This blog is created by Linda Williams at the Connecticut State Library. It’s purpose is to suggest books, by topic, to replace outdated books in the children’s/YA book collection. Tabs across the top categorize ongoing posts. Please feel free to suggest topics for future posts!

Booklist: Connecticut Nonfiction

March 27, 2017 Leave a comment

True stories from Connecticut history.*

Grant, Anne. Danbury’s Burning: The Story of Sybil Ludington’s Ride (H.Z. Walck, 1976)
A retelling of the events surrounding Sybil Ludington’s ride to warn the townspeople about the burning of Danbury during the Revolutionary War.

Lefkowitz, Arthur S. Bushnell’s Submarine: The Best Kept Secret of the American Revolution  (Scholastic, 2006)
Describes the creation of an underwater ship called the American Turtle by Yale graduate David Bushnell in 1776, and its use in an attempt to sink the British navy’s flagship, the HMS Eagle, in New York harbor. Grades 5-10

Swanson, June. David Bushnell and His Turtle: The Story of America’s First Submarine (Atheneum 1991)
A biography of the eigthteenth-century Connecticut farmer who invented the submarine first used in naval warfare during the American Revolution. Grades 3-6

Van Rynbach, Iris. Everything From a Nail to a Coffin (Orchard, 1991)
Traces the ownership and development of a retail establishment in Glastonbury, Connecticut, thus reflecting life in the town between 1874 and the present. Grades 1-4

Van Rynbach, Iris and Shea, Pegi Deitz. The Taxing Case of the Cows: A True Story About Suffrage (Clarion, 2010)
In the 1800s, Abby and Julia Smith refused to pay an unfair property tax that they had no voice in establishing. When the authorities confiscated their cows, the Smiths bought them back at auction, year after year, attracting the attention of women’s suffrage supporters across the country. Grades 1-3

Wollett, Laura A. Big Top Burning: The True Story of an Arsonist, a Missing Girl, and the Greatest Show on Earth (Chicago Review, 2015) Recounts the true story of the 1944 Hartford circus fire, one of the worst fire disasters in U.S. history. Grades 4-8

*Note: Most of these books are out of print, so check your library, or try to purchase through a book re-sale company.

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Booklist: Parenting in the Digital Age

March 2, 2017 Leave a comment

A list of fairly current books to consider for the parent shelf.
(download .pdf with ISBNs and cover scans)

52 Ways to Connect With Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid: How to Engage With Kids Who Can’t Seem to Pry Their Eyes from Their Devices! by Jonathan McKee

The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age by Catherine Steiner-Adair with Teresa H. Barker

American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers by Nancy Jo Sales

Born Reading: Bringing up Bookworms in a Digital Age—From Picture books to eBooks and Everything in Between by Jason Boog

Breaking the Trance: A Practical Guide for Parenting the Screen-Dependent Child by George Lynn

Digital Families: Tips and Guidelines for Living in an Online Society by Alfredo Abad Domingo

The Game is Playing Your Kid: How to Unplug and Reconnect in the Digital Age by Dr. Joe Dilley

Glow Kids: How Screen Addiction is Hijacking Our Kids and How to Break the Trance by Nicholas Kardaras

Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen Driven World by Gary Chapman

How to Entertain, Distract, and Unplug Your Kids!: Tricks, Tools, and Spontaneous Screen-Free Activities by Matthew Jervis

iRules: What Every Tech-Healthy Family Needs to Know About Selfies, Sexting, Gaming, and Growing Up by Janell Burley

Managing Screen Time: Raising Balanced Children in the Digital Age by Edmond Schoorel

Media Moms & Digital Dads: A Fact-Not-Fear Approach to Parenting in the Digital Age by Yalda T. Uhls, PhD

The New Age of Sex Education: How to Talk to Your Teen About Cybersex and Pornography in the Digital Age by Jennifer Weeks

The Parent App: Understanding Families in the Digital Age by Lynn Scholfield Clark

Parenting for the Digital Age: The Truth Behind Media’s Effect on Children, and What to Do About It by Bill Ratner

