Saturday, October 03, 2015

Whodunit? Mystery Series Week is Here!

It seems appropriate that the first week of October is Mystery Series Week. Mysteries can be cozy reads perfect for fireside reading, or they can be rather spooky, perfect for Halloween season! Fittingly, it appears that the last mention of Mystery Series Week was in 2011, and the official website is nowhere to be found. Dun dun DUUUUN!  In honor of Mystery Series Week (October 4-10), here are some of my favorite mystery series for children:

You can't talk about mystery series for children without mentioning four  major classic mysteries for children: The Boxcar Children, Encyclopedia Brown, Nancy Drew, and the Hardy Boys. (We also have a handful of the Bobbsey Twins series, but those have not remained popular). The Boxcar Children series (created in 1924 and reissued in 1942) is very popular (probably the most popular classic series) due to it being an accessible series for elementary grade students. Over 100 titles are included in the series, and the reading order doesn't really matter after you read the first one (you can probably even skip reading the first one). The first nineteen books were written by first grade teacher Gertrude Chandler Warner, the creator of the series; the remaining 100+ titles were developed by ghostwriters.

 Despite print encyclopedias not being a staple in families' home anymore (we have amazing encyclopedia databases!), I'm always pleasantly surprised and pleased when children ask for Encyclopedia Brown. (I was never much into Nancy Drew, but I loved Encyclopedia Brown, even though I could never figure out the mysteries before turning to the solutions in the back). Donald Sobol is the sole author of the entire series, which he began in 1963. Reading order absolutely does not matter, as everything about Encyclopedia Brown is explained in every first chapter.

The Nancy Drew series has had many spinoffs and imitators, but the original series (first published in 1930) remains rather popular. The convoluted story of its creation is fascinating; adult fans of the series must read Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her. Mildred A. Wirt, the author of the first 23 stories, was what people used to call "a character"; her life story would make for a great movie (hello, Hollywood screenwriters: three awesome characters to write for--Mildred Wirt, publisher Edward Stratemeyer, who was also responsible for the Hardy Boys and the Bobbsey Twins series, and his daughter, Harriet Adams--and a dramatic courtroom scene to boot! Plus--1930s fashion and an epic mustache for Mr. Stratemeyer).

The Hardy Boys, originally published in 1927 and later extensively revised in the 1950s (as was Nancy Drew), were also written by several ghostwriters. Like Nancy Drew, the revisions came about because of unfortunate prejudices expressed in the books; although few complained about the reason for the revisions, many have criticized the revisions (for both series) in the belief that the characters lost significant parts of their independence and gained a greater reliance on authority figures (who are usually at odds with vigilante detectives who play by their own rules).

Looking for something more contemporary? Try these fun series:

Enola Holmes is the younger sister of Sherlock Holmes, and just as eager to solve mysteries! While characters from the original Sherlock Holmes stories appear in Nancy Springer's books (6 in all), this is a delightfully unique and original series.

Hank the Cowdog is a series I regularly recommend to readers who want something more challenging than A-Z Mysteries, but are not quite ready to tackle more involved mysteries. Hank is the self-identified "Head of Ranch Security" at the M-Cross Ranch in Texas (when he's not doing his actual job herding cattle). This is a funny series that is perfect for children who want mysteries, but aren't ready for the more intense situations that occur in mystery series.

The Lady Grace mysteries are the (fictitious) diaries of Lady Grace Cavendish, who serves as Queen Elizabeth I's youngest maid of honor. Three authors write under the pseudonym of Grace Cavendish. Lady Grace is constantly solving mysteries at court, for which she is rewarded by Her Majesty. Although the books are not lengthy, this is a sophisticated series that involves quite a bit of suspense (and one of the characters is often drunk).

Jane O'Connor's Nancy Clancy series is a mystery chapter book series spinoff of her insanely popular Fancy Nancy picture books and easy readers. Nancy, now in third grade, solves mysteries (items missing at school, a mystery involving a key, etc) with her best friend, Bree. Young mystery fans who are ready for chapter books will delight in this series!

