Sue's Picks

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Sue's Picks


I am life long reader who is dyslexic. I consider myself lucky to be selling and talking about children's literature for a living. I enjoy a wide variety of literature especially children and adult fiction and non-fiction. My picks will travel the spectrum of children's picture books to graphic novels, and from beginner reader levels to the high school and beyond, and every range in between.

I enjoy and love to discover new authors and their books for readers, at all different levels and abilities, including us adults. My Picture Book and poetry recommendations are at the end of this page. Since April is Poetry Month, it is heavily weighted towards poetry for the month.

Graphic Novels for Everyone

Emmanuel Guibert & Joann Sfar's SARDINE in Outer Space Book 6

Sardine #6 book coverSardine is young red headed girl who travels with her Uncle Pirate, as they foil the evil deeds and plans of the super villain, the SuperMuscleMan who wishes to dominate the universe. Colorful and lively dialogue, will keep even the most demanding reader coming back for the complete series. The French comic creator, Emmanuel Guibert and his illustrator, Joann Sfar have a number of graphic novels, which are currently becoming more available in the states. Both girls and boys, ages 5-10 love to read these books over and over again.

$9.99 paperback from FIRSTSECOND Books

Lewis Trondheim & Fabrice Parme's Tiny TyrantTinyTyrant

This graphic novel has 8 stories about the tiny ruler of Portocristo, King Ethelbert, a six year old brat, your children will love to read about especially his attics. This Tiny Tyrant is living out the fantasies of our kids who wish they had no parental supervision and direction. The youngest will love the pranks and our teenagers will enjoy the Rocky/Bullwinkle political commentary. These two French artists have won numerous awards, and their other graphic novels are well worth the effort of finding and reading them.

$12.95 paperback from FIRSTSECOND Books.

Both the above mentioned graphic novels are from FIRSTSECOND Books, an imprint of Roaring Brook Press, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishers which is responsible for Newbery Printz award winner, Gene Luen Yang, and his book, American Born Chinese, and his newest creation,THE ETERNAL SMILE-Three Stories, out in May 2009 for $16.95, with Gene Luen Yang, and Derek Kirk Kim, as author/illustrators. These two graphic novels are great for kids ages (14-18). Look up this publisher at www.firstsecondbooks.com

2nd to 3rd Grade Readers

KDragonKeepers-Dragon in  the Sock Drawerate Klimo's Dragon Keepers-Dragon in the Sock Drawer, Bk2-Dragon in the Driveway

This new series is a high 3rd grade reading level. Cousins, Jessie and Daisy out hiking a mountain with their Uncle, as they discover a thunder rock which later hatches a dragon. I know its an old story line, but Klimo brings a freshness and charm to this ancient tale. Your child will enjoy the humor, and you will truly enjoy the language. I highly recommend this new series, first book is in paperback late April and second will be available in hardcover September 2009.

$15.99 Hardcover only from Random House, $6.99 paperback

Bruce Hale's Fat Cat of UnderWhere

Fat Cat of UnderWhereFitz the cat, is suppose to be enjoying his tuna raw and being normal. But Fitz has to save his whiskerless human kid friends, Hector & Stephanie. Fitz realizes he is special, and needs to outsmart the local band of savage mice. It's a wonderfully funny, and fans of Captain Underpants now has another series to read and reread often. There are three books: Prince of UnderWhere, & Pirate of UnderWhere, & FlyBoy of UnderWhere, available in paperback now at $5.99.

$14.99 Hardcover from HarperCollins

4th to 5th Grade Readers

Rick Riordan's 39 CLUES series with multiple authors-39 Clues- Maze of Bones book 1

This series will have 10 books when it is finished in 2010. Conceived by Rick Riordan and his fellow authors and friends (Riordan mapped the arc of all 10 volumes): the sister/brother team of Amy and Dan Cahill are in the fight of their life as orphans of the infamous Cahill Clan. The historical aspects of these fast paced, thriller style books is surprisingly strong and effortlessly woven into the plot. As a reader, you say to yourself: Why Not? and that maybe possible? Just trust me about this series, I know there are gimmicks, bells and whistles, but the story and its subplots will be worth your time and your child's. (Audio Cd's and Card packs have extra information about the 39 clues needed to solve this scavenger hunt for the Cahill fortune)

$12.95 each in hardcover from Scholastic

Kevin Emerson's Oliver Nocturne series, ETERNAL TOMBOliver Nocturne-bk5-Eternal Tomb

This is Kevin Emerson's fifth book in the series with local boy vampire, Oliver Nocturne and his human friends, Emalie and Dean as they band together to save the humans from the evil vampires that live in Seattle. Oliver Nocturne is an honorable 13 year old boy who does the right thing time and time again. But, does his family understand him? Fast paced, great character development and a lot of local favor has our kids coming back for all five books. Join us at Mockingbird Books on April 18 at Noon for his new book release and his live band CENTRAL SERVICES & THE BOARD OF EDUCATION playing for us. We hope to see you all here for a wonderful afternoon of music and literature.

