A panel of young readers assists Jen Kraar, the children’s book buyer, in making selections for the bookstore. Each member reviews advanced reading copies of selected titles and writes critical reviews. Monthly meetings are spent having fun while sharing literary thoughts.
Applications and job description available from Jen: jkraar@cityofasylumpittsburgh.
Meet our current panel:
Jake B. is ten years old who loves action books such as Maze Runner: Scorch Trials. He has one dog.
Lilja H M. is a fan of historical fiction who loves reading, watching T.V., playing with friends and Hamilton. She loves cats.
Maria M. is an eleven years old who knows Arabic. She loves reading fantasy. A Wrinkle in Time and The Hunger Games are her favorite books.
Peri V. likes mysteries and is in fourth grade. She likes the Harry Potter series and the color blue. When she’s not reading you can find her running or drawing.
Quincy S. is a fifth-grade student who enjoys acting, listening to Hamilton, and playing with dogs. She likes mashed potatoes.
Reviewed by Peri V.
Iris and Lark are identical twins. Iris has always been the brave, smart, and somewhat boring one; Lark has been the artsy, clever, idea-making one. Together they’re Iris and Lark, but when their parents and principal decide that they should be in different classes, they start to change. Iris is not allowed to go to Lark’s after-school art program. Iris turns grim, Lark is... different. All over the city things are going missing. Iris decides it is up to her to keep her loved ones safe.
I liked the strong friendship between Iris and Lark. The kindness and fights with each other showed that they loved each other very much and would do anything for one another.
Reviewed by Jake B.
Note: The author draws inspiration from Korean fairy tales and folklore.
The book is about a girl from a different planet who goes on a journey to save her brother. I liked the book because the characters are interesting. For instance, the main character Min is part human, part fox, so she can have these powers that are different from human ones—she can persuade others very easily, hear things from far away, and magically make things. Also, I liked that the events in the book take place in the year 1447, but humans on other planets have technology that is way more advanced than the mankind has to this day. They have technology that can let them go to different galaxies and planets. I also liked how humans in the book could see ghosts, so if someone you know died, then they become ghost, and they can watch you and do things with you, but the only risk is that ghosts give bad luck to people they stay with.
Reviewed by Lilja H-M
With all ripe blueberries and perfect houses, Eventown seems too “even” to be real. This is the story of twin sisters Naomi and Elodee who are looking for a fresh start after moving to Eventown, a town that only lets one family move in each year. But to move into the future and fit into this strangely perfect place, Elodee will have to let go of her past and she doesn’t want to. This is an awesome pageturner by Corey Ann Haydu the author of Sunday Suitcase and Rules of Stealing Stars. I recommend this book for ages 10-13. The genre is Realistic Fiction or Contemporary.
Reviewed by Quincy S.
Phatty is a large feline who is the very epitome of a scaredy cat. He lives in an apartment in New York City with his dog and cat brothers. One day a mean hawk named Crawler comes to taunt him on his terrace and that’s when the trouble begins. When his best friend tells him to stand up for himself he decides to venture out of his apartment and into Central Park. I really enjoyed this book that’s filled with comedy and friendship. It proves that, if shown a little kindness, someone can go from a bully to your best friend. I really liked this book and I would this recommend this animal story it to anyone who likes cats, comedy, and friendship.
Reviewed by Maria M.
Jordan is going to middle school. Even worse he is the new kid. Jordan wanted to go to art school but his parent says that he has to go to a fancy private school. In this book you will mostly be in the school with all his friends or at home with his parents. My favorite part is when Jordan is doing comics about his life because it is funny and it really ties into his life story.
Reviewed by Amelia
A fun and magical adventure that tells us that the rainforest is probably easy to get lost in. Gogi’s Gambit tells us that Gogi is having an adventure. The main character is Gogi, and he wants to save Caldera, his home, from the Ant Queen. Gogi can shoot fire out of the palms of his hands! He got that power during a magical eclipse when he was born. Some of the obstacles that get in his way are ants, millions of ants, that have poisonous mandibles and under the Ant Queen’s order and some other animals that turned evil, wants to kill Gogi and his friends. The genre is fantasy, and the setting is the rainforest and the mood is exiting, but also scary at the same time. A little funny, too.