Adult readers of Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series should definitely check out his Precious Ramotswe series (featuring the same Mme. Ramotswe, but in her younger years) written for young readers. Whether she is investigating thievery of her classmates' treats or a missing cow, Precious Ramotswe is a spirited and determined young sleuth.

Happy sleuthing!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Happy World Tourism Day!

I love reading travel books, travelogues, and books set in countries other than the United States. When I learned about World Tourism Day, I immediately thought of the awesome books that would be perfect for a tourism-based post.

Although there are many apps and websites that are great for travelers, I still love a reliable, comprehensive, and picture-rich guidebook.  I've found the DK Eyewitness Travel guidebooks to be my personal favorites. Not only do you get the usual recommendations for hotels/restaurants/shops, but you'll learn a ton about the country's (or city's) history and culture. Other well-regarded series include Fodor's, Frommer's, Moon HandbooksRick Steves, and Lonely Planet. If you're looking for an in-depth guidebook for an American state or city, definitely see if there's a Great Destinations guidebook for your desired state/city/region.

Rick Steves is famous for his guidebooks and television programs on European travel. His latest, Rick Steves Europe Through the Back Door 2016: The Travel Skills Handbook is not like his "stay here, see this, eat here" guidebooks (although that is included). Rather, it's an enormous guidebook of travel tips gained from his 30+ years in travel. Everything from booking your travel, to using your mobile devices in Europe, to the different styles of sightseeing, shopping tips, and how to avoid scams and ripoffs is included.

Abroad at Home: The 600 Best International Travel Experiences in North America is a big and beautiful celebration of the amazing diversity of the United States. While many people visit the Chinatown neighborhoods of New York and San Francisco, you may not know that there are French Canadian enclaves in Maine, a Yoruban community in South Carolina, Norwegian neighborhoods in Seattle, and many more.

Four Seasons of Travel: 400 of the World's Best Destinations in Winter, Spring, Summer, And Fall is another beautifully packaged travel guide from National Geographic (as is Abroad at Home). Everything from fall foliage in New England to the summer White Nights in St. Petersburg, Russia (during which there is nearly round-the-clock sunlight) is covered in great detail. While this and Abroad at Home wouldn't be your main guidebooks, they are terrific resources for enhancing your travels or just "aspirational" armchair travel.

1,000 Places to See Before You Die is the ultimate in armchair/aspirational travel. While I've not used it as a practical guidebook, it's definitely a very cool thing to read. While the standards are included (Grand Canyon), there are many places that are probably not familiar to most people (Plitvice Lakes in Croatia).  This book spawned an industry of similar books and imitators.

Do you enjoy travelogues/travel narratives? I usually shy away from the ones that seemed to be very popular a decade or so ago, in which someone bought a fixer-upper in a foreign country and wrote about the eccentric locals. They all seem to run together after a point. Lucy Knisley, thankfully, is not your usual travel writer; for one thing, her books are written in the style of graphic novels. Her books are deeply personal; not only is she writing about her travels, but she's also writing about family, her relationships, her self-identity as a struggling young artist, and more.  While all of her books are highly recommended, Displacement is my favorite so far (in which she takes a cruise with her grandparents).

The World Between Two Covers seems ideal for armchair travelers and those who love reading books set in other countries and/or written by non-American authors. Ann Morgan set out to read a book from each country in the world (196). She chronicled her experience on her blog, which was later expanded and turned into this book. The book is not a rehash of her blog (which she has continued after finishing her project); she chronicles the difficulties and surprises she found while finding and reading books from countries large and small. I've not read this yet, but it's on my list!

Travel is important for kids, too! While there are plenty of "family travel" guidebooks, there are very few guidebooks written specifically for kids. National Geographic has a splendid kids' guidebook for the national parks (I'm waiting for them to create more children's guidebooks!). Divided into geographical regions, this is a great guide for both children and adults.