Parents and Digital Technology: How to Raise the Connected Generation by Suzie Hayman & John Coleman

Raising Generation Tech: Prepare Your Children for a Media-Fueled World by Jim Taylor, PhD

Reclaiming Conversaton: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age by Sherry Turkle

Reset Your Child’s Brain: A Four-Week Plan to End Meltdowns, Raise Grades, and Boost Social Skills by Reversing the Effects of Electronic Screen-Time by Victoria Dunckley

Screens and Teens: Connecting with our Kids in a Wireless World by Kathy Koch

Screen-Smart Parenting: How to Find Balance and Benefit in Your Child’s Use of Social Media, Apps, and Digital Devices by Jodi Gold

Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (And Survive) in their Digital World by Devorah, Heitner, PhD

Why Are You Always on the Phone?: SMART Skills with the Smartphone Generation by Michelle Mei Ling Yeo

Talking Back to Facebook: The Common Sense Guide to Raising Kids in the Digital Age by James P. Steyer

Tap, Click, Read: Growing Readers in a World of Screens by Lisa Guernsey & Michael H. Levine


Categories: Uncategorized

Booklist: Alternate History

December 6, 2016 Leave a comment

Blackwood, Gary L. The Year of the Hangman (Dutton, 2002)
In 1777, having been kidnapped and taken forcibly from England to the American colonies, fifteen-year-old Creighton becomes part of developments in the political unrest there that may spell defeat for the patriots and change the course of history. [What if the British won the Revolutionary War?].

Caine, Rachel. Ink and Bone  (NAL, 2015)
Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly, but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden … When his friend inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life–and soon both heretics and books will burn. [What if the Library of Alexandria survived?]

Davidson, Jenny. The Explosionist (HarperTeen, 2008)
In Scotland in the 1930s, fifteen-year-old Sophie, her friend Mikael, and her great-aunt Tabitha are caught up in a murder mystery involving terrorists and suicide-bombers whose plans have world-shaping consequences. [What if Napoleon won at Waterloo?]

Grant, Michael. Front Lines (HarperCollins, 2016)
1942, World War II. The most terrible war in human history. Millions are dead; millions more are still to die. The Nazis rampage across Europe and eye far-off America. The green, untested American army is going up against the greatest fighting force ever assembled–the armed forces of Nazi Germany. But something has changed. A court decision makes females subject to the draft and eligible for service. So in this World War II, women and girls fight, too. As the fate of the world hangs in the balance, three girls sign up to fight. [What if women were drafted to fight in World War II?]

Graudin, Ryan. Wolf by Wolf (Little, Brown, 2015)
The first book in a duology about an alternate version of 1956 where the Axis powers won WWII, and hold an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents to commemorate their victory. [What if we lost World War II?]

Richmond, Caroline Tung. The Only Thing to Fear (Scholastic, 2014)
It has been nearly seventy years since Hitler’s armies won the war, and sixteen-year-old Zara St. James lives in the Shenandoah hills, part of the Eastern American Territories, under the rule of the Nazis–but a resistance movement is growing, and Zara, who dreams of freedom, may be the key to its success. [What if Hitler won World War II?]

Strasser, Todd. Fallout (Candlewick, 2013)
When an unthinkable nuclear attack occurs in an alternate-reality 1962, Scott is forced into his father’s bomb shelter with his family and neighbors, where they rapidly consume limited supplies and fear the worst about the fate of the world outside. [What if the Cuban Missile Crisis ended with a nuclear attack?]

*Asterisked books are available at the Middletown Library Service Center, Middletown, CT
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Booklist: Unity, Kindness, Peace

November 23, 2016 Leave a comment

Picture Books

Antony, Steve. Green Lizards vs. Red Rectangles (Scholastic, 2015)
The green lizards and red rectangles are always at war, until enough of them question why they are fighting.

Beaumont, Karen. Wild About Us! (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015)*
From Elephant’s long nose to Kangaroo’s huge feet to Monkey’s stick-out ears, everyone is worth celebrating, no matter what they look like.