$5.99 paperback from Scholastic

6th to 8th Grade Readers

Percy Jackson Book5-The Last OlympianRick Riordan's THE LAST OLYMPIAN

I believe this series will be read 20 years from now and by many future generations of readers. Percy Jackson and his fellow half bloods, Annabeth, and Nico will be turning 16 years old in the fifth and final book. This series is a new favorite among the middle school age readers and lovers of fantasy. It's a very creative reworking of the Greek Myths and with its Gods and Goddesses. Percy Jackson is the son of Poisdon and Annabeth is the daughter of Athena. At Mockingbird Books we are hosting a Percy Jackson Party on Saturday night May 9th at 6:30 pm. (see the home page flyer for more information) If your child says I hate to read, try this series, but please read the first two chapters out loud for your child first. (Please note Percy Jackson Party date change, now Saturday 05-09-09 at 6:30 pm)

series-$7.99 paperback in April, The Last Olympian bk-5 available in hardcover $17.99 from Hyperion, release date 05-05-2009


Steve Augarde's WINTERWOOD

Celandine-book2Augarde's trilogy is now complete with the release of Winterwood. This quality of writing is unmatched in children;s literature. Various is the first book, and Celandine is the prequel to Various and both of these books are now available in paperback. The Various has a full scope of supernatural beings of every sort, with diverse personalities and its forces of good and evil. This British author is well loved by many. Pick up any Augarde book, read a page and his writing will hook you immediately.

$17.99 hardcover only from David Flicking Books in May 2009

High School and Up

Catherine Jink's Reformed Vampire Support GROUPReformed Vampire Support Group

This author never fails to entertain the reader with new and refreshing points of view. Her worlds turn with unusual flare and unexpected twists. And this book is no different. This is no typical Vampire story. These teenagers are not happy. They are not happy about being vamps either. The novel is full of feisty characters, who are dead and attempting to keep their heads intact. Nina Harrison is newly fanged, 15 years old, and living at home with her mother. Jinks's other series are: Evil Genius & Genius Squad, and Babylonne, and the Pagan Chronicles (four books). All of these books are fast paced and well written.

$17.99 in hardcover April 2009 from Haircut Children's Book

Walter Dean Myers's Love Story (Amiri & Love Story-Amiri & OdetteOdette)& DopeSick

This award winning author has written many thought provoking books and his two newest books do not disappoint either. Dope Sick weaves magic realism with the darkness of drug use and its violence through alternate viewpoints of reality. Just maybe, there's a chance of redemption. Love Story is a simply beautiful and poetic retelling of the classic ballet, Swan Lake and it is illustrated with powerful mixed media artwork and images. Both boys and girls rank Walter Dean Myers as one of their favorite authors. Often his books are never returned to the school library by choice.

Love Story $17.95 hardcover from Scholastic/ $16.99 Dope Sick from Amistad

Picture Books recommendations

Washington State has just posted their Children's Picture Book Choices for 2010. It's usually 20 favorite picture books from the previous year. My two favorites are on this year's list and they are local authors too. Bonny Becker's A Vistor for Bear,and Kirby Larson's Two Bobbies: a true story of Hurricane Katrina, Friendship and Survival. Please read them both as soon as possible.

For years you loved the classics in Children's Picture Books, please try these new future classics-

You love the series, Madeline and the Bad Hat, please try the author-illustrator team, Jacky Davis & David Soman and their series, LadyBug Girl, and Ladybug Girl and the BumbleBee Boy, now with two books to their credit.

If you love the series, Miss Eloise at the Plaza Hotel, please try the Fancy Nancy series by Jane O'Connor. This series just develops and improves with every book. Please read them all.

You cherish James Marshall's books especially the George & Martha series, please try the Toot & Puddle series by Holly Hobbie, now available in paperback.

You have fond memories of Blueberries for Sal, which is currently unavailable to buy new, you must try Patricia Polacco's books before most of them become unavailable to buy new, too. I love Mrs. Mack by Patricia Polacco.

Virginia Burton is one of your all time favorite authors, you must read I'm Bad, I'm Dirty, I'm Mighty and I STINK by husband/wife team Kate & Jim McMullan.

If you adore Marjorie Flack's books, first published in 1930, about the dog, Angus, and his friends, duck and cat, please try author & illustrator, Peter McCarty's Hondo & Fabian series, especially his book, Fabian Escapes.(Caldelcott Honor author/illustrator winner too)


For years now, you have treasured A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson, do you know the poetry of our local poet laureate Jack Prelustky?

Jack Prelustky's newest poetry book is "The Swamp of Sleethe: poems from beyond the Solar System", out last month.

The poetry of Calef Brown is well loved by many, including Daniel Pinkwater. Brown's poetry books are the following:Soup for Breakfast, Flamingos on the Roof, Dutch Sneakers & Fleakeepers-14 stories, and Polkadots & Octopus Slacks-14 stories. Full of humor, unexpected use of words, and a pleasure to read out loud.

During the month of April, please get to know some other local favorite poets, such as Julie Larios and Kurt Cryus. Julie Larios's Yellow Elephant:a Bestiary" and her newest book of poetry, Imaginary Menagerie:A Book of Curious Creatures are wonderful to read at bedtime. Also, local artist and illustrator, Julie Paschkis has painted beautiful and colorful images which will continuously delight the reader. Kurt Cyrus's Hotel Deep: Light Verse from Dark Water is wonderful fun verse with colorful images of the ocean. It is PNW Bookseller Award winner book of Poetry, too.