Going on a road trip or a plane flight? Backseat A-B See and Flight 1-2-3 should definitely go in your travel bag. As you can guess, Backseat A-B See explores the alphabet through road signs (L is for Library!), while Flight 1-2-3 follows a family making their way through the airport (Dad gets singled out by TSA!).

Lonely Planet has answered the call of librarians, teachers, and parents who want fun and engaging books about countries. While there are fine series about countries and states, most are, admittedly, not fun recreational reading. Its Not-For-Parents series is occasionally irreverent (and includes some gross aspects of history), so it might not be for everyone. However, it is filling a gap that is sorely needed.

Happy travels!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

September is National Translation Month

When we speak about the need for diverse books for children and teens, we should also include acquiring, reading,  and promoting books originally published in countries other than the United States. While having a selection of bilingual books or books written in languages other than English is important, having translated books is also a great way to incorporate diversity. Children's books originally published outside the United States often have a very different feel in terms of illustrations and storytelling techniques. In honor of National Translation Month (originally celebrated in February, but moving to September in 2016), here are some of my favorite books that were translated into English:

Beach Feet (translated from the Japanese by Yuki Kaneko) is one of my recommendations whenever patrons ask for a book about beaches (a very popular request in the summer). The freedom of running through the warm sand and splashing in the water is a universal joy. The sights, sounds, and smells of the beach come to life in this terrific book for young beach-goers.

Hans Christian Andersen's original fairy tales have suffered with weak translations in the  (distant) past, but The Emperor's New Clothes (translated from the Danish by Naomi Lewis) is one of the better ones published in the last several decades. The arrogance of the emperor and the gullibility of his subjects are brilliantly conveyed. 

Hidden: A Child's Story of the Holocaust (translated from French by Alexis Siegel) is a powerful graphic novel for young elementary students about the Nazi terror in France. Framed as a grandmother telling her grandchild and son (who has never heard the full story) about her life as a hidden Jewish child in France, this is an unforgettable story of the courage faced by little Dounia and the neighbors and friends who kept her safe.

Mr. Postmouse's Rounds (translated from the French by Yvette Ghione) is a darling and intricately illustrated story of a mouse mailman delivering mail and other goodies to his neighbors. His neighbors live in some unusual places (an octopus lives in a sunken ship, the birds live in a tall tree, and so on), which makes his route rather difficult. This doesn't deter Mr. Postmouse from doing his duty! 

Pippi Longstocking (translated from the Swedish by Tina Nunnally) is considered to be a more authentic translation of Astrid Lindgren's Pippi stories, so it's worth a reread if this was a childhood favorite. Lauren Child's vibrant illustrations add to the wackiness and fun of the series.

Press Here (translated from the French by Christopher Franceschelli) is Herve Tullet's first interactive picture book, and my favorite Tullet title. Readers (this is more fun to read one-on-one) are asked the press the yellow button, tap the page, shake the book, and more. It's had many imitators since its release, but few rivals. 

It's officially Hispanic Heritage Month, so I must include Salsa: un poema para cocinar/Salsa: A Cooking Poem (translated from Spanish by Elisa Amado). A young boy and girl (siblings, probably) prepare and make a recipe for salsa, using traditional methods. There's plenty of breaks for singing and dancing, as well. Illustrator Duncan Tonatiuh's immediately recognizable style is influenced by ancient Mexican art (Mixtec codex). 

Sequoyah: The Cherokee Man Who Gave His People Writing (translated into the Cherokee by Anna Sixkiller Huckaby) was originally written in English, but the presentation of both English and Cherokee is so intriguing that I wanted to include it. This picture book biography of the man who created a writing system for the Cherokee Nation is an inspiring read.

We are overflowing with new books! Make sure you are subscribed to Wowbrary to learn about our recent orders!