Bloom, Suzanne. What About Bear? (Boyds Mills, 2010)
When Fox joins Goose and Bear for playtime, one of them is left out and someone must figure out how all three of them can play together.

Foreman, Jack. Say Hello. (Candlewick, 2008)*
Written when the author was ten years old, tells of a dog and a boy who are both lonely until they are included by others.

Graham, Bob. How to Heal A Broken Wing (Candlewick, 2008)* When Will finds a bird with a broken wing, he takes it home and cares for it, hoping in time it will be able to return to the sky.

Halperin, Wendy. Peace (Atheneum, 2013)*
Based on the Eastern philosophies of the Tao Te Ching, a lyrical picture book explores the eternal question of how to promote world peace and shares inspiring quotes from famous peacemakers while counseling readers on how to find peace within oneself.

Leaf, Munro. The Story of Ferdinand (Viking, 1936)*
Ferdinand likes to sit quietly and smell the flowers, but one day he gets stung by a bee and his snorting and stomping convince everyone that he is the fiercest of bulls.

LeBox, Annette. Peace Offering (Dial, 2015)*
Illustrations and simple, rhyming text show different ways that peace can be found, made, and shared.

Lovell, Patty. Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon. (Putnam’s, 2001)*
Even when the class bully at her new school makes fun of her, Molly remembers what her grandmother told her and she feels good about herself.

Nelson, Kadir. If You Plant a Seed (Balzer+Bray, 2015)
While planting seeds in their garden, two animals learn the value of kindness.

Otoshi, Kathryn. One (KO Kids Books, 2008)*
A number/color book reminding us that it just takes one to make everyone count. (CIP) Bullying. Courage. Colors. Counting. E.B. White Read Aloud Honor Teacher’s Choice Award.

Parr,Todd. The Peace Book (Little, Brown, 2004)
Describes peace as making new friends, sharing a meal, feeling good about yourself, and more.

Pinkney, Jerry. The Lion and the Mouse (Little, Brown, 2009)*
n this wordless retelling of an Aesop fable set in the African Serengeti, an adventuresome mouse proves that even small creatures are capable of great deeds when she rescues the King of the Jungle.

Seuss. Dr. Horton Hears a Who (Random House, 1954)*
A city of Whos on a speck of dust are threatened with destruction until the smallest Who of all helps convince Horton’s friends that Whos really exist.

Stead, Philip C. A Sick Day for Amos McGee (Roaring Brook, 2010)*
Zookeeper Amos McGee always makes time to visit his friends who live at the zoo until the day he stays home because he is sick.

Stein, David Ezra. The Nice Book (Putnam’s, 2008)
Monkeys, mice, snakes, cats, and many other animals demonstrate how to act towards others.

Verdick, Elizabeth. Words Are Not For Hurting (Free Spirit, 2004) Encourages toddlers and preschoolers to express themselves using helpful, not hurtful, words. Includes a note for parents and caregivers on language development.

Wallace, Nancy Elizabeth. The Kindness Quilt (Cavendish, 2006)
Minna does a lot of thinking about her project to do something kind, make a picture about what she did, and share it with her classmates, but finally comes up with an idea that spreads to the whole school.

Willems, Mo. Can I Play Too? (Hyperion, 2010)
Elephant and Piggie learn to play catch with their new friend Snake.

Woodson, Jacqueline. Each Kindness (Penguin, 2012)*
When Ms. Albert teaches a lesson on kindness, Chloe realizes that she and her friends have been wrong in making fun of new student Maya’s shabby clothes and refusing to play with her.

ALSC Booklist – these books are included in the list above.
*Asterisked books are available at the Middletown Library Service Center, Middletown, CT
Categories: Uncategorized

Booklist: Jack the Ripper

October 13, 2016 Leave a comment

Fiction for Teens

Johnson, Maureen. The Name of the Star (Shades of London #1 – Putnam, 2011)
Rory, of Boueuxlieu, Louisiana, is spending a year at a London boarding school when she witnesses a murder by a Jack the Ripper copycat and becomes involved with the very unusual investigation. Also books #2 and #3, The Madness Underneath and The Shadow Cabinet.

