last Tuesday has gone missing. Willow and Moreg set out on a perilous journey across the wilds of Starfell, looking for what they’ve lost. If they don’t discover what happened to the missing day, the repercussions could be devastating for the entire kingdom. Can Willow find the day to save the day?

High and Dry High and Dry, by Eric Walters

Dylan lives on a remote island in the Pacific Northwest with his parents, but when they have to go to the mainland, his grandfather weathers a storm to come spend time with him. Grandpa’s brought Dylan a number of gifts, and one comes in handy the next day while they are exploring the coast. In fact, this gift leads the duo to a dangerous discovery: a young orca got stuck on the rocks during the storm. Racing against the sun and the heat, Dylan and Grandpa need to work together to figure out how to save the calf while his pod circles nearby.

5th-6th Grade Recommendations

Sal and Gabi Break the Universe (Sal and Gabi, #1)
Sal and Gabi Break the Universe, by Carlos Hernandez

In order to heal after his mother’s death, thirteen-year-old Sal learns to reach into time and space to retrieve things–and people–from other universes. But when Sal Vidon meets Gabi Real for the first time, it isn’t under the best of circumstances. Sal is in the principal’s office for the third time in three days, and it’s still the first week of school. Gabi, student council president and editor of the school paper, is there to support her friend Yasmany, who just picked a fight with Sal. She is determined to prove that somehow, Sal planted a raw chicken in Yasmany’s locker, even though nobody saw him do it.

Redwood and Ponytail
Redwood and Ponytail, by K.A. Holt

Told in verse in two voices, with a chorus of fellow students, this is a story of two girls, opposites in many ways, who are drawn to each other; Kate appears to be a stereotypical cheerleader with a sleek ponytail and a perfectly polished persona, Tam is tall, athletic and frequently mistaken for a boy, but their deepening friendship inevitably changes and reveals them in ways they did not anticipate.

Cover image for Dragon Pearl
Dragon Pearl, by Yoon Ha Lee

Min, a thirteen-year-old girl with fox-magic, stows away on a battle cruiser and impersonates a cadet in order to solve the mystery of what happened to her older brother in the Thousand World Space Forces.

Cover image for From the desk of Zoe Washington
From the Desk of Zoe Washington, by Janae Marks

Avid baker Zoe Washington receives a letter on her twelfth birthday from her biological father, who is in prison for a terrible crime.

Cover image for Tristan Strong punches a hole in the sky
Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky, by Kwame Mbalia

Seventh-grader Tristan Strong feels anything but strong ever since he failed to save his best friend when they were in a bus accident together. All he has left of Eddie is the journal his friend wrote stories in. Tristan is dreading the month he’s going to spend on his grandparents’ farm. But on his first night there, a sticky creature shows up and steals Eddie’s notebook. Tristan chases after it, and a tug-of-war ensues between them underneath a Bottle Tree. In a last attempt to get it away from the creature, Tristan punches the tree, accidentally ripping open a chasm into the MidPass, a volatile place with a burning sea, haunted bone ships, and iron monsters.

Cover image for Dear Sweet Pea
Dear Sweet Pea, by Julie Murphy

Thirteen-year-old Patricia, widely known as Sweet Pea, navigates her parents’ unconventional divorce and finds herself in the unlikely role of her town’s advice columnist

Cover image for Pax
Pax, by Sara Pennypacker

Pax and Peter have been inseparable ever since Peter rescued him as a kit. But one day the unimaginable happens: Peter’s dad enlists in the military and makes him return the fox to the wild. At his grandfather’s house three hundred miles away from home, Peter knows he isn’t where he should be-with Pax. He strikes out on his own despite the encroaching war, spurred by love, loyalty, and grief, to be reunited with his fox. Meanwhile Pax, steadfastly waiting for his boy, embarks on adventures and discoveries of his own.

Cover image for Race to the sun
Race to the Sun, by Rebecca Roanhorse

Nizhoni Begay has been able to detect monsters, like that man in the fancy suit who was in the bleachers at her basketball game. Turns out he’s Mr. Charles, her dad’s new boss at the oil and gas company, and he’s alarmingly interested in Nizhoni and her brother, Mac, their Navajo heritage, and the legend of the Hero Twins. Nizhoni knows he’s a threat, but her father won’t believe her. When Dad disappears the next day, leaving behind a message that says “Run!”, the siblings and Nizhoni’s best friend, Davery, are thrust into a rescue mission.

Cover image for Cog
Cog, by Greg Van Eekhout

After an accident leaves him damaged and separated from his scientist caregiver, a young android recruits four robot accomplices and embarks on a cross-country road trip to reunite with her.

Cover image for Other words for home
Other Words for Home, by Jasmine Warga

Jude never thought she’d be leaving her beloved older brother and father behind, all the way across the ocean in Syria. But when things in her home-town start becoming volatile, Jude and her mother are sent to live in Cincinnati with relatives. At first, everything in America seems too fast and too loud. The American movies Jude has always loved haven’t quite prepared her for starting school in the US — and her new label of “Middle Eastern,” an identity she’s never known before. But this life also brings unexpected surprises–there are new friends, a whole new family, and a school musical that Jude just might try out for. Maybe America, too, is a place where Jude can be seen as she really is.

Electronic Resources

Please note: access to these resources requires a Chelmsford Library card. Chelmsford residents may sign up for a library card here!

kids-tumblebooksB
Ebooks, videos, puzzles, and games

kids-ewolB
Simple stories, nursery rhymes, and preschool concepts (colors, sizes, shapes)

kids-wbeb
A mix of 100+ books covering popular subjects from preschool to high school

kids-hooplaB
Ebooks, audiobooks, movies, TV, music, and comic books

kids-overdriveB
Popular fiction and non-fiction ebooks and audiobooks