Jennifer Schultz, Youth Services Librarian, Fauquier County Public Library 

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Ridiculously Good Reads: Early September Edition

I had a streak of awesome reads recently (which is probably why I'm in a bit of a reading slump right now; I can't seem to get into any book right now!), so it's time to do another Ridiculously Good Reads post. Ridiculously Good Reads features my recently read books that are just too fab to keep quiet about. I have a lot to get to, so without further ado:

Need something for a middle school/high school reluctant reader? Hand him/her Andreo's Race. During an international ironman competition of sorts, Andreo and his friend Raul discover the truth about their adoption from Brazil to Canada. Yes, it's highly unlikely that they would find the facts that they find, and yes, things wrap up a bit too neatly, but this is a FUN read full of adventure that also introduces issues of illegal adoption. 

I LOVE Cynthia Lord's books. If you want heartfelt and beautifully written stories featuring characters on the precipice of adolescence--read her books! (Her Shelter Pet Squad series is perfect for beginner chapter book readers). A Handful of Stars is set in Cynthia Lord's beloved Maine, as are many of her stories (and like Half a Chance, also set in summer). If it weren't for Salma Santiago's quick thinking, Lily might have never found her blind dog, Lucky, in the blueberry fields. Lily and Salma quickly form a friendship based on their love of dogs and painting, even though it's highly unusual for a a girl from Lily's community and a girl from the migrant workers' camps to become friends. When Salma enters the annual Blueberry Queen pageant, it forces the community to face some truths about the lives of migrant workers (and what they think about migrant workers). Children's novels about prejudice often portray acts of prejudice in stark black-and-white and shocking scenes. A Handful of Stars features a more subtle type of prejudice that is masked with excuses and an "out of sight, out of mind" attitude (it also touches upon the prejudice faced by French-Canadians in Maine decades ago). Lord's closing paragraphs were so poignant and moving that I reread them several times. There is a great deal of kindness in this story, but not without moments of uncertainty and sadness. It's a sensitively rendered tale that is both timeless and contemporary. 

With fewer and fewer World War II survivors left every day, the importance of preserving firsthand accounts from witnesses and survivors is crucial. Soon, there will be few left who remember the horror and brutality of that time, which is why books like The Boys Who Challenged Hitler are vitally important. Although Knud Pedersen was only a fifteen year old boy when Denmark capitulated to the Nazi regime, he was keenly ashamed of how quickly his government and fellow countrypeople surrendered to Germany, in comparison to Norway, which fought bitterly. Pedersen and his friends vowed to fight back, however they could, starting with small (but very dangerous if caught) acts of sabotage. Increasing awareness that *someone* was fighting back spurred other Danes to resist however they could; when the boys (all teens) were caught and imprisoned, they became national heroes. Phillip Hoose was fortunate enough to interview Knud Pedersen extensively before his death in 2014, and the result is this important and phenomenal account of ordinary yet extraordinarily brave teens who stood up to a monstrous regime.

I'm nearly at the finish line for my presidential reading project; I've been reading a biography of each president since 2012. While I've read some excellent books, Being Nixon: A Man Divided is at the top of the list. I knew I would like it when I realized that Evan Thomas would spend very little time detailing the lives of Nixon's parents. I have read so many presidential biographies in which the early lives and courtship of parents (and/or the history of his proud state of birth) were chronicled in agonizing detail. Unless the parents are John and Abigail Adams, I care very little. (This is why I ended up reading a short biography of Lyndon Johnson; I had very little patience for pages upon pages about his parents, grandparents, and the history of Texas.) Thankfully, Evan Thomas jumped right into the complex and bizarre life of Richard Nixon. This is nonfiction storytelling at its best; it's a compelling and fair judgment of a complicated man. 

Dinoblock is a must-read for young dinosaur fans. Through intricate diecut pages and simple writing that introduces both the proper name of each dinosaur depicted and a singular characteristic of the beast, dinophiles will be drawn to this immense board book that goes beyond the regular simple board books known to most.