Kirby, Matthew J. A Taste for Monsters (Scholastic, 2016)
In 1888 seventeen-year-old Evelyn Fallow, herself disfigured by the phosphorus in the match factory where she worked, has been hired as a maid to Joseph Merrick, the Elephant Man–but when the Jack the Ripper murders begin she and Merrick find themselves haunted by the ghosts of the slain women, and Evelyn is caught up in the mystery of Jack’s identity.


Maniscalco, Kerri. Stalking Jack the Ripper (Little, Brown 2016)
A gothic murder mystery set in gritty Victorian-era London, where an intrepid society girl finds herself embroiled in the investigation of a serial killer known as Jack the Ripper.

Petrucha, Stefan. Ripper (Philomel, 2012)
Adopted by famous Pinkerton Agency Detective Hawking in 1895 New York, fourteen-year-old Carver Young hopes to find his birth father, but when he becomes involved in the pursuit of notorious killer Jack the Ripper, Carver discovers that finding the truth can be worse than ignorance.

Reeves, Amy Carol. Ripper (Ripper series #1 – Flux, 2012)
Sent to do volunteer work at the Whitechapel Hospital in the east end of London in 1888, seventeen-year-old Abbie discovers the identity of Jack the Ripper. Also the next two in the series, Renegade and Resurrection.

Nonfiction for Teens

Anderson, Jennifer Joline. Jack the Ripper (Unsolved Mysteries series – Essential Library, 2012)
Discusses the unsolved Jack the Ripper murders in Victorian England.


Categories: Uncategorized

Booklist: Bullying

October 5, 2016 Leave a comment

Picture Books


Davies, Matt. Ben Rides On (Roaring Brook, 2013)*
Ben rides his new bicycle the very, very long way to school but Adrian Underbite, perhaps the world’s largest third-grader, takes the bike anyway and later, when Ben finds Adrian in trouble, he must decide whether or not to help the larcenous bully.

Javerbin, Mina. Goal! (Candlewick, 2010)*
In a dangerous alley in a township in South Africa, the strength and unity which a group of young friends feel while playing soccer keep them safe when a gang of bullies arrives to cause trouble.

Lovell, Patty. Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon (Putnam’s, 2001)*
Even when the class bully at her new school makes fun of her, Molly remembers what her grandmother told her and she feels good about herself.

Peacock, Shane. The Artist and Me (Owlkids, 2016)
An introduction to the life of genius Post-Impressionist artist Vincent van Gogh is presented in the format of a bully’s confessional that reveals how the artist was tormented for his eccentric nature and how the narrator’s perspectives were changed after learning from van Gogh that there are different ways of seeing the world.

Polacco, Patricia. Bully (Putnam’s, 2012)
Sixth-grade friends Lyla and Jamie, both new to their school, stand up for each other when a clique of popular girls bullies them online.

Poulin, Andree. Pablo Finds a Treasure (Annick Press, 2016)
Pablo and his sister spend every day at Treasure Mountain,” the local dump, where they rummage through the mounds of garbage looking for items that can be sold to support the family. The work is exhausting, and sometimes not very lucrative, but the worst thing they have to contend with is Filthy-Face, a brutish bully who steals their finds.

Wells, Rosemary. Stella’s Starliner (Candlewick, 2014)*
Stella is unnerved by a bullying group of weasels who say mean things about her humble home until her mother offers words of comfort and her father drives the trailer to a new location where kind friends are found.

Woodson, Jacqueline. Each Kindness (Nancy Paulsen, 2012)*
When Ms. Albert teaches a lesson on kindness, Chloe realizes that she and her friends have been wrong in making fun of new student Maya’s shabby clothes and refusing to play with her.

Chapter Books 


Cox, Judy. Mean, Mean Maureen Green (Holiday House, 2000)
With help from Adam, a boy in her third grade class, Lilley gains enough confidence to stand up to the school bus bully, Mean Maureen Green.

Doodler, Todd H. Super Fly: The World’s Smallest Superhero! (Bloomsbury, 2015)
When fourth-grader Eugene, a small and nerdy, mild-mannered housefly, becomes the world’s smallest superhero, he takes on Crazy Cockroach and his army of insect baddies.

Dowell, Frances O’Roark. Phineas L. MacGuire… Gets Cooking! (Atheneum, 2014)*JD
Phineas has a new chore of cooking dinner every night, but his kitchen experiments take a turn for the worse when the school bully takes a huge liking to Phineas’s brownies.

Edwards, Michelle. Stinky Stern Forever (Harcourt, 2005)
Pa Lia and her classmates share memories of Stinky Stern, the second-grade bully.

Grimes, Nikki. Garvey’s Choice (Wordsong, 2016)
Preferring science and reading to the sports his father wants him to play, Garvey comforts himself with food and endures bullying before joining the school chorus, where he learns how to accept himself and bond with his father.

Nilsson, Ulf. A Complicated Case (Detective Gordon series) (Gecko Press, 2016)
While Detective Gordon lays thinking in his bed, his assistant, Buffy, tries to solve the case of who is saying nasty things in the forest, with the hope of becoming the chief of police.

Wojciechowski, Susan. Beany and the Meany (Candlewick, 2005)
When Beany’s best friend Carol Ann pairs with the new girl at school to create a science project, Beany must work with Kevin the bully.



Shapiro, Ouisie. Bullying and Me: Schoolyard Stories (Albert Whitman, 2010)*
Relates the real life experiences of people who have been victims of emotional and physical bullying.

Online Lists

13 Children’s Picture Books about Bullying at The Institute for Humane Education.
14 Must-Read Anti-Bullying Books for Kids at We Are
Books About Bullying at
Books to Engage Students on Bullying and Diversity at
Choice Books to Spark Discussion on Bullying at

*Asterisked books are available at the Middletown Library Service Center, Middletown, CT
Categories: Uncategorized

Booklist: Things Aren’t Always What They Seem

September 22, 2016 Leave a comment

Picture Books

Alborough, Jez. Watch Out! Big Bro’s Coming! (Candlewick, 1997)*
Terror spreads through the jungle as animals hear the news that rough, tough Big Bro is coming.

Banyai, Istvan. The Other Side (Chronicle, 2005)*
A wordless picture book that shows a series of familiar scenes through many twists in point of view, such as a boy looking down out of a jet’s window and another boy on the ground looking up at the same jet.

Banyai, Istvan. R E M : Rapid Eye Movement (Viking, 1997)
The toys surrounding a boy who has fallen asleep while playing in his room reappear in fantastical images as he dreams.

Banyai, Istvan. Re-Zoom (Viking, 1995)*
A wordless picture book presents a series of scenes, each one from farther away, showing, for example, a boat which becomes the image on a magazine, which is held in a hand, which belongs to a boy, and so on.

Banyai, Istvan. Zoom (Viking, 1995)*
A wordless picture book presents a series of scenes, each one from farther away, showing, for example, a girl playing with toys which is actually a picture on a magazine cover, which is part of a sign on a bus, and so on.

Barnett, Mac. Guess Again! (Simon & Schuster, 2009)
For each round of guessing, readers are presented with a page of illustrations opposite a rhyming quatrain. The unexpected conclusion of the verse’s final line is revealed on the next page.

Borando, Silvia. Near, Far (Candlewick, 2016)
Abstract, boldly contrasting graphic forms create a playful exercise in visual perception, showing up-close images that gradually back away on sequential pages to enable small children to guess what animals will be revealed.

Cohen, Caron Lee. Where’s the Fly? (Greenwillow, 1996)
Illustrations from increasingly distant perspectives locate a fly on a dog’s nose in a flower bed by a house in a yard on a corner in a town near a bay on the earth.

Cole, Henry. Big Bug (Little Simon, 2014)*
Beginning with a bug, various objects are revealed as being big and small in comparison with other objects on a farm under the big, big sky.