 If you're a presidential historian fan like me, The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House   should definitely be on your radar. Rather than focus on the families who have resided at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Kate Andersen Brower interviewed the butlers, floral arrangers, chefs, and many other White House staff that keep a very busy, stressed, and public household running. If you're looking for salacious gossip, you'll be disappointed (some residents were liked more than others, however), but if you've ever wondered what it would be like to work at the White House, this one is for you. 

As someone who has watched Clueless more times than she would like to admit, I eagerly anticipated As If : The Oral History of Clueless. While most Clueless fans will want to read this, this does run into the common problem of oral history books in that the minutiae is a bit overwhelming (like the ones on ESPN or Saturday Night Live). It's definitely fun to read about how the clothes were styled, how the unique vocabulary was created, but since there was very little drama in the making of the movie (no major tantrums or conflicts, no major scandals, everyone pretty much got along, and the movie was an immediate critical and financial success), it loses a bit of steam.  Those interested in movie-making or the movie will definitely enjoy this. 

Previous Ridiculously Good Reads:

Summer Reading Edition

April-May Edition

March Edition

Early 2015 Edition

As Cher Horowitz would say: I'm audi!

Saturday, September 05, 2015

It's Time For....Fall Books!

It's FALL. Or almost (meteorological fall started September 1, but the autumnal equinox is September 23). Fall is my favorite season, so I am PUMPED. September also brings the onslaught of fall books, and there are some awesome books coming our way. Here's what I can't wait to get my hands on:

A young patron was recently in search of Raina Telgemeier's The Baby-Sitters Club graphic novels and Who Was? biography series. Being a fan of both, we had a nice chat while we looked for books. I was obsessed with the original BSC series created by Ann M. Martin when I was in elementary school, so reading Telgemeier's graphic novel adaptations is an intense nostalgia trip. I'm sure a few details were jettisoned or changed in order to make it contemporary for young readers, but the major details and story lines stay the same (I apparently reread the BSC books many times!). Kristy's Great Idea (#1) introduces the original four characters; The Truth About Stacey (#2) is about Stacey dealing with diabetes, and Baby-Sitters Club #3: Mary-Anne Saves the Day  (out 10/27) features the first big fight among the club members.

Katherine Applegate's first novel since winning the Newbery Medal for The One and Only Ivan (2013) is one of the most anticipated children's novels of 2015, and it's already received tremendous reviews. Jackson's family has fallen on hard times. Jackson invents an imaginary friend (a super-sized cat) named Crenshaw in order to beat off loneliness and to deal with the instability that comes with chronic homelessness (at one point, the family lived in their minivan for several months). If you're familiar with The One and Only Ivan (if you're not, you're missing out--this is one of the best Newbery books in recent memory) or her earlier but also poignant novel Home of the Brave, you know that Applegate tackles serious subjects in a deeply emotional (yet not manipulative) manner.

Donna Jo Napoli's latest YA novel, Dark Shimmer, has received excellent reviews for her deliciously creepy revisionist take on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, told from the stepmother's point of view. Publishers Weekly calls it an "achingly lovely, sometimes frightening reimagining." Very excited about this one.

I'm really looking forward to hearing feedback on Everyone Loves Bacon. Bacon is a superstar at the local diner; everyone says he smells so good, everyone wants to be next to him...everyone, except for French Toast. All this praise and attention makes Bacon thinks he's quite the cool dude, until the inevitable happens. As you can guess, this is an offbeat cautionary tale about pride and excessive attention; this should be quite popular!

Another historical novel from Laura Amy Schlitz! I adore A Drowned Maiden's Hair, so I am on pins and needles for The Hired Girl. Joan Skraggs leaves her confining home in Pennsylvania to work as a hired girl for a Baltimore Jewish family. Joan performs tasks that her observant Jewish family cannot perform on the Sabbath; as a Catholic girl growing up at the turn of the last century, this is her first encounter with Jewish family life and customs, so faux pas are to be expected. This historical coming-of-age novel has earned tremendous reviews (as have Schlitz's previous titles, so no surprise there!).

I usually don't rush to read companion novels to classic novels, but I'm making an exception for A Little in Love. Given the long-lasting popularity of Les Miserables, I figured that it might be popular in our YA collection (crossing fingers that I am right!), but when I read the ecstatic reviews, I knew I had to read it! I have an inordinate fondness for the musical (yes, the lyrics are hokey and trite, but whatever), and it's one of the few high school classics that I actually enjoyed reading in high school (highly recommend reading a good abridged version of the novel, unless you really, really, really want to read pages-long descriptions of sewers and obscure post-Revolution French politics). As you can see from the cover, this is from the perspective of tragic Eponine (who's the more compelling character--Cosette or Eponine? Team Eponine over here.). I may have to check out the CD recording of the musical for background music.

The Marvels is absolutely on my fall reading list, but this is going to be an intense read. Out of 640 pages, nearly 500 pages (the beginning of the book) are pure illustrations.  We follow a theatrical family through several generations (1760s-1900s) until we arrive at the 1990s, in which we meet a runaway from a British boarding school. School Library Journal enthused: "complex, entertaining, and full of gorgeous art and writing." Not a casual read, but I'm very intrigued.

Gene Luen Yang's graphic novels are complex reads for mature readers; Secret Coders is aimed at the middle-school crowd and seems remarkably lighter in tone than his previous graphic novels. The founder of Stately Academy has left an avalanche of clues and puzzles for his students to solve, but not without having to deal with robotic birds and sinister school administrators. Coding/computer programming concepts are big parts of the story (Gene Luen Yang was a high school computer science teacher until very recently), and the main characters include both girls and boys of different ethnic backgrounds. The sequel will be out in 2016.

Jennifer Holm is on my list of authors that get an automatic read whenever they publish a new work. Sunny Side Up (created with her brother and collaborator for their adorable Babymouse graphic novel series) is an autobiographical graphic novel of sorts. Set in 1976, this explores the effect of a troubled sibling (due to drug abuse) on a young family. Sunny is sent to her grandparents in Florida to escape the upheaval and finds escape through comic books (and recovering the neighbors' wayward golf balls and cats with a new friend). Kirkus hails this as being "funny, poignant, and reassuringly upbeat by the end but free of glib platitudes or easy answers." Sounds like a must read for Raina Telgemeier fans, El Deafo fans, and Roller Girl fans.

Jennifer Donnelly's Revolution is one of the most brilliant YA novels written in the past five years (A Northern Light is also exceptional), so I must find a way to be patient until These Shallow Graves is released (10/27). Jo wants to be like the adventurous and daring journalist Nellie Bly, but her social class calls for her to marry someone of her same social standing and host endless rounds of gatherings. When her father unexpectedly dies due to an apparent suicide or unfortunate accident, Jo begins to investigate the truth behind his death when she hears a journalist speculating about the details. Horn Book Magazine names this "a most entertaining read."

In recent years, Mr. Buzz Aldrin has become a strong advocate of Mars exploration, specifically establishing a permanent colony on Mars. Welcome to Mars: Making a Home on the Red Planet  envisions what life would be like on a permanent Mars colony: how would you live? sleep? eat? This is published by National Geographic Kids, so expect a great layout of both text and images.

That's just a sample of the books arriving in September or October! Read (and subscribe to!) Wowbrary to learn more about recent titles (children's, YA, adult, DVDs, ebooks, etc) that have been ordered or added to the collection.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Ten Years Ago: Hurricane Katrina

If you've watched or read any type of media recently, you're probably aware that August 29th is the 10th anniversary of the day Hurricane Katrina made landfall.  I didn't want the day to pass without letting you know about some truly excellent books for children and teens about this historic hurricane: 

Another Kind of Hurricane  is a moving, sensitive, and ultimately hopeful book about two very different young boys who are affected by Hurricane Katrina's wrath (Henry lives in Vermont; Zavion lives in New Orleans) and form a deeply personal bond based on their shared experiences of grief and loss. This is Tamara Ellis Smith's debut novel, and I can't wait to see what she creates next. 