Fischer, Jeremie. Wild About Shapes (Flying Eye Books, 2015)
Acetate inserts printed with abstract shapes transform abstract screen prints into animals, while simultaneously introducing basic color theory.

Grahn, Geoffrey. What’s Going on in There? (Orchard, 2005)
Granville looks like an ordinary town, but a turn of the page reveals that the pizza cooks are actually building a dinosaur, and many other things are not as they appear.

Hutchins, Pat. Shrinking Mouse (Greenwillow,  1997)*
Four animal friends notice that the size of distant objects seems to change depending on the location and movement of the viewer.

Kulka, Joe. Wolf’s Coming! (Carolrhoda, 2007)
All of the animals in the forest go into hiding because the wolf is coming, but why they are hiding is the big surprise.

Noll, Sally. Watch Where You Go (Greenwillow, 1990)
A gray mouse’s journey through what appears to be the grass, rocks, and tree branches of a forest proves his mother’s adage that “Things are not always what they seem.”

Portis, Antoinette. Not a Box (HarperCollins, 2006)*
To an imaginative bunny, a box is not always just a box.

Rex, Adam. Pssst! (Harcourt, 2007)*
The animals at the zoo have some unusual requests for a little girl who goes to visit.

Rinck, Maranke. I Feel a Foot! (Lemniscaat, 2008)*
Five animal friends, awakened by a strange noise, discover a creature in the dark that seems to be a giant-sized version of each of them.

Rosenthal, Amy Krouse. Duck! Rabbit! (Chronicle, 2009)*
Two unseen characters argue about whether the creature they are looking at is a rabbit or a duck.

Shaw, Charles. It Looked Like Spilt Milk (Harper, 1947)
A continuously changing white shape silhouetted against a blue background challenges the reader to guess what the shape is.

Shealy, Dennis R. I’m a T. Rex! (Golden Books, 2010)
A small T. Rex dinosaur describes who he is and how he spends his day.

Stevens, Janet. The Great Fuzz Frenzy (Harcourt, 2005)*
When a tennis ball lands in a prairie dog town, the residents find that their newfound frenzy for fuzz creates a fiasco.

Testa, Fulvio. The Endless Journey (North-South, 2001)
The reader is asked to look at everyday objects in a different way.

Thomas, Jan. The Doghouse (Harcourt, 2008)*
Cow, Pig, Duck, and Mouse are afraid to retrieve their ball when it goes into the dog’s house, but when they do go in they are pleasantly surprised.

Tougas, Chris. Dojo Surprise (Owlkids, 2016)
Six little ninjas break into Dojo Daycare with a few tricks up their sleeves.

Wenzel, Brendan. They All Saw a Cat (Chronicle, 2016)
In simple, rhythmic prose and stylized pictures, a cat walks through the world, and all the other creatures see and acknowledge the cat.

Willems, Mo. Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs (Balzer & Bray, 2012)*
Once upon a time, there were three hungry Dinosaurs: Papa Dinosaur, Mama Dinosaur . . . and a Dinosaur who happened to be visiting from Norway. One day–for no particular reason–they decided to tidy up their house, make the beds, and prepare pudding of varying temperatures. And then–for no particular reason–they decided to go . . . someplace else. They were definitely not setting a trap for some succulent, unsupervised little girl. Definitely not!

Willems, Mo. That is Not a Good Idea! (Balzer + Bray, 2013)
A surprising lesson about the importance of listening to one’s inner gosling ensues when a very hungry fox issues a dinner invitation to a very plump goose.

Willems, Mo. Your Pal Mo Willems Presents Leonardo the Terrible Monster (Hyperion, 2005)
Losing all hope in his ability to scare people, which is sorely lacking, Leonardo, who is terrible at being a monster, discovers a nervous little boy who seems to be the perfect candidate for him to practice on.

Young, Ed. Seven Blind Mice (Philomel, 1992)*
In this retelling of the Indian fable, seven blind mice discover different parts of an elephant and argue about its appearance.

*Asterisked books are available at the Middletown Library Service Center, Middletown, CT
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