Don Brown's  The Great American Dust Bowl is an intensely gripping and powerful narrative in graphic novel format about the Dust Bowl, so it was no surprise that  Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans is equally as compelling. (I say graphic novel, but these are straight nonfiction books). Written and drawn for YA audiences, this is an honest and intimate examination of the hurricane, as well as the aftermath. 

Two Bobbies: A True Story of Hurricane Katrina, Friendship, And Survival  is based on the true story of a cat and a dog, left behind by their owners (many pet owners were forced to leave their pets behind because many hotels, shelters, and authorities refused to let pets accompany their owners; laws were changed in the aftermath of Katrina in order to prevent massive amounts of animals left behind in the wake of evacuations and rescues). This is a remarkable and unforgettable story about friendship and survival.

If you are interested in adult nonfiction books about Hurricane Katrina, please see my review of
Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital from November 2013.

Next week, I'll have something much more cheerful to discuss: Fall 2015 books!

Jennifer Schultz, Youth Services Librarian, Fauquier County Public Library 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Books to Bark About: Celebrate National Dog Day (Aug 26)

Since we celebrated World Cat Day recently, it's only fitting that we pay tribute to man's best friend on August 26.   National Dog Day is the perfect day to grab a few awesome books and cuddle with your favorite pup.  Children's literature is filled with many stories about amazing pups: Clifford the Big Red Dog, Harry the Dirty Dog, Biscuit, Spot,  Lassie, and Because of Winn Dixie, just to name a few enduring classics. Throughout history, dogs have been trained to do an amazing variety of jobs; here are my favorite children's books about real-life canine heroes:

Our Dogs to the Rescue! series was an enormous hit during our summer reading program; they were (and still are) constantly checked out. These nonfiction titles for newly independent readers feature dogs who sniff out bombs, guide dogs, wilderness search dogs, and more.

Lola Goes to Work is a short and sweet introduction to adorable Lola. Although Lola is a small terrier, she has a very big job as a therapy dog; she visits people in hospitals, listens to kids practice reading, and visits people in their home. Becoming a therapy dog wasn't easy for Lola, as she had to pass difficult training sessions and tests (if you've spent time with terriers, you know that they are independent little thinkers, which can make training challenging). This is a simple and charming introduction to the work of a therapy dog (would be a great book to read to our Paws to Read dogs!), but also a testament to working hard and perseverance.

Mogie: The Heart of the House is based on the true story of Mogie, the Labradoodle- in-residence at the Houston Ronald McDonald House. Mogie's littermates were quickly chosen and trained for guide dog positions, search and rescue work, dog show competition, and other jobs, but Mogie's temperament wasn't suitable for any such work. Luckily, it was figured out that Mogie was the ideal candidate for the Key Comfort Ambassador position at the Houston Ronald McDonald House, where he visits, cuddles, and plays with the families who stay there while they/their children receive long-term care at Houston hospitals. While not a very sad book, it is a sensitive portrayal of a dog who means a lot to children and families who are dealing with very serious situations (we are introduced to two children residing at the house), so pre-reading is important before reading it with little ones. Like Lola Goes to Work, this is an affirmative story of the contributions and gifts that everyone has and can give. You can learn more about the real Mogie on his website and see pictures on the Houston RMH's site.

Tuesday Tucks Me In , based on Capt. Luis Carlos Montalvan's memoir, is a touching, age-appropriate, and unique look at a different kind of service dog. While many children may be aware that service dogs help people who are blind, deaf, or use a wheelchair, they may not know that dogs help people who struggle with feeling very scared or nervous (Capt. Montalvan has Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which is not specifically named in this book).  When Capt. Montalvan feels very stressed or scared, Tuesday helps him calm down. This is a loving representation of a very special bond.

Need books on dog care and training? Look in our J 636.7 section.

Happy National Dog Day!

Jennifer Schultz, Youth Services Librarian, Fauquier County